GWR is reminding passengers that this Saturday and into next week Network Rail will continue the electrification of the railway between Reading and Newbury.
Network Rail are electrifying the route between Reading and Newbury, which will allow GWR to be able to run new Electrostar trains direct between Newbury and station stops to the capital, as well as extend the operation of new, bi-mode Intercity Express Trains (IET) on electric power beyond Reading to Newbury, before continuing to Wilshire, Devon and Cornwall on diesel power.
To achieve this, Network Rail need to close the railway line on selected dates throughout the year, and the next phase runs from 1400 Saturday 2 June through to and including Thursday 7 June.
Buses will replace trains from stations between Pewsey and Theale on weekdays, extending to Reading during the weekend. Train services will still operate from Theale to Reading on the weekdays.
Season ticket holders with tickets valid for one month or longer from Pewsey, Bedwyn, Hungerford, Kintbury, or Newbury may use South Western Railway services from Salisbury, Grateley, Andover, Whitchurch, Basingstoke or Overton for travel towards Reading and London Paddington/Waterloo.
The last direct train from London Paddington to Newbury on Saturday will depart at 1233, and at 1310 from Reading. Those leaving Newbury for London Paddington direct will be able to catch the 1345, or 1321 for the stopping service.
Alterations for car park season ticket holders have also been made and more information can be found here.
Long distance services from London Paddington to Devon and Cornwall will continue to operate but will be diverted, adding up to 50 minutes to journey times. Some train departure times will also be changed, and passengers are advised to check beforehand.
As well as commissioning the overhead electric lines, Network Rail will complete track renewal and ballast work, taking advantage of the line closure to conduct maintenance works.
GWR Managing Director Mark Hopwood said:
“With the completion of electrification work we will be able to run brand new electric, and bi-mode Intercity Express Trains, to Newbury – supporting the local economy with more train seats, more comfortable and more frequent journeys.
“In order to achieve this however, Network Rail will need to undertake a significant programme of upgrade works.
“We have worked hard to ensure we have produced a train and bus service that supports the local economy while also allowing Network Rail the vital access it needs to the railway to electrify the route.”
With each IET offering up to 24% more seats than the High Speed Train it replaces, this will mean over *4,500 extra seats every day between Newbury and London Paddington from early 2019, as part of wider timetable improvements.
Network Rail Western Route Managing Director Mark Langman said:
“This will boost local communities and provide a better service for passengers travelling in Berkshire, across the Thames Valley and west London.
“We are working very hard with GWR to minimise disruption to passengers while we deliver electrification to Newbury. Owing to the scale of the work we will be doing this over periods of several days.
“I thank the communities in Newbury and across Berkshire for their patience in advance of the upgrade.”
A series of dates have been announced for Network Rail to complete the works:
Monday 9 to Thursday 12 July
Monday 16 July to Sunday 5 August
Tuesday 28 to Thursday 30 August
Monday 8 to Thursday 11 October
Monday 19 to Thursday 22 November
New, and more modern trains have seen GWR deliver 10% more train seats at the busiest time of the morning into and out of London Paddington, compared to January 2017.
With Network Rail’s work to electrify the route between Reading and Newbury, these new electric trains will also subsequently replace older diesel stock operating between Newbury and London Paddington; while new Class 802 Hitachi Intercity Express Trains will operate direct services to Bedwyn and Frome.
For further travel advice and information on the work please visit GWR.com/Newbury2018.
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.
*Seat increased based on a like-for-like replacement of High Speed Trains for new Intercity Express Trains. Final 2019 timetables subject to agreement by Network Rail.