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Railhub Archive
2009-05-13 DfT-001
Department for Transport


Britain better connected as Adonis opens £8.9bn rail upgrade

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Department for Transport

Britain better connected as Adonis opens £8.9bn rail upgrade

13 May 2009 09:46
source Department for Transport
type Press release

note DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT News Release (063) issued by COI News Distribution Service on 13 May 2009


Britain is now better connected and rail passengers across the country are benefitting from quicker journeys and more frequent services as Rail Minister Andrew Adonis officially opened the upgraded £8.9bn West Coast Mainline.

The line, which runs from London to Glasgow serving destinations including Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool, has been completely overhauled over the past five years. The upgrade sees journey times fall by up to 30 per cent and a 45 per cent increase in long distance train services on the line.

The route is the UK's main rail artery and one of the most intensively used lines in Europe, accommodating many long distance passenger trains, local and regional passenger services and handling 40 per cent of the nation's rail freight.

Andrew Adonis said:

"Getting to this point has not been easy. That we are here today is testament both to the hard work of Network Rail and the Government's continuing commitment to this vital project.

"It is easy to lose sight of how this work has changed the transport map of Britain and brought real improvements for rail passengers. Five years ago, Manchester was nearly three hours from London and was served by barely one train an hour. Today trains reach Manchester in two hours and run every twenty minutes throughout the day.

"This project helps to better connect Britain. Businesses rely on it both to move their people and to move their freight, giving them the connections they need to help our economy through these difficult times."

Passenger numbers on the line have doubled since 2004 while improved journey times have caused a massive shift from air to rail on the busy Manchester to London route with rail now accounting for two-thirds of journeys, up from one third in 2004.

Weekend travellers will also be a major beneficiary of the upgrade's completion with far fewer engineering closures and an almost doubling of weekend trains. Future closures will be confined to the late Saturday evening/early Sunday morning period or holiday periods when passenger volumes are lower.

Work will now continue to help improve resilience and capacity on the line. Four extra Pendolino trains have been ordered to help ensure that the new higher frequency services are more resilient to disruption, while 31 existing Pendolinos are to be lengthened from nine to eleven carriages to provide extra capacity on the route.

Journey improvements to/from London Euston for selected destinations
May 2004 May 2009
Journey time Trains per day Journey time Trains per day
(both directions) (both directions)
1h 43m 66 1h 22m 98
2h 41m 39 2h 08m 93
2h 53m 30 2h 08m 35
5h 06m 15 4h 31m 26

Typical 'all day' services, speeds and frequencies

Notes to Editors

1. Work began on the WCML upgrade in 1998 following the signing of the upgrade contract between Railtrack and Virgin Trains. The Strategic Rail Authority took over sponsorship of the scheme in 2002 and published its Strategy in Spring 2003. The Department for Transport assumed sponsorship of the project in early 2006. Key improvements for passenger and freight customers have been delivered by Network Rail in stages up to December 2008.

2. Further capacity improvements: In 2008 DfT asked Virgin Rail Projects to deliver 106 new carriages. These will be used to increase 31 of the 52 Pendolino sets from nine to 11 cars and to form four new 11 car Pendolinos sets to accommodate traffic growth and replace the vehicles lost at Grayrigg in 2007. It is anticipated that all of the additional vehicles will be in service by the end of 2012. Options for the provision of more capacity could include further Pendolino vehicles to extend the remaining 21 trains from 9 to 11 cars.

Public Enquiries: 020 7944 8300
Department for Transport Website: http://www.dft.gov.uk

Railhub Archive ::: 2009-05-13 DfT-001


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