Rail passengers are being urged to travel either side of the early May bank holiday when hundreds of railway engineers improve the West Coast main line.
Millions of pounds is being invested to improve future journeys for passengers and freight on Network Rail’s West Coast South route.
Between Saturday 1 and Monday 3 May, Euston station will be closed to main line train services while track upgrades take place in London, Watford and Milton Keynes.
The best time to travel will be on Friday 30 April and Tuesday 4 May.
Passengers needing to travel on the days in between will have longer journeys, fewer available seats, and may need to use rail replacement buses.
People should continue to follow Government guidance around the use of public transport and minimise the number of journeys they make where possible. Those needing to travel during the railway improvements should plan ahead by visiting: www.nationalrail.co.uk/westcoast.
James Dean, Network Rail’s West Coast South route director, said: “There is never an ideal time to shut the railway and we have worked hard to minimise disruption across the spring and summer – including a safe and reliable railway for the future. “The scale of work planned this May will mean changes for passengers, but we’re working with train companies to minimise disruption to people as much as possible.”
Elsewhere in Network Rail’s North West and Central region, further essential work taking place between May 1 and 3 includes:
• Track upgrades take place at various locations between Preston – Penrith
• Signalling upgrades continue in Trafford, Manchester.
• Work at Euston station to prepare it for HS2, Britain’s new high-speed railway.
The early May bank holiday will also be a major milestone for the East West Rail project - as work continues to reinstate a rail route between Oxford and Bletchley for the first time in more than 50 years. Huge steel beams will be lifted across all four lines of the West Coast main line as a flyover is rebuilt. It involves the dismantling of the 25,000 volt overhead line system which powers electric trains.
Robert Nisbet, director of nations and regions at the Rail Delivery Group, said: “Rail staff will be working hard to upgrade the network over the May bank holiday to make future journeys more reliable, so we’re asking anyone travelling between 1 and 3 May to check before they travel.
"While extra cleaning and better information will help people travel with confidence, we ask passengers to wear their face masks and to consider whether their journey is really necessary if it will be affected by engineering work.”
This spring Network Rail brought forward some planned bank holiday projects and did the work while fewer people were travelling during the national coronavirus lockdown. This included carrying out projects in record breaking time in North London and Northamptonshire, saving taxpayers millions of pounds.
This super-fast approach meant Euston would not need to close at Easter or the late May bank holiday. However, the scale of the upgrades further up the West Coast main line meant the closure over 1-3 May was unavoidable.
Reviews into other planned summer upgrade work is underway to reduce its impact on passengers as the country emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.