A major £100 million upgrade of the Greater Lincolnshire railway network is signalling significant disruption for passengers over the Christmas period.
A 17-day closure of parts of the network will be required for maintenance works to be carried out.
Following on from work started this summer, Network Rail’s ‘orange army’ will replace 100-year old signalling along 60 miles of track, upgrade 16 level crossings, build two new bridges and complete vital inspection work on dozens more.
The first five days of the full project, which begins on Christmas Eve, will focus on the busy port of Immingham where for five days the rail operation will close down so the upgrade can take place.
Cargo ships with rail-bound containers will enter the UK through neighbouring ports, including Hull, until the railway serving Immingham reopens on December 30.
The port will remain open for shipping movements and all other operations during the upgrade period.
For train passengers, buses or taxis will replace trains throughout the duration of the work, although not all routes will be closed for the full 17-day duration.
Passengers are urged to check before they travel between Scunthorpe and Cleethorpes, Lincoln Central, Gainsborough Central and Barton-Upon-Humber between December 24 2015 and January 11 2016.
With a programme of rolling road closures to allow the work on level crossings and bridges to take place, Network Rail has worked closely with highways authorities to make sure that roads are closed for the shortest time possible and that diversionary routes are clearly signposted.
The investment in the region’s railway forms part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan to provide a more reliable railway for passengers and help boost economic growth.
The programme will create greater reliability for existing passenger and freight services as well as increasing the capacity of the railway, with the potential for more trains to run in the future.
Mark Tarry, route managing director for Network Rail, said: “This major upgrade of the railway has been two years in the planning with the support of the port, industry and local authorities.
“With the majority being carried out over Christmas – a relatively quiet time on the railway – ultimately we will reduce the amount of disruption caused.
“The result will be a state-of-the-art rail network that can not only cope with today’s passenger and freight numbers, but tomorrow’s too.”
Northern Rail’s Managing Director Alex Hynes added: “Upgrading and maintaining our busy railway is the only way to ensure we continue to run reliable services for our customers.
“This huge investment in Lincolnshire not only benefits people but it also supports the local economy and the future of business in the North of England.”
Ursula Lidbetter MBE, Chair of the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “We welcome the much needed upgrading of rail infrastructure between Scunthorpe and Cleethorpes, especially around Immingham, which is one of the UK’s busiest ports.
“Network Rail’s £96.5 million investment in Greater Lincolnshire, alongside other investments by both the public and private sector, will further stimulate growth and bring wider economic benefits to the area, resulting in increasing exports and jobs growth.”
RAIL PASSENGER IMPACT
- 22.00 Thursday, December 24 and Friday, December 25 – All lines close. No services Christmas Day and Boxing Day as usual.
- Sunday, December 27 – Buses replace trains Doncaster – Cleethorpes
- Monday, December 28 – Buses replace trains Doncaster – Cleethorpes; Barton on Humber – Cleethorpes; Market Rasen – Grimsby
- Tuesday, December 29 to Friday, Jan 1 and Monday, Jan 4 to Friday, Jan 8 – Buses replace trains Scunthorpe – Cleethorpes; Barton on Humber – Cleethorpes; Market Rasen – Grimsby and Gainsborough Central to Cleethorpes
- Saturday, Jan 2 and Saturday, Jan 9 – As above but buses also running Brigg – Cleethorpes (Saturday only service)
- Sunday, January 3 – Buses replace trains Doncaster – Cleethorpes and Market Rasen – Grimsby
- Sunday, January 10 – Buses replace trains Scunthorpe – Cleethorpes
05.00 Wednesday, December 30– freight lines reopen
05.00 Monday, January 11 – all lines fully reopen