Network Rail completes track work on main line from East Anglia to London
- Credit: Archant
Track replacement work at Maryland, on the approach to Stratford in east London, has been completed – meaning that trains from East Anglia should now be able to reach the capital without problems.
But the trains currently running on the line are for key workers only – and since the coronavirus crisis hit, passenger numbers have fallen to just 5% of normal travellers. The government is supporting the rail industry to keep an emergency service running for these key workers.
Network Rail engineers renewed four crossovers over the course of eight weekends – these are sections of track which allow trains to change from one track to another. These are crucial in reducing delays when there are issues on one of the tracks ahead.
This is a busy junction relied upon for moving thousands of passengers and freight services in and out of Liverpool Street and around the region. Track is replaced to reduce the number of track faults, which cause delays. The new track is expected to last 25 years.
Over time, track becomes worn from constant use. Maintenance teams service the track overnight but eventually it will need to be replaced. It takes a total of 50 hours to take out the old track and sleepers and replace them with the new ones, so this cannot be carried out overnight.
Ellie Burrows, Network Rail’s route director for Anglia, said: “Although most of our passengers are staying at home right now, our engineers are still carrying out essential work like this to keep services running smoothly and safely every day for key workers and to keep vital freight services moving.
“This work will improve reliability for years to come, meaning fewer delays and cancellations now and when our passengers return.”
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Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia’s managing director, said: “We would like to thank customers for their patience while this work was carried out.
“The completion of this work means that trains can now run at their normal speed again, so there will be fewer delays and a more punctual service through this key piece of track.
“These improvements are essential and will help ensure key workers reach their destinations on time.
“We have already started to introduce new intercity trains on the line between Norwich and London, which further helps the transformation of the railway in East Anglia.
“While many of our customers are heeding government advice and staying at home, we are very thankful to our railway colleagues, both at Greater Anglia and Network Rail, who are continuing to keep the railway open for essential travel.”