Latest Rail News


Great Western modernisation moves forward as NR completes key upgrade

Network Rail has this week reached a key milestone of the Great Western modernisation programme as it completed a key series of upgrades between Bristol Parkway and Swindon.

The line reopened on Saturday (16 September) following a long programme of work that took place along the 28-mile stretch of railway.

The electrification is being completed to prepare for GWR’s new fleet of Intercity Express Trains being built by Hitachi that are due to come into service in the autumn.

Around 5,000 Network Rail engineers put in more than 175,000 working hours throughout the four weeks of work, involving more than 14,000 tonnes of ballast, 2,600 concrete sleepers as well as 106km of wires and more than 500 foundations for electrification.

The works included efforts to improve the reliability and increase capacity at Bristol Parkway station, including track renewals and signalling upgrades. Further vital upgrades to accommodate the new trains took place as the extension of three platforms and the construction of a fourth platform at the station got underway, due for completion at the end of this year.

As part of this programme, electrification of the Chipping Sodbury tunnel was also completed with more than 8km of conductor rail and approximately 1,100 anchors drilled into the Victorian tunnel. The series of upgrades also enabled the first phase of the resilience scheme at a flood-prone area in Chipping Sodbury to be completed as part of the DfT’s Flood Resilience Programme.

“I’d like to thank passengers and those living near to the railway for their patience as we have completed this important work,” said David Buisson, Network Rail major programme director.

“I’d also like to thank our workforce for their efficient and safe delivery of these works and our colleagues at GWR who have worked hard to keep passengers moving throughout this programme of upgrades.

“We’ve made great strides towards electrifying this section of the railway over the past four weeks, and we will continue to work safely and tirelessly to bring the benefits of electrification to passengers in 2019.”

And Rob Mullen, GWR operations director, added the work is crucial to “maximising the benefits of our new Intercity Express Trains which enter service this year, with more seats compared to our existing trains and quicker journeys to London from 2019”.

The countdown is on to get your entries in for this year’s UKRIA. Closing date is 25 September. ENTER NOW! 


Andrew Gwilt   19/09/2017 at 04:54

What about the overhead wiring replacement works on the Great Eastern Main Line including new overhead wires to be installed on the Southend Victoria line. Network Rail are still continuing to replace the overhead wires.

IC2000   19/09/2017 at 12:53

And when will the wires on the LT&S be renewed and what about the conductor rails on Merseyrail? Andrew, please ONLY comment on the article concerned...

Andrew Gwilt   20/09/2017 at 01:08

Err what? I don't get that. IC2000. In fact I don't care what you say anyway.

Andrew Gwilt   20/09/2017 at 01:19

And yes Network Rail could also replace the overhead wires on the LT&S line between West Ham and Fenchurch Street. With new overhead wires to be installed. Also Network Rail could even replace the overhead wires between Ardwick Junction-Guide Bridge-Glossop and Hatfield as it once was part of the Woodhead Line that went from Manchester to Sheffield Victoria before the line closed in the 1980's.

Mark C   20/09/2017 at 07:28

Why do media types and journos insist on using cumulative figures to make a report look sexy? 5,000 staff working 175,000 over 4 weeks is 35 hours per person. Big deal. That is 35 hours a week. I do that and more in a comfortable, tea drinking office and used to do more than that when I was on site.

Andrew JG   20/09/2017 at 14:09

The overhead wires on the Southend Victoria line will soon be replaced by new overhead wires throughout this year and into 2018. In fact. Network Rail are recruiting more new apprentices to work and maintain the railways in the UK. And Network Rail have got their hands full on doing every project including the electrification that is taking place across England and Scotland.

Andrew JG   20/09/2017 at 14:11

Not to mention the Crossrail "Elizabeth Line" project, Crossrail 2, Thameslink Programme, HS2 and Northern Powerhouse (which includes electrifying some busier railway lines in Northwest England).

IC2000   20/09/2017 at 17:19

Ah, it seems that you have bitten the bait! I'll remind you that the article is about Great Western modernisation and nowhete else.

Andrew JG   20/09/2017 at 20:09

Rubbish IC2000. Complete rubbish. Say no more.

Despair   20/09/2017 at 21:07

I'd give up IC2000. It doesn't matter what you say about anything, you'll still get the endless eternal irrelevant dribble from Gwilt that nobody else cares about and drags this Industry Journal down to train spotters waffle.

IC2000   21/09/2017 at 10:13

I just wish the RTM editorial team (and others) would put a stop to the clown and is his constant inane drivel.

Andrew Gwilt   21/09/2017 at 12:02

@Despair-Hahahaha very funny Despair. NOT!! @IC2000-So you think Im a clown. Oh please give me a break.

Andrew JG   21/09/2017 at 12:03

Sorry meant to say Andrew JG. Not the other Andrew.

Allhailthegwilt   25/09/2017 at 15:58

Gwilt - spare us your irrelevant inane ramblings. Either comment on the subject of the article itself or p*** off.

Andrew Gwilt   27/09/2017 at 06:44

@Allhailthegwilt. Troll b**ta*d.

Andrew JG   27/09/2017 at 06:46

How about you p**s off then @Allhailthegwilt. F**king p**ck troll.

Andrew Gwilt (Not Andrew JG)   27/09/2017 at 06:49


Allhailthegwilt   28/09/2017 at 13:11

Hahaha so the man who has at least 4 'identities' on here is calling me a troll, how ironic. Many people have advised you to refrain from speculating on subjects on which you have no knowledge and stick to commenting on the subject of the article, not just listing endless Train Operators and types of rolling stock; advice which you seem incapable of heeding, yet you still seem to believe the problem lies with everyone else instead of yourself. I'm assuming you don't work on the railway?

Add your comment


Rail industry Focus

View all News


The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >

Most Read

'the sleepers' blog

On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

29/06/2020On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

Following an independent audit, Sulzer’s Nottingham Service Centre has been accepted as part of the rail industry supplier approval scheme (RISAS). The accreditation reinforces the high-quality standards that are maintained by Sulzer’s... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he would not rule out his organisation issuing future r... more >
Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projects across the UK, Pearson Business School, part of... more >