Western Route Study

Network Rail has published its Western Route Study: Draft for Consultation document, which projects traffic demands over the next 30 years. The final version will be published in Spring 2015, and its findings will be considered by the DfT when funding is arranged for the next control period, CP6 (2019-2024).

As well as the Great Western Main Line (GWML) from Paddington to Bristol, South Wales and the west of England, the Western route study also covers services to Oxford, Birmingham, the south coast and the Cotswolds.

Network Rail says passenger numbers into Bristol are expected to increase by 50% in less than 10 years, and that demand between London and the west will double within 30 years.

The document identifies several electrification schemes for possible inclusion in CP6: These would follow on from the ongoing electrification of the GWML, which is being carried out under the current control period (CP5). The wires could be extended westwards towards Plymouth and Penzance; northwards towards Gloucester, Worcester and Birmingham; eastwards (from Exeter to Basingstoke); and southwards (from Westbury to Redbridge, Southampton).

Network Rail’s RUS (route utilisation strategy) for electrification projects in CP6 will be revised in 2015.

The document also lists 10 individual projects under the £31.3m Western Flood Resilience Programme (including Cowley Bridge Junction, but not Dawlish, which is covered separately) that are to be undertaken during CP5.

The appendix lists several cost benefit appraisals for lengthening trains to cope with the expected increase in passenger demand.

The consultation runs till 9 January 2015.

660/Nov 14

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