On Track: Dave Wood's column on railways
WHEN fully implemented, the Greater Bristol Metro project will provide half- hourly train services on all routes within the main Bristol commuting area. And there will be a train every 15 minutes between Bristol Temple Meads and Bath Spa.
The Government has promised £94 million to the West of England Partnership (the four unitary authorities of Greater Bristol) to implement the Bristol Metro as part of the Bristol City deal. This is on condition that a board, such as a Integrated Transport Authority (ITA) or a concession similar to Transport for London, is set up to deliver the improvements.
This is a 10-year project to be implemented in two stages. Phase one will see a Bristol Temple Meads – Bath shuttle service, which is planned to terminate at a park and ride station at Bathampton.
It will also involve reopening of the Portishead branch to passenger trains, with stations at Portishead, Pill, and Ashton Gate. The latter station was not originally included but I am led to believe it has been added at the request of Bristol City Council.
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However trains will not stop at Parson Street or Bedminster stations. Alternate trains, one an hour from Bath and Portishead will run to Severn Beach.
Phase One is due for completion in 2016 although Bristol City Council has approved the construction of a park and ride station at Portway, between Shirehampton and Avonmouth on the Severn Beach line, work scheduled to begin 2013.
Phase Two would introduce a new passenger service from Bristol Temple Meads and Henbury, over the current freight-only line west of Filton Junction. Local trains between Weston-super-Mare and Bristol Parkway would be extended to/from Yate and Gloucester.
It is likely that neighbouring local authorities such as Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, and Somerset will become involved with the scheme, because many train services extend far beyond the boundaries of the four unitary authorities of Greater Bristol.
The following stations may open or reopen, subject in some cases to the extension of Metro services and a satisfactory business case: Ashley Down, Ashton Gate, Bathampton, Charfield, Corsham , Henbury, Horfield, North Filton, Pill, Portishead, Portway, Royal Wotton and Saltford
David Wood is a member of the Rail Maritime and Transport Union Bristol. The above is written in a personal capacity.