Plan ahead, Bank Holiday rail travellers told

Wednesday 23rd May 2018

As Network Rail continues work on the electrification of the Great Western main line over the upcoming Bank Holiday weekend GWR is asking passengers to plan their journeys in advance.

From Saturday 26 to Monday 28 May, Network Rail will carry out upgrade work through Swindon, and the railway will be closed between Didcot Parkway and Chippenham; between Didcot Parkway and Bristol Parkway, and on the South Cotswolds route between Swindon and Gloucester. Improvement works will also take place between Evesham and Worcester Shrub Hill from Saturday 26 May until Wednesday 30 May.

The work is critical to allowing GWR to continue to introduce its fleet of new Intercity Express Trains, delivering more seats per train and, once electrification is complete, more frequent services and quicker journeys.

Travelling on Saturday 26 or Monday 28 May?

  • long distance services to London Paddington from South Wales will be diverted (adding up to 40 minutes to the usual journey time) and won’t call at Swindon and Didcot Parkway; trains will call at Patchway instead of Bristol Parkway, Bristol Temple Meads and Bath
  • long distance services to London Paddington from Bristol Temple Meads services will be diverted (adding up to 20 minutes to the usual journey time) and won’t call at Chippenham, Swindon and Didcot Parkway
  • an hourly shuttle service will run between Chippenham and Bristol Temple Meads
  • trains will run between Chippenham and Westbury, except on Sundays when coaches replace trains
  • between London Paddington and Gloucester no direct services will run. Customers are advised to travel via Bristol Parkway or alternatively via Birmingham New Street and London Euston
  • services between London Paddington and Hereford will start/terminate at Evesham. Customers for Worcester Shrub Hill and Hereford can travel via Birmingham New Street and London Euston

In order to keep passengers moving an extensive bus replacement service will be in operation. Buses will run between:

  • Reading and Swindon
  • Swindon and Kemble
  • Swindon and Chippenham 
  • Swindon and Didcot Parkway
  • Swindon and Bristol Parkway/Patchway 
  • Swindon and Gloucester
  • Swindon and Bath Spa (Sundays only) 
  • Chippenham and Westbury (Sundays only)

GWR Managing Director Mark Hopwood said:

“Our new Intercity Express Trains are already providing more seats on long distance routes between Swindon, Bristol, London and South Wales, and with the electrification of the railway through Swindon, we’ll be able to offer quicker journeys too from early next year.

While we are doing all we can to keep people moving, customers should check before they travel this weekend, as some journeys may take longer than usual.”

On Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 May Swansea will host BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend and customers travelling from Swindon, Didcot, Reading and London Paddington should check their journey times in advance.

Network Rail Western Route Managing Director Mark Langman said: 

“The upgrade over the bank holiday weekend forms a vital part of the Railway Upgrade Plan which will, once complete, help transform rail travel on the Great Western route.

The scale of the work is huge and we are completing it in as short a time as possible to minimise the impact for passengers.”

More information is available at GWR.com/Electrification2018.

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.