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GWR electrification programme

TheLocalYokel

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A video of the Hitachi maintenance depot at Stoke Gifford near Bristol Parkway Station for the new Class 800 electro-diesel trains that will replace the elderly HST 125s (Class 43) on the GWR routes from Paddington to Bristol/Bath and Cardiff/Newport/Swansea.

I found the two presenters slightly irritating but the video provides an interesting look at the depot and the trains.
 

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Jerry

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I believe people have been complaining about them already. Teething problems from what i've read online.
 

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I believe people have been complaining about them already. Teething problems from what i've read online.
Yes, they've certainly had their problems. The inaugural revenue service train was nearly cancelled, arrived in Paddington over 40 minutes late with the air conditioning leaking onto passengers.

 

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http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/bristol-temple-meads-railway-station-1115888

Bristol Temple Meads will be closed for five days over Easter, with most TM-bound trains stopping at Bristol Parkway, Bath or Weston-super-Mare. Buses will fill the gaps. Indirectly it's in connection with the new Class 800 electro-diesel trains with new signalling having to be installed, although we are told the signalling will also bring about general improvement in the Bristol area. We'll see.

It's the latest disruption to hit the Bristol/Bath area over the past couple of years - for example, Bath Spa station was closed for about six weeks at one point - in connection with the electrification of the GWR system between Paddington and South Wales which the government has now decreed will no longer reach Bristol or Bath despite hundreds of millions of pounds having already been spent on enabling works.
 

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Rail Electrification - West of England

The electrification has now reached as far west as Bristol Parkway with trains operating to and from London Paddington under electric power from today. It's only a couple of years late but is anyone surprised, other than it's been completed so quickly? The electrification is due to reach Cardiff.

The local news media have covered the event today. I saw the BBC Tv Points West news bulletin at 6.30 this evening. They had a reporter at Parkway but not a live link.

She told us that the Great Western Railway's main line would be running under electric power from/to Parkway from today but that 'the loop' (her words) via Bath to Temple Meads will no longer be electrified - which anyone interested in the subject knows full well thanks to the machinations of the government whose members decided to axe that section in order to save what is no more than petty cash when held against the projected cost of HS2 (an under-estimate as well for HS2 , as these things always are).

Doesn't the BBC require its reporters to do any basic research into stories they cover?

The Great Western Railway was conceived in 1835 by the Bristol business sector to enable the city to be linked with the capital. The iconic Isambard Kingdowm Brunel was appointed as engineer and he designed and supervised the construction of the Great Western Railway's main line between Bristol Temple Meads and London Paddington via Bath Spa. It was so well laid out and graded that when the 125 mph High Speed diesel trains began operating in the 1970s virtually no improvement was necessary to Brunel's line in order to accommodate the HSTs.

The Great Western Railway's crest comprised the coats of arms of the cities of Bristol and London and remained so after the 1922 Grouping when the Great Western Railway was the only major railway to retain its name.

So where the reporter got the idea that the line from/to Temple Meads via Bath is merely a loop to the main line further to the north beggars belief. In the context of the Parkway line - the one that branches from the GWR's main line at Wootton Bassett then routes via Sodbury Tunnel and on to South Wales via the Severn Tunnel - she made a comment about Brunels' legacy. This line was not built until 44 years after Brunel's death!

On a practical note, does anyone know whether the bi-mode trains have to be stationary to raise and lower their pantographs when switching between electric and diesel power? If that is the case, Bristol Temple Meads trains will either have to stop at Woottoon Bassett junction, or Thingley junction east of Box Tunnel, or run under diesel power all the way to and from Swindon.
 

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Shame the government seem to think that the south west ends at Bristol! While I applaud the upgrades, I find it a joke that by the time the London Paddington - Penzance train will have only saved around 10 minutes, while going electric between London and Bristol will save a lot more time...

As for lines, I thought there were two main lines for London - South West under GWR: London - Penzance via Bristol & Bath and then London - Penzance via Westbury with the lines splitting at Taunton and merging back together at Reading???
 

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Shame the government seem to think that the south west ends at Bristol! While I applaud the upgrades, I find it a joke that by the time the London Paddington - Penzance train will have only saved around 10 minutes, while going electric between London and Bristol will save a lot more time...

As for lines, I thought there were two main lines for London - South West under GWR: London - Penzance via Bristol & Bath and then London - Penzance via Westbury with the lines splitting at Taunton and merging back together at Reading???
I don't think there is anything on the horizon for electrification for the South West. As I've said before, Bristol itself is being left out of electrification so is in the same position as the rest of the South West, apart from those stations along the Paddington-South Wales line (Swindon, Bristol Parkway and Patchway) and Chippenham. Bristol Parkway serves the northern fringes of the conurbation. The main central station - Temple Meads - like Bath was pulled out of the electrification plans by the government despite many weeks of closures and tens of millions of pounds spent to prepare the line there for electrification. Electrification will end on that stretch at Thingley junction between Chippenham and Bath.

Given that the Midlands and North are mainly electrified already, the proposal for HS2 whilst leaving the South West in the Dark Ages is not just a slap in the face but a good kicking.

You are right about the GWR having two lines to the South West.

The original GWR main line commenced construction in 1835 and ran between Bristol Temple Meads and Paddington via Bath Spa. For many years trains from/to London had to use this line to Bristol to reach the line to Devon and Cornwall via Bridgwater and Taunton (originally the Bristol & Exeter Railway). Hence the GWR was known to some as The Great Way Round.

In 1906 the GWR opened a quicker route from Paddington to Devon/Cornwall via Westbury and Castle Cary using their Berks and Hants line further east for part of the route. Going towards London it left the Bristol line at Cogload junction east of Taunton and joined Brunel's original Bristol TM-Paddington line at Reading West.

Two or three years earlier the GWR had opened a direct line from Paddington to South Wales that left the Bristol TM line at Wootton Bassett junction west of Swindon. This one uses the two and a half-mile long Sodbury Tunnel to burrow under the Cotswolds - Brunel's original line used the slightly shorter Box Tunnel to the south to achieve the same purpose. Prior to the South Wales direct line, trains from Paddington also had to route via Bristol to reach the Principality, and used Dr Days Junction just east of Temple Meads to climb the Filton Bank and eventually reach the Severn Tunnel.

Bristol Temple Meads now has three routes to London: the original via Bath; the route via Parkway; the route from Devon/Cornwall that can be joined at Westbury via Bath and Trowbridge. The last one is only used to reach London in emergencies or when there is planned track or signalling work.
 

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