Midland rail passengers are being warned by Virgin Trains to expect severe disruption on its West Coast Main Line services for a fortnight, starting this weekend.
The service alterations will be at their worst over the weekends when trains from the Midlands to London will not be running on the WCML.
An alternative shuttle service will run on other rail networks across Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Warwickshire. These routes will be connected to Midland stations by coaches.
Passengers are being urged to re-confirm journey times on its website before travel, particularly for journeys between September 1-7.
Virgin said passengers with savers, open and season tickets would be able to use other rail companies’ services.
The disruption has been caused by work being carried out by track operator Network Rail, including platform and subway construction at Rugby, in Warwickshire.
Engineering works are also taking place at other parts of the line, including platform extension and resignalling work at Milton Keynes, and the commissioning of new signalling on the Trent Valley Line.
Network Rail said it carried out the work at holiday time because it was less disruptive. The company want to keep to a December deadline to finish the £8 billion upgrade of the WCML in order to give passengers more trains and faster schedules by the end of the year.
But Virgin Trains boss Sir Richard Branson has urged Network Rail to extend its deadline for carrying out the work to minimise disruption.
Network Rail has already been fined a record £14 million this year after major engineering works at Rugby over the New Year overran.
Commenting on the disruption, Anthony Smith, of the watchdog Passenger Focus, said: “Every time this happens, it severs one of the key arterial links between London and Scotland.”
Last week it emerged some commuters were forced to pay up to 10 times the cost of the cheapest ticket because Network Rail failed to provide a timetable against which Virgin can price and issue its cheaper discount tickets.
Virgin says it has now made cheap £20 tickets available on some routes.
For details of timings, passengers should visit virgintrains.com/changeforgood or nationalrail.co.uk or telephone National Rail Enquiries on 08457-484950.