UK rail infrastructure operator Network Rail (NR) will start electrification of the railway line in Bath on 18 July to allow a new fleet of longer, faster, quieter and greener electric trains in the future.
The £50m project forms part of NR’s Great Western Electrification Programme to modernise and significantly improve the main railway line that runs from London Paddington to Swansea.
As part of the project, essential changes will be made to the railway infrastructure in Bath and its surrounding areas in order to make room for the overhead lines that will be needed to power the new fleet of electric trains.
Scope of work will include lowering 10km of track through Dundas Aqueduct, Box Tunnel, Middle Hill Tunnel and Sydney Gardens, removing the need to make significant changes to the historic infrastructure in these areas.
The track lowering work will also involve installing 11 new sets of points over the duration of the project that is scheduled to complete on 1 September.
Network Rail project director for the west of England Andy Haynes said: "The preparation work we are doing in Bath is essential to make the line ready for electrification and the benefits this will bring.
"The new electric trains are faster and will have more seats, more legroom and more tables. They are also greener and quieter, benefitting those who live close to the railway line."
NR noted that in order to complete the work in a short timeframe, there will be timetable changes and in some cases replacement bus services running to and from Bath over the six-week duration of the project.
Haynes added: "We have been working closely with First Great Western, Bath and North East Somerset Council and Wiltshire Council to keep people on trains, where possible, while this work is taking place.
"I know that many people want to travel to and from Bath over the summer and I would like to stress that Bath remains open for business during this time, albeit your journey may take longer than usual.
"I apologise for any inconvenience this may cause, but please bear with us while we carry out work to provide a better travelling experience for passengers in the future."