Railway between Chippenham and Swindon reopens as £3.5m upgrade work completed

The railway line between Chippenham and Swindon re-opened today (Monday 17 July 2017) after Network Rail completed a £3.5m drainage upgrade and track-lowering project, improving reliability of the railway through the area and paving the way for a new fleet of trains.

More than 550 Network Rail engineers put in more than 10,000 accumulative working hours to complete the project at Dauntsey, which forms part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan.

The track has been lowered under two listed bridges, which will allow Great Western Railway (GWR)’s new Intercity Express Trains to run on the line later this year; providing more seats, more frequent services and more comfortable journeys for passengers.

In addition to the track lowering, engineers have also installed a drainage culvert which will help reduce the chance of the line flooding in the future.

The site was handed back three hours ahead of schedule, allowing services to resume as normal at 6am.

Simon Spencer, programme manager for Network Rail, said: “We are pleased to hand back this site ahead of schedule this morning with as little disruption caused to passengers as possible.

“I’d like to thank passengers for their patience while we have undertaken this vital upgrade work and I’d also like to thank our engineers, who worked quickly and safely to complete this work.

“This work is another important part of our Railway Upgrade Plan, delivering significant investment into the railway network to provide a better, more reliable railway for passengers.”

GWR Operations Director Rob Mullen said:“We would like to thank passengers for their patience during the past week as Network Rail modernise the railway.

“The first Intercity Express Train to enter passenger service is just a number of months away; providing over a fifth more seats per train and with the completion of electrification quicker journeys – and the greatest step-change in experience for our passengers in a generation.”