Better train services signalled for Bristol commuters as MetroWest rail project is extended

June 26, 2020

More frequent train services into and around Bristol are a step closer following the expansion of a major project aimed at improving rail links and easing overcrowding across the West of England.

The MetroWest scheme proposed by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) – which includes Bristol City Council – has been widened to improve services between Bristol and Gloucester. 

The extension is being worked up with train operators and Network Rail. WECA said Gloucester was considered a better terminating point for the services because less significant infrastructure is likely to be required.

Boosting services north of Bristol, along with improved services between Bath and Westbury in Wiltshire, would form a third phase of MetroWest.

The first two include improving services between Bristol and Bath and on the line between Temple Meads and Severn Beach, along with reopening the Portishead line to passenger trains.

Phase two involves reopening the Henbury line in north Bristol and increasing services between Bristol Temple Meads and Yate.

WECA said further work was now required to ascertain the cost and timescales of extending MetroWest to Gloucester.

Once these have been confirmed the proposals to extend the lines would then formally become part of the MetroWest project, WECA said.

West of England Metro Mayor Tim Bowles added: “The new MetroWest rail network is going to get our region and its economy moving. It will help create jobs, connect our communities and create more than 1m new journeys on our railway network each year.

“It will also help us cut carbon emissions, ease congestion and improve our region’s air quality. So I’m very pleased that by extending services to Gloucester and Westbury we will give even more residents see those benefits that I know they have been calling for.”

Network Rail Western route director Mike Gallop described the move as a very welcome step towards delivering enhanced rail services for passengers in and around Bristol.

“Our work with WECA and local authorities to deliver MetroWest will help to transform the suburban rail network. It will bring new communities together by offering a choice of rail, rather than road, and it will help to support growth,” he said.

“It’s good news for passengers and for the economy too.”

Once completed, MetroWest will connect an additional 80,000 residents directly to the national rail network. Among the improvements will be:

  • Half hourly services on the Severn Beach line calling at a new station at Portway
  • Half hourly services from Bristol Temple Meads to Bath and Westbury
  • Hourly services between Portishead and Bristol Temple Meads with new stations at Pill and Portishead.
  • services from Bristol Temple Meads to Henbury, calling at new stations at Ashley Down, Henbury and North Filton as well as all existing stations in between
  • Half hourly services between Bristol Temple Meads, Yate and Gloucester.

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