Network Rail has begun a £46 million project to renew the overhead lines on the Southend Victoria branch line.

More than a kilometre of new OLE wire has been installed between Shenfield and Billericay. In total, Network Rail will have replaced 128km of overhead line by the end of the year.

The renewal will improve reliability on the line, reducing the number of failures caused by the ageing OLE infrastructure.

The overhead lines on the Southend Victoria branch line are some of the oldest in the country and speed restrictions are a common occurrence in hot weather.

Meliha Duymaz, Network Rail’s route managing director for Anglia, said: “We recognise the issues our Southend passengers face in summer when services are delayed because of sagging overhead wires.

“We’re installing a new overhead wiring system to improve the reliability of train services as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan and we’ve fast-tracked the work so passengers can start seeing the benefits as soon as possible.”