Network Rail engineers will be working hard delivering presents to passengers on – and above – the railway.
Two major projects will take significant steps forward this Christmas; to upgrade signalling at West Hampstead and to strengthen a railway bridge in Kentish Town, while a myriad of maintenance work take place throughout the route.
The signalling work will “recontrol” the system used by signallers to control the traffic lights of the railway onto a more modern, computer-based system. At the same time, control of trains at the southern end of the Midland Main Line into St Pancras will be transferred back to West Hampstead from Three Bridges Rail Operating Centre. This will allow operations teams in the East Midlands to directly manage train movements for the length of the line, improving decision making for passengers.
Meanwhile, in Kentish Town, work will continue to strengthen the railway bridge which runs over the Midland Main Line. Kentish Town Road at its junction with Leighton Road will be closed from 20.00 on Christmas Eve to 23.59 on Wednesday 27 December as engineers complete repairs to concrete and steel elements of the bridge, use high-pressure water to clean existing steel components, and apply a protective coating system to various parts of the steel structure.
On the top of the bridge, two 25 tonne excavators will demolish the parapet wall and a 350-tonne crane will lift out the old girders and in the new girders and precast concrete brick faced parapets.
Buses and pedestrians will still be able to cross during the road closure.
Disruptive work on both projects alongside dozens of routine maintenance activities, will take place during Christmas Day and Boxing Day, when passenger trains do not operate, reducing impact upon passengers.
Gary Walsh, Route Director for Network Rail’s East Midlands route, said: “Our teams will be working incredibly hard over Christmas to carry out vital upgrades and maintenance that will mean more reliable journeys for our passengers.
“The work at West Hampstead will allow our signallers to make better decisions for passengers and the strengthening of the bridge in Kentish Town will make it safe for all users for years to come.
“I’m sorry for the inconvenience that will be caused to road users in Kentish Town but want to thank them for their patience and understanding while we carry out this necessary strengthening work.”
Mark Pavlides, Chief Customer Officer for Govia Thameslink Railway, said: “We’re also very grateful to our customers for their patience during this vital work that Network Rail have planned to carry out at the quietest possible time on the route. These major projects will improve our customers’ experience through better reliability and maintain safety for passengers for many years to come.”
Engineers will also be working on other projects further north in the East Midlands route with teams carrying out improvement work to existing overhead line equipment to allow new trains to run at 125mph and will be continuing to work to electrify the line between Kettering and Leicester meaning faster, more reliable, and greener future journeys for passengers.
Image credit: Network Rail