Weekend rail disruption on Great Eastern line may carry on until 2019
PUBLISHED: 14:52 15 May 2017 | UPDATED: 15:24 15 May 2017
Rail passengers heading to London for a weekend day out from East Anglia could face disruption off and on for another two years, it has emerged.
But during the summer there should be relatively trouble-free journeys after the start of June.
Saturday rail services on the Great Eastern Main Line to London are now clear until the end of August – but for the next three Sundays there will be a bus replacement for part of the journey.
Next Sunday there will be buses between Colchester and Chelmsford. The following Sunday, and Bank Holiday Monday, there will be no trains south of Ingatestone because of more work at Shenfield. And on Sunday, June 4, there will be no trains between Diss and Manningtree.
From the following weekend, however, services should run without planned disruption until the August Bank Holiday weekend when another 48-hour shutdown is planned.
A spokeswoman for Network Rail said: “During the summer the lines should be open to trains although there could be some restrictions because one track may be worked on at any one time. There may also be buses covering some early morning or late evening services.”
She said the work to prepare tracks for Crossrail (Elizabeth Line) services would continue until that opened in 2019 – and there was also track renewal work on other parts of the network that should be completed by the time Greater Anglia’s new trains are introduced from 2019-20.
The spokeswoman said: “By the time the new trains are coming into service the track, overhead wires and signalling should be fully up to date and journeys should be much better.”
Exact details of line closures during the autumn have yet to be decided, but it was likely there would be some weekends this year when buses would replace trains.
Full details of changes will be published well in advance on the websites of Network Rail and Greater Anglia – enabling passengers to see how their journeys are likely to be affected.
There could still be more disruption into the early 2020s – if the line is to achieve its aim of running most trains between London and Ipswich in 60 minutes significant further track improvements will have to be made, even after the new trains are introduced.
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