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Great Western electrification starts between South Marston and Royal Wootton Bassett

Great Western electrification is proceeding as Network Rail is due to start digging foundations for overhead lines between South Marston and Royal Wootton Bassett at the end of this month.

The piling work will continue throughout this summer, during night shifts. To minimise the impact on residents, Network Rail, who are introducing the electrification as part of their £40bn Railway Upgrade Plan, will work with Swindon Borough Council and Wiltshire Council to carry out on-site noise monitoring.

They will keep residents informed of the piling through letters, visits from Network Rail representatives and information days, being held in Swindon town centre today and tomorrow.

Paul Fountaine, Network Rail’s project director for line of route electrification, said: “Piling is an essential part of our work to electrify the railway, but it is also noisy. That's why we want to give our neighbours as much notice as possible and will continue working closely with both councils to do all we can to minimise the disruption.

“Installing these foundations means the residents of Swindon and its surrounding area are a step closer to the long-term benefits that electrification will bring. These include faster trains with more seats and more legroom, and less noise and cleaner air for those who live close to the railway.

“Faster journeys and the ability to move more people by train will also benefit businesses in the area, helping to drive economic growth across the south west.”

The first wires were laid for the Great Western Main Line electrification programme last year, after delays, and the revised completion dates for the project have now been published.

Electrification from Didcot to Wootton Bassett Junction and Wootton Basset Junction to Bristol Parkway is due to be finished by December 2018, and from Wootton Bassett Junction to Bristol Temple Meads by April 2020.

However, doubts remain over the estimated cost of the programme, which has nearly trebled since 2012 and could hit £2.8bn.

A new bridge, designed to be high enough to accommodate electrification wires, has also now opened at Iver.

Last month’s rolling stock strategy from the Rail Delivery Group said that electrification beyond CP6 is crucial to growing the British rail fleet.

(Image c. Network Rail)


Lutz   19/04/2016 at 19:41

I wonder how reliable the new dates are; given the difficulties with getting up to speed on implementation I am guessing we should expect further revisions (as well as to the costs)?

Andrew Gwilt   19/04/2016 at 21:34

When the Great Western electrification is to be completed. The Midland Main Line north of Bedford will also start to see new overhead masts, pillars, gantries and new 25kv Overhead wires to be erected from Bedford to Nottingham, Derby, Sheffield and as far as Leeds with new Bi-Mode trains to be built to replace the Class 43 HST's just like new Bi-Mode trains are currently being built for Great Western Railway, Virgin Trains East Coast, Hull Trains and Transpennine Express as Hitachi are building the IEP Electric and Bi-Mode (Electric-Diesel) Multiple Unit trains to replace the Class 43's and Class 91's MK3 Intercity fleets.

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