Avonmouth railway station
Avonmouth station in 2009
|Managed by||First Great Western|
|Number of platforms||2|
|Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
|Annual rail passenger usage*|
|Original company||Bristol Port Railway and Pier|
|Pre-grouping||Great Western Railway/Midland Railway|
|Post-grouping||Great Western Railway/London, Midland and Scottish Railway|
|1868||Opened as a workers' platform|
|1877||Station reopened as Avonmouth Dock|
|1 September 1885||Rebuilt and renamed Avonmouth Dock Joint|
|20 June 1966||Closed to goods traffic|
|National Rail – UK railway stations|
|* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Avonmouth from Office of Rail Regulation statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.|
|UK Railways portal|
Avonmouth railway station is a railway station serving the suburb of Avonmouth in Bristol, England, 9 miles (14 km) north-west from Bristol Temple Meads on the Severn Beach Line. All trains serving it are operated and the station is managed by First Great Western.
Five stations have served the suburb of Avonmouth at one point or another. They were Avonmouth, Avonmouth Dock (this station's original name), Avonmouth Docks, Avonmouth (Royal Edward) and St Andrews Road.
The station is located in the Avonmouth district of Bristol, an area of mixed industrial and residential usage. The station sits to the south of the junction of Gloucester Road and Portview Road, the tracks running to parallel to Portview Road and crossing Gloucester Road at a level crossing. The station is on the Severn Beach Line from Bristol Temple Meads to Severn Beach, 9 miles 02 chains (14.5 km) from Temple Meads and 4 miles 32 chains (7.1 km) from Severn Beach.[note 2] It is the eighth station from Temple Meads. The next station towards Temple Meads is Shirehampton; the next towards Severn Beach is St Andrews Road.
The station is on a north-west/south-east alignment, with two platforms separated by two running lines. The southern "up" platform, adjacent to the "Up Main" line, is used for trains towards Severn Beach. The northern "down" platform, adjacent to the "Down Main" line, is bidirectionally signalled, allowing it to be used by terminating trains and those heading towards Bristol. Both platforms have significant portions of their length fenced off, giving usable lengths of 91 yards (83 m) for the southern platform and 70 yards (64 m) for the northern.
Facilities at the station are minimal – there is a wooden canopy and bench seating on the northern platform, with a small metal shelter on the southern. Timetable information is provided; help points show next train information and allow users to contact railway staff. There is no ticket office or other means for buying or collecting tickets. There is a car park with six spaces, as well as stands for four bicycles. The nearest bus stops are 150 metres (160 yd) away on Avonmouth Road.
The line through Avonmouth has a speed limit of 30 miles per hour (48 km/h) for locomotive-hauled trains and 50 miles per hour (80 km/h) for diesel multiple units. The line, which is not electrified, handles less than 5 million train tonnes per year, has a loading gauge of W6 and a route availability of 7. In the 2013/14 financial year[update], more than 110,000 passengers used Avonmouth station, making it the 1,635th busiest station in the country and the sixth busiest within the Bristol unitary authority area. This was an increase of 175% from the 2002-03 financial year, and reflected a general rise in usage of the Severn Beach Line.[note 3]
Services at Avonmouth are all operated by First Great Western, using mainly Class 150 Sprinter units. Avonmouth is the main terminus of the Severn Beach Line, with 25 trains to and from Bristol Temple Meads each day from Monday to Friday, a service of three trains every two hours, giving a train every 40 minutes on average. Of these, one train every two hours runs to and from Severn Beach. Most services start at Bristol, but one evening service to Avonmouth begins at Weston-super-Mare. On Saturdays there is a similar level of service, at 24 trains per day. Sunday sees a roughly hourly service to and from Bristol, ten trains per day, with only two services extending to Severn Beach, except during the May–September timetable period when all services are extended. The first and last Sunday trains towards Bristol are extended to Taunton via Weston-super-Mare, and there are similar workings in the other direction.
Most trains from Avonmouth call at all stations, but some services omit Lawrence Hill. St Andrew's Road is a request stop. The typical journey time to Bristol Temple Meads is roughly 35 minutes, and 12 minutes to Severn Beach. In 2012, the single fare to Clifton Down or Severn Beach was £1.50, and £3 return for the whole line.
|Preceding station||National Rail||Following station|
|Terminus||First Great Western
Severn Beach Line
|St Andrew's Road|
Avonmouth station was opened in early 1877 as Avonmouth Dock station, built for a cost of £275 near the site of an 1868 workers' platform on the south west of the single-track Bristol Port Railway and Pier line from Hotwells. The station was rebuilt and expanded in 1885 as part of the Clifton Extension Railway project by the Great Western and Midland Railways, the opening coinciding with the first services from Bristol Temple Meads via Clifton Down. The station, now named Avonmouth Dock Joint, had an island platform, one side for through services, the other a terminal line, with a run-around loop added in 1904. A canopy was built in 1900, with facilities further improved throughout the early years of the twentieth century, although it was built mainly of corrugated iron and wood. An engine shed (closed 1924), turntable (disused by mid-30s) and signal box (Avonmouth Dock Passenger, with 36 levers when it closed in 1969) were also built.
During the First World War the station handled 35,000 animals en route to a depot at Shirehampton. Platform tickets were introduced due to demand from people wanting to see people off, and the island platform was lengthened to 330 feet (100 m) and a new "up" (to London) platform opened on 15 July 1918, connected to the island by a footbridge and level crossing.
During the grouping of 1923, the station remained jointly owned, although the partners were now the Great Western Railway and the London, Midland and Scottish Railway, who in 1926 rebuilt the station with a large brick station house on the island platform, and separate parcel facilities. The up platform was also rebuilt with a wooden canopy - both canopy and parcels office are still standing today, although the office is now rented out by the station operator as a hair dresser.
The station passed from the Great Western to the Western Region of British Railways during the nationalisation of 1948. On 20 June 1966, the station closed to goods traffic, with the signal box closing three years later in 1969. The sidings and terminal platform are now covered by an industrial complex. In common with most Bristol stations, a large part of the platform length has been cordoned off as it is no longer necessary for the 100-foot (30 m)-long trains which operate the line.
Originally services at Avonmouth included circular services around the Bristol-Filton-Henbury-Avonmouth and Bristol-Filton-Pilning-Avonmouth loops. Both of these were closed to passengers in the Beeching Axe, while BPRP services from Hotwells ceased in 1921, leaving the only services terminating ones from Bristol Temple Meads.
When sectorisation was introduced in the 1980s, the station was served by Regional Railways until the privatisation of British Railways, after which it was served by Wales & West from 1997–2001, then Wessex Trains from 2001–2006, before being absorbed into First Great Western as part of the "Greater Western" franchise.
First Great Western declined an option to continue the Greater Western passenger franchise (of which services at Avonmouth are a part) beyond 2013, citing a desire for a longer-term contract due to the impending upgrade to the Great Western Main Line. The franchise was put out to tender, but the process was halted and later scrapped due to the fallout from the collapse of the InterCity West Coast franchise competition. A two-year franchise extension until September 2015 was agreed in October 2013, and subsequently extended until March 2019.
With the coming upgrade to the Great Western Main Line, the main line from London to Bristol is due to be electrified by 2016. However, the electrification will not extend beyond the main lines, so Avonmouth will continue to be served by diesel trains. Stephen Williams, MP for Bristol West; and the group Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways supports the electrification being extended to the Severn Beach Line.
Improved services at Avonmouth are called for as part of the Greater Bristol Metro scheme, a rail transport plan which aims to enhance transport capacity in the Bristol area. There is an aspiration for half-hourly services, with trains towards Bristol terminating alternately at Portishead and Bath Spa, however due to the large sections of the Severn Beach Line which are single-track and to the congested main line from Temple Meads, such frequency is not currently feasible. The enhancement scheme was given the go-ahead in July 2012 as part of the City Deal, whereby local councils would be given greater control over money by the government. There are also calls for the reopening of the Henbury Loop Line, which could allow a direct service from Avonmouth to Bristol Parkway.
- Note that this refers to the station by its original name, Avonmouth Dock.
- Railways in the United Kingdom are, for historical reasons, measured in miles and chains. There are 80 chains to the mile.
- Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Avonmouth, from Office of Rail Regulation statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
- Mike Oakley (2006). Bristol Railway Stations 1840-2005. Redcliffe. pp. 42–44. ISBN 1-904537-54-5.
- Avonmouth station
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