Thames Valley electrification reaches milestone
Network Rail has successfully electrified 12 miles of railway to the west of London between Stockley Junction and Maidenhead, as part of the Crossrail project.
Electrification will allow GWR to extend new electric trains from London Paddington to Maidenhead from this May, and to Didcot in January 2018, delivering more seats for passengers. In January this year GWR began to run half-hourly new Electrostar trains from London Paddington to Hayes & Harlington, providing much needed extra capacity for passengers.
The work will also allow for the delivery of new Elizabeth line trains on this section of the railway from December 2019. Passengers in the Thames Valley will be able to catch new Elizabeth line trains all the way through central London without having to change onto the Underground at Paddington, making it quicker and easier to get to a range of destinations across London and the South East.
Over three years, Network Rail has led an 800-strong workforce to successfully install more than 1,400 overhead structures and 140 miles of overhead wires that will power the new trains. The vast majority of this huge engineering project had to be undertaken in the early hours of the morning, at weekends and bank holidays to enable GWR and other operators to run normal services as much as possible.
Mark Langman, Route Managing Director, Network Rail, said: “This is a major milestone for Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan of which the delivery of an electrified Great Western Mainline and the Elizabeth line is a huge part. From May this year more passengers will see immediate benefits with brand new, cleaner, quieter electric trains operating between Maidenhead and Paddington.
“On behalf of Network Rail I would like to thank passengers, local residents, businesses and local authorities for their patience and permission to deliver this huge programme of railway upgrade work at anti-social hours, weekends and every bank holiday for the last three years. Without their support it simply would not have been possible to electrify the Great Western Mainline to deliver new improved passenger services and pave the way for the Elizabeth line.”
Mark Hopwood, GWR Managing Director, said: “The Thames Valley is one of the most popular rail corridors in the UK. We have promised the current fleet would be upgraded to provide much needed additional capacity and more comfortable, quieter journeys. We started to run half hourly new electric trains in January, delivering over 10,000 more seats a day between London Paddington and Hayes & Harlington. We look forward to being able to extend these services beyond Hayes to Maidenhead this coming May as Network Rail continues its work to upgrade the railway.”
Matthew White, Crossrail Surface Director, said: “The completion of this major piece of work paves the way for new, quicker, quieter trains right along this stretch of the railway. Once the Elizabeth line opens fully in 2019, passengers from the Thames Valley will be able to catch one train all the way through central London, providing a direct link to a range of destinations, including the West End, the City and Canary Wharf.”