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

Around 10 million passengers pass through Bristol Temple Meads each year. We are upgrading the station to meet growing demand and prepare for an increase in trains.

Last year we successfully upgraded signalling in and around Bristol Temple Meads replacing 1970s technology with a state of the art system to improve the reliability of our infrastructure.

During the Christmas period we carried out a programme of testing and other preparations ahead of further signalling upgrade work in 2019.

The next major stage of signalling upgrade work is focused around Bathampton Junction and will be completed during weekends from April to July this year.

Alongside other capacity improvement projects in the area, these signalling upgrades will bring greater flexibility and resilience to the network. They will also enable a significant increase in trains; including more services between Bristol and London Paddington.

For more information about signalling upgrade work, see our dedicated Twitter feed: #SignalBristol

We have installed two new sets of ticket gates at Bristol Temple Meads, more than doubling capacity at the station.

The new gates were launched on Monday 17 December and will significantly improve the flow of passengers entering and exiting the station at peak travel times.

They comprise of eight new gates for entry and exit in Bonapartes Alley next to Bonapartes Bar and six gates for exiting at Queen Anne Gate. Both location include two wide aisle gates for improved accessibility.

Operation of the additional ticket gates is as follows:

Monday – Friday

  • 07.00 – 10.00
  • 16.00 – 19.00

The existing ticket gate will continue to operate as normal.

Pictured: The new ticket gates at Bristol Temple Meads, opened by John Lanchester (GWR) Tim Bowles (West of England Mayor) and Mark Langman.

Plans are being put in place for the refurbishment of the fabulous Victorian roof at Bristol Temple Meads. £40m will be invested to renovate the heritage roof which is essential for the continued safe use of the station – and to improve the passenger experience.

Filton Bank Four Tracking

We completed the installation of two new railway lines between Bristol Temple Meads and Filton Abbey Wood station in the autumn of 2018 and the lines are now fully operational.

Video showing a timelapse of the Filton Bank blockade
Video showing a timelapse of the Stapleton Viaduct replacement

We are already seeing significant benefits for passengers, through increased reliability and resilience. The Filton Bank Four-tracking upgrade also brings greater capacity for the network, enabling an increase in trains and paving the way for the potential future expansion of the rail network through Bristol and the surrounding area.

While the bulk of this upgrade was completed in 2018, we are now working through a programme of essential finishing work.

Over the next couple of months, in the Filton Abbey Wood area, this includes:

  • drainage work at Filton Abbey Wood station, and near Stanley Farm footbridge.
  • packing and moving track stones along the route to ensure the best possible stability.
  • removal of temporary access at Wallscourt Road South, next to Stanley Farm footbridge.
  • installation of concrete troughs along the trackside for cabling.

For an overview of work completed throughout the programme, view #bristolrailupgrade on our Twitter feed.

Severn Beach line work summer 2019

We are renewing some of the track on the Severn Beach line this summer, with work focused around the Avonmouth and Clifton Down areas. This is essential maintenance to ensure the continued smooth and safe running of the railway for years to come.

Avonmouth

We have two pieces of work taking place in the Avonmouth area this summer.

  • Avonmouth dock level crossing renewal

The level crossing at Avonmouth dock needs to be renewed. We will be working from 22:00 on Saturday 6 July until 05:15 on Monday 8 July to replace the surface of the crossing, the rails, associated signalling equipment, and the tarmac either side on W Town Road. Once completed, we will use a tamping train to compact the ballast (track stones) to improve stability and performance.

  • St Andrew’s Road track renewal

We are renewing a section of track between St Andrews Road level crossing and Avonmouth station. The bulk of the work will take place between Saturday 20 July and Sunday 11 August and will involve replacing rails, sleepers and ballast (track stones).

This will mean working through 12 weekday night shifts and two weekends in July and August, as well as a couple of Saturday nights. There will be two further weekday overnight shifts to follow in September.

Planned dates for this work are as follows:

All shifts will be between the hours of 21:00 and 06:00 the following day, unless otherwise indicated*

DateTime of work
Saturday 20 JulyWeekend night
Monday 22 JulyWeekday night
Tuesday 23 JulyWeekday night
Wednesday 24 JulyWeekday night
Thursday 25 JulyWeekday night
*21:00 Saturday 27 July – 06:00 Monday 29 JulyNon-stop weekend work
Tuesday 30 JulyWeekday night
Wednesday 31 JulyWeekday night
Thursday 1 AugustWeekday night
*21:00 Saturday 3 August – 06:00 Monday 5 AugustNon-stop weekend work
Monday 5 AugustWeekday night
Wednesday 7 AugustWeekday night
Thursday 8 AugustWeekday night
Saturday 10 AugustWeekend night
Monday 16 SeptemberWeekday night
Tuesday 17 SeptemberWeekday night
Track renewals

We’ll be using at 150 tonne road crane from St Andrew’s crossing, as well as panel lifters and numerous road rail vehicles throughout the duration of the job.

In addition, we will also have a special train dropping ballast on the afternoon and evening of Sunday 28 July and the tamping train will be compacting the ballast in the same shift, as well as at the same time on Sunday 4 August. The follow up shifts on Monday 16 and Tuesday 17 September will also be for tamping the track. These shifts, involving the ballast and tamping trains are likely to be the noisiest elements of the work.

Up to 35 people will be working on the St Andrew’s Road renewal at any one time. We will be accessing the line via St Andrew’s level crossing itself and we will be using the central island at the crossing for our compound and parking facilities.

Clifton Down

To reduce the need for future maintenance and to improve reliability and also comfort for passengers, we are removing a disused set of points near Clifton Down station in July.

The work involves cutting out old track panels and digging out some of the old ballast (track stones), before installing a new straight section of track in place of the points. Once the installation is completed we’ll need to pass over the new section of track with a tamping train to compact the ballast around the rails and sleepers, ensuring the best possible stability and performance.

Work starts at 22.00 on Saturday 6 July and we will work through until 05.15 on Monday 8 July. There will be then be a follow up shifts from 23.00 on Monday 8 July until 05.00 on Tuesday 9 July. This shift is to complete the tamping, which is the noisiest part of the job.

Around 20 members of staff will work on site at any one time and they will access the railway via the Network Rail access point behind Trust Ford on Muller Road. A small number of parking spaces at Clifton Down station will be temporarily used for welfare cabins.

Travel arrangements

As a result of this crucial work, buses will replace trains:

  • Sunday 7 July, between Bristol Temple Meads and Clifton Down/Severn Beach
  • Sunday 28 July, between Clifton Down and Avonmouth/Severn Beach
  • Sunday 4 August, between Clifton Down and Avonmouth/Severn Beach

Please check before you travel by visiting National Rail Enquiries' website or GWR's website.

Find out more

Come and meet the project team at one of our drop in sessions:

  • Tynedale Baptist Church, Whiteladies Road, Bristol BS8 2QG (16:30 – 19:00 on Tuesday 2 July) – View drop in flyer
  • Avonmouth Community Centre, 257 Avonmouth Road, Bristol BS11 9EN (16:30 – 19:00 on Wednesday 17 July) – View drop in flyer

Download the Severn Beach summer factsheet (PDF)