As part of its £40 billion Railway Upgrade Plan to provide a bigger, better and more reliable railway for passengers, engineers from Network Rail and its contractors were out at locations across the Southeastern network over all four days of the Easter Bank Holiday – most notably between Swanley and Faversham, around London Bridge and at Abbey Wood.
Major work to replace a 1950s-era signalling system took place on the line between Longfield and Sittingbourne, through the Medway Towns and out onto the Isle of Sheppey. The system, which was so old it started off life controlling steam trains, has been replaced with a modern set-up controlled from Gillingham.
As well as replacing the signalling system on the line from Longfield to Sittingbourne, Network Rail also brought a new platform into use at Rainham and took Rochester, Gillingham, Rainham and Sittingbourne signal boxes out of use. Rochester's signal box will be demolished to allow the opening of the new platform at Rochester station.
Hundreds of people, including many from Southeastern, worked in exceptionally difficult weather conditions. On Easter Monday, several trees had to be removed from tracks and additional employees were called upon to reopen blocked lines and help Project teams clear sites of debris blown onto the railway from adjacent land.
Despite the appalling weather over the weekend our railway network was successfully up and running and ready for passengers on Tuesday 29 April.