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Published on : Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Network Rail and Great Western Railway thanked passengers and lineside neighbours today for their patience following the completion, on time, of railway improvement work in the south west and Thames Valley over the Christmas and New Year period.
As part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan, an extensive programme of work totalling £60m took place over Christmas and the New Year to prepare the Great Western Main Line for the arrival of electrification, the new fleet of electric trains and Crossrail services from 2018. This work totalled over 325,000 orange army hours worked and included:
Major track and signalling upgrades at locations in Berkshire and west London including Maidenhead, Acton, Old Oak Common and Stockley to increase capacity and improve the reliability of the railway
Station upgrades at Ealing Broadway, West Ealing, Hayes & Harlington, Southall and Maidenhead
Upgrading the overhead power lines between Acton and the junction to Heathrow airport
Re-aligning the tracks at Heathrow junction and installing a new set of points, to enable trains to move from one track to another
Electrification preparation work in west London and Berkshire
The extension of platform 14 at Paddington station in preparation for the longer electric trains
The replacement of Stratton Green bridge in Swindon with a new, higher bridge to make the additional room needed for the overhead electrification lines that will be installed underneath.
The above work involved the installation of:
1,527 metres of new track
6,300 concrete sleepers
57,800 tons of ballast (the stones under the track)
11 new sets of points
25 new signals
174 miles of new signal cables
11 new under track crossings for signal cables
176 foundations for the overhead electrification equipment
134 electrification masts (the vertical steel structure)
123 electrification booms (the horizontal steel structure)
Over 11,700 metres of new overhead electrification wiring
Mark Langman, Network Rail’s managing director for the Western route, said: “Our work over this Christmas and New Year was one of the biggest packages of improvement work on the Western route to date.
“I’m pleased to announce that all the upgrades were completed on time and I’d like to thank passengers and our lineside neighbours for their patience and understanding while this essential modernisation work took place.
“Now these projects are complete, they will pave the way for the new fleet of longer, faster, quieter and greener electric trains, and for the introduction of Crossrail services from 2018 that will provide passengers travelling from the south east with faster journeys and more direct services to London.”
Mark Hopwood, GWR’s managing director, said: “The Great Western network is already seeing the biggest investment since Brunel, and these improvement works will allow passengers to take advantage of the full benefits of electrification; providing newer trains, faster, more frequent services and importantly, given the growth this network has seen in recent years, more seats.”