February’s rail engineering works cancelled

Photo courtesy of London Midland
Photo courtesy of London Midland

Planned disruption on the London-Milton Keynes rail route has been largely cancelled, after Network Rail called off its engineering work.

Rail bosses were expected to carry out improvement work over the weekends of February 14-15 and 21-22, which have seen passengers asked to use the Chiltern route between Birmingham, Banbury and London Marylebone.

That work has been cancelled following a 350,000 tonne landslide that happened on the Chiltern route last weekend.

Although not all services can be reinstated at short notice a special timetable will be in place over the two weekends.

Mark Carne, chief executive of Network Rail, said: “Passengers must come first and with the alternative route from Birmingham to London now blocked we have made the right decision to ensure journeys can still be made.”

His colleague Phil Bearpark, executive director for operations and projects, said “Network Rail’s decision is in the best interests of passengers who would have been left with no alternative services to and from London when work on the West Coast Main Line at Watford took place.

“We are working very hard with Network Rail and other train operators to put in place a timetable that makes best use of the space now available. This will mean that passengers are able to travel to and from London on direct services rather than taking diversionary services, which is really good news. But we are reacting to fast-moving events and I would ask that customers bear with us over the next few days as we clarify details of which trains will be available.”

Patrick Verwer, managing director London Midland which runs the route, said: “Postponing the work at Watford is the right thing to do. Having two main lines from London to the midlands blocked could have caused severe disruption across the whole of the rail network as passengers and freight trains would have very few travel options available.”

The special timetables will be available shortly.