Latest Rail News

06.01.15

McLoughlin wants NR to address King’s Cross workload management

The transport secretary wants Network Rail’s internal investigation over the Christmas chaos at King’s Cross to focus on whether too much work was undertaken in the time available. 

Speaking in the Commons yesterday, Patrick McLoughlin said the King’s Cross works were vital scheme to replace and modernise seven sets of points and crossings, and associated track and overhead wiring. 

The work involved the replacement of more than 1km of track, some 12,000 tonnes of ballast and 14 dedicated engineering trains. 

Carried out over Christmas to limit its impact, it had been planned that two lines would be opened on 27 December to operate a limited service in and out of King’s Cross, but some elements of the work took longer than expected. 

To deal with the over-run, the operator decided to run an alternative service terminating at Finsbury Park, but McLoughlin said this station “was never really an option for main trains to terminate, and perhaps that should not have been done…However, not to have done that would have meant cancelling at short notice many trains on which people were relying.”  

Labour’s Jim Fitzpatrick, the MP for Poplar and Limehouse and a member of the Transport Select Committee, asked McLoughlin: “Has he had a chance to assess whether the vast amount of work that Network Rail undertook to do at King’s Cross was in fact too much within the time available?” 

In response the transport secretary said: “That is one of the questions I want the report to address. The hon. Gentleman is a member of the Transport Committee and I will be interested to see its report, knowing that Mark Carne and Robin Gisby will be giving evidence to the Committee next week.” 

(Image: c. Stefan Rousseau)

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