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Published on : Friday, December 11, 2015
Network Rail’s Stafford Area Improvements Programme will see a new railway flyover built over the West Coast main line at Norton Bridge. It will open at Easter 2016 and provide the capability for more passenger and freight services to run on one of the busiest rail routes in Europe.
Passengers are being advised to check before they travel over the Christmas period when track work and bridge construction is taking place. The vital work, part of the Railway Upgrade Plan, will start from the close of service on Christmas Eve, with no trains operating on Christmas Day and Boxing Day as usual.
On December 27 and 28 CrossCountry will operate an hourly Southampton to Birmingham to Manchester service, diverted between Stafford and Stoke. This will add approximately 20 minutes to the journey.
London Midland will run hourly Birmingham to Stafford and hourly Crewe to Liverpool services. London Midland will also run buses from Stafford to Stoke via Stone and from Stafford to Crewe.
Virgin Trains is using alternative routes.
Mark Killick, area director for Network Rail, said: “Our workforce is out and about all over Christmas helping to deliver the railway our passengers demand.“We care about passengers and the work is planned to take place over Christmas to reduce disruption as much as possible, but we appreciate that it will still cause some disruption to passengers and I thank them for their cooperation and patience.
“Working with London Midland, Virgin Trains and CrossCountry, we want to make sure that everyone who plans to travel is prepared and has made the best choices to help them make their journey.”
Phil Bearpark, executive director operations and projects for Virgin Trains, said: “We understand that improvement works impact on passengers. Passengers who are travelling on the West Coast main line between Stafford and Crewe should definitely check their journey before they travel. We have worked closely with Network Rail and industry partners to ensure alternative travel arrangements are in place wherever possible and to keep disruption to a minimum whilst this important work is carried out.”
Steven Fisher, head of regional services at London Midland, said: “We know there’s never a good time to do improvement work across the network, however the improvement works ongoing at Stafford will lead to more reliable and faster journeys. Throughout this important project we’ve worked closely with Network Rail and industry partners to ensure passenger disruption has been kept a minimum, and as with any improvement work, not only at Christmas, we strongly advise passengers to check their journeys before travelling.”