Weekend rail closures come to an end – but Easter shut-down on the cards

Network Rail engineers working on the track at Witham.

Network Rail engineers working on the track at Witham. - Credit: Archant

The eight mainline weekend shut-downs have come to an end – with the work being completed on schedule and with little unexpected disruption.

For the last eight weekends the line has been closed between Manningtree and Billericay with passengers using a bus shuttle – but from next weekend the rail line will be open again.

Network Rail has replaced trackwork and points at a number of locations in Essex, including Colchester, Marks Tey, and Witham.

Although the lines will be open again this weekend, there will be another two-day closure on Easter Sunday and Monday to allow work to be carried out between Shenfield and Liverpool Street.

Trains will run as far as Ingatestone on these days – and there will be a bus link to Newbury Park on London Underground’s Central Line.

The following weekend (April 11-12) the line between Ipswich and Norwich will be closed for further engineering work.

The work is part of a £170 million upgrade to the Great Eastern Main Line during 2015, and should improve reliability on the route.

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Richard Schofield, Network Rail route managing director, said: “It is only by continuing to invest in improving our infrastructure that we will be able to provide a more reliable service for passengers who rely on this line.

“The line from London Liverpool Street to Norwich carries a huge amount of traffic and this work is absolutely vital to provide passengers with a better service. We would like to thank passengers in advance for bearing with us over Easter as it will mean some changes to their travel plans.”

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer was very critical of Network Rail last summer after a succession of engineering over-runs following weekend closures.

He said the work this winter showed the benefits of better planning: “I’m not fully convinced that everything is perfect, but Network Rail have make contingency plans and have managed to ensure the work is completed on time.

“All this work is part of a half-a-billion pound investment on the railway line over a period of years which is vital if it is going to be transformed into a modern network.”

There are also proposed line closures over the bank holiday weekends at the beginning and end of May – full details are published on the website of Abellio Greater Anglia.

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