This morning (Monday 3 December) Network Rail successfully completed the installation of two new railway lines between Filton Abbey Wood and Bristol Temple Meads – doubling the number of lines into Temple Meads from two to four.
These two new train lines will help improve reliable services for passengers because they enable local stopping services to run on separate lines to faster intercity services – which is often why trains are delayed into and out of Bristol Temple Meads and makes journeys longer. The two new tracks will also help get services up and running faster when incidents occur and critically the new lines pave the way for an increase in direct London – Bristol Parkway – Bristol Temple Meads services that will be introduced at the end of 2019.
Engineers started on the £130m upgrade programme in 2015 and this culminated in up to 350 engineers on the tracks at any one time during an intensive three-week upgrade in November this year, with the final testing being done in the last two weeks of weekend closures.
Mark Langman, route managing director for Network Rail said: “This upgrade will transform rail travel for passengers across Bristol. It will also ease congestion at the bottleneck into Bristol Temple Meads where trains are often delayed getting into the station. From the end of next year it will enable GWR to run more frequent and quicker services between Bristol and London Paddington, providing more seats and better journeys for passengers – a real boost for the region’s economy.
“I’d like to really thank passengers for their patience with the disruption caused whilst we completed the final stages of this work. I’d particularly like to thank the local communities that live around Filton, Horfield, Stapleton Road and Narroways for their patience as we’ve been working in their areas since 2015 to deliver this project. We are particularly grateful for their support.”
Both Bristol City and South Gloucestershire Councils have been highly supportive of the Filton Bank scheme.
Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees commented: “I’m grateful for the work Network Rail have done to put these important improvements in place and recognise the patience of everyone affected while these were being done.
“By investing in infrastructure with our partner organisations, we move closer to delivering a thriving transport exchange at Temple Meads that will support our ambitions for Temple Quarter, Bristol and the wider city region. Better and faster transport connections are crucial to building Bristol’s success, ensuring accessibility to new jobs and homes and supporting inclusive growth across the West of England.”
Cllr Colin Hunt, South Gloucestershire Council Cabinet Member for Planning, Transport and Strategic Environment, said: “As a strong supporter of rail travel, South Gloucestershire Council is very pleased to see the progress Network Rail has made on the project. We have worked with Network Rail over the last few years to help them deliver this important project which will greatly contribute towards improving capacity for passengers, as well as sustainable travel for residents and commuters in South Gloucestershire and beyond.”