Modernising the Great Western route.

We're creating faster, more reliable services, better stations and increased freight capacity.

Track works on the Western mainline
Track works on the Western mainline

This is the biggest investment in the Great Western railway since Brunel built it more than 150 years ago. Modernising the route will improve the experience of everyone who uses it and stimulate economic growth in the South West and beyond.

Great Western electrification

We’re electrifying one of Britain’s oldest and busiest railways, providing greener, more reliable journeys and improving connections across southern England and South Wales: London and Bristol, including Cardiff, Newbury and Oxford. This project is also part of our London upgrade plan, creating new connections and increasing capacity in peak hour by 30 per cent.

Learn more about electrification

HOPS: the state-of-the-art train electrifying the Great Western Mainline

Driver's eye-view of progress of the Great Western electrification project from London Paddington to Swindon, 10 October 2017.

Transforming the railway at Reading

Reading station is one of the busiest rail hubs in Britain, used by nearly 20 million passengers a year. Starting in 2011, we’ve rebuilt the station and upgraded the railway in the Reading area, including redesigning the complicated track layout. This has removed one of the worst bottlenecks on the rail network.

Insdide view of Reading station

Our new station at Reading was officially opened by Her Majesty The Queen in July 2014, after being completed a year ahead of schedule. By summer 2015 we finished upgrading the railway in the surrounding area.

These improvements mean more trains can run through Reading each day, with fewer delays. Passengers can enjoy faster, more frequent and more reliable journeys, and a better, brighter station.

Local work updates

Use the links below to find out about modernisation work on the Great Western line in your area.