The new December railway timetable for Bristol has been made public for the first time for Great Western Railway. They offer faster journey times, more seats, and more frequent services to key locations.
Regular users are being asked to check their new journey times ahead of the biggest timetable change on the network since 1976.
GWR’s Intercity Express Trains (IETs) will take advantage of improvements to run to a fully electric timetable between Bristol and London for the first time.
Additional train services will help reduce the fastest train times between London and Bristol Temple Meads by as much as 17 minutes and reduce the fastest journey times between London and Bristol Parkway to just 68 minutes.
The journey time improvements will also benefit customers travelling from Taunton, Weston-super-Mare and the Avon Valley.
The planned improvements are so significant that GWR has launched an awareness campaign to highlight the changes ahead.
From December three extra trains will operate between Bristol Temple Meads and London Paddington in the morning and evening peaks. The extra trains will call at fewer stations and will use the full accelerating power of GWR’s new trains.
Two additional services in the morning and evening peaks will also operate from South Wales to Bristol Parkway and then direct into London Paddington
From May 2020 GWR plans to extend these extra peak-time trains to operate throughout the day.
There are also more improvements for customers travelling into the city between Cardiff and Portsmouth as GWR continues to roll out more five-carriage Turbo trains to replace the current three-carriage Class 150 units.
Those travelling on GWR services between Cardiff and Taunton/Exeter via Bristol can also expect to see Castle trains, these are modernised High-Speed Trains with four carriages.
The Severn Beach line, which was the first to see newer, longer Turbo trains to improve capacity in 2017, sees a significant improvement to Sunday services with trains extending through to Severn Beach.
The timetable will come into effect from 15 December.
What did the officials say?
West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles said:
“This is great news for the West of England and will help people switch from cars to public transport, reducing congestion and improving the air we breathe. The new timetable will support the new rail services we have planned across the region through MetroWest and it’s great to see even more investment in both track and train.”
GWR Managing Director Mark Hopwood said:
“It’s just 12 weeks until Sunday December 15, and we have been working hard behind the scenes to prepare to implement the biggest timetable change on this network since 1976, enabling us to take advantage of the full benefits that new Intercity Express Trains are bringing.
“In providing more frequent and quicker journeys, our new timetable will for the vast majority of users quite literally mean ‘all change please’ and we are pleased the new timetable has been published.”
Mike Gallop, route managing director for Network Rail, said:
“The timetable change this December will be the biggest since 1976 and will mean faster journeys and more frequent services for passengers.
“It follows unprecedented investment in railway infrastructure including electrification, improved signalling, upgraded stations and much more which together with the introduction of new trains will transform rail travel.”
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