Passengers will benefit from a better, more reliable railway in 2023 thanks to upgrade and maintenance work taking place this Christmas and New Year.

The work in Network Rail’s North West and Central region - which runs from Euston and Marylebone in London, to Scotland via the West Midlands and North West - has been carefully planned to impact the fewest number of passengers.

Wherever possible, railway improvements are scheduled to take place during the traditional Christmas period shutdown from the end of service on Christmas Eve until start of service on 27 December.

However, this festive season passengers are urged to plan ahead by checking with a number of significant railway upgrades which could impact journeys outside of those days. Several projects will cause parts of the railway to be closed, meaning busier trains, longer journey times, and rail replacement buses being put on to get people to their destination.

These include:

  • Manchester Piccadilly station being closed entirely between Christmas Day (Sunday 25) and Tuesday 27 December for roof repairs, and platforms 13 and 14 being closed to trains for ten days between Sunday 25 December and Tuesday 3 January for resurfacing work. With those platforms closed there will be only one direct service per hour between Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Airport.
  • Major bridge renewals on the West Coast main line in Camden and Milton Keynes which will impact journeys between Rugby and Milton Keynes 27-28 December and 1 January.
  • The entire Birmingham New Street station signalling system being switched to digital completing the West Midlands’ £700m 17-year-long resignalling programme. Switchover and final testing will take place during a full station closure between last service on Christmas Eve and Tuesday 27 December.

Journeys across the North between Manchester and York will also be disrupted by ongoing work on the Transpennine Route Upgrade. This will see journeys impacted between Leeds and Huddersfield from 31 December until 3 January while work continues to deliver a new station at Morley.

Nationally, thousands of railway staff will deliver 560 separate projects representing an investment of £90m over the festive period.

Tim Shoveller, managing director of Network Rail’s North West and Central region, said: “While people enjoy time with their friends and families over Christmas, thousands of Network Rail staff will be working round-the-clock to maintain and improve the railway to provide passengers with better, more reliable journeys in the New Year.

“I know there is never a good time to disrupt journeys while we carry out large pieces of work but whenever possible we do this at times when there are significantly fewer people travelling by train, such as Christmas and other bank holidays. I appreciate people have important plans so I urge them to please plan ahead and check before they travel for the latest journey information."

Passengers whose journeys could be affected are being urged to plan ahead and check before they travel at or with their train operator.