MORE RELIABLE RAILWAY FOR ESSEX AS £100M+ UPGRADE IS COMPLETED: New signals at Thorpe-le-Soken

Wednesday 2 Sep 2009

MORE RELIABLE RAILWAY FOR ESSEX AS £100M+ UPGRADE IS COMPLETED

Route:
Anglia

The final piece of work on Network Rail’s £104m upgrade of the railway in east Essex was successfully completed over the bank holiday weekend, heralding more reliable journeys for millions of passengers on both the busy Clacton branch line and the Great Eastern main line.

The last piece of the jigsaw included the commissioning of new ‘bi-directional’ signalling on the Great Eastern main line between Colchester and Marks Tey – meaning trains can now travel in both directions on both lines. This allows them to bypass problems should they occur and will improve flexibility and help reduce delays.

Major upgrades have already completed on the branch lines to Colchester Town, Clacton and Walton-on-the-Naze as part of the project. Obsolete searchlight signals – a throw back to the 1960s when they were originally installed – have been replaced with 170 modern LED signals and eight level crossings have been upgraded to full barrier crossings with CCTV control.

Control of the branch lines has been handed over to the newly extended and modernised signal box at Colchester, where Network Rail signallers now control the movement of trains and operate level crossings using state-of-the-art visual display units.

Patrick Hallgate, Network Rail route director for Anglia, said: “The infrastructure on this part of the railway was like a classic car – unique, but becoming unreliable and expensive to maintain. Thanks to our investment, passengers in this part of Essex will be among the first to benefit from Network Rail’s nationwide programme to upgrade signalling equipment and make the railway safer and more reliable.

“Signal boxes and level crossings might not seem particularly exciting but the investment we’ve made here will make a real difference to passengers.”

Major improvements made as part of the project include:

  • Resignalling of the branch lines to Colchester Town, Clacton and Walton-on-the-Naze, replacing fifty-year-old signals with new LED signals
  • Installation of bi-directional signalling between Colchester and Marks Tey on the main line
  • Upgrades to eight level crossings, converting them to manually-controlled barriers operated from Colchester signal box using CCTV
  • New control system installed at modernised Colchester signal box, including visual display screens

Notes to editors

In more detail, the primary items of scope which form part of this major resignalling project are as follows: • The renewal of the life-expired signalling infrastructure on the Great Eastern main line from Marks Tey to Colchester and on the branch lines to Colchester Town, Clacton (Clacton Signal Box remains) & Walton-on-Naze • Control of the branch has been transferred to Colchester Power Signal box. Two signal boxes have been closed - East Gates and Thorpe-Le-Soken • The area has been resignalled using SSI technology (six new SSI interlockings will be commissioned) throughout, utilizing track circuit train detection • Seven gated level crossings have been converted to MCB-CCTV. These are Chitts Hill, Alresford, Coach Road, Thorrington, Gt Bentley, Frinton and Burrs Road • East Gates level crossing has been renewed and control transferred to Colchester Power Signal Box as a MCB-CCTV level crossing • Bi-directional signaling has been commissioned from Marks Tey to Colchester North Station and from Colchester to East Gates on the Down Avoiding line • The Control System is a ‘Modular Control System (MCS) Visual Display Unit (VDU)’ type replacing the old NX Panel system.

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