UPDATE ON RAIL SERVICES
Published: 16 November 2020
Great Western Railway services between South Wales and London, and South Wales and Bristol will continue to be affected due to a Network Rail bridge replacement project at Gipsy Patch Lane, near Bristol Parkway station, until at least Monday 23rd November.
- London – South Wales services will continue to operate by train, diverting via Gloucester and not calling at Bristol Parkway. Journeys will therefore be longer and you should check timings before travel
- Local services will terminate at Bristol Parkway or Bristol Temple Meads; and buses will replace trains between Bristol and Newport. These buses are fully accessible and we will also have accessible taxis on standby
We are keeping customers informed through traditional and social media, with information at stations, on trains and on our websites. There is a dedicated page on https://www.gwr.com/travel-updates/planned-engineering/bristol and we have pop up messages for online ticket sales. We have also informed all customers booked onto affected trains of the changes, and will do the same next week.
Work to complete the bridge replacement is continuing. This is a highly complex engineering project. Weighing 4,260-tonnes, the new bridge was the heaviest lift of its kind ever undertaken in the UK and was not without risk. The new bridge, which was built on site, was being moved into position using specialist hydraulic transporters which managed to successfully move it two thirds of the way into position before Network Rail, and its contractor Alun Griffiths, encountered a significant problem. The bridge is approximately 40 metres from its final position.
A separate team within Network Rail are investigating why the detailed plan did not work, in the meantime, the focus is on completing the work as quickly and as safely as possible. Last week Network Rail and Alun Griffiths established a comprehensive plan to move the bridge into place and reinstate the railway, and they have been working on this since then. This plan involves several contingency options to help manage the significant complexity and risks involved.
Work has now focussed on moving the bridge temporarily off the hydraulic transporters it was sitting on, to reinforce the roadway and then enable the transporters to move the bridge successfully into place. Given the high risk and complex nature of the operation, Network Rail and Alun Griffiths have brought on board additional resources and specialists to assist them.
We apologise for any inconvenience being caused by these ongoing works and we thank the local community for their patience. We will continue to update customers, the community and our stakeholders on the work as it progresses, and a further update will be issued on Monday 16th November.
Head of Communications | Network Rail, Western
Head of Public Affairs | Great Western Railway