South Wales Railway Upgrade Update: Overhead lines will be installed on the South Wales Mainline

Friday 28 Jul 2017

South Wales Railway Upgrade Update

Region & Route:
Wales & Western: Wales & Borders
| Wales & Western

Network Rail is reminding residents between Monmouthshire and Cardiff that modernisation work is taking place along the South Wales Mainline as part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan.

Piling work will continue in South Wales for several months. This is the process of installing foundations for the steel masts and gantries that will carry electrified wires along the railway.

Andy Thomas, route managing director for Network Rail Wales, said: “Our railway is vital to economic prosperity, linking people, businesses and communities. We are working together with Arriva Trains Wales, Great Western Railway and other partners to improve services for passengers.

“We are continuing work between Monmouthshire and Cardiff as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan to prepare the railway for the overhead masts and wires that will power trains running on electricity. The new bi-mode trains, which can run on electric and diesel, will provide extra seats and faster services for thousands of passengers and a quieter and greener environment for communities living alongside the railway.

"I’d like to thank local residents for their patience while we carry out this upgrade work and reassure them that we are doing all we can to keep disruption to a minimum.”

Piling is a noisy activity as it involves driving cylindrical steel piles deep into the ground to provide a secure base for gantries. There can also be noise from vehicle movements as safety rules dictate that a horn must be sounded when moving vehicles in the vicinity of the railway.

Noise levels are dependent on the distance of homes from the train line and piling locations, which are installed every 50 to 60 metres. For safety reasons, the majority of piling will take place overnight when trains are not running and residents are advised to expect some disturbance whilst this work takes place.


Notes to Editors

Some bridges need to be reconstructed as they are currently too low to accommodate the new overhead equipment. These include:

  • Rogiet Road bridge in Monmouthshire, which has already been demolished and reconstructed. The new bridge is on schedule to reopen this autumn when utilities have been put on the bridge and resurfacing is complete.
  • Hawse Lane bridge and Heol Las Road bridge in Newport, with both bridges on track to reopen next summer.
  • Splott Road bridge in Cardiff, which is set to be demolished in August and Mardy Road bridge in Cardiff, which is being prepared for demolition in October.

Network Rail will continue to notify neighbours in advance of work taking place in their area. You can find more information on piling about our website:

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Network Rail press office - Hannah McCarthy
Media Relations Manager
07710 940248

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.

Usually, there are almost five 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.

Follow us on Twitter: @networkrail
Visit our online newsroom: