Last Updated: 07 November 2018
Created: 06 November 2018
North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson has joined staff from Network Rail & Great Western Railway to launch the first all-electric powered services between Swindon and London Paddington
Passengers can now board electric services from Swindon after Network Rail delivered electrification to the railway town as part of the £6 billion modernisation of the Great Western mainline, the biggest since Brunel built it more than 175 years ago.
Electric services will run from the Swindon as Network Rail continues to deliver electrification between London Paddington and the west. It means from next year passengers will benefit from more frequent services and quicker journeys with more seats. Journey times between Swindon and the capital will fall from one hour to around 48 minutes.
Prior to electric services starting in Swindon Network Rail’s electrification programme had already reached Didcot, providing more frequent services and more seats to London Paddington. The next milestone of the project will see electrification delivered from London Paddington to Bristol Parkway and Newbury in December.
This latest success is part of the Government’s major investment in the railway around Swindon. Alongside electrification, Ministers are working with Network Rail to deliver a Western Rail Link to Heathrow. A Western Rail Link would mean that residents from Swindon travelling to Heathrow would no longer have to go into central London & come back out again if they want to reach the airport by train. It would also ensure that when businesses look to expand operations in the United Kingdom, they look west to Swindon.
The new rail link alone would contribute around £800 million to the economy, create 42,000 new jobs in the region, and mean residents in Swindon could reach Terminal 5 by rail in under an hour. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling signalled the Government’s support for the new rail link, confirming his department has made funding available to Network Rail to deliver a rail link in its next Control Period (before 2026).
The North Swindon MP is also working with Network Rail on plans to expand capacity at Swindon station.
Justin Tomlinson MP said: “I am delighted that the electrification of the Great Western Main Line has reached Swindon. The Government is investing more in the railways than at any point since the Victorian era. The electrification programme, alongside new trains with more seats & more frequent, faster services, will see commuters and our town benefit.”
Mark Langman, Route Managing Director for Network Rail, said: “This marks a significant step forward as we continue to upgrade the railway from London Paddington to the west. The huge investment to upgrade the railway has allowed GWR to run their new fleet of Intercity Express Trains in electric from Swindon. It will also allow more frequent services with quicker journeys and more seats to run between London and Swindon next year. We thank passengers and those that live near to the railway for their patience as we delivered this vital upgrade to Swindon.”