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£33m scheme to double rail tracks in Bristol

The £33 million scheme will see lines between Temple Meads and Parkway increase from two to four through Stapleton Road and Lawrence Hill. Credit: ITV News West Country

Network Rail is to double the number of lines between Bristol's two main stations.

The £33 million scheme will see lines between Temple Meads and Parkway increase from two to four through Stapleton Road and Lawrence Hill.

The improvements will result in more train services and reduced journey times. It will also pave the way for the Henbury Loop to re-open.

Work will start in December.

This is an exciting time for the growing city of Bristol.

For the last two years we have been working closely with the city council to make sure this project becomes a reality and it’s great news that we are now only a matter of weeks away from the start of work on this vital upgrade.

The doubling of the tracks between Temple Meads and Parkway stations, together with our work to electrify the Great Western Main Line, will mean that passengers, residents and businesses in Bristol will benefit from an increase in services, reduced journey times and quieter, greener trains. All of this will help us to meet an increasing demand for rail travel and to continue to drive economic growth in the region.

– Andrew Haynes, Network Rail’s project director for the west of England

I welcome the commitment to enhance our rail infrastructure by restoring the lost tracks at Filton Bank and much else.

This will support the new faster electric services to London and South Wales, the vital connections towards Birmingham and HS2, and new capacity for growing our local MetroWest passenger and extra freight services.

I saw for myself the scale of the planned works and the extra capacity and resilience which will be the result. There will be disruption but the longer-term benefits will be considerable.

Network Rail, the DfT and our partnership of local authorities in the West of England area are committed to working together to make this happen.

– Cllr Mark Bradshaw, Assistant Mayor for Place including Transport at Bristol City Council

This four tracking is vital for our MetroWest plans to improve the local rail services, and it’s a real milestone getting it started.

The rail improvements, along with MetroBus, will provide so many more options for moving around and demonstrating to investors we are serious about investing locally.

– Cllr Brian Allinson, chair of the West of England Joint Transport Board and transport member for South Gloucestershire

Holiday of a lifetime for South West children

It's the trip of a lifetime for children with serious illnesses and disabilities - every year the charity Dreamflight takes nearly 200 youngsters to Orlando in Florida, where they visit theme parks and go swimming with dolphins. Among them are children from Dorset, Somerset and Gloucestershire.

Forget VIPs, they're known as VICs - 'Very Important Children'. Our reporter Lauren Hall went with them to find out how they got on.

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Bristol celebrates Black History Month

Presentation at Black History Month ceremony Credit: ITV News

Black History Month has drawn to a close in Bristol with a special presentation by the Lord Mayor honouring the work of students in the community to help promote diversity.

It's just one many events that took place across the city throughout October, celebrating black history, culture and heritage.

Bath's Royal United Hospital gets foundation status

The RUH has won Foundation Trust status Credit: ITV News

The Royal United Hospital in Bath has been granted Foundation Trust status.

It means the Trust will have greater financial freedom and can decide how to improve services away from government control. The move was put back a year in 2013 after a highly critical report on the hospital from the Care Quality Commission.

Foundation Trusts are still very much part of the NHS but they have more autonomy. What that means is, going forward, decisions about the future services the RUH provide will be made in the RUH.

It's much more about working with our patients and the wider community and getting them to help us shape our future going forward.

– James Scott, Chief Executive, Royal United Hospital

Burgess says Bath will be a "cracking experience"

Former Rugby League star Sam Burgess has signed a three-year-contract with Bath. He says it's going to be an "exciting couple of years" and his first impressions of the city are good.

I had a little walk around the city this morning - it's a beautiful place, it's absolutely stunning. I've not spent a lot of time down here in the south (of England) but for now... what I've seen of it and the people I've met, it's been fantastic. It's going to be a cracking experience I can tell.

– Sam Burgess

You can see Matthias Kurth's full interview with "Slammin' Sam" here:

Cash machine blown up in Bristol

The cash machine was still on fire when police arrived Credit: ITV News

A cash point in Bristol has been blown up in a failed robbery.

The ATM was still on fire when police arrived at East Street in Bedminster.

Officers say no money was taken but are appealing for anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area to come forward.

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Business Secretary backs high tech firms in Bristol

Vince Cable meets Leah Rider, who's just started on the graduate scheme at the National Composites Centre Credit: ITV News

The Business Secretary Vince Cable is on a visit to Bristol in which he is calling in at some of the most cutting edge firms in the region.

His first stop was to open a £28 million extension to the National Composites Centre at the Bristol and Bath Science Park. It conducts research into materials that can be used in industries including aerospace, motorsport, marine and satellite.

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Blue shark spotted by cameraman in Brixham

It's not every day you come across a blue shark while out filming for ITV News West Country Credit: ITV News

Eagle-eyed cameraman Matt Mulcrone spotted a shark-like fish in the background of a shot while interviewing a diver by the breakwater in Brixham.

He thought it was a dogfish. The diver, Ian Russell from Bristol, followed it and was able to pick it up. He identified it as a rare blue shark and told ITV News West Country he was thrilled as he had never seen anything like it in 12 years of diving off the South Devon coast.

He immediately returned it to the water and encouraged it to swim away.

Bristol diver Ian Russell was thrilled by the discovery Credit: ITV News
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