Bristol passengers learn more about benefits of new railway alliance

Friday 22nd July 2016

Network Rail and Great Western Railway (GWR) hosted the first in a series of alliance roadshows at Bristol Temple Meads station on Thursday morning (21/7), giving passengers the chance to find out more about the ways in which the two organisations are working together to improve rail services for passengers.

Network Rail’s Managing Director for the Western route, Mark Langman, and GWR’s Business Assurance Director, Joe Graham, were on hand at the event to provide information on how the two companies are working together to deliver projects and how the alliance will benefit the hundreds of thousands of passengers who use the Great Western Railway, as well as the communities and businesses which rely on the railway.

The organisations formed an alliance in March to formalise the ways in which they work together and to commit to joint areas for improvement for the benefit of passengers and businesses.

The alliance includes the delivery of The Greater West Programme, which will see the introduction of a fully electrified railway to accommodate a new fleet of faster, quieter, greener electric trains with more seats and more space for passengers.

In addition to the ongoing electrification and modernisation of the railway, the trial opening of additional gate lines to ease passenger congestion during peak times is currently in its second and final week at Bristol Temple Meads, and is one example of how the alliance will work on a practical level to improve passengers’ travelling experiences.

Last week’s trial of the temporary exit at St Anne Gate, adjacent to platform 4, saw more than 3,000 people per day on average using the exit at peak times, and this week’s gate trial, next to Bonaparte’s café on platform 3, has seen over 5,000 passengers passing through daily, making for a smoother exit during the morning and evening rush. Further consultation will take place with a view to permanently opening additional gate lines.

Mark Langman, Network Rail’s Managing Director of the Western Route, said: “The purpose of our alliance is to put passengers at the heart of everything we do and we’re delighted to have had this opportunity to engage with passengers in Bristol and showcase the benefits of working in close collaboration to improve rail services.

“As part of our Railway Upgrade Plan to provide a bigger, better, more reliable railway for passengers, we have extensive modernisation works taking place in Bristol, including future electrification and the installation of new signalling equipment and tracks. In delivering the improvements we know passengers want to see, it’s vital that Network Rail and GWR work closely together to minimise disruption as much as possible and provide passengers with the best possible service.

“The Temple Meads alliance roadshow event has proved to be a great success and we are looking forward to planning and hosting more of these events in the Thames Valley and West Country in the near future”.

Joe Graham, Business Assurance Director for GWR, said: “Our railway is going through the biggest investment since Brunel, and between us it is our job to make sure our passengers see the full benefit of that work as quickly and efficiently as possible.

“This alliance is enabling us to work better together to deliver these improvements, while also helping to deliver the best service that we are able to during this vital work.”

Cllr Mark Bradshaw, Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “Bristol and our partner local authorities value the ongoing strong working relationship with GWR and Network Rail. We are seeing major infrastructure renewal and capacity enhancement in our area. With electrification; the expected cascade of more modern rolling stock and implementation of MetroWest, our joint working will be crucial to delivering the step change to public transport in Greater Bristol.”

The next alliance roadshow event is scheduled to take place at Reading station in October.