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Published on : Tuesday, December 15, 2015
More than 20,000 members of Network Rail’s orange army will be spending their Christmas Day and the days that follow working on the railway across Britain to deliver the Railway Upgrade Plan, including in Wales. New station facilities, longer platforms, extra tracks, new junctions and thousands of pieces of new, more reliable equipment will be installed and delivered in a £150m investment programme that will begin late on Christmas Eve once the last trains have run.
Almost 500 individual improvement projects will be carried out by Network Rail across Britain over the festive period, the majority of which will have no impact on passengers. Where there are changes to services as a result of upgrade work, a comprehensive advertising campaign is underway to make sure passengers are able to make informed decisions about their travel.
The work is timed to take advantage of a relatively quieter time of the year when, on average, fewer than half the usual 4.5m people use the railway each day – enabling Network Rail and train operators to minimise disruption as much as possible.
In Wales, reduced services will run between Cardiff and Newport as Network Rail carries out work to help improve the reliability of rail services by re-signalling the railway in the Cardiff area. The work is part of the Cardiff Area Signalling Renewal scheme which will help to modernise the railway in South Wales by replacing ageing signalling equipment, enhancing track layouts, building new platforms and improving stations.
Work will also be carried out over the Christmas period as part of the electrification of the South Wales Mainline. In order to prepare the railway for the overhead lines which will power electric trains, a number of bridges in Newport and Monmouthshire will be replaced with new and improved structures.
Network Rail will be delivering improvements for Crossrail to the east and west of London, including platform extensions, new track and signalling and upgraded overhead power lines. This will affect services from Wales into Paddington – though not on working days.
Mark Carne, Network Rail chief executive, said “This Christmas and New Year, our 20,000-strong army of rail workers will be working round the clock to deliver our Railway Upgrade Plan, providing better, more reliable journeys for passengers across Britain.
“I’m acutely conscious that many people want to use the railway over the festive period to reunite with their friends and families, so it’s good news that the vast majority of the network is running normally.