Network Rail completes Severn Tunnel electrification

8 June 2020 (Last Updated June 8th, 2020 11:31)

UK infrastructure manager Network Rail has completed the work for the electrification of the Severn Tunnel on 5 June.

Network Rail completes Severn Tunnel electrification
The first train to Cardiff via the Severn Tunnel. Credit: Network Rail.

UK infrastructure manager Network Rail has completed the work for the electrification of the Severn Tunnel on 5 June.

With the completion of the work, passengers can access an electric railway from Cardiff and Newport in South Wales to London Paddington via the Severn Tunnel.

This is expected to provide more seats, frequent services, and faster and greener journeys on the GWR’s Intercity Express Trains.

The Severn Tunnel is a 134-year-old tunnel, which is four-miles-long and was said to be a challenging environment. Around 14 million gallons of water is removed from it daily to avoid flooding.

The engineers from Network Rail partnered with experts to create a reliable solution for the delivery of an electric railway via the tunnel.

As a part of the Severn Tunnel upgrade, the Sudbrook pumping station will also be renewed to increase the reliability of the railway.

This work aids the Welsh Government’s plans such as the South Wales Metro, integrated transport system and a long-term vision for a Swansea Bay Metro.

Network Rail Wales and Western MD Mark Langman said: “Electrification has reduced journey times between south Wales and London by as much as 15 minutes and provided 15,000 additional weekday seats compared with a year ago, with the possibility of further increasing the number of services and seats from south Wales in the future.

“It has been a hugely complex task to electrify the tunnel but I’m thrilled that the final piece of the puzzle is now complete.

“I would like to thank passengers and lineside neighbours for their patience over the past decade as we worked to deliver the transformation of this vital railway and am pleased that they will benefit from these improvements for years to come.”

In April, Network Rail transformed the old Newport depot in South Wales into a training centre.