Published date 14 May 2024

Half hourly West trains rack up more than 3 million journeys

three people stood in front of a train, holding a sign

Celebrations will be in full swing (this Wednesday 15 May at 3.45pm) to mark 12 months since the introduction of half-hourly train services to and from Bristol Temple Meads.

In that time, the services between Bristol and Gloucester - benefitting locals in Filton Abbey Wood, Bristol Parkway and Yate - and between Bristol and Westbury - benefitting those in Keynsham, Oldfield Park, Bath Spa and Freshford – have clocked up more than 3.4 million journeys.

This is a year-on-year increase in passengers of 27%, a boon for the local economy and the region, offering significantly better transport opportunities for locals.

To celebrate, a special first anniversary event will take place at Keynsham station attended by West of England Mayor Dan Norris, whose Mayoral Combined Authority funded the services, plus representatives from GWR and Network Rail.

The new and improved services have been funded by a £7 million-plus investment by the Mayoral Combined Authority in May 2023, and delivered by GWR, and Network Rail.

Dan Norris, West of England Mayor, said:  

Growing passenger numbers is my biggest priority in terms of building the sustainable West of England public transport system we all want to see.

“I’m pleased to see the uptake in these half-hourly services benefitting residents in Keynsham, Yate and elsewhere funded thanks to my multi-million-pound programme of rail improvements. That’s doing things like funding enhanced services, and building seven new stations in our region.”

GWR Business Development Portfolio Director, Tom Pierpoint, said:

“It is fantastic to see how well these extra services are doing, helping people to make more sustainable transport choices across the West of England.

“The new services better connect people with jobs, students with education services, and leisure opportunities for all – providing valuable support for the community and local economies.”

Network Rail’s Industry Programme Director, Daniel Round, said:  

“I’m delighted to celebrate this first anniversary of increased services across the Greater Bristol area to Westbury and Gloucester. In the last year, Bristol has the seen the second largest increase in demand among major GB cities at 20%. This is in part due to the increased services across the area as well as the opening of a new station at Portway Park and Ride last summer, the programme is truly transforming the daily commute for millions of people. 

"It’s onwards and upwards from here, with the new Ashley Down station due to open later this year, and plenty more in the pipeline for the West of England. These are exciting times.”

This is all part of a wider package of rail improvements from the Mayoral Combined Authority, Network Rail and other partners including the opening of seven brand-new stations – including in Portway (opened last summer) as well as in Ashley Down (due to open later in 2024) over the next five years.

The new stats follow other positive developments for the regional transport network during the past 12 months including the revival of plans to electrify rail lines between Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway. Meanwhile, a new station study by the Mayoral Combined Authority is looking at the case for building additional stations in Lockleaze, St Anne's, Saltford and Ashton Gate.

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