Upgrades to be carried out on the Harwich branch line to improve rail services: Track renewals image

Tuesday 5 Jan 2021

Upgrades to be carried out on the Harwich branch line to improve rail services

Region & Route:
Eastern: Anglia

Track, sleepers and ballast will be replaced by Network Rail’s engineers as part of a programme of upgrade works to make train services more reliable on the Harwich branch line.

Over a quarter of a mile of track will be replaced in the vicinity of Harwich International station on the Harwich branch line, along with sleepers and over 600 tonnes of ballast, the stones that keep the track in place. The surfaces at three level crossings will also be renewed as part of the work.

Just like road surfaces, track gets worn from constant use every day. Network Rail’s engineers carry out inspections and repairs regularly but over time the track becomes so worn that a full replacement is the only option to avoid speed restrictions that cause delays and cancellations.

The work can only be carried out when services aren't running. Rail replacement services will run on Sundays from 10 January until 7 February.

Embankment works will also take place the following weekend at Wrabness to strengthen the track bed. This keeps the track level and in place which means services can run safely and reliably. This will be carried out on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 February.

Ellie Burrows, Network Rail’s route director for Anglia, said: “Keeping the tracks in good condition is vital to running a safe and reliable railway for our passengers and freight customers on this line. The work will reduce the number of delays and cancellations caused by track faults and issues, enabling both passengers and goods to arrive on time.”

Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia Managing Director, said: “The new track will help improve punctuality and reliability on our network.

“Government advice is currently to stay at home, although you can travel with us if you need to for medical appointments, work or other reasons listed in the guidance.

“We would like to reassure customers who need to travel with us that they can travel with confidence – including on rail replacement buses – as we continue to focus cleaning and sanitisation and making it easier for people to socially distance.

“Anyone who needs to travel during these engineering works, should check before they travel and allow more time for their journey. Everyone will be able to complete their journey with us, even if part of it is by rail replacement bus.”

People should continue to follow the latest Government guidance by staying at home to help tackle the spread of COVID-19 and only travel if they have to. Those who do need to travel should check beforehand at www.nationalrail.co.uk or with their train operator.

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.

Usually, there are almost five 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.

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