We're upgrading the overhead line systems to improve reliability for passengers. 

Overhead electrification renewal work

The Great Eastern main line’s overhead electrification system between Stratford and Chelmsford, and the Southend Victoria line is being upgraded for the first time since the 1950s with a new auto-tension system to make train journeys more reliable in the summer months.

What have we completed so far?

Passengers are already benefitting from the upgrade of the overhead lines between Forest Gate and Chelmsford which was competed at the end of 2018. The upgrade of the overhead lines between Shenfield and Southend Victoria was completed in 2019.

Stratford to Maryland Overhead line renewals

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

We have already begun to renew the overhead line equipment in this complex area around Stratford station and up to Maryland and we have completed significant works since the autumn 2020.

Easter 2021 and beyond

The project will continue to upgrade the overhead line system during the Easter bank holiday weekend from 20:00 on Thursday 1 April to 06:00 Tuesday 6 April.  

Additional work will take place from 20:00 on Friday 9 April to 06:00 on Monday 12 April.  

The Stratford OLE upgrade project will continue into 2021. Additional dates will be announced in due course to allow us to complete the Stratford overhead wire renewal project.  

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.