A bigger and better railway for Southend, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex passengers following May Day upgrades: Overhead wire installation on Southend Victoria line

Tuesday 8 May 2018

A bigger and better railway for Southend, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex passengers following May Day upgrades

Region & Route:

Rail passengers from Southend, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex can look forward to a bigger and better railway following upgrades carried out over the bank holiday weekend.

Network Rail’s Team Orange installed 4km of overhead wire between Billericay and Wickford as part of an ongoing £46m transformation over the three-day period.

This is a continuation of the work to replace the old overhead wiring system with a new system which adapts automatically to heat during the summer, meaning fewer delays and cancellations. This new wiring system will also allow Greater Anglia to run their fleet of new trains with Wi-Fi, plug sockets and extra seats, from 2019 and to run more services to meet growing passenger demand, in the future.

Work also took place to install overhead wire at Ilford on the main line between Norwich and London as part of a £250m programme to upgrade the overhead wiring system to improve reliability and support the growing number of passengers using that line. The wiring system currently in place is one of the oldest in the country.

Meliha Duymaz, Network Rail’s route managing director for Anglia, said: “This weekend, we concentrated our work on the Southend Victoria branch line which has some of the oldest overhead wire equipment in the country. This work is an essential part of our Railway Upgrade Plan to increase reliability and allow more trains to run in the future to meet growing passenger demand. I’d like to thank passengers for their patience while this important work took place.”

Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia managing director, said: “Together with Network Rail we’re transforming the railway in East Anglia. With their upgrade plan and our brand new trains, we’re modernising the railway for future generations. I appreciate these works are inconvenient for customers, but we make sure they can complete their journeys, even if part of it is by bus.”

Over the second bank holiday (Saturday 26 – Monday 28 May), work will take place on the Great Eastern Mainline at Ilford where engineers will replace a further 3km of overhead wire. This will increase reliability as part of a £249m investment to upgrade the overhead wiring system, meaning fewer delays for passengers all the way up to Norwich. Rail replacement services will run throughout and passengers are advised to check before they travel.

Notes to Editors

Saturday 26 – Monday 28 May

Ingatestone / Billericay – London Liverpool Street

A rail replacement service will run between Ingatestone / Billericay and London Liverpool Street all day.

Saturday 26 – Monday 28 May

Ipswich – Felixstowe

A rail replacement service will run between Ipswich and Felixstowe from 1850 on Saturday 26 May to Monday 28 May inclusive.

Southend Victoria branch line upgrades - midweek nights

Network Rail is replacing the overhead wiring system, which includes the wires and structures, as part of a £46m investment. This investment will improve reliability and allow for new trains and more services to run between Southend Victoria and London Liverpool Street. To speed up the programme and deliver these benefits quickly, some of the work will be carried out during the night. This means that late night services will be affected from 9:30pm on weeknights from Monday to Wednesday from Monday 4 June to Wednesday 10 October. 

Rail replacement bus information

Passengers travelling between Southend Victoria and London Liverpool Street after 8:30pm Monday – Wednesday are advised to check before they travel.

Buses will replace trains between Southend Victoria and Wickford from 21.30. The last through train services will be the 20.35 London Liverpool Street to Southend Victoria and the 21.00 Southend Victoria to London Liverpool Street services.

A rail replacement bus service will operate between Wickford and Southend Victoria with an extended travel time of just over 30 minutes, calling at all stations.

From 21.30 rail replacement services will operate between Southend Victoria and Wickford with the exception of the following:

  • The 00.15 and 00.50 London Liverpool Street to Southend Victoria services are cancelled. Passengers for Southend can travel on the 00.18 London Liverpool Street to Colchester and 00.46 (retimed to 00.50) London Liverpool Street to Colchester and change at Shenfield for a rail replacement service to Southend Victoria.

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Network Rail press office - Katie Mack
Media relations manager (Anglia route)
020 3356 2515

About Network Rail

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.

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