Tuesday 28 Mar 2017
New trains on the way as Thames Valley electrification reaches major milestone
- Network Rail successfully electrifies 12 miles of railway from Maidenhead to Stockley Junction as part of the Crossrail project
- New electric infrastructure in the Thames Valley allows for the introduction of new Great Western Railway (GWR) trains in May and the Elizabeth line from 2019
- Click here to download images of the work; click here to view a short video
Last weekend, Network Rail successfully electrified 12 miles of railway to the west of London between Stockley Junction and Maidenhead as part of the Crossrail project.
Electrification will allow GWR to extend new electric trains from London Paddington to Maidenhead from this May, and to Didcot in January 2018, delivering more seats for passengers. In January this year GWR began to run half-hourly new Electrostar trains from London Paddington to Hayes & Harlington, providing much needed extra capacity for passengers.
The work will also allow for the delivery of new Elizabeth line trains on this section of the railway from December 2019. Passengers in the Thames Valley will be able to catch new Elizabeth line trains all the way through central London without having to change onto the Underground at Paddington, making it quicker and easier to get to a range of destinations across London and the South East.
Over three years, Network Rail has led an 800-strong workforce to successfully install more than 1,400 overhead structures and 140 miles of overhead wires that will power the new trains. The vast majority of this huge engineering project had to be undertaken in the early hours of the morning, at weekends and bank holidays to enable GWR and other operators to run normal services as much as possible.
Mark Langman, Route Managing Director, Network Rail, said: “This is a major milestone for Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan of which the delivery of an electrified Great Western Mainline and the Elizabeth line is a huge part. From May this year more passengers will see immediate benefits with brand new, cleaner, quieter electric trains operating between Maidenhead and Paddington. “On behalf of Network Rail I would like to thank passengers, local residents, businesses and local authorities for their patience and permission to deliver this huge programme of railway upgrade work at anti-social hours, weekends and every bank holiday for the last three years. Without their support it simply would not have been possible to electrify the Great Western Mainline to deliver new improved passenger services and pave the way for the Elizabeth line.”
Mark Hopwood, GWR Managing Director, said: “The Thames Valley is one of the most popular rail corridors in the UK. We have promised the current fleet would be upgraded to provide much needed additional capacity and more comfortable, quieter journeys. We started to run half hourly new electric trains in January, delivering over 10,000 more seats a day between London Paddington and Hayes & Harlington. We look forward to being able to extend these services beyond Hayes to Maidenhead this coming May as Network Rail continues its work to upgrade the railway.”
Matthew White, Crossrail Surface Director, said: “The completion of this major piece of work paves the way for new, quicker, quieter trains right along this stretch of the railway. Once the Elizabeth line opens fully in 2019, passengers from the Thames Valley will be able to catch one train all the way through central London, providing a direct link to a range of destinations, including the West End, the City and Canary Wharf.”
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.