NO TRAINS will be running between Southend Victoria and Wickford for nine days as part of a £46m project.

From Saturday May 25 to Saturday June 2, over 112 engineers will be working 24 hours a day to replace the overhead wires and supporting structures which power the Greater Anglia trains, due to their age at 60 years old.

Works are in place to prevent the overhead wires getting tangled with the train, which results in speed restrictions being imposed, causing delays.

The nine-day development will involve the installation of eight structures, the replacement of 27.8k of overhead wire, the removal of 33 redundant structures and bringing two electrified train crossovers into service, which help trains change between the tracks.

A new auto tension system which adapts to temperature changes will also be installed to help keep the wires at the correct tension in the hot weather, where lines usually sag.

The development is underway with the hopes of improving the reliability of services for passengers on the Southend Victoria line for years to come.

Good news for passengers is that the closure of the line will mean the bulk of the work will finish two months earlier in March 2020 instead of May 2020, with 11 fewer weeks of mid-week closures and six fewer weekend closures.

Over 500 structures that support the wires at the correct height and tension will also be replaced as part of the £46m project.

Meliha Duymaz, Network Rail’s route managing director for Anglia, said: “We want to make sure passengers are informed about the upgrades taking place between Wickford and Southend Victoria next week, and are working with Greater Anglia to remind them.

“We recognise there is never an ideal time to shut the railway and appreciate the inconvenience of the works, but closing the line for nine days will allow us to carry out much more work compared to a series of more limited mid-week or weekend closures.

“I’d encourage passengers to plan their journey in advance.”

During the closures, customers are advised to make alternative travel arrangements due to the limited rail replacement bus service and reduced train service between Wickford and London Liverpool Street.

Trains between these destinations will be shorter and run less frequently because access to the Southend depot, where trains are parked, maintained and cleaned overnight, will be suspended by the works and there is no alternative location available.

The route between Wickford and Southminster will remain open and will be served by trains.

Greater Anglia customers who hold a monthly season ticket or longer, are able to use c2c services for the entire nine days of the line closure, changing for connections at London Fenchurch Street or London Limehouse. However, it is warned that the c2c will be busy as a result.

Revised rail and bus timetables for the nine-day closure are now online on the Greater Anglia website.

Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia managing director, said: “We’ve worked closely with Network Rail to reduce the overall impact of works on customers to carry out this important upgrade.

“We’ve given customers as much notice as possible of the nine days of intensive works and tried to answer all of their questions about the blockade.

“We apologise for any inconvenience the works causes and thank customers for their continued patience.”