Easter engineering will close some lines, and ASLEF strikes loom

More than 95 per cent of the National Rail network will be open for business over the Easter weekend, said Network Rail.

However, disruption is also on the way from later next week as ASLEF stages pay dispute strikes at Avanti West Coast, East Midlands Railway, West Midlands Trains and CrossCountry on Friday 5 April, at Chiltern Railways, GWR, LNER, Northern and TransPennine Express on 6 April, and at c2c, Greater Anglia, Govia Thameslink Railway, Southeastern and South Western Railway (main line, depot drivers and Island Line) on 8 April.

ASLEF drivers will also refuse to work rest days from Thursday 4 to Saturday 6 April and from Monday 8 to Tuesday 9 April, which could lead to some services being changed or cancelled.

The £90 million plans for Easter engineering will affect the West Coast Main Line between London and Milton Keynes, while track replacements and upgrades are carried out. Trains will terminate at Milton Keynes Central from tomorrow until Easter Monday inclusive.

Work will continue on the Transpennine Route Upgrade, with new tracks being laid in the Huddersfield area, while a major junction between Glasgow Central and Cambuslang will be renewed.

Network Rail’s network strategy director Lawrence Bowman said: ‘We know how important Easter is for families and friends to catch up and we try to keep as much of the network open as possible. There’s never a good time to do the work we need to do but the four days of the bank holiday, when fewer people are travelling, give us the opportunity to do major work we couldn’t do in normal weekend. That’s projects such as renewing major junctions or relaying many miles of track.

‘When we do close the railway, we do everything we can to get as much work into those closures as possible. We’ve got 493 different pieces of work taking place this Easter, most happening overnight,  including laying over 8,000 metres of new rail and putting down over 40,000 tonnes of new ballast.

‘We couldn’t do this without the support of passengers, freight users and our lineside neighbours, whose patience we don’t take for granted. Thank you.’

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