WEEKEND and Easter commuters in south Essex are facing three months of woe due to ongoing engineering works.
Network Rail and c2c will be replacing a junction at Pitsea station inamovewhich will double the line speed from 25mph to 50mph.
Buses will replace trains between Benfleet, Basildon and Stanford-le-Hope for ten of the next 12 weekends, including all four days of the Easter weekend and the May bank holiday, while the 1970s infrastructure is replaced with the latest equipment.
A direct bus service will also be running from Canvey to Basildon. Trains will run as normal on the other sections of the line, between London and Basildon, London and Stanford-le-Hope, and Benfleet and Shoebury.
Gavin Armstrong, director of Route Asset Management for Network Rail, said: “This is a significant improvement scheme that will help reduce engineering work in the area for the ever growing number of passengers travelling between Pitsea and Fenchurch Street.
“There is never a good time to deliver work on the railway.
“However, it is vital we can carry out this investment over the weekends, when fewer people would travel causing less disruption.”
Julian Drury, managing director of c2c, said: “We’re sorry journeys will be disrupted on these weekends, and ask people to bear with us while we get them to their destination as fast as we can.
“We hope this will be worth it though, as the intensive work over the next three months will reduce the disruption caused to passengers by engineering work for the next 40 years.”
Peter Slattery, chairman of the Southend Rail Travellers’ Association, said: “The work needs to be done and I think it will be the case of short-term pain for long-term gain.”
When will the work take place?
-Sunday 2nd March
-Saturday 8th – Sunday 9th March
-Saturday 15th – Sunday 16th March
-Saturday 22nd – Sunday 23rd March
-Saturday 29th – Sunday 30th March
-Saturday 5th – Sunday 6th April
-Friday 18th – Monday 21st April (Easter weekend)
-Saturday 26th – Sunday 27th April
-Sunday 4th May – Monday 5th May (Bank holiday)
-Sunday 18th May
The rail companies said the dates have been scheduled for the spring to make it less likely that bad weather will slow them down.
A full service will be operating for the weekend of London Marathon on Sunday 13th April.