Green perspectives on Stockwood and Bristol. Mostly.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Temple Meads - a way out

Before the developers pulled the plug on the first choice Bristol Arena site, saying the money just wasn't available, it was already clear that the old Temple Meads diesel depot would, in spite of its central position, be very difficult to reach.

It's an 'island' site, bordered by railways, the tidal River Avon, and the elevated A4 Bath Road. The only road access is the service approach from the west side of Bath Road, twisting back under the A4 alongside the rail line to the train service depot. Despite the proximity of Temple Meads, any pedestrian link between station and arena appeared long and tortuous, probably involving new river bridges and a new eastern station entrance from Cattle Market Road. No bad thing - but it wouldn't come cheap.

Except that there's already a bridge. A massive bridge, carrying the station itself over Cattle Market Road and the Avon. And between Platform 15 and the Arena site, there's just one track in the way, generally used by trains heading between Paddington and Weston, or beyond.

Here, at least, it would be very easy to provide direct level access from Platform 15 to the site - the ideal for any venue that attracts visitors from outside Bristol.

All it needs is to swap the tracks either side of the London platforms, so that Platform 15 becomes the the terminal platform and Platform 13 takes the through trains. Operationally, it's exactly the same. In signalling terms, it needs negligible change.

Maybe this has got a future as a site for an Arena, an Exhibition or Conference Centre, or even a car-free housing development. At the moment, it holds little other promise.

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