Commuters across Mitcham, Sutton, and Wimbledon can look forward to ‘more reliable’ journeys after a multi-million pound railway upgrade finished over Easter, says Network Rail.

The five-year, £45 million scheme saw the replacement of every signal – essentially traffic lights for the railway – on the Sutton-Wimbledon loop which covers 37 miles of track during the break, from March 30 to April 2.

Five railway junctions were also upgraded and the infrastructure manager believes this will contribute to better train punctuality by ‘reducing infrastructure faults and risk of train delays’.

Leigh Collins, Network Rail’s scheme sponsor, said: “Most passengers don’t notice signalling until it goes wrong and this upgrade will provide passengers with a resilient system that will last for years to come.

“We’ve been working towards this day for five years and investing in modern technology is crucial to cater for the growing number of passengers in the capital.

“I know there have been many days of weekend work over the last few years and I’m grateful for passengers' patience and understanding.”

The project, where £10 million was spent over the Easter weekend, also saw the renewal of 70 signals, the replacement of more than 100 track circuits with modern axle counters – providing information about the location of trains – and 115 new signalling equipment housings.

Control of the signalling system was transferred from Victoria signalling centre at Clapham to Three Bridges Rail Operating Centre in Sussex.

This all came into operation in the morning of Tuesday this week (April 3) after work was carried out in stages.

Elsewhere, tracks were renewed between New Cross and Norwood Junction and more than 2,000 worked on projects across the south east of England.