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  • Great Western electrification

  • On schedule

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


    Electrifying the Great Western will improve one of Britain’s busiest and oldest railways, better connecting major towns and cities across southern England and South Wales. It will make journeys smoother and more comfortable for passengers as well as quieter for people living near the railway.

    Why electrify the railway?

  • More seats and faster journeys

    Electric trains have 20% more seats compared to diesel trains. Journey time savings can be made due to the superior braking systems, making journeys quicker, especially in urban areas where there are frequent stops.

    Better for the environment

    Electric trains perform better than diesel trains. They emit around 20-35% less carbon than diesel trains and there are zero emissions at the point of use. This helps improve air quality in pollution hot spots such as city centres and main line stations. Electric trains are also quieter and virtually silent when waiting at stations.


    Stimulate economic growth

    Electrification will help stimulate economic growth across the region by better connecting towns and cities. More trains with additional seats will better link people to jobs and services and help open up new opportunities for businesses.

    Reduce costs

    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.

  • Environment

    In August 2011 we commissioned consultants to undertake a full environmental impact assessment of the Great Western Electrification route. As part of the process our consultants submitted an environmental scoping report to local authorities and statutory consultees in October 2011 to agree the detail of the assessments and surveys.

    Environmental Impact Assessment Scoping Report  

    We used feedback provided by the local authorities and statutory consultees to produce an Environment Statement (ES) covering the whole Scheme. The ES has been produced in a series of volumes which enable the assessments to be drawn up into reports relevant to each of the 15 local authorities that the scheme will pass through. We have also produced separate general volumes for England and Wales to take account of the differing legislation and government organisations encountered in each Country.

    We've taken this approach in order to provide robust and consistent supporting documentation for use with the various planning, listed building, conservation area and environmental consent applications that will be required along the length of the Scheme.

    The Environmental Statement considers the environmental impacts and our proposed mitigation during both the construction and operation phases of the Scheme.

    Great Western Main Line Electrification Environmental Statements