Sunday, May 29, 2022
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Home Maintenance Bulk of the £30m bank holiday upgrades between London and Cumbria will...

Bulk of the £30m bank holiday upgrades between London and Cumbria will take place on Christmas Day and Boxing Day

Essential rail improvement work over Christmas and New Year has been planned to cause the least disruption to passengers travelling between London, the Midlands, North West and Cumbria.

This year the bulk of the £30m bank holiday upgrades will take place on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, when traditionally most of the railway shuts down*, although passengers are advised there is also work taking place outside those dates. The work includes:

  • Between 25 and 29 December and between 1 and 4 January, Transpennine Route Upgrade work in Manchester
  • Between 24 and 29 December, upgrades continue to signals – the traffic lights of the railway – at Birmingham New Street and Macclesfield
  • Between 24 and 29 December, platform extensions so longer trains with more seats can run between Wolverhampton and Telford
  • Between 24 and 29 December track being laid over the new innovative Bletchley flyover as part of the East West Rail project
  • Between 27 and 29 December, Chiltern line bridge replacement work in Stratford-upon-Avon
  • On Sunday 2 January, West Coast main line is closed between Wigan and Preston

Passengers are advised to allow extra time for their journey, that they may need to change trains, or use a replacement bus service.


Anyone planning to travel during the work is urged to check with their train operator or at

Anyone planning to travel during the work is urged to check with their train operator or at

Tim Shoveller, managing director for Network Rail’s North West and Central region, said: “While some essential work is taking place to upgrade our railway over the festive period, we’ve worked hard with train operators to reduce the impact on passengers as far as possible so that they can spend time with their families and friends this Christmas.

“I’d like to thank the thousands of rail workers who will be working to keep services running, and those delivering upgrades to improve our railway and bring more reliable journeys to passengers in future.”

Passengers are also being given advance notice of work in January near Milton Keynes** and in and around Greater Manchester***.

To combat Covid, passengers must wear a face covering in train stations, on train services and any replacement bus services. Those who fail to do so face a fine of £200.

For more information visit:

Meanwhile, enhanced cleaning procedures will remain in place to stop the spread of Covid-19, with hand sanitiser on the station concourse.

To find out more about what Network Rail is doing to stop the spread of COVID-19 visit:

*Christmas Day and Boxing Day

There has not been a standard service on Christmas Day for around 60 years, and no service at all for the last 40 years. There is a limited service on Boxing Day and operators work with Network Rail on a timetable where there is demand from people to travel. Planning the majority of engineering work on both these dates helps to limit the impact on passengers.

New Year look ahead

**Advance warning: Milton Keynes – Rugby flood protection work

When: 4-12 January 2022

Major flood protection work will take place on the West Coast main line between Milton Keynes and Rugby. Trains will be diverted around the 4km long drainage upgrade by using the route via Northampton from 4-12 January. This will add around 25 minutes onto West Coast main line journeys for Avanti West Coast customers. London Northwestern passengers travelling between Crewe and Euston will need to change trains at Rugby. Passengers are urged to check

***Advance warning: Greater Manchester weekend work

Track and signalling upgrades on several routes into Manchester will take place on Saturdays and Sundays in early 2022. They will mean changes to weekend train services between Manchester stations and routes to Buxton, Rochdale, Stalybridge, Sheffield and Stoke-on Trent. Passengers are advised to check with their train operator or at to plan their journey in advance.

Photo credit: Network Rail

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