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GWML electrification progresses with completion of Wiltshire works

Electrification work on the Great Western Main Line has taken a step forward today as Network Rail announced it had successfully upgraded the railway in Swindon and Royal Wootton Bassett.

Engineers worked over the weekend of 10 and 11 of June to lower the track beneath Hunts Mill Bridge in Wootton Bassett and Roman Road Bridge in Swindon.

These works allowed for space to be created for the overhead line equipment, which are necessary for electrification to be installed in the future. The parapets of both bridges were also made higher to provide a safe distance between those using the bridge and the high-voltage electricity cables.

This key set of works will now open the way for the arrival of a fleet of new, longer Intercity Express trains later on in the year.

The new rolling stock will bring more seats per carriage and make services more comfortable for passengers. The trains will run as electric through Swindon and Wootton Basset from December 2018.

Garry Fernand, Network Rail project manager, said: “The improvements carried out in Royal Wootton Bassett and Swindon as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan are extensive but essential in order to bring our railway into the 21st century and improve passengers’ experience.

“We’d like to thank residents and motorists for their patience and understanding during this upgrade, which will pave the way for electrification and the benefits this will bring.”

Today’s update comes after the electrification programme was slammed earlier in the year, with MPs in the former Public Accounts Committee arguing that it was a good example of how not to run a major rail project.

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Graham   14/06/2017 at 16:34

when will the rest of the project be finished or are we doomed to have these awful Bi modes neither one thing or the other

Chrism   14/06/2017 at 16:44

So one task among hundreds has been completed in June 2017. There are still 17 or 18 months to go before any passenger is likely to pass over this track on a train that is powered by electricity. This is a scheme that was approved by government on the 23rd July 2009 and was expected to be completed to Newbury, Bristol, Cardiff and Oxford in an 8-year time period.

Andrew Gwilt   14/06/2017 at 21:01

Saying about Royal Wootton Basset. Will Royal Wootton Basset be having its own railway station back and rebuilt as Royal Wootton Basset used to have a railway station before it was closed and demolished during the Beeching era.

Andrew Gwilt   14/06/2017 at 21:15

As its Bassett. Not Basset.

Huguenot   15/06/2017 at 14:49

"Through" Swindon and Wootton Bassett? I don't think so. For the time being, the juice will end at Swindon and the bi-modes will be running on diesel west of Swindon. This means that they will lose time from there onwards to Bristol and S Wales as the diesel engines cannot keep to HST125 timings. Any acceleration benefit east of Swindon will be lost and so London-Bristol and London-Cardiff/Swansea journey times will be even longer than they are now. Bear in mind that journey times have already been lengthened since the HSTs were introduced on this line 40 years ago.

Chrism   24/06/2017 at 03:28

The progress of this electrification scheme is lamentable. If we are lucky the entire Paddington - Didcot stretch might be done by the end of this year. So just 42 miles achieved in 7 years. The diesel engines under the IEPs will be worn out before the wires reach Bristol

Francis Brian   24/06/2017 at 11:19

What about Swindon to Kemble, Stroud, Stonehouse and Gloucester; then followed by Bristol to Gloucester, Cheltenham Spa and Birmingham?

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