An update on the electrification programme for the Great Western route
You may have seen that the Minister for Rail Paul Maynard recently confirmed that Network Rail will be deferring four parts of the Great Western electrification programme. The full statement can be read here https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/rail-update-rail-investment-in-the-great-western-route.
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 changes are of course disappointing. However, we have done a considerable amount of work with the Department for Transport over the past year to find different ways to provide the benefits we promised customers despite the challenges faced by Network Rail.
Although there is some more work to do, we expect to be able to deliver the benefits broadly in line with the timescales we originally expected. In some areas of the network we may even be able to exceed the original expectations, as we have done for example the Thames Valley where all our local electric trains will now be brand new Class 387s, rather than the older trains previously planned.
Of course, we will need to understand this recent news a little more to be completely sure, but we will do all we can to deliver our commitments to customers as close as possible to the dates we promised when the franchise started.
Managing Director | Great Western Railway