Box tunnel reopens after Network Rail electrification work

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Media captionThe first passenger train was the 05:29 BST from Bristol Temple Meads

A 170-year-old rail tunnel near Bath has reopened following six weeks of work to prepare it for electrification.

Six miles (9.6km) of track, which passes through the historic Box Tunnel, had to be lowered to allow enough space for electrical equipment overhead.

Train services between Chippenham and Bath have resumed as a result.

According to Network Rail, the tunnel opened in June 1841 and has become one of Isambard Kingdom Brunel's most celebrated structures.

The rail firm is spending £50m on its Great Western Electrification Programme to ultimately cut journey times between London Paddington and Swansea.

Track has had to be lowered in parts to avoid making changes to historic infrastructure such as Box tunnel, Dundas Aqueduct, Middle Hill tunnel and Sydney Gardens.

In the last six weeks, more than 10,000 new sleepers have been laid and 160,000 tonnes of rubble removed from the track around Box tunnel.

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