Network Rail has been continuing its Railway Upgrade Plan by carrying out some major work at Bristol Parkway Station, causing the station to be completely closed during the first three weekends of November.
As part of the Railway Upgrade Plan, Network Rail is electrifying the railway between London Paddington and Cardiff with the aim being to provide passengers with quieter, more frequent and more reliable services. After the closure of the station for two weeks in September, the first two ten-carriage IETs (Intercity Express trains) entered service on 16th October, travelling through both Bristol Parkway and Bristol Temple Meads stations. They have since travelled over 30,000 miles along the Great Western Railway network, providing 20,000 more seats into London Paddington than the trains they replaced.
During the first three weekends of November, Network Rail continued the work that they started in September. The work they were undertaking involved:
- Continuing work on the construction of a fourth platform
- Extending the existing three platforms to accommodate the new IETs
- Continuing work to improve the track layout to allow more trains to use the station
- Carrying out further piling (installing foundations along the route to support the overhead electrification equipment)
Part of the electrification works also involved closing the M4 near junction 19 overnight for what was anticipated to be the first two weekends in November. This was to allow Network Rail to install the overhead line equipment needed to run electric train services. Dean Shaw, media relations manager at Network Rail, said: “The work that took place over the M4 at the ‘Blue Bridge’ was a huge success. The work was completed much quicker than we anticipated, which meant that the motorway was only closed for the first weekend.”
Dean went on to say that the work that was carried out at Parkway Station was “successfully completed, but not quite on time”, adding: “The line didn’t open until 7.15am on Monday (20th November) which caused some longer journey times for commuters using the early services. The reason for the delay in the line opening was due to engineers not being happy with the results of signalling equipment tests. It was initially expected that delays would continue until at least 9am, but fortunately were able to resolve the issue in time for the peak morning travel services.”
The new platform that is being constructed at the station should be finished in the new year and will be fully operational in December 2018 when the electric services start.
The continued work on extending the existing three platforms should also be completed in the new year and Network Rail is expecting those platforms to be fully operational much sooner than the fourth platform as they will be accommodating the increasing number of IETs that will be stopping at Bristol Parkway throughout 2018.
Although there are no more weekend closures planned, Network Rail is continuing the piling works every Saturday night, through to February 2018. Local residents will receive a letter if there are any changes to their plans.
Photos: 1 Work on installing a new fourth platform at Parkway Station. 2 New track goes in near Parkway Station.
This article originally appeared in the December 2017 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine (on pages 26 & 27). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.