December 2020 Timetable Change Poster (top)

December 2020 timetable

FoSBR supporters were disappointed to discover the loss of some train services in the December 2020 Severn Beach Line timetable, which commenced on Sunday 13th December.

Fewer weekend trains to Severn Beach

On Saturday evening, we lose the 22:14 service to Severn Beach, meaning the last train from Bristol Temple Meads to  Severn Beach is now the 20:28 and to Avonmouth the 21:31.

On Sunday morning, we lose the 09:01 and 09:46 services to Severn Beach, meaning the first train from Bristol Temple Meads to both Severn Beach and Avonmouth Is the 10:58.

Keith Walton (Severnside Community Rail Partnership) and GWR have provided further information about this change,  saying that the longer quiet period over Saturday night will support engineering work on Bristol East Junction (needed for MetroWest).  GWR also mention lower passenger numbers due to COVID, and problems with driver training due to COVID.

You can read the GWR explanatory note here and GWR “Bristol Changes” poster here .

Other lines affected

A comparison of the Bristol Temple Meads Sunday morning departures shows that all GWR services are similarly affected, not just the Severn Beach Line.

First departures from Bristol Temple MeadsSunday 6thSunday 13th
To Avonmouth/Severn Beach09:01, 09:46, 10:5810:58
To Bath07:45, 09:19, 09:00, 09:20, 09:34, 10:00, 11:0011:00
To Newport08:55, 09:53, 10:4210:42
To Bristol Parkway (GWR)09:20, 11:4411:44
To Bristol Parkway (CrossCountry)09:15, 10:31, 11:3109:15, 10:31, 11:31

Obviously this engineering work has to be done, and FoSBR want to support GWR and Network Rail in facilitating this.  Unfortunately, due to a communications mix-up we were not invited to the timetable meeting and had no opportunity to discuss mitigation and no prior warning to disseminate the information.  

We may not have been able to influence the outcome, but we would have liked to discuss bus substitution, the relative merits of long Saturday night possessions as opposed to weekend possessions, and whether there was sufficient passenger demand to warrant an earlier Severn Beach Line service.

Even though we have lost two morning services,  the winter Sunday service on the line still retains nine return services to Severn Beach, keeping the (afternoon) improvements gained in the December 2019 timetable.  The previous winter Sunday service of December 2018 had only two return services to Severn Beach.

MetroWest

The MetroWest 1a ½ hour service from Avonmouth to Westbury is still planned to run from December 2021, hence the work needed on Bristol East Junction.  However, MetroWest dates have slipped before, even pre-COVID, and we have no detail on the ½ hour service pattern, such as start/end times or how it translates to the weekend service.

Does this affect you?

If you are inconvenienced by the timetable change, please contact us so that we can collate responses and pass them on to Jane Jones at GWR, possibly making the case for a bus replacement service.

Your feedback will also prove useful for our input to the January timetable meeting, which FoSBR will definitely attend!

Please also be aware that there will be engineering work over Christmas that will require bus services between Bristol Temple Meads, Bristol Parkway, Bath Spa and on the Severn Beach Line – full details are on the GWR website.

More details about the new junction layout at Bristol East and improvements to Bristol Temple Meads station can be found on Network Rail’s website.

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