Spotlight on Easter 2018: Bristol area signalling renewal

Our largest ever resignalling project is happening in Bristol this Easter, from Friday 30 March to Tuesday 3 April.

What’s the Bristol area signalling renewal and enhancement project?

We are upgrading signalling in and around Bristol Temple Meads station, renewing lineside and station equipment and transferring signalling control to the state-of-the-art Thames Valley Signalling Centre at Didcot Parkway.

The £130m project is a crucial milestone for our Railway Upgrade Plan, and is linked to our Filton Bank Four Tracking project – which is doubling the number of lines between Bristol Temple Meads and Filton Abbey Wood by the end of the year.

Together, these projects will bring long-term benefits. They are part of the Great Western route modernisation to improve passenger experience and stimulate economic growth in the South West and beyond.

Why are we resignalling in and around Bristol?

Signalling in the Bristol area needs updating due to its age and condition. This work, in conjunction with the Filton Bank Four Tracking project, will improve reliability and increase capacity on the network, so that more trains can run to meet growing passenger demand.

The upgrade means there will be fewer delays and faster journey times, and passengers will benefit from almost twice as many trains between Bristol and London Paddington from 2019, with 24 per cent more seats. 

What work is happening around Bristol this Easter?

Bristol Temple Meads’ signalling system will be upgraded during a five-day possession. Around 500 people will be working on site to install, test and activate more than 500 complex pieces of signalling equipment.

How will the work impact train services at Easter?

No trains will run to, through or from Bristol Temple Meads from Good Friday (30 March) until Tuesday 3 April inclusive. In total, the work affects 20 stations in the West of England. Buses will replace trains and some journey times may be longer than normal. Commuters returning to work on Tuesday 3 April are reminded to check on National Rail Enquiries before they travel as the replacement bus services are likely to be particularly busy.

Check National Rail Enquiries for changes to services and travel information

What will be happening after Easter?

Further signalling upgrade work is due to be completed along the Bath corridor in 2019. Towards the end of this year, we will be finishing the Filton Bank Four Tracking project, installing two new railway lines between Bristol Temple Meads and Filton Abbey Wood. This will also involve additional signalling work in the area and will take around three weeks to complete.

In the meantime, we are continuing with our Filton Bank enabling works in the area. This includes earthworks to strengthen the embankment at various locations along the route. We are also installing a new viaduct at Stapleton Road in Bristol and are extending the footbridge at Stapleton Road station. This work will continue through to the autumn. The track work is due to finish in December 2018.

Find out more

Other railway work around Bristol in 2018

Great Western route modernisation

Easter improvement work 2018

Western route


A year of transformation for the railway in Bristol and beyond, by Jon Davies, Network Rail programme director, Western route

Temple Meads closure: short-term pain, long-term gain, by James Durie, chief executive of Bristol Chamber & Initiative, Business West

Below: Luminate technology in the Thames Valley Signalling Centre in Didcot