Rail closure prompts Network Rail probeWest Coast Mail Line engineering works overran

02 January 2008

Rail travellers will be hit today by the continuing closure of part of one of Britain's busiest lines.

Major engineering works at Rugby on the West Coast Main Line overran, prompting an investigation by Network Rail, which said it was 'deeply sorry' for the delays.

Virgin Trains advised customers not to travel on its services today because of 'the continuing failure of Network Rail to complete major engineering work in the Rugby area'.

Network Rail said the 'extremely complex' project formed part of the remodelling of Rugby station and its approaches. The route remained closed and would do so for all of today.

'Major inconvenience'

A spokesman said: 'Network Rail has brought in extra manpower and resources from across the region to get the project completed but despite over 300 people being on site at any one time, working in shifts that continue around the clock, the project has not yet been completed.'

Further information, including an estimate for when services would resume, would be provided today.

Chris Gibb, managing director of Virgin Trains, said: 'This is a major inconvenience to tens of thousands of our customers returning to work and it is not acceptable.

'It is the third successive day that this project has overrun, and this makes us deeply concerned about the delivery of the project...'

Fine

There was controversy originally when it was announced that the work, part of an £8 billion scheme, would go into New Year's Eve.

Today's Daily Telegraph said Network Rail could face a multi-million pound fine for the works not being completed on time.

Passengers to and from London are being urged to use alternative routes as follows:

  • Coventry - CrossCountry/Chiltern Railways via Leamington to Marylebone
  • Birmingham - Chiltern Railways to Marylebone
  • Nuneaton - CrossCountry/East Midlands Trains via Leicester to St Pancras
  • Rugby - Drive to Kettering then East Midlands Trains to St Pancras
  • North West England - Trans Pennine Express/East Midlands Trains via Sheffield to St Pancras
  • North Wales - Virgin Trains/CrossCountry/Chiltern Railways via Birmingham to Marylebone
  • Scotland - National Express East Coast to King's Cross.

Virgin Trains tickets

Most Virgin Trains rail tickets will be accepted on these routes including open returns/singles, savers and seasons, the company said.

Apart from East Midlands Trains, value advance tickets will not be valid on other companies' trains.

Passengers holding Virgin Trains tickets dated today who decide not to travel can claim a full refund from where they purchased the ticket.

As an alternative they will be allowed to travel by Virgin Trains' services tomorrow or Friday.

The company said it would only be able to operate a very restricted service of trains compared with normal weekday schedules.

Shuttle

A 20-minute interval shuttle service will run from Euston to Northampton where connecting coaches will take passengers to Birmingham International.

Just three trains each hour will start from Birmingham International, one to Liverpool, one to Manchester and one to Motherwell (for Glasgow).

Anyone deciding to travel via Northampton and Birmingham International should expect journey times of at least two hours longer than normal, the company said.

More information can be obtained from nationalrail.co.uk or by calling national rail enquiries on 08457 484 950.

©The Press Association, All Rights Reserved