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Bristol, in the west of England, has always been an important port city, but also has close connections with aviation and with the growth of the railways. The main train station Bristol Temple Meads is one of the UK's best-loved railway hubs, thanks to its illustrious architecture and heritage. Originally opened in 1840 as the Bristol terminus for the Great Western Railway from London, Temple Meads owed its grand and elegant aspect to the renowned engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who took a break from building great bridges and railways to design the city's station. Temple Meads is still the main rail hub in the city center, although many routes on the South Wales Main Line also use Bristol Parkway station, located in the northern suburbs of the city. Temple Meads is a short walk southeast of Bristol city center, but is also served by numerous city bus routes, with several bus stands located immediately outside the station's main entrance. Passengers who enjoy a scenic trip to the station can even arrive at the Temple Meads back entrance by river ferry.
Passengers who like to travel light can make the 15 minute trip from the city center to the train station at Bristol Temple Meads on foot. Most passengers planning on a rail trip will use the First Bristol city bus services, with numerous routes making the short journey to Temple Meads from the city center. Frequent connections include routes 70, 72 and 73 with departures roughly every ten minutes at peak time, running from early morning to late evening. Unusually for a train station, Bristol Temple Meads also has its own ferry connection, with a quayside just behind the terminus offering connections from the city center throughout the day. Passengers in a hurry may consider a taxi journey, although the city center traffic on the roads to Temple Meads means they are only marginally quicker than the bus service.
The train station Bristol Temple Meads is located in Redcliffe, around one mile (under two kilometers) southeast of Bristol city center. This is a 15 minute walk for passengers not overburdened with luggage. Bus trips are heavily dependent on traffic conditions, with journey times between five and 15 minutes on average. The ferry journey can take ten to 15 minutes to reach the quayside at Temple Meads. Taxi journeys are also dependent on traffic congestion but can usually reach the station in five to ten minutes. Bristol Parkway Station is located in the suburb of Stoke Gifford, about eight miles (11 kilometer) northeast of the city, with regular rail connections from Temple Meads taking about ten minutes and bus services from the city center taking 30-40 minutes.
Bristol has been one of the UK cities at the forefront of ensuring that public spaces are as accessible as possible for people with disabilities. First Bristol buses have low floor access entrances and priority wheelchair spaces, with several city center bus stops also adapted to be accessible for passengers with limited mobility. Accessible taxis are usually readily available in Bristol city center. Train station Bristol Temple Meads is a Victorian building, but has been adapted to allow a ramped access entrance at ground level. Accessible ticket machines are available close to the entrance. and there is step-free access to the ticket office. Elevators provide wheelchair access between platforms. Assistance in boarding and alighting and changing trains is available at the station for limited mobility passengers, although this should be requested in advance. There is an Assisted Travel meeting point on Platform 3.
Train station Bristol Temple Meads is fairly central and easily accessible from the city center by bus. Locals will be aware that Temple Way, the main road from the center to the station, can get congested with traffic at peak times, so it's usually advisable to leave plenty of time to catch the train. Buses are the cheapest and easiest way to get to Temple Meads, but luggage storage space can be limited, so passengers traveling with most of their worldly possessions might require a taxi. If there is a little time to spare before the train departs, Temple Quay Market, by the waterfront ferry stop, is a great place to pick up a superior picnic lunch to brighten up the train journey.