As the West of England’s population increases, so too does the strain on our transport network. We want our region to be less reliant on cars with better air quality and more people walking, cycling and using public transport.
Our long-term Investment Strategy proposes £350m for transport over the next 20 years and rail is a key part of this. Rail infrastructure can take several years to deliver due to the scale and complexity of the projects, but WECA has already set the wheels moving on several high-profile rail projects.
During 2021/22 we will be making improvements to stations such as better seating, more shelters, wayfinding, cycle parking, CCTV, lighting and accessibility – building on the £1.1m Station Enhancements Project funded through the DfT’s Access for All programme and our regional Investment Fund.
The Ten Year Rail Delivery Plan
We have set out our plans to transform travel by rail over the next 10 years. The plan sets out how rail travel will change between 2020-2030 providing people with new rail routes, step-free access at stations and more frequent ‘turn up and go’ services. It is the first time a long-term regional rail plan has been agreed for the West of England. We are leading on the work, in partnership with Network Rail and local councils.
Projects to be delivered by 2025 include:
- Re-opening the Portishead line including new stations Pill and Portishead (part of MetroWest)
- Increasing services on the Severn Beach to Westbury line and providing a new station at Bristol’s Portway Park and Ride site (part of MetroWest)
- Upgrading and extending the Henbury line, extending services to Gloucester with new stations at Ashley Down, Henbury and North Filton (Part of MetroWest)
- Creation of a new eastern entrance at Bristol Temple Meads, leading to the site of the planned University of Bristol campus and St Philips Marsh
- Station improvements including better accessibility and new seating and shelters at Freshford, Lawrence Hill, Nailsea & Backwell, Parsons Street, Patchway, Severn Beach, Stapleton Road, and Yate.
The 10-year plan also sets out projects that could be delivered between 2020 and 2030 subject to further successful bids. These include:
- Temple Meads to Parson Street capacity building to allow more frequent services
- Charfield station on the Bristol to Gloucester line where 291 homes are planned and 14,500 residents live within 5km
- Improved pedestrian and cycle access to Bristol Parkway station
Our flagship rail project is MetroWest; we have ambitious plans to significantly increase travel by rail through a combination of improvements to existing rail stations and routes, as well opening new lines and stations where the region needs them most. MetroWest, working with our councils, Government, Network Rail and Great Western Railway could generate over a million new rail journeys and give 80,000 more people access to train services. MetroWest will see half hourly services across most of the local rail network with two lines reopened to passengers and up to seven new stations between 2021 and 2024. Beyond 2024 there are plans to increase the frequency of services on key routes and open more new stations.