The electrification of Bath’s railway has moved a step closer with the full support of Bath & North East Somerset Council, Network Rail and First Great Western.

Network Rail plans to electrify the rail route through the city and on to Swansea via Bristol as part of its electrification of the historic Great Western Main Line. The electrification will have significant benefits for the Bath & North East Somerset area and the whole of the South West.

Benefits in more detail include:

Electrification of the Great Western Railway will open the way for a new generation of electric intercity trains to be introduced on routes serving Bath from 2017, meaning more seats, more leg-room, and more tables for passengers

  • It also deliver a greener, quieter, more reliable railway with fewer carbon emissions being released into the atmosphere and a reduction in noise as electric trains replace existing diesel locomotives. This will be a real positive bonus for neighbour side properties.
  • Additional seating capacity and newer trains will support the economic development of the Area helping to attract more businesses into the city creating new jobs for the community

Bath - "Open for business"

Both the Council and Network Rail will continue to make people aware that Bath will still be very much ‘open for business’, during the improvement works and assist them in getting around easily so they can continue to enjoy the wide variety of shops, entertainment and visitor attractions which the beautiful World Heritage City has to offer.

The Improvements

Bath & North East Council is assisting Network Rail planning for the improvements to take place. The Council understands that disruption will be kept to an absolute minimum and Network Rail will be taking the opportunity to undertake other essential works during the same period to reduce the need for further disruption in the future.

Network Rail will be completing most of the work at night so trains can operate as normal for passengers. However the Council understands that there will be some temporary changes to the timetable during the peak of the works.

During these works First Great Western will continue to:

  • Provide a direct service to and from London and to and from Bristol
  • Ease ticket restrictions and car parking for those at affected stations
  • Provide replacement express coaches operating on the same frequency of the rail services, when no train services are able to operate

The next major stage of the Great Western electrification project in Bath will take place in April 2017.

For more details and updates of the Great Western Railway electrification project go to:

Network Rail Electrification Project –
Network Rail Bath and North East Somerset Updates -

Background information

Many of you may be aware that Network Rail are planning to electrify the Great Western Main Line which passes through Bath and North East Somerset.

Network rail have published on their website the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the whole route. You can review this through the following links listed below -

Environmental Statement Volume 1A: General Sections (PDF document - should be read in conjunction with specific Local Authority documents below)

Environmental Statement Volume 2A: Appendices A-D, Bath and North East Somerset (PDF document)

Environmental Statement Volume 3: Bath and North East Somerset
Council Figures
(PDF document)

Environmental Statement 11: Bath and North East Somerset Council, Volume 1B (PDF document)

Environmental Statement Volume 2: Appendix E – Level 2 Flood Risk Assessment (Scoping Study) Maidenhead to Bristol and the Severn Tunnel (PDF document - should be read in conjunction with specific Local Authority documents above)

Environmental Statement Volume 2: Appendix E – Flood Risk Assessment (Figures) Maidenhead to Bristol and the Severn Tunnel (PDF document - should be read in conjunction with specific Local Authority documents above)

The following questions and answers relate to the project in so far as Bath & North East Somerset Council is involved-

The Planning Process

1. Does the work require planning permission?

A. The majority of the work will not require planning permission although there may be some aspects of the proposals that may require an application. These will be publicised in line with the Council’s procedures. Prior approval will be required for alternations to buildings and bridges and listed building consent will be required to works to listed buildings. The Council will advertise these applications because the proposals when submitted will be accompanied by an Environmental Impact Assessment.

2. What is a ‘Prior Approval’?

A. A Prior Approval application is not a formal planning application. The General Permitted Development Order states that when a Local Authority receives such an application it must not refuse the application unless:

a) the development (other than the provision of works carried out to a dam) ought to be and could reasonably be carried out elsewhere on the land; or
b) the design or external appearance of any building, bridge, aqueduct, pier or dam would injure the amenity of the neighbourhood and is reasonably capable of modification to avoid such injury.

3. Will third party contributions be included in a future Officer report?

A. yes

4. Who will be dealing with the applications?

A. Appropriate support will be allocated to the applications once submitted.



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