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£170M upgrade for London-Norwich rail line

The railway line from London to Norwich will be upgraded at a cost of £170M next year, Network Rail has announced.

The Great Eastern Main Line connects London Liverpool Street with east London, Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk.

The work will involve upgrades of the overhead lines, track and signalling.

Additionally, one of Network Rail’s high-output ballast cleaners will start work on the line from January. The £42M machine scoops up ballast, sieves out any small, broken pieces, and replaces them with the same weight in fresh stone.

Network Rail said: “By using this technology, we can cover double the distance every night in comparison with conventional methods. If the same work was to be delivered using conventional methods at weekends only, the equivalent upgrade would take 12 years instead of around two years.”

The work will be carried out on Saturdays and Sunday nights, and on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays from mid-to-late evening onwards to avoid peak hours.

Richard Schofield, Network Rail route managing director, said: “This essential upgrade is the railway’s equivalent of resurfacing a busy road. Running a safe, reliable railway depends on the track being in good condition – not just the metal rails, but the foundations on which they sit too.

“We’re using one of the most modern pieces of kit on the railway, meaning the majority of our work can be done while trains are running on the adjacent track.”

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