EU commits €11m to GWML electrification scheme

The European Union is planning to invest €11 million to fund preparatory ground works ahead of the planned electrification of the Great Western main line.

EU money will be spent carrying out the essential clearance works and earthworks that will allow the line’s electrification scheme to be completed.

Electrification of the route between London and Bristol is part of a £5 billion project, which also includes a renewal of the line’s signalling system and a fleet of new electric trains, to add extra capacity to a line which is expected to see passenger numbers increase by more than 50 per cent over the next 30 years.

The project is due to be completed by 2016, prior to the arrival of the first completed Hitachi-built Super Express train the following year.

As part of the EU’s investment in the project, freight gauge clearance works will be carried out which will ‘vastly improve intermodal rail-freight capacity from the south coast’.