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WSP wins Great Western Main Line contract

Gwr great western rail 3to2

WSP has been appointed to help implement a project which will see new trains and timetables on the Great Western rail lines.

The £2.3M contract for the infrastructure and rolling stock programme will focus on delivering upgrades to the line’s high-speed routes from Paddington to Newbury, Oxford, Bristol, south Wales and the Cotswolds.

The line has suffered a number of setbacks in the journey to becoming electrified. In November 2016, it was announced the electrification of the Didcott Parkway to Oxford and Swindon to Bristol Temple Meads sections of the line were to be postponed to control period 6 (CP6). Further to this, in July this year, the electrification of the Cardiff to Swansea section was to be scrapped altogether.

Plans for this latest upgrade will enable the introduction of electric commuter services between London Paddington and Reading as well as Didcot and Newbury. Services in Bristol and the west country will also see improvements to the infrastructure that will allow bigger and longer trains.

The work is due to be completed in March 2019 and will ultimately lead to new timetables aimed at improving journey times and increasing capacity on regional services.

As part of the contract, WSP will provide programme integration support to the Greater West Programme and Heathrow Rail Access.

WSP director Adam Andrews said: “During the initial contract we successfully supported industry partners to introduce new electrified rolling stock on the Great Western Route.

“The challenge in the new contract will be to support the entry into service of the new Intercity Express Trains (IET) and one of the biggest timetable changes to the Western Route. In this unique role we will continue to implement our ‘whole system’ approach to bring greater collaboration to the rail industry partners to address the complex technical and programme challenges.”

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Journey times from London Paddington to Cardiff back in the days of British Rail in the late 1970's used to be under 1h 45mins using the same HST 125 trains that are still in use today. However the current scheduled train times from Paddington to Cardiff are 2 hours or more. Hopefully the brand new electric IEP trains can get service times back to where they used to be .......or better!

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