Network Rail is urging passengers in South Wales to plan their journeys in advance as work to electrify the South Wales Main Line reaches a major milestone this weekend.
Engineers will be working around the clock on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 September to switch on the electricity running through the overhead lines between St Brides, Newport and Bristol. In the Cardiff area, work to install overhead line equipment and wire will continue.
Once complete, the major modernisation work will enable Intercity Express Trains to run between London and Cardiff on electricity, reducing journey times for passengers and creating a quieter environment for lineside neighbours.
On Saturday 14 September, buses will replace trains between Cardiff Central and Ebbw Vale/Cwmbran/Chepstow and Bristol Parkway and on Sunday 15 September buses will replace trains between Bridgend and Ebbw Vale/Cwmbran/Chepstow and Bristol Parkway.
Further work is planned on weekends throughout the coming months so all passengers are advised to check www.nationalrail.co.uk for further information before travelling.
Local residents and young people have been reminded to never trespass on the railway as the electrified wires – which will carry 25,000 volts – will always remain on, even when there are no trains passing.
Bill Kelly, route director for Network Rail Wales and Borders, said:
“Electrification reaching Cardiff is a significant milestone as we continue to deliver the biggest upgrade to the Great Western mainline since it was built more than 175 years ago. We would like to thank passengers and our lineside neighbours for bearing with us as we continue to deliver this major upgrade project.
“We urge the public to remain vigilant at all times near the railway and to stay away from the electrified wires at all times.”
Colin Lea, customer experience director for Transport for Wales said:
“This vital investment work by our partners in Network Rail will lead to faster journey times between South Wales and Bristol and London by the end of the year.
“Whilst the work reaches its final phases, there will be some disruption affecting our customers connecting between South Wales and Bristol.
“We are working closely with Network Rail and GWR to keep this to a minimum, but those travelling on the affected dates should check before travelling and stay fully informed about any planned changes.”
David Bailey, customer service manager south Wales for GWR said:
“In December we plan to implement the biggest timetable change on this network since 1976, enabling us to take advantage of the full benefits that new Intercity Express Trains are bringing; delivering more seats, and more frequent and quicker journeys.
“In order to help achieve this however Network Rail will be working to continuing the electrification of the line over the coming weekends, and we would like to thank passengers in advance for their patience.”