Network Rail Upgrade Works between Reading and Newbury

Change is coming to Great Western Railway as it improves the experience of its customers by delivering better trains, more seats and quicker journeys. Please read on for more details of the works planned.

Network Rail need to undertake upgrade works between Reading and Newbury and will have to close the railway line for specified periods in 2018.

Update, 21 February 2018:

Since we first updated you in January, GWR and Network Rail have confirmed more dates when a significant part of the line between Newbury and Reading will be closed. This is to facilitate electrification works, track renewal and ballast work.

The first phase of works is scheduled to take place over the following four working-day periods, with a number of additional line blocks required to complete the work.

  • Monday 12 to Thursday 15 March
  • Monday 23 to Thursday 26 April
  • Monday 14 to Thursday 17 May
  • Monday 4 to Thursday 7 June
  • Monday 9 to Thursday 12 July
  • Monday 16 July to Sunday 5 August - to be confirmed
  • Tuesday 28 to Thursday 30 August
  • Monday 8 to Thursday 11 October
  • Monday 19 to Thursday 22 November
GWR has partnered with Reading Buses to give commuters and leisure travellers free parking and travel on Mereoak Park & Ride during the  works. Just show your rail ticket to the driver when you board. Season ticket holders can also change their tickets to travel from Didcot Parkway or Whitchurch. Train services will still operate from Theale to Reading.

Long distance services from London Paddington to Devon and Cornwall will continue to operate but will be diverted, adding up to 50 minutes to journey times. Some train departure times will also be changed, and passengers are advised to check beforehand.

Update, 23 January 2018:

The first phase of works is scheduled to take place over the following four-day periods, with a number of additional line blocks required to complete the work.
  • Monday 12 March until Thursday 15 March
  • Monday 23 April until Thursday 26 April
Buses will replace trains from stations between Pewsey and Theale. Season ticket holders can also change their tickets to travel from Didcot Parkway or Whitchurch. Train services will still operate from Theale to Reading.

Long distance services from London Paddington to Devon and Cornwall will continue to operate but will be diverted, adding up to 50 minutes to journey times. Some train departure times will also be changed, and passengers are advised to check beforehand.

GWR Managing Director Mark Hopwood says, “With the completion of electrification work we will be able to run brand new electric, and bi-mode Intercity Express Trains, to Newbury – supporting the local economy with more train seats, more comfortable and more frequent journeys. In order to achieve this however, Network Rail will need to undertake a significant programme of upgrade works. We have worked hard to make sure we have produced a train and bus service that supports the local economy while also allowing Network Rail the vital access it needs to the railway to electrify the route.”

Network Rail Route Managing Director Mark Langman adds, “This will boost local communities and provide a better service for passengers travelling in Berkshire, across the Thames Valley and west London. We are working very hard with GWR to minimise disruption to passengers while we deliver electrification to Newbury. Owing to the scale of the work we will be doing this over periods of several days, with the upgrade starting in March. I thank the communities in Newbury and across Berkshire for their patience in advance of the upgrade starting.”

As well as commissioning the overhead electric lines, Network Rail will complete track renewal and ballast work, taking advantage of the line closure to conduct maintenance works.

For further travel advice and information on the work please visit GWR.com/Newbury2018
Twitter @GWRHelp