On Friday 17th March I went to see the work that is underway to build Chelmsford’s second railway station.
The work has already started. Part of the project will involve shifting the existing Great Eastern Main Line Track as it goes through the station. Both the East and Westbound tracks need to be moved a few metres in order to make space for the new platforms.
Over recent weekends engineers have started work at 2am each Saturday morning continuing non stop all weekend. 75 metre long sections of the track have been “burnt” or cut out and then moved to one side. The subsurface of the base on which the track lies has then been replaced and strengthened in order for the eventual movement to take place at a further stage of construction. The sections of the track have then been put back in place and reconnected by the time trains have started re-running on Monday morning.
As the project continues all the power, signalling and track work for the new station will need to be put in place and then connected, whilst keeping trains running during the working week. This will mean some weekend bus replacement services but everyone is trying to minimise the number of occasions this needs to happen.
I joined Essex County Council’s County Cllr Lesley Wagland with representatives from Network Rail and the construction company Murphy’s to see how this huge project is moving ahead.
The new station will also incorporate a passing loop which means fast trains will be able to overtake stopping services at Beaulieu Station. This will mean more services can be run all the way from London to Norwich as well as branch lines and improve the reliability of our trains.
The £250 million investment in this station and then the NE Bypass was the biggest Housing Related Infrastructure Grant ever awarded by the Government.
The new station will also help reduce traffic congestion in central Chelmsford as fewer people will need to drive into central Chelmsford to catch a train.