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Severn Tunnel – the end is in sight

17 October 2016

This is the last week of work on the railway line through the Severn Tunnel, for electrification. While this billion-pound investment is welcome, the downside is the inevitable disruption for passengers as work progresses.

We know there is much the rail industry can do to lessen the impact on passengers by keeping people on trains wherever possible, building a service plan that provides good journey opportunities, providing effective information before and during disruption, and good levels of support on the ground.

Drawing on our previous research with Great Western Railway into passenger requirements in the build up to and during the six week line closure in the Bath area last summer, we worked with the project teams responsible for the complex passenger service plans for the Severn Tunnel closure. We encouraged the teams to think about passenger needs as well as engineering challenges.

We also worked with local stakeholders to find out about any issues or suggested improvements. During the line closure we have been out and about on some of the services served by rail replacement buses and are continuing to provide feedback. So far, our travels have been relatively smooth with lots of staff on hand at the larger interchange stations to help.

Passengers who have experienced weeks of rail replacement bus services, day in day out, between Bristol Parkway and Newport will be only too aware of how disruptive engineering work can be to everyday lives. With major projects at Waterloo and Euston on the horizon, we will continue working to encourage project teams to really consider the passenger impact.

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