FoSBR has made a detailed response to the Draft Joint Local transport Plan 4 (JLTP4).
We are pleased to support the objectives at Section 3 of JLTP4 to:
- Support sustainable and inclusive economic growth
- Enable equality and improve accessibility
- Address poor air quality and take action against climate change
- Contribute to better health, wellbeing, safety and security
- Create better places
We argue that rail is the only transport solution currently available that meets all of these objectives.
The necessary rail infrastructure, being freight lines that are currently in use, is largely already in place. The success of the four-tracking of Filton Bank is apparent in the immediately restored reliability of train services across the region, but further infrastructure such as Bristol East Junction is needed to enable MetroWest Phase 1 and 2.
Further substantial improvements could be made quickly and with little disruption if the political will exists. FoSBR suggests in particular: selective redoubling of the Severn Beach line, to enable a Henbury Loop service in both directions, and remodelling of Westerleigh Junction which would enable a dedicated direct service to Thornbury. We also advocate for electric battery trains to address air quality issues.
The huge potential for significant growth in passenger usage is demonstrated by the approximately three fold increase in passenger numbers using the Severn Beach line. This followed the provision of a 40-minute service from a subsidy from Bristol City Council of £420,000 per year, which was subsequently taken into the GWR franchise after five years. Such “pump-priming” is a significantly effective way of introducing step change in rail provision and should be considered by WECA as a useful use of the devolution funds.
Rail improvements are very popular with all sections of the community, and increasingly with young people.
The new proposals for the improvements to the rail network in JLTP4, especially the new stations proposed at Horfield Constable Rd, Charfield, Ashton Gate, Saltford and St Anne’s are welcome.
Indeed, FoSBR would like to see much higher priority given to those improvements as compared to road and bus solutions, neither of which can meet all the above objectives, and we have some more suggestions which we are promoting in this consultation submission.
You can read our full response on our Consultations page