Passengers reminded to plan ahead this Easter weekend as Network Rail undertakes £88m engineering programme

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Network Rail is reminding passengers to check their journeys before travelling over the bank holiday weekend (Friday 7th – Monday 10th April inclusive) as thousands of rail workers prepare to deliver an £88m programme of engineering work.

Whilst the vast majority of the network – more than 95% – will be unaffected by the engineering work taking place, there will be disruption on some routes, so passengers should visit National Rail Enquiries or their train operator’s website to check the status of their journey before travelling.

The line between Oxford and Didcot Parkway remains closed over the bank holiday weekend owing to ongoing emergency repairs of a viaduct. Chiltern Railways are advising passengers to only travel if essential as their services will be extremely busy as a result of this closure.

Also as a result of this emergency work, CrossCountry trains through the Midlands will not run south of Oxford. CrossCountry passengers heading for the south coast are being advised to change at Birmingham New Street, travel via Milton Keynes, transfer onto rail replacement shuttle bus services to Bedford for onward train travel on the Midland Main Line into London St Pancras to make connections to their final destinations.

Andrew Haines, Network Rail chief executive, said: 

“Our Easter engineering programme has been carefully planned so the majority of the rail network will remain open for business. However, some routes will be affected by this work, so please remember to check before you travel.

“Colleagues from Network Rail and our rail partners will be working hard to deliver £88 million worth of investment during the course of the weekend. These vital projects will upgrade the railway so that we can provide a better and more reliable service for our passengers and freight users in the future.”

More than 12,000 metres of new rail and 33,000 tonnes of ballast will be laid over the long weekend amongst other major projects being undertaken to boost reliability and performance across Britain.

The major upgrade projects to be carried out over the Easter bank holiday weekend include:

  • Various projects including track renewals, bridge work and maintenance work between London Euston and Milton Keynes Central from Friday 7th – Monday 10th April (inclusive). No services will operate between London Euston and Milton Keynes Central throughout the bank holiday weekend. Bus services will operate from Milton Keynes Central and Bedford to connect into GTR/EMR services to and from London. LNW will also operate bus services to serve stations south of Milton Keynes to connect with GTR services at Potters Bar. Caledonian Sleeper services will start from London King’s Cross.
  • Track upgrades taking place from Saturday 8th – Tuesday 11th April will mean the West Coast main line is closed between Lancaster and Carlisle. Avanti West Coast services will terminate at Lancaster to/from the south. Replacement bus services will be in operation between Lancaster and Carlisle.
  • Renewal of switches and crossings (the moveable sections of track that guide trains from one track to another and allow them to cross path) at Streatham North Junction to improve safety and reliability. As a result of this work, platforms 9-19 at London Victoria will not be in service throughout the bank holiday weekend. Services will start and terminate at London Bridge. London Victoria to Dorking services will be diverted to start/terminate at London Bridge via Peckham Rye.
  • Maintenance work and track renewals at Charing Cross on Sat 8th & Sun 9th April. Trains will not run to or from via Waterloo East to Charing Cross. Southeastern services will start and terminate from Cannon Street or London Victoria. Bus replacement services will be in operation between Lewisham and Dartford via Sidcup.
  • Vital embankment improvements and track renewals in Kent between Tunbridge Wells and Hastings from Friday 7 to Saturday 15 April. As a result, between these dates, buses will replace Southeastern train services between Tunbridge Wells and Hastings.
  • Significant work to improve reliability and resilience at Carstairs will mean there is no route through Carstairs Junction to and from Edinburgh Waverley or Glasgow Central via the West Coast main line for the whole of the bank holiday weekend.
  • Points conversion work for HS2 will mean services to and from Crewe will be severely impacted from Saturday 8th to Monday 10th April (inclusive).

Passengers can find out how their Easter journeys will be affected with their train operator, via National Rail Enquiries, or by following #EasterRailWorks on Twitter.

Image credit: Network Rail

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