Wednesday 6 May 2009


Region & Route:
Southern: Wessex
| Southern

Network Rail’s £104m upgrade of the line from Colchester to Clacton and Walton-on-the-Naze moved a step closer to completion over the bank holiday weekend with the installation of new signals, track circuits and upgraded level crossings.

With stage one of the project successfully completed in March, stage two was carried out during a 72-hour closure of the railway this May day bank holiday. This involved the resignalling of the railway from east of Alresford village through to Walton-on Sea and to the outskirts of Clacton-on-Sea, replacing obsolete semaphore signals with 41 new LED signals and upgrading five level crossings, including the crossing at Frinton-on-Sea.

Control of this section of railway has now been transferred from Thorpe-le-Soken signal box to the newly extended and modernised signalling control centre at Colchester, where Network Rail signallers will control the railway using state-of-the-art visual display units.

Garry England, Network Rail senior project manager, said: “The signalling infrastructure on this part of the railway was like a classic car – unique, but becoming unreliable and expensive to maintain. Thanks to our £104m 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.”

The new, modern system will be more reliable for passengers, reducing the likelihood of train delays. Once the project is completed in the summer, control of all signals and level crossings on the line will be transferred to the newly refurbished, state-of-the-art signal box at Colchester.

In addition, new bi-directional signalling is being installed on the main line between Colchester and Marks Tey. This allows trains to travel in either direction on all four tracks, vastly improving flexibility and helping to reduce delays.

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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.

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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