Network Rail in Wales and Borders is urging passengers to plan journeys ahead this Easter (Friday 19 to Monday 22 April) as work continues to upgrade the South Wales Main Line.

A 700-strong Network Rail team, supported by a large fleet of engineering trains, road-rail vehicles and specialist machinery, will be working around the clock to prepare the railway between the Severn Tunnel and Cardiff for trains to run on electricity.

This significant work includes installing 25 foundations, 40 masts and 250 smaller steel components needed to support the overhead line equipment (OLE). Over 32km of wire will also be installed along the mainline from the Severn Tunnel to the west of Cardiff Central station.

Once completed, this major modernisation of the South Wales Main Line will allow Intercity Express Trains to run between London and Cardiff on electricity, improving journeys for passengers and creating a greener, quieter environment for lineside neighbours.

How are journeys affected?

From Friday 19 to Monday 22 April:

  • Buses will replace trains between Newport and Bristol Parkway
  • Buses will replace trains between Newport and Chepstow/Gloucester

Passengers are urged to plan ahead and check their journey at nationalrail.co.uk.

Bill Kelly, route managing director for Network Rail Wales and Borders, said: “We would like to thank passengers and our lineside neighbours for bearing with us this Easter as our teams work around the clock to deliver crucial upgrades to the network.

“We are working closely with our train operating partners to minimise disruption, and while most of the rail network across Wales and Borders is open for business as usual, some routes are affected. There is also essential rail upgrade work taking place across Britain, so we strongly advise passengers to plan ahead.”

Colin Lea, customer experience director for Transport for Wales, said: “Essential upgrade work of the South Wales mainline will help build a faster and more reliable railway for generations to come.

“We work closely with our partners in Network Rail to keep disruption to quieter periods wherever possible and to minimise this wherever possible. Much of our network is unaffected, but customers travelling over Easter in South Wales should leave extra time for their journeys and be aware of how this work may impact their journey by visiting tfwrail.wales/planned-improvement-works.”

GWR Operations Director Rob Mullen said: “We have worked hard with our colleagues at Network Rail to keep disruption to a minimum, but this work needs to be done to allow customers to take full advantage of new Intercity Express Trains on a more resilient and reliable network.

“Our new trains are already providing over 6,000 seats everyday between South Wales and London Paddington, or the equivalent of 75 extra carriages, and with the completion of electrification planned for later this year, and a new timetable, we will also be able to reduce journey times.”