Network Rail has completed the installation of a new overhead wiring system on the Southend Victoria branch line in a £46 million upgrade to improve reliability for key workers currently using the line and in the long term when passengers return to work.
This is the first time the wiring system has been upgraded since it was installed in the 1950s, bringing this busy line up to 21st century standards.
More than 100km of new overhead wire has been installed between Southend Victoria and Shenfield, where the branch line joins with the new overhead line system on the main line, which means a new wiring system is in place from Southend to London. The new system adapts to temperature changes which is particularly important in hot weather, meaning fewer delays and cancellations and overall reliability improvements all year round.
Network Rail’s engineers sped up the extensive work programme by carrying out a nine-day closure and working on some weeknights. This meant that the work was completed two months earlier, with 11 fewer weeks of mid-week closures and six fewer weekend closures.
Ellie Burrows, Network Rail route director, Anglia, said: “This work was vital to bring the equipment up to 21st century standards which hugely improves reliability and brings the line up to the modern standards seen on other parts of the network.
“I’d like to thank our Southend passengers for their patience and support while we carried out this extensive work programme. I understand that this has been a difficult time for passengers, especially at the weekends, but I’m confident that these crucial improvements will support the growing number of people using the line for years to come.”