WHILE millions of people are looking forward to turkey and treats, thousands of Network Rail workers will be spending their Christmas on the track instead.
Among the many projects which will be undertaken between Christmas Eve and the New Year, the East Coast Main Line upgrade will be continuing and London King’s Cross will be closed between 26 and 30 December, while services will be reduced between 31 December and 3 January.
Further north, teams will be renewing 320m of track at Doncaster station.
On the West Coast route, the shops on the ramp to platforms 8-11 at London Euston will be removed to give passengers more space, track will be replaced at Cheddington, new overhead lines will be installed near Watford Junction and also at Bletchley, a bridge will be rebuilt at Great Bridgeford near Stafford and lineside vegetation will be cleared from alongside the railway at Roade in Northamptonshire.
Signalling at Birmingham New Street will be renewed on 25 and 26 December, while there will be track upgrades in Preston and Manchester alongside more overhead line improvements at Liverpool and Crewe.
South of London, there will be changes to Southern and Thameslink services from 27 December to 3 January, so that the major project to enlarge Gatwick Airport station can continue, while two junctions will be upgraded at Lewisham and more than 3km of track renewed.
Points will be replaced at London Liverpool Street and work will start on extending platforms 16 and 17, overhead lines will be upgraded at Stratford, there will be power supply upgrades between Bow in east London and Shenfield in Essex, and more engineering possessions on the North London Line at Camden Road and Chalk Farm.
Other work on the Great Eastern Main Line and its branches will include new points at Colchester and Norwich, overhead wire and track maintenance between Rayleigh and Southend Victoria, wheel timber renewals at Trowse swing bridge and bridge replacement work at Postwick in Cambridgeshire.
Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines said: ‘Our frontline workers have continued to work tirelessly throughout the pandemic to maintain and upgrade the railway for those who need it and this festive period will be no different, with thousands of workers out delivering significant improvements.
‘It is vital that we drive improved rail performance through targeted investment work so that the railway can continue to play its part in Britain building back better from the Covid-19 pandemic.’