Wherry lines fully re-open following completion of 23 days of engineering works: Wherry lines User worked crossing

Monday 24 Feb 2020

Wherry lines fully re-open following completion of 23 days of engineering works

Region & Route:

The line between Norwich and Lowestoft re-opened today following the completion of track works in the Hassingham area to improve journey reliability for passengers.

The line also re-opened with a fully modernised signalling system which has been switched over from the old mechanical semaphore method to a computer-controlled system. This included upgrades to level crossings at Cantley, Strumpshaw and Oulton Broad North.   

Additionally, passenger services have re-started on the line between Reedham and Yarmouth serving Berney Arms after an 18-month closure as part of the re-signalling programme.

Last week the Norwich to Yarmouth line reopened using the new signalling system together with a section of the East Suffolk line between Beccles and Lowestoft. 

The return of passenger services to these lines completes the 23-day engineering works which began on 1 February and also sees the completion of over four years of planning and delivery of a modern signalling system to improve reliability for passengers.

Ellie Burrows, Network Rail’s route director for Anglia said: "The completion of works over the last 23 days is a significant achievement for everyone delivering the re-signalling and track renewals programme."

"I am delighted that Greater Anglia passengers and level crossing users will be able to benefit from better reliability for the next chapter in the history of the Wherry lines."

"Thank you to everyone, passengers and communities, who have helped and supported our teams to complete this work.”

Scott Kelley, a Director at engineering consultancy Atkins, said: “This is a pioneering project which has seen us working alongside Network Rail and our supply chain partners to complete the biggest ever deployment of a new cutting-edge signalling system that will help transform rail travel right across the region.”

Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia’s Managing Director, said: “This major upgrade will provide huge benefits to those who travel on the line. We are pleased that Wherry Line users will now be able to benefit from some of the newest trains and signalling equipment in the country."

“We would like to thank customers for their patience while this essential work was carried out.”

Notes to Editors

This Wherry line re-signalling programme improves:

  • overall safety and reliability of the railway
  • operational flexibility
  • level crossing safety
  • sustainability and efficiency using modern technology
  • the duration of level crossing road closures reducing delays for road users

Over 23 days in February:

  • a modern, computer-controlled signalling system, deployed across the Wherry lines and operated from Colchester was switched on, replacing the old Victorian mechanical signalling method.  
  • six level crossings were upgraded along with 11 user-worked crossings improving safety for level crossing users.
  • Track renewal and modification made at Lowestoft station and additional track renewal work completed at Hassingham, Acle and Oulton Broad North.
  • Maintenance of Reedham and Somerleyton swingbridges completed, upgrading the detection systems which have been in use since the 1940s.

Owing to the impact of storms Ciara and Dennis, the Postwick bridge renewal which was expected to have been delivered during the 23-day period has been postponed. This work is being reprogrammed for a later date.

More information about the project is available on the project webpage: https://www.networkrail.co.uk/running-the-railway/our-routes/anglia/norwich-yarmouth-lowestoft-re-signalling

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Network Rail press office - Stephen Deaville
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