Overhead line and power upgrades set to improve reliability of the Great Eastern Main Line: Overhead wire renewal on Great Eastern Mainline

Wednesday 26 Aug 2020

Overhead line and power upgrades set to improve reliability of the Great Eastern Main Line

Region & Route:
Eastern: Anglia

A programme of upgrade works will be taking place this autumn on the main line between Stratford and Shenfield to improve reliability of passenger journeys and prepare for the start of Elizabeth line services.

At Stratford and Maryland, works will take place to upgrade the overhead line electrification with a new auto tension system that adapts to temperature changes, meaning fewer delays and cancellations for passengers in the summer months.

Engineers will also be upgrading the power systems along the line to Shenfield as part of the preparation for the start of Elizabeth line services.

Most infrastructure work for Crossrail has been completed between Liverpool Street and Shenfield, but these works are being done to provide sufficient power supply for the new service to operate.

This power supply work and the overhead line work at Stratford is being coordinated to minimise disruption to passengers. Works will take place on the following dates this autumn:

  • Sunday 18 October
  • Sunday 25 October
  • Sunday 1 November
  • Sunday 8 November
  • Sunday 15 November
  • Sunday 22 November

The following services into London will be affected by these works:

TfL Rail

  • Services will be suspended on these dates with bus replacement services operating to provide a connection to the Central line at Newbury Park. 

Greater Anglia services:

  • Except for Sunday 1 and 8 November (Remembrance Sunday), London bound Greater Anglia services from Norwich will terminate at Ipswich. A rail replacement bus service will be in operation between Ipswich and Newbury Park, between Witham and Braintree and between Marks Tey and Sudbury calling at stations inbetween.
  • Train services from Southend Victoria and Southminster will terminate at Billericay with bus replacement services in place.
  • On Sunday 1 November, London bound trains will terminate at Colchester with a bus replacement service calling at all stations and connecting to Newbury Park for the Central line. 
  • Train services into London will be available on 8 November (Remembrance Sunday)

Passengers expecting to travel on these dates are advised to check before travelling with nationalrail.co.uk, tfl.gov.uk or greateranglia.co.uk.

Ellie Burrows, Network Rail’s route director for Anglia said: “The recent hot weather has shown that having a modern overhead power system that automatically adjusts to ambient air temperature is vital to running an efficient railway.

“Having completed the upgrade of the overhead wires between Forest Gate and Chelmsford and on the Southend Victoria line, updating the wires in Stratford is our last big push to get this upgrade work completed.

“Not running trains on some Sundays will be inconvenient for which I apologise, but it is vital time for our engineers to make preparations for our bigger package of works at Christmas.”

Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia’s Managing Director, said: “This essential work will help to improve the punctuality and reliability of our services.

“Similar work has already been carried out on the Southend Victoria line and we are already seeing the benefits.

“A rail replacement bus service will be in operation while the work takes place. Customers should check before they travel and allow more time for their journeys.

“We would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused and thank customers for their patience.”

The upgrade of the overhead line equipment between Stratford and Maryland will continue over Christmas 2020 and weekends in January and February, completing by Easter 2021. More information for works planned at Christmas and in 2021 will be announced later this year. 

Notes to Editors

  • The work at Stratford and Maryland is the final part of the upgrade of overhead wire systems that have been taking place along the main line between Forest Gate and Chelmsford and on the Southend Victoria line; replacing old overhead systems that were installed in the 1950s with modern auto-tension systems that prevent wires sagging in the summer months.

Contact information

Passengers / community members
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Network Rail press office - Stephen Deaville
Senior Communications Manager
Network Rail
020 3356 2515

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