Railway upgrade work is continuing across south London despite coronavirus disrupting engineering plans.

New track has been laid by Network Rail and its partners at Westcombe Park, New Cross Gate and Bickley over the past few weeks.

The impact of the Coronavirus and the need to protect staff through social distancing means only work that is essential to the safety and operation of the railway is now taking place, including renewals of old track and signalling or enhancements that have other improvements, such as new timetables, relying on them.

Paul Harwood, investment director for Network Rail, said: “These essential improvement works will mean better, more reliable journeys and will benefit freight services and key workers using the railway during the current crisis.

"The points we’re renewing are very heavily used and are at the end of their design life, so by replacing them, we’ll be ensuring the long-term reliability and resilience of the railway.

“I would like to thank passengers and lineside neighbours for their patience and understanding while we completed this essential upgrade work.”

Works at Westcombe Park included laying almost two kilometres of new track and lowering a section of track at an overbridge so more freight locomotives can run on the line.

The work involved removing the old track by crane, excavating the track bed and then replacing the rail and components using a special track laying machine.

During the project, 26 engineering trains were used and over 8,000 tonnes of ballast, the stones which support the track, was dropped on site and smoothed over for trains.

Meanwhile at New Cross Gate, switches and crossings (movable sections of rail that guide trains from one track to another and allow them to cross paths) were upgraded.

In Bickley, 527 yards of track renewal was also completed over the past two weekends, which will increase the reliability of the line for years to come.