Commuters promised 'business as usual'
NETWORK Rail has promised “business as usual” for East Anglian commuters returning to work after Christmas this year.Over-running engineering work caused chaos for travellers in January this year following the closure of Liverpool Street station over the holiday period.
NETWORK Rail has promised “business as usual” for East Anglian commuters returning to work after Christmas this year.
Over-running engineering work caused chaos for travellers in January this year following the closure of Liverpool Street station over the holiday period.
But Network Rail said yesterday that a “less intensive” engineering programme this year, combined with new procedures for managing major work, meant it was planning to have full services running on all routes in and out of Liverpool Street on Monday, December 29, this year.
The work taking place over this year's Christmas holiday period involves overhead power lines in the Bethnal Green and Bow area, part of a project to renew life-expired lines between Liverpool Street, Chelmsford and Southend Victoria.
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Patrick Hallgate, Network Rail route director for Anglia, said: “Liverpool Street station is one of the busiest in the country and is a vital transport hub for hundreds of thousands of commuters working in the City and beyond.
“The improvement work being carried out over the Christmas period is part of a £150million upgrade which Network Rail is investing to deliver a better, more reliable railway for passengers on this route. Passengers will be pleased to hear that our activity this year is significantly down on previous years and is concentrated on just one weekend to minimise disruption to rail users.”
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Network Rail added that, following last year's over-run, it had “almost completely re-written the rule book” for major engineering work, involving more detailed and earlier planning, more checking of resources and manpower and “military style” command posts to control and oversee the work
David Lewis, sales and marketing director for regional train operator National Express East Anglia, added: “The Christmas and New Year train service schedules provide excellent opportunities for customers to plan shopping and leisure days out, or to see friends and family in London and the East Anglia region over the festive season.”
No services will operate from Liverpool Street station on Christmas Day or Boxing Day except for the Stansted Express service. On Saturday and Sunday, December 27 and 28, all services on the Great Eastern mainline will start from, and terminate at, Ilford.
A special coach replacement services for intercity customers will operate between Ingatestone and London Liverpool Street with a local rail replacement bus service between Ilford and Newbury Park.
Passengers are advised to check their Christmas travel arrangements with www.nationalrail.co.uk or by calling National Rail Enquiries on 08457 48 49 50.
n Train and bus operator Stagecoach said yesterday it was planning job cuts in response to the likely fall in demand on commuter routes.
The company, which operates South West Trains, East Midlands Trains and the Virgin Rail joint venture, said it was reviewing the cost base of its UK rail business, with cuts most likely to be made in support services and administration. It said it was too early to comment on how many jobs might be lost.
Announcing increased group pre-tax profits for the six months to October 31 of £105.2 million, on revenues 35% ahead at £1.05 billion, Stagecoach said its rail operations were more susceptible to changes in economic conditions and that it expected to see downward pressure on rail profits in the 2009-10 financial year.
Stagecoach - whose announcement on jobs yesterday follows a similar move by National Express East Anglia, which unions claim could involve 300 posts - added that past experience suggested its bus operations were likely to be more recession-proof.