Despite suggestions Wales is still open for business

Thursday 08th September 2016

More than 1,000 seats an hour will run between Cardiff Central and Paddington while the Seven Tunnel is closed to allow Network Rail to prepare for the electrification of the line.

Some 32 train services a day will operate between the two cities, providing over 500 seats every hour in each direction while Network Rail works in the Severn Tunnel between Monday 12 September and Friday 21 October.

During the work a typical journey between Cardiff and London Paddington will take around 2 hours 40 minutes, 34 minutes longer than the current journey time. The quickest journey will take just 2 hours 29 minutes, and get you into London Paddington for a full day’s work at 08.07.

The journey times were made possible after the £40 million upgrade of a diversionary route two years ago in preparation for the tunnel closure.

GWR Managing Director Mark Hopwood said:

“Despite some suggestions otherwise, South Wales remains very much connected and open for business during Network Rail’s work on the Severn Tunnel. In fact, the rail industry has invested millions to make sure trains can still run during this time.

“Of course, we’ve had to make changes while we can’t use the tunnel, but with 17 trains and thousands of seats a day running between the two capitals, wiith free WiFi, and power at every seat, I think rail will remain the most convenient way of travelling for many people.”

The London hub station offers a quick connection into Central London with an 8-minute journey on the Bakerloo Line to Oxford Circus.

Advance tickets are available from £18.50 (each way) from Cardiff Central to London Paddington, without the need to pay extra for reservations or for more than one bag.

During the work Network Rail will install overhead lines that will power GWR’s new Intercity Express Trains (IETs).

The new IETs will begin to enter service on selected routes from next summer, with Network Rail expected to complete electrification of the line between London Paddington to Cardiff by 2019. Once complete South Wales customers will experience quicker journey times, up to 21 minutes between Swansea and London Paddington, and more seats – up to a 25% increase in seats per train compared to existing High Speed Trains.

Travelling during the work?

On weekdays there will be an hourly train service between South Wales and London Paddington which will depart 28 minutes past the hour from Swansea, and 15 minutes past the hour from London. There will also be an hourly service between Bristol Parkway and London Paddington, departing Bristol at 57 minutes past the hour and London Paddington at 45 minutes past the hour.

For customers who normally travel on the Portsmouth Harbour and Taunton services from Cardiff Central, they should travel to Newport for a rail replacement bus service to Bristol Parkway (taking approximately 50 inutes), for connecting services to Bristol Temple Meads, Portsmouth Harbour and Taunton.

Network Rail electrify the Severn Tunnel as part of ongoing improvement work which will see more trains, more frequent services and faster journeys when completed.