Thursday 24 Aug 2017
Southend Victoria line to reopen at nights following early completion of first phase of major upgrades
The first phase of major reliability improvements on the Southend Victoria line will complete one month earlier than planned allowing the line to reopen for late night services from November, meaning less disruption for passengers.
Network Rail is working on the £46m project to install a new overhead wiring system between Southend Victoria and London Liverpool Street, which will improve reliability and reduce the number of delays.
Overnight working was introduced in May this year to accelerate the programme which means the line currently closes from 9:30pm each night from Monday to Thursday between Shenfield and Wickford. This phase of the work was originally planned to complete in December, but engineers have carried out the work sooner than planned, so from Monday 6 November late night services will run. During this time over 100 structures have been installed that will carry the new overhead wires.
Network Rail is replacing the old 1950s overhead wires with new wires that won’t sag in hot weather, increasing reliability all year round. The wires and structures that are currently in place form a system that is one of the oldest in the country. When the weather gets hot, the wires sag and speed restrictions have to be imposed to protect them from damage by trains. The new wires are controlled by a system of weights, to keep them taut at all times, so trains can travel at their normal speed meaning fewer delays.
Steve Gourley, Network Rail construction manager, explains what the team has been doing in this short video at Billericay station.
Meliha Duymaz, Network Rail’s route managing director for Anglia, said: “We’ve made excellent progress on this project, which means that we can open the line earlier than we originally planned, and is good news for passengers. We can now begin to install the new overhead wire that will make services on the Southend Victoria branch line more reliable and reduce the number of delays, especially in the summer months. I’d like to thank passengers for their continued patience while we carry out this important work.”
Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia managing director, said: “I’m sure customers will be as delighted as us that this work has been completed ahead of schedule. We have ensured that customers have always been able to complete their journeys, even if part of the way is by bus, but it we know customers prefer being able to stay on the train. Engineering work is inconvenient, but together with Network Rail we’re transforming and modernising the railway in East Anglia which will make journeys better for generations to come.”
From Sunday 3 September, the new overhead wire will start to be installed between Shenfield and Wickford over a series of weekends until Sunday 22 October. Passengers are advised to check before they travel as some work takes place on both Saturday and Sunday and some work takes place on Sunday only.
About Network Rail
We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 19 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Every day, more than 4.6 million journeys are made in the UK. 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.