Work to upgrade the Southend Victoria line resumes

Work to improve journeys for passengers by upgrading the overhead wires between Shenfield and Southend Victoria resumed over the weekend until the end of March 2020.

Network Rail is replacing 128km of overhead wires between Southend Victoria and Shenfield with a new auto tension system that adapts to temperature changes. This will improve the reliability of services for years to come for passengers on the Southend Victoria line.

The winter weekends phase of works is due to complete by the end of March 2020, two months earlier than originally planned, with six fewer weekend closures and 11 mid-week closures owing to an acceleration of the delivery programme.

Following this, there will be a final closure for works over the weekend of 18-19 April 2020 that will enable us to replace the track ballast to enable efficient drainage for the new infrastructure.

When complete, 320km of wires and 200 structures that support the wires at the correct height and tension will have been replaced on the entire route that runs between London Liverpool Street and Southend Victoria as part of the £46m project.

Mark Budden, Network Rail’s route director for Anglia, said: “We’re entering the final phases of this much-needed upgrade, which will bring greater reliability for passengers on this busy line.

“I know that there is a lot of weekend disruption for passengers over the autumn and winter, and I’m sorry their journeys will be more difficult during this time while we carry out the upgrades to the overhead lines.

“Once the upgrade is complete it will lead to a much more reliable service for everyone using the Southend line, reducing delays and cancellations caused by very hot temperatures.”

Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia managing director, said: “We’re into the final stretch of this major project to improve the reliability of this stretch of our network, which combined with our new trains, will modernise journeys for our Southend customers.

“I’d like to thank customers for their patience throughout these engineering works, and assure them that while Network Rail finishes the project we will ensure that passengers can always complete their journeys, even if part of it is by bus.”

In order to carry out the work safely, work will be taking place over several weekends between September and the end of November.

In December, works will be scaled back to Sunday mornings only from 2.15am – 9.00am on 1, 8, 15 and 22 December.

There are no services on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, and a rail replacement service will operate between 27 December and 1 January 2020, with work planned to focus on the complex junction at Wickford.

A final phase of weekend closures starts the weekend of 25-26 January 2020 and continues each weekend until 28-29 March 2020 (apart from 8/9 February when the line will be open).

There will be a final closure over 18-19 April 2020 to replace the track ballast for efficient drainage for the new infrastructure.