Network Rail has successfully completed rail upgrades to the Great Eastern Main Line in preparation for the Elizabeth line between Liverpool Street and Shenfield.
These improvements will allow the introduction of new trains for TfL Rail services later this month.
Additional capacity has been added to the railway at Shenfield to cater for the higher frequency service that will be provided once the Elizabeth line extends from Essex and through the central tunnels in 2019.
This includes a newly built platform (Platform 6) which will be dedicated to the new service, an extended Platform 5, as well as three new sidings at Shenfield each capable of accommodating the new trains. The new trains will feature air-conditioning and three double-doors per carriage.
The entire rail junction at Shenfield, including track, signals and overhead power lines have been improved which will allow services to freely pass through the junction without having to wait for other trains, reducing the risk of delays and improving journeys for all passengers.
Over 5,000 metres of new track and 26 new track switches have been laid as part of the junction remodelling works to improve rail operation.
In addition, work took place across stations between Liverpool Street and Shenfield in readiness for the new trains. Further work continues along the route including TfL installing new lifts at Maryland, Manor Park and Seven Kings. The Ilford sidings where the new trains will be stabled are also nearing completion.
With the completion of these works, a reduced TfL Rail service from Brentwood to Shenfield has resumed on weekdays, and a full service at weekends. Three trains an hour will operate Monday – Friday. Services had been terminating at Brentwood since January to allow Network Rail to deliver the upgrade work, with a replacement bus service provided for those travelling on to Shenfield. A full service will resume from Monday 22 May as planned.
Howard Smith, TfL’s operations director of TfL Rail, said: ‘The new platform and other works at Shenfield station will benefit both regular commuters and those travelling further afield. This marks another milestone in the delivery of the new railway. Our customers using TfL Rail will be the first to use our new trains, which will travel between Shenfield and Liverpool Street in preparation for Elizabeth line services in December 2018.’