The start of redoubling work between Kemble and Swindon has been welcomed
CAMPAIGNERS across Gloucestershire have welcomed the start of a long-awaited £45m project to add a second line rail line between Kemble and Swindon.
Network Rail began work on the redoubling project last week which it said would allow four trains an hour to travel the line in each direction – double the current amount of services.
The project has started following a decade-long campaign by organisations, businesses and individuals including Cotswold MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown and Gloucestershire County Council.
Mr Clifton-Brown (Con) said he was “delighted” work was underway.
“This is excellent news for the Cotswolds,” he said.
GCC leader Cllr Mark Hawthorne (Con, Moreland) agreed, saying he believed the second track would help trains run on time and increase the amount of services.
Passengers at Kemble station on Tuesday morning were optimistic about the plans.
John Hall from Hankerton near Malmesbury uses services from the station three times a week and said he was pleased work was getting underway.
“We’ve been looking forward to this for over a decade,” he said. “Hopefully the frequency of trains will increase.”
Victoria Keyte from Tetbury also uses services from the station to travel to London several times a week and said she hoped the second line would make her trips easier. “If there are more trains it will be more convenient,” she said. “I do think they need a better car park here, however.”
Wendy Cruse from Cam, who was using the station for the first time on Tuesday, said she thought the improvements would be “great for the local area”.
The stretch of track – which was made into a single line in the late 1960s – is expected to be completed by Easter 2014.
Although Network Rail said it would endeavour to minimise disruption to passengers, the line between Kemble and Swindon will be closed from 11.55pm on August 9 to 5am on September 2 with replacement bus services running in its place.
The last train in either direction between Swindon and Gloucester or Cheltenham will also be replaced with busses on Monday and Tuesday nights between March 25 and December 5.
Trains between Gloucester and Swindon will also be replaced with busses at weekends during this time and travellers are advised to check with National Rail Enquiries before they travel.