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 and we await further news from the Department for Transport.

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

A major junction just outside Bristol Temple Meads is being remodelled, to meet the demands of a modern, growing railway, with the new layout set to bring increased operational flexibility in getting trains in and out of the station and enabling an increase in capacity. Replacing old track with new will also bring improved reliability – another benefit for passengers.

Remodelling the junction just outside Bristol Temple Meads (on the London and Bristol Parkway side of the station) is a mammoth task that will take until the end of 2021 to complete, but it's crucial to meet the demands of a modern, growing railway.

A two-year programme of track, signalling and other work is underway and is due for completion at the end of 2021.

Over the weekends of 25/26 April and 2/3 May we successfully installed around a mile of new plain line (straight) track, where the junction joins with the four Filton lines, as well as a set of points next to the Arriva TrainCare depot. Our next big stint of track work is over another two full weekends, planned to take place in the autumn:

  • Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 September
  • Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 October 

Please note these dates may be subject to change. Dates for the work during 2021 will be published once available.

For an overview of the work view #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.

Plans are in development for the refurbishment of the fabulous Victorian roof at Bristol Temple Meads.

The roof needs a refresh due to its age, replacing worn out components in the main shed as well as platform canopies, roofing over Bonaparte’s Alley, and canopies in the forecourt.

Work will involve installation of new glazing and glazing bars, repairs to metal and timber and a new colour scheme. Metal work on the main shed roof will need to be grit-blasted.

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. Work will take place above this and the restoration is due for completion in the first half of 2023.

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.