Bristol upgrades

We are upgrading the railway in and around Bristol to increase capacity and meet growing demand for rail travel.

Throughout 2018, we are upgrading the railway in Bristol and the surrounding area to enable a significant increase in passenger and freight trains to meet growing demand.

The re-signalling completed at Bristol Temple Meads over Easter and four-tracking the Filton Bank this winter are both needed to support a new 2019 timetable, which will increase trains between Bristol and London, as well as many busy commuter routes.

Bristol Temple Meads station

Signalling upgrade in around Bristol Temple Meads

Network Rail successfully completed its biggest ever signalling upgrade in and around Bristol Temple Meads over Easter. From Friday 30 March to Tuesday 3 April more than 500 people worked around 27,000 hours; to take out the old signalling equipment and install, test and activate a brand new system. Rail replacement bus services kept Bristol moving throughout the work – including on Tuesday 3 April, when many people returned to work after the bank holiday weekend.

Control of the signalling for the area was also successfully transferred from the 1970s technology of the Bristol Signal Box to the state of the art Thames Valley Signalling Control centre near Didcot.

The upgrade will improve the reliability of Network Rail’s infrastructure and enable an increase in trains from 2019 – including more services between Bristol and London. In preparation for the commissioning at Easter, over 100 people worked on site at the station during Christmas and the New Year; replacing and testing signalling equipment.

For updates about Bristol Temple Meads, please see our latest station newsletter (PDF).

New Intercity Express Train on extended platform at Bristol Temple Meads
New Intercity Express Train on extended platform – adding capacity at Bristol Temple Meads.

Electrification of Patchway Tunnels

From 16 June to 6 July we will be working to install electrification equipment through Patchway Tunnels, in preparation for the electrification of the line between London Paddington and Cardiff.

For more information about this work, see our South Gloucestershire page or follow our feed on Twitter #SummerTunnels.

Increasing capacity through Filton Bank

We are working to increase capacity on Filton Bank, laying two new tracks between Bristol Temple Meads and Filton Abbey Wood.

The Filton Bank Four-tracking project will:

  • enable a significant increase in the number of passenger trains, helping to meet growing demand
  • enable an increase in freight operations, supporting our economy
  • increase the robustness of the route, reducing disruption as a result of maintenance.

Since September 2015, we have been carrying out a broad range of enabling works along the Filton Bank, and this will continue up until the laying of the new tracks in Autumn 2018. This includes:

  • creation of a fourth platform at Filton Abbey Wood Station
  • six major earthwork sites to create new track bed
  • around 10 miles of plain line track,12 switch and crossings and three miles of track drainage
  • upgrades to six underbridges, a new viaduct at Stapleton Road and improvements to three footbridges
  • repositioning of two GSMR communications masts
  • work on around 30 signalling structures
  • route clearance work at 10 structures.

The project is due to be completed with the laying of the new tracks during a solid 23-day block of 24 hour engineering work in the autumn of 2018.

Further information about this period of engineering work, and alternative travel arrangements, will be published later in 2018.

Bristol Upgrades blogs

Contact us

If you’re interested in finding out more about the upgrades in and around Bristol, visit our City of Bristol page for information about work that is supporting our upgrade. Alternatively contact us by visiting our contact us page or by calling our 24-Hour National Helpline on 03457 11 41 41.