Thursday, 19 October 2017

Electrification of branch line delayed until 2019

ELECTRIFICATION of the Henley branch line has been put back to 2019.

ELECTRIFICATION of the Henley branch line has been put back to 2019.

Network Rail had said previously the work would be completed in the second half of 2018 but now says it can only commit to a 2019 deadline.

This means the scheme will be more than a year later than the original deadline of December 2017.

The company says a more definitive timeline will be revealed in the summer.

Last week it announced that the electrification of the whole Great Western main line, originally scheduled to finish in 2018, will run into the early 2020s.



Patricia Mulcahy, who chairs the Henley Branch Users Group, said her reading of the revised plan was that work would start on the Thames Valley branch lines in September next year with the authorisation for passenger use likely to be in December 2018.

She said: “There is usually a time gap between authorisation for use and commencement of services and the delivery plan indicates that electric services are not expected to commence on the branch until after March 31, 2019. This would probably mean that the May 2019 timetable would be the time for the switch to new services. 

“In general, the HBUG response to these delays is continuing frustration, combined with concern that the delays will give rise to disrupted service over the next three years as electric services are phased in.”

Neil Gunnell, of commuter group Henley Trains, said: “It keeps being delayed, so I will believe it when I see it being done.”

A Network Rail spokeswoman said: “Following the publication of our Enhancement Delivery Plan, we can confirm that electrification of the Henley branch line will take place by 2019.

“At this time we are working on designs for the scheme to enable Henley residents and lineside neighbours to benefit from the longer, faster, quieter and greener electric trains.

“We are aiming to complete this design work by the summer, when we will have further information about timescales for delivery.”



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