Check before you travel over the bank holiday

Improvement work on the railway.
Improvement work on the railway.
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Rail passengers are reminded to check before travelling over the bank holiday weekend as Network Rail will be carrying out its full programme of investment work following the decision by the TSSA and RMT unions to suspend industrial action which had been planned for Monday and Tuesday next week.

Hundreds of thousands of passengers and freight users will experience long term benefits from almost £27m of investment in improving Britain’s rail network over the spring bank holiday weekend. Over 95% of the network will be unaffected by this work programme.

Across the country new station facilities, new platforms, new junctions and hundreds of pieces of new, more reliable, equipment will be installed and delivered as part of Network Rail’s railway upgrade plan. The work has been timed to minimise disruption to passenger numbers where, over a bank holiday weekend, passenger numbers can drop by 20 to 30%.

Work will be taking place along the West Coast main line which may mean longer journey times or bus replacement services for passengers in the West Midlands, north west and Chiltern area.

As part of the £250m investment programme to remove the last major bottleneck on the West Coast main line, we are installing new signals and changing the track layout at Stafford. We are also building a new rail-over-rail flyover at Norton Bridge to separate fast trains from slower freight trains.

Buses will replace trains from Stafford to Wolverhampton and from Stafford to Stoke, and some long-distance train services will be diverted.

Between Crewe and Wigan we are renewing old track to make services more reliable, and clearing trees from the trackside to improve safety and performance on this line.

On the Chiltern main line, we are replacing track at Banbury as part of a £76 million project to improve the station layout, leading to fewer delays. This affects Chiltern and CrossCountry services – rail replacement buses will be running between Banbury and Leamington Spa on 24 May.

Martin Frobisher, route managing director for Network Rail, said: “Bank holidays are traditionally quieter times on the railway and provide extra time when we can carry out even more improvement work in an effective and efficient way.

“These upgrades will help to provide a more reliable railway which is essential as more people choose to travel by train. There is never a good time to carry out work of this nature but we have worked with the train operators to plan it to cause the least amount of disruption and make sure passengers can plan or make alternative arrangements.

“I apologise for any inconvenience caused and urge anyone who plans to travel by train over the bank holiday weekend to check with National Rail Enquiries or their train operator for the latest information.”

Full details of any alterations to services are available on train operators’ websites or by visiting www.nationalrail.co.uk.