Monday 10 Apr 2017
Electrification moves a step closer as Royal Wootton Bassett bridge set to reopen
The A3102 in Royal Wootton Bassett is set to reopen on 20 April 2017 following the reconstruction of the Bath Road bridge, paving the way for a new fleet of electric trains.
Network Rail has been working on the bridge since late October 2016 as part of its programme to modernise the Great Western Main Line from London to Cardiff.
Garry Fernand, Network Rail project manager for Bath Road bridge, said: “The improvements we are carrying out in Royal Wootton Bassett 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 the bridge reconstructions, which will pave the way for electrification and the benefits this will bring.”
During the closure, traffic has been using a temporary link road built by Network Rail to save motorists a 30-mile detour. The temporary road will close to traffic when the bridge reopens.
The bridge reconstruction has created the additional space needed for the overhead lines that will power the new electric trains.
In addition, Network Rail has carried out drainage work on the highway, to lower the risk of flooding, and has prepared the adjacent listed Hunts Mill bridge for forthcoming work to raise its parapets. The parapets, or sides, of the bridge need to be made higher to provide a safe distance between those using the bridge and the high-voltage electricity cables. Specially-made railings are due to be added to the bridge overnight between 8 May and 15 May 2017, with two-way temporary traffic lights in place.
The track beneath Hunts Mill bridge will be lowered over the weekends of 27-29 May and 10-11 June 2017 to create the required space, while protecting the bridge’s historic architecture.
Bath Road was the second bridge in the town to be reconstructed by Network Rail. Work on the Marlborough Road bridge was carried out between March and October 2016.
Throughout Network Rail’s work in Royal Wootton Bassett, Network Rail has worked closely with Wiltshire Council to ensure both the Marlborough Road and A3102 bridges were closed for the shortest time possible, minimising disruption to residents and businesses.
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.