Windsor and Maidenhead Branch

Thames Valley Electrification Update

Alan Cooke and Jim Tucker began visiting stations eastward from Maidenhead in June, to see how the task of electrifying the First Great Western, now GWR, mainline, and preparing for Crossrail, has progressed. Their second visit was in October. Below is a summary of what was observed. Clearly, much remains to be achieved, which will be followed up in future visits. Most of what is described here is taken from those two visits along with day to day observations.

   The full range of services continue to run during the ongoing work. Here 66538 heads east past the footbridge under construction at West Drayton with the 0903 Bristol to Felixstowe North Terminal Freightliner.   Jim Tucker
Passenger numbers here appear to have increased significantly in recent years, and the difficult and antiquated access clearly requires drastic modernisation. In June a footbridge had been installed, to replace the cramped and twisting subway � but it had no access! In October steps have been added, and a start made on constructing lifts. IVER, LANGLEY At both these stations safety fences have been erected protecting the up main line, but otherwise there is little evidence of the electrification project. That said, access arrangements at both locations appear adequate at present, so that erection of the catenary is probably as much as needs to be done. Later in October some completed masts were noted to be complete to the east of Iver.

   No sign of things to come at Slough, as 165122 brings up the rear of 2R37 the 1242 Paddington to Reading. (   Jim Tucker
Slough is the most important station between Paddington and Reading, served not only by local turbos but also long-distance class 1 trains, typically HSTs at the moment. A new footbridge was installed a year or two ago, at the eastern end of the platforms, and the London-facing bay, platform 6, has been closed and lifted. Otherwise, there are no developments to report, not so much as a single gantry being visible from the platforms. The amount of work that will be needed suggests that it is being left as late as possible in the hope of justifying the disruption it seems certain to cause. Staff at the station were unable to say when work would start when asked at the end of October. A site alongside the down the fast line just to the east of Slough and adjacent to the Wexham Road bridge was cleared during July and August. This was to make way for the Slough autotransformer site. Most of the physical installation looked to be in place except for any wiring. Engineers were seen to be working on the site in early November.

   A westbound HST is viewed from the island platform, as a stopping train approaches. The overhead equipment is in various stages of construction here, and illustrates the Series One system being employed.   Alan Cooke
This is a unique location on the GWML to Reading, because it has platforms only on the relief lines. That means that excellent views are afforded of the main line, and in October a good selection of catenary and gantries could be seen. In common with other stations, nothing has yet been put up in the platforms, but there has been plenty of work completed to the east and west.

   The west end of the platforms shows an interesting range of gantry styles and sizes, necessitated by the original two track, broad gauge layout expanded over the years.   Jim Tucker
An additional footbridge was erected in the late summer, clearly intended to be temporary, because it has no ramps, while the clearance is increased for the OHL on the original bridge. There are plenty of gantries in place either side of the station.

At one stage scheduled to be the western terminus of Crossrail, Maidenhead station is in the advance stages of a significant re-build. Gone are the canopies to through platforms 2/3 and 4/5, as well as the Brunel train shed over the Marlow bay at the western end of platform 5. We await construction of a new platform 6 to take Marlow trains, and track re-alignment which will preclude through services to and from Paddington from Bourne End, on the Marlow line. West of the station, sidings are in the course of installation with a view to servicing Crossrail stock.

last updated: 28/01/16