Network Rail’s orange army will soon be starting the next phase of work to prepare the Great Western Main Line between South Marston and Royal Wootton Bassett for a new fleet of electric trains.
The work forms part of Network Rail’s £40bn Railway Upgrade Plan to provide a bigger, better, more reliable railway for passengers and will involve installing the foundations for the overhead lines that will power the new fleet of longer, faster, quieter and greener electric trains to run underneath.
The process to install the foundations is known as ‘piling’ which by its nature is a noisy activity. For safety reasons it takes place when trains aren’t running and therefore tends to occur at night.
To minimise disruption as much as possible for those who live close to the railway, the team is working closely with both Swindon Borough Council and Wiltshire Council to carry out on-site noise monitoring and will be installing equipment to reduce the sound made by the piling process.
To make sure everyone is aware of the work, which will start in late April and continue throughout the summer, Network Rail is engaging with the local community. This includes letters to those who live close to the railway; follow-up visits from Network Rail representatives, to enable residents to find out more about piling and ask any questions; and information events in Swindon town centre.
Paul Fountaine, Network Rail’s project director for line of route electrification, said: “Piling is an essential part of our work to electrify the railway, but it is also noisy. That’s why we want to give our neighbours as much notice as possible and will continue working closely with both councils to do all we can to minimise the disruption.
“In the meantime, I’d like to encourage anyone who wants to know more about our work, or who has a question, to come along to one of our information events in Swindon town centre; everyone is welcome.
“Installing these foundations means the residents of Swindon and its surrounding area are a step closer to the long-term benefits that electrification will bring. These include faster trains with more seats and more legroom, and less noise and cleaner air for those who live close to the railway.
“Faster journeys and the ability to move more people by train will also benefit businesses in the area, helping to drive economic growth across the south west.”
Details of the piling information events in Swindon town centre are as follows:
Dates: 19 and 20 April
Time: Between 9.30am and 4pm
Location: Canal Walk