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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

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Works signal delays for Cumbrian rail passengers

Major work on the West Coast Main Line between London and Carlisle will mean serious travel delays for rail passengers.

Virgin train photo

Network Rail is closing the line three times during August – including over the bank holiday weekend – while a section between Euston Station and Watford is upgraded.

The shutdowns will mean long delays for passengers from Cumbria as they are forced to use alternative routes to get to the capital.

The first closure takes place this weekend, to be followed by more work over the weekend of August 16 to 18 then over the bank holiday weekend from August 23 to 25.

A reduced service will run until 4.30pm on Monday August 11 and August 18. The railway will then be closed on Monday August 25, reopening on the Tuesday of that week.

Jim Syddall, acting route managing director for Network Rail, said: “The section of track at Watford is one of the most intensively used, high-speed pieces of railway in Britain and has seen tremendous growth in traffic and passengers over the last five years.

“There is never a good time to close the railway and we apologise for the inconvenience caused but this work is essential to maintain reliable train services for the millions of passengers who travel on this route every year.

“We have worked with all our industry partners to provide passengers with information in advance and will continue to during the work to minimise disruption as much as possible.”

He said Network Rail was working closely with the train operating companies which will provide alternative routes in and out of London for passengers.

Terry Oliver, London Midland’s head of west coast services, said: “My advice would be to use an alternative train route where possible. London Midland has arranged for its tickets to be accepted by selected operators to allow passengers to do this.

“If you need to travel along the affected route during the closures, allow plenty of time, plan ahead and check before you travel.

“We have worked to minimise inconvenience and we will continue to update passenger information. Staff will be at stations along the closed route to provide assistance.”

Phil Bearpark, operations and customer service director for Virgin Trains, said: “We understand that improvement works can have a big impact on passengers and strongly advise customers to check their journey in advance and allow extra time if necessary.

“We have worked closely with Network Rail and industry partners to ensure alternative travel arrangements are in place and to keep disruption to a minimum whilst this important work is carried out.”

Travellers should use National Rail Enquiries to check and plan their journey if they have to travel during this time, on www.nationalrail.co.uk/Watford.

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