This summer, Network Rail is installing electrification equipment inside the Patchway Tunnels, and through Pilning to the Severn Tunnel. The work involves:

  • Installing conductor rails, lowering the track and improving drainage in the Old Patchway Tunnel;
  • Completing installations in the New Patchway Tunnel;
  • Installing wires over the existing masts and gantries between the Patchway Tunnels and the Severn Tunnel
  • Carrying out maintenance work in the Severn Tunnel.

This 3-week upgrade is a crucial milestone in Network Rail’s work to electrify the line between London Paddington and Cardiff, which will enable Great Western Railway to run Intercity Express Trains on electric from 2019; delivering more reliable, greener and quieter journeys.

Commuters should be aware that buses will replace trains throughout this period, with coaches running direct between Bristol Parkway and Newport every 30 minutes, and hourly between Bristol Parkway and Severn Tunnel Junction, calling at Patchway. It is advised to check before you travel at

For more information about this upgrade visit or follow updates on Twitter at #SummerTunnels.

Photo by Matt Buck