The Greater West Electrification Programme - Electric Trains to Bristol Parkway and Newbury

January 2, 2019

Following successful testing, the running of passenger trains on the updated Newbury and Bristol Parkway lines was authorised on 2nd January 2019 after 9,500 foundations and over 1000 miles of wire were installed as part of a large electrification project.

Following the completion of the testing phase, the new Overhead Line equipment has been successfully dynamically and short circuit tested as well as section proved. Transforming the line into an electrified railway system has its challenges when it comes to testing, especially with the introduction of the complex and overtly innovative Rationalised Autotransformer System (RATS) protection scheme, nevertheless the culmination of the testing and commissioning programme saw Class 387 / IEP service trains between Maidenhead and Newbury and Reading to Bristol Parkway successfully run on the lines. The team also commissioned the two depots at Reading and Bristol for the new electric stock rollout.

At a scale not seen in the UK for decades, the Great Western Route’s Modernisation testing and commissioning programme involved the installation of two National Grid Infeed substations, as well as 19 new 25Kv substations which feed the infrastructure of the new Overhead Line.

A nine-day opportunity for access enabled the team to remain on schedule for completion in November 2019, and despite Dan Tipper’s team facing some challenging targets along the way, each and every one of them was met as the team worked throughout Christmas and New Year to earn this fantastic achievement.

Thames Valley Area achieved 3 milestones as part of the Hendy commitment dates. Following an intense 3 years, the authorisation of passenger trains to Newbury and Bristol Parkway (the latter sharing a milestone with Wales) was achieved with the installation of 1000 miles plus of wire and 9,500 foundations. Cocklebury sidings were commissioned enabling the new electric class 387 trains to be stabled overnight and Cocklebury was delivered from Grip 3 to Grip 6 in 6 months!

During the Christmas period Simon Gardner’s Engineering team tested 11 new switches at Bristol Parkway and completed all the dynamic testing to allow authorisation into passenger use of the Thames Valley delivery area.

Graeme Tandy, Major Projects Director had this to say: “Without your personal effort and commitment over Christmas, a period when we want to spend time with loved ones, none of this would have been achieved. I spoke with many of you during this time and I was impressed as always with the drive and professionalism of the team. Happy New Year to you and your loved ones, and let’s look forward to another successful year in 2019.”

For more information about the project, or to find out more about what WJ Project Services can do for your ongoing or upcoming briefs, get in touch with a member of our expert engineer team today.

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