Latest Rail News


Norwich to London closures over Christmas as engineers replace 1950s wiring

Network Rail has announced a 10-day track closure over the Christmas period as engineers continue a £250m wire-replacement programme.

Work between London and Norwich will see over 10km of wiring replaced – much of which was installed in the 1950s.

The sections contain some of the oldest structures and wiring in the country and it has been known to cause delays when the weather is warm as the wires sag and force trains to travel more slowly to avoid damaging them.

The new wires are controlled by a system of weights which keeps tension in the wires at all times to stop them falling into the path of trains.

NR has also announced upgrade work between Brentwood and Stratford as part of the Crossrail programme.

This will include track and signalling modernisation at Gidea Park sidings to prepare for the longer Elizabeth line trains; continued work on step-free stations; and engineering work at Pudding Mill Lane near Stratford to connect the Elizabeth line’s central tunnel section to the main line in preparation for the line to open at the end of 2018.

Meliha Duymaz, NR’s route managing director for Anglia, confirmed that the work was part of the Railway Upgrade Plan.

She added: “While there will be short-term disruption, the benefits for passengers are real and will last for decades as modern, more reliable infrastructure is installed and preparations made for the introduction of new services and new trains on the Elizabeth line.”  

Greater Anglia have reassured passengers that they will be able to complete journeys over the period of closures, although some may have to be by bus.

The operator’s managing director, Jamie Burles, said: “These works are crucial if we are to get the modern railway we need in East Anglia and combined with the new trains we’re getting to replace every single train on our network, should lead to a transformed railway for us all.”

The work begins on Saturday 23 December for a 10-day period.

Southampton disruption

There will also be closures on SWR services through Southampton from this weekend.

On Sunday 10 and 17 December, NR will be disrupting trains as preparatory work begins on an £8m project Mount Pleasant Road next to the River Itchen.

The programme involves track engineering work and will run fully through 24 December to New Year’s Day, it will affect services through the Southampton area, including between London and Bournemouth, Poole and Weymouth.

Chris Loder, SWR head of strategy, commented: “We encourage passengers to avoid travelling on Christmas Eve if they can and to be prepared for longer journey times between Christmas and New Year.

“We’re doing all we can to minimise disruption and make sure we get all our passengers to their destination over the festive period. Please check before travelling, either online or at one of our stations.”

Top image: Network Rail

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an RTM columnist? If so, click here


Andrew Gwilt   08/12/2017 at 12:44

The Southend Victoria Line will also close as Network Rail are also replacing overhead wires. Which means replacement buses will be introduced on most of the network. Including trains replaced by buses on the Crouch Valley Line. Along with c2c that would accept Greater Anglia tickets for passengers traveling from Southend to London.

Andrew JG   08/12/2017 at 13:26

The overhead wires between Bromley-by-Bow and Fenchurch Street and between Ardwick-Hatfield/Gosslop that have been installed in the 1950’s will also be replaced by new overhead wires that are designed not to sag. And were energised at 1500v DC before conversion to 25,000v AC (except the Woodhead Line that was closed permanently due to the Beeching Axe).

Mark Sudbury   08/12/2017 at 14:57

New AC 25kv overhead wires means less disruptions than older overhead wires that has caused so many problems in the past including sagging in hot weather.

Andrew Gwilt   08/12/2017 at 17:32

Plus Network Rail will also be replacing the overhead wires between Ilford (Ilford Flyover) and Stratford aswell replacing the overhead wires at Stratford station.

Anonymous Person   08/12/2017 at 23:57

More information can be found on the Network Rail website about the overhead wiring renewals.

Essex Commuter   10/12/2017 at 20:33

About time that Network Rail are improving the railways in Essex during the Christmas period and New Year with new overhead wires that will be erected and are designed not to sag during hot summer weather and can also cope with cold winter weather and elements that these new overhead wires are designed to cope with. Plus with new overhead wires soon to be installed on Southend Victoria Line that will mean less disruptions and more improved train services. Keep up the good work Network Rail.

Not Andrew Gwilt   11/12/2017 at 00:05

Thought I'd break the chain of comments from Andrew, under his various aliases from Anonymous Person, Essex Commuter and Andrew JG (as well as occasionally his own name), just to add my question as to why this work has taken so so long? I have lived on this line all through my working life and this "Upgrade" excuse has been given for continuous bouts of work for many many years now. Trains to London at weekends have been a vision for years with coaches homing in normally at Ingatestone and occasionally Witham. I appreciate the improvements - if I live long enough to see them!

The Real Slim Gwilty   11/12/2017 at 13:26

Should mention the Southampton engineering work too. I'm not always focused on Norwich, Southend and all branch lines in between. They need to build a second tunnel into Southampton station to improve freight access and train services from First Group/MTR, Govia and potentially Trenitalia

Andrew JG   11/12/2017 at 14:45

Tell that to Network Rail, government and other rail companies @The Real Slim Gwilty. They would love your input on what you commented.

Allhailthegwilt   11/12/2017 at 19:26

Thankyou so much Andrew for repeating the information in the article during your various comments as I wasn’t able to understand it the first time round. What would we do without you.

Andrew Gwilt   12/12/2017 at 02:14

Your welcome. NOT.

Add your comment

Rail industry Focus

View all News


The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >

'the sleepers' blog

On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

29/06/2020On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

Following an independent audit, Sulzer’s Nottingham Service Centre has been accepted as part of the rail industry supplier approval scheme (RISAS). The accreditation reinforces the high-quality standards that are maintained by Sulzer’s... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he would not rule out his organisation issuing future r... more >
Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projects across the UK, Pearson Business School, part of... more >