Arup supports 1st phase of Bristol MetroWest project

14 August 2015 2 min. read

Arup has been commissioned by Network Rail to develop the outline design for the first phase of the MetroWest project in Bristol. The appointment will see the engineering consultancy work on a wide range of railway design services in a plethora of disciplines including track, drainage, civils, structures, telecoms, and signalling power.

Network Rail is the maintainer and developer of the UK’s railway infrastructure. The organisation is responsible for the rail tracks, signalling, bridges, tunnels, level crossings and many key stations. The UK’s rail infrastructure now supports the travel of twice the 1995 passenger journeys, totalling nearly 1.7 billion journeys annually. The rail system further supports the movement of 100 million tonnes of freight.

In a bid to improve the network’s capabilities in Bristol, Network Rail is developing the MetroWest line. The project is overseen by the West of England Joint Transport Board. The first phase of this project will involve, among others, the introduction of half-hourly train services on all routes within the main Bristol commuting area. A rail station will built at Portishead, and the rail link between Portishead and Bristol city centre will be restored. In addition, the programme includes enhancements to Bathampton and Avonmouth, as well as improving services between local stations to / from Bath Spa by May 2019.

Bristol MetroWest project


For the first phase of the project, Arup will provide a wide range of services across several disciplines, including railway design services such as track, drainage, civils, structures, telecoms, signalling power, points heating, OLE, M&E and geotechnical engineering, plus environmental consulting. The work on the project will also be subject to DCO (Development Consent Order) processes – with Arup providing design input.

"We are pleased to enter into a contract with Arup for the design development of this prestigious project to reopen the rail line to Portishead," says Simon Snell, Project Manager, MetroWest Phase 1 for Network Rail. Phil Harrison, Project Director at Arup, adds: “This project will greatly enhance the area’s transport links and play a key role in the continued economic growth of the area. It is a real privilege to be involved at a key stage of the project and to be undertaking the multi-disciplinary design for Network Rail.”

Last month featured an economic outlook analysis of the Bristol region.