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Network Rail workers are giving up Christmas Day with their families to carry out vital upgrades to the railway in Doncaster.
The improvements, part of the Railway Upgrade Plan, began last night, after the last service on Christmas Eve, and will be completed before the first service on Tuesday, 27 December.
The upgrade will see the installation of new signals, the traffic lights of the railway, which will be ‘bi-directional’ meaning trains will be able to run in either direction on a piece of track.
Once completed the upgrade will allow more flexibility for train services, which in turn will increase will increase the reliability of services passing through Doncaster station, which can become a bottleneck due to the high number of services which use it.
The upgrade will complement the opening of platform 0 at Doncaster station, a new platform which also provides greater flexibility for train services.
Doncaster man Darren Higgs, a scheme project manager at Network Rail, is working on the project over the Christmas period, including today.
“I’ve been working on this project for two and a half years and the work which we are carrying out at Christmas is key to making sure the upgrade is completed on time.
“I’ll be working a twelve hour shift today starting at 10:00. I have three young children, so it’s nice that I have a later start because it means I get to spend Christmas morning with them and watch them open their presents.
“I’d love to be able to spend the whole day with my family, but I also need to think about my team. "They are giving up Christmas with their families, so I feel it’s important that I’m out on site with them and offering my support. My role is to oversee the work which is going on and make sure we are on schedule.
“The work we’re doing over Christmas is so important to the railway in this area because it will make it more reliable for passengers. I’m a local lad, so it’s great to be able to be involved in something which will benefit my home town.”
This improvement programme is being carried out over Christmas, in order to minimise disruption to passengers. The work is just one piece of a programme of over 200 upgrade projects, which are being delivered across Britain this holiday period.
This essential programme of investment is part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan that provides more and faster services to help relieve over-crowding and responds to the tremendous growth encountered on Britain's railways.
Passengers are advised to check before they travel and can find a breakdown of how their journey may be affected by visiting nationalrail.co.uk/Christmas and following #ChristmasWorks on Twitter.
There have been countless warnings over the dangers of people jumping the red light at level crossings - but rail bosses in Grimsby say people are not listening.
Network Rail and British Transport Police today resorted to handing out leaflets spelling out how to cross them safely - after more than six hundred instances in the past month of both cars and pedestrians not doing so.
They have also released CCTV images of near-misses - as Helen Steel reports.
Network Rail is taking part today in a live demonstration showing the devastating impact of a level crossing vehicle accident and what is involved in rescuing those involved, at Rescue Day 2014.
Organised by Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, 7 Lakes Country Park, Humberside Police and other organisations, Rescue Day 2014 is a public event which allows visitors to witness, first-hand, major emergency services in action.
One of the main demonstrations this year is based on a re-enactment of a level crossing incident, where a train has collided with a car towing a caravan.
It is thought to be the first public demonstration of its kind, acted out away from the railway. A realistic level crossing scenario – which includes 200 tonnes of ballast (stones that support the track), 100 rail sleepers and 150m of rail track – has been installed at the Rescue Day site.
A train has been delivered by Heanor Haulage and a level crossing, with a road crossing the tracks, has been installed by teams from Network Rail and VolkerRail. The railway team has also installed a pedestrian level crossing to help demonstrate to visitors how vital safety is at crossings.
Vicki Beadle, community safety manager at Network Rail, said: “We are very pleased to support this event and to show people what amazing jobs our staff, and the emergency services, do in extraordinary circumstances.
“Promoting safety on the railway and especially at level crossings is a key focus for Network Rail. Events like this are a fantastic way to get that safety message across as, unfortunately, people continue to take risks when crossing the railway.
“We’re looking forward to meeting as many people as possible at the event and encouraging them to stay safe near the tracks.”
Now in its seventh year, Rescue Day has grown to become the largest event of its kind in the world. As well as showcasing the various organisations’ great work, the event is also to highlight how important safety is when on water, road or around fire and on the railway.
A mum whose young daughter was killed at a level crossing has been in West Yorkshire campaigning for improved awareness among motorists.
Tina Hughes's daughter Olivia was just 14 when she and her friend Charlotte were hit by a train as they crossed a railway line in 2005. Tina has been in Knottingley speaking to motorists about taking more care at level crossings.
The campaign is part of an International Awareness day organised by Network Rail.
A mum whose young daughter was killed at a level crossing has been in West Yorkshire campaigning for improved awareness among motorists.Tina Hughes's daughter Olivia was just 14 when she and her friend were hit by a train as they crossed a railway line in 2005.
Tina has been in Knottingly to launch Network Rail's awareness day, which is targeting those who drive for a living to take more care at level crossings.
Emergency services have been called to an accident on the rail line near Malton.
A First TransPennine train has crashed into a car at a user worked crossing. No passengers are believed to be injured.
British Transport Police say the driver of the car is receiving medial treatment at the scene.
The 0848 First TransPennine service from Scarborough to Liverpool Lime Street has struck a car on a user worked crossing at Ivy Lea Farm at Rillington, between Malton and Seamer. All trains to and from Manchester and Liverpool are terminating at York and the only route out of Scarborough is via Hull while police deal with the incident. No passengers are believed to have been injured. Anyone planning to travel in the area should check with National Rail Enquiries for the latest information.”
Network Rail has launched a five year investment programme which will see our region's rail passengers look forward to more trains, more seats and reduced congestion at bigger stations.
By 2019 14% more passengers will be travelling into the other major towns and cities in the region.
The company's Chief Executive, Mark Carne, says passengers will be getting a better service.