Latest Rail News

05.06.20

Electric railway now running through historic Severn Tunnel

On Friday (June 5th) Network Rail announced they have successfully completed the electrification of the Severn Tunnel, bringing London and south Wales closer than ever for rail passengers.

This development means for the first time ever an electric railway will run from Cardiff and Newport in south Wales, through the historic Severn Tunnel, right through to London Paddington station.

Electrification has resulted in thousands of extra seats, more frequent services and quicker and greener journeys for passengers as they travel to and from south Wales on Great Western Railway’s Intercity Express Trains.

The Severn Tunnel is 134-years-old and four miles in length, and has an extremely challenging environment, as over 14 million gallons of water are pumped out of it every day by Sudbrook pumping station to stop it from flooding.

Network Rail engineers have worked with world leading experts to find a robust and reliable solution to deliver an electric railway through the tunnel which will ensure passengers gain the full benefits of electrification.

Sudbrook pumping station is also set to be renewed as part of the upgrade of the Severn Tunnel, further improving the reliability of the railway.

Electrification to south Wales supports Welsh Government’s plans which includes a south Wales metro, an integrated transport system across the whole of Wales and a long-term vision for a Swansea Bay Metro.   

Network Rail’s Managing Director for Wales and Western, Mark Langman, said: ““I am absolutely delighted that the Severn Tunnel is now fully electrified, resulting in a seamless rail link for passengers between Cardiff and London Paddington.

“Electrification has reduced journey times between south Wales and London by as much as 15 minutes and provided an additional 15,000 weekday seats compared with a year ago, with the possibility of further increasing the number of services and seats from south Wales in the future.

Severn Tunnel 3

 “It has been a hugely complex task to electrify the tunnel but I’m thrilled that the final piece of the puzzle is now complete.

 “I would like to thank passengers and lineside neighbours for their patience over the past decade as we worked to deliver the transformation of this vital railway and am pleased that they will benefit from these improvements for years to come.”

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “It’s fantastic to announce the line between the capitals of Wales and England is fully electric at last, benefitting both passengers and the environment through quicker, greener, more reliable journeys.

“The completion of this ambitious project is just one part of our record investment to deliver the most significant upgrade of the UK’s railways since Victorian times, transforming travel for passengers right across the UK.”

Images: Network Rail 

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