Boost for Norwich to London train users as rail line upgraded to improve reliability
- Credit: Network Rail
Rail passengers travelling from Norwich to London are hoping services will be more reliable thanks to improvements on the line near to the capital.
New overhead wire was installed at Brentwood, in Essex, over the bank holiday weekend as part of Network Rail's Railway Upgrade Plan.
Network Rail said its 'orange army' of workers carried out the equivalent of 3,000 hours of work on Sunday, August 27 and Monday, August 28 to replace 1km of overhead wire, as part of a £250m project to upgrade the wiring system on the busy mainline.
Although the work meant service cancellations for passengers over the bank holiday, a further 1,500 hours were spent installing structures at Ilford and Manor Park, which will carry new overhead wires when they are installed next year.
Upgrades were also made between Shenfield and London Liverpool Street as part of the Crossrail programme, where more than 200 metres of track was installed at Pudding Mill Lane, near Stratford station, to prepare for the connection of the Elizabeth line tunnel to the main line.
Simon Ancona, Network Rail's chief operating officer for Anglia, said: 'These upgrades will provide essential reliability improvements on the main line into London.
'I'd like to thank passengers for their understanding while we carried out this essential work.'
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The wires and structures previously in place along the route were installed in the 1950s and the system 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 pass at their normal speed meaning fewer delays.
Jamie Burles, managing director at Greater Anglia - which operates the Norwich to London service - said: 'Engineering works are vital for ourselves and Network Rail to provide a better railway for everyone for future generations to come.
'New overhead wires means our trains should be able to run at speed during hot weather.'
Future improvements will also be made at stations between Shenfield and London Liverpool Street.
When complete, the Elizabeth Line will increase London's rail capacity by 10pc and bring 1.5m extra people within 45mins of central London.
Linda McCord, senior stakeholder manager at the watchdog Transport Focus, said: 'Passengers travelling between Norwich and London want punctual train services.
'The work by Network Rail to replace overheard wiring during this last bank holiday weekend should improve reliability with fewer delays.
'This is obviously good news for passengers.'