Carstairs festive work to minimise passenger disruption

Network Rail will be working over both Christmas and New Year to deliver part of a key investment project to upgrade and remodel Carstairs Junction.

The activity is one of 560 projects and part of £90m of upgrade work being delivered across the UK network over the festive period when passenger trains are not running.

Working continuously from late evening on Christmas Eve through until the start of service on Tuesday, December 27 the team at Carstairs will install structures for signals, run overhead wires and remove redundant masts and equipment from across the project site.

The following week, the team will then work continuously from late on Hogmanay through until 13.00 on Monday January 2 to progress work on signalling, drainage and electrification equipment.

It is part of a phased programme of investment in the key junction on the West Coast Main Line which will simplify and upgrade the track-layout to clear an existing bottleneck on the network and enable the separation of non-stop passenger and freight trains from those stopping at the station.

Work delivered to date at Carstairs represents an investment of more than £100m in the junction to rationalise and simplify the track layout and modernise the signalling through one of the most critical sections of the Scottish rail network.

The installation of new sections of track and modern signalling will also speed up journeys between Glasgow and Edinburgh and will accommodate the longest freight trains on our network.

Avanti train going through Carstairs station
Avanti train going through Carstairs station

Extensive renewal and simplification of the layout was seen as the best long-term solution to deliver the reliable and resilient network needed at this key junction.

Jim McCleary, programme manager at Network Rail said: “Work over both Christmas and New Year will keep us on track with our preparations for the construction of the new track layout in 2023. This includes 10 kilometres of track and 27 new sets of switches and crossings, which allow trains to move between tracks.

“Access to the railway at this critical junction is very limited, but the team has worked hard with the wider industry to balance the needs of train operators with the longer-term benefits that will come from modernising the track, signalling and overhead line equipment.

“Working over the festive period helps us to protect the programme and deliver a significant volume of work at a time when trains are not running and with no disruption to passenger services.”