Thursday 30 Mar 2017
£15m Easter modernisation work to bring major improvements for rail passengers in Bath
A major programme of work to modernise the Great Western Mainline this Easter will see platforms at Bath Spa station widened in preparation for longer trains providing over a fifth more seats for passengers.
Network Rail is investing £15m on major upgrade works at Bath Spa station to help meet growing demand.
Between Saturday 8 and Sunday 23 April the track is being realigned at Bath Spa, making room for the platforms to be widened. The works also mean that the stepping distance from the notoriously curved platform at the station will be reduced by up to 50 percent.
These crucial works will also make 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.
Network Rail and GWR are working with Bath & North East Somerset Council to keep disruption to a minimum during this important upgrade, keeping trains running through the station on weekdays during the two-week period of works. On weekends and bank holidays some train services will be diverted and buses will replace trains for journeys into and out of Bath Spa. Passengers are reminded to check before they travel, visiting www.nationalrail.co.uk/easter or www.gwr.com/bath2017
Car parking at the station will be affected between April 1st and April 30th, though the drop-off point and the Blue Badge parking spaces will remain open during this period. More information can be found on GWR's website.
To make best possible use of the period Network Rail carrying out work at 62 sites in the area during the Easter fortnight, investing nearly 70,000 man hours in 16 days. Additional works include a track lower under Newton Road and Cross Post bridges west of Bath, making way for the new trains and for the future electrification of the line. Platform works are being completed at Keynsham station, including adjusting the gradient, installation of drainage and resurfacing, while maintenance and renewal works are being carried out on track drainage systems at Bathampton, Box Ashley and Sydney Gardens.
A workforce of 879 people is working throughout the Easter period to carry out these improvements to our rail infrastructure, with around 150 people on site at Bath Spa station at any one period. Contractors will park their cars at the old Gas Works, off Upper Bristol Road, and travel to and from the works site at Bath Spa by minibus, to reduce the impact on Bath and its residents.
Careful consideration has been given to the design of the works at Bath Spa, which will also enable electrification of the route through the station in future, with the minimum of impact on the grade II listed station.
Michael Jones, project manager for Network Rail, said: “The modernisation works we are carrying out over the Easter period are absolutely crucial for Bath and the surrounding area. We thank residents and businesses in the city for their patience and understanding as we complete these improvements in order to meet growing demand.
“The Great Western Main line is one of the oldest parts of our network and Bath itself is a world heritage site. Working closely with English Heritage, Historic England and Bath and North East Somerset Council throughout the 18 month planning period, we have developed plans that will bring rail travel into the 21st century, while preserving Bath’s important heritage.”
Todd Graham, Bath Spa station manager for GWR, said: “Bath remains very much open for business throughout this period. We would like to thank passengers for their continued patience. Later this year our new Intercity Express Trains will enter passenger services and will provide more seats, more trains and with the completion of electrification faster journeys."
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.