Increasing services on the GWML

Understanding the performance of timetable options for additional services to operate on the Great Western Main Line

The Great Western Main Line, connects London with Bristol, and from trains may continue Cornwall and South Wales. Engineered by Isambard Kingdom Brunel as a dual track line using a wider 7 ft (2,134 mm) broad gauge, the line was opened in stages between 1838 and 1841. Another remarkable characteristic of the line was its alignment: it was so level and straight it was nicknamed “Brunel’s billiard table”.

In a previous study, trenolab was asked to simulate the largest timetable change on the line since 1970, which was introduced in 2019 following the electrification and replacement of the long-distance rolling stock. Two years later, based on the positive feedback of this study, trenolab has been asked to model the impact of additional long-distance services on the line.

In just 3 weeks trenolab managed to import the complex timetable, merge it with the 2023 timetable drafts of other TOCs addressing all conflicts and complex elements - such as platform workings at Paddington station - and simulate a full year (250 weekdays) of operations, producing a complete set of results that was delivered to Network Rail.

Our tasks:

  • Operations analysis
  • Microscopic stochastic simulation
  • Microscopic simulation model calibration
  • 2020/11 - 2020/12
  • UK
  • Network Rail
  • Research
  • TRENOplus, trenissimo