FoSBR is campaigning for trains to run every 30 minutes on the Severn Beach Line to Avonmouth (hourly to Severn Beach) and also for 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.
Originally these plans were tied in with Portishead Line re-opening but in 2017 rising costs resulted in a staged approach to MetroWest Phase 1.
- Stage One: provide half-hourly services on the Severn Beach Line and to Bath Spa (Phase 1a);
- Stage Two: provide an “initial” hourly passenger service on the Portishead Line instead of the half-hourly service originally planned (Phase 1b);
- Stage Three: provide half-hourly trains on the Portishead Line “at a later date”.
Bristol East Junction bottleneck
A 30 minute frequency local service to Bath will send many extra trains per hour through Bristol East Junction (BEJ). We have been told that BEJ re-modelling is vital for MetroWest Phase 2 and highly desirable for Phase 1a. The upshot of this is that a through service from Severn Beach to Bath or Westbury has been delayed until the BEJ bottleneck is removed.
Network Rail remain confident that BEJ remodelling will happen by the summer of 2021. MetroWest’s requirement for Bristol East Junction is built into and strengthens the business case.
Meanwhile, 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 Bristol Temple Meads (hourly to Severn Beach).
FoSBR created a petition to create pressure for 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.