Saturday 16 Sep 2017
Benefits of electrification a step closer for passengers as railway re-opens between Bristol Parkway and Swindon following upgrade work
Network Rail marked another major milestone in the delivery of the Great Western modernisation programme with the completion of a series of upgrades between Bristol Parkway and Swindon, which will deliver quicker journeys for passengers from 2019.
The line re-opened this morning following an extensive programme of work, which took place over a 28-mile stretch of railway, bringing GWRs new fleet of Intercity Express Trains another step closer for passengers.
These brand new trains will deliver more than a fifth more seats per train and more frequent services for passengers when they are introduced this autumn.
Almost 5,000 members of Network Rail’s orange army put in more than 175,000 working hours throughout the four weeks of work, which involved the use of 14,000 tonnes of ballast, approximately 2,600 concrete sleepers, 106km of wires and more than 500 foundations for electrification.
Work to improve reliability and increase capacity has taken place at Bristol Parkway station, including track renewals and signalling upgrades. Further vital upgrades to accommodate the new trains took place as the extension of three platforms and the construction of a fourth platform at the station got underway, due for completion at the end of this year.
Also, as part of this programme of work, electrification of the Chipping Sodbury tunnel was completed with more than 8km of conductor rail and approximately 1,100 anchors drilled into the Victorian tunnel to support the electrification infrastructure.
This series of work has also enabled the first phase of the resilience scheme at a flood-prone area in Chipping Sodbury to be completed as part of the Department for Transport’s Flood Resilience Programme.
David Buisson, Network Rail major programme director, said:
“I’d like to thank passengers and those living near to the railway for their patience as we have completed this important work.
“I’d also like to thank our workforce for their efficient and safe delivery of these works and our colleagues at GWR who have worked hard to keep passengers moving throughout this programme of upgrades.”
“We’ve made great strides towards electrifying this section of the railway over the past four weeks, and we will continue to work safely and tirelessly to bring the benefits of electrification to passengers in 2019.
Rob Mullen, GWR operations director, said:
“This work is crucial to maximising the benefits of our new Intercity Express Trains which enter service this year, with more seats compared to our existing trains and quicker journeys to London from 2019.”
About Network Rail
Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.
About the Railway Upgrade Plan
The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:
- longer, faster more frequent trains;
- better, more reliable infrastructure; and
- better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.