Network Rail abandons month long closure for Ely to Peterborough line but at weekends? Now that’s a different story

Network Rail has identified a way of safely delivering repair work at Manea (pictured) over a series

Network Rail has identified a way of safely delivering repair work at Manea (pictured) over a series of 11 weekends, removing the need for 4 weeks of intensive works in September and reducing the disruption to passengers and freight. Picture; NETWORK RAIL - Credit: Archant

Network Rail has decided not to shut the Ely to Peterborough rail line for the whole of September – but will close it for 11 weekends instead to carry out urgent repairs.

Ellie Burrows, Network Rail’s route director for Anglia, said: “I know this kind of late change can be frustrating for passengers, and I’m sorry for any confusion.

“Running a safe railway is my absolute priority, and these changes mean we can deliver the work we most urgently need to do and keep the railway open for the journeys I know so many people need and want to take by rail.

The essential work is to replace wheel timbers on the railway tracks on four bridges at Manea.

Network Rail says that following further engineering inspections of the timbers on the Manea bridges, they have found a way of safely delivering the work over 11 weekends.

There are currently 20 miles per hour speed restrictions over these bridges to make it safe for trains passing over them.

Inspections will be carried out during the works to check the bridges and added safety measures, such as further speed restrictions, will be implemented if required.

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There are 53 pairs of wheel timbers across the structures that are in most urgent need of replacement.

A spokesperson for Network Rail said that if these timbers are not replaced soon “it’s almost certain that there will be further deterioration.

“This would then lead to either additional speed restrictions or the closure of the line, significantly disrupting train services.

“As a result, this work must take place as soon as possible”.

The work is now expected to be completed during weekend works on the line on the following dates:

Sunday September 6

Weekend of September 12/13

Saturday September 19

Weekend of September 26/27

Weekend of October 3/4

Weekend of October 10/11

Sunday October 25

Weekend of October 31/November 1

Weekend of November 7/8

Weekend of November 21/22

Weekend of November 28/29

Any passenger planning a journey during this time is urged to check with their train operator or National Rail Enquiries as to the alternatives available to help inform their travel plans.

Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia managing director, said: “Engineering works are inevitably inconvenient for passengers who would prefer to travel for the whole of their journey by train, but they are vital for the reliability and safety of our railway.

“We will, of course, make sure that our customers will still be able to complete their journeys, even if part of it is by rail replacement bus, although please note that it is not possible to take full size bikes on buses.”

Full timetables will soon be uploaded so passengers can check how their journey will be affected at or with their train operator at, or