Rail infrastructure improvements Updated April 2021
Reopening the Portishead line feeds off other Rail Infrastructure Improvements
Many people have some idea of the works required along the line but what’s probably not so widely known is that reopening the Portishead line relies on completion of a number of other Bristol area rail infrastructure improvements. Here’s an update on the status of these other major items of rail infrastructure improvement and how they relate to reopening the Portishead line:
Parson Street Improvements – COMPLETE
- An increase to the track capacity, southwest of Bristol City Centre, by providing the new track crossover capabilities (required for the Portishead line) and the necessary increased track capacity for additional trains. This work has been completed, as far as it is currently necessary.
- The remaining works in this area will form part of the MetroWest Phase 1 programme.
Filton Bank Improvements – COMPLETE
- Filton Bank has been restored to its former four-track configuration, from the post-Beeching twin-track arrangement. Bristol Parkway and Filton Abbey Wood have both been upgraded to 4-platform stations. This additional infrastructure enables a far busier timetable, both now and in the future.
- Without this increased track capacity, an increased number trains on platforms in Temple Meads would not easily gain clearance to exit north, and additional trains wishing to enter Temple Meads would be delayed from doing so.
Mainline Electrification – COMPLETE FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE
- Not a source of direct influence on reopening the Portishead line.
- Mainline Electrification of the Swindon-Chippenham-Bath route is currently deferred.
- Reopening the Portishead line is not reliant on either electrification or on the new Bristol East Junction (see below), although there could be some knock-on influences regarding timetable adherence while possible future electrification works are underway.
Bristol Area Signalling Re-engineering – COMPLETE
- The improvement and general replacement of the ageing signalling and points control in the Bristol Area is complete.
- Minor continuing upgrades are being undertaken, particularly to enable the busier timetable that will run from December 2019.
- These minor upgrades have no bearing on the Portishead line which will be signalled through the implementation of a further minor upgrade to the Bristol Area signalling/points control network.
Bristol East Junction Re-layout – Completed Sept 2021
- A complete redesign and re-layout of the Bristol East Junction has been completed. Work commenced in March 2021 preparatory to an 8-week closure that is planned for late July, through August and into September 2021.
- This project is an essential upgrade that will provide increased rail traffic flow in and out of Temple Meads, to mirror the increased traffic flow provided by the Filton Bank 4-Track Improvements that were completed in early 2020.
- Reopening the Portishead line does not rely on the re-layout of Bristol East Junction. However, the increased timetable robustness that will flow from the re-layout of Bristol East Junction will benefit the Portishead line, along with all other rail services passing in and out of Bristol Temple Meads.
PRG will keep you informed regarding these and any other essential rail infrastructure programmes as they progress.
See also FAQs, Timescales and Temporary closures ...