Southend railwayman trades stockings by the fire for overhead wire to upgrade your railway this Christmas: Network Rail project manager Gary Desmond

Tuesday 20 Dec 2016

Southend railwayman trades stockings by the fire for overhead wire to upgrade your railway this Christmas

Route:
Anglia
South East

Network Rail project manager, Gary Desmond, from Benfleet, Essex is about to work his 16th Christmas, delivering important upgrades to make the railway more reliable for the increasing number of passengers who travel from Southend to London Liverpool Street.

This year, Gary is also the voice behind the radio adverts advising passengers to check before they travel this festive season, and one of hundreds of Network Rail engineers who will be working on the £250m overhead wire replacement project at Gidea Park, Essex, from Christmas Eve to Monday 2 January.

Gary and his 100-strong team will replace the existing 1950s overhead wires on the line between London Liverpool Street and Southend. The new wires will improve the reliability of the railway all year round, meaning fewer delays for passengers travelling between London Liverpool Street and Southend Victoria.

Gary, who has worked in the railway industry for 36 years, explains: “I’ll be working in Essex this Christmas, where my team will be busy installing nearly 12.5km of overhead wire, making the railway more reliable as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan. The new wires will mean fewer speed restrictions and fewer delays for passengers when the weather is hot.

“I haven’t spent Christmas with my family for the last 15 years, which has been hard, especially when my daughters were little. Despite this, they know I really enjoy my job and I can get a lot done during this time. I wouldn’t want to do anything else.”

In total, 24,000 Network Rail staff will be working during these few days across the country as part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan. Crossrail construction work will also take place at Shenfield and at stations between Shenfield and London Liverpool Street to prepare for the arrival of new air-conditioned trains that will start operating on the TfL Rail route from May 2017.

 

Notes to Editors

Christmas upgrade work

Passengers are advised to check on National Rail Enquiries www.nationalrail.co.uk or with the train operator. Below is a guide to some of the major changes to services from Christmas to May 2017. The Brentwood to Shenfield closure will continue until late May. Greater Anglia would like to make cyclists aware that full-size bikes cannot be taken onto rail replacement services. Folding bikes are allowed at bus drivers' discretion.

Date

TfL Rail 

Greater Anglia – Southend Victoria to London

Saturday 24 December

No service between Chadwell Heath and Shenfield*

No service between Billericay and London Liverpool Street**

Sunday 25 December (Christmas Day)

No services

No services

Monday 26 December

(Boxing day)

No services

No services

Tuesday 27 December

No services ***

No service between Billericay and London Liverpool Street**

Wednesday 28 December to Friday 30 December

No service between Chadwell Heath and Shenfield*

No service between Billericay and London Liverpool Street**†

Saturday 31 December

No service between Chadwell Heath and Shenfield*

No service between Billericay and London Liverpool Street**

Sunday 1 January 2017

No service between Chadwell Heath and Shenfield*

No service between Billericay and London Liverpool Street**

Monday 2 January 2017

No service between Chadwell Heath and Shenfield*

No service between Billericay and London Liverpool Street**

* Rail replacement bus services call at all affected stations between Chadwell Heath and Shenfield

** Rail replacement bus service will run between Billericay and Newbury Park (for the Central line)

*** A rail replacement bus service will run every 15 minutes from Chadwell Heath to Shenfield, calling at all stops, as well as Newbury Park for the Central line. Buses will also run every 15 minutes from Romford to Stratford calling at all stops except Maryland.

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Journalists
Network Rail press office - Katie Mack
Media relations manager (Anglia route)
020 3356 2515
Katie.Mack@networkrail.co.uk

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.

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