The extension of MetroWest rail services, which could benefit passengers in Yate and Severn Beach, is now one step closer.

A change of scope to the MetroWest rail project was agreed at the West of England Combined Authority committee meeting today (Friday, June 19).

Phase one, which is currently underway, will see the reopening of the Portishead line to passenger trains and improved services on the Severn Beach and Bath to Bristol lines.

Phase two would reopen the Henbury Line to an hourly spur service, as well as providing increased, half-hourly trains to Yate.

The proposal to extend the service to Gloucester in place of the Yate turnback has been developed with the train operators and Network Rail.

Cllr Toby Savage, leader of South Gloucestershire Council, said: "The demand for services between Yate and Bristol is significant, especially at peak times.

"Providing an enhanced service will be well-received by employees, but also a large number of our students.

"Extending the increased services up to Gloucester is a further very welcome addition and adds considerable weight to our ambitions for Charfield Station and increasing sustainable travel across South Gloucestershire.”

Further work is now required for both extensions to confirm the cost and timescales. Once these have been confirmed the proposals to extend the lines would then formally become part of the MetroWest project.

West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles said: “The new MetroWest rail network is going to get our region and its economy moving. It will help create jobs, connect our communities and create more than 1million new journeys on our railway network each year. It will also help us cut carbon emissions, ease congestion and improve our region’s air quality so I’m very pleased that by extending services to Gloucester and Westbury we will give even more residents see those benefits that I know they have been calling for.”

Mike Gallop, Western route director for Network Rail, said: “This is a very welcome step towards delivering enhanced rail services for passengers in and around Bristol. Our work with West of England Combined Authority and local authorities to deliver MetroWest will help to transform the city's suburban rail network. It will bring new communities together by offering a choice of rail, rather than road, and it will help to support growth through the regeneration of the former Filton Aerodrome site. It's good news for passengers and for the economy too."

Once completed, MetroWest will include:

• Half hourly services on the Severn Beach line calling at a new station at Portway

• Half hourly services from Bristol Temple Meads to Bath and Westbury

• Hourly services between Portishead and Bristol Temple Meads with new stations at Pill and Portishead.

• Hourly services from Bristol Temple Meads to Henbury, calling at new stations at Ashley Down, Henbury and North Filton as well as all existing stations in between

• Half hourly services between Bristol Temple Meads, Yate and Gloucester.