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Video of the Week: Upgrading a 130 year old underwater rail tunnel.

Posted by Emily O'Dowd on Oct 28, 2016

The Severn Tunnel is the famous undeSevern Tunnel upgraderwater route that connects England to Wales. Linking South Gloucestershire to Monmouthshire under the River Severn it was opened in 1886. And for well over 100 years it was the longest mainline railway tunnel within the UK, until the two major High Speed 1 tunnels near London were opened in 2007 as part of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. It takes approximately 3 minutes 40 seconds to travel through the tunnel. The tunnel has recently seen some big changes as part of the modernisation of the Great Western Main Line, part of Network Rail's £40 billion upgrade plan over the course of the next five years. It took engineers six weeks to upgrade and electrify the current Severn tunnel structure to make more room for the larger passenger trains soon to go into service. The track was lowered to make allowance for the new electrification equipment which will power the electric trains. Network Rail hope that this will result in a faster and more reliable service for its passenger along one of the original rail routes in the world. So click to read more and delve into the railway under the estuary of the River Severn!

Here is a time lapse of the extensive work that has been completed as part of the National Rail Upgrade project. The newly updated Severn Tunnel (Twnnel Hafren) re-opened this week for service.  


SmartRail World will bring this new video feature to you every Friday! We will present an array of interesting, bizarre and informative videos for your entertainment. If you come across a video that you would like to share on our website then please send your suggestions to

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Topics: Videos, quirky

Emily O'Dowd

Written by Emily O'Dowd

On graduating with a degree in English Literature at Royal Holloway University of London, Emily joined the editorial team. When she isn't writing articles for the website or interviewing experts in the industry she enjoys reading, running and sailing.

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