A message from Network Rail:
On Monday we start work to transform the Severn Tunnel. The 130-year old structure will close for six weeks from 12th September - 21st October 2016 to allow us to install electrical equipment that will ultimately power the new Hitachi electric trains.
The new fleet of electric trains will mean faster, quieter, greener, more reliable journeys between London and the Thames Valley, Cotswolds, South Wales, West Country and South West.
With reduced journey times and more seats, journeys will be more comfortable for passengers.
Early Work Done To Keep Closure of the Severn Tunnel Down to a Minimum
Throughout 2016, we have worked every Saturday night to prepare the tunnel for the new equipment. 3,500 staff hours have been undertaken in readiness for the six-week closure.
We have removed over 40 tonnes of soot that had built up in the tunnel crown and removed a four mile redundant telecomms cable. We have also inspected the brickwork and used a custom-made rig to drill in 12,200 holes. Each will hold an anchor that supports an overhead Solid Conductor Rail (SCR) which will power the trains.
During the six-week closure, we will install the two SCRs - each four miles long - as well as a pair of cables of the same length, to provide back up power. Over 200 members of the Orange Army will work around the clock to meet this
critical milestone in the project. Have a look at our social media for more information.
Over 200 trains a day currently pass through the tunnel each day and this is the largest investment into it since it was opened in 1881.
Thanks to the Swindon to Kemble line being redoubled by Network Rail a few years ago, trains will be able to operate between London and South Wales during the Severn Tunnel Upgrade.
Network Rail have been working closely with the principal train operators in the area, Great Western Railway, Arriva Trains Wales & Cross Country Trains, to enable as many services to continue as possible.
Network Rail is using its possession of the railway to the maximum by also doing works in the Patchway Tunnels near Bristol to enable electrification of the line.
A compound at Filton airfield will provide parking for the Network Rail's Orange Army, who will work in shifts and travel by minibus to access the track near Patchway and Pilning stations.
The detour, via Gloucester, will mean longer journey times between London and South Wales. For those living and working closer to the tunnel there will be bus replacement services in operation throughout the period.
Network Rail urges all passengers to check with their train operator or National Rail Enquiries before travelling.
How To Find Out More Information & Who To Contact During the Severn Tunnel Upgrade
24 hour Network Rail helpline: 03457 11 41 41
24 hour Twitter account: @networkrailwest
General email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Claire McGine, Communications Manager: email@example.com / 07734 647240
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