City of Bristol

We're modernising the Great Western route, increasing capacity for passengers and freight.

This is the biggest investment in the Great Western railway since Brunel built it more than 175 years ago. Modernising the route will improve the experience of everyone who uses it and stimulate economic growth in the South West and beyond.

This page explains the work we’re doing in the city of Bristol area and when it's due to take place. Electrification in the area has been deferred until the next control period (CP6), which runs from 2019 to 2024.

Bristol Temple Meads

Christmas signalling work

During Christmas 2017 we continued signalling work in and around Bristol Temple Meads, in preparation for our major upgrade at Easter.

100 engineers and signal testers worked in the area from Saturday 23 December to Wednesday 27 December, completing pre-testing and installation including:

  • 30km of cable being installed
  • Upgrades to signalling gantries
  • 124 tests to signals
  • Axle counter upgrades

Completing significant rehearsals of the work planned for April has given extra confidence ahead of the full Easter upgrade.

Easter 2018

Our re-signalling next Easter is the largest re-signalling project ever undertaken by Network Rail and will:

  • help to ensure the continued safe operation of the railway
  • improve reliability
  • enable a significant increase in rail services to meet growing demand
  • prepare for a new post-2018 timetable.

For more information see our Bristol upgrades page

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

Filton Bank Four Tracking

We are carrying out extensive works between Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway, to double the number of railway lines.

Due for completion in December 2018, this will enable an increase in train services and reduce disruption from maintenance.

Prior to an intensive 3-week period of work in the autumn, a range of enabling works are being completed throughout the area. Details are below.

Ashley Hill and Narroways

An extensive programme of earthworks is underway at Ashley Hill and Narroways, stabilising the embankments in preparation for two new lines as part of our Filton Bank Four Tracking project. This project will enable an increase in trains to meet growing demand and will also help reduce disruption caused by maintenance in the future.

Our embankment work includes piling and soil nailing, pinning the earth in place to prevent movement. We started in this area in July 2017 and will be continuing until the autumn; prior to track work which is due to finish in December. The majority of this work is being carried out in daytime hours (07.30 to 18:00), however there will be exceptions, with some overnight working required*

Ashley Hill North
We have completed the piling and soil nailing on this stretch of the embankment and are adding concrete panels and back filling with stone to add further stability.

Ashley Hill South
We are piling in this area to install a retaining wall. This work needs to be carried out overnight while trains aren’t running to ensure signals aren’t obscured while the railway is operational.

*Overnight shifts in Ashley Hill South are between 22:00 and 08:00 on the following dates:

  • Sat 27/Sun 28 January
  • Mon 29/Tues 30 January
  • Tues 30/Weds 31 January
  • Weds 31January/Thurs 1 February
  • Sat 3/Sun 4 February
  • Sat 10/Sun 11 February
  • Sat 17/Sun 18 February
  • Sat 24/Sun 25 February
  • Sat 3/Sun 4 March
  • Sat 10/Sun 11 March

This is noisy work and we apologise for the inconvenience. If any further overnight working is required we will notify residents.

Footbridge works

We have installed two new footbridges as part of this project. Ashley Hill footbridge is due to open soon and the new Narroways footbridge is due to open by the end of February.

For more information about our work in this area, and our drop in events where you can come and meet the project team, view the documents below.

Easton Road

Following demolition and reconstruction works at Easton Road bridge, we are returning this autumn to complete our work. Easton Road bridge factsheet.

This involves:

  • Removal of concrete barriers
  • Excavation and construction of foundations for wall
  • Wall construction
  • Waterproofing works
  • Construction of boundary fencing.

Temporary lane closures will be put in place to manage the flow of traffic to ensure the safety of our construction team.

Stapleton Road viaduct

Having reached the end of its life, Stapleton Road viaduct was demolished during the summer 2017.

This involved sawing through the steel structure to remove it in three sections.

Watch our short time lapse video of the demolition:


Now we are carrying out enabling work to prepare for the installation of the new viaduct next year. This involves general site activities over the coming months, including completing ground investigations and excavations.

From early November 2017, we will be piling in Fox Park. This will be taking place during daytime hours, Monday to Friday, and is scheduled to finish in January 2018.

The new viaduct is due to be installed in June 2018.

Following the installation, we will be focusing on the track formation work over the viaduct, before connecting up the drainage and completing all finishing works in the autumn of 2018.  Fox Park will be fully reinstated upon completion of the project, with the footpath and cycle path reopened.

Horfield Cutting

We have been carrying extensive earthworks at Horfield Cutting, running from the south of Bonnington Walk bridge to Filton Abbey Wood station. These have been substantially completed and are now moving into the next phase of work.

The main excavation for the new track formation and drainage works are now underway and are due to be completed by 1 February 2018.

Work patterns are as follows:

  • Track formation excavation - weekend nights
  • Drainage enabling works, weekend nights
  • Drainage works, daytime, midweek and weekend nights

General daytime working hours are 8am to 6pm, with weekend daytime shifts running between 8am and 5pm. Overnight shifts are 10pm to 8am.

Masefield Way, Horfield

On the weekend of 18/19 November we completed essential improvements to the drainage system (culvert) running under the tracks adjacent to Masefield Way in Horfield. This involved diverting the existing drain which was severely damaged, and installing a new one.

View Masefield way residents letter

Filton Abbey Wood station

A fourth platform will be built at Filton Abbey Wood station with ramped access to the existing footbridge. In order to support the embankment, a retaining wall will be built between the new platform and the residential area that backs onto the railway. This phase of the work is under way. Our teams will return next year to extend the three existing platforms and lay the new track.

To carry out engineering work safely, we have closed the footpath that links the car park in Emma-Chris Way to the station footbridge until Autumn 2017. A signed diversionary route is in place.

Find out more on our South Gloucestershire page.

Last updated 19 January 2018. This page will be updated regularly.