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Great Western electrification to Cardiff delayed

Electrification

The electrification of the Great Western Main Line into Cardiff has suffered another blow after the finish date was left open ended due to access issues with the train operating companies.

Work to carry out the electrification of the line to Cardiff were due to be completed by December this year. Network Rail has now said that will now stretch into 2019 with no set end date.

Regulator the Office of Rail & Roads (ORR) last week published a report which says that it had raised concerns about the programme with Network Rail in February 2018.

The report says an achievable plan to deliver electrification to Cardiff in 2018 had not been produced.

Network Rail said it was unable to be more specific about a completion date until it had agreed access to the tracks with the train operating companies.

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “We are absolutely committed to completing electrification to Cardiff. We are working with train operating companies to agree the access we need to achieve this as quickly as possible in 2019 while keeping the future disruption to passengers to a minimum.

“The Greater West Programme is already delivering improvements for passengers, including GWR’s new Intercity Express Trains, which have more seats and better on-board facilities.”

This is not the first time the line has encountered problems. In November 2016, the National Audit Office published a damning report into cost increases, delays and changes to the new trains order for the GWR modernisation programme.

Last year transport secretary Chris Grayling announced he was cancelling the electrification of the section of the track running between Cardiff and Swansea.

It was also admitted last week that the Severn Tunnel would have to be closed again as engineers repaired the overhead conductor system which it had deteriorated after being installed as part of an £10M upgrade less than two years ago.

Balfour Beatty was appointed in August last year to carry out the 64km stretch of electrification between Cardiff and Bristol Parkway.

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