Sea Mills railway station

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Sea Mills National Rail
Sea Mills
Place Sea Mills
Local authority Bristol
Coordinates 51°28′48″N 2°38′59″W / 51.4799°N 2.6498°W / 51.4799; -2.6498Coordinates: 51°28′48″N 2°38′59″W / 51.4799°N 2.6498°W / 51.4799; -2.6498
Grid reference ST549758
Station code SML
Managed by First Great Western
Number of platforms 1
Live arrivals/departures and station information
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2002/03 34,649
2004/05 Decrease 34,113
2005/06 Increase 36,411
2006/07 Increase 40,786
2007/08 Decrease 33,222
2008/09 Increase 36,358
2009/10 Increase 41,680
2010/11 Increase 49,082
2011/12 Increase 51,998
2012/13 Increase 58,310
1865 opened
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Sea Mills from Office of Rail Regulation statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
Portal icon UK Railways portal

Sea Mills railway station serves the Sea Mills area of Bristol, England. The station is located near to the River Avon. This station is 6 miles (10 km) north-west from Bristol Temple Meads on the Severn Beach Line. All trains serving it are operated and the station managed by First Great Western.


The station was opened on 6 March 1865, as part of the Bristol Port Railway and Pier route from Hotwells to a deep water pier on the Severn Estuary at Avonmouth. In 1885 the line was diverted and extended to run via Clifton Downs tunnel to Bristol Temple Meads, and in 1922 it was extended to Severn Beach.[1]

On 16 February 1878, the station was the scene of a shooting accident when former Wales international footballer, Alexander Jones, a master at Clifton College, was accompanying a party of cadets from the college home after rifle practice at Avonmouth. One of the pupils was waving a loaded rifle around when it discharged accidentally, killing Jones.[2]

As with most stations on the Severn Beach line, the second platform is no longer in use, but can still be seen covered with weeds and bushes. The ground floor of the former station building is now being used as accountants offices.

Sea Mills railway station


Services at Sea Mills are all operated by First Great Western, using mainly Class 150 Sprinter units.[3] Until 2012, Class 143 Pacer units were a regular sight, but these have mostly been moved south to work in Devon and Cornwall following a cascade of Class 150/1 units from London Midland and London Overground.[4] Monday to Friday, three trains every two hours run from Bristol Temple Meads to Avonmouth, with one extended to St Andrew's Road and Severn Beach, giving a service at Sea Mills of one train in each direction every 40 minutes. Most services start at Bristol, but one evening service to Avonmouth begins at Weston-super-Mare.[5][6] On Saturdays there is a similar level of service, but more trains continue to Severn Beach. Sunday sees a roughly hourly service to and from Bristol, 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.[5][6]

As Clifton Down is the Severn Beach Line's passing point, trains to Avonmouth usually arrive roughly ten minutes after trains from Avonmouth. Most trains trains 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 25 minutes, and 10 minutes to Avonmouth.[5]

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Shirehampton   First Great Western
Severn Beach Line
  Clifton Down


Four bidders pre-qualified for the 2013– Greater Western passenger franchise: clockwise from top left, Deutsche Bahn, First Group, Stagecoach Group and National Express.

First Great Western declined an option to continue the Greater Western passenger franchise (of which services at Sea Mills are a part) beyond 2013, citing a desire for a longer-term contract due to the impending upgrade to the Great Western Main Line.[7] The franchise was put out to tender,[8][9][10] but the process was halted and later scrapped due to the fallout from the collapse of the InterCity West Coast franchise competition.[11] A two-year franchise extension until September 2015 was agreed in October 2013, following negotiations between First Great Western and Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin MP.[12][13]

With the coming upgrade to the Great Western Main Line, the main line from London to Bristol is due to be electrified by 2016.[14] However, the electrification will not extend beyond the main lines, so Sea Mills will continue to be served by diesel trains.[15] Stephen Williams, MP for Bristol West, questioned whether electrification could continue to Clifton Down. Then-Secretary of State for Transport Philip Hammond replied that it would have to be looked at in the future.[16] The group Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways supports the electrification of the entire Severn Beach Line.[17]

Improved services at Sea Mills 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.[18][19] There is an aspiration for half-hourly services, 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.[20] The metro plan also calls for the reopening of the Henbury Loop Line, which could allow a direct service from Sea Mills to Bristol Parkway, via Avonmouth.[21] The 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.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About Bristol Suburbs - Sea Mills - Stations". About Bristol. Retrieved 16 June 2006. 
  2. ^ "Alexander Fletcher Jones: 1854–1878". Historic Redland. Redland Parish Church. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  3. ^ "First Great Western will add to service on successful Severn Bridge rail line". This is Bristol (Northcliffe Media). 25 January 2011. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  4. ^ Miles, Tony (December 2010). "LOROL Class 150s all with FGW". Modern Railways (London). p. 90. 
  5. ^ a b c "Bristol Temple Meads to Severn Beach". First Great Western. May 2012. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "Timetable 29: Bristol Temple Meads to Severn Beach; 14 May to 8 December 2012". First Great Western. Retrieved 2012-04-05. 
  7. ^ "First Great Western bids for longer rail franchise deal". BBC News. 11 May 2011. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 
  8. ^ Haigh, Philip (18 April 2012). "First leads a field of seven bidding for rail franchises". RAIL magazine (Peterborough: Bauer Media) (694): 8–9. 
  9. ^ "Great Western franchise to be extended". Railnews. 19 July 2012. Retrieved 19 July 2012. 
  10. ^ "New Great Western franchise to deliver new express trains" (Press release). Department for Transport. 27 July 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2012. 
  11. ^ "Great Western London to south Wales rail contest scrapped". BBC News (BBC). 31 January 2013. Retrieved 31 January 2013. 
  12. ^ "First celebrates last-minute Great Western deal". Railnews. 3 October 2013. Retrieved 4 October 2013. 
  13. ^ "First Great Western retains Wales and west rail franchise". BBC News (BBC). 3 October 2013. Retrieved 4 October 2013. 
  14. ^ "Modernising the Great Western". Network Rail. Retrieved 9 June 2012. 
  15. ^ "Bristol to London line to be electrified". This Is Bristol (Northcliffe Media). 23 July 2009. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  16. ^ "Benefits of Bristol to London high-speed rail link 'must go beyond just mainline'". This Is Bristol (Northcliffe Media). 3 March 2011. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  17. ^ "FoSBR Newsletter" (78). Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways. Autumn 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2012. 
  18. ^ White, James (13 March 2009). "Item 04: Greater Bristol Metro". West of England Partnership. Retrieved 28 December 2011. 
  19. ^ "Campaign for trains from Bristol Temple Meads every half hour". This is Bristol (Northcliffe Media). 17 January 2012. Retrieved 19 January 2012. 
  20. ^ "Transport Minister hears calls for better Bristol train service". This is Bristol. Northcliffe Media. 17 October 2009. Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  21. ^ "Our Case". Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways. Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  22. ^ Ribbeck, Michael (6 July 2012). "£100 million Bristol Metro train network by 2016". The Post, Bristol (Northcliffe Media). Retrieved 6 July 2012.