Fewer delays for Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex rail passengers following Christmas upgrades: Rewiring at Shenfield

Tuesday 2 Jan 2018

Fewer delays for Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex rail passengers following Christmas upgrades


Key rail upgrades for Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex passengers were completed over Christmas and New Year as part of a package of work that will transform journeys into the capital.

Network Rail engineers worked the equivalent of 16,000 hours to install over 10km of overhead wire at Ilford, as part of a £250m project to install a new wiring system that automatically adapts to temperature changes to reduce delays.

The 37km stretch from Chelmsford to Ilford on the Norwich to London mainline now has the new wires installed which means fewer delays and cancellations for passengers, as speed restrictions will no longer need to be imposed between Chelmsford and Ilford in hot weather.

Work to install a further 8km of overhead wire on the section between Ilford and Manor Park begins at the end of the month. These improvements will last for decades to come and help to provide a more reliable service to the growing numbers of passengers using the busy mainline.

Work also took place at TfL Rail stations between Brentwood and Stratford as part of the Crossrail programme, including:

  • Work at Pudding Mill Lane near Stratford to connect the Elizabeth line’s central tunnel section to the main line
  • Major track and overhead wire modernisation at Gidea Park sidings to accommodate the longer Elizabeth line trains
  • Works to deliver step free access and station improvements for passengers at stations in preparation for the opening of the Elizabeth line at the end of 2018

When fully open in 2019, the Elizabeth line will increase central London’s rail capacity by 10% and bring 1.5 million extra people within 45 minutes of central London. Passengers will be able to travel to parts of the City, West End and west London without the need to change trains and will also benefit from improved links to Heathrow Airport. Further upgrades for the Crossrail programme will continue in 2018 in the run up to completion.

Meliha Duymaz, Network Rail’s route managing director for Anglia, said: “These improvements will provide more reliable journeys for Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex passengers as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan. Following the installation of overhead wire, we will no longer need to impose speed restrictions between Chelmsford and Ilford in hot weather, which means fewer delays and cancellations. We've also made improvements as part of the Crossrail programme, in preparation for the opening of the Elizabeth line at the end of 2018. Further work will take place at weekends from the end of January and I would like to thank passengers for their patience while we carry out these important upgrades.”

Jamie Burles, managing director for Greater Anglia, said: “We’d like to thank customers for their patience during Network Rail engineering works this Christmas. Together with Network Rail, we’re modernising the railway in East Anglia for now and for future generations to provide a more reliable service."

Passengers travelling at weekends from Sunday 21 January to 25 March are urged to check before they travel as rail replacement services will run from either Witham or Ingatestone to Newbury Park where passengers can pick up the central line. The closures also affect passengers travelling from Southend and Southminster. Passengers can check how their journey will be affected at www.nationalrail.co.uk or with their train operator ahead of travelling.

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.

Every day, there are more than 4.7 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.

We are building a better railway for a better Britain.

Follow us on Twitter: @networkrail
Visit our online newsroom: www.networkrailmediacentre.co.uk