First Great Western (FGW) has announced that construction of a new three-storey car park at Parkway Station will commence on Saturday 13th July and continue until March 2014.
The project, which will provide an additional 710 parking bays at the station, was originally due to be completed by March 2013. Work was scheduled to start last September, but, despite builders’ cabins being erected at the site, construction failed to commence. No explanation was given by FGW, but The Journal understands that “issues with the contractor” are to blame for the ten month delay.
FGW says the project will provide “much needed parking space” that is “essential if Bristol Parkway is to retain its strong connectivity with London”.
Speaking on BBC Radio Bristol earlier this week, a Network Rail spokesperson said passenger numbers in the Bristol area are expected to grow by 44% by 2019.
During construction, the main car park will be closed, with alternative parking available at the nearby Parkway North car park (10 minutes by foot). A shuttle bus will operate between the two sites every 15 minutes between 6.45am and 6.30pm.
Access to the existing west and decked car parks will be changed a number of times during the project and passengers are advised to allow more time for their journey to and from the station while the work takes place.
Local residents plagued by on-street parking in the vicinity of the station claim the new development will do little to alleviate the problem unless the station reduces its car parking charges (currently £6.90/day).
FGW Managing Director Mark Hopwood said:
“Bristol Parkway Station serves almost three million rail passengers a year and this is expected to grow significantly when the line to London is electrified.
“I am delighted to be able to take the first step of this £13 million scheme to increase capacity at the car park, ensuring that we can cater for the increase in passenger demand both now and in the future.”
Rail Minister Norman Baker said:
“The Coalition Government has committed record levels of investment into growing the railways, so it is vital the industry continues to improve facilities to meet the demands of all rail passengers.
“The work at Bristol Parkway Station is a good example of this and will provide much-needed car parking capacity at a station that is set to see a significant rise in passenger numbers over the coming years, thanks to our programme of electrifying more than 850 miles of track.”
The £13 million scheme is part of a third and final tranche of successful bids from the £100m Station Commercial Projects Fund, launched in 2011 by Network Rail and the Department for Transport.
Patrick Hallgate, Route Managing Director for Network Rail Western, said:
“This scheme is a fantastic example of the rail industry, local authorities and other organisations working together to improve the passenger experience. Bristol has one of the highest predicted growth rates on the Western route over the next decade and this improvement will meet that future demand. Expanding the car park at Bristol Parkway is the start of many plans we have in the pipeline to help the local economy here continue to thrive and grow.”
Related link: Bristol Parkway Station (The Journal)