By ITV Central Production Journalist Nick Reid
No trains will be running between Birmingham New Street and London Euston over the Easter bank holiday, as major improvement works are taking place in the capital.
Network Rail has warned that passengers travelling on those days could have longer journeys, fewer available seats and may need to use rail replacement buses.
This is because London Euston station will be closed for essential railway improvements over the Easter bank holidays. Services will start and finish at Milton Keynes.
James Dean, Network Rai’s West Coast South route director, said: “There is never an ideal time to shut the railway and we have to carefully balance the best time to do this essential work with the needs of our passengers.
"Long bank holiday weekends continue to give our engineers the time they need to close the railway for complex jobs like track replacements and bridge overhauls while disrupting the fewest passengers.
“Our advice this Easter is to travel either side of the bank holiday weekend and to plan ahead by checking National Rail Enquiries to see how your journey could be impacted by our essential upgrades to improve the railway for the future.”
The essential upgrades mean no trains will serve London Euston between Friday, April 15 and Monday 18, (Good Friday to Easter Monday).
People are being advised to "travel either side" of the bank holiday to avoid disruption caused by the must-do work.
Network Rail is investing millions of pounds upgrading sections of track in Watford to improve future journeys on one of Europe’s busiest mixed-use passenger and freight rail routes.
Upgrades will also take place to switches and crossings – the equipment which lets trains move between lines.
The improvements will see:
1km of new track installed
5,000 tonnes of new railway foundation stone (ballast) laid
4,400 of spoil removed
7,000 worker hours over 14 shifts
10 engineering trains
2 rail mounted cranes to lift in the new track sections
8 rail mounted excavators to move stone and spoil
Once complete Network Rail says the railway renewals will increase the number of trains which can pass through the key junction.
This will mean fewer delays and faster journeys for passengers and freight in future.
As well as the track improvements, engineers are making the most of the full railway closure to carry out a wide range of other work.
This includes drainage, fencing, station maintenance and bridge surveys.
Elsewhere on the railway in Network Rail’s North West and Central region, other essential work which will require the railway to be closed at points over the bank holiday are also taking place.
One of which is that 1km of track drainage is being replaced at Beechwood Tunnel between Birmingham International and Coventry.
Bridge renewal works are also taking place at Coventry South Junction and HS2 enabling works at Hampton-in-Arden.
The works will also affect Liverpool and Manchester City football supporters travelling to Wembley on Saturday, April 16, for the FA Cup semi-final.
It will also affect Manchester City fans going to the Vitality Women's FA Cup semi-final.
Diversions in place
With the works taking place, there will be alternative routes, but they are expected to be busy.
Avanti West Coast trains will terminate at Milton Keynes or Rugby, where connections into rail replacement services will be available.
Rail replacement services will operate in both directions between:
Milton Keynes Central – Bedford (connecting primarily into Thameslink services)
Rugby – Kettering (connecting into East Midlands Railway services)
These service changes will also apply over Good Friday, Saturday, April 16 and Easter Sunday and Easter Monday.
Birmingham: Coventry / Northampton / London trains will run between Birmingham – Birmingham International, and Coventry – Northampton / Milton Keynes only.
Rail replacement buses will be running between Birmingham International – Coventry.
Northampton: London trains will run between Northampton – Milton Keynes Central only.
Rail replacement buses will be running between Milton Keynes – Stanmore Underground station (tickets to / from London can be used to board London Underground services to Euston Square).
Wolverhampton trains will start / terminate at Milton Keynes Central.