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Severn Tunnel Engineering Works – what’s happening?

Need to travel between London/Bristol and Cardiff in July 2024? Your journey might be affected by Severn Tunnel engineering works.
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From July 3 to the early hours of July 19, 2024, there will be engineering works taking place in the Severn Tunnel. This means that trains between Bristol/London and Cardiff will be disrupted. Here’s our guide to the Severn Tunnel engineering works and how they’ll affect your journey.

Which area is affected by the Severn Tunnel engineering works?

The main routes affected are London to Cardiff and Bristol to Cardiff, which are operated by Great Western Railway. There won’t be any direct trains between Bristol Temple Meads/Bristol Parkway and Newport (South Wales). This is so that the Severn Tunnel engineering works can take place.

During this blockade, Network Rail will be renewing four miles of track within the tunnel. On average, they need to renew the track in the tunnel every 10 years, as the saltwater around it is particularly corrosive.

Don’t worry though, we’ve got some tips on how to complete your journey.

How can I travel during the Severn Tunnel engineering works?

In the vast majority of cases, you can still catch a train to your destination during the Severn Tunnel engineering works. However, you might need to change trains in order to complete your journey.

Journeys between London and Cardiff

There’ll be one train per hour between London Paddington and Cardiff Central (continuing to Swansea/Carmarthen). The journey will take longer than usual (around 2h30m versus the normal two hours) and will divert between Swindon and Newport via Gloucester.

As a result, they’ll be busier than usual. We’d recommend booking in advance if you can. If not, you’ll find unreserved seating in Coach D on five-coach trains. On nine-coach and ten-coach trains, you can find unreserved seating in Coach G.

You cannot book these trains for travel between London/Reading/Swindon and Gloucester. This is so that as many seats as possible are left free for people travelling to/from South Wales.

Journeys between Bristol Temple Meads and Cardiff

The easiest way to get between Bristol and Cardiff will be to travel via (and change at) Gloucester. Don’t worry, you can use this route at no extra cost during the Severn Tunnel engineering works.

This will take quite a bit longer, and you can expect your journey to take around two hours. If you don’t have a reserved seat between Gloucester and Cardiff, then aim for Coach D (five-coach trains) or Coach G (nine and 10-coach trains).

Travelling from Bristol Parkway

There’ll be a limited service (roughly hourly in the morning and afternoon peak only) between Bristol Parkway and London and vice-versa. In most cases, it’ll be easier to travel via Bristol Temple Meads.

If you’re going to Cardiff, it’ll usually be easiest to change at Gloucester. During the rush hours, you’ll also find a limited replacement bus service to/from Severn Tunnel Junction. There’ll also be a limited replacement bus service throughout the day on weekends (on Sundays this service extends to Newport).

Travelling from Patchway

There’ll be a limited rail replacement bus service to/from Severn Tunnel Junction (Newport on Sundays). We’d recommend heading to Bristol Parkway or Filton Abbeywood instead if you’re able to.

Trains will not serve Patchway.

Travelling from Severn Tunnel Junction

There’ll be fewer trains than usual stopping at Severn Tunnel Junction. Typically, there’ll be one train per hour running to Cardiff/Maesteg and one train per hour to Gloucester/Cheltenham Spa.

You’ll also find a limited rail replacement bus service to/from Bristol Parkway during the Severn Tunnel engineering works.

Will there be replacement buses?

As we’ve mentioned above, there’ll be a very limited replacement bus service running between Bristol Parkway and Severn Tunnel Junction via Patchway. Here’s the planned timetable:

Bristol Parkway
  • Weekdays (to Severn Tunnel Junction): 0635, 0735, 1630, 1730, 1835
  • Saturdays (to Severn Tunnel Junction): 0920, 1200, 1615, 1905, 2200
  • Sundays (to Newport via Severn Tunnel Jn): 0930, 1100, 1300, 1500, 1700, 1908, 2110, 2315*.
  • Weekdays (to Severn Tunnel Junction): 0645, 0745, 1640, 1740, 1845
  • Saturdays (to Severn Tunnel Junction): 0927, 1207, 1622, 1912, 2207
  • Sundays (to Newport via Severn Tunnel Jn): 0937, 1107, 1307, 1507, 1707, 1915, 2117.
Severn Tunnel Junction
  • Weekdays (to Bristol Parkway via Patchway): 0635, 0730, 0830, 1725, 1825
  • Saturdays (to Bristol Parkway via Patchway): 1020, 1320, 1720, 2020
  • Sundays (to Bristol Parkway via Patchway): 0910, 1120, 1325, 1520, 1720, 1920, 2115
  • Sundays (to Bristol Temple Meads via Patchway): 2325.

*This bus does not stop at Patchway. You cannot use buses between Bristol Parkway-Patchway and vice-versa. 

You might find that additional bus services have been added to the timetable at short notice. We’d recommend checking the dedicated National Rail page before you travel.

Is there anything else I should know?

If you’re booking a ticket for a journey during the Severn Tunnel engineering works, then we’d recommend doing it with Railsmartr. We don’t charge any fees, so you’ll never be penalised if you need to refund or exchange your ticket. If your ticket is refundable, it means exactly that!

We’ve also got a range of Expert Tips to help you travel smarter. Our Instagram is full of tips and travel inspiration too, so be sure to pop in and give us a follow.

All information on this page was correct at 18th June 2024 and is subject to change. We’d recommend checking the National Rail website before you travel. Railsmartr is not responsible for any loss or inconvenience incurred as a result of the information provided.