Reliability upgrade through 175-year-old Staffordshire tunnel this March, via Network Rail

175-year-old Staffordshire tunnel to receive futureproofing upgrades

Passengers travelling between Uttoxeter and Stoke-on-Trent are set to see major improvements to their journeys as Network Rail are enhancing reliability along the route through a £2m upgrade package set to transform the track through the 175-year-old Meir tunnel.

These upgrades will be conducted over the March period and will see engineers replacing up to 1.6 kilometres of rail, supporting ballast and sleepers along both tracks through Meir railway tunnel, thus aiding trains run on time between the locations.

Meir tunnel track works, via Network Rail

The tracks running between Longton and Blythe Bridge stations have not received any major refurbishment works since 1968, with the upcoming scheme set to provide stability and reliability across the route for another 50 years.

Steve Hopkinson, East Midlands Operations Director for Network Rail said:

“This tunnel holds so much history and is a vital part of the railway in Staffordshire, and these upgrades will make sure that passengers can continue to travel through it reliably well into the future.

“To do the work safely, we inevitably need to close the tunnel so there will be some changes to services and I’m sorry if this impacts people’s plans. Our best advice is to allow some extra time and to check your journey before setting off.”

Due to the potentially hazardous nature of these works, to conduct the upgrades safely there will be a tunnel closure between Sunday 5th and Sunday 12th March seeing replacement bus services between Uttoxeter and Stoke-on-Trent, until the line reopens on Monday 13th March.

Neil Grabham, Customer Services Director for EMR said:

“Between Sunday 5 and Sunday 12 March we will be running a replacement rail service between Uttoxeter and Stoke-on-Trent.

“We are asking customers to plan ahead and allow plenty of time to carry out their journeys and we would like to thank them for their patience whilst Network Rail carry out work along the tracks.”

Claire Sandys, Community Rail Officer for the North Staffordshire Community Rail Partnership, said:

“We are pleased to see upgrade works take place at this critical point on the Crewe to Derby route where passengers rely on a quick and punctual service for work, leisure and education purposes.”

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