A plan for a major package of rail improvements across the Bristol and Bath region has been extended into Wiltshire.
The MetroWest project – a programme of upgrades and extensions to railway lines – will now include more frequent trains to Gloucester, Yate and Westbury, in Wiltshire.
The plans were agreed at a West of England Combined Authority (WECA) committee meeting on Friday (June 19).
Phase one of the project is currently underway and will see the reopening of the Portishead line to passenger trains and improved services on the Severn Beach and Bath-to-Bristol lines.
WECA approved the 30-mile extension of the project beyond Yate to Gloucester in the north, and 15 miles from Bath to Westbury, in the east, after an agreement with Network Rail and train operators, although more work needs to be done on costs and timescales.
Weca said the Westbury extension would provide a “better mix” of local and regional train services, addressing overcrowding issues.
West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles said: “The new MetroWest rail network is going to get our region and its economy moving. It will help create jobs, connect our communities and create more than one million new journeys on our railway network each year.
“It will also help us cut carbon emissions, ease congestion and improve our region’s air quality so I’m very pleased that by extending services to Gloucester and Westbury we will give even more residents see those benefits that I know they have been calling for.”