August Bank Holiday signals second stage in Stafford rail development

Passengers are being advised to check before they travel this August bank holiday as long-term improvements to the railway near Stafford will be carried out from the close of service on Friday 29 August until the first trains on Tuesday 1 September.

This vital work, which will improve performance and line speed in the Stafford area,  is necessary to complete the re-signalling of the Stafford area which will see 78 modern signals installed. The upgrade will boost the reliability of the equipment on this section of West Coast main line and will mean all platforms at Stafford station will be able to accommodate trains in either direction. This will help the overall reliability of the railway in Stafford.

Mark Killick, area director for Network Rail, said: “This vital work will help to deliver regional and national benefits as the demand for passenger and freight services continues to increase on the West Coast main line.

“We have carefully planned the work to take place over the August bank holiday weekend when it is traditionally quieter. However we appreciate that it will still cause disruption to passengers and I thank them for their cooperation and patience."

Gary Steele, train service planning manager at Virgin Trains, said: “The work at Stafford and Norton Bridge, which includes 78 new signals, improved track layouts and a new flyover, will increase capacity, reduce journey times and improve reliability. All of which adds up to a better experience for our customers.”

The work at Stafford is part of a £250m programme of investment by Network Rail which has already delivered line-speed improvements between Stafford and Crewe. A new flyover which will carry trains between Birmingham and Manchester over the West Coast main line at Norton Bridge is also being built to remove the last major bottleneck on the route and to help deliver the capability to run more freight and passenger services.

The work is being delivered by the Staffordshire Alliance - a partnership of Atkins, Laing O’Rourke, Network Rail and VolkerRail.