Video of the first journey across Reading's new £45 million rail viaduct, completed on time by Network Rail and Balfour Beatty We spoke to Mark Hopwood, First Great Western, MD and Rob Wilson MP Reading East (Con)
The chief executive of Network Rail has apologised at Reading train station today after the weekend chaos caused by overrunning engineering works.
Following the disruption, Mark Carne has revealed he will turn down his bonus and is meeting passengers in Berkshire to apologise.
Network Rail Chief Executive Mark Carne to give up bonus following weekend chaos caused by overrunning engineering works, he has revealed to ITV News Meridian.
It's thought he's missing out on £34,000, but he could have been paid up to £150,000.
The rail boss is at Reading station today apologising to passengers following the delays.
Work continues on the rail network over the festive period, with 11,000 staff working on track and signals. Among the key projects in the south are:
London Bridge - Over 1,000 staff are laying new track, signals and working on the station redevelopment that will ease capacity. It is part of the £6.5 billion Thameslink Project. It will lead to improvements to rail services from Sussex, Surrey and Kent to London. Work continues until January 5th.
Reading - A new flyover is being completed to ease congestion outside the station costing £45 million. It is one of the final phases of the £900 million station upgrade. The new flyover opens on January 4th.
South West Trains - Hundreds of staff are working on the lines into Waterloo to renew points. Work continues during weekends in January and February.
West Coast - At Watford major work is being carried out to improve services through Buckinghamshire to the north and Scotland.
“Making the railway better is what we aim to do every day and our investment programme this Christmas, the biggest yet, is fully focused on delivering a better service for passengers.
“Passenger numbers have doubled since 1997 and this Christmas investment programme forms a key part of the record £25 billion being invested in our railway over the next five years to meet growing demand and improve and expand our congested railway network.
“With an 11,000-strong army we will deliver a huge amount of work during a quieter time for train travel. New technology and working practices mean we can keep lines open while our people work safely alongside, causing much less disruption than would otherwise be the case.”
A record 11,000 rail engineers are working over the festive period to maintain and renew track and signals.
Network Rail staff are out at 3,000 locations with £200 million being spent.
Among the key projects in the south are:
London Bridge - Over 1,000 staff are laying new track, signals and working on the station redevelopment that will ease capacity. It is part of the £6.5 billion Thameslink Project.
It will lead to improvements to rail services from Sussex, Surrey and Kent to London. Work continues until January 5th.
Commuters who have had their journeys disrupted over the last month have been thanked for their patience after Network Rail completed repair work at Lewisham, allowing normal services to resume.
A number of trains had to be diverted from their normal routes over the last month after Network Rail took emergency action to remove a damaged piece of railway. The ‘diamond crossing’ as it is known, allows trains to cross from one track to another where a number of routes meet at Lewisham.
The unique layout of the tracks at Lewisham meant a bespoke replacement had to be fabricated at a specialist steelworks in Scunthorpe before being installed on Friday night.
“We have really appreciated everyone’s patience this month and I understand what an impact the changed timetable has had on people. Keeping passengers safe is our top priority and that’s why we had to replace the damaged piece of railway. I’m pleased for everyone who relies on the railway that services have returned to normal.”
“We’re pleased that the damaged equipment at Lewisham has been repaired and that we’re now able to run a full service through the area. We’ve worked closely with our colleagues at Network Rail to ensure that the repair could be carried out as soon as possible. I’m grateful to all of our passengers for their patience over the past few weeks and pleased that we’ll be able to offer a better level of service on the route now that this work is complete.”
Hundreds of thousands of rail passengers face major disruption later this month with a nine day closure of half the platforms at London Bridge to allow work to rebuild the station.
Exclusive pictures below show work at the station which is part of the £6.5 billion Thameslink project.
Rail managers say the closure will allow new platforms to open in September, a key part of the project. More closure will take pace at Christmas.
ITV Meridian spoke to Dave Ward from Network Rail.
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Almost £1.2 billion was invested in the railway connection Kent and Sussex to London last year.
Passenger growth across the whole of London and the South East grew by 7.3%.
More than a billion passenger journeys are made on trains to London every year, equating to roughly 3 million passenger journeys each day.
Investments in Kent and Sussex included lengthening platforms, a new station building at Dartford and miles of tracks being renewed.
Dave Ward, Network Rail route managing director said, "More than 4500 trains run every day between London and Kent and Sussex and over the next five years we will be investing more than £2.3 billion in the rail network in those areas."
Figures from Network Rail today reveal record numbers of passengers and investment in rail services across the region over the last year.
The amount spent improving services is almost £3 billion.
Passenger numbers are up around 7% with 3 million journeys every day in the region.
The not for profit company say the biggest investment has been on Brighton line and Kent services, Reading station and upgrading services in the Thames Valley.