MetroWest (Bristol)

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Greater Bristol Metro
Type of projectPassenger rail transport pressure group
LocationGreater Bristol
OwnerBath and North East Somerset Council
Bristol City Council
North Somerset Council
South Gloucestershire Council

MetroWest, formerly known as the Greater Bristol Metro, is a proposal to improve the rail services in Bristol, England, and the surrounding region. It was first proposed at First Great Western's Stakeholder Event in March 2008.[1] The aim of the project is to develop half-hourly services through central Bristol which will also serve the surrounding West of England region.[2] Transport campaigning group, Transport for Greater Bristol are actively supporting the proposal,[3] as are the four unitary authorities.[4][5] Services are expected to start in 2019 for phase 1 and 2021 for phase 2.[6]

Earlier plans for a metro system were promoted by then MEP Richard Cottrell in 1986 and acts of Parliament were secured. This would have used existing track with new build through the city centre. However the scheme folded when Advanced Transport for Avon was wound up with debts of £3.8 million.[7]


Rail usage in the West of England doubled in the 10 years, 1999 to 2009.[8] The campaign's website was officially launched in February 2012.[5] Improvement plans have been prepared by engineering consultancy Halcrow Group.[9][10]


Map of the 2012 proposal

MetroWest aims to ease this congestion and to attract people who currently use cars onto the railway. Additional aims of the scheme are to support housing and employment along the rail corridors between Weston-super-Mare to Yate, and Cardiff to Bath.[2] The reported "key aspects" are:

  1. More trains, more often;
  2. Reopening disused stations;
  3. Reopening the Portishead rail line;
  4. Four tracking along a section of the local railway line
    — Greater Bristol Metro, reported in the Bristol Evening Post[5]

A network map published by the four unitary authorities on the website shows the two phases of the proposed network.[11]


The scheme was estimated to cost £22 million at 2008/09 prices and could be completed between 2016 and 2021.[4]

Station reopening costs stated in 2012 have been estimated by Bristol City Council to be an average of £5 million each.[5] Related estimates for reopening of the Portishead Railway and for four-tracking between Parson Street and Filton Bank were reported as approximately £50 million and £30 million respectively.[5] It was subsequently reported that the Portishead Railway reopening would cost around £33 million.[10] In April 2016, it was reported by North Somerset Times that the North Somerset Council had agreed to buy two pieces of land for the creation of the Portishead and Pill stations at the cost of £880,000.[12]


Local politicians at the launch of the Metro campaign.

An opinion piece in the Bristol Evening Post in June 2011 called for the establishment of an Integrated Transport Authority for the West of England and for progress on the metro proposal.[13] During the Rail Priority Conference organised by the West of England Partnership in November 2011, delegates travelled on the Portishead line, the Severn Beach line and the Henbury Loop, using sections of track not currently used for passenger traffic.[14][15] In early 2012, during the consultation phase for the new Great Western rail franchise, Bristol City Council and local rail user groups launched Bristol Metro 2013 to ask bidders to incorporate metro plans into their bids.[16] Bristol MPs were lobbied in Westminster by Dawn Primarolo (MP for Bristol South)[17] and Steve Webb (former MP for Thornbury & Yate).[18] The Saltford Station Campaign Group and Bath and North East Somerset Council suggested in April 2012 that the reopening of Saltford station could be part funded by means other than those included in the West of England Partnership's report.[19][20]


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.[21] Councillor Tim Kent stated in September 2012 that the first part of the scheme, on the Severn Beach Line, would be delivered "next year".[22]


The West of England Local Enterprise Partnership produced a Key Principles Report in November 2015 discussing future potential transport projects for the West of England region, including new rail transit based options referred to as MetroWest++. The options outlined include reopening the Thornbury Branch Line, a Yate to Bath route, the use of tram train technology, a link to the city centre and a connection to Bristol Airport.[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "How transport decisions are made in the West of England". TravelWest. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  2. ^ a b White, James (13 March 2009). "Item 04 Greater Bristol Metro" (PDF). West of England Partnership. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
  3. ^ "Transport for Greater Bristol : News". 2011. Archived from the original on 7 February 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
  4. ^ a b "CS10: Transportation and Movement (application/pdf Object)" (PDF). North Somerset Council. 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 September 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Campaign launched for a Greater Bristol Metro link". Bristol Evening Post. 23 February 2012. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  6. ^ "MetroWest Overview Leaflet" (PDF). Travelwest. November 2015. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
  7. ^ "Supertram vision at end of the line". Bristol Evening Post, archived at LexisNexis. Bristol United Press. 3 June 2004. Retrieved 28 December 2011. (Subscription required (help)).
  8. ^ "National Rail Trends 2009-10 Yearbook" (PDF). Office of Rail Regulation. Retrieved 19 December 2015.
  9. ^ "Campaigners for Greater Bristol Metro set out plans to transform rail services by 2018". Bristol Evening Post. 5 March 2012. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  10. ^ a b "Greater Bristol Metro report: First phase would cost £40m". Bristol Evening Post. 9 March 2012. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  11. ^ "Greater Bristol Metro Phases 1& 2" (PDF). March 2012. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  12. ^ "Council's £850k deal for 'exciting' rail project". North Somerset Times. 20 April 2016. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
  13. ^ "Bristol's metro is not as far off track as you might think". Bristol Evening Post. Northcliffe Media. 30 June 2011. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
  14. ^ "Rail Priority Conference 2011". 2011x. Archived from the original on 5 February 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
  15. ^ Pierce, Ellie; Terretta, Hayley (21 November 2011). "Proposed revival for Bristol Metro scheme". Epigram. University of Bristol Student Union. Archived from the original on 24 February 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
  16. ^ Staff (17 January 2012). "A campaign to revolutionise Bristol's local rail service that could see trains from Temple Meads serving all local stations every half hour is being launched today". Northcliffe Media. Archived from the original on 20 January 2012. Retrieved 19 January 2012.
  17. ^ Primarolo, Dawn (23 March 2012). "News from Your Local MP". HearFromYourMP. mySociety. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  18. ^ Sauvebois, Marion (18 April 2012). "Thornbury and Yate MP Steve Webb lobbies government for rail upgrade". Gloucestershire News, South Gloucestershire News - from the Gazette Series. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  19. ^ "Hopes remaining high for Saltford Station". Bath Chronicle. 28 April 2012. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  20. ^ "Saltford Station Campaign News". Retrieved 8 January 2012.
  21. ^ Ribbeck, Michael (6 July 2012). "£100 million Bristol Metro train network by 2016". The Post, Bristol. Northcliffe Media. Archived from the original on 8 July 2012. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
  22. ^ "Popular Severn Beach line gets new late service". Bristol Evening Post. 18 September 2012. Retrieved 19 September 2012.
  23. ^ "Issues and Options for Consultation. Key Principles Report" (PDF). West of England Joint Transport Study. Retrieved 12 July 2016.

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