Today (Monday 13 December) sees GWR doubling services on the Severn Beach Line, from hourly to half-hourly.
This is the first step in providing thousands of additional seats, alongside plans for new stations through the MetroWest initiative backed by the West of England Combined Authority.
West of England Metro Mayor Dan Norris said: “I’m delighted to be travelling on one of the first new services from Temple Meads to Severn Beach.
“This is the first important piece in the MetroWest jigsaw. The MetroWest initiative will reopen two lines and six new stations. It’s going to give 80,000 more people access to train services.
“Having a good public transport network is crucial in helping our region thrive. Helping more people to get about more easily is another good sign that our region is on the up. People want and deserve a great railway in the West. All aboard!”
The next stages of the initiative are planned to include additional services between Bristol and Gloucester, and between Bristol and Westbury via Bath, in future timetable changes subject to approval from the West of England Combined Authority and the Department for Transport.
GWR Managing Director Mark Hopwood said: “Good rail services are key to economic recovery and to decarbonisation.
“We believe that this new timetable, introducing the very first of our planned MetroWest enhancements, will provide our communities with the help and support they need as together we rebuild and renew for the future.”
The new services will deliver over 4,000 more seats for passengers every weekday. Additional services through Bristol form part of the wider Bristol Rail Regeneration programme, delivering new railway tracks and signalling to transform the railway serving the Bristol area.
Network Rail Project Director Jonathan Davies said: “It is great to see just one of the many positive impacts of our £132m track upgrade work at Bristol East Junction in the summer, with the introduction of half-hourly services on the Severn Beach Line this December.
“The major upgrade of Bristol East Junction earlier this year was a key enabler for supporting the introduction of new suburban services in the future as part of the West of England Combined Authority’s MetroWest scheme and providing over 4,000 additional seats on trains every day in the area.
“The doubling of services on the Severn Beach Line marks one of the first realisations of making Bristol Temple Meads a key transport hub in the West of England that will serve millions of passengers each year and support business right across the region.”