We're modernising the Great Western route to bring passengers faster, more frequent and more reliable services. The project includes upgrading our infrastructure so that the route can be electrified
This page explains the work we’ll be doing in Oxfordshire and when it’s due to take place
What we’re doing
To enable the route to be electrified, we’re installing supporting masts and overhead lines, and preparing the foundations for these (‘piling’). We’ll also be modifying some of the bridges and other structures on the route to create the extra height needed for the overhead lines.
Work dates and locations
We're undertaking piling work in the areas shown below from Saturday 25 - Friday 03 March 2017. Please note that the schedule could change at short notice for operational reasons.
Before starting this work we may need to clear overgrown vegetation running alongside the line.
Didcot Parkway - Didcot North Junction (A4130)
Saturday 25 – Sunday 26 February 2017
11.00pm – 09.00am
Local Authority: Oxfordshire
Didcot North Junction ( A4130) – Appleford South
Sunday 26 – Monday 27 February 2017
9.00pm – 06.00am
Local Authority: Oxfordshire
Chilterns and North Wessex Downs AONB (including South Stoke and Goring Gap)
We have started installing the electrification apparatus between Reading and Didcot. This section of track runs through both the Chilterns and North Wessex Downs Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), including the South Stoke and Goring Gap areas.
The Secretary of State for Transport recently announced that Network Rail’s electrification programme of the Great Western Mainline is of particular importance and that the Reading to Didcot section, as the test track for the new trains, is a top priority. We are therefore continuing with the installation of the overhead line equipment to ensure the successful testing of those new trains on the electrified railway.
However, Network Rail does recognise the importance of conserving the AONB, and we are working with Natural England and the AONB Conservation Boards as we explore designs that reduce the visual impact of electrification within these special landscapes.
Developing these alternative designs is a complex process that involves balancing their appearance with safety, reliability and operational efficiency issues, but we have committed to consult with local communities when the design options are ready. Any works to modify the apparatus already installed to allow for the train testing will be undertaken retrospectively, subject to funding agreements; we have written to the Conservation Boards to confirm this, and a copy of the letter can be found here.
Public exhibitions postponed
Network Rail has been working with an Advisory Group of Natural England and AONB Conservation Boards to agree how we can manage the visual impact of the new electrification overhead lines in the Chilterns and North Wessex Downs Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
We have jointly agreed to postpone the planned public drop in sessions until later in the year to enable us to jointly undertake further work. We will be re-advertising dates of public engagement events in due course. We are sorry for any inconvenience caused by the postponement of the events.
Visual Amenity Review
To view the Visual Amenity Review – Phase 1 Options Report (Improving the Aesthetic Appearance of Overhead Line Equipment) in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty please view the specified documents below.
Visual Amenity Review - Phase 1 Options Report
Visual Amenity Review – Phase 1 Report331 Kb
Appendix 1 – workshop slide extract1 Mb
Appendix 2 – list of options generated12 Kb
Appendix 3 – phase 1 assessment template11 Kb
Appendix 4 – summary of assessments17 Kb
Appendix 6 – individual assessment425 Kb
Appendix 7a – map Cotswolds North West1 Mb
Appendix 7b – map North Wessex Downs and Chilterns AONB764 Kb
Appendix 7b – map Cotswolds AONB946 Kb
Appendix 8 – log of issues raised by Chilterns AONB and Natural England25 Kb
Work on bridges and other structures
If you'd like to find out more, why not come along to one of our drop-in sessions? We'll be pleased to answer any questions you may have.
Bridge and structure works – Oxfordshire
|Structure||Drop-in session||Closure date(s)||Diversion||Additional information|
|Aristotle Lane Footbridge||-||The existing footbridge is now closed whilst we rebuild the retaining wall.||n/a|
|Walton Well Bridge||-||TBC||n/a||Option selection took place in May this year, we will meet with lineside neighbours to discuss plans once finalised.|
|Culham Farm Bridge||-||-||n/a||3 track lower option being progressed and we will update lineside neighbours once the preferred option is chosen.|
|Denchworth Footbridge||-||Site works planned to commence in October 2016||n/a||We will meet with lineside neighbours prior to work commencing.|
|Uffington Foorbridge||-||Site works planned to commence in October 2016||n/a||We will meet with lineside neighbours prior to work commencing.|
We know that our work to improve the railway may cause some disruption and noise for local communities. We do our very best to limit this and appreciate your patience and understanding.
For example, we often have to carry out some of the work at night when trains aren’t running. This is because we’re contractually obliged to work at times that have the least impact on passenger services, and because we must ensure the safety of our workforce.
If roads or footpaths need to be closed temporarily because of bridge work, we agree diversionary routes with the local council. And we are committed to completing the work quickly, so the road can be reopened as soon as possible.
Last updated 24 February 2017. This page will be updated regularly.