Network Rail has successfully switched on 116 new state-of-the-art digital signals on the railway across parts of south west London and Berkshire. The work is part of a £116m resignalling programme to improve reliability on the Windsor Lines, which are a key route for commuters in and out of London.
The new signals replace old equipment that had become unreliable and harder to maintain. They will allow trains to run more smoothly and efficiently, which will in turn reduce delays for passengers. The signals are also more resistant to interference from weather conditions, designed as such to improve reliability across the regional network.
The work to install the new signals was carried out over a 14-day period, during which time the railway was closed between Barnes and Virginia Water, and Windsor & Eton Riverside and Hounslow.
Control of this part of the railway has now moved to the Basingstoke Rail Operating Centre, a purpose-built rail hub that is shared with South Western Railway (SWR).
A four year upgrade to improve reliability
Network Rail's Wessex route director, Mark Killick, said: "I'm pleased to say we've now reached a significant milestone of our wider Feltham and Wokingham resignalling programme with the switching on of 116 new signals on the Windsor Lines.
"These new digital signals replace old equipment that had become unreliable and harder to maintain and will improve the reliability of this stretch of railway and in turn help reduce delays for our customers.”
South Western Railway's customer and commercial director, Peter Williams, said: "This milestone in the Feltham to Wokingham resignalling programme is another step towards improving reliability and reducing delays for years to come. With the project entering the commission phase over the coming months, there will still be a need to close sections of the railway for further works, but the new signalling system will deliver a real boost to performance once complete.
"I realise these works have been disruptive, with rail replacement buses in operation and journeys taking longer. I'd like to thank customers and lineside neighbours for their patience and understanding while these essential improvements take place."
The Feltham and Wokingham resignalling programme is due to be completed in early 2024. Once complete, it will have upgraded 80 miles of railway and 500 separate pieces of signalling equipment, controlled by the Feltham and Wokingham Signalling Centre. It will also have renewed or upgraded 13 level crossings.
Photo Credit: Network Rail