This Easter, we'll start work to make your rail services more reliable in Essex and East London.
Over the next four years, we're investing more than £80m in replacing 50 kilometres of wire. It's an important part of work to upgrade the overhead line equipment (OLE) – which gives power to electric trains – from Fenchurch Street to Hornchurch in London, and to Pitsea in Essex, along the Tilbury line.
Our Easter works around Britain will take place from Friday 2 to Monday 5 April 2021 and will involve 600 upgrades and routine maintenance projects around Britain.
We're reminding you to continue to follow Government advice around the use of public transport and minimise travel over the Easter bank holiday.
If you do need to travel by rail over this period, please plan ahead and check whether the works will affect your journey.
You can find out how our improvement projects will affect your Easter journeys with your train operator, via National Rail Enquiries or by following #EasterRailWorks on Twitter.
What's happening in Essex and East London this Easter?
We're making vital improvements to the overhead line equipment. We use OLE in many places across Britain because electric trains are better for the environment than diesel trains. They’re also quieter for people on board the train and those living close to the railway.
Problems with the OLE – such as power failures or extreme hot weather, causing the wires to expand and sag – can lead to delays to train services. These problems can be complex to resolve, requiring us to slow down or cancel services through the area.
This upcoming improvement work will support the wider economy as we emerge from lockdown, delivering a more reliable and sustainable system that will require less maintenance. This means less cost to the taxpayer and less disruption to passengers visiting the area in the future.
It’s not just the overhead line equipment that keeps the railway running smoothly. Just like road surfaces, track also gets worn from constant use. Our skilled teams of engineers carry out inspections and repairs regularly, but over time the track becomes so worn that a full replacement is the only option to avoid speed restrictions that cause delays and cancellations to services.
Over the next four years, we're refurbishing structures and replacing track and points – that allow trains to change tracks – along the line from Fenchurch Street to Shoeburyness and along the Tilbury line.
Once replaced, we expect the track and points to last about 25 years. This will mean fewer track faults, fewer closures for maintenance and better reliability for your journeys.