March newsletter

This issue we share news about our coach and freight forums, plus links to videos and presentations from the STB Conference last month. We also have updates from our local authorities and partners.  

‘Leading by example’ in coach

Don’t miss this month’s issue of Route One magazine, where our Senior Transport Officer Hannah Fountain explains why we’re investigating the often neglected potential of coach to transform future connectivity across our region, and how more coaches could help boost productivity, employment and leisure opportunities and support all sectors of our economy and society.

You can read the full article here. It centres on the publication of our Western Gateway Coach Strategy and talks about our new South West coach forum, which we set up to bring together private and public stakeholders to address the key challenges facing coach services in our region.

Hot on the heels of last month’s inaugural meeting of this coach forum, a second meeting will be taking place in Bristol on Tuesday 7th May.  

If you operate coaches in our area or are otherwise interested in participating in our coach forums, please email for further information.

South West Freight continues apace

Our South West freight forums – which include our sub-groups for road, rail and aviation and maritime, as well as our main steering group – all met in February and March.

There have been over 20 meetings of these groups since the launch of our joint South West Freight Strategy with Peninsula Transport just under two years ago. If you have attended one of our freight forums we’d love to hear your feedback via this quick questionnaire:

At our main forum, along with interesting presentations from the UK Warehousing Association, National Grid and updates from our partners Network Rail and National Highways, we were pleased to share how we are progressing with the interventions recommended in our freight strategy, of which two-thirds are already being progressed.

Some of the work we are currently looking to undertake includes helping prevent bridge strikes, improving lorry parking facilities and addressing freight awareness. We also have a load-matching trial underway with Haulage Exchange, to cut down on empty running lorries in the South West. 

STB Conference – watch it now online

Thanks to everyone who attended this year’s STB Conference in Manchester last month and helped make it such a rewarding and insightful day, as we shared the work we are doing individually and collaboratively as STBs across the country to improve transport for everyone, regionally and beyond. 

You can now view videos, presentations and photos from the day online here.

Some of our highlights that you can see include:

  • Discussing the challenges of EV transition, in particular when it comes to our rural communities in the South West and the impact of tourism and seasonal demand. Peninsula Transport shared our joint work and findings on alternative fuels for road freight and EV charging.
  • How are STBs helping connect rural communities and businesses? We revealed how together with Peninsula Transport we are helping pilot new approaches to rural transport in the South West.
  • How STBs across the country are doing great work putting delivery into practice. Our Technical Lead James White shared how our work on the Heart of Wessex rail line will help north-south connectivity in our region.

In case you missed it…

Here’s a round-up of the latest news as seen on our social media channels. You can find us on Xformerly Twitter and LinkedIn.

Work on installing 1,000 electric vehicle charging points in Gloucestershire over the next three years is progressing well, with the first 100 now installed around the county.

Community groups in North Somerset are being invited to apply for a portion of WESTlocal funding to set up and run their own not-for-profit public transport to meet community needs.

The Department for Transport’s draft Rail Reform Bill set out a blueprint for the future of rail, bringing track and train together under a new Great British Railways. The Transport Committee is calling for evidence on the draft, with submissions by Wednesday 27th March.

This short video from WECA shows Metro Mayor Dan Norris’s take on all the work currently going on across the region’s railways. 

Great Western Railway officially started its industry-leading fast-charge battery train trial

Finally, we shared two new campaigns from our partners: Network Rail’s new sustainability campaign encourages young people to travel by train, while National Highways is encouraging drivers to make small changes that will improve everyone’s road experience. 

You can keep up to date with all our work by following us on LinkedIn and X, formerly Twitter @WestGatewaySTB and subscribing to our newsletters by emailing