THOUSANDS OF rail workers will work through the festive season in what was described by a Railtrack spokesman as 'the most intensive Christmas period for over 100 years'.
Led by Railtrack's new chief executive Steve Marshall, contractors will be continuing with the massive post-Hatfield re-railing programme, as well as a number of upgrade contracts involving track blockades.
Christmas is being seen as the ideal time to blitz the network, though passenger groups have criticised the disruption to services.
Marshall, joined by other Railtrack board members, will visit some of the estimated 100 sites.
Major projects director Simon Murray and technical director Richard Middleton will also be out and about.
At Willesden a £55M resignalling contract will begin on Christmas Eve.
The nine day blockade, with Balfour Beatty, Westinghouse Signals and Railtrack, will significantly increase train speeds through the junction.
Jarvis will be out on Christmas day with its track renewals train. A spokesman explained that it was an ideal opportunity to show what it could do without interruption. The biggest challenge, he said, will be the logistics of supplying materials, or as he put it 'feeding the beast'.
Health and safety officers are not planning any routine checks, but will be on call throughout the holiday period if needed.
Meanwhile, by the time passengers return to Leeds station after the new year, Adtranz will have completed a new signalling system employing 350 engineers. They will be working round the clock throughout Christmas to complete the job.