'Lessons learned' from rail fiasco

RAIL bosses say lessons have been learned from the major disruption which followed last year's festive maintenance work - as a new programme of work gets underway.

James Hore

RAIL bosses say lessons have been learned from the major disruption which followed last year's festive maintenance work - as a new programme of work gets underway.

Commuters from East Anglia suffered a series of delays last year on the London mainline after the work over-ran.

Once again there will be a series of projects over Christmas and New Year with some replacement coach services in place.

A spokesman said: “Learning lessons from last year's over-run, Network Rail has almost completely re-written the rule book when carrying out major pieces of work, involving more detailed and earlier planning, more checking of resources and manpower and military style command posts set up to control and oversee the work.”

The company, which owns and maintains the railway lines, said it did not want to continue with a “patch and mend” policy with the troublesome overhead lines.

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Instead it said £150million will be spent completely renewing overhead power lines along large parts of the route to “modernise the railway in Anglia and bring it well and truly into the 21st Century”.

It said its work during the festive period would result in an altered service through until early next year but said the quiet time of year meant it was better to do the work.

For people travelling from London to Chelmsford, Colchester, Ipswich and beyond, services will be running from Saturday 27 December but starting and terminating at Ilford with replacement buses.

A spokesman said: “The work that we're doing over Christmas is part of a wider project to completely renew the overhead power lines along large parts of the line from Liverpool Street through Essex.

“As a general rule we carry out the majority of our maintenance and upgrade work at night to keep disruption to passengers to an absolute minimum, however the work we're doing around Liverpool St is particularly complex and requires that we shut the line completely.

“At any other time of year this would obviously cause massive disruption, however we're taking advantage of the quiet Christmas period - which is the quietest time of year for rail travel - to get the work done quickly and with minimal disruption.”

For more details of the changes during the festive period go to www.nationalrail.co.uk

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