Easter rail disruption countered by loss of 550 roadwork miles


Disruption to transport networks over the Easter weekend could be eased by the removal of hundreds of miles of roadworks across England.

Network Rail has warned that some key lines will be affected by work over the bank holiday as £100m of developments are undertaken on rail signals, platforms, junctions and bridges.

While rail passenger numbers are expected to fall by as much as 40% on normal levels, travelling members of the public could face disruption at stations including London Bridge, Reading, Watford and London Liverpool Street.

Network Rail chief executive, Mark Carne, said he ‘apologised’ to any passengers affected by the developments but confirmed the ‘vast majority of the network’ would be running normally.

‘We have thoroughly reviewed our Easter improvement work and worked closely with the train operating companies. The industry has good contingency plans in place that will put passengers first,’ he said.

‘Passenger numbers continue to grow and grow and this Easter's investment programme forms a key part of our £38bn railway upgrade plan that is aimed at meeting this surging demand and improve and expand our congested railway network.’

However coordination of work across transport providers has led Highways England to pledge it will lift 550 miles of roadworks by 2 April, leaving almost 97% of its network free from disruption.

The body – which replaces the Highways Agency on 1 April – will complete 371 miles of developments before the East holiday, while a further 62 sets of roadworks will be removed by 6am on Thursday.

Highways Agency director of customer operations, Simon Sheldon-Wilson, said: ‘This Easter, we’re helping drivers with their journeys by clearing roadworks across the majority of motorways and major A-roads in England.

‘We’ve worked closely with other transport providers to ensure our network can cope with increased demand due to closures on the railways.’

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