Awards, contracts & appointments

07.01.20

Electric rail services underway for South Wales passengers

This week rail passengers in South Wales are benefitting from electric services for the first-time following Network Rail’s successful completion of electrification of the railway between Cardiff Central and London Paddington.

Electrification between the two capital cities means thousands of extra seats, more regular services and quicker journeys for passengers as they travel on GWR’s Intercity Express Trains.

Over the festive period, Network Rail engineers worked throughout to switch on the electricity running through the overhead line equipment between St Brides, Newport and west of Cardiff Central station.

After positive testing, passengers are now benefitting from an average journey time saving of 14 minutes between South Wales and London and an extra 15, 000 weekday seats between the two capital cities.

Electrification in South Wales follows electric services already being introduced in stages between London Paddington and the south west in recent years, providing greener railways for passengers in Bristol, Reading, Newbury and now Newport and Cardiff.

This major modernisation project has involved electrifying over 150 miles of track between Cardiff and London, including in Wales, installing over 4,200 masts and booms which hold the overhead wires in place, fitting approximately 400 miles of wire and making changes to 49 different structures.

Network Rail’s Managing Director for Wales and Western, Mark Langman, said: “I am delighted that services can now run on electricity between Cardiff and London, linking the two capital cities for the very first time via an electric railway.

“This is the culmination of the largest modernisation project on the Great Western railway since it was built in Victorian times, which we have been working on over the last 10 years.

“Train performance has been very good since electric services have been operating, and together with the new timetable, passengers are already reaping the benefits of this huge modernisation.”

Image: Network Rail 

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