Leaders and councils in the West of England have welcomed government plans to invest in the Great Western Main Line.
The plans, announced by transport secretary Justine Greening, are set to provide a "big boost" for business in the region.
Greening announced plans to invest in Bristol Temple Meads and create additional track capacity on the approach to Bristol as part of a £9.4bn plan package to improve rail infrastructure.
Prime Minister David Cameron described the plans as the "biggest modernisation of our railways since the Victorian era".
The upgrades which will affect the South West include the creation of additional capacity from Bristol Parkway into Bristol, investing in returning the grade I-listed Brunel station platforms at Temple Meads and changing the fleet mix for the InterCity Express Programme from eight carriages to nine carriages creating more seats for passengers.
The government has also previously announced plans to create a new rail line to Heathrow Airport, which could reduce journey times by around 30 minutes. It also follows the announcement of Bristol's 'City Deal' which includes funding for the Greater Bristol Metro.
Patrick Hallgate, Network Rail's route managing director for the West, said: "We are excited by these government announcements to add to the already massive investment programme on the Western route.
"They include electrification of the Thames valley branch lines, even greater expansion plans for Oxford and bringing the old Digby Wyatt sheds at Bristol Temple Meads back into use, as well as improving rail links in the area around Bristol to benefit the local enterprise zone and the local economy."
In a statement, the West of England Partnership added: "The West of England councils warmly welcome the £9bn investment in railways announced. The government has asked the railway industry to look at ways to increase capacity on a key section of the local rail network – the Filton Bank – which is pivotal to making the Greater Bristol Metro a reality, the new electric train services to London and potential growth in freight capacity."
James Durie, director of Bristol Chamber of Commerce, said rail is one element of the UK's transport infrastructure that its members "constantly tell us that they want improved".
"It is fantastic news that the secretary of state wishes the industry to undertake work to expand the capacity of the railway serving passengers to and from Bristol," he said.
"Increasing route capacity into Bristol from Filton Abbey Wood and increasing station capacity at Bristol Temple Meads by bringing back into railway use the historic station building, will be a big boost for business in this region."
PUBLICATION: Insider Media - 17 July 2012