Network Rail delivered its biggest ever signalling upgrade on 4 April, with the £130m work enabling GWR to deliver more frequent services to London, quicker journeys and more seats per train from 2019.
The signalling upgrade in Bristol took place over the Easter weekend up to Tuesday 3 April and involved more than 500 members of Team Orange working round the clock to remove old 1970s analogue signalling and install and test new digital signalling equipment.
This means most of the signals in Bristol are controlled from a state of the art signalling centre in Didcot rather than the signalling room behind Bristol Temple Meads station.
The 1970s Bristol Panel continues to control areas west of Bristol, down towards Weston Super Mare and Exeter, but the remainder of the associated signalling operations moved to the Thames Valley Signalling Centre.
This is the third of a four-stage £250m project to entirely resignal Bristol Temple Meads and the surrounding area. The final phase of the project will take place at Easter 2019. The project, which forms part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan, combined with doubling the number of tracks between Bristol Parkway and Bristol Temple Meads later this year, will transform travel into Bristol, enabling GWR to continue introducing new trains as part of their biggest fleet upgrade for a generation.
“It is a great achievement to have delivered our biggest ever signalling upgrade in just five days, enabling GWR to deliver more services, quicker journeys and more seats in Bristol from next year and more reliable services for Crosscountry to Birmingham and the North.
“More than 500 members of Team Orange worked over Easter to deliver the £130m upgrade, which together with the doubling of the tracks between Bristol Parkway and Bristol Temple Meads later this year will transform rail travel in the city.
“We thank passengers for their patience throughout the upgrade and ask them to bear with us as there may be a bedding-in period as we move from the dated signalling system to a state of the art modern system, with new ways of working at Bristol Temple Meads.
“I would also like to pay tribute and thanks to colleagues in the train operators who have worked tirelessly over the past few days to enable the first day of operation to be a success.”
Mark Langman, managing director for Network Rail’s Western route
“After much hard work over the longer weekend to keep people moving, and to ensure a smooth transition to new signalling systems this morning, I am pleased Network Rail has been able to complete this work.
“The new signalling systems, once bedded in should provide us with more reliable infrastructure, and with the continued delivery of new Intercity Express Trains will enable GWR to offer seven trains an hour between Bristol and London Paddington, quicker journeys and more seats per train.”
Below: The Thames Valley signalling centre at Didcot
Below: Bristol Panel