A hugely ambitious £46M improvement programme, designed to tackle issues of reliability and reduce delays along the Southend Victoria line, has been bolstered by overnight works to bring lasting benefit to passengers much quicker.
Network Rail introduced overnight working in May of this year and 109 masts have been installed in the months since. These masts, erected as part of the organisation’s ongoing Railway Upgrade Plan, will form the underlying structure that will one day carry an approximate 128km of overhead cabling.
For reference, 143 masts were installed along the 22 mile route last year – mostly during weekend closures – which gives some indication of the recent progress made. With almost half the number of masts required now erected, work looks set to continued until mid-December 2017.
According to Network Rail, much of the current cabling dates back to the 1950s. In fact, the structures currently in place represent some of the oldest examples of their kind in operation today. This aged infrastructure is being replaced with taut 21st century cabling that won’t sag in hot weather, avoiding the need for frustrating speed restrictions.
“This work is critical to making journeys more reliable between Southend Victoria and London as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan and we’ve made considerable progress in just two months,” said Meliha Duymaz, Network Rail’s Route Managing Director. “Getting started earlier in the evening has given us time to complete more work so passengers will benefit from a more reliable railway sooner. Work is ongoing and I urge those travelling in the late evening to check how their journey will be affected and thank passengers for their patience.”
Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia Managing Director, added: “While Network Rail engineers carry out this work, we have arranged a replacement bus service to make sure customers can complete their journeys. Together with Network Rail, we are modernising the railway in Essex. This work will improve the infrastructure and we are bringing in brand new trains with air conditioning, free fast wifi and plug and USB sockets. I know it’s inconvenient for customers while the work is carried out, but I hope they will agree it will be worth it in the long run.”