Ian Weinfass, Senior reporter
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Renewed track, overhead line upgrades, a new Rainham station and Romford as the centre of operations for miles around.
The new rail operating centre in Romford will open on land to the east of Jutsums Lane in 2014.
It will eventually control the entire railway in the Anglia region, covering parts of London, Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire.
The site is one 14 centres planned to replace all other operating sites across the whole of Britain.
Network Rail says the new centre will create different jobs, as signallers will be responsible for larger sections of the network using the latest technology instead of Victorian infrastructure.
It will form part of a £250m annual saving across the national railway in signalling costs.
These are some of the measures included by Network Rail in its five year business plan for 2014-19 unveiled today (Tuesday).
The authority’s plans for East Anglia will see a new rail operating centre open in Romford next year, which will eventually expand to control the entire Anglia region.
Overhead power lines from stations which run from Liverpool Street will be upgraded by May 2017, a measure which Network Rail says will provide a more reliable service for passengers who suffer regular disruptions on the route.
Track will also be renewed, while fewer freight trains will pass through the area.
A new station at Beam Park, near Rainham, which could serve a new leisure attraction being proposed new joint-Havering and Barking & Dagenham leisure development, is also included in the document.
Network Rail’s plan is subject to approval by the Office for Rail Regulation later this year.
Dave Ward, from the authority, said: “As our railway gets busier, the challenges get bigger and more complex.
“The plan we have set out will deliver real improvements to meet growing demand over the coming years.
“By 2019, we will have renewed miles of overhead power lines and upgraded signalling and key junctions.”
Network Rail states that it expects the number of passengers on trains from the east into Liverpool Street to increase by 49 per cent by 2031.
Part of their strategy for coping with this is the opening of Crossrail which will run from Shenfield into central London via Havering.
A spokesman for Greater Anglia welcomed the plans, adding: “We remain fully committed to working with Network Rail and our regional partners to help secure further enhancements - building on our alliance with Network Rail which is already delivering improved train service performance and a reduction in the amount of disruptive weekend engineering work.”
The RMT Union has previously raised concerns about potential job losses elsewhere on the network due to Romford becoming the only rail operating centre in the region.
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