Friday 16 Oct 2015
Newport residents invited to find out more about how electrification in South Wales will improve rail journeys
Newport residents are invited to attend a drop-in event to find out more about the work that will soon be taking place to prepare Cardiff Road bridge for the electrification of the railway between London and Swansea.
The bridge will be raised as part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan to provide the extra headroom needed for the future electrification of the railway. Electrification will provide faster, greener, quieter and more reliable journeys for tens of thousands of passengers every day. It will also help stimulate economic growth by better connecting towns and cities in South Wales and beyond.
In order to accommodate the overhead lines which will power the electric trains, some road, foot and rail bridges that span the South Wales Mainline will need to be raised, either by amending the existing structure or demolishing the existing bridge and building a new structure in its place.
Cardiff Road bridge dates back to 1850 and will need to be partly reconstructed, as one half of the bridge is currently too low to accommodate the new electrical infrastructure. Work to demolish and reconstruct the structure will begin this autumn and is expected to finish in spring 2016.
As only half of the structure requires reconstruction, Network Rail plans to keep the road open to traffic and pedestrians. However, a traffic management system will be installed that will see traffic lights in operation and single lane traffic on the B4237 over the bridge. The railway will remain open throughout the work, minimising disruption for passengers.
Members of the public who would like to discuss the project in detail are invited to attend an information drop-in event on Tuesday 20 October at St Thomas Church, Old Cardiff Road, Maesglas, Newport, NP20 3AT. Staff from the project team will be on hand between 3.30pm – 6.30pm and residents are encouraged to drop by at any time, no appointment is necessary.
Andrew Griffiths, development manager for Network Rail Wales, said: “Electrification in South Wales will mean faster and more reliable journeys for passengers, as well as less noise and pollution for those who live close to the railway line.
“Passengers will also benefit from more frequent, faster, quieter services once this programme of work is completed as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan.
“In order to prepare the railway for the overhead lines which will power electric trains, we need to partly reconstruct Cardiff Road bridge and for safety reasons a lot of this work will need to be carried out when trains are not running, particularly over the Christmas period.
“I would like to apologise in advance for any disruption this work will cause and reassure the local community that we will do everything we can to keep unnecessary noise to a minimum.”
The electrification project has a phased approach to minimise disruption to communities, with work moving from east to west and the project is being carefully planned so that work is staggered to eliminate the chances of neighbouring bridges being closed at the same time.
Members of the public who require additional information can call Network Rail’s 24-Hour National Helpline on 03457 11 41 41 or email CRWales@networkrail.co.uk.
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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 4.8 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.