UK: GWR’s 08:50 train to London Paddington on January 5 was the first passenger service to leave Cardiff using electric power, after the 25 kV 50 Hz electrification went live between St Brides, Newport and the west of Cardiff Central station following engineering work over the Christmas period.
The Hitachi bimode trainsets are still using diesel power through the Severn Tunnel.
‘I’m really pleased to say that the final stage of the electrification bar the Severn Tunnel was completed, helping us to deliver more frequent services, more seats and quicker journeys for customers’, said GWR Interim Managing Director Matthew Golton when he travelled on an electric service the following day. ‘It was really important for me to be in South Wales to celebrate this landmark for our services.’
Between December 24 and January 2 Network Rail also replaced a significant amount of track at the east end of Newport station, replaced the edges of platforms two, three and four and made some adjustments to the overhead line equipment.
‘The results of the electrification work will be hugely beneficial for passengers for years to come’, said Bill Kelly, Route Director for Network Rail Wales & Borders. ‘The work at Newport railway has also improved the resilience and reliability of the railway for passengers, for years to come.’