Network Rail colleagues from across the Anglia region have been working to keep passengers and vital supplies moving in their roles as key workers during the Covid-19 crisis.
Despite the challenging circumstances, colleagues like Ipswich track section manager, Ben Bean, and his team have continued to deliver critical work to keep the railway running safely. Ben’s team is based in Ipswich and responsible for over 27 miles of track on the London to Norwich main line between Ardleigh to Haughley and also covers the Bury, Felixstowe and Harwich branch lines.
The main line would usually see hundreds of services a day with thousands of passengers, but fewer services now doesn’t necessarily mean less maintenance. The tracks, sleepers, ballast and equipment still need to be kept in good condition for key workers who are using it now and to prevent issues building up for when the usual service returns. Crucial inspections also need to be carried out to maintain safety.
The team have recently fixed a track defect at Westerfield so that a 20 mph speed restriction could be removed on the critical line for Felixstowe port, important for distributing goods and medical supplies around the country.
Ben said: “We’re absolutely committed to our role as key workers and understand how important it is to keep services running for those who need to use them. We’ve changed the way we work to adhere to social distancing guidelines, carrying out our briefings and work at a safe distance.
“The maintenance we carry out now will prevent issues becoming bigger and more difficult to fix in future and means less disruption when the usual train service resumes. Its vital that we maintain the railway for those who need it now and to improve reliability for the future.”
Railway staff from across Network Rail have been working hard to keep signal boxes and control centres across Britain open 24/7, while maintaining vital infrastructure. This allows passengers whose journeys are essential, to continue travelling to work and means vital food and medical supplies can be transported across the country via freight services.