Thu, 25 Jan 2018
THERE will be an extra 4,500 seats a day and more frequent train services between Newbury and London Paddington from January 2019.
Newbury railway station will be closed for eight full days during the spring to allow for upgrade works to take place ahead of electrification.
With the electrification of the route, Great Western Railway will 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) beyond Newbury to Bedwyn, and direct to Wilshire, Devon and Cornwall.
The first phase of works is scheduled to take place over the following four-day periods, with an number of additional line blocks required to complete the work: Monday, March 12, until Thursday, March 15, and Monday, April 23, until Thursday April 26.
Train services will still operate from Theale to Reading.
On the days above, buses will replace trains from stations between Pewsey and Theale.
Season ticket holders can also change their tickets to travel from Didcot Parkway or Whitchurch if they prefer.
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.
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.
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“We have worked hard to make sure 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.”
Network Rail 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, with the upgrade starting in March.
“I thank the communities in Newbury and across Berkshire for their patience in advance of the upgrade starting.”
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.
For further travel advice and information on the work, visit www.GWR.com/Newbury2018
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.