Passengers will benefit from almost twice as many trains between Bristol and London Paddington with the completion of work to electrify and modernise the line.
Replacing 40 year-old High Speed Trains with new Intercity Express Trains, which have as many as 24% more seats per train, the new fleet will also allow the train operator to increase the frequency of service, and to reduce journeys time from Bristol to London by as much as 17 minutes.
To achieve this Network Rail is set to undertake its biggest ever signalling upgrade works, costing £130 million, this Easter.
The upgrade means for five days, from Good Friday to Tuesday 3 April buses will replace trains between Bristol Temple Meads, Patchway, Bristol Parkway, Bath Spa, Weston-super-Mare, and on the Severn Beach line. Long distance services between London Paddington and South Wales will run as normal; between London Paddington and Bristol Temple Meads services will terminate at Bath Spa.
For more detail about how your journey could be affected click here.
Tony Lamb, Senior Sponsor for the project at Network Rail said:
“This Easter we will be delivering our biggest ever signalling upgrade as part of the Railway Upgrade Plan.
“Once complete, along with Filton Four Tracking at the end of this year, this will enable rail journeys in Bristol to be transformed. The new signalling technology will allow more trains to run, which is vital to meet growing passenger demand.
“In addition to transforming the passenger experience, improving services in the Bristol area will stimulate economic growth in the city, as well as across the South West region as a whole”.
GWR Operations Director Rob Mullen said:
“This work is vital for GWR to be able to continue to deliver the full benefits our new Intercity Express Train fleet is bringing, including seven trains an hour between London and Bristol and quicker journey times – further supporting Bristol and its economy.”
The Bristol Area Signalling Renewal and Enhancement (BASRE) project is set to be delivered after signalling gantries and cables were successfully installed recently in preparation for the upgrade.
The re-signalling, alongside Filton Four Tracking which is doubling the lines between Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway and to be completed after BASRE - is crucial to support the introduction of a new timetable in early 2019, where GWR will be able to deliver its full complement of new trains and passenger benefits.
This signalling upgrade is only possible after six months’ worth of work was delivered over the Christmas period; including installation of 30km of cable; upgrades to signalling gantries; 124 tests of the signals, as well as axle counter upgrades.
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.