Work to electrify the South Wales Mainline – an important rail route linking major towns and cities – is well underway.

We are electrifying the line between London and Cardiff – a major part of our Railway Upgrade Plan. This will result in the introduction of bi-mode trains – trains that can run on electric and diesel – providing extra seats and faster services for thousands of passengers and a quieter and greener environment for lineside neighbours. The South Wales Mainline runs from the Severn Tunnel in Monmouthshire, through Newport, Cardiff, Bridgend, Port Talbot, Neath and Swansea.

In some areas between Severn Tunnel Junction and Cardiff Central station, elements of our work are nearing completion but in others, there is still a lot of outstanding work to do. We will be working hard in the coming months on a range of activity, including:

  • Piling – installing the foundations that will support the overhead line equipment. Find out more information about piling.
  • Erecting masts and overhead wires which will carry the electricity to power the new trains.
  • Managing vegetation either side of the track.
  • Installing or renewing fencing along the railway.
  • Testing the new equipment before it comes into use.

Upcoming work

St Brides to Bristol

On Saturday 14 September, the electricity running through the overhead line equipment between St Brides, Newport and Bristol will be switched on at 25,000 volts. Please remember to take extra care when in the vicinity of the railway.

Following switch on, testing of all the new equipment will take place mainly on weekends throughout the autumn months. Work will also be carried out to complete fencing and cutting back vegetation.

St Brides, Newport to Cardiff

Construction of the overhead line equipment, fencing and cutting back vegetation will continue throughout the autumn and winter months between St Brides, Newport and Cardiff. Switch on of electricity between Newport and Cardiff is due to take place over the Christmas period, 2019.

We are well underway with our work to electrify the South Wales mainline with examples of our work below:

Examples of our work

We’ve carried out significant work on the Severn Tunnel to prepare it for when the South Wales Mainline is electrified.

Throughout 2018 our teams have been working hard to install masts and prepare the platform canopies for electrification. In the station you can now see the overhead line equipment above some platforms and on approaches in to the station. Work will continue at Cardiff Central throughout 2019.

To electrify the South Wales Mainline, we have been carrying out essential work on the platforms at Newport station since 2016, and this is expected to continue throughout 2019. Passengers are reminded that platforms will remain open during our work.

We will be working in the Newport Tunnels, west of the station, in 2019. Piling and mast installation for OLE will continue through Newport and along the South Wales Mainline throughout 2019.

We have now completed our work to the bridges in Monmouthshire which required reconstruction. Our piling work and mast installation work will continue through Monmouthshire in 2019.