Network Rail will be undertaking work in the Swindon area to prepare for their new trains which enter service later this year. As a result of this, train services through Didcot Parkway, Swindon, Chippenham and Bristol Parkway will be amended.
High speed services between London, Bristol and South Wales will be diverted and rail replacement buses will replace trains on routes through Swindon.
More information can be found here
To allow for electrification and Crossrail works Paddington Station will be closed over Christmas.
There will be a six-day closure, starting on Christmas Eve, Saturday December 24 through to Thursday 29 December.
Trains are likely to be very busy on Friday 23 December, and it is recommended that customers book ahead and travel early if they can.
Trains will start and finish at Ealing Broadway throughout the closure with customers completing their journey by London Underground. There are no lifts at the station and it is recommended that customers who find using Ealing Broadway difficult, to change trains at Reading and travel to and from London Waterloo. South West Trains have agreed to accept GWR tickets to support this.
Full details are available here including details on travelling with bikes, sleeper services and Pullman dining service.
Network Rail will be deferring four parts of the Great Western electrification programme.
Schemes affected include the Thames Valley Branch lines (Henley and Windsor), Didcot to Oxford, Bath to Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway to Bristol Temple Meads.
The full statement can be read here.
From Saturday 27 to Monday 29 August, the railway between Bristol Temple Meads, Bristol Parkway, Gloucester and Severn Tunnel Junction will be closed with many services being amended or replaced by buses. For more information visit the GWR website.
Great Western Railway has confirmed trains will not be calling at Bath Spa with cancellations likely, as a train has hit a pedestrian.
For the most up to date information please see the GWR Twitter account.
Due to speed restrictions put in place by Network Rail between 1.30pm and 7pm Tuesday 19 July, GWR is warning customers that journeys are expected to take longer than usual.
With rail track temperatures set to exceed 50 degrees in parts of London and the Thames Valley, speed restrictions have been put in place throughout the main junctions into and out of London Paddington.
While the vast majority of services are expected to operate as timetabled, journeys may take between 10-15 minutes longer. Customers are advised to check before they travel, to drink plenty of water, and are being asked to help our staff keep a lookout for the more vulnerable making journeys today.
A GWR spokesperson said:
“With temperatures in London set to exceed 30 degrees, the effect can bring the temperature of the rails to over 50 degrees, and we have been asked by Network Rail to drive more slowly as a result.
“We will continue to keep an eye on the situation, alongside Network Rail, and keep you updated throughout the day.”
A spokesperson for Network Rail explained:
“Our modern rails are far more resistant to heat expansion and buckling than they used to be. However, a day this hot affects even our track, so we need to restrict speeds for safety. Full details are available on our website at networkrail.co.uk/delaysexplained.”
To be able to maintain the train timetable, the following services are expected to be cancelled:
- All Thames Valley branch lines to remain in branch operation but with no direct London services.
- London Paddington to Bedwyn and return services will operate between Bedwyn and Reading only
- London Paddington to Cheltenham Spa and return will operate between Swindon and Cheltenham Spa only
- London Paddington to Oxford direct (calling Slough, Reading, Didcot and Oxford) and return services are cancelled. Passengers are advised to travel to Didcot for connecting services to Oxford.
Passengers are advised to check their specific journey before they travel.
Our latest travel update looking at the week ahead:
If you know of any travel disruption please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will include it in the blog.
GWR are introducing compulsory bicycle reservations on long distance high speed trains from 16 May. GWR have said:
"This will bring us in line with other long distance operators and we will compensate customers if we do not provide them with their booked space.
Reservations remain free and can be made online, by phone (0345 7000 125) or at a station when booking a ticket. Reservations can also be made after the ticket is purchased by phone or at a ticket office. This should be done by 18:00 the day before departure, although we can take bookings on some services up to 2 hours before departure.
We would like to encourage pre-booking as much as possible, but we understand that there will be times when booking has not been possible and there is space is available on board.
Station staff have been briefed to allow bikes on board if this is the case. Customers should not therefore have any issues travelling without booking a space for their cycle if there is space on board.
There is no change to our local services, and no limit to the number of folding bikes we can carry because these can be stored in the luggage racks. We are installing Brompton Docks at more of our stations, so that customers can hire a folding bike. We are also increasing bike racks at some stations for customers who do not want to take their bike on board."
More information and the cycle policy booklet are available on the GWR website.
On Sunday 2 and Monday 3 May rail replacement buses will be operating between Swindon, Chippenham, and Bath Spa, and between Swindon and Bristol Parkway. You can use the GWR journey checker to see if your route is affected.
This summer Network Rail is launching a massive amount of work to install a new overhead electric line in Bath.
The modernisation will mean improved reliability; longer, faster trains; and more seats. It will also improve carbon emissions (as the trains switch from diesel to electric) and is bound to stimulate the local economy.
Fabulous news! … Well there is a slight downside; the works will create quite some disruption in Bath, of which you can read more here.