Have you submitted your annual leave form for the festive season yet? Some engineers in London aren't going to be that lucky this year. Five major London railway stations will be undergoing 42 engineering improvement projects (27 daytime and 15 nighttime) from the 19th of December, stretching through to the 2nd of January, 2017.
The number of passenger journeys that utilize the railway between 19 December and 2 January? 20 million.
It is estimated that the engineering maintenance works are the "biggest ever" Christmas engineering projects ever observed in the UK. The projects will force delays on passengers. According to the Mirror, a London to Cardiff trip, that usually takes 2 hours and 1 minute, will take "up to 3hr 17min" as a result of the engineering projects. Paddington Station is to go completely train-less from December 24th to 29th - surely disrupting some travelers plans.
The engineers will really only get a break on the 25th and 26th of December, but then it is back to work to ensure that the railways are fully functioning by the time New Years Eve celebrations begin.
Network Rail, the owner and infrastructure manager of a large portion of the railway in England, Scotland, and Wales, has decided that while the majority of workers are not going into their offices, the upgrades should take place. Network Rail estimates that the railways experience 50 percent less traffic during the festive season.
A travel expert, speaking to The Sun newspaper, said: "Network Rail has been over-ambitious and ramped up the quantity of works as commuters are off work -- but Christmas leisure travelers will take the hit instead."
However, Network Rail still maintain that the Christmas season is the best time to do it. They said: "Large-scale work is done around public holidays because the railway is relatively quiet and disruption affects fewer people. Improvements we are making allow trains to run, at higher speeds, and also improves the reliability of the rail network, reducing delays in the future."
The maintenance works are going to cost £150 million ($189 million) to complete. According to the Sunday Times, the improvements will bring new tracks, elongate platforms, add cabins to some trains and general maintenance as well.
On a lighter note, a lego enthusiast named Ryan McNaught has completed New Zealand's biggest lego build. A 10-meter lego Christmas tree is now towering over Auckland's Aotea square. The build took six weeks. McNaught had to recruit some engineers to ensure it's stability.
"Because it's so big we actually have to get real engineers to sign it off, not us Lego engineers. It has to be wind-rated, safe," McNaught said to TVNZ.
Around half a million lego blocks were used. The tree weighs in at 3.5 tons.
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