Everything you need to know about our service during engineering works September to December 2017
The next four months sees Network Rail’s orange army embark on some big engineering projects on the Greater Anglia network to improve the tracks and overhead lines to reduce delays and make services more reliable.
The works will mainly affect weekend services from London to Southend; Norwich; and Cheshunt; as well as some rural services, from September to December, with a full ten day-closure from London to Shenfield from 23 December 2017 until 1 January 2018 inclusive.
Here is a brief summary of the works taking place - more detail can be found at www.networkrail.co.uk :
- Important upgrades for the Crossrail programme and work to install new overhead wires on the line between Norwich and London will take place at weekends from October to December, with a ten-day closure between London and Shenfield at Christmas.
- New track will be installed in the Ipswich and Colchester areas on the Norwich – London mainline at weekends in September and October to reduce delays and make services more reliable. New track will be installed between Stowmarket and Manningtree during the first three Sunday closures. Following that, more new track will be installed between Marks Tey and Witham.
- Work to build a new track between Stratford and Angel Road is being stepped up this autumn as part of the £170m Lee Valley Rail Programme to increase services and boost local regeneration.
It may feel like this work has all arrived at once, creating unnecessary inconvenience for people in East Anglia so why now?
Well the truth is that a lot of this work is long overdue and it’s great that it’s finally happening because it should result in fewer delays and a more reliable railway, which is want we all want to see. Our region has suffered from under-investment for many years, so the fact that we are going to receive the latest in railway infrastructure technology is extremely welcome and will put our railway in much better shape for the future.
It could also be argued that a shorter spell of intensive work is preferable to much longer periods of sporadic works. The teams at Greater Anglia and Network Rail spend many hours negotiating together about the timings and duration of works to try to ensure the best outcome for passengers.
This is why most of the work is scheduled to take place at weekends or late at night, because we know that this inconveniences the least amount of people and enables us to continue to operate busy commuter services during the week, avoiding disruption for those who rely on us to get to and from work and school.
While we do not enjoy disrupting weekend leisure travel, the work has to be done sometime and because weekends tend to be quieter and often people travelling at weekends can be a little more flexible, we hope that this approach inconveniences fewer people overall.
While this work is taking place Greater Anglia will be drafting in rail replacement bus services to ensure that you can still travel, so although journeys will take a bit longer than usual, the railway is still open and you can still reach your destination. We also put on additional staff to point you to the buses and provide information and assistance to make the process as smooth as possible.
Planning a journey during engineering works can feel confusing and to help we have created a handy calendar www.greateranglia.co.uk/servicealterations which details the works taking place each day and links to a timetable so that you can see all the amended train times, where rail replacement buses are operating and how much longer your journey will take, to help you better plan your journey.
People often feel that if they travel during engineering works there should be some sort of compensation or discount offered. While we are sorry for any inconvenience caused during engineering works, we do not offer additional discounts other than those already available by booking advance fares and group save deals. Delay Repay compensation is still available if the amended timetables do not go to plan. So if your journey is delayed by 30 minutes or more than that stated in the amended timetables, you can still apply for compensation here: www.greateranglia.co.uk/delayrepay
We appreciate that journeys involving a rail replacement bus can be a little longer than usual, but this is planned and stated on the amended timetables and therefore, is not classed as a delay.
What will the work achieve?
Some of the engineering work taking place for the next four months is geared towards the introduction of the new Crossrail service, also known as the Elizabeth Line, which will provide new and faster journey opportunities across central London but this work will also benefit passengers from our region by creating a more convenient way to get into central London, especially for users or people with pushchairs, by avoiding the busy Central Line.
At the same time, Network Rail will be carrying out additional works which will bring benefits for passengers on the Greater Anglia network.
For example, on the mainline between Norwich and London, new track and drainage will be installed and the overhead wires will be upgraded as part of a £250m project. The wires and structures that are currently in place were installed in the 1950s and the system is one of the oldest in the country. When the weather gets hot, the wires sag and speed restrictions have to be imposed to protect them from damage by trains. The new wires are controlled by a system of weights, to keep them taut at all times, so trains can pass at their normal speed meaning fewer delays.
On the Southend to London Liverpool Street line work will continue to install the new overhead wires.
On the West Anglia route, the work involves building a new track between Stratford and Angel Road as part of the £170m Lee Valley Rail Programme to increase services and boost local regeneration. Once complete, the extra track will enable two additional trains per hour. Improvements will also be made at Northumberland Park and Tottenham Hale stations to improve access for passengers.
We appreciate that this is a long period of engineering works covering a number of different locations. Greater Anglia staff will be on hand to help you during your journey and you can also follow updates on Twitter @greateranglia.
It is a good idea to check our service alterations calendar before you travel and plan your journey in advance. We will do our utmost to help you on the day and we thank you in advance for your understanding and patience while these essential improvements take place.