From 15th December 2019 the GWR timetable has changed. The frequency and journey times of the GWR Bristol to London services has improved, but changes to the stopping pattern of local trains between Bristol Temple Meads, Lawrence Hill, Stapleton Road, Filton Abbey Wood and Bristol Parkway are less welcome. Fewer trains now terminate at Bristol Parkway, with a number of services stopping short at Filton Abbey Wood instead.
Friends of Parson Street Station have also highlighted how the new timetable makes it more difficult for passengers to travel from Parson Street and Bedminster to Bristol Parkway, requiring a change at Bristol Temple Meads.
When Network Rail reviewed our December 2019 timetable bid alongside bids from other operators such as CrossCountry they found that it was not possible to get our Weston-super-Mare services all the way through to Bristol Parkway. This is due to a clash with the timing of services, some of which are anchored to tight Paddington or Birmingham slots.
We have worked with Network Rail and were able to make some adjustments, but while we have worked together to try and get every service through it has just not proved possible. We want to do more and we are now working with Network Rail to see what can be done for May.
GWR have produced a leaflet for Lawrence Hill and Stapleton Road passengers, suggesting onward bus services for people working and studying in the Stoke Gifford area. GWR have relaxed ticketing restrictions so that passengers who have to travel via Bristol Temple Meads to complete a journey to Bristol Parkway won’t pay more. GWR also held Meet the Manager events at affected stations in the morning peak in the week commencing December 9th to make customers aware of the change.
FoSBR are concerned that this change has resulted in longer journey times for many passengers. For instance, during the weekday off-peak period, there are no direct trains from Stapleton Road to Bristol Parkway between 07:51 and 16:11. Previously there were 10 direct trains during this period.
FoSBR representatives visited those stations to talk to commuters and students affected by the changes.
FoSBR Chair Rob Dixon (pictured above at Filton Abbey Wood) said:
To withdraw cross-city services from a city that’s infamous for traffic gridlock seems crazy. The GWR leaflet suggests alternative bus services, but this timetable change may drive people back to their cars.
FoSBR are pressing for these services to be restored in the May 2020 timetable.
Check your journey at: https://www.gwr.com/plan-journey/timetable-2019.