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Severn Tunnel track renewal

We’re returning to the Severn Tunnel this summer to continue the replacement of track that is worn and corroded.

We’re completing vital maintenance inside the Severn Tunnel from Friday 9 – Sunday 18 June, and on Sunday 25 June.

What work is taking place?

We will be renewing 3300m of ballast, sleepers and rail on just one line of track from the English portal into the tunnel.

Project in numbers

  • 3297m renewal of the ballast, sleeper, and rail on just one line of track from the English portal into the tunnel.
  • 5,200 Sleepers renewed
  • 11,108 tons of ballast removed.
  • 14,060 tons of new stone
  • 6594m of rail.

When is the work taking place?

The Severn Tunnel will be closed for 11 days, from Friday 9 June to Sunday 18 June, and on Sunday 25 June, for essential track maintenance work.

We will be starting on site from 17 May until 7 July on the English side of Severn tunnel and from 2 June to 21 July on the Welsh side of the tunnel.

Our teams are aware that they are working close to your home and will try to minimise disruption as much as possible, but we apologise in advance if you are disturbed during this work. 

How will this work affect me?

Travel arrangements Friday 9 – Sunday 18 June plus Sunday 25 June

  • Trains between London and South Wales will use a different route between Swindon and Newport – not stopping at Bristol Parkway and extending journey times.
  • Trains between Cardiff Central and Portsmouth Harbour will run between Bristol Parkway and Portsmouth Harbour instead. Trains between Cardiff Central and Taunton/Penzance will run between Bristol Temple Meads and Taunton/Penzance instead.
  • No trains will stop at Patchway or Pilning.
  • Replacement buses are planned between Bristol Parkway and Newport. If you wish to avoid using a replacement bus, you can use your ticket to travel via Gloucester or Cheltenham Spa using CrossCountry or Transport for Wales services.

Travel arrangements Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 June

  • Trains between London and South Wales will be unable to use the alternative route on the weekend of 10/11 June, so buses will replace trains between Bristol Parkway and Cardiff Central on these dates.
  • Shuttle train services will also run between Cardiff Central and Swansea, Carmarthen or Pembroke Dock.
  • No trains will stop at Patchway, Pilning, Severn Tunnel Junction or Newport.
  • Buses will also replace CrossCountry and Transport for Wales trains between Newport and Cardiff Central.

Check before you travel

Access and compounds

England: From 17 May until 7 July, we’ll be using a temporary compound next to our Green Lane access point in Severn Beach. All our Road Rail vehicles will access the railway from here. Large vehicles will be marshalled to and from the site.

Wales: We’ll be working from our Garthalan Drive compound in Caldicot from 2 June – 21 July to support the tunnel track work and some fencing work between Caldicot and Severn Tunnel Junction station.

Both compounds will mean an increased number of vehicles and staff in the area during the works.

Why is the work needed?

Saltwater makes for a corrosive environment inside the tunnel and track that would normally last 25 years needs to be replaced every 10 years. The sleepers we’re installing are coated with tin to extend their life. Our workers will wear breathing apparatus to protect them from dust particles in the enclosed space


Tunnels offer a challenging working environment with restricted space within which to operate. We’ll use narrower machines than usual to keep clear of critical infrastructure such as drainage pits, working from one line to replace the other.

Get in touch

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our 24-hour national helpline 03457 11 41 41 or contact us.

Find out more @NetworkRailWest and @NetworkRailWAL

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