ALL of those eagerly waiting on the platform at Kemble railway station for the 7.36am service from London Paddington yesterday breathed a sigh of relief as the train arrived on time – as it was carrying Royal cargo.

The train rolled in right on schedule, and the Princess Royal was greeted by Network Rail’s managing director of its western route, Patrick Hallgate.

Princess Anne was visiting the Gloucestershire village’s station to open the redoubled line to Swindon, a £45m project which was completed in August.

The line runs less than 10 miles from the princess’s home at Gatcombe Park.

Standing on a stage in front of a plaque marking the occasion, she said: “It’s a pleasure because I wear a number of hats, one of which is logistics and transport along with engineering, but I am also a customer.

“Thank you for allowing me to join you in this special moment with you. You have made it work.

“If you look at the complexity of this project and the extent of the work carried out, this was done in a remarkably short space of time.

“You have done very well in keeping customers up-to-date what you’re doing throughout.

“You have shown a real long-term view with this and we are keen to see happens next.”

Work on the redoubling programme began in 2012, which involved the expansion of 12.5 miles of track, an upgrade to signalling on the route and a modernisation of level crossings.

Network Rail and First Great Western hopes the project will increase capacity, reduce delays and provide an improved diversionary route during disruption elsewhere.

Princess Anne spoke with schoolchildren from Kemble Primary School who had designed a mosaic for the public garden at the station.

Mr Hallgate said: “This is a project which has been a number of years in the making. We have rebuilt 12 miles of railway at the same time as running a service over it.

“We appreciate the community support whilst we have been doing this project. We do appreciate everyone’s perseverance during this period of disruption.”

Mark Hopwood, managing director of First Great Western, said: “What we are benefitting from so far, is improved punctuality and reliability on our services.

“We are yet to start running more services on the two tracks, but the benefit is having better diversion options during disruption elsewhere and better punctuality and reliability in existing trains.”