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NR completes £45m Swindon to Kemble line re-doubling works

Network Rail has completed the £45m line upgrade project between Swindon and Kemble, paving the way for greater capacity, reduced journey times and a better experience for passengers.

The project, which has been hampered by delays since work started in January 2012, was unveiled in the 2011 budget as part of a £200m package of support for regional rail works across England.

By re-doubling the 12.5 mile stretch of track, trains will be able to travel simultaneously back and forth from Kemble in Gloucestershire into north Wiltshire. The line had been reduced to a single track by British Rail in the 1960s to deliver cost savings.

The infrastructure upgrade along the route included the reinstatement of the second line, improvements to earthworks to accommodate the new track, and the installation of new signalling equipment which will safely control the movement of trains.

In particular, the re-doubling was needed before the electrification of the Great Western Main Line could take place, but there will be no extra trains on the route until a new service franchise agreement is struck in 2017.

Simon Maple, Network Rail’s route programme and project sponsor, said: “Now that our work is complete, passengers can look forward to fewer delays and reduced journey times in the future. It also means we can minimise the disruption caused by our electrification work and ensure the region gets maximum benefit from a modern, electric railway.”

The new infrastructure improvements will also enable trains from south Wales to be diverted along the route when Bristol Parkway station and the Severn Tunnel are closed for electrification work.

Other improvements incorporated as part of the upgrade project include the installation of additional signals between Kemble and Standish Junction, level crossing upgrades at Minety and Purton Collins Lane and the installation of a new footbridge in Stroud.

Rob Mullen, First Great Western’s general manager central, said: “These are vital infrastructure works to help pave the way for increased capacity and reduced journey times, and better performance and punctuality that electrification and new electric trains will bring for future services.”

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