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A huge upgrade of the railway around Guildford has been successfully completed by Network Rail engineers.
Between Friday 10th and Monday 20th April, Network Rail teams worked a total of 20,000 hours to improve the track, power supplies and signalling equipment around Guildford.
Around 1,500 metres of new track was installed on lines approaching Guildford from Worplesdon and Wanborough, used by South Western Railway (SWR) and Great Western Railway (GWR) for services to Gatwick Airport, London Waterloo, Reading, Woking and other stations.
Forty-one track circuits were upgraded to improve reliability while 1,200 metres of conductor rail used to power trains was renewed.
At St. Catherine’s Tunnel, engineers removed around 800 tonnes of sand and strengthened an embankment to prevent landslips. A 20mph speed restriction, imposed last year following two landslips, was successfully removed and will allow trains to travel at normal speeds.
Engineers will return to Guildford over the coming weeks, as planned, to conduct follow up work. This will take place on the following dates:
What did the officials say?
Mark Killick, Route Director for Network Rail Wessex, said:
“We’ve now completed the biggest rail improvement programme in the Guildford area for nearly 40 years, one that has taken two years to plan and will provide a more reliable railway and better journeys for passengers.
“I’d like to thank key workers and those unable to work from home for their patience during the works and also praise our railway heroes who adopted new practices and worked tirelessly over the Easter break. Their efforts will ensure the railway is ready and waiting for passengers once the pandemic restrictions are eventually lifted.”
Christian Neill, Deputy Customer Experience Director for Southwestern Railway, said:
“The work that was carried out over the Easter period will provide more reliable journeys for our customers. I’d like to send a huge thank you to all the teams involved, from the engineers at Network Rail to the replacement bus service teams, the teams on stations and trains to the British Transport Police.
“The biggest thank you goes to our customers for their patience and for only travelling if their journey was essential”
Barry Milsom, Performance Director for GWR, said:
“Right now, our priority remains to run services that can be relied on at this time of uncertainty, providing essential transport for key workers to get to and from work.
“In order to do so the infrastructure on which our trains depend must be maintained, and improved, to continue to provide resilient and safe rail services and we thank Network Rail for the timely completion of this work.”
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This article first appeared on www.railadvent.co.uk
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