The work now underway on the railway across the Gwent and Wentloog Levels represents the home straight for the Great Western Electrification Programme (GWEP), following many trials and tribulations and significant curtailment of the mileage included. This final stretch has thrown up challenges of its own, and Network Rail anticipates that the power supply will become available for train operation in November.
One of the challenges was electrification through the 7km Severn Tunnel, where diesel exhaust and dampness create a corrosive environment. Rigid conductor rail from Furrer+Frey was installed in summer 2016 and awaits connection to the power supply. Conductor rail has also been installed in the original double-track tunnel at Newport. Catenary will be installed through the adjacent and more spacious ‘new tunnel’.