The Severn Beach Line is leading the way amidst a national resurgence in passenger numbers on community rail lines. As more people choose to stay in Britain and hold their holidays at home, passenger numbers have shot up on many branch lines across the country as people take daytrips to the seaside, go for walks in the countryside or to explore city attractions.
According to statistics released today by Atoc, the Association of Train Operating Companies, the Severn Beach Line is the fastest growing community rail line to run through an urban area, and is the second-fastest growing community rail line overall, with a 90% rise in passenger numbers since April 2007. Whilst much of this passenger growth elsewhere is made up by holidaymakers, a significant amount of passengers on the Severn Beach Line are commuters, shoppers and local who are making the most of the improved service and great value fares. A Senior or 16-25 Railcard holder can buy a return ticket to anywhere on the line (off-peak only for 16-25) for less than the cost of an hour's parking at the city centre's Cabot Circus car park.
With the train service, the hourly summer service to Severn Beach has returned for a second year, with an hourly service to Avonmouth on Sundays throughout the year. There are also direct weekend trains to/from Weston super Mare and an early-morning direct service to Bath on weekdays.
Station improvements including a station garden at Shirehampton and better signage have been carried out and the old station building at Redland has been repainted, and artwork provided by local schools at Redland and Clifton Down. Station gardens have also been tended and replanted. A new live passenger information have been installed by First Great Western at all local stations, and CCTV will be installed by Bristol City Council at most stations during 2011. Trials are also continuing with station ticket machines.