Balfour Beatty to electrify Bristol to Cardiff section of GWML

Photo: Joe Dunckley/

Balfour Beatty has been awarded a contract by Network Rail to electrify the Great Western main line (GWML) between Bristol Parkway and Cardiff.

The 40-mile section of main line will be the last section to be electrified as part of the route upgrade. Wires were to be installed all the way to Swansea but the government dropped the South Wales portion of the scheme last month.

Balfour Beatty will electrify the remaining sections of the route (6P, 8 and 9) between Bristol Parkway and Cardiff.

ABC, a joint venture between Alstom, Babcock Rail and Costain, had been the contractor for the route before the contract ended in April in this year.

Issues relating to the design and delivery of the GWML electrification have resulted in the project running late and over budget. This has been noted in several reviews, including one carried out by Network Rail chairman Sir Peter Hendy.

Balfour Beatty said it will start on the final sections of the route this month and plans to complete the works by the end of next year.

Mark Bullock, managing director of Balfour Beatty’s UK Rail business, said: “Our selection to deliver this important upgrade to the UK rail network builds on our partnership with Network Rail and recognises Balfour Beatty’s capability and expertise.

“Balfour Beatty and Network Rail have successfully delivered the Crossrail West Outer Electrification Programme to schedule and I look forward to passengers seeing the benefits which will come when this new section of electrification is complete.”

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Correction: The line will be electrified from Bristol Parkway to Cardiff not from Bath Spa and certainly not from Bath Parkway.