Image above: Chiswick Station; photograph Michael Nolan
Work to modernise railway signals will temporarily disrupt services
South Western Railway services will be further disrupted this summer by planned engineering works between Hounslow and Barnes.
As part of a programme to improve reliability by upgrading signalling, Network Rail engineers will be working on the line between Saturday 13 to Tuesday 16 August. Buses will replace trains on that line for those four days. Stations affected include Chiswick, Brentford, Kew Bridge, Isleworth and Syon Lane.
The closure coincides with the game between Brentford and Manchester United at the Brentford Community Stadium on Saturday 13 August, so fans will have to make alternative plans for getting to and from the match.
The work in August, on the section of railway known as the Hounslow Loop, will see bases for new signals installed and new cabling. The programme, due to finish in 2024, is replacing fault-prone 1970s signalling infrastructure which controls the safe movement of trains, with a modern equivalent that should be much more reliable.
Once all those renewals and upgrades have been completed, Network Rail will move control of the signalling system from Feltham and Wokingham to the Wessex Rail Operating Centre (ROC) in Basingstoke.
The project reached the halfway stage over the May bank holiday when new signalling kit was switched on in the Ascot and Virginia Water area, with new signalling technology on the Hounslow Loop set to go live in August next year 2023, before the final phase in Wokingham is switched on in 2024.
Image above: Network Rail engineers
Decision to close the railway for four days “has not been taken lightly”
Network Rail’s managing director for Wessex route, Mark Killick, said:
“This is part of a massive £375m scheme to improve the railway in the area. Resignalling schemes like this one, and the track work that goes with it, are one of the best ways we have of improving the reliability of our network, so it’s really important we do the job and I’m grateful to our customers for their patience.
“By doing this work over four days, rather that splitting it up between weekends, means we can get much more done and we can make more progress on improving the railway with less disruption to our customers.”
Christian Neill, customer experience director for South Western Railway, said:
“The modernisation work that Network Rail is carrying out will significantly boost the reliability and performance of the railway for many years to come.
“The decision to close the railway for four days, including two working days on the Monday and Tuesday, has not been taken lightly. We urge all customers intending to travel from Saturday morning until the end of Tuesday to check before they travel and make use of the alternative transport options available.
“We’d like to thank those customers impacted by these works for their patience and understanding as this vital upgrade is carried out.”
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See also: Heatwave causes travel disruption
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