Buses to replace trains as Network Rail plan 5 weekends of repairs

Network Rail to replace trains with buses for essential upgrade

Engineers will be out in force on Cambridgeshire and Suffolk lines carrying out improvement work over five weekends in August and September. - Credit: Network Rail

Five weekends of disruption to rail services will affect Cambridgeshire stations including Ely and Cambridge. 

Track signalling upgrades are planned throughout August and September which Network Rail say will “improve reliability and drive down delays”. 

Work will start on the line between Ely and Ipswich on Sunday August 7 and will take place every weekend until Saturday 10 and Sunday September 11. 

People travelling to Newmarket Races on Saturday 13 and Saturday August 27 from Ipswich and other stations on the Ipswich-Cambridge line, will need to catch a bus to Cambridge and then catch a shuttle train between Cambridge and Newmarket.  

Buses will not call at Newmarket. 

Race goers are advised that the bus and shuttle train service will only operate between 07.30 and 19.50 on Saturday August 13 and between 07.55 and 22.20 on Saturday August 27 and is likely to be very busy.  

“It is not possible to run a full replacement bus service for the Newmarket races due to a shortage of buses and other operational reasons,” said a Network Rail spokesperson.  

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Works planned include improvements to Elmswell level crossing. 

And there will also be work carried out as part of the Cambridge resignalling programme.  

The spokesperson said: “Signalling systems are essential to the safe and efficient operation of the railway.” 

This will include installation of state-of-the-art signalling technology for the railway “which means better reliability and reduced maintenance”. 

The line between Norwich and Peterborough is also going to affected.  

Engineers plan to carry out level crossing upgrade works on three weekends from Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 to Saturday 24 and Sunday September 25.  

The upgrade will improve safety and reliability now and for years to come. 

Passengers are advised to check before they travel. A rail replacement bus service will be in operation. 

Ellie Burrows, Network Rail’s route director for Anglia, said: “These works are important to keep services running safely and reliably on these lines.  

“We will also carry out work as part of the Cambridge resignalling project, which is crucial to provide a signalling system fit for a modern railway in the Cambridge area and to improve the reliability and performance of the railway for future passengers in the decades to come.” 

Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia managing director, said: “We’re very sorry for the inconvenience these works cause our customers, but we will make sure you can complete your journeys, even if part of it is by bus.  

“These works will improve reliability on this line, and in combination with our new trains is transforming the railway in our region.” 

Passengers are advised to check how their journey will be affected at www.nationalrail.co.uk or with their train operator. 

Rail replacement services will run on the following dates. Passengers are advised to check before they travel. 

Date / Days 

Lines affected 

Sunday 7 August 

Stowmarket and Ely/Cambridge 

Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 August 

Stowmarket and Ely/Cambridge 

Saturday 13 August for Newmarket Races 

Bus Ipswich-Cambridge and train Cambridge-Newmarket 

Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 Augus

Stowmarket and Ely/Cambridge 

Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 and Monday 29 August 

Stowmarket and Ely/Cambridge 

Saturday 27 August for Newmarket Races 

Bus Ipswich-Cambridge and train Cambridge-Newmarket 

Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 September 

Stowmarket and Ely/Cambridge 

Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 September 

Cambridge to Peterborough and Thetford 

Bury St Edmunds –  Ely/Cambridge 

Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 September 

Norwich – Ely (Sat) 

Norwich  Peterborough (Sun

Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 September 

Norwich – Ely (Sat) 

Norwich  Peterborough (Sun)