Severn Tunnel to close for six weeks

By Jake Chown  
Friday 25th March 2016 12:00 pm

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THE SEVERN Tunnel will close for six weeks from mid-September to upgrade it in preparation for a new fleet of electric trains.

The work, a critical milestone in the project to deliver electric trains for passengers in South Wales, will see the tunnel closed to trains between Monday 12th September and Friday 21st October.

Network Rail says that because of the scale of the engineering challenge involved and the extensive amount of machinery required to electrify the four mile-long tunnel, it means the closure is unavoidable. It will affect the majority of passengers who travel into and out of south Wales including those to and from London, Portsmouth Harbour and south-west England.

Passengers travelling to and from London Paddington will be diverted via Gloucester with extended journey times of up to 35 minutes and a reduced frequency of trains. Rail replacement buses will be in operation for all other services, with an extensive bus operation for passengers moving between Newport and Bristol.

The work on the 130-year-old tunnel forms part of Network Rail’s £40bn Railway Upgrade Plan to provide improved journeys between south Wales and London. Ahead of the electrification upgrade, a significant amount of preparation work is being undertaken, with four tonnes of soot being removed from the tunnel as well as repairs to the brick work. 

Paul McMahon, route managing director for Network Rail Wales, said: “While this six-week project will result in short-term disruption, there are significant long-term benefits which will come as a result of electrifying the railway including faster, more frequent trains and a boost to economic growth in towns and cities across south Wales thanks to improved connections to and from London.

Ahead of the closure, passengers can keep up to date on journey alterations by visiting:


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