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Published on : Wednesday, May 4, 2016
The railway line between Farnham and Alton has been re-opened earlier than anticipated thanks to round-the-clock working by Network Rail’s orange army, during another busy Bank Holiday weekend for its railway engineers.
Following a landslip at Wrecclesham that forced Network Rail to close the line on 13 April, engineers have been working 24 hours a day to re-open the line as soon as possible. As a result of their significant efforts, the line is now open almost a week earlier than planned.
Elsewhere in the region, this weekend Network Rail spent £1.6million keeping passengers and freight moving by renewing a mile of track in Axminster as part of its Railway Upgrade Plan. Other work included replacing a key track crossing in Weybridge and continued upgrades to a number of bridges in the Stour and Avon area as part of Network Rail’s efforts to improve track quality and prolong the life of structures including the Stour viaduct.
John Halsall, Route Managing Director at Network Rail said: “It’s quite remarkable that our engineers have managed to re-open the Farnham to Alton line almost a week early when you consider the scale of the landslip and the work that was required just to make the site accessible and safe for working. Two and a half weeks ago this was just an empty field, but now we have a fully operational site compound working day and night to get this problem sorted.
“I’m also delighted that we have delivered another bank holiday weekend of upgrades that will make a real difference to passengers across the south, providing them with better and more reliable journeys.
“I’d like to say a big thank you to all of our lineside neighbours and passengers for their tremendous patience while we have upgraded the railway, particularly those at Wrecclesham, whose patience and understanding has been fundamental to us completing this job so quickly.”
Across the country, over 11,000 engineers worked through the long weekend to deliver another slice of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan, which will provide a bigger, better, and more reliable railway for passengers and businesses across Britain.
A total of £33m was spent on the railway over the May Day weekend, with the work planned over the long weekend when passenger numbers are typically fewer than half, minimising disruption to passengers as far as possible.