The December 2021 timetable for the Severn Beach Line is a significant improvement on the current timetable, with a more frequent weekday service to Avonmouth and Severn Beach. The new timetable starts on Sunday 12th December. We are now within 12 weeks of this date, so service information should be correct on journey planners such as National Rail.
In summary, these are the numbers of services compared to today:
- 21 weekday services to Severn Beach compared to current 11
- 33 weekday services to Avonmouth compared to current 25
- 21 Saturday services to Severn Beach compared to current 9
- 35 Saturday services to Avonmouth compared to current 22
- 12 Sunday services to Severn Beach compared to current 8
- 14 Sunday services to Avonmouth compared to current 10
The Avonmouth service is half-hourly Monday to Saturday, and hourly on Sunday. The Severn Beach service is hourly. For people who need to change trains at Temple Meads, increased Severn Beach Line service frequency will mean a shorter wait.
Some services will run cross-city from Weston-super-Mare to Severn Beach, eliminating the need to change at Temple Meads. For instance, the weekday 07:10 and 08:10 departures from Weston super Mare will serve all stations, including Parson Street and Bedminster, arriving Avonmouth/Severn Beach at 08:13/08:23 & 09:13/09:23.
From May 2022, assuming the post-Covid passenger rebound continues, there will be half-hourly services to Gloucester, and from December 2022 there will be half-hourly services to Westbury. These timetable changes will provide opportunity for further cross-city services, but we do not yet know what service patterns Network Rail and GWR will implement.
Room for improvement
- Weekday – there is an afternoon gap to/from Severn Beach between 13:46 and 15:12 from Bristol Temple Meads
- Weekday – there is an evening gap to Severn Beach between 19:46 and 21:20 from Bristol Temple Meads, but it is noted that there is a service to Severn Beach with a 34 minute wait at Avonmouth by catching the 20:12 with an overall journey time of 71 minutes (to accommodate the SITA rubbish train)
- Weekday – there is an evening gap to/from Avonmouth and Severn Beach between 21:20 and 22:25 from Bristol Temple Meads (there is a 21:46 departure to Clifton Down)
- Weekend – shift patterns at Severnside run 24/7 364 days a year, shifts being largely 06:00-14:00, 14:00-22:00 & 22:00- 06:00, or variations thereof. The new timetable caters better for Monday-Saturday shifts, but Sunday shift workers would still need to seek alternative transport:
- Sunday early train arrives 09:20 into Avonmouth, 09:31 into Severn Beach – too late for 6am
- Sunday late train leaves Severn Beach at 19:35 (Avonmouth at 21:29) – too early for 10pm.
Portway Park and Ride
Portway Park and Ride station is served by the new timetable with services due to call from January, when construction is completed. Not all services in the new timetable will stop at the new Portway Park and Ride station, i.e. those that pass after 20:30 Mon-Sat or 18:30 Sunday.
To fully leverage the benefits of the new railway station at Portway Park and Ride, the car park opening hours should be extended with all trains calling there. SevernNet have some interesting ideas on how to make Portway Park and Ride a transport hub for workers and residents in the Avonmouth/Severnside area. Bus/rail interchange could be improved by adding/altering stops for buses such as the 3/4, 10/11 and X5. We look forward to sharing the SevernNet Transport Charter upon its publication next week.