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  • Oxfordshire

  • Last updated 20 October 2016. This page will be updated regularly.

    Modernising the Great Western route

    We’re modernising the Great Western route to bring passengers faster, more frequent and more reliable services. The project includes upgrading our infrastructure so that the route can be electrified.

    This page shows the work we’ll be doing in Oxfordshire and when it’s due to take place.

    What we’re doing

    To enable the route to be electrified, we’re installing supporting masts and overhead lines, and preparing the foundations for these (‘piling’). We’ll also be modifying some of the bridges and other structures on the route to create the extra height needed for the overhead lines.

    Work dates and locations

    Piling work

    We're undertaking piling work in the areas shown below from Saturday 22nd - Friday 28th October 2016.  Please note that the schedule could change at short notice for operational reasons.

    Before starting this work we may need to clear overgrown vegetation running alongside the line. Find out more about why and how we manage vegetation


    Saturday 22nd - Sunday 23rd October 2016
    11.00pm - 08.00am
    Local Authority: Vale of White Horse

    Wantage Road

    Saturday 22nd - Sunday 23rd October 2016
    11.00pm - 09.00am
    Local Authority: Vale of White Horse


    Chilterns and North Wessex Downs AONBs (including South Stoke and Goring Gap)

    We have started installing the electrification apparatus between Reading and Didcot. This section of track runs through both the Chilterns and North Wessex Downs Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), including the South Stoke and Goring Gap areas.

    The Secretary of State for Transport recently announced that Network Rail’s electrification programme of the Great Western Mainline is of particular importance and that the Reading to Didcot section, as the test track for the new trains, is a  top priority.  We are therefore continuing with the installation of the overhead line equipment  to ensure the successful testing of those new trains on the electrified railway. 

    However, Network Rail does recognise the importance of conserving the AONBs, and we are working with Natural England and the AONB Conservation Boards as we explore designs that reduce the visual impact of electrification within these special landscapes. Developing these alternative designs is a complex process that involves balancing their appearance with safety, reliability and operational efficiency issues, but we have committed to consult with local communities when the design options are ready. Any works to modify the apparatus already installed to allow for the train testing will be undertaken retrospectively, subject to funding agreements; we have written to the Conservation Boards to confirm this, and a copy of the letter can be found here.

    To view the Visual Amenity Review - Phase 1 Options Report ( Improving the Aesthetic Appearance of Overhead Line Equipment) in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty please click here and view the specified documents below.


    Work on bridges and other structures 


    If you'd like to find out more, why not come along to one of our drop-in sessions? We'll be pleased to answer any questions you may have.

    Structure Drop-in session Closure date(s) Diversion Additional information
    Wantage Road (A338) - Road closure is required to connect the bridge to the existing road and to carry out tarmacking.
    Temporary road closures are:
    3  - 6 June 2016
    10 - 13 June 2016
    17  -20 June 2016
    24 - 27 June 2016

    Working times are 8.00pm on Friday to 06.00am on the Monday 
    Diversion in place during weekend closures Major construction work is nearing completion and the new bridge is expected to open July 2016.

    Shrivenham Bridge -

    New bridge was opened 8 April 2016

    n/a We are now repairing damage to roads and reinstating embankments. Work is due to be complete end of Summer 2016.
    Aristotle Lane Footbridge - The existing footbridge is now closed whilst we rebuild the retaining wall.    
    Walton Well Bridge - TBC n/a Option selection took place in May this year, we will meet with lineside neighbours to discuss plans once finalised.
    Culham Farm Bridge      - - n/a 3 track lower option being progressed and we will update lineside neighbours once the preferred option is chosen.
    Denchworth Footbridge - Site works planned to commence in October 2016 n/a We will meet with lineside neighbours prior to work commencing.
    Uffington Foorbridge - Site works planned to commence in October 2016 n/a We will meet with lineside neighbours prior to work commencing.

    Working responsibly

    We know that our work to improve the railway may cause some disruption and noise for local communities. We do our very best to limit this and appreciate your patience and understanding.

    For example, we often have to carry out some of the work at night when trains aren’t running. This is because we’re contractually obliged to work at times that have the least impact on passenger services, and because we must ensure the safety of our workforce. 

    If roads or footpaths need to be closed temporarily because of bridge work, we agree diversionary routes with the local council. And we are committed to completing the work quickly, so the road can be re-opened as soon as possible.