The ‘ups’ and ‘downs’ of Bath Spa Station.

Here’s a bit of rail jargon you will get to hear a great deal of in the Bath area – as April, 2017 approaches.

It’s TPOD3 – the third ‘temporary period of disruption’ Network Rail will be introducing during the Easter month – as part of their rather overdue, over budget (currently 2.8 billion) and now a bit deferred electrification of the Great Western railway from London to Bristol and beyond.

TPOD1 and 2 involved separate closures of the line through Box Tunnel and Keynsham Station.

box hill tunnel
There were no lights in the tunnel in Brunel’s day!

This time it’s Brunel’s Grade 2 listed Tudor-styled Bath Spa station of 1840 facing some very organised disruption.

bath spa

Despite the fact the government has now stepped in to apply the electrification brakes in these parts – Network Rail will still need to get in there and widen and – in one place – lengthen platforms. That’s so the new rolling stock can be rolled out!

They also have to move their rails nearer the centre of the track bed. Normally they would just trim back the overhead platform canopies to accommodate the power carrying pylons but a Grade 2 listing has meant adopting a different approach.

Another view of Bath Spa station as it might look after electrification has been completed.

Though the pylons won’t now be going through anytime just yet, the work still has to be done.

That’s so their new fleet of Intercity Express trains – pulling ten carriages – can be introduced in the summer of next year.

The new engines are electro-diesel – which is just as well – as there won’t be any overhead line to draw power from after these glistening new beasts riding Brunel’s historic railroad reach the proposed cut-off point – which is on the Chippenham side of Box Tunnel.


Then it will mean switching over to diesel power. Just how well the engine will ‘fire-up’ – running at 100 miles per hour – remains to be seen. The new unit is currently enduring trial runs elsewhere.

But back to Bath Spa station. Here are some dates for your travel diary.

Is this how Bath Spa station will look in the future?

The station will be affected from Saturday, April 8th through to the early hours of Monday, April 24th.

Though the idea is to try and keep one side open – to receive a reduced service of trains from both directions – while work is underway, there will be 8 days – including the Easter weekend – when no trains will be able to pass through.

I attended a joint Network Rail/GWR ‘presentation’ last night – Thursday, April 24th – at Bath’s Guildhall when the whole TPOD3 operation was discussed in great detail.


First a quick word from both sides…..and a reaction to me describing the whole multi-billion pound electrification programme as being ‘postponed’……

I think the next best thing for me to do is let you look through the slides we were shown. Forgive the colour. The images were taken – with my telephoto lens – from a projector screen.

But it’s worth looking through and maybe making notes if you at a customer of GWR travelling through Bath.


Take what you will from that, l am grateful to GWR for letting you have a sneak peep at this promotional footage. There’s no sound but it’s good fun.

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