Train passengers travelled for the first time last week on a newly modernised railway between Crewe and Shrewsbury following a £25m upgrade by Network Rail.
The nine-day job, part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan, was completed early in the morning of 7 December. New signalling equipment – the traffic lights of the railway – and points motors were installed to make the railway more reliable for Arriva Trains Wales customers travelling on this stretch of the route between Manchester and Cardiff.
Paul Danks, Network Rail’s project manager for the work, said: "We do essential upgrades like this because we care about delivering the best possible experience for train passengers, who I’d like to thank for bearing with us while we did this work.
"Arriva Trains Wales customers as far afield as South Wales and the north of England will benefit from this. While they may not be able to see the difference along this two-mile section of track, they will feel the difference over the long term in more punctual, more reliable services less prone to delays.
“The railway is vital to the region’s economic health and our Railway Upgrade Plan work will help strengthen that.”
While the work took place, from Saturday 28 November to Sunday 6 December, buses replaced trains between Crewe and Shrewsbury and some train services were diverted via Wrexham General.
That allowed Network Rail’s 300-strong team of engineers to work around the clock to replace 30-year-old signalling equipment with a new, faster system controlled by the company’s signalling centre in Crewe.
The new signalling system includes LED lights easier for train drivers to see and less prone to mechanical failures. The team also replaced the motors in 28 sets of points with new, better ones.
Claire Lillie, Arriva Trains Wales spokesperson, said: “We would like to thank our customers for their patience during these essential improvement works. It is great to have the line back to normal especially in the busy run up to Christmas where many of our customers will be heading out on the train to do their Christmas shopping!”
(Source: Network Rail)