Press Release

Balfour Beatty successfully electrifies rail lines between Bristol and Cardiff

10 January 2020


This week, Balfour Beatty, working on behalf of Network Rail, successfully completed the electrification of 77 kilometres of the Great Western Railway (GWR) line between Bristol and Cardiff; a significant contribution to Network Rail’s overall Greater West Electrification Programme to electrify 275 kilometres of train line between Cardiff and London.

In order to deliver the works on time, over 750 Balfour Beatty operatives undertook complex works over the Christmas period, completing the final installation of the overhead cables at Cardiff Central Station, marking the completion of over 4,200 masts and booms, responsible for holding the 643 kilometres of electric cabling associated with the 77 kilometres section of route. 

This milestone was marked with the first electrified train running out of Cardiff Central Station on January 6, 2020. 

Mick Rayner, Managing Director of Balfour Beatty’s Rail business, said “We are proud to have successfully delivered part of the largest modernization project on the Great Western Railway which we been working on for the past three years. Delivering this important upgrade to the Welsh rail network will provide a more sustainable way of travelling for tens of thousands of commuters”. 

Mark Langman, Network Rail’s Managing Director for Wales and Western said: “I am delighted that services can now run on electricity between Bristol and Cardiff, linking the two capital cities for the very first time via an electric railway. This is the culmination of the largest modernisation project on the Great Western railway since it was built in Victorian times, which we have been working on over the last 10 years.”

Image: First electric train from Cardiff to London


Media enquiries to:
Berna Sponca
Balfour Beatty
+44 (0)207 963 2150 | follow us @balfourbeatty

All non-media related enquiries should be directed to +44 (0)20 7216 6800 or

Notes to editors:

  • Balfour Beatty ( is a leading international infrastructure group. With 26,000 employees, we provide innovative and efficient infrastructure that underpins our daily lives, supports communities and enables economic growth. We finance, develop, build and maintain complex infrastructure such as transportation, power and utility systems, social and commercial buildings.
  • Our main geographies are the UK, US and Hong Kong. Over the last 110 years we have created iconic buildings and infrastructure all over the world including the London Olympics’ Aquatic Centre, Hong Kong’s first Zero Carbon building, the National Museum of the Marine Corps in the US and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.
  • Balfour Beatty is one of the UK’s leading rail infrastructure suppliers. From feasibility studies, planning and design through to implementation and asset management, we provide multi-disciplinary rail infrastructure services across the lifecycle of rail assets. Our expertise covers electrification, track, power, civils, specialist rail plant, railway systems and technologies.
  • Balfour Beatty also provides a comprehensive range of on-track machines for track geometry improvements and general track works. Our fleet of modern ‘Tampers’ consist of plain line machines and switches and crossing units. Along with our expert operators and support staff these machines ensure track quality for our customers.
  • Significant projects in Balfour Beatty’s current portfolio include: London Underground track renewals contract valued at up to £220 million over four years for Transport for London, on-track machinery for Network Rail’s seven-year contract worth £115 million for the supply, operation and maintenance of 13 ‘Tampers’, £40 million operations and maintenance contract for the fleet of ‘Stoneblowers’ and a £65 million contract to operate and maintain 21 multi-purpose vehicles (MPV) across England
  • Other notable project include a five year ‘Reactive Building and Civils’ contract delivering a range of works including track building and general infrastructure repairs on behalf of Network Rail and an 80% share in Network Rail’s ten-year £1.5 billion Central Track Alliance contract for, development, design and delivery of track renewals and crossings, across the London North West, London North East and East Midland routes.