As many of you know I live in the tramway and railway desert of south Bristol. We were supposed to be the terminus of one of Bristol's tram routes but this scheme was sunk (for a while) by Dawn Primorolo, who thankfully is stepping down as an MP at the next election.
Bristol is at last about to get an electrified route to London, and the commuter network in waiting (including the Bristol to Radstock route which will form part of the New S&D and WILL serve parts of south Bristol) is beginning to stir. The following report is basically good news but where's the Portishead route, and where are our trams?? It's a start, but only that ...
Bristol Rail Commuters Put On Fast Track
Longer platforms, faster journey times and more services promised as Network Rail sets up new Bristol and WestCountry unit.
Network Rail has today announced a new unit to control improvements across Bristol and the WestCountry.
It says "Network Rail Western", has been created as part it's drive to give local management the power to make independent funding decisions - to reduce costs and raise value for money, so that the savings could be reinvested in the area.
NRW has cited Bristol as one of THE highest forecast growth in rail passenger demand in the UK, at around 44% by the end of the decade - up from a previous 41% after taking into consideration the future electrification to London - cutting journey times from Bristol to the Capital by around 22minutes.
Part of the plan sees potential redevelopment of land around Temple Meads for more platforms, better car parking and an integrated transport hub. There's also plans to enhance the railway to and from Temple Meads and Filton Abbey Wood to improving journey times.
By the end of 2014, Network Rail Western also sets to achieve at least 93% in punctuality, by tackling cable thefts and implement a robust 7-day railway strategy to minimise disruption during major improvement work.
Network Rail Western will be spending around £400m by 2013 to operate, renew and enhance the 995miles of railway in the new Western region.
Priority schemes over the next two years include:
* £300m to modernise life-expired signalling equipment including those around Bristol so that the infrastructure is compatible with an electrified railway to London.
* £55m to build and design a unique factory train to install electrify the railway.
* £8m to improve journey time between Bristol and Birmingham
* Improvements to journey times between Bristol and Bridgwater, and potentially Plymouth, by enhancing line speeds
* Reducing congestion at Bristol Temple Meads, where around 8.9m passengers enter and exit per year
* Boosting capacity between Dr Days to Filton Abbey Wood by providing a four track railway
* An extra down line platform and passenger area to enable additional fast trains per hour to operate between Bristol and Paddington and also to Parkway after electrification
* The West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has recently announced their new Enterprise Zone, known as Temple Quarter, which includes the area of land alongside the former Royal Mail post office site and the large area of disused land leading down to the former Bath Road diesel depot.
The area covers 70 hectares of land with initial estimates suggesting the potential to accommodate over 250 businesses and 17,000 new jobs over a 25-year period. The focus is on creative and digital industries with retail opportunities as part of a wider mixed use development.
The Temple Quarter site is seen as a major gateway that has huge potential to generate jobs and investment for the area that is highly attractive to businesses looking to relocate, demand for transport services from Bristol Temple Meads will significantly increase.