Rail repairs 'will not overrun again'

RAIL operator National Express East Anglia reassured commuters last night that engineering work would not overrun after it emerged Liverpool Street station will close again next month.

Danielle Nuttall

RAIL operator National Express East Anglia reassured commuters last night that engineering work would not overrun after it emerged Liverpool Street station will close again next month.

The station will shut on the Bank Holiday weekend of Sunday, May 4 and Monday, May 5 for “vital engineering work”, Transport for London (TfL) said.

The closure is necessary to allow a team of engineers to roll an 800-tonne bridge into place as part of work to link the new London Overground network to an extended East London Line.

TfL said Liverpool Street would reopen in time for the start of services on Tuesday May 6.

It will mean rail services from Suffolk and Essex will terminate at Stratford over the weekend and passengers will travel on to Liverpool Street Underground station, which will remain unaffected.

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Network Rail (NR) is using the closure to carry out works between Stratford and Liverpool Street, including overhead line renewal, track renewal, and signalling maintenance.

Work that NR was carrying out at Liverpool Street overran at the beginning of the year - one of three NR Christmas/New Year overruns which led to travel chaos for thousands of rail passengers.

NR was fined a record £14 million by the Office of Rail Regulation for the overruns.

There were more problems for passengers using lines into Liverpool Street immediately after further Easter engineering work by NR last month.

Neil Skinner, chairman of the Manningtree Rail Users Association, said last night: “Let's hope it is third time lucky.

“There have been two major disasters in three months. If they are going to close Liverpool Street again let's hope they get it right.”

David Bigg, chairman of the Witham and Braintree Rail Users' Association, added: “We are keeping our fingers and toes crossed. Please get it right the third time. We will not be happy if you don't.”

But National Express East Anglia spokesman Peter Meades reassured the region's commuters last night services would be back to normal on time.

“Obviously we are working with Network Rail and TfL to plan the work. There is nothing to indicate the project will not carry forward as it should do according to the schedule,” he said.

“We have received all the necessary assurances from Network Rail to that effect. We expect the project to be completed on schedule and not to impact on passenger journeys on Tuesday, May 6.”

A spokesman for Network Rail said: “We are confident this essential maintenance and renewal work will be completed on schedule with the minimum of disruption to commuters and passengers.”

TfL said the work was being carried out over the last two days of the bank holiday because fewer people than normal use the station, minimising disruption.

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