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Published on : Thursday, December 17, 2015
Over 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. 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.
In the south west and Thames Valley the orange army will be working hard to upgrade and modernise the Great Western Main Line in preparation for the arrival of electrification, the new fleet of electric trains and Crossrail services in the south east.
The work is extensive and will involve platform improvements at Hayes and Harlington station; upgrading the overhead power lines between Acton and the junction to Heathrow airport; re-aligning the tracks at Heathrow junction and installing a new set of points, to enable trains to move from one track to another; installing the foundations for overhead power lines between the junction to Heathrow airport and Maidenhead using a process known as ‘piling’; the extension of platform 14 at Paddington station in preparation for the longer electric trains; and the replacement of Stratton Green bridge in Swindon with a new, higher bridge to make the additional room needed for the overhead electrification lines that will be installed underneath.
These projects are vital to pave the way for the new fleet of longer, faster, quieter and greener electric trains that will service the Great Western Main Line, and for the introduction of Crossrail services in 2019 that will provide passengers travelling from the south east with faster journeys and more direct services to London.
This 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.
Mark Langman, Network Rail’s managing director for the Western route, said: “This Christmas and New Year, our orange army will be working round the clock to deliver our Railway Upgrade Plan, paving the way for better, more reliable journeys for passengers across the west, south west and Thames Valley.
“Passengers have shown themselves to be incredibly understanding of planned improvement work and I’d like to thank them in advance for their support and understanding as we carry out the upgrades needed to deliver the big improvements the travelling public want to see.
“The number of people travelling by rail continues to grow to record levels and this Christmas and New Year’s investment programme forms a key part of our Railway Upgrade Plan that is aimed at meeting surging demand and improving and expanding our congested railway network.”
Source:- Network Rail