Passengers in Norfolk will benefit from a significant upgrade in reliability and safety when a digitally-enabled signalling system goes live after the Wherry lines close for planned engineering works during February 2020.
The railway lines between Norwich, Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft are being upgraded by Network Rail to replace the mechanical semaphore signals with a modern signalling system.
This will be the culmination of years of planning and the final phase of work to bring this part of the rail network into the 21st century.
The signalling system will be controlled from the Colchester Rail Operating Centre.
During the phased 23 days of works, the signals will be switched on and six level crossings at Brundall, Cantley, Lingwood Chapel Road, Lingwood Station Road, Oulton Broad North and Strumpshaw will be upgraded to full barriers with remotely controlled CCTV which will improve safety for level crossing users.
Additional maintenance works will be carried out to Reedham and Somerleyton swing bridges to improve reliability.
During this crucial work to transform the Wherry lines, train services will not operate, instead a rail replacement bus service will operate on the following routes:
Saturday 1 February to Sunday 2 February – between Norwich and Great Yarmouth
Monday 3 February to Sunday 16 February – between Norwich and Great Yarmouth, Norwich and Lowestoft and between Beccles and Lowestoft
Monday 17 February to Sunday 23 February – between Norwich and Lowestoft
What did the officials say?
Meliha Duymaz, Network Rail’s route managing director for Anglia, said:
“We will deliver a large package of railway upgrade works for passengers across the Wherry lines during just over a three-week period in February 2020.
“I’m sorry that 23 days of engineering works will be difficult for passengers but completing these large-scale projects and maintenance in one coordinated effort, will help reduce the overall amount of disruption and deliver a safer, modern and reliable railway for many years to come.”
Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia managing director, said:
”We are sorry to customers for the inconvenience that this engineering work causes them, but we will make sure they can still complete their journeys, even if some of it is by bus.
“By carrying out the work in a 23-day block, Network Rail is able to complete the work sooner and quicker with fewer weekend works.
“Along with Network Rail, we are transforming the railway in Norfolk, and this major upgrade, combined with our new trains, is bringing it into the 21st century.