Rail passengers in West London have been thanked for their patience following major disruption over the May Day bank holiday weekend
Engineering work in the south west and Thames Valley meant many services were cancelled or altered over the long weekend.
But Network Rail assured customers they would see the benefit of that weekend's £14.5m of work in the long run, promising a bigger, better and more reliable train network in the area.
The work was carried out to prepare the Great Western Main Line for the arrival of electrification and for Elizabeth line, otherwise known as Crossrail , services from 2018.
The improvements included:
- installing overhead electrification equipment needed to power new electric trains
- station and track upgrades at Southall and Hayes & Harlington stations as part of the Crossrail construction
- installing a new set of points on the approach to Paddington station to provide greater reliability for passengers
Mark Langman, Network Rail’s managing director for the Western route, said: "I'd like to thank the public for their patience while we completed the latest phase of our extensive railway upgrade programme, which I'm pleased to say was completed on time.
"This means the public are a step closer to the benefits that electrification and the new Elizabeth line services will bring.
"These include faster trains with more seats and more legroom, less noise and cleaner air for those who live close to the railway and better connections from the west and Thames Valley into central London."
'Biggest investment since Brunel'
Network Rail said 1,523 concrete sleepers were installed and 13,908 tons of ballast were laid over the weekend as part of work to improve connections in southern England and the south west of Wales.
Passengers have been warned to face further disruption during the next bank holiday weekend at the end of the month.
Mark Hopwood, Great Western Railway's managing director, said: "Some of our passengers have faced longer journeys or bus replacement services, and will do so again on different parts of our network during the next bank holiday weekend - thank you for your continuing patience as this vital work takes place.
"The Great Western network is already seeing the biggest investment since Brunel, and these improvement works will allow passengers to take advantage of the full benefits of electrification; providing newer trains, faster, more frequent services and importantly, given the growth this network has seen in recent years, more seats."