Tuesday 18 July 2017

United Kingdom: Three transformational railway upgrades this August

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They’re all part of the Railway Upgrade Plan to relieve crowding and congestion on the railway by providing more reliable infrastructure and better facilities for passengers – for faster, more comfortable journeys.
Here are three of the major projects we’re working on in August that will bring benefits to the millions of passengers who travel by train every year.

1. Waterloo and South West Upgrade

Britain’s busiest station is having a major makeover to create a more spacious, modern and accessible station and improve passenger journeys. More than 230 million passenger journeys pass through London Waterloo every year – the number of passengers using the rail network nationally has doubled in the last 20 years, and this growth is set to continue.
The Waterloo and South West Upgrade will provide the biggest package of improvements to London Waterloo since the 1930s and is expected to be completed by December 2018. It will increase peak-time capacity into Waterloo by 30 per cent – that’s room for an extra 45,000 people each morning and afternoon – equivalent to more than the capacity of the O2 arena and Oval Cricket ground combined.
Platforms 1 to 10 will close from Saturday 5 to Monday 28 August, (platforms 1 to 14 over the August bank holiday weekend) as we lengthen platforms 1 to 4 so that 10-car services can run on suburban routes. During the work, platforms 20-24 in the former Waterloo International Terminal will open temporarily.
This August, travel early to avoid morning and evening rush hours, work from home if possible, or take a holiday, as fewer trains will be running in and out of Waterloo.

2. Thameslink Programme London Bridge improvements

Spacious new trains through central London every two to three minutes during peak time: this is the future envisioned by the Thameslink Programme, which completes in 2018.
This August, we’re installing new track for more modern trains that will help to meet the huge rise in demand for rail travel and provide more reliable journeys, as well as untangling the track on the station approaches – reducing the time that trains wait for platforms to clear, and cutting delays.
We’ve also been transforming London Bridge station to create a more modern and accessible concourse, bigger than the pitch at Wembley, providing the 56 million passengers who use the station each year with more space, easier connections to other rail services and the Tube, as well as substantially better shops and facilities. Two-thirds of the new concourse opened in August 2016.

3. Manchester to Preston route improvements

Upgrading the railway between Manchester and Preston via Bolton is part of our £1bn+ Great North Rail Project for faster, greener, quieter and more reliable journeys across the North by 2022. Hundreds more trains will be able to run each day, meaning more seats and more comfortable travel for passengers.
Train customers, local communities, businesses and the economy as a whole all stand to benefit from improved connections and shortened journey times between key towns and cities.
Work to upgrade Bolton station ready for electric trains will continue between Saturday 12 August and Sunday 27 August 2017. Most train services won’t run in or out of Bolton until the first service on Monday 28 August 2017, but trains will still run from Bolton to Blackburn and Clitheroe during weekdays.

(Source: Network Rail)

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Track works at London Bridge, in the shadow of the Shard © Network Rail
An artist's impression of the improved Waterloo station
An artist's impression of Bolton station after work to prepare it for electrification