Five major milestones for our Railway Upgrade Plan in 2018

Our £50bn Railway Upgrade Plan made significant headway in 2018.

Here are five of our biggest achievements:

  1. Waterloo fully reopens

The former Eurostar terminal at London Waterloo station reopened permanently on 10 December for the first time since international services moved to St Pancras in 2007, as part of the £800m project to increase capacity on the South Western Railway network.

Passengers now benefit from more space at Britain’s busiest railway station, with platforms 20 to 22 now in use for regular services to Reading, Windsor and south west London.

This follows work to extend platforms at Waterloo, and nine other stations along the route, making room for longer trains, with more than 15,000 more seats provided for passengers over the last year.

2. London Bridge transformed

London Bridge fully reopened in January, having been transformed by Network Rail as part of the government-sponsored Thameslink Programme. Its historic £1bn redevelopment included:

A vast new concourse larger than the pitch at Wembley to unite 15 platforms for the first time

  • Modern facilities making the station fully accessible for all
  • Two new entrances on Tooley Street to connect the north and south sides of the station
  • Five new platforms to allow Cannon Street services to once again stop at London Bridge
  • Entirely remodelled tracks through and around the station to allow more trains to travel through London

3. Lime Street upgrade completes

The £140m transformation of Liverpool Lime Street station completed in October with the full reopening of all 10 of the station’s platforms.

Lime Street’s upgrade was part of the Great North Rail Project - a multi-billion-pound scheme to improve transport in the region. Today the station has modern signalling and greater capacity with longer trains and more frequent services.

4. Record-setting re-signalling

In April, we delivered our biggest ever re-signalling - a £130m project to enable GWR to run more frequent services to London, and provide faster trains and more seats to passengers from 2019.

The signalling upgrade in Bristol took place over the Easter weekend and involved more than 500 staff who worked around 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.

5. Intercity Express trains herald a new era

Network Rail’s continuing work to electrify the railway enabled the introduction of state of the art Intercity Express trains.

Great Western Railway’s 12.10 arrival at Paignton from London Paddington on 28 July marked the first Intercity Express Train to travel to the seaside town.

The 9-carriage long Class 800 train, 800309, was the first Intercity Express Train to travel from London beyond Exeter in passenger service. The new trains boast up to 24% more seats per a train than the existing High Speed Trains.

In December, GWR’s trains began operating in electric mode to Bristol Parkway.

Image credit - GWR