News:Passengers face New Year delays

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from http://news.bbc.co.uk
Rail engineering work which was already over-running has been extended by another day and will now affect some trains on New Year's Day. Network Rail said it was "extremely sorry" the West Coast Mainline had to be shut at Rugby, Warwickshire.

The work will now affect Virgin Trains to and from the West Midlands, Scotland, north Wales and north-west England until 0530 GMT on 2 January.

Some London Midland and First ScotRail services will also be affected.

 I'm astonished that Network Rail have done this - New Year's Eve is a time when we really want to see people on public transport and not in their cars 

Shadow transport minister Theresa Villiers

Buses will replace trains on the 40-mile stretch between Birmingham International and Northampton, adding up to an hour to journeys.

Chiltern Railways, which operates services between Birmingham Snow Hill and London Marylebone, said it would honour all tickets from West Midlands' stations to London, no matter which firm issued them.

However, it said that with the additional passengers services are likely to be very busy.

'Extra resources'

Services had been due to return to normal on 1 January, but on New Year's Eve, Network Rail announced that work was still not complete.

A spokesman for the company told the BBC News website: "We have put in all the extra resources that we possibly could, but things just haven't gone as well as we hoped."

Network Rail said that as passenger numbers were lower over the festive period it was essential to carry out a large part of the £8bn upgrade of the line then.

Up to 60,000 travellers had been expected to use the line on New Year's Eve, and Virgin had warned them in a series of newspaper adverts to add at least an hour to journey times.

Virgin has complained that Network Rail did not give it enough notice.

The rail regulator is investigating its complaint.


Passenger hassle

Earlier Dr Claire Wells, of the Rugby Rail Users Group, said Network Rail's planning should have been better.

"Either they should have had this closure in their scheduling from the start or they should have worked through so they did not need this additional day."

Shadow transport minister Theresa Villiers also said she was disappointed to hear about the New Year's Eve disruption.

 Network Rail need a reality check 

Sina Cohen, passenger

She said: "I'm astonished that Network Rail have done this - New Year's Eve is a time when we really want to see people on public transport and not in their cars.

"Suddenly they are saying that they are closing off important swathes of the track - that's going to cause a lot of hassle for passengers and frankly they should have done a better job in getting their engineering works finished on time."

Commuter Alan Crosby, from Coventry, said he had been forced to work from home on New Year's Eve.

He said: "It's really frustrating as I expected things to be OK today but found out at short notice that the line was closed.

"There appears to be no consideration for people that work in between Christmas and New Year on the non-holiday days."

Sina Cohen, from Warwickshire, said: "I was at the railway station and couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the notice explaining how I have to miss New Year's Eve in Scotland with my son and his gran.

"Network Rail need a reality check."

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