FoSBR wants to see reliable, half-hourly services to all Bristol-area stations with future 15 minute frequency.
Our recent FoSBR Rail Plan postcard campaign saw hundreds of postcards delivered to the Mayor of the West of England, Tim Bowles. Mr Bowles actually commented at a meeting that his desk was piled high with them! So at least our campaign was noticed, and WECA are progressing some rail schemes.
Local service frequency
MetroWest Phase 1a will provide a 30 minute frequency on the Severn Beach Line to Avonmouth (hourly to Severn Beach) and also provide direct train services between Severn Beach and Bath (turning back at Bathampton) or Westbury. This improvement in service frequency would be transformational to users on the Severn Beach Line, and to users of Keynsham and Oldfield Park on the Bath line.
However, this scheme will not be delivered until 2021 and there is no good reason why a partial Phase 1a cannot be go ahead, ie. the ½ hourly service on the Severn Beach Line between Avonmouth and Temple Meads.
FoSBR created a petition to create pressure for incremental service improvement. The petition can be found on change.org.
FoSBR and our allies call on the DfT, WECA, GWR and other decision makers to ensure that, with four tracks now in place on Filton Bank, progress is made towards a half-hourly service to all West of England local stations, starting with the Severn Beach Line (MetroWest Phase 1a) by May 2020.
Local service reliability
FoSBR also monitor the ongoing reliability of local trains. Since 2017 introduction of Turbo trains on the Severn Beach Line, engineering for Filton Bank track quadrupling and re-signalling for BASRE have caused significant disruption. We have found it useful to have our independently collated punctuality/cancellation statistics for use in meetings with GWR.
Regional service frequency
Meanwhile, from December 15th GWR are implementing an improved timetable for the Bristol-London service. Trains to London will be faster and more frequent, with three an hour at peak times instead of two, both from Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway. GWR is encouraging customers to find out more at https://www.gwr.com/plan-journey/timetable-2019