Popular Severn Beach line gets new late service
A NEW night-time train service has been added to the Severn Beach line.
The extra service was launched by First Great Western last night with a train leaving Temple Meads at 9.37pm.
Its introduction follows the significant increase in passenger numbers using the line since improvements were made to the service in 2008.
The new late service out of Temple Meads was sent on its way by singers from the North Bristol Wellbeing Choir, members of the Friends of Suburban Railway and representatives from First Great Western, the city council and the West of England Partnership.
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The return service from Avonmouth was then due back into the station at 10.48pm.
The extra service is now running on weeknights and Saturdays.
Julie Boston, co-ordinator for Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways, said the introduction of the new service was "very significant" but said it was still not good enough for a city.
"Considering this is a city it is pathetic, but considering it is an improvement we have to celebrate.
"The Severn Beach line has gone from strength to strength and this can only help. Our members have told us for some time that they needed later trains and it is great to see they are now being added to the timetable.
"We are delighted that First Great Western has brought out a new timetable showing this improved service."
Councillor Tim Kent, who is responsible for transport in the city, said improvements to the line were a sign of things to come.
He said: "The new service will fill a gap in what is one of the west's most popular lines.
"Growth of over 100 per cent just over the last few years demonstrates the potential for rail to deliver and expand in this region with latent demand waiting to be unlocked. With frequent services, acceptable fares and investment in stations we have seen rapid growth.
"This is why we will be delivering the first part of the Greater Bristol Metro here on the Severn Beach Line next year. Our plans for the Portway Park and Ride are now turning into reality. The new facility is due to open in just over six months. This will be the first of the ten new stations, two new lines and significant increase in frequency that is planned over the next ten years as part of the Greater Bristol Metro investment plan."
Mark Hopwood, managing director of First Great Western, said: "First Great Western has worked hard with Bristol City Council and the Severnside Community Rail Partnership to improve and promote services on this popular route through Bristol. The huge increase in passenger numbers has encouraged us to put on this additional return train, providing a more frequent evening service."
The new service leaves Temple Meads at 9.37pm, calling at all stations to Avonmouth, arriving at 10.03pm. The return journey leaves Avonmouth at 10.17pm, arriving at Temple Meads at 10.48pm.