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 150 years ago. Modernising the route will improve the experience of everyone who uses it and stimulate economic growth in the South West and beyond.

Important information – COVID-19

All planned work is being reassessed and reviewed as the we go through the current pandemic. Essential maintenance projects are being prioritised and keeping our workers and local communities safe is of paramount importance. We are following Government guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus.

Bristol East Junction

We are continuing preparatory work at a major junction outside Bristol Temple Meads station this autumn.

The new layout of the junction is set to bring increased operational flexibility in getting trains in and out of Bristol Temple Meads and enabling an increase in capacity. Replacing old track with new will also bring improved reliability – another benefit for passengers.

The bulk of the work will be in summer 2021 but doing preparation work during weekends this year will reduce overall passenger disruption.

Following the track work in the spring, we worked alongside Dings Park in St Phillips over the summer, to demolish a substation and a relay room as well as relocated signals. This work was crucial to make room for the new track layout.This October, we are undertaking further foundation works for the installation of a new signal gantry next to Dings Park.

In late September, we completed the first of two autumn weekends of track work.

This involves piling and installing upright supports over the coming weeks. The main beam will then be lifted into place over the Christmas period.

Work is ongoing in this area for the rest of the year including:

  • Saturday 24 & Sunday 25 October – Installing new track and points
  • Friday 25 December through to Monday 28 December – Installing new signally gantry

Some of this work will be noisy and we apologise in advance for any disruption.

For updates, keep an eye on #BristolRailUpgrade on our Twitter feed.

Bristol Temple Meads

Around 10 million passengers pass through Bristol Temple Meads each year. We are upgrading the station to meet growing demand and improve the customer experience.

Changes to cycle parking

Temporary cycle storage at the station

This September, we successfully relocated the bikes from platform 3 and 4 at Bristol Temple Meads station.

The new temporary cycle storage is located on Friary, to the north of the station and houses just over 450 bicycles – matching the capacity of bikes that were stored on platform 3 and 4.

Download our new cycle parking map poster.

The new two-tier cycle rack storage is covered, well lit, and monitored by CCTV – with each cycle rack having at least one dedicated CCTV camera.

The bike racks use a gas-assisted two-level system, ensuring that a bicycle can easily be parked on top. The light-weight aluminium upper track rests on the ground, allowing cyclists to wheel their bike onto the ramp, with the counter weight moving the bike upwards.

The move was necessary to allow for work on the £24 million roof refurbishment project to begin later this December, and to ensure that passengers can safely make their way around the station.

We continue to work closely with British Transport Police who were involved throughout the planning, design and location of the new bike park. BTP continue to run regular patrols around the area.

Please note that owners have until Friday 6 November to reclaim their bikes before they are donated to charity.

Other station improvements

Work to fully refurbish the fabulous Victorian roof at Bristol Temple Meads is due to start in December 2020 and we have just appointed our lead contractor (Taziker) to carry out the work.

To make this possible, a huge scaffolding structure will be set up inside the station at the end of 2020, with a false ceiling installed as a safety screen to allow the work to take place above. This will be the first major refurbishment of the station roof in over 25 years; due for completion in 2023.

Read our news story about the Bristol Temple Meads restoration project.

From the summer of 2020 until early spring 2022, we will be rewiring Bristol Temple Meads station, to bring it up to modern standards.

This will improve the stability of the power supply at the station and allow for future expansion. One key element of the work is the separation into three independent supplies to improve capacity and resilience.

During 2021 we will be installing a free station WiFi network at Bristol Temple Meads, offering passengers fast, free and reliable internet connectivity within the station area.

The installation will take a few months to complete, working alongside teams doing the station rewire.

The intention is to launch the new service in the summer of 2021. For more information about the programme, go to our Digital Station Programme web page. 

Over the past couple of years we have successfully upgraded signalling in and around Bristol Temple Meads, at Bristol Parkway and further afield. This involved replacing outdated 1970s technology with state of the art systems to improve the reliability of our infrastructure.

Alongside other capacity improvement projects in the area, these signalling upgrades are bringing greater flexibility and resilience to the network.

For more information about signalling upgrade work, visit #signalbristol on our twitter feed.

Eastern entrance

A new entrance is being planned for Bristol Temple Meads, to offer access to the new university campus and the east of the city.

The intention is to break through the end of the existing subway between the staircases to platforms 13 and 15 and install a new external entrance building that will include a set of ticket gates.

There are a lot of details to work through but we aim to extend the subway and break through during our work to renew Bristol East Junction in summer 2021. It will all remain behind hoardings while the external building is constructed and fit out is completed.

The goal is to complete the eastern entrance by September 2022 with formal opening in conjunction with that of the new university campus.

Eastern entrance exterior view – initial design concept may be subject to change
Eastern entrance interior view – initial design concept may be subject to change

At the end of 2018 we installed two new sets of ticket gates at Bristol Temple Meads, more than doubling capacity at the station.

14 new gates for entry and exit – including wide aisle gates for improved accessibility – are located at Bonaparte’s Alley and Queen Anne Gate. They have significantly improved the flow of passengers entering and exiting the station at peak travel times. They are open Monday to Friday, 07.00 – 10.00 and 16.00 – 19.00.

Filton Bank Four Tracking

Having successfully launched our two new railway lines between Bristol Temple Meads and Filton Abbey Wood station in the autumn of 2018, we are already seeing significant benefits for passengers, through increased reliability and resilience.

Since bringing the lines into operational use we have been going through a programme of finishing work, reinforcing embankments, reprofiling the ballast (stones) and improving drainage.

Over weekends in late April and early May, we completed further work on drainage around Filton Abbey Wood and in the Horfield/Lockleaze areas of Bristol, between Bonnington Walk and Constable Road.

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

Bristol Portway station

Plans for a proposed new railway station for the Severn Beach line, between Shirehampton and Avonmouth stations, are moving forward.

The station will be built by Network Rail on behalf of Bristol City Council, on land adjacent to the existing Portway park and ride site off the A4.

Funding for the scheme has been secured and plans are in development with the aim of starting work on site at the end of 2020 and completion in 2021.

The station is being jointly funded by Bristol City Council, the West of England Combined Authority and the Department for Transport.

After planning permission was granted in March 2019, it is set to become the first new station built in the wider Bristol area since Filton Abbey Wood in 1996. This scheme forms part of the West of England’s wider MetroWest programme. For more information, visit the MetroWest website.