Rail improvement work to affect trains in the Newbury area for 13-day period

Great Western Railway (GWR) is warning that the railway between Theale and Westbury will be closed for 13 days from Saturday for essential maintenance work.

From Saturday 18 February to Thursday 2 March Network Rail will carry out track upgrades including replacing life-expired track with new rails and sleepers, and a number of bridge repairs.

While these works take place, no trains will be able to run between Theale (near Reading) and Westbury. Long-distance trains between London Paddington and the south west will continue to operate using a diversionary route, extending journeys by approximately 30 minutes.

Where trains cannot run, replacement buses will operate to keep passengers moving on routes between Theale and Newbury/Bedwyn, as well as between Swindon and Pewsey.

GWR Regional Station Manager Tom Butler thanked passengers in advance for their patience and advised them to plan ahead before travelling. He said:

"These works are essential to maintaining and improving the railway but we understand the consequences this will have on our customer’s journeys and we thank them for their patience during this time.

"Buses will replace Great Western Railway trains throughout the Newbury area while Network Rail carry out these improvements, and we encourage passengers to check their journey beforehand."

On completion of these works, further weekend closures will continue to take place on Sunday 5 March, the weekend of 11/12 March as well as the full Easter weekend from Friday 7 to Monday 10 April.

Network Rail project manager Bradley Wallace said:

“The upgrades between Reading and Westbury will help secure the future of an important route that links Reading to the south west and ensure passengers and freight continue to enjoy safe and reliable journeys.

“There is never a good time to close the railway but working over a short period removes the need for long-term interruption.

“We’re grateful to passengers and our lineside neighbours for their patience and understanding during this time and we’re working closely with GWR to ensure passengers can still make their journeys with a rail replacement bus service.”

Further information on these engineering works can be found at GWR.com/Newbury

Contact Information

James Davis

Media Relations Manager

Great Western Railway

0845 410 4444

07703 890 711


Notes to editors

First Greater Western Limited, trading as “Great Western Railway” (GWR), operates trains across the Great Western franchise area, which includes South Wales, the West Country, the Cotswolds, across southern England and into London. GWR provides high speed, commuter, regional and branch line train services, and before the covid-19 pandemic helped over 100 million passengers reach their destinations every year. GWR has been awarded a National Rail Contract to continue operating the Great Western network, which shall run up to 21 June 2025, with the potential for a further three years at the Secretary of State’s discretion. Find out more here: https://www.gwr.com/about-us