Friday, 24 September 2021

Railway to close over weekend for work

THE railway line linking Goring with Oxford and Reading is to shut this weekend.

Network Rail, which built steel gantries along the tracks through the village and surrounding countryside three years ago, is now going to install overhead power cables as part of the Great Western main line electrification project.

The section between Didcot Parkway and Reading, which calls at Cholsey, Goring, Streatley, Pangbourne and Tilehurst, will close at 8am tomorrow (Saturday) and will remain out of service until the early hours of Monday.

The line will then be shut every Sunday until 12.30pm from September 24 to November 5, so the new cables can be tested. A rail replacement bus service will be in operation throughout the closures.

Network Rail says the upgrade work will provide a better service in the long run as 28 new and faster electric trains will be rolled out on the line on January 2.

Work to extend the station platforms is also expected to start in the next few weeks and finish by the end of the year.

This is to accommodate the new carriages, which will be longer than the diesel units currently in operation.

The platform nearest to the main entrance in Gatehampton Road will be extended by 15m while the other two will be lengthened by 25m.

Overgrown plants will be cleared from nearby embankments and the station will be repainted.

It is hoped that Network Rail will also prepare the embankment off Wallingford Road for the pavement, which is less than 1m wide in places, to be extended towards the railway.

The scheme, which the Goring Mobility Issues Group has been championing for years, would widen the footway so that two people could pass safely without having to step in the road.

The company’s representatives surveyed the site with officers from Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority, last month but no decision has been announced.

John Boler, who chairs the mobility issues group, said: “We’re still waiting on the outcome and think it may take a while because the engineers are preoccupied with major improvement works at Bristol Parkway.

“We’ve seen contractors clearing that area and we hope that’s a sign that they’re carrying out further investigation.”

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