Rail services will be severely disrupted by engineering work just days after England’s stay-at-home order is lifted. Easter will be the first weekend after England’s stay-at-home order is removed as part of the Government’s easing of coronavirus restrictions. But the Government owned Network Rail has urged passengers to ‘minimise travel’ as it announced it will commence 600 projects costing a total of £116 million over the Easter weekend. Network Rail have announced, ‘We recommend you check your journeys and book your tickets in advance if you’re planning to travel during this time.’ These wide-ranging projects include track renewals, bridge replacements and improvements to signalling and overhead line equipment, which supply power to electric trains.
These controversial constraints on rail travel starting at Easter happen as outdoor gatherings of up to six people or two households will be allowed for the first time since the third national lockdown began on January 5. Rail-users’ organisations say they cannot believe the timing of these works when Network Rail had ample time during the lockdowns to carry out any necessary engineering work.
It has already been noted by rail users attempting to book tickets that services on the West Coast Main Line will be severely disrupted by track renewals on several sections, including between London Euston and Preston and Penrith and Crewe and Wigan. Many other services are likewise affected.