Upgrade work continues to prepare railway line for electrification: NR engineer

Tuesday 6 Dec 2016

Upgrade work continues to prepare railway line for electrification


Network Rail’s orange army will be out in force over the Christmas period as upgrade work continues in Chippenham ahead of electrification.

Workers will be on the track working through the night on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day as Network Rail look to install the piles used to support the cables that allow electric trains to run.

The work would ordinarily take several months if carried out over weekends but the Christmas period, when the railway is typically 50% quieter, allows for a substantial amount of work to be carried out in a much shorter space of time.

Ahead of the work Network Rail has worked closely with Wiltshire Council to ensure any disruption is kept to a minimum for those living near the railway.

Tom Boreham, Scheme Project Manager for Network Rail, said: “The period over Christmas when no trains are running is a vital time for us to upgrade the railway. It allows us more working time so we can achieve greater numbers of installed foundations per shift, which means we haven’t got to return to the area over a prolonged period of time. We have contacted all of the residents who live near to the railway to inform them of the work and invite them to our information sessions held in Chippenham in the lead up to Christmas.”

The piling work will take place on Christmas Eve from Bath Road to the B4528 railway bridge, on Christmas Day from Bath Road to Ivy Lane and on Boxing Day from Ladyfield Road to Chippenham station.

People who wish to find out more are invited to attend a community engagement session that is being run by Network Rail. They will take place on the following dates.

  • Wednesday, 7 December: Town Centre (10am - 5pm)  
  • Saturday, 10 December: Olympiad Leisure Centre (9am - 12noon)                         
  • Monday, 12 December: Chippenham Station (7am – 10am and 4pm – 7pm)
  • Friday, 16 December: Town Centre / Market Day (10am – 5pm)
  • Monday, 19 December: Chippenham Station (7am – 10am and 4pm – 7pm)

Network Rail will also be contacting those living close to the railway directly ahead of the upgrade work. Passengers are being urged to check before they travel this Christmas by visiting nationalrail.co.uk/Christmas.

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 -Western route
01793 389749

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.

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