Network Rail are planning a massive upgrade of the UK’s railways and the East of England is to receive £2.2 billion of investments. The investments will upgrade tracks, stations, signals and buildings.
Some of the infrastructure dates back to Victorian times, and while the tracks and buildings have worked well for over 150 years it is not time to introduce the latest technophiles to improve performance throughout the rail network.
Beaulieu Park Railway Station
Part of Essex’s redevelopment will see a new railway station built in north Chelmsford to cater for the growing population in and around the Beaulieu Park area. The plans for a railway station at the Boreham Interchange have been on the table since 2009, and it is a great relief for the commuters in the region that they new station will finally be built.
The new station will provide many thousands of people who live in north Chelmsford and in the areas between Chelmsford and Braintree / Witham with a more suitable alternative to Chelmsford City railway station. It will also reduce the demand for Chelmsford station and help reduce congestion in the town at rush hour.
Chelmsford railway station is also set to receive £1 million investment, this may be in addition to the £1.5 million that we reported in October 2012 (this is unconfirmed at present).
World Class Railway In Essex
The redevelopments will take around 5 years to complete and start in 2014. Once completed Essex will have a world class railway network with some of the best commuting lines in and out of London.
49% Increase in Rail Passengers by 2031
Analysts have predicted that London Liverpool Street station will see an increase in passengers of 49% by 2031, with 24,600 daily commuters passing through the station between 8am and 9am each week day.
3 Tracks to Witham
The full details have not yet been agreed, but one proposal is to introduce an additional track on the route to Witham to help speed the passage of trains. Fast commuter trains from Norwich and Ipswich will be able to over take the slower trains from Witham and Braintree is there was an additional track. This will reduce congestion and bottle-necking in the area, and should vastly increase journey times for all commuters.
Some Essex Stations Left Out in the Cold
Not everyone in Essex is impressed with the news. The Chairman of Witham and Braintree Rail Users Association, David Bigg, raises the point that Braintree station still cannot fit in a 12 carriage commuter train. Many smaller stations need to be extended to be able to cater for increasing passenger numbers.
More Fare Rises Predicted
Of course, all this investment means one thing – rail users will have to help pay for it. Expect further above inflation increases to your rail fares.
Past News on Essex Railways
Boreham Interchange Railway Station to be Built by 2015
Sep 13, 2009
Chelmsford is to have a new railway station, located next to the A12 at the Boreham Interchange, for easy access from Beaulieu Park, Springfield and Boreham. Also commuters travelling down the A12 into Chelmsford will probably benefit from the new railway station.
There are also plans to build an additional 4000 homes in the area, which will be targeted at London commuters. There has been talk of a station in Springfield since 1978, the demand is there, so it is just a matter of finance and planning now.
Chelmsford Railway Station To Have a £1.5 Million Makeover
Oct 18, 2012
This week planners approved a major makeover for Chelmsford railway station. The plans focus on updating the facilities at the Chelmsford City railway station with improved access for commuters on both platforms.
Currently platform 2 has a dedicated commuter exit which which takes travellers down a flight of stairs to the bus station. Both platforms have a single lift that can become busy during rush hours. The waiting area on platform 1 is rather basic at the moment and there is no indoor waiting area currently on platform 2. So there are several areas for improvement.
So far we do know that the two “exit towers” are central to the development plans. The two stair cases will also be rebuilt to increase their capacity and cope with increasing demand. Chelmsford has seen many housing developments in the last decade which have attracted many people from London, which means that the station is now busier than ever.
Photo of Chelmsford railway station platform by tomylees, via Flickr.