Work is forging ahead on the new gateway to Bristol as the West of England’s Metro Mayor Dan Norris was joined by Mayor Marvin Rees to check out the new ‘Eastern Entrance’ to Bristol Temple Meads station as it begins to take shape.

The build of the new entrance is part of the Bristol Temple Quarter programme, one of the largest and most ambitious regeneration programmes in Europe funded by £94.7m of government funding secured by the Temple Quarter partners last year.

Since construction on the new station entrance began in early October, piling work into the ground next to Platform 15, which will eventually form the walls of the new underpass, has taken place.

While on site, the Mayors checked out the works to create a tunnel into the station which began this week, and will see around 250 cubic metres of material removed to form the new subway into the station.

The £23m Eastern Entrance is set to welcome its first rail travellers in late 2026. It is the first major piece of infrastructure delivery under the ambitious Temple Quarter regeneration programmes, which is being administered by the Mayoral Combined Authority.

Over the next 5-10 years, the first phase of the programme will see three new entrances delivered to the east, south and north of the station, alongside new homes, jobs, and public spaces around the station. In total, the programme aims to deliver 10,000 new homes, thousands of new jobs, and a £1.6bn annual boost to the regional economy.

Initial works to prepare for the delivery of the new entrance were carried out within the station in 2021, with funding by the Mayoral Combined Authority, to keep the programme on track before the government grant was secured.

Works are expected to finish in late October 2024, but the station entrance is not set to welcome its first passengers until September 2026 – to allow the development of the new University of Bristol Enterprise Campus to be completed and to then open at the same time.

Dan Norris, Metro Mayor, said:

“I’m thrilled to see we are firmly on track to see this brand-new entrance for Brunel’s iconic station – a gateway in and out of this amazing city. It’s really going to improve access for locals east of the city.

 “It’s all part of one of most exciting regeneration projects in Europe, a major investment in the present and future of Bristol, and our West of England region, which I’m proud is being administered by my Mayoral Combined Authority.

 “Combine this with the multi-million-pound programme of region-wide rail improvements – think the opening of Portway Park and Ride this summer, 30-minute train journeys across our region to and from Temple Meads, and soon-to-be new stations at Henbury, North Filton and elsewhere – it’s clear we’re making getting around in the West easier than ever before.

 “My Mayoral Combined Authority will continue to deliver at pace which we know is so vital. It’s what Bristolians, and everyone in our amazing region, expects and deserves.”

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said:

“It’s great to be on site at the first construction site under the BTQ programme after years of preparation and planning to get to this point, starting with the first Strategic Board back in 2017. It’s a sign of what organisations can do when they put their minds and effort towards a common goal, and all pull in the same direction with an openness to collaborate pragmatically and flexibly.

“This has been a year of milestones for the project – we’ve endorsed a Development Framework for the area and started enabling works on Temple Island. We appointed masterplanners last week to develop the next iteration of plans for the area, and now we’re stood in front of a new entrance being delivered as part of the first major improvements to the station in 100 years. This is a fantastic point to reflect on the progress we’ve made and look forward to the delivery of new homes, jobs and opportunities.”

 Daniel Round, Industry Programme Director at Network Rail, said:

“I’m delighted to see the progress on the new Eastern Entrance for Bristol Temple Meads – a crucial milestone towards an exciting future for our station.

“Alongside renovations that will preserve the station as an important part of the city’s heritage for future generations, the Eastern Entrance will place it firmly at the heart of Bristol’s new Temple Quarter regeneration.

 “The Eastern Entrance building will start to take shape next year and will open in 2026 following completion of the University of Bristol’s Enterprise Campus. The Eastern Entrance is a forerunner to the planned Southern and Northern entrances, and radically improved retail options that will help make the station a world class gateway to the city by 2030.”