Monday 17 Jul 2017
Railway between Chippenham and Swindon reopens as £3.5m upgrade work completed
The railway line between Chippenham and Swindon re-opened today (Monday 17 July) after Network Rail completed a £3.5m drainage upgrade and track-lowering project, improving reliability of the railway through the area and paving the way for a new fleet of trains.
More than 550 Network Rail engineers put in more than 10,000 accumulative working hours to complete the project at Dauntsey, which forms part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan.
The track has been lowered under two listed bridges, which will allow Great Western Railway (GWR)’s new Intercity Express Trains to run on the line later this year; providing more seats, more frequent services and more comfortable journeys for passengers.
In addition to the track lowering, engineers have also installed a drainage culvert which will help reduce the chance of the line flooding in the future.
The site was handed back three hours ahead of schedule, allowing services to resume as normal at 6am.
Simon Spencer, programme manager for Network Rail, said: “We are pleased to hand back this site ahead of schedule this morning with as little disruption caused to passengers as possible.
“I’d like to thank passengers for their patience while we have undertaken this vital upgrade work and I’d also like to thank our engineers, who worked quickly and safely to complete this work.
“This work is another important part of our Railway Upgrade Plan, delivering significant investment into the railway network to provide a better, more reliable railway for passengers.”
GWR Operations Director Rob Mullen said:“We would like to thank passengers for their patience during the past week as Network Rail modernise the railway.
“The first Intercity Express Train to enter passenger service is just a number of months away; providing over a fifth more seats per train and with the completion of electrification quicker journeys - and the greatest step-change in experience for our passengers in a generation.”
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.