Electrification of the Great Western Mainline between Paddington and Cardiff faces further delays, it has been revealed.
In its Enhancement Delivery Plan, Network Rail confirmed that electrification works between Cardiff Central Railway Station from Bristol Parkway will be authorised for passenger use in November 2019, but new dual-mode Hitachi trains will not run on electric power on that section of the line until January 2020.
Network Rail’s original plans said that works to electrify the busy commuter line would have reached Cardiff and be operational by the end of last year.
A Department for Transport spokesperson said that operators are “working as quickly as possible”.
“The modernisation of the Great Western Mainline will improve over 100M rail journeys each year, boosting economic growth from London through the Thames Valley, to the Cotswolds, West Country and to South Wales,” the spokesperson said. “This will deliver thousands more seats, more services and more reliable services for passengers.
“Network Rail are working with operators to ensure they have the access required to complete electrification works as quickly as possible.”
The dual-mode Hitachi rolling stock, introduced to the line in 2017, can use both electric and diesel power. The dual mode trains currently run on electric power up to Bristol Parkway, and use diesel for the remainder of the journey to Swansea.
Electrification of the line all the way to Swansea was scrapped by the government in 2017, and when works are completed, trains will still use diesel power between Cardiff and Swansea.
When fully complete, the upgrade will shave 15 minutes from the journey time between London and Cardiff.
The cost of the programme has spiralled to more than double the original estimate, with costs currently standing around £2.46bn.
The electrification works form part of the Integrated Great Western Route Modernisation Programme.
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