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Last leg for Network Rail’s engineering works means three more months of buses for weekend travellers

PUBLISHED: 11:57 10 December 2018 | UPDATED: 17:13 10 December 2018

Engineers are replacing overhead lines between Shenfield and Stratford. Picture: NETWORK RAIL

Engineers are replacing overhead lines between Shenfield and Stratford. Picture: NETWORK RAIL

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Rail passengers hoping to make a weekend rail trip to London from East Anglia at the beginning of 2019 are facing three more months of disruption and replacement bus journeys.

Greater Anglia passengers will face more bus journeys in early 2019. Picture: NEIL PERRYGreater Anglia passengers will face more bus journeys in early 2019. Picture: NEIL PERRY

But Network Rail says that by April the £250m project to replace outdated overhead wires between Stratford and Chelmsford will be finished and there should be no further long-term line closures.

For the fourth winter running, Network Rail is closing the rail line between Ingatestone and Liverpool street for the best part of the first three months of the year . . . following a total closure of the London end of the route between Christmas and the New Year.

There will be bus replacement services on the line to London every weekend from the end of January to the end of March.

These will be the familiar bus replacements to Newbury Park Central Line station from either Ingatestone or Witham stations. The only exception is the weekend of 16/17 February when the buses will be running from Ipswich to Colchester instead.

The closures will allow Network Rail to continue replacing overhead wires at Forest Gate station – and to continue with the rebuilding of Shenfield near Brentwood.

This work started at Christmas 2015 as part of the Crossrail project to build a new line under London – and should mean that the new trains being introduced by Greater Anglia from next May do not have to slow down in high temperatures because of sagging overhead lines.

Meliha Duymaz, Network Rail’s route managing director for Anglia, said: “We are making a huge investment into Anglia’s rail network to carry out major improvements to rail travel in the region as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan.

“I’d like to thank passengers for their patience while we carry out this work and advise them to check before they travel.”

Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia Managing Director said: “We know customers would rather stay on the train all the way to their destination, but I’d like to assure passengers that they will still be able to complete their journeys, even if part of it is by bus.

“We’re sorry that customers are inconvenienced by these works, but together with Network Rail, we’re working to transform the railway in East Anglia. Next year the first of our new trains will come into service.”

Where will the disruption hit?

Rail replacement services will run at weekends in 2019 as follows:

Sunday 13 January: Ingatestone to Newbury Park

Sunday 27 January: Ingatestone to Newbury Park

Saturday/Sunday 2/3 February: Ingatestone to Newbury Park

Saturday/Sunday 9/10 February: Ingatestone to Newbury Park

Saturday/Sunday 16/17 February: Colchester to Ipswich

Saturday 23 February: Ingatestone to Newbury Park

Sunday 24 February: Witham to Newbury Park

Saturday 2 March: Ingatestone to Newbury Park

Sunday 3 March: Witham to Newbury Park

Saturday/Sunday 9/10 March: Ingatestone to Newbury Park

Saturday/Sunday 16/17 March: Ingatestone to Newbury Park

Saturday/Sunday 23/24 March: Ingatestone to Newbury Park

Saturday/Sunday 30/31 March: Ingatestone to Newbury Park

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