New signalling system switches on along Wherry Lines
PUBLISHED: 10:53 17 February 2020 | UPDATED: 10:53 17 February 2020
More than 130 years of signalling history has come to an end as train lines linking Norwich to the coast have reopened with a new computerized system.
The Wherry Lines, linking Norwich to Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft, were closed on February 1 for maintenance work - and on Monday (February 17) engineers switched the signalling system over from the old, Victorian mechanical method to the modern computer-based model.
Works on the Norwich to Great Yarmouth line took place at level crossings including Brundall, Lingwood Chapel Road and Station Road to introduce full barriers and crossing lights along with upgrade work to several user-worked crossings, such as Acle Marshes.
Signalling work has also been happening on the Norwich to Lowestoft line as well as track upgrade works at Lowestoft and a points renewal outside of Oulton Broad North enabling railway trains to be guided from one track to another.
With the reopening of the Norwich to Yarmouth and Beccles to Lowestoft lines, engineers will now work on rolling out just over three kilometres of track renewals at Hassingham.
Final works are taking place to Cantley, Strumpshaw and Oulton Broad North level crossings to bring them into use when the Norwich to Lowestoft line is expected to reopen on February 24.
The line from Reedham to Great Yarmouth, which serves Berney Arms and has been closed since end of 2018, will also reopen to passengers on February 24 using the new signalling system.
Ellie Burrows, Network Rail's route director for Anglia said: "I am really proud of everyone who has dedicated themselves to the upgrade of the Wherry Lines despite the challenging weather conditions over the last two weekends.
"The completion of the re-signalling work is a significant milestone for the history of the Wherry lines, and we are in a really good position to complete the track works at Hassingham and reintroduce train services on the Norwich to Lowestoft line on 24 February."
Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia managing director, said: "We're very pleased that the line has re-opened as scheduled so customers can once again use the train for their journeys.
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"We appreciate customers' patience throughout these works."