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More train this Christmas

12/10/2008 AT 05:42

This comes as major projects, such as the modernisation of the west coast main line, draw to a close.

Work will be taking place on some parts of the national rail network between Christmas and New Year. The work is significantly reduced compared to previous years and is mainly taking place over one weekend - 27 and 28 December.

The work is targeted at one of the quietest times of year for rail travel when demand is at a low level compared to normal, enabling the company to carry out a programme of improvement work to build a bigger better railway.

Many thousands of engineers will be working over the holiday with around 50m being invested over the holiday period (75m last year).

Robin Gisby, director operations and customer service said: "Passengers will be benefiting this Christmas from more services as a less intensive work programme is delivered. Recent big investment in major schemes is now starting to pay dividends.

"Although our activity this year is significantly down on previous years and is concentrated on just one weekend - 27 and 28 December - we'll still be carrying out a handful of substantial improvement projects that are needed to help build a better, more reliable railway, taking advantage of this relatively quite time for travel on our railways."

Michael Roberts, chief executive of the Association of Train Operating Companies, said: "Network Rail's programme to maintain and replace track and signalling across the network is vital to delivering a better railway for passengers."

"The period between Christmas and New Year is a good time to make these improvements because the numbers of people travelling on the trains generally are light."

The principal improvement work outside the traditional two-day period include:
- Clapham Junction major track renewals to improve the reliability of services through Britain's busiest junction. The main lines and routes through the station remain open with routes to places like Putney and Staines affected from 25/12 to 4/1 inclusive
- Liverpool Street to Ilford track and overhead line work will close the routes to Chelmsford, Colchester, Ipswich and Norwich from 25/12 to 28/12 inclusive
- Glasgow signalling and track remodelling to improve service reliability from 25/12 to 29/12 inclusive. Services into and out of Glasgow Central station are affected as a result
- Milton Keynes signalling work from 25/12 to 28/12 inclusive. Closes the west coast main line south of Coventry
- London Bridge and New Cross Gate East London Line extension work and Thameslink upgrade work from 25.12 to 28/12 inclusive with the Thameslink route closed at Blackfriars

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