Minister's pledge on suburban rail network
PLANS TO improve rail services in our area have been announced by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and the Department for Transport.
by Keri Beckingham
Regional Mayor Tim Bowles recently met Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to discuss the plans, which include re-opening Henbury station, improving the Severn Beach line to provide direct services to Bath and Westbury, and implementing more frequent services to Yate.
According to figures from modelling work that has been carried out by WECA and Network Rail, i the plans could generate an estimated 1.7 million new rail passengers and give 80,000 more people access to train services.
Mr Bowles said: “I want the West of England to have the rail network it deserves to help reduce congestion, improve air quality and keep people moving. This is a really positive step in the right direction to deliver a transport network fit for the future. We have to be ambitious and work at regional level to give people more options and encourage them to leave their cars at home.”
Mr Grayling said: “Ensuring the delivery of local, rail-based transport systems in the region remains a vital project for the West of England. I look forward to seeing the result of work by the West of England Combined Authority and North Somerset Council to deliver a modern, state-of-the-art transport solutions for the region.”
Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, has previously campaigned for investment in the Henbury Loop Line. He added: “Whilst I welcome support of suburban rail, this update from the Government and the Regional Mayor is largely a repeat of promises that have already been made.
“My constituents want to see real improvements improving their daily lives, which is why I’ve been so vocal about securing immediate and urgent transport investments ever since my election.
“The Government and Regional Mayor have, for example, championed the removal of tolls from the Severn Bridge this Christmas and only after significant lobbying admitted this alone would result in 6 million extra car journeys a year - yet no investment to mitigate this has been made in advance.
“That’s why I’m working with transport providers and residents on my North Bristol Transport Plan, which I look forward to consulting my constituents on in the coming weeks.”