New track to be installed at Ipswich and Colchester to improve reliability on the main line into London: New track laid at Ipswich

Wednesday 6 Sep 2017

New track to be installed at Ipswich and Colchester to improve reliability on the main line into London


Network Rail’s orange army will be out in force, installing new track in the Ipswich and Colchester areas on the main line into London at weekends in September and October to make services more reliable and reduce delays for the millions of people that travel on this route every year.

A total of 274 metres of new track will be installed between Stowmarket and Manningtree during the first two weekends. Following that, a total of four switches and crossings units, the moveable sections of track that guide trains from one track to another and allow them to cross paths, will be installed between Marks Tey and Witham.

Over time track experiences wear and tear from constant use, especially on the busy main line, and needs to be replaced to keep services on the move and improve reliability.

The ballast, stones that form the track bed, will also be replaced over the five weekends to improve drainage. This helps keep the track in good condition meaning fewer delays for passengers.

Meliha Duymaz, Network Rail’s route managing director for Anglia, said: “This work is essential to improve reliability and keep services running smoothly on this busy main line as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan. I understand that closing the line is inconvenient and I’d like to thank passengers for their patience while we carry out this work. Passengers are advised to check before they travel at weekends.”

Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia managing director, said: “We’ll make sure customers can complete their journeys while this vital engineering work is taking place. We’ll have about 50 buses a day and extra staff at stations to make sure customers catch the right bus on each day of engineering work.”

Rail replacement services will run between Stowmarket and Colchester on Sundays 17 September and Sunday 24 September. Passengers travelling between Ipswich and Woodbridge and Felixstowe will also be affected.

From Saturday 30 September, work begins between Witham and Marks Tey, affecting anyone travelling between Witham and Colchester. Rail replacement bus services will be in place, including a direct bus between Witham and Colchester and a separate local service which will stop at Kelvedon and Marks Tey.

Important upgrades for the Crossrail programme and work to install new overhead wires will also take place on the line between Norwich and London at weekends from October to December and over a ten-day period at Christmas. Passengers should check how their journey will be affected at 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

Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.

About the Railway Upgrade Plan

The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:

  • longer, faster more frequent trains;
  • better, more reliable infrastructure; and
  • better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.

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