Passengers are being urged to check before they travel as a £13million project to improve the railway in Derbyshire begins next month.
Network Rail will renew Ambergate Junction and relocate it 365 metres to the south. Ambergate Junction is the point where the Matlock branch line leaves the Midland Main Line. The work will mean trains will be able to travel through the area at higher speeds.
As well as renewing the junction, Network Rail will carry out work to the signalling system and install a new walkway, which will improve safety for engineers working out on the track.
This work is the second phase on the project and follows on from a vast amount which took place during the Derby Resignalling Project, a £200 million investment into the railway as part of the Midland Main Line Upgrade.
To allow this vital work to be carried out safely, no trains will be able to run on the line between Matlock and Derby between Sunday 10 February and Saturday 16 February (inclusive). There will also be some changes to East Midlands Trains services between Sheffield, Derby and London. There will be no direct East Midlands Trains services from Sheffield/ Chesterfield to Derby, customers will still be able to travel on CrossCountry trains. All CrossCountry services from Sheffield to Derby will stop at Chesterfield. As the trains will need to follow a diversionary route, this will increase journey times by up to 30 minutes.
East Midlands Trains services between Nottingham and Matlock will operate between Nottingham and Derby only and buses will operate between Derby and Matlock.
Network Rail, East Midlands Trains and CrossCountry are working closely to keep disruption to a minimum and passengers are urged to check before they travel via National Rail Enquiries or with their train operator.
Network Rail has released time-lapse footage which shows the first stage of the work, which took place during the Derby Resignalling project.
Rob McIntosh, Route Managing Director for Network Rail, said: “This work is a vital part of the Midland Main Line Upgrade and will allow trains to travel at higher speeds through this area. This is the second phase of the project, having carried out a vast amount during the hugely successful Derby Resignalling upgrade. However, the extent of the work means it needs to be done in two phases.
“We appreciate that changes to train services does cause disruption. We have worked closely with train operating colleagues to keep passengers moving and we thank them for their patience during this time. This work will mean we can continue to provide a railway which meets the needs of the communities and economies which our railway services and bring a more robust timetable for passengers in the years to come.”
Jake Kelly, Managing Director for East Midlands Trains said: “The major work to renew Ambergate Junction will result in some changes to our services between Sheffield, Derby and London as well as services between Derby and Matlock.
“Although this means minor disruption for passengers at this time, the long term benefits will help to improve punctuality and reliability for passengers in the East Midlands”.
Andy Cooper, CrossCountry’s Managing Director, said: “The Ambergate Junction project will complete the work to secure important journey time improvements between Derby and York, enabling significant savings on CrossCountry journeys to the North East from December 2019. To allow Network Rail to complete the work, our trains will divert between Chesterfield and Derby for a week, adding a few minutes to journeys but avoiding any further disruption for those travelling with us.”