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Over 450 rail improvements to take place over Easter weekend

The Easter weekend will see Network Rail’s orange army carrying out £60m upgrades on railways across Britain.

Over 15,000 Network Rail staff members will take advantage of the reduction in passengers, usually from 4.5 million to less than 2.3 million each day, in order to carry out over 450 separate improvement projects from 24 March 24 to 28 March.

The improvements, which are part of Network Rail’s £40bn Railway Upgrade Plan, include overhead line renewals and Crossrail work on the Great Eastern main line near Brentwood and Gidea Park, Crossrail and Western electrification work between Paddington and Reading and a new flyover coming into use in the Stafford area.

Mark Carne, Network Rail’s chief executive, said: “I’m acutely conscious that many people want to use the railway during the Easter holidays, but with fewer people traveling by train over this four-day weekend, it is a good time to undertake these massive improvement projects. The vast majority of services will be unaffected by this programme with over 95% of the network open as normal.

“Passengers have shown themselves to be incredibly understanding of planned improvement work and I’d like to thank them in advance for their support and understanding as we deliver the big improvements that the travelling public want to see.”

However, Manchester Victoria and Salford Central stations will close until 4 April while engineers prepare station tracks and strengthen railway arches as part of the ongoing Ordsall Chord works.

Glasgow Queen Street high level station will close from 20 March to 8 August as part of upgrades to allow faster and longer trains.

Network Rail has launched a nationwide ‘Check Before You Travel’ campaign which uses posters, billboards and digital screens at stations as well as online and print adverts to urge people to check for changes to their journeys over Easter.

With the recent inaugural Women in Rail study finding that just 16% of the railway workforce is female, the face of the campaign is apprentice technician Eleanor Lawrence.

Lawrence said: “I’ll be celebrating Easter and eating chocolate with dozens of other members of the orange army while doing essential work to keep the railway safe and reliable for passengers.

“I’ve been interested in the railway since I was very young but since I joined the industry I’ve been amazed and inspired by the people around me and their commitment to make the railways better. This is such a worthwhile job and makes a difference to so many people and carries such a huge responsibility to keep people safe and provide a good, reliable service. It’s a job and a career that really matters.”



Andrew G   25/02/2016 at 20:38

Not to mention overhead wiring renewal works not just on the GEML between Brentwood-Gidea Park-Ilford but also at Stratford and on the Southend Victoria line between Shenfield-Wickford-Southend Victoria as the overhead wires are ageing and need replacing.

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