The successful completion of the four-tracking of Filton Bank last December doubled the number of lines between Filton Abbey Wood and Bristol Temple Meads from 2 to 4. At Stapleton Road, footbridge improvements were needed to cross the new fast lines to reach platform 2 (southbound) from east of the station. In May this year the enhanced Stapleton Road footbridge opened, providing an accessible ramp up to the footbridge from east of the station and an accessible ramp down to platform 2.
The new ramp and bridge structure is large as modern accessibility standards require a gentle incline for wheelchair access.
Like Gauntanamo Bay
Etta lives in Easton with her family: “I understand that it is necessary to have disabled friendly ramps, but these ramps are so long with a pushchair. Local people think this structure is very ugly and call it Guantanamo Bay.”
Network Rail have said “New structures over the railway must allow for potential overhead electrification in the future and the new bridge at Stapleton Road also includes accessibility ramps to provide step free access. The ramps are the correct length to achieve the gradient required to ensure that the bridge is safe for all users.”
The station is still not fully accessible as there is only stepped access to the footbridge from platform 1. Stapleton Road can be a useful interchange station between Severn Beach Line trains and trains up the Filton Bank. Currently, those wishing to change platforms in a step-free manner would need to transit via Stapleton Road and Belmont Street, or possibly St Marks Road and St Marks Grove if they are able to manage the steep slope next to The Sugarloaf pub.
Lack of funds
In the past, Network Rail were exploring the possibility of installing a lift to the footbridge on platform 1 due to lack of space for ramp installation. Unfortunately, funding availability changed as a result of the cancellation/postponement of electrification on the Filton Bank. Local councillors hope to obtain funding in future Access for All grant allocation to make the station fully accessible.
In the meantime, Bristol City Council approved £200k for station improvements to signage, lighting, seating and planters through the Community Infrastructure Levy This work is being delivered by Severnside Community Rail Partnership.