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Bristol stations will experience Easter disruption as NR completes £130m signalling upgrade

Network Rail has warned that train services around Bristol are likely to suffer from disruption over Easter while engineers complete its “biggest ever signalling upgrade.”

For five days between Good Friday and 3 April, bus replacement will be in operation on at local stations, with trains from London Paddington terminating early at Bath Spa.

Part of the Railway Upgrade Plan, the £130m update is expected to improve the speed and reliability of travel in and out of Bristol, alongside work later this year to double the tracks along the Filton Bank area.

Tony Lamb, senior sponsor for the project at Network Rail said the upgrade was part of a “huge effort” by the infrastructure manager to improve services in the area.

“Once complete, along with Filton Four Tracking at the end of this year, rail journeys in Bristol will be transformed with more seats, quicker journeys and more services,” he commented.

“I would like to thank everyone who helped us get to this stage and also passengers who have remained patient with us throughout the upgrade.”

Network Rail explained that this signalling upgrade was possible because of a months’ worth of work delivered over the Christmas period, including installation of 30km of cable, upgrades to signalling gantries, 124 signal tests and axle counter upgrades.

Rob Mullen, operations director at GWR, said the work was “vital” to aid with the introduction of the operator’s new Intercity Express fleet.

He explained: “This work is vital for GWR to be able to continue to deliver the full benefits our new Intercity Express Train fleet is bringing, including seven trains an hour between London and Bristol and quicker journey times – further supporting Bristol and its economy.”

GWR experienced some early issues in the introduction of its new stock – scheduled to replace 40-year-old High Speed Trains beginning in late 2017.

A disastrous first journey saw software failures and a broken air conditioning unit which dripped water onto passengers, although the problems have now been dealt with.

Bus replacement will affect all trains between Bristol Temple Meads, Patchway, Bristol Parkway, Bath Spa and Weston-super-Mare, while services on the Severn Beach line will also be altered.

Top image: Network Rail

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Andrew Gwilt   08/02/2018 at 20:17

So how comes that electrification to Bristol Temple Meads will not happen as its been cancelled. And Bristol Parkway will see overhead wires installed as part of the GW electrification.

Huguenot   09/02/2018 at 15:37

No, Andrew, electrification to Temple Meads via both Bath and Bristol Parkway hasn't been cancelled. It's just been put at the back of the queue, with electrification to Cardiff and Chippenham going ahead first.

Jpg   09/02/2018 at 20:57

Andrew I am lead to believe that you are correct Bristol electrification has been cancelled. It just hasn't been released yet just awaiting Grayling's next away day abroad

Icn   10/02/2018 at 09:53

NR PR spin again. The work taking place at Temple Meads this Easter is esentially an asset renewal exercise and not an upgrade as such with many of the existing signalling assets being replaced on a like for like basis basis and many retained & recontrolled. There will be no perceivable benefit to the travelling public other than the improvement (hopefully) in reliability.

Andrew Jones   10/02/2018 at 20:24

I wonder about the re-control to Thames Valley Signalling Centre; it is a lot of eggs in one basket, eventually something will go wrong, and that will be in a big way. Or is there duplicated control from a second Signalling Centre, with diversely routed cables, by alternative routes. Each half controlling half, but with the ability to control the other half in the event of a major problem?

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