Plans for the Bristol Light Rail System have been shelved with funds for the project to be diverted elsewhere.

The Bristol Light Rail System was proposed by a public/private partnership between the local authorities of Bristol City Council and South Gloucestershire Council (UK) together with the private sector, Citylink in association with Railtrack PLC.

It was believed that the system would provide a fast and efficient public transport system at an affordable price.

Reduce traffic congestion around Bristol

The new line would have drastically reduced traffic congestion in some of the busiest areas of the city. In the planner’s opinion, the light rail system would also have had the potential to enhance the economic competitiveness of the North Bristol corridor as well as introducing protected green areas and reducing pollution.

The proposal for the new line came out after five years of research into traffic congestion carried out by the Bristol City Council. The plans formed a key element in the integrated transport policy for the area.

The private sector was involved with the two councils in the development of the route from the outset. The business case was drawn up jointly with Citylink consortium.

Bristol tramway route

The new line would have run from a car park beside the M5 at Almondsbury, through Bradley Stoke before joining existing rail tracks leading to Temple Meads. Trams would then go on into the city centre.

Between Temple Meads and Filton Abbey Wood (7km) the route would have shared Railtrack infrastructure using either existing or reinstated double track. It was intended that a new segregated track would carry the tramway to Almondsbury where it would have terminated at a park and ride site adjacent to the motorway.

The planned route length was 16.7km, with 4.5km on street, and with 16 stops. The full journey time was to have been 30 minutes with a service interval of six minutes on weekdays and 15 minutes on Sundays. The cost was estimated as being approximately £120 million.

Other key elements of the project were electric traction propulsion, low-floor twin cars, giving easy access level entry, and a frequent and reliable service level.