Before work can begin on electrifying the railway, we need to complete a vast amount of design and preparation work

Installing foundations to support overhead line equipment (OLE), which we call piling, is part of this preparatory work. Once the cylindrical steel piles have been installed, we then begin to erect trackside posts and overhead wires.

Piling involves driving the piles deep into the ground. This is usually done at night-time on weekdays and weekends. We’re aware of the inconvenience that piling can cause our lineside neighbours and do everything we can to minimise disruption.

In the clip above, you can see and hear the noise levels generated as the piles are driven into the ground at 10, 250 and 500 metres distance.

For safety reasons, work of this type must be carried out while trains are not running. Under our licence conditions we are contractually obliged to work at times that cause the least disruption to train services.

Depending on ground conditions, an average pile takes between 20 and 60 minutes and is often complete on a single occasion. Once complete, work will then progress to another location.

Find out about our High Output Plant System (HOPS) machine for installing overhead line equipment on the Great Western mainline

More about Electrification works

Learn more about some of the work we do to prepare the railway for electrification.