Friday 30 Jun 2017
Prime Minister opens railway sidings for new electric services
Prime Minister, Theresa May, officially opened a new £4.5million railway siding in her constituency of Maidenhead this morning, which will see Great Western Railway (GWR) increase the number of electric, peak time trains.
The sidings have been installed as part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan and will ease congestion on the railway, allowing GWR to introduce a further three new eight carriage Electrostar trains, increasing capacity and improving passenger’s experience.
Theresa May, the Maidenhead MP, unveiled a plaque to mark the opening of the sidings and said: “It is great to see that this vital work, which will increase capacity and improve services for passengers, has been completed ahead of schedule.
“Improving peak-time services between Maidenhead and London is one of my priorities as an MP, and it is good news for the town that we are making such progress.”
The new Electrostar services were extended from Hayes & Harlington to operate between Maidenhead and London Paddington in May this year at peak times. Today will see a total of eight, eight carriage electric trains now in service, replacing five and six carriage diesel services.
The newly-opened sidings have been delivered 18 months early, and electrification between Maidenhead and London Paddington was also completed ahead of time after being funded and delivered by the Crossrail project. The new sidings will be used by Elizabeth line trains from 2019.
Mark Langman, route managing director for Network Rail, said: “It is a real honour to have the Prime Minister with us to officially open the sidings which will allow more of the fantastic new GWR electric trains to run between Maidenhead and London Paddington.
“By delivering the sidings 18 months early it allows passengers to enjoy the benefits of electrification and our Railway Upgrade Plan sooner than expected.”
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 our first new electric trains between Paddington and Maidenhead in May and I am delighted to be here today, as we further increase the number of new, eight carriage electric trains in service.”
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.