On the morning of Monday 3 December Network Rail successfully completed the installation of two new railway lines between Filton Abbey Wood and Bristol Temple Meads – doubling the number of lines into Temple Meads from two to four. This is marvellous news for which we have been waiting a long time.
These two new train lines will help provide more reliable services for passengers because they enable local stopping services to run on separate lines to faster intercity services. The two new tracks will also help get services up and running faster when incidents occur, and critically the new lines pave the way for an increase in direct London –Bristol Parkway –Bristol Temple Meads services that will be introduced at the end of 2019.
£130 million upgrade
Engineers started on the £130m upgrade programme in 2015 and this culminated in up to 350 engineers on the tracks at any one time during an intensive three-week period in November 2018, with the final testing being done in the last two weeks of weekend closures. The works included:
- Station upgrade works at two stations (Stapleton Road and Filton Abbey Wood) – including platform extensions and a new Platform 4 at Filton Abbey Wood, footbridge construction, mechanical and electrical works, information/security systems and external lighting;
- Installation of 15 km of new track, including drainage, new high speed switches and crossings and signalling;
- Extensive earthworks, and cutting and embankment stabilisation to increase track bed width;
- Upgrade of 17 existing railway structures, including four bridge reconstructions.
This is a very important and exciting milestone towards improving rail provision around Bristol, one which we fought a long campaign for. This and the earlier BASRE (Bristol Area Signalling Renewal & Enhancement) works, completed over Easter, has provided a good base upon which new services can follow. What we need now is commitment to the remodelling of Bristol East Junction, to allow better access into Temple Meads.