Weekend trains to run again on main line from East Anglia to London
- Credit: Archant
Visitors hoping to make weekend day trips to London from now on should find rail journeys much easier after Network Rail completed a major track replacement programme over the Easter holiday period.
The main line to London was closed south of Ingatestone while engineers re-laid track and other rail infrastructure at Gidea Park.
Now that has been completed, the series of winter weekend closures on the line has ended – and trains should run as normal on most Saturdays and Sundays from now on.
There are a few Sundays where buses will replace trains at other places on the line – this Sunday buses will replace trains between Diss and Norwich, and on April 29 buses will replace trains between Ipswich and Colchester – but there will not be major disruption.
There will be further line closures nearer London over the two May and August bank holiday weekends – but full details of those have still to be published. The early May weekend is likely to only see a complete main-line closure on the Sunday.
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A spokeswoman for Network Rail said the engineers appeared to have broken the back of the major track upgrade work on the line towards London which is linked to the construction of the new Crossrail “Elizabeth Line” under the capital.
“There will be more closures at bank holidays, and looking further ahead over the Christmas and New Year period, but we hope that so far as the main line is concerned the bulk of the work is now completed.”
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Network Rail’s team worked the equivalent of 13,000 hours to carry out improvements between Gidea Park and Forest Gate – including 5km of new overhead wire and nine new track crossings.
Meliha Duymaz, Network Rail’s route managing director for Anglia, said: “This work is important to support the growth in passenger numbers and to improve reliability on the busy main line as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan. I’d like to thank passengers for their patience while we carried out this work.”
Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia managing director, said: “We’d like to thank customers for their patience during this period of engineering works, when they had to complete their journeys by bus.
“We appreciate it’s frustrating for customers while the transformation takes place but the railway will soon be fit for future generations.”