Rail disruption as the lines go electric
11:03am Thursday 24th October 2013 in Latest News
RAIL passengers may face disruption for the next few months as work is carried out to accommodate new overhead wires.
Electrification is scheduled to be introduced on the Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads line by May 2017 and is expected to cut the journey time by 22 minutes.
Several bridges in the Chippenham area have been identified by Network Rail as requiring height adjustments, among them Notton Park at Lacock and Thingley Road.
In a presentation to Chippenham town councillors, community relations advisor Richard Turner said services across the Ladbrook Lane bridge in Corsham would be disrupted between April and August 2014.
A spokesman for Network Rail told the Gazette it planned to carry out work over three periods of 52 hours during quiet times when there were fewer rail passengers travelling, such as overnight and at weekends.
She said: “We have been working closely with our colleagues from First Great Western to agree on the most appropriate times to access the line to minimise disruptions and provide advance notice to passengers, at least three months before timetable change. Alternative services will also be available.”
She said these were likely to be by bus.
Chippenham station’s listed footbridge would not need to be raised, but the sides would have to be modified, as would those of Cocklebury Lane Bridge, Pound Pill Bridge and Roebuck Road Coppershell. These works are proposed for between May and August 2015. Preparatory work could also include lowering the track bed at listed structure Green Bridge.
In January and February 2015, overhanging vegetation would be cut back to within 6.6 metres of the track. This would need to be maintained for safety when the line becomes energised.
Residents with property next to the railway will be given early warning of the construction work.
When the time comes to prepare foundations and install overhead masts and wires, Network Rail said it had equipment to allow this to be carried out quicker while allowing train services to continue safely without closing the whole line.
Network Rail told councillors electrification would increase capacity, be cheaper to operate and have lower carbon emissions.