Wednesday 14 Jun 2017
Electrification a step closer after successful railway upgrade in Wiltshire
Electrification on the Great Western mainline has moved a step closer after Network Rail successfully upgraded the railway in Swindon and Royal Wootton Bassett over the weekend as part of their Railway Upgrade Plan.
Network Rail’s Orange Army has been working in the Wiltshire towns over the weekend of June 10 and 11 so the track could be lowered beneath Hunts Mill Bridge in Royal Wootton Bassett and Roman Road Bridge in Swindon. This was to create space for the overhead line equipment necessary for electrification.
As well as lowering the track, the parapets (or sides) of both bridges were made higher to provide a safe distance between those using the bridge and the high-voltage electricity cables.
These crucial works pave the way for the arrival of a fleet of new, longer Intercity Express Trains later this year, bringing more seats per train and adding greater comfort for passengers. These trains will then run on electric through Swindon and Royal Wootton Bassett from December 2018.
Garry Fernand, Network Rail project manager, said: “The improvements carried out in Royal Wootton Bassett and Swindon as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan are extensive but essential in order to bring our railway into the 21st century and improve passengers' experience.
“We’d like to thank residents and motorists for their patience and understanding during this upgrade, which will pave the way for electrification and the benefits this will bring.”
About Network Rail
We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Every day, there are more than 4.7 million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.
We are building a better railway for a better Britain.