Emergency engineering work prompts advice to avoid travel by rail this weekend

Tuesday 10th October 2017

Great Western Railway is warning customers to avoid travel by rail this weekend on journeys that would normally pass through Reading as Network Rail carries out emergency engineering work in the Reading area at short notice.

Network Rail will undertake vital electrification work between Maidenhead and Didcot Parkway, to accommodate the rollout of new GWR Class 387 electric commuter trains across the Thames Valley from January 2018.

This means GWR will be unable to run High Speed Intercity or local trains between Didcot, Newbury, Reading and London; interchange stations are likely to be very busy.

From 0200 on Saturday 14 October to start of service on Monday 16 October GWR long distance services will be unable to run through Reading.

While bus replacement services will operate between Slough, Reading and Theale and between Slough, Reading, and Didcot Parkway, these buses are likely to be extremely busy and journey times significantly longer as key roads will be busy too.

Customers can also travel on services provided by Chiltern Railways to London Marylebone and South Western Railway services to London Waterloo.

To help passengers travel on alternative dates, all tickets for travel through Reading on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 October (including Advance Purchase tickets booked on specific trains) can be used on Friday 13 or Monday 16 October with no rebooking required. Customers who choose not to travel can get details of how to get their money back at GWR.com/refund

Mike Gallop, Acting Western Route Managing Director for Network Rail, said:

“The electrification work in the Reading area this weekend is essential in order to enable GWR’s new fleet of electric trains to run between London Paddington and Didcot from January 2018.

“I’d like to apologise to passengers affected by this work and urge anyone planning to travel through Reading this weekend to check before you travel.”

 GWR Managing Director Mark Hopwood said:

“We very much regret that Network Rail need to do this work at such short notice. However, the Thames Valley is one of the most popular rail corridors in the UK and we have promised the current fleet would be upgraded to provide much needed additional capacity and more comfortable, quieter journeys. We cannot achieve these improvements unless Network Rail do this work.“

Passengers can visit nationalrail.co.uk or GWR.com/Reading2017 for further information.

In addition, there is ongoing weekend track renewal work in the Severn Tunnel resulting in South Wales High Speed Services being diverted between Swindon and Newport on Saturday. On Sunday, Network Rail will also be carrying out engineering work in the Cardiff, with London Paddington, Taunton and Portsmouth Harbour services terminating at Bristol Parkway. Buses will run between Cardiff Central and Bristol Parkway.

Alongside electrification of the Great West mainline, GWR’s new class 387 Electrostar and new Intercity Express Trains, Crossrail forms part of the biggest upgrade to the UK’s rail network and the Great Western mainline in a generation, providing thousands of additional seats and more frequent services each day in London and the Thames Valley.

For more information on GWR’s new trains please click here.

Notes to editors

Great Western Railway (GWR) provides high speed, commuter, regional and branch line train services. We help over 100 million passengers reach their destinations every year - across South Wales, the West Country, the Cotswolds, and large parts of Southern England.

We’re currently seeing the biggest investment in the network since Brunel so we can offer more trains, more seats, and shorter, more frequent journeys and continue the network’s heritage of helping connect more businesses to new and prosperous markets. Through a series of initiatives we aim to be a good neighbour to the communities we serve and are committed to making a positive social impact in those regions. Learn how we're Building a Greater West at GWR.com. GWR is a FirstGroup company.