Following customer feedback, the £46m project work to replace the entire overhead wiring system and structures on the railway between Southend Victoria and Shenfield is expected to finish sooner than originally planned.
The new plan sees a reduction of 11 weeks of midweek night works and six weekend works compared to previous plans. This will enable the majority of the work in the project to finish two months early in March 2020, instead of May 2020. Following this, there will be a final closure for works over the weekend of 18-19 April 2020 to replace the track ballast to enable efficient drainage for the new infrastructure.
This has been made possible by deploying additional resources and agreeing a nine-day closure of the branch line between Wickford and Southend Victoria at the end of May 2019 that will help get more upgrade work done in less time.
The Southend blockade has been a success so far, works are on track with trains and buses running on time and no customers left behind. Thank you all for your patience.
Why is this work necessary?
The overhead wires and supporting structures which power our trains are over 60 years old. The wires can sag in hot weather leading to speed restrictions being imposed. By installing a new auto tension system, this will help keep the wires at the correct tension in the hot weather and avoid the need to impose speed restrictions. Network Rail is replacing 128km of overhead wires between Southend Victoria and Shenfield
The revised plan
We understand your frustrations caused by these inconvenient rail replacement bus services during late night, mid-weeks and at weekends. So over the last few months, we have been working with Network Rail to look at what can be done to speed up the works and for them to be carried out at times which are less inconvenient for you.
The revised plan from September 2019 includes:
Weekend works will resume and the plan is currently being agreed by all parties. While this is subject to change, these are the works that are likely to take place:
- A programme of weekend work, with rail replacement between some stations most weekends over September, October and November.
- In December, works will be scaled back to Sunday mornings only from 2.15am – 9.00am on 1, 8, 15 and 22 December.
- Train services to be suspended on the branch line between Christmas and New Year 2019, with work planned to focus on the complex junction at Wickford.
- A final phase of weekend works, when buses replace trains, to begin from the 25-26 January 2020 and continues every weekend until the end of March, with one final weekend required on 18 and 19 April 2020 (Easter weekend).
- In addition to the above overhead line work, we will need to undertake midweek track work in early 2020, but this should be possible to complete while keeping most trains running. The Southminster line should remain open as normal while the works on the Southend Victoria line are completed.
|Saturday 28 September||Trains running|
|Sunday 29 September||Buses will replace trains between Shenfield and Southend Victoria / Southminster all weekend|
|Saturday 5 October - Sunday 6 October||Buses will replace trains between Shenfield and Southend Victoria / Southminster all weekend.|
|Saturday 12 October - Sunday 13 October||Buses will replace trains between Shenfield and Southend Victoria / Southminster all weekend|
|Saturday 19 October - Sunday 20 October||Buses will replace trains between Shenfield and Southend Victoria / Southminster all weekend|
|Saturday 26 October - Sunday 27 October||Buses will replace trains between Shenfield and Southend Victoria / Southminster all weekend|
|Saturday 2 November - Sunday 3 November||Buses will replace trains between Shenfield and Southend Victoria / Southminster all day|
|Saturday 9 November - Sunday 10 November||Normal train service all weekend|
|Saturday 16 November - Sunday 17 November||Buses will replace trains between Shenfield and Southend Victoria / Southminster all day|
|Saturday 23 November - Sunday 24 November||Buses will replace trains between Shenfield and Southend Victoria / Southminster all day|
|Saturday 30 November||Sunday 1 December|
|Sunday 1 December||Work happening between 2.00am - 9.00am only|
Revised rail and bus timetables for the nine day closure from 25 May to 2 June are now online, please check the daily service alterations.
Ticket acceptance has now been agreed for Greater Anglia monthly or longer and annual season ticket holders only for all nine days of the line closure. Greater Anglia customers should use Fenchurch Street and Limehouse stations.
Passengers should be aware that c2c trains will be very busy and so they may not get a seat. In addition, they are advised not to drive to c2c stations, as there will be very limited capacity at station car parks.