Throughout the upcoming February half term, a dual railway closure will proceed for nine days, accommodating Network Rail’s continued upgrades of old signalling equipment, modernising the railway to current standards.
This closure will see rail services compensated for with replacement bus services from Staines to Windsor & Eton Riverside, and buses from Hounslow to Virginia Water over the last weekend. A concurrent closure between Reading and Bracknell and Reading to Guildford will also be taking place from Monday 13 to Friday 17 February.
Throughout these closures, requisite signalling upgrades will be conducted, coming as part of a £375m programme, covering 80 miles of railway and 500 pieces of signalling equipment which started in 2021. Phase five of this project will see follow up works, due to be completed in 2024.
Mark Killick, Network Rail’s Wessex route director, said:
“It’s really great to see phase three and four of this huge resignalling project taking place. The current signalling system dates back to the early 1970s and during a long-term programme we’ve been modernising it to improve reliability across the Southern region.
“We’re aware that Wessex route can sometimes be one of the worst affected in terms of signalling issues and completing this work will help prevent those incidents and will allow us to increase capacity for trains with fewer delays, improved safety and lower running costs.
“We’d like to thank customers for their patience and bearing with us.”
The closure will also see further rejuvenation works, such as painting canopies at Windsor & Eton Riverside, renewing the footbridge at Ashford station, renewing Star Lane Level Crossing, vegetation management along the line and an overall infrastructure surveying process.
Steven Hawker, Great Western Railway's station manager for the North Downs Line, said:
“These works are essential to maintaining and improving the railway and while it has been timed for half-term to interrupt as few customers as possible, we thank our customers for their patience during this time.”
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