Network Rail is thanking passengers in South Wales and lineside neighbours in Cardiff and Newport today as upgrade work on the railway over the festive period is now complete.

Over the Christmas and New Year period, Network Rail engineers worked around the clock from 24 December to 2 January to switch on the electricity running through the overhead line equipment between St Brides, Newport and west of Cardiff Central station, ahead of a final stage of testing.

At the east end of Newport station, engineers worked from 24 December to 2 January to replace a significant amount of track, renew the switches and crossings which allows trains to go from one track to another, replace the surface edges of platforms two, three and four and make some adjustments to the overhead line equipment.

Final testing will take place in the Cardiff area over the coming days enabling GWR’s Intercity Express Trains to run on electric between Cardiff Central and London Paddington from 6 January. The new trains are providing more seats, more frequent services and quicker journeys for passengers.

Bill Kelly, route director for Network Rail Wales and Borders, said: “Christmas is the quietest time on the railway which is why our major engineering work takes place at this time of year.

 “We would like to thank passengers and our lineside neighbours for bearing with us over the festive period.

“The results of electrification will be hugely beneficial for passengers as electric services begin on 6 January from Cardiff to London for the first time. The work at Newport has also greatly improved the resilience and reliability of the railway for passengers for years to come.”