Operator reveals 'wish list' for Bristol railways
Network Rail is calling for millions of pounds of investment in Bristol railways to cope with a huge predicted increase in passengers in the next 10 years.
With 7.4 million passengers, Bristol Temple Meads is the third most used station on the Great Western network, and is expected to experience the largest growth in the next decade.
Nearly 100 million passengers are expected to be travelling within the Great Western by 2019, a network that covers London Paddington, Bristol Temple Meads, Reading, Slough and Oxford.
Bristol alone is predicted to see a 41 per cent increase in demand during the rush hour.
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Network Rail has today published the draft Great Western Route Utilisation Strategy, a wish list setting out the improvements it thinks are necessary to deal with passenger growth.
Funding would come from central government and "third parties", which could include local authorities or private developers.
Network Rail has stressed that as capital projects these changes would not be funded by rail fare increases, which are a matter for local operators like First Great Western.
Network Rail is calling for: ● Longer trains with an extra nine vehicles going into and out of Temple Meads on the Cardiff-Portsmouth, Cardiff-Taunton and Gloucester-Weymouth routes. This would be on top of the 12 extra trains that have already been proposed to the Government.
● Additional cross-Bristol services throughout the day to include hourly services from Temple Meads to Bath and Swindon, and an hourly service from Westbury to Chippenham or Swindon.
● An additional platform at Westbury station.
● An extended passenger line from Bristol Temple Meads to Parson Street to remove the bottleneck.
● An additional service between Westbury and Temple Meads to cater for the intermediate stations.
● Increasing line speed between Temple Meads and Bridgwater to 125mph.
The rail growth strategy has gone out to consultation and will be submitted to the Department for Transport early next year.
Consultation ends on November 29. The document can be seen at www.networkrail.co.uk.