IT has been announced that key rail services from Severn Beach which were due to end this year have been protected. 

The Department for Transport have confirmed that half-hourly train services between Severn Beach and Bristol Temple Meads will continue into next year.

Since December 2021, passengers on the line have benefitted from half hourly services.

However, the service was due to end in December 2024.

Rail minister Huw Merriman said in a letter seen by the Gazette that he was “committed to these services continuing beyond December 2024.” 

Luke Hall MP said: “It’s a huge relief to receive confirmation that our half hourly trains from Severn Beach will be protected for the long-term. 

“These are vital services for the community in Severn Beach and Pilning, and it is right that the government has recognised the importance of the connections and continued these into the future.”

West of England mayor Dan Norris said: “After months of lobbying by myself and local MPs we have finally had confirmation of funding to keep the half hourly services on the Severn Beach line which passengers tell us are so valuable. 

“But I want to go even further. 

"WECA is currently looking into whether it would be possible in the future to run trains every 20 minutes on the Severn Beach line, including what upgrades could be needed to allow that to happen.”

Mr Merriman said in the letter: “Having considered the circumstances and scale of local investment in Bristol’s rail network, I am committed to these services continuing beyond December 2024 when initial funding was due to expire. 

“This demonstrates our continuing commitment to improve the railways in the Bristol area.”

Gazette Series: WECA mayor Dan Norris and Luke Hall MP both have welcomed the news to protect half-hourly train services from Severn Beach WECA mayor Dan Norris and Luke Hall MP both have welcomed the news to protect half-hourly train services from Severn Beach (Image: Newsquest)

Update on funding for half-hourly trains from Yate 

The minister also provided an update on funding for the half-hourly services between Bristol and Gloucester, which includes Yate train station and began in May 2023. 

He added: “Enhanced services are also currently operating between Bristol and Gloucester/Westbury, funded by WECA, with funding due to expire in May 2026. 

“No decision has been made yet on departmental funding for the continuation of enhanced services beyond this point, however a final decision on the continuation of these services will be made well in advance of May 2026 – weighing up the benefits to passengers of these 
services, against the ongoing cost to taxpayers. 

“I will be looking to WECA and GWR to work together to reduce the subsidy that these services would require going forward.”