Train operators urge Easter travellers to check journeys

Easter will be a busy few days for thousands of Network Rail staff, as they prepare to carry out work at 530 sites around the country. £83 million is being invested in upgrading and renewing the railway in many places, but Network Rail said less than 5 per cent of the network will be affected. Even so, train operators are urging passengers to check their journeys if they intend to use railways during the Easter break, and Network Rail said travel on either side of the long weekend will be preferable in areas where work will be taking place.

Major schemes will include sites in London, the West Midlands, East Anglia, Sussex and south Wales.

In London, resignalling and track works at Clapham Junction will mean that no Southern trains will be able to reach London Victoria between 15 and 18 April. 

North of the Thames, track renewals will be carried out at London Euston and Watford North Junction, while preparations for HS2 will also be continuing at Euston. As a result, Euston will be closed to main line trains between Good Friday and Easter Monday, and services will terminate at Milton Keynes Central. Further north along the West Coast Main Line track will be replaced at several places, including Ecclefechan, Carstairs, Beattock and Abington.

In Strathclyde work will continue on improving the Argyle line, and this will affect trains between Exhibition Centre (Glasgow) and Rutherglen. Anderston station will reopen on 5 June as Network Rail engineers complete work on the entrance, booking office, concourse and platforms.

In the West Midlands HS2 enabling works at Hampton-in-Arden and a bridge renewal at Coventry South Junction will mean trains between Coventry and Birmingham being diverted via Solihull.

In East Anglia, points and crossing renewals will be carried out at Bishops Stortford, while Hertford East station will be upgraded. Work to improve Gatwick Airport station will be continued over the Easter break, so some trains will not be able to call there.

Transport for Wales trains between Cardiff Central and Ebbw Vale Town will be replaced by buses so that the track can be upgraded in the Llanhilleth area.

Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines said: ‘The majority of the railway will be open as usual this Easter for people to take a short break or visit loved ones, but some routes will be affected by our upgrade works, so we’re asking passengers to plan ahead and check their journeys in advance. We’ll be carrying out hundreds of vital projects that will improve passengers’ journeys in future – for example, by improving reliability and boosting capacity.’