The Severn Tunnel is set to see track infrastructure renewals this summer, in the hopes to make passengers’ journeys quicker and more reliable in the future. The upcoming works will be carried out via Network Rail, where the essential track maintenance and electrical power supply testing will commence in July and August 2022.
The infrastructure development works will see more than two miles of track, sleepers and ballasts being replaced, which will bring modernisation that can create a safer and more reliable railway. The inclusion of a new line of track will allow the removal of a temporary 50mph speed restriction, which was implemented in recent weeks. The removal of speed restrictions will help to maximise line capacity, seeing more journeys along the railway, creating more availability for passenger services.
The track works will be disruptive to a portion of Great Western Railway services between Friday 1st to Sunday 10th July. Affected train services will be between London and South Wales, requiring the use of an alternative route from Swindon to Newport that will stop at Gloucester instead of Bristol Parkway.
David Bailey, GWR’s customer service manager for South Wales, said:
“The work inside the Severn Tunnel will support our train service in Wales, especially those trains running under electric power serving Cardiff Central and Newport.
“We will divert long-distance trains via an alternative route and provide road transport between Newport and Bristol Parkway to ensure customers can complete their journeys.”
Limited train services will run to allow passenger commutes between London Paddington and Bristol Parkway throughout the week but will culminate on the weekends. To combat this roadblock, Network Rail are advising that passengers travel via Bristol Temple Meads instead if necessary. Bus replacement services will also be available to replace train services between Bristol Parkway and Newport.
Mark Dix, Project Manager at Network Rail said:
“The Severn Tunnel is a vital rail link for passengers travelling between Wales and England, so it is extremely important that we invest in its future.
“Once this work is finished, passengers travelling via Bristol Parkway will experience fewer delays with much more reliable journeys.
“I appreciate that this work is going to cause some disruption for passengers, so I would like to thank them in advance for their patience.”
Follow-up engineering work is planned that will affect trains between Bristol and South Wales on Sunday 17 July and again on Sunday 14 August until midday.
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