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 East Junction

A major junction just outside Bristol Temple Meads needs to be replaced to improve reliability and comfort for passengers, as well as increasing flexibility and allowing for the future expansion of the railway. This will involve a two-year programme of track, signalling and other work; starting in December 2019 and running through until the end of 2021.

The first phase of work is the renewal of a crucial substation. This will involve constructing a new substation (in early 2020) before transferring power and demolishing the existing one. The existing substation sits alongside the track parallel to Oxford Street in St Philips. Once this important step is completed then we can start to renew the track itself.

We will be replacing the track through the junction in multiple phases from late April 2020 until June 2021.

During 2020, most of this work will be carried out over Saturday nights (starting late February) as well as some Sundays and a number of full weekend shifts. These ‘core’ weekends are likely to be as follows:

  • Sat 25 April & Sun 26 April
  • Sat 2 May & Sun 3 May
  • Sat 26 Sept & Sun 27 Sept
  • Sat 24 Oct & Sun 25 Oct 

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

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. They have been a vital part of our work to prepare for the launch of our new timetable in December 2019.

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

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

The new gates have significantly improved the flow of passengers entering and exiting the station at peak travel times.  They comprise eight new gates for entry and exit in Bonapartes Alley and six more at Queen Anne Gate. Both locations 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

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.

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.

During Christmas 2019 we will be completing further work on drainage around Filton Abbey Wood and at Bonnington Walk and Constable Road. We will be finishing off reinforcements to the embankment alongside Bannerman Road in Easton and installing trackside handrails in the Horfield area.

The last of this work should be completed during weekends in April, May and June 2020.

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