Network Rail has launched a new business unit in Swindon, UK, that will take control of the revamped Western route serving more than 200 stations and monitoring 995 miles of rail track.

Carved out of the Wales division as part of Network Rail’s devolution driver, the new route will become leaner and more responsive to meet new demands and opportunities particularly brought on by electrification, Network Rail said.

Network Rail Western is planning to invest £400m by 2013 in the operatation, renewal and enhancement of the 995 miles of railway along the Western route.

The investment is on top of a £4.5bn investment allocated by the UK Government to transform the Great Western main line into an advanced intercity urban railway by 2017.

It will be invested in re-signalling, electrification and the remodelling of Reading station.

About £340m will be invested to improve and replace bridges to make headway for electrification; some of the bridges include the Royal Albert bridge, replacement of Hayle viaduct and refurbishment of Coldrenick viaduct in the West Country.

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Under the plan, Moulsford viaduct and Pumphouse underbridge (Gloucester) will be repaired and Church Street underbridge (Thames Valley) will be replaced.

Other stations to benefit from the renewal and refurbishment of stations’ environment and accessibility include: Slough, Taunton Gloucester, Cheltenham Spa, Swindon, Exeter, Plymouth, St Austell and Penzance.

Priority schemes over the next two years include a£300m investment to modernise old signalling equipment between Paddington, Bristol, Oxford and Newbury.

About £55m will be invested to build and design a factory train for electrification of the railway and another £3m will be invested to build a depot in Swindon to house and maintain the factory train.

The new division will use £45m to double the length of the railway line between Swindon and Kemble.