Hopes that Easter rail works run smoothly

March 18 2015  

Hopes that Easter rail works run smoothly

Network Rail will be under close scrutiny this Easter as it prepares to deploy a 14,000 strong “army” to deliver engineering works at sites including London Bridge, Watford and Reading and on the approach to London Liverpool Street.

The pressure is on for the rail operator to complete its planned four days of improvement works on time, following over runs outside two mainline London termini over Christmas.

Passenger Focus manager Guy Dangerfield said: “There must be no repeat of what happened at Christmas when not only did engineering works overrun but contingency arrangements were completely inadequate.”

Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne said: “We have thoroughly reviewed our Easter improvement works and worked closely with the train operating companies. The industry has good contingency plans in place that will put passengers first.”

At London Bridge work will continue over Easter to track, signalling and platforms as part of the £6.5Bn Thameslink upgrade. Watford will see a bridge replaced south of the station, along with the replacement of track and renewal of signals and junctions.

At Reading new lines will be built under a viaduct to separate passenger services from freight trains, along with the installation of a new signalling system. And on the approach to London Liverpool Street new overhead lines will be installed at Chadwell Heath, Romford and Ilford.

At Christmas thousands of passengers were forced to make alternative arrangements or faced long delays completing their journeys after works failed to complete on time near King’s Cross and Paddington stations.

Mr Carne instructed the company’s infrastructure projects director to provide a report into the sequence of events and associated decision making that led to the problems.

He also called for “a broader industry-wide review into the timing of our major works programmes” and hinted that major rail engineering may never take place over Christmas again.

(Photo: Network Rail)
 

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