Announcement could hold key to unlocking Bristol Metro
THE Government was set to announce improvements to Bristol's rail network today.
The upgrades are part of a £9 billion injection of cash into the rail network described as the biggest programme of investment in the railways since the Victorian era.
The plan, covering the period 2014 to 2019, is expected to include electrification projects.
The government has already confirmed it plans to electrify the line between Bristol, London and south Wales.
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Details of today's announcement had not been confirmed last night but Bristol rail campaigners say they hope it will include the laying of extra track between Temple Meads and Parkway stations so that the Bristol Metro project can be implemented.
Pressure group Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways says a stretch of line between the two stations, known as Filton Bank, was reduced from four tracks to two in the early 1980s.
They say this caused "a serious bottleneck that prevents any more trains from being run and causes many delays due to congestion".
In a statement, the group said: "Four-tracking of Filton Bank is crucial for the half-hourly services to all local stations that are proposed by the local authorities and for which FOSBR has campaigned for many years.
"More track is also required between Bristol Temple Meads and Parson Street in Bedminster to enable the proposed services to Portishead.
"Although the Government has awarded Bristol £100 million to improve rail services, these will only be possible with the four-tracking of Filton Bank.
"We hope this will be included in their statement. Without it there can be no improved local or regional rail services."
Electrification of lines in the Midlands, Yorkshire, Manchester and Liverpool the Welsh valleys was also expected to be unveiled today.