Southend set for rail transformation: Installing the first new overhead wires on the Southend Victoria line

Friday 4 May 2018

Southend set for rail transformation

Region & Route:

Southend passengers are set to benefit from a bigger and better railway as work ramps up to upgrade the Southend Victoria branch line.

Network Rail is replacing the overhead wiring system, which includes the wires and structures, as part of a £46m investment. This investment will improve reliability and allow for new trains and more services to run between Southend Victoria and London Liverpool Street.

The programme is a key part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan to provide a bigger and better railway, including:

  • fewer delays and cancellations – especially in hot weather
  • allowing for more train services, to support the growing number of passengers and local economy, including the busy airport
  • supporting the introduction of Greater Anglia’s new trains which will start to come into service from 2019 with fast, free wifi, air conditioning, and plug and USB sockets

The wiring system currently in place was installed in the 1950s and needs to be replaced in order to continue to run trains on the line.

To speed up the programme and deliver these benefits quickly, some of the work will be carried out during the night. This means that late night services will be affected from 9:30pm on weeknights from Monday to Wednesday from Monday 4 June to Wednesday 10 October. During this time, structure and steelwork will take place, to prepare for the installation of overhead wires.

Meliha Duymaz, Network Rail’s route managing director for Anglia, said: “These improvements will make a real difference to Southend passengers as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan. This isn’t just about improving reliability, but creating the foundations for future improvements, including new trains and more services, for the growing number of passengers using this line. I appreciate that the closures are inconvenient but the work is essential to improving the rail service for this region.”

Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia Managing Director, said: “We realise that these engineering works are inconveniencing customers, but the work is vital if we are to transform the railway in East Anglia. We will ensure that people can still complete their journeys, even if part of it is by bus.”

During May bank holiday, Saturday 5 – Monday 7 May, engineers will install 4km of overhead wires between Billericay and Wickford. The first overhead wires will installed last year between Shenfield and Billericay.

Notes to Editors


Rail replacement bus information

Passengers travelling between Southend Victoria and London Liverpool Street after 8:30pm Monday – Wednesday are advised to check before they travel.

Buses will replace trains between Southend Victoria and Wickford from 21.30. The last through train services will be the 20.35 London Liverpool Street to Southend Victoria and the 21.00 Southend Victoria to London Liverpool Street services.

A rail replacement bus service will operate between Wickford and Southend Victoria with an extended travel time of just over 30 minutes, calling at all stations.

From 21.30 rail replacement services will operate between Southend Victoria and Wickford with the exception of the following:

  • The 00.15 and 00.50 London Liverpool Street to Southend Victoria services are cancelled. Passengers for Southend can travel on the 00.18 London Liverpool Street to Colchester and 00.46 (retimed to 00.50) London Liverpool Street to Colchester and change at Shenfield for a rail replacement service to Southend Victoria.


May Bank Holiday, Saturday 5 – Monday 7 May

A rail replacement service will run between Southend Victoria and Shenfield all day on Saturday 6 and Monday 7 May. On Sunday 6 May a rail replacement service will be in place from Southend Victoria to Newbury Park for the Central line.


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

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.

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