Countdown to nine-day closure between Southend Victoria and Wickford

Published on: Friday, 10 May 2019
Last updated: Friday, 10 May 2019

Passengers are reminded to plan their journeys in advance as in two weeks, there will be no trains between Southend Victoria and Wickford for nine days as part of a £46m upgrade of the overhead wires.

Between Saturday 25 May and Sunday 2 June (inclusive), the railway line between Wickford and Southend Victoria will be closed.

Customers are advised to make alternative travel arrangements, as there will only be a limited rail replacement bus service and a reduced train service between Wickford and London Liverpool Street. Timetables are available on the Greater Anglia website.

The train service between Wickford and London Liverpool Street will be revised, with shorter trains running less frequently, because access to the Southend depot - where trains are parked, maintained and cleaned overnight - will also be blocked by the works and there is not an alternative location to keep them.

Greater Anglia customers who hold a monthly season ticket or longer can use can use c2c services for the whole nine days of the line closure, changing at London Fenchurch Street or Limehouse for connections.

Passengers should be aware that c2c trains will be very busy, so seats may not be available in addition, they are advised not to drive to c2c stations as car parking will be very limited.

The overhead wires that power the trains were installed in the 1950s and can sag in hot weather. To prevent them getting tangled with the train, speed restrictions have to be imposed, which cause delays.

Network Rail is replacing 128km of overhead wires with a new auto tension system that adapts to temperature changes and will be more reliable. We’re also replacing over 500 structures that support the wires at the correct height and tension.

The closure of the line will mean the bulk of the work will finish two months earlier in March 2020 instead of May 2020, with 11 fewer weeks of mid-week closures and six fewer weekend closures.

Meliha Duymaz, Network Rail’s route managing director for Anglia, said: “We are working with Greater Anglia to make sure passengers are informed about the upgrades taking place between Wickford and Southend Victoria later this month.

“While I appreciate the inconvenience this will cause passengers, closing the line for nine days will allow us to carry out much more work compared to a series of more limited mid-week or weekend closures.

“I’d encourage passengers to plan their journey in advance or make alternative arrangements.”

Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia managing director, said: “We’ve worked closely with Network Rail to reduce the overall impact works to carry out this important upgrade have on customers.

“We’ve given customers as much notice as possible of the nine days of intensive works and tried to answer all of their questions about the blockade.

“We apologise for any inconvenience the works causes and thank customers for their continued patience.”