Major signalling upgrade on the West Coast main line

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Network Rail is completing an £85 million investment into the signalling on the West Coast main line between Rugeley and Colwich on Sunday 14 and from Saturday 20 until Monday 22 January.

During that time, the section of the railway between Rugby and Stafford will be closed so engineers can connect the new signals that have been installed in stages since 2017. The work has involved upgrading:

  • 39 new signals
  • 124 axel counters (the system used to detect if a section of track is clear or unoccupied)
  • Combining and moving Colwich and Trent Valley workstations to be based from the Rugby Rail Operating Centre.

Long-distance trains will use alternative routes through the West Midlands, and rail replacement buses will keep passengers on the move between stations.

The new signalling system will mean a more reliable services for passengers and freight in the future.

Passengers are being advised that journeys will take longer, could involve rail replacement bus services and that timetables will be different.

Dave Penney, Network Rail passenger director for the North West and Central region, said: “These major signalling improvements on the West Coast main line will mean better, smoother and more reliable journeys for passengers and freight in the future. However, complex upgrades like these mean we have no choice but to close sections of railway for new signalling equipment to be installed and tested.

“I’d urge anyone planning to travel on 14 January or between 20-22 January to please check National Rail Enquiries to plan their journeys. I’d also like to thank passengers in advance for their patience.”

Image credit: Network Rail

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