Trains back for September 1st.

Running to schedule. Taking up the old ballast through Sydney Gardens.

Running to schedule. Taking up the old ballast through Sydney Gardens. Click on images to enlarge.

You’ll get your railway back on September 1st – that’s still the promise from Network Rail while contractors are hard at work on the closed and – in places – rail-less section of the main line through Bath.

Things are blocked through to Chippenham with Box Tunnel having been the subject of a massive track lowering scheme to enable a power line to pass through as part of  the electrification of the London to Bristol (and beyond) line.

Now – through historic Sydney Gardens – having laid a new drain, the old ballast is being removed and new material brought in and tamped down before the track is re-laid.

Network Rail's Stakeholder Relationship Manager Graeme Monteith answering questions from a member of the Bath public.

Network Rail’s Stakeholder Relationship Manager Graeme Monteith answering questions from a member of the Bath public.

I am told overall – on this section – the track height has been reduced by around a foot.

Just enough to allow the power cable to pass under listed bridges that might otherwise have to be demolished and re-built.

Full marks to Network Rail for putting Stakeholder Relationship Manager Graeme Monteith on duty in the park  this week to answer questions from members of the public watching the work on the track below.

Here's the section running through Sydney Gardens where a proposed sloping ditch might be replaced with a new more decorative barrier.

Here’s the section running through Sydney Gardens where a proposed sloping ditch might be replaced with a new more decorative barrier.

Obviously the next big intervention – and disruption to services – will be when the posts for the power line are put up.

Special curved ones are being prepared for the Sydney Gardens section but have to be approved by B&NES. Let’s hope they don’t waste too much time on it.

I am also hearing that a sloping ditch may now NOT be constructed on the park side of the track.

Instead a decorative fence might be installed to run along the top of the existing and original stone balustrade wall!