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  • Great Western route modernisation

  • On schedule

  • We're electrifying the Great Western to deliver more reliable, greener and quieter journeys for thousands of passengers.

    The electrification of one of Britain’s busiest and oldest railways will improve connections between major towns and cities across southern England and South Wales. Journeys will be smoother and more comfortable for passengers and quieter for people living near the railway.

  • We’re electrifying the railway between London and Bristol, including Newbury and Oxford, by 2016 and to Cardiff by 2017.

    Pioneering high output equipment will be used which will electrify around 1.6km of railway per night and enable us to keep the railway open during large parts of the construction work.

    To prepare for this work we need to upgrade bridges and tunnels and carry out safety improvement work to parapets.

  • Why electrify the Great Western?

  • Improved reliability

    Electric trains are cheaper to operate than diesels.

    They require less maintenance and have lower energy costs. They are also lighter and do less damage to the track helping create a more reliable railway for passengers.

    Longer, faster trains

    A new fleet of trains delivered by the Intercity Express Programme will transform travel on the Great Western by providing faster, longer and more frequent trains for intercity journeys.

    These services will run on the newly electrified railway and support the move to a greener, cleaner and more efficient rail network.


    Better for the environment

    Electric trains perform better than diesel trains.

    They emit around 20-35% less carbon than diesel trains and there are no emissions at the point of use. This improves air quality in pollution hot spots such as city centres and main line stations. They are also quieter and are virtually silent when waiting at stations.

    How we're minimising our environmental impact.

    Stimulating economic growth

    Electrification will stimulate economic growth across the region by improving connections between towns and cities.

    More trains with additional seats will improve links to jobs and services and open up new opportunities for businesses.


    More seats

    The new electric trains will have 20% more seats compared to diesel trains.