Norwich to London rail line to close for eight weekends this autumn to solve “heat related” speed restrictions

Generic Norwich Train Station. Abellio Greater Anglia train. Railway. Commuter. Commuters. Passenger

Generic Norwich Train Station. Abellio Greater Anglia train. Railway. Commuter. Commuters. Passenger. Passengers. Fares. Fare. Platform. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Weekend train journeys between Norwich and London will face significant disruption this autumn as Network Rail closes the line for 'complex improvement work'.

Passengers travelling between Norwich and Liverpool Street are being advised to travel via Cambridge and check their routes before they leave during eight weeks of work to tackle 'heat related' speed restrictions.

The line between Shenfield and Liverpool Street will be closed every weekend from September 17 to November 6.

The work is preparing the way for the introduction of the new Crossrail service – and installing new electrification equipment between Shenfield and London.

Once complete, it will enable trains to run smoothly through Shenfield and pave the way for work to begin in achieving the target of Norwich in 90.

Richard Schofield, Network Rail's route managing director for Anglia, said: 'This autumn and winter will see some of the biggest and most crucial changes on this route in years, helping improve passenger and freight services for everyone in the region. Our Railway Upgrade Plan is vital in helping deliver the new trains as part of the Crossrail construction project in 2017, and removing a long and painful speed restriction which will no longer delay trains in the heat of summer.

'While I understand the inconvenience and disruption that closing the railway causes, the initial and long-term benefits for passengers are huge and we cannot postpone the opportunity to provide a bigger and better railway for the people of East Anglia and London. I'd like to thank passengers for their understanding while we carry out the work and my advice is to check how their journeys will be affected before they travel so they can plan ahead.'

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Jamie Burles, managing director for Abellio Greater Anglia, said: 'We understand the significant impact engineering works has on our customers' journeys and we thank them for their patience and understanding. We are working very hard to provide practical and comfortable rail replacement alternatives for people wanting to travel during these times. Due to the complex nature of the works we would recommend that customers check their itinerary before travelling as arrangements may differ over the course of the works. 'We are also working with Network Rail to try and move some other works in the Cambridge area that are currently planned for three of the weekends, to avoid any additional inconvenience to passengers.'

Mark Pendlington, chairman of New Anglia LEP and co-chair of the Great Eastern Mainline Taskforce said: 'On the one hand the investment in improved services and faster trains is to be welcomed and applauded and I know that both companies are acutely aware that disruption needs to be kept to the absolute minimum for passengers who bear the brunt of any service disruption.

'The Taskforce will be watching with a keen interest to ensure timely progress on this work and minimum levels of inconvenience caused.'