PASSENGERS to London will face replacement bus services over the weekend as Network Rail looks to upgrade the line to prepare for electrification works.

A number of signalling failures have caused massive disruption on the Great Western line in recent months, including a fault in Twyford earlier this month which brought all services through Swindon to a halt.

In an effort to improve the signalling services along the line, Network Rail is closing the Swindon to Didcot line this weekend while major improvement works take place.

A spokesman for First Great Western said: “First Great Western is encouraging customers travelling between Saturday, August 2 and Sunday, August 3 to check journey times and routes prior to travelling, as improvements works take place across the Great Western main line.

“Over the weekend, the railway line between Didcot Parkway and Swindon will be closed. The line between Hereford and Worcester Shrub Hill will also be closed on Sunday, August 3 only.

“The planned Network Rail works will reduce delays caused by signal failure and prepare the lines for the installation of overhead line equipment, a vital step in electrifying the railway.”

Most routes along the Great Western line will be affected.

A rail replacement bus service will run between Reading and Swindon. On Saturday there will also be a through train service via an alternative route with extended journey times of about 60 minutes.

Train services will operate between London Paddington and Bristol Temple Meads but will be extended by about 20 minutes as trains are diverted via an alternative route. An hourly service will operate on Saturday until 3pm on Sunday, when a half hourly service will return.

South Wales routes will alter over the weekend, when on Saturday they will call at Chippenham, Swindon and Bristol Parkway and on Sunday they will call at Bath Spa, Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway. An hourly service will operate and journey times will be extended by about 75 minutes.

Customers on routes between Cheltenham, Gloucester, Swindon, Reading and London Paddington will be able to choose between diverted train services with extended journey times of up to 60 minutes or fast bus services between Swindon and Reading with extended journey times by up to 35 minutes.

On Saturday only, some train services between Swindon and Chippenham and Trowbridge and Westbury via Melksham will be operated by replacement buses.

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