Patchway tunnels upgrade

We are upgrading the railway between Patchway Tunnels in South Gloucestershire and the Severn Tunnel, as part of the project to electrify the line between London Paddington and Cardiff.

As part of our ongoing work to electrify the line between London Paddington and Cardiff, we are installing electrification equipment between Patchway and the Severn Tunnel during June and July.

Once the line is electrified it will enable more Intercity Express Trains to run between England and South Wales, offering more seats and greener, quieter journeys.

Patchway Tunnels - Matt Buck

From Saturday 16 June until the early hours of Saturday 7 July, the line will be closed between Patchway station and Severn Tunnel Junction as we work 24/7 to install electrification equipment.

Inside the Old Patchway Tunnel (Cardiff-bound line) we will be:

  • lowering the track
  • installing electrification equipment (including 1,400m of conductor rail and wires)
  • completing drainage work.

We will also be:

  • completing the installation of electrification equipment in the New Patchway Tunnel (London-bound line)
  • erecting the overhead wires over existing gantries and masts on a section of open route between Pilning and the Severn Tunnel.

Once the line is electrified it will enable Great Western Railway to run Intercity Express Trains on electric from 2019; delivering more reliable, greener and quieter journeys.

During the closure, all freight trains and some passenger trains, that currently use the Severn Tunnel, will be diverted via Gloucester. This means that there will be an increase in high speed trains every day during this period. Level crossing users are advised to take extra care and allow extra time for their journeys.

Level crossing notification leaflet

Travel arrangements


Passengers travelling to or from South Wales between Saturday 16 June and Friday 6 July are advised to check before they travel.

Lines between Bristol Parkway, Filton Abbey Wood and Severn Tunnel Junction are closed for the duration of this work.

Buses will replace trains between Bristol Parkway and Newport, leaving every 30 minutes.

Between London Paddington and Swansea (via Cardiff Central), a reduced train service will run on a diverted route, adding 30 minutes to the usual journey time.

Trains from Portsmouth/Taunton to Cardiff Central will terminate at Bristol Parkway; change here for connecting coaches to Newport; trains run from Newport to Cardiff Central.

For more information, please visit or

Being a considerate neighbour

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.

This work will be supported by existing compounds next to Patchway and Pilning stations which will need to be occupied before, during and after the 3-week upgrade, meaning:

  • increased activity at these sites throughout June and July
  • an increase in construction traffic on roads in the area
  • workers on site 24/7
  • overnight lighting and vehicle movements.

We will try to keep unnecessary noise to a minimum.

To reduce our impact, our workers will be parking their vehicles at designated sites in Filton and travelling to the compounds by minibus to access their work area.

More information
Read our factsheet Summer Tunnels Upgrade Factsheet
Level crossing notification leaflet
Check before you travel:
Updates on Twitter: #SummerTunnels,@networkrailwest
Contact our 24 hour helpline: 03457 11 41 41