We need to get better trains for Bristol Metro
COMPARED to other conurbations the Greater Bristol area has been the poor relation. In previous decades the Bristol rail network was depleted of routes, stations and track capacity.
But the Bristol Metro scheme would improve the economy and the environment.
The Great Western Franchise Consultation in March 2012 listed the Greater Bristol Metro as a scheme which bidders should be expected follow in order to meet passenger demand.
The number of people using Bristol suburban stations has risen dramatically in recent years.
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It augurs very well for the success of the additional stations and routes which the Metro would introduce.
It is believed they would be largely self-financing as demonstrated by the 40 minute interval service operated on the Severn Beach line since 2008.
This incidentally has required a lower subsidy from Bristol City Council because more trains resulted in a greater number of passengers.
To make the enhanced network possible, four tracks are needed instead of the present two between Dr Day's Junction (north of Temple Meads) and Filton. Reinstatement of the second pair of tracks, removed in the mid 1980s, is essential for keeping slow and fast trains apart.
This work is now to be funded by the DFT as part of its High Level Output Statement.
For the same reason it would be desirable to reinstate the down relief between Pyle Hill and Parson Street, to create four running lines between these points.
However, no funding has been committed for this improvement.
The Great Western Franchise Consultation response called for more electrification of suburban routes to follow the Great Western main line electrification which is due to reach Bristol from London in 2016.
If the local lines are electrified when the electrification gangs are here in 2016, there would be a third saving on cost. Until local lines are electrified, it is very important that the Metro services are provided by rolling stock of a high standard with passenger comfort in mind, such as the class 165s and 160s which will be displaced from the London and Reading areas by electrification in a few years.
Rail Maritime and Transport Union
Written in a personal capacity