Network Rail have reported the successful completion of a record-breaking 450 engineering projects over the Easter bank holiday, despite inclement weather conditions caused by Storm Katie.
Network Rail chief executive, Mark Carne, said: ‘Dealing with the damage caused by Storm Katie would have been challenging in itself, but it came on top of the biggest programme of Easter engineering works ever. I am immensely proud of the dedicated people who worked so hard to safely deliver over 450 improvement projects that will make a difference to passengers and businesses who rely on the railway every day.’
As Storm Katie battered Britain on March 28, overhead electrical wires were damaged on the East Coast main line, a wall collapsed onto the tracks in north-west London, part of the roof was blown off a station in Bognor and over 100 trees were blown onto the railway in the south east of England. Engineers were drafted in overnight to clear lines, make repairs and keep passengers and freight moving.
Network Rail’s £60m Easter investment programme, part of the £40bn Railway Upgrade Plan, saw the successful building and construction of new station facilities, longer platforms, extra tracks, new junctions and the installation of thousands of pieces of new, more reliable equipment.
In and around London, overhead lines were renewed and Crossrail work was completed on the Great Eastern main line, while old track was replaced near Waterloo.
In Manchester, a major nine-day programme of work was started to improve the track layout at Manchester Victoria station as part of Network Rail’s Northern Hub project.
In Scotland, work continued to replace 1,800m of ageing track leading up to Glasgow Queen Street station to allow faster, greener and longer trains to run between Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Between Reading and London, work was completed to make way for electric trains and Crossrail, and in Kent signals were upgraded to improve the reliability of the railway for passengers.