UK rail infrastructure manager Network Rail (NR) has reopened the bridge over the railway at Stratton Green, following completion of work to prepare it for electrification and for operating a new fleet of electric trains.
The bridge reconstruction was a major part of NR’s £40bn Railway Upgrade Plan to provide a bigger, better and more reliable railway for passengers.
NR closed the bridge in November to carry out work under the Great Western electrification programme, which is designed to transform the railway between London and Oxford, Newbury, Bristol and Cardiff.
The scope of work included the creation of additional space needed for overhead lines that will power the new fleet of longer, faster, quieter and greener electric trains.
In order to minimise disruption for passengers, NR used Christmas Day and Boxing Day, when trains were not running, to lift the new bridge into position.
The team also installed vehicle barriers to ensure the safety of drivers, tarmacking, road markings and reinstated the street lights.
Network Rail west of England project director Andy Haynes said: "As a key commuter route into the centre of Swindon, we know the temporary closure of this bridge inconvenienced residents, which is why I would like to thank them for their patience and understanding while we carried out this essential upgrade for the electrification of the railway.
"The team worked hard to ensure the reconstruction was completed in as short a timeframe as possible and that it was finished on time.
"Now the bridge has reopened, residents and businesses in Swindon are a step closer to the benefits that electrification and the new electric trains will bring.
"These benefits include faster trains with more seats and more leg room, and less noise and cleaner air for those who live close to the railway.
"Faster journeys and the ability to move more people by train will also help to promote economic growth in the south west."
Electrifying the railway between London and Oxford, Newbury, Bristol and Cardiff will improve 235 miles of one of Britain’s busiest and oldest railways, better connecting major towns and cities across southern England and South Wales.
Image: Stratton Green bridge in Swindon has been reopened to the public. Photo: courtesy of Network Rail.