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We're upgrading the overhead line systems on the main lines out of London Liverpool Street and on the mainline out of Fenchurch Street station to improve reliability for all our passengers.  

Overhead electrification renewal work

Great Eastern Main line and the Southend Victoria line 

The Great Eastern main line’s overhead electrification system between Forest Gate and Chelmsford, and the Southend Victoria line has been upgraded for the first time since the 1950s with a new auto-tension system to make train journeys more reliable in the summer months. Passengers are now benefitting from these upgrades of the overhead lines which was competed at the end of 2018.  

The upgrade of the overhead lines between Shenfield and Southend Victoria was completed in 2019 reducing the impact of heat related speed restrictions on this important line into Southend.  

Stratford to Maryland Overhead line renewals

Strafford is the most complex section of the Great Eastern main line to be upgraded and includes a major junction where several lines converge, supporting many passenger services to key destinations. 

We have already replaced much of the overhead line equipment in this complex area around Stratford station and up to Maryland. There are some over head wire renewals still to be completed and these are being planned in for a later date (to be confirmed).  

East London and Essex main line 

From 2021, we’re working between Fenchurch Street and Pitsea (via the Tilbury loop) and along the mainline to Hornchurch to replace over 50 kilometres of over-head wire. We’ll also be installing new auto tension systems that prevents the wire sagging in hot weather, reducing the potential for heat related delays and cancellations.   

For more information please visit our East London and Essex railway upgrade project webpage.

Why are Overhead wire important?

Wires provide the power for electric trains to run. The train has an arm called a pantograph which draws the power from the wires. When the wires sag, which typically happens when the weather is hot, the arm can get caught in the wires and rip them down. To avoid this happening, speed restrictions are imposed, which leads to delays and cancellations. The new wiring system prevents the wires from sagging which means fewer speed restrictions and fewer delays and cancellations.

Contact us about our OLE renewals programme

If you’re interested in finding out more about our programme to replace overhead wires, please contact us by visiting our contact us page or by calling our 24-hour national helpline on 03457 11 41 41.

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