BBC News: 1 September 2009
Network Rail has released a draft 10-year strategy for developing railways across the Great Western network.
The strategy will work on plans to electrify more railway lines
The rail infrastructure company said demand was set to grow 31% by 2019, dealing with 100m passengers a year.
It said more investment in faster trains, more services and infrastructure were necessary to ease over-crowding and improve performance.
Schemes in the strategy include electrifying some lines. A consultation process has started into the plans.
GREAT WESTERN STRATEGY
*Longer trains between Reading and Gatwick Airport
*Longer trains going in and out of Bristol Temple Meads on the Cardiff to Portsmouth, Cardiff to Taunton and Gloucester to Weymouth routes
*Additional cross-Bristol services throughout the day to provide hourly services to Yate and Bath
*Additional services between Westbury and Chippenham or Swindon
*More services on the Paignton to Exmouth and Barnstaple to St James Park routes
*Reduced journey times on the Cardiff to Portsmouth and on Bristol Temple Meads to Bridgwater routes
*An additional platform at Westbury station
The Great Western strategy routes builds on the electrification plans already announced by the government, Network Rail (NR) said.
Work is due to start on electrifying the London to Bristol and Swansea and London to Oxford and Newbury routes from 2014.
The plan also considers the draft Regional Spatial Strategy for economic and population growth, NR added.
The spatial strategy identifies Gloucester, Swindon, Bristol, Taunton, Exeter and Plymouth as main growth centres.
NR route director Chris Rayner said: "It is essential that we have a robust strategy in place to build a bigger and better railway and the support we receive as part of the consultation process will play an important part in shaping the future of rail services on the Great Western."
Consultation on the plans will end on 27 November and railway customer watchdogs have urged passengers to give their views to the rail operator.
Mike Greedy, manager of Passenger Focus, said: "This is a very important process which gives passengers the opportunity to highlight any realistic aspirations for the future services in their area and we encourage passengers to take part in Network Rail's consultation."
The final document is due to be published in early 2010 and given to the Department for Transport to help shape its future high-level strategy for the industry's funding from 2014 to 2019.
Faster trains on major rail routes
Press Association: 12 hours ago
Plans for longer, more frequent and faster trains on key rail routes have been outlined by Network Rail (NR).
The 10-year strategy on Great Western routes builds on the electrification plans already announced by the Government.
The plans take into account predictions that nearly 100 million passengers a year will travel on Great Western by 2019, with Bristol experiencing the biggest growth of 41% in peak rail demand.
Network Rail sets out investment plan for Devon and Cornwall
New Civiil Engineer: 1 September, 2009
Network Rail today outlined a ten-year strategy based on forecast rail demands and local and economic population growth for the Great Western Route.
The transformation of the railway in Devon and Cornwall will be advanced with further investments in improving rail connectivity, said the proposal which is part of the Great Western Route Utilisation Strategy. It pledges to increase trains and more frequent services to build on the benefits from the capacity-boosting Intercity Express Programme (IEP).
To sustain the growth, it said there needs to be better connectivity into Exeter and Plymouth and consistent service pattern during summer peak period.
Based on forecast analysis, the Great Western is set to grow by 31% with nearly 100M passengers by 2019, with Bristol to experience the biggest jump in number.
Rail travel into Plymouth and Exeter has boomed in the last decade with rail journeys increased by 50% and 30% respectively at the two key interchanges. Today, both cities are receiving approximately 2M passengers.
Network Rail route director Chris Rayner said: “The Great Western is seeing record-breaking rail performance and sustained investments that is radically changing passengers’ experience. This emerging strategy sets the building block for more improvements in Devon and Cornwall for the next decade and beyond, when opportunities arise for an overhaul of the signalling system, electrification of the line and even more longer trains.”
Passenger Focus manager Mike Greedy added: “This is a very important process which gives passengers the opportunity to highlight any realistic aspirations for the future services in their area and we encourage passengers to take part in Network Rail’s consultation.”
The emerging strategy focuses on connectivity issues and if funding is available, some of these options could be delivered from as early as 2014 onwards.
Key recommendations that will require government or third party funding include:
*Improving service pattern between Paignton to Exmouth to half-hourly and Barnstaple to St James Park to hourly
*Continuing analysis of capacity constraints on the local and long-distance services into and out of Paignton
*Reviewing service provision for Newquay to explore requirement to improve capacity, with reference to Government’s plan to develop an eco-town near St Austell
*Exploring feasibility of a standard timetable pattern throughout the day between Bristol - Exeter, Plymouth and Penzance
*Reduce journey time on services between Bristol Temple Meads -Exeter by raising the linespeed between Bristol Temple Meads to Bridgwater to 125mph (200kmph)
How rail bosses plan to cut journey times and cope with a passenger boom
Western Mail: Sep 2 2009
by Tomos Livingstone,
PLANS to cut journey times plus new commuter trains to cope with a boom in passenger numbers, were announced yesterday by Network Rail.
A 10-year strategy for the Great Western route identifies services between Cardiff and Portsmouth and Cardiff and Taunton as needing urgent improvements.
Network Rail says the Cardiff-to-Bristol corridor is one of its key priorities, with many of its peak-time trains already seriously overcrowded. Demand is likely to increase by another 35% on the 40-mile stretch of track over the next decade, it says.
It proposes lengthening nine trains a day on routes to Taunton and Portsmouth from Cardiff, and suggests new trains should be bought.
The Cardiff-to-Portsmouth journey time should also be cut by nine minutes by changing the stopping pattern along the route, says NR’s plan.
Improvements on the Cardiff- Portsmouth route, which travels through Bristol, provided “high value for money” and require relatively modest investment, NR’s consultation document said.
However, it said the case for extending the existing service from Cardiff to Taunton on to Exeter or Plymouth was “poor”, and has ruled out the idea.
Yesterday NR also revealed it had identified the lack of early-morning services between Cardiff and Birmingham as a potential gap in provision, but had decided against further action.
It said the 05.42 service from Birmingham New Street should instead be re-timed and run more quickly, allowing travellers to arrive in Cardiff earlier.
Fewer inter-city trains between South Wales and London Paddington should call at Didcot Parkway in future, NR also suggested, a move that could cut up to 10 minutes off the Swansea-London journey time on some services.
The proposals come after the announcement of a £1bn investment to electrify the main Great Western line, which includes the route between London Paddington and Swansea.
That scheme was unveiled by Prime Minister Gordon Brown on a visit to Cardiff in July. Construction work will begin in 2014, with the whole route electrified by 2018.
A new generation of trains to replace long-distance high-speed trains on the line will also be in place by 2016.
The NR proposals are out to consultation until late November, and will be published in their final form in the New Year.
More than 40% of train journeys in the UK are made in the Great Western area, and NR estimates 100 million people will travel on the routes by 2019.
Bristol is expected to see an even larger rise in passengers than Cardiff, at 41%.
NR route director Chris Rayner said: “Great Western is seeing record-breaking rail performance and sustained investments that is radically changing passengers’ experience.
“Demand for rail travel has grown significantly over the last decade and, while this success is welcomed, it brings with it the challenges of meeting this demand as we continue to improve today’s railway.
“It is essential that we have a robust strategy in place to build a bigger and better railway and the support we receive as part of the consultation process will play an important part in shaping the future of rail services on the Great Western.”
Passenger groups urged travellers to take part in the consultation process.
“This is a very important process which gives passengers the opportunity to highlight any realistic aspirations for the future services in their area,” said Mike Greedy, manager of rail customer watchdog Passenger Focus.
Jenny Willott, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, said: “Any improvements are welcome, but this isn’t anywhere near enough. The people of South Wales want and deserve to see more carriages and quicker travel on all routes.”
To make your views on the future of rail travel with Great Western known, email email@example.com
Operator reveals 'wish list' for Bristol railways
Bristol Evening Post: September 01, 2009
Network Rail is calling for millions of pounds of investment in Bristol railways to cope with a huge predicted increase in passengers in the next 10 years.
With 7.4 million passengers, Bristol Temple Meads is the third most used station on the Great Western network, and is expected to experience the largest growth in the next decade.
Nearly 100 million passengers are expected to be travelling within the Great Western by 2019, a network that covers London Paddington, Bristol Temple Meads, Reading, Slough and Oxford.
Bristol alone is predicted to see a 41 per cent increase in demand during the rush hour.
Network Rail has today published the draft Great Western Route Utilisation Strategy, a wish list setting out the improvements it thinks are necessary to deal with passenger growth.
Funding would come from central government and "third parties", which could include local authorities or private developers.
Network Rail has stressed that as capital projects these changes would not be funded by rail fare increases, which are a matter for local operators like First Great Western.
Network Rail is calling for:
● Longer trains with an extra nine vehicles going into and out of Temple Meads on the Cardiff-Portsmouth, Cardiff-Taunton and Gloucester-Weymouth routes. This would be on top of the 12 extra trains that have already been proposed to the Government.
● Additional cross-Bristol services throughout the day to include hourly services from Temple Meads to Bath and Swindon, and an hourly service from Westbury to Chippenham or Swindon.
● An additional platform at Westbury station.
● An extended passenger line from Bristol Temple Meads to Parson Street to remove the bottleneck.
● An additional service between Westbury and Temple Meads to cater for the intermediate stations.
● Increasing line speed between Temple Meads and Bridgwater to 125mph.
The rail growth strategy has gone out to consultation and will be submitted to the Department for Transport early next year.
Consultation ends on November 29. The document can be seen at www.networkrail.co.uk.
If this is a 'wish list' then it's pretty tame. The only proposal that involves expanding the actual rail infrastructure and hence the capacity to shift people around is the extra line from Temple Meads to Parson Street. Well, that probably already existed prior to Dr B so is no real achievement. The other proposals similarly fail to excite.
Rail may be Victorian but they did the hard work for us so we may as well now derive some benefit from their system. Here are some ideas: re-open Portishead line; stations at those park'n'rides that are next to lines to reduce reliance on buses; sort out Severn Beach service so that it is a viable route rather than a tourist attraction for masochists with too much time on their hands; use the Henbury freight line for passenger traffic and get a loop going; build some suburban stations on existing lines; trains to have decent-sized guard's van for bikes, prams etc; monorail/tram from Temple Meads into the Centre with intermediate station at Cabot Circus. I've barely started. A lot of this could be done for less than the cost of the proposed 'rapid-transit' bus.