Rail minister opens platform at Bristol Parkway station
Transport Briefing: 09/05/07
A new platform at Bristol Parkway station was officially opened today by rail minister Tom Harris as part of a wider investment to improve train performance and make services more reliable between London Paddington and the west country over the next few years.
Construction of the new platform 4 at Bristol Parkway
The £3m platform has been funded by Network Rail to ease congestion for trains coming into and departing from Bristol Parkway towards London and Birmingham. First Great Western has contributed £100,000 towards a new waiting room and help desk. The new platform is adjacent to the existing platform 1, forming an island platform. As a result it has been numbered platform 4 while the existing platform 1 becomes platform 3.
Network Rail is currently evaluating the business case for a further platform on the down line (services towards Wales and the west country) to turn the current platform 2 into an island platform.
Tom Harris said: "This shows how the right investment in rail delivers real benefits for passengers. The new platform will mean smoother and more reliable journeys through Bristol to London, Birmingham, south Wales and the south west."
The Bristol ceremony formed part of a visit to the south west by the minister, who also introduced the Department for Transport's newly-published assessment of how the region's rail network could expand over the next 20 years at a meeting with the South West Regional Assembly. Harris added: "It is clear that the next 20 years will see a rise in the number of rail passengers on both inter-city routes and on commuter services in the region. So the west needs not only continued investment in stations, trains and track to accommodate that growth but, just as importantly, a strategy on where that spending will be most effective. Our Regional Planning Assessment is out now and this summer we'll publish our long-term national strategy for rail as well as our spending plans for 2009-2014."
The main construction work on Bristol Parkway platform four started in December 2006. As part of the project the London end waiting room on platform 1 has been demolished and replaced with an extended waiting area, along with a customer help desk.
Robbie Burns, Network Rail's western route director, said: "As part of our wider investment in the railway in the west country, we are really pleased to have been involved in this project. The new platform will ease congestion so that passengers will see an improvement in the reliability of trains passing through the station."
Alison Forster, managing director of train operator First Great Western, said: "This new platform is really good news for our customers. It is a tangible example of investment in the network and industry partners working together to improve services for customers. It will reduce journey times and improve the reliability of our services on the busy south Wales-London route."