Months of poor performance have led Network Rail to announce a major overhaul of the Reading to London Paddington route. 

Bosses at the rail infrastructure firm have confirmed the well-traveled route will be overhauled in three phases over 18 months.

Passengers from Swindon and Wiltshire travelling to the capital will be affected by the disruption.

As part of this work, trains will be reduced late at night for the next four weeks while engineers carry out remedial work to the tracks, signalling and overhead wires, with only two of four tracks open during the last two hours of each evening. 

This will be followed by six months of work to stabilise performance, then a year-long programme to put long-term solutions in place - which includes the replacement of the 30-year-old overhead wires. 

"Our performance hasn't been good enough," admitted Network Rail's new route director Marcus Jones, speaking to the BBC

And Steve Smith, of the Bedwyn Trains Passenger Group, described it as "absolutely appalling".

This follows a headline-making incident last year that saw thousands of passengers trapped in a stranded train for hours, including Network Rail's CEO Andrew Haines. 

During the incident on December 7, near the Ladbroke's Grove area, travellers reported being stuck in dark, cold carriages for more than three hours just outside Paddington Station that night.

Among them was TV presenter Rachel Riley and singer James Blunt who tweeted: “Been stuck somewhere outside Paddington for close to 4 hours now. Out of peanuts and wine.”

Reacting to the incident caused by poor infrastructure the day afterwards, Mr Haines said: “I intend to use my own painful experience in committing to improve how we deliver for our customers and support our colleagues, especially when things go wrong.”

“Yesterday evening was not one of our finest moments.”

Days after this incident, Network Rail's regional managing director, Michelle Handforth, resigned in December.

A new team is now in place. 

The BBC continues to report that since Elizabeth Line services started running from Reading, track use has increased by 17 per cent.

The total weight of trains on the route has increased by 38 per cent and as a result the infrastructure has not coped well and there is a fault very nearly every day. 

The rail service further confirmed that it hopes to to dovetail its Great Western work with other closures already booked, in a bid to minimise the impact on passengers and money for the work will come from within the existing route budget. 

"People are not getting a consistent service," said Mr Jones. "We are determined to put that right."