Transport Minister hears calls for better Bristol train service
The Minister for Transport met campaigners calling for a more regular train service between Temple Meads and Avonmouth on a visit to Bristol.
Chris Mole MP and Bristol East MP Kerry McCarthy arrived at Stapleton Road station by train to be met by members of the Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways (FOSBR).
The group is calling for a service every 30 minutes along the line, and wants Network Rail to double track a key section of the Severn Beach line to allow that to happen.
The group has already won a campaign for a more frequent 40 minute service, which is being provided with a train paid for by Bristol City Council, but funding is only set to continue until 2011.
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FOSBR member Julie Boston, of Montpelier, said: "The people of Bristol need trains every 30 minutes on the local rail network.
"That can happen for stations from Temple Meads to Avonmouth, but only if Network Rail plays its part.
"We're asking the Minister to tell Network Rail that it must double track the line so that we can have a frequent service.
"This is a priority for people here and we want the Minister and Kerry McCarthy MP to make sure it happens."
The group handed out leaflets explaining their cause, and postcards to send in as part of the campaign.
Mr Mole said: "I'm here to see the power of community rail partnerships to invigorate smaller lines like the Severn Beach line.
"I'm also here to encourage people to use them, to make stations safer places to be.
"We will be holding fares to one per cent above inflation for regulated fares, which covers 60 per cent of fares.
"Next January should see regulated fares fall.
"It is about getting a reliable service, and we have seen much increased reliability over the last five or six years."
The MP also visited a community gardening project Eastside Roots during his visit, as it is based on land alongside the train station.
Network Rail spokeswoman Mavis Choong said: "Network Rail welcomes aspirations to grow and expand the railway. However, any genuine proposals have to go through the Route Utilisation Strategy (RUS) process. It is a formal industry process that involves key stakeholders, including the West of England Partnership and Passenger Focus, from the rail industry.
"The draft output of the Route Utilisation Strategy has been issued for consultation; the final output will be submitted to the Department for Transport for approval and potential funding after that.
"In this case, any further recommendations on the Bristol Metro scheme can be taken up with the scheme promoter, West of England Partnership.
"The proposal will need more detailed study to understand its feasibility, considering potential implications on timetable, services and performance."
The deadline for consultation is November 27.
For more visit the website www.fosbr.org.uk.