Tuesday 30 May 2006


Region & Route:
Eastern: Anglia
| Eastern
Essex rail travellers are set to benefit from more reliable journeys thanks to a £100 million investment in signalling in the Colchester area by Network Rail. The Colchester to Clacton project is one of the first schemes to benefit from Network Rail’s £1.5bn nationwide investment in signalling over the next three years. The work will involve a major renewal of signalling and track equipment on the Great Eastern mainline between Marks Tey and Colchester and on the branch lines to Clacton and Walton-on-the-Naze. Some of the current signalling equipment dates back to the 1960s so new equipment and a modern signalling system will be installed helping to secure the future of these busy lines. Network Rail’s Route Director Jon Wiseman said: “This is an enormous project that will bring improved performance and more reliable journeys for passengers. Some of the signalling on this line dates back to the last time England won the World Cup so it is fitting that in World Cup year we are able to announce this massive investment that will bring huge benefits to rail passengers in Essex and secure the long-term future of this busy line.” The first key stage in the three-year project begins this summer when the detailed design work for the new signalling begins. The main contracts to take this huge project forward will then be awarded in the autumn with the initial phase of site works due to begin in December 2006 to prepare the railway for the new track and signalling equipment that will be fitted as the project progresses. In total, the scheme will involve:
  • more than 33 miles of track re-signalled
  • a platform extension at Hythe Station (funded by Essex County Council)
  • eight level crossings upgraded
  • 14 sets of points replaced
  • one platform at Clacton Station extended to accommodate longer trains
  • new signalling between Marks Tey and Colchester allowing trains to run in both directions on either track, improving reliability
Some line closures will be needed during the three-year project but Network Rail will make every effort to keep these to a minimum and restrict closures to weeknights and weekends to minimise the disruption to the majority of passengers. We will also be working closely with train operators ‘one’ to minimise inconvenience to rail passengers and ensure alternative travel arrangements are available as and when necessary.

Notes to editors

1. Full details about the timings of the work and the scope of the project will be available once the detailed design work is completed this summer

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We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

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