Severn Tunnel Closure: Major Impact on Travelers Between South Wales and Bristol

By Ivan PetrenkoJun 23, 2024 13:32 PMNews
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Worker in high-visibility vest and yellow boots standing inside a large railway tunnel under maintenance
Engineers working in Severn Tunnel during major track replacement. Source: unsplash

Starting Wednesday, July 3, the Severn Tunnel will be closed, causing major disruptions for travelers between South Wales and Bristol. This closure is necessary for replacing 7km of track on the South Wales-bound side, which involves installing 66 rails, each 216m long.

For travelers, this means planning ahead is crucial. The closure will disrupt regular train services, leading to diversions and longer journey times. Engineers will work around the clock to complete the replacement of 10,800 sleepers and over 22,000 tonnes of new ballast, ensuring future reliability of the track. The maintenance work will also affect 900m of track at Cattybrook and 230m of track drainage at Patchway Gap.

Travelers should note that a limited replacement bus service will be available, but it will not cover all routes. Passengers are encouraged to travel via Gloucester, which will add to the journey duration but is the most reliable option during the tunnel's closure. This detour means extra travel time and potential inconvenience, so planning ahead is essential.

Nick Millington, Network Rail Wales and Borders route director, explained the necessity of this work and thanked passengers for their patience. He emphasized the long-term benefits, including safer and more reliable train services, but acknowledged the immediate impact on travelers.

Marcus Deegan, GWR station manager, highlighted the importance of the maintenance work, noting that while some trains will reroute via Gloucester, making journeys slightly longer, the effort is crucial for maintaining consistent services. He urged passengers to check their travel plans in advance to avoid any unexpected delays.

For travelers planning to attend events in Cardiff and Chepstow during the tunnel closure, it is important to allow extra time for journeys. Major events such as performances by The National, Manic Street Preachers, and Shania Twain will coincide with the tunnel closure, making travel planning even more critical.

The closures will also occur on the weekends of July 27-28 and August 24-25, adding to the potential disruptions. Travelers should expect extended journey times and limited replacement bus services operating mainly in early mornings and late evenings from Monday to Saturday, with some Sunday services.

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