- Passengers in Greater Manchester, Liverpool, Lancashire and Cumbria should plan ahead if using the railway during the government’s Christmas travel window between 23 and 27 December
- People should reserve seats on long distance trains, travel at quieter times and follow all safety advice to stop the spread of coronavirus
- Railway upgrades in the North West over Christmas include new track, overhead electric lines and bridge work to improve future journeys for passengers
Passengers using the railway in the North West, Lancashire and Cumbria are being asked to plan ahead of the Christmas holiday as work takes place to improve passenger journeys.
Over Christmas and New Year Network Rail will be carrying out dozens of projects on its North West route to improve future journeys for passengers and freight.
This includes track upgrades in Preston and Manchester and work to improve the overhead lines which power trains in Liverpool and Crewe.
Chris Pye, infrastructure director for the North West, said: “While much of the railway will be open before and after Christmas I’d still urge people to plan ahead by visiting www.nationalrail.co.uk. Remember to follow government guidelines and wear a face covering when travelling unless you are exempt for medical reasons.
“These essential railway upgrades across the North West and Cumbria will improve performance for passengers and freight and help to play its part in Britain building back better from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Our frontline workers have continued to work tirelessly throughout the pandemic to maintain and upgrade the railway for those who need it and this festive period will be no different, with hundreds of workers out delivering significant improvements across the North West route.”
In the North West and Central region – which runs from Euston and Marylebone in London, to Scotland via the West Midlands and North West – £31.3 million is being invested in new track, bridges and overhead electric lines which power trains to improve future journeys.
As part of the government’s Christmas travel plan between 23 and 27 December, some of these upgrades will start slightly later on Christmas Eve to allow more trains to run.
The Government has outlined a series of measures focused on minimising disruption and helping people travel safely over the Christmas period, while urging passengers to plan their journeys carefully, consider quieter routes and where possible book ahead.
Robert Nisbet, director of nations and regions for the Rail Delivery Group, said: “Christmas will be unusual for many and rail companies are doing all they can to bring people together during the government’s travel window, but this year more than ever people should not just turn up at a station and hope for the best.
“If people follow the advice to plan ahead and book outward and return reservations for longer journeys, alongside the extra cleaning and better information that are part of our safer travel pledge, everyone should be able to travel with confidence.”
Although the vast majority of the network will be open for business in the run up to Christmas, planning ahead is particularly important for those travelling on Boxing Day when there will be a limited service.
Passengers can find out how their Christmas journeys will be affected with their train operator, via National Rail Enquiries, or by following #ChristmasRailWorks on Twitter.