Rail passengers travelling on the Cross City line between Birmingham and Lichfield this Easter are being advised to check before they travel during major work to replace a railway bridge.
Network Rail is investing £4m to upgrade the structure which takes the Sutton Park freight line over the Cross City line in Sutton Coldfield. The essential work will keep freight moving across the Midlands and mean more reliable journeys for passengers on both important rail routes in future.
For the old bridge to be completely removed and then a new one installed, both lines will need to be closed from Friday 7 April until the early morning of Tuesday 11 April. The current bridge weighs a total of 64 tonnes and to remove it safely it'll require a 111-tonne mobile crane. To keep passengers on the move, rail replacement buses will be in operation between Birmingham New Street and Lichfield Trent Valley from Good Friday to Easter Monday. People are being advised to allow more time for their journeys and to plan ahead using www.nationalrail.co.uk.
Denise Wetton, Network Rail’s Central route director, said: “We know there’s never an ideal time to close the railway, so I’d like to thank people in advance for their patience ahead of this complex work to replace a bridge which carries freight trains over passenger services.
“This major investment has the dual benefit of making sure freight goods can travel by rail smoothly and reliably in future, as well as the thousands of people who travel daily on the important Cross City line below. My advice during the work is to please check National Rail Enquiries in advance and allow more time for your journey over Easter.”
Jonny Wiseman, West Midlands Railway customer experience director, said: “I'd like to thank our customers for their patience while Network Rail carries out these crucial upgrades to the railway at Sutton Coldfield.
"Rail replacement transport will be in operation on the north side of the Cross City line between Birmingham and Lichfield across the entire Easter weekend, so we are urging passengers to allow more time and plan their journeys carefully." In recent weeks a site compound has been set up in the nearby Royal Mail delivery office on Station Approach and several of Sutton Coldfield station’s car parking spaces have been occupied by the project team.
No roads will be closed during the bridge upgrade but the footpath and railway footbridge which runs between Sutton College and the Sutton Park line will be closed temporarily. Meanwhile passengers travelling south on the West Coast main line to London are advised that all trains will terminate at Milton Keynes from Good Friday to Easter Monday.
It’s for the final phase of major improvements to a railway junction in Watford which will enable more trains to pass through the area in future. Euston station will be completely closed over the four-day bank holiday while that work in Watford is carried out.
Passengers should plan ahead at www.nationalrail.co.uk or check with their train operator for the latest journey information. People can follow the progress of improvement work using the #EasterRailWorks hashtag on Twitter.