London Bridge station, now fully reopened following its £1 billion redevelopment, was at the centre of a huge programme of works completed over Christmas and New Year.
Network Rail said more than 260 projects across 3,400 work sites, representing an investment of around £160 million, was delivered over the festive period – an increase on the £100 million spent last Christmas. All the work was delivered within a 10-day period by a team of more than 32,000 without a major incident.
London Bridge and the remodelling of the railway either side of the station has been one of the biggest stories of the Christmas blockade. It isn’t the end of Network Rail’s occupation of the London terminal, however, with work set to continue at the station into the spring as new retail units and cafes are finished off.
Progress was made on major infrastructure schemes up and down the country.
In the North West, work continued at Liverpool Lime Street where platforms are being lengthened, widened and renumbered. A new platform 8 has opened, the former platform 8 has reopened as platform 9 and platforms 6 and 9 have now been closed for remodelling. In Manchester, a £3 million project to replace the track serving platforms 13 and 14 was also completed.
In the Midlands, new signalling equipment was installed between Birmingham and Wolverhampton as part of the West Midlands resignalling scheme. Preparations were also made at Derby station ahead of this summer’s remodelling works. Engineers were busy on Christmas Day replacing the track layout into the depot.
Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne said: “We’d like to thank passengers for their understanding over the festive period while we worked to deliver our Railway Upgrade Plan and continue to improve both the capacity and reliability of our railway.
“Mega-projects like this at London Bridge, as well as hundreds of smaller projects across the country, will bring real bene ts to millions of passengers. We have been working tirelessly across the Christmas break to deliver these improvements and I am pleased that passengers will begin to see the bene ts they will bring.”
The Tube network was also a hive of activity. New cabling was installed on more than 3.5 km of line as part of the Four Lines Modernisation (4LM) resignalling scheme. Three junctions were also replaced at Earl’s Court and two new track junctions installed to connect the Northern line extension tunnels to the Charing Cross branch on the Kennington loop.
Other stories from around the network
Great Western Railway (GWR) has been able to launch electric services between Maidenhead and Didcot earlier than planned after electrification works were completed as part of the Great Western electrification programme.
Also on the Western route, Network Rail completed a complicated signalling data upgrade on the Paddington station approach on Christmas Day. As a result, the connection between the railway and the new Crossrail tunnels now appears on the signalling screens at Thames Valley Signalling Centre.
For all of the good news stories on the Western route, there was a sad moment for sta at Old Oak Common who closed the depot’s doors for good on 2 January as the HMF and wheel lathe were decommissioned. The depot, which maintained GWR’s HST fleet, is being demolished to make way for the new HS2 station.
In the South East, engineers installed a new drainage system in Sevenoaks Tunnel.
Lead photo taken by MPI installation team leader Phil Hammond on New Year’s Eve.