Bristol Rail Campaign (FoSBR) is campaigning for a train every 15 minutes in the Bristol and Bath area, as shown in our Plan for Rail.
MetroWest is bringing much-needed and long-awaited improvements. From December 2021 more services run half-hourly. But for rail to properly take its place at the core of an integrated transport network for Bristol, Bath and the West of England we need a turn-up-and-go service. This means a train every 15 minutes.
This level of service is not yet possible on many routes because of capacity constraints. On other routes there may not be enough demand, and a less frequent service will be sufficient. But on the core routes, a fifteen minute frequency will allow people to use the train for local journeys without needing to check the timetable. It will also give a better-connected service, allowing people to change trains with fewer long waits.
Some of the necessary capacity is already in place.
According to GWR, the recent Bristol East Junction improvement should bring about a revolution in the local timetable. An extra track, better signalling and more switches and crossings allow more services to use Temple Meads with fewer delays.
The work already done at Filton Bank has separated the fast trains from the slow. This has allowed for half-hourly trains to Yate and Gloucester. It also opens up the possibility of more services and new stations. Network Rail contractors recently started work on the new station at Ashley Down, and the new service to Henbury will follow.
The West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and Network Rail are working on plans to reinstate four tracks from Bristol Temple Meads to Parson Street. This should allow for better services to Bedminster, Parson Street and stations towards Weston-super-Mare. Portishead trains will also benefit from this improvement.
WECA also plan to reinstate double track from the Narroways Junction to Montpelier. We think this should be extended to join the existing double tracked section at Clifton Down, to allow a more frequent and reliable service.
Local rail is at last getting some serious investment. Bristol Rail Campaign will keep pressing until Bristol has the train service it deserves!