The Secretary of State for Transport visited Bristol Temple Meads railway station today (Thursday 27 June) to support plans to radically improve the region’s railways.
This would include more frequent services, new train stations and better rail connections across the West of England.
Chris Grayling MP, met with West of England Mayor Tim Bowles and Network Rail’s managing director of Wales and Western, Mark Langman, to discuss the Bristol East Junction project.
This aims to improve both capacity and performance on the rail network in and out of Bristol Temple Meads – and services across the region.
The Department for Transport is working with Network Rail to assess the business case for Bristol East Junction, and to unlock the funding request to deliver the new multi-million MetroWest scheme.
The works are anticipated to start in 2020 – with construction taking place in 2021, subject to funding approval.
Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, said: “The upgrade to Bristol East Junction is a vital part of the MetroWest programme to build a proper commuter rail network for Bristol. I hope it will make a real difference to congestion in the city as more commuters get the train in future.”
West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles, said: “It’s fantastic to have the Transport Secretary’s support for the multi-million-pound upgrades at Bristol East Junction. I want the West of England to have the rail network it deserves to help reduce congestion, improve air quality and keep people moving. This is a really positive step in the right direction to deliver a transport network fit for the future…”
Bristol East Junction would also bring “wider performance and reliability benefits” for the new four trains an hour service between Bristol Temple Meads and London Paddington and cross country services to the Midlands, North and South West – as well as regional services to South Wales, the South Coast and South West.
It would provide the ability to operate half hourly services on the Severn Beach to Bath Spa and Westbury lines, half hourly services to Yate and beyond to Gloucester, and hourly services on the reopened Henbury line.
It would also support plans to open new train stations in Henbury, Portway and North Filton as well as Ashley Down, Portishead and Charfield.
The MetroWest scheme could add 1.6m passenger journeys per year once fully operational, and could bring more than an additional 50,000 people.