MORE than 35 Network Rail workers will give up spending Christmas with their families this year as they are needed to carry out vital improvements to the railway in York.

The improvements, part of a ‘Railway Upgrade Plan’, will begin after the last service on Christmas Eve and will be completed before the first service on Thursday, December 27.

A Network Rail spokeswoman said the project in York will see control of the signalling system move from the old Integrated Electronic Control Centre (IECC) to the state of the art Rail Operating Centre (ROC).

She said the IECC currently controlled signalling on the East Coast Main Line from Doncaster to Northallerton via York, the Transpennine route from York to Morley and Pudsey via Leeds and the north Bradford lines to Skipton/Ilkley.

“The transfer of the signalling to the ROC will help to further develop a centre of excellence with greater resilience when disruption occurs, as well as a railway with reduced running costs,” she said.

Kirsty Edmond, scheme project manager for Network Rail, is one of those who will be working on the project over the Christmas period.

She said: “I’ve been working on the railway for seven years but this is the first time I will be working over the festive period and I’m really looking forward to it.

“My role is to oversee the work which is going on and make sure everything is on track.

“I’ve been working on this project since January so it will be great to see it completed this Christmas.

“The work we are carrying out over Christmas will benefit passengers by making the railway more modern, reliable and with greater resilience and I look forward to passengers reaping the benefits.”

A breakdown of how journeys will be affected can be found by visiting and following #XmasRailWorks on Twitter.