02:56PM, Tuesday 13 December 2016
A major milestone has been reached in a project to bring electric trains to Maidenhead after the first wires were switched on.
After more than a year of (often noisy) work, Network Rail confirmed on Friday that the electricity has been switched on along the first section of a 12-mile stretch between Maidenhead and Heathrow junction.
A second section will be turned on next year, allowing electric train services to be extended to Maidenhead by the summer.
The work is part of the Crossrail programme and Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan and, according to Network Rail, will provide a 'bigger, better, more reliable railway for passengers and businesses'.
Electric trains from the capital currently reach as far as Hayes and Harlington, but overhead line equipment has been installed above the existing track to allow the service to extend into the Thames Valley.
An 800-strong workforce has installed more than 1,400 piled foundations and 834 overhead line structures.
More than three quarters of the wiring programme has now been completed — amounting to 150km of wires.
Matthew Steele, Network Rail Project Director, said: “This is a key milestone towards the introduction of brand new, cleaner, quieter electric trains on this very busy route into London. This electrification not only enables the introduction of the Elizabeth line but also supports the introduction of new GWR trains in 2017.
“I would like to thank the local residents and businesses for their patience as we undertake these sometimes noisy construction works”.
Matthew White, Crossrail Surface Director said: “This vital work is paving the way for quicker, greener, quieter and more reliable trains for people in the Thames Valley. Once the Elizabeth line opens fully, passengers will be able to travel right through the capital without having to change at Paddington, making it quicker and easier to get to a range of destinations across London and the South East.”
Watch a video on the project below.
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