New railway engineering techniques saved time and money at Christmas

A new approach to railway engineering this Christmas has helped reduce delays for passengers and saved taxpayer-funded Network Rail hundreds of thousands of pounds by allowing trains to run at high speed after Network Rail’s recent £150m Christmas engineering programme.

Typically, speed restrictions are put in place after major track upgrades (such as those at Purley and Acton Wells Junction) for safety reasons – perhaps to allow freshly lain ballast to settle. These speed restrictions can cause disruption to passenger journeys and cause Network Rail to incur what can be significant costs as a result of the disruption to train operators’ normal service.

But, for the first time on this scale, over Christmas and New Year 2015 some projects allowed trains to start using the railway at high speeds – in some cases as fast as 125mph – as soon as they had finished thanks to new advanced railway engineering techniques and a focus on ‘high speed handbacks’.