Relief as Easter rail works keep to time

April 8 2015  

Relief as Easter rail works keep to time
Rail passengers were spared a repeat of engineering over runs and major disruptions following the Easter period. Network Rail says that £100M of improvements were completed on time over the four day weekend, involving 14,000 workers.
Major works took place at Watford, Reading, London Bridge and outside London Liverpool Street. Passenger groups say they were relieved that problems faced following Christmas engineering works did not surface again.
“Our 14,000 strong army of workers was determined to make sure everything went to plan this weekend and I’m proud to say it did,” said Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne.
At Watford a road bridge was installed over the West Coast Mainline and in Reading new freight lines were laid beneath a viaduct. London Bridge saw works continue to rebuild the station and overhead lines were installed on the approach to Liverpool Street.
Newly renamed travel watchdog Transport Focus said that lessons had clearly been learnt following the Christmas disruption. Passenger director David Sidebottom said: “It felt as though Network Rail and the train companies threw a lot of resources at making sure the works were handled well and that messages were communicated clearly to passengers.”
A spokesman for London TravelWatch said: “Although things appear to have gone pretty well over the Easter break, we think it is too early to pass judgement on whether the engineering works have been a success or not. The industry needs to continue to be vigilant and ensure that work is carried out safely and on time during future planned engineering works.”
At the end of last year rail engineering works over ran outside King’s Cross and Paddington stations, causing delays for thousands of passengers which led to a Parliamentary inquiry. Network Rail’s Mark Carne had suggested that the traditional thinking of carrying out major works during ‘quieter’ times of use may need to be rethought.
A spokesman for the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train companies and contractors, said: “We know that many passengers did not get a good enough service in the days following Christmas, and the industry is committed to learning lessons about what went wrong.
“In the months running up to Easter, Network Rail and operators worked closer than ever to carefully plan engineering work and ensure that disruption was kept to a minimum, with 90% of the railway remaining unaffected.”
(Photo: Network Rail)

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