Wales severn tunnel electrification preparation

Severn Tunnel upgrade

Making the 130-year-old Severn Tunnel ready for when we electrify the South Wales Mainline

A critical milestone to upgrade the Severn Tunnel in preparation for electrification was completed in autumn 2016 as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan.

During the six week closure between 12 September and 21 October 2016, our Team Orange engineers worked day and night for an equivalent of 18,000 days to install over eight miles of conductor rail. The newly laid rail will eventually power a new fleet of electric trains through the 130 year-old tunnel, providing more seats and faster, more reliable journeys for passengers.

Over 3,500 people-hours of preparatory work was completed ahead of the six-week upgrade project, which included the removal of over 40 tonnes of soot from the tunnel. 

Electrification of the line between London Paddington to Cardiff is planned to be completed by 2019.

More about how we electrify the railway