Passengers are reminded to plan their journeys in advance as there will be no trains between Southend Victoria and Wickford for nine days as part of a major upgrade of the overhead wires.
The railway line between Wickford and Southend Victoria will be closed from Saturday 25 May to Sunday 2 June (inclusive). The route between Wickford and Southminster will remain open, and will be served by trains.
Over 112 engineers will work 24 hours a day over nine days to replace 27.8 km of overhead wire, install eight structures, remove 33 redundant structures and to bring into service two electrified train crossovers – which help trains to change between the tracks.
Customers are advised to make alternative travel arrangements, as there will only be a limited rail replacement bus service and a reduced train service between Wickford and London Liverpool Street. Timetables are available on the Greater Anglia website.
Greater Anglia customers who hold a monthly season ticket or longer can use c2c services for the entire nine days of the line closure, changing at London Fenchurch Street or London Limehouse for connections.
The closure of the line will mean the bulk of the work will finish two months earlier in March 2020 instead of May 2020, with 11 fewer weeks of mid-week closures and six fewer weekend closures.
Meliha Duymaz, Network Rail’s route managing director for Anglia, said: “We want to make sure passengers are informed about the upgrades taking place between Wickford and Southend Victoria next week, and are working with Greater Anglia to remind them.
“We recognise there is never an ideal time to shut the railway and appreciate the inconvenience of the works but closing the line for nine days will allow us to carry out much more work compared to a series of more limited mid-week or weekend closures.
“I’d encourage passengers to plan their journey in advance or make alternative arrangements.”
Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia managing director, said: “We’ve worked closely with Network Rail to reduce the overall impact of works on customers to carry out this important upgrade.
“We’ve given customers as much notice as possible of the nine days of intensive works and tried to answer all of their questions about the blockade.
“We apologise for any inconvenience the works causes and thank customers for their continued patience.”
The train service between Wickford and London Liverpool Street will be revised, with shorter trains running less frequently. This is because access to the Southend depot – where trains are parked, maintained and cleaned overnight – will be suspended by the works and there is no alternative location available.
Passengers should be aware that c2c trains will be very busy, so seats may not be available. Passengers are also advised not to drive to c2c stations as car parking is very limited.
The overhead wires that power the trains were installed in the 1950s and can sag in hot weather. To prevent them getting tangled with the train, speed restrictions have to be imposed, which cause delays.
Over the course of the works, Network Rail is replacing 128km of overhead wires 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.
We’re also replacing over 500 structures that support the wires at the correct height and tension as part of the £46m project.