Portishead to Bristol railway line reopening – business case to be drawn up to keep project on track

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By The Bristol Post | Thursday, April 18, 2013, 05:00

WORK is to start on drawing up a detailed business case for the re-opening of Portishead railway.

North Somerset Council is to work with Bristol City Council, South Gloucestershire and Bath and North East Somerset (BANES) to draw up a detailed business case for rail improvements over the next ten years.

The work, costing an estimated £1.35 million, is to be jointly funding by the four councils with North Somerset earmarking £675,000 towards the project.

The funding will also be used to progress preparatory work for the engineering design of the new rail links.

The possible re-opening of the Portishead rail branch line would form part of the Great West Metro Phase One project, which would be the first of a host of major schemes identified to provide a range of improvements to the local rail network.

The project includes proposals for half-hourly train services for the re-opened Portishead line, Severn Beach line and local stations between Bristol Temple Meads and Bath Spa. The total cost is estimated at between £45 million and £55million, and is expected to be funded from the Department for Transport subject to agreement of the proposed Local Transport Body.

North Somerset Council leader, Councillor Nigel Ashton, said: "This is a really major transport project which has the potential to have massive benefits, not just for North Somerset, but for the whole sub-region.

"We need to continue our efforts to move the project on sufficiently to secure the full approval and the necessary government funding.

"Any delay to this work would have a knock-on effect upon project timescales and costs.

"It is vital that we take a coherent and a credible approach to both the delivery and the operation of the line so that we can continue to present a strong case for the scheme to our funders and at future public inquiries.

"The process to secure the project is a lengthy one and dependent on a number of elements including funding approvals and planning powers.

"Authority to build and operate the project still needs to be gained.

"The process to secure planning powers is lengthy and requires the councils to set out a detailed evidence-based approach."

Work has already been carried out to clear three miles of the railway track to allow surveyors to assess the estimated costs of the work needed to re-open the line.

It is hoped that if Government funding is agreed for the project trains could be running out of Portishead again by 2017 and the Department for Transport is expected to make an announcement on funding later this year.

The work to re-open the town's railway would include re-laying the three miles of redundant track between Portishead and Portbury – purchased by North Somerset several years ago to protect it – and building a new station.

A new road bridge would be built over the railway at Quays Avenue in Portishead and a station would have to be built.

A site at Harbour Road was identified for a new railway station several years ago as part of the Portishead Quays development.

But council chiefs now say putting a station on this land has raised a number of challenges and other locations for the station need to be considered.

A search for alternative sites has been undertaken and three possible locations have now been shortlisted.

These include the site at Harbour Road, one at Quays Avenue and a further site on land on the edge of the town north of Moor Farm at Sheepway.



  • Profile image for Henrymojo

    The Conservative MP Richard Cottrell tried to open it in the 70's it was all over the news it should have happened then but too much red tape same thing now why don't they just get on with it instead of wasting more money

    By Henrymojo at 10:51 on 06/05/13

  • Profile image for Portishead

    This whole business is crazy a passenger train to get to Bristol from Portishead in 17 minutes approximately £8 return ticket if you believe this you are crazy the likely hood is £13 return because the cost of this project goes up every time they will want to get there money back and fast and every year it will go up a further £2 and 17 minutes to get to Bristol just think about it 10 miles of track max line speed 58 miles a hour so that's over 10 minutes if it goes top speed all the way no its going to slow down at crossings and stations and its going to take 3-5 minutes every station ( 3 station's minimum ) to get people on board and lets not forget a bit of snow on the track or a Train break down on a single rail track will shut the line down leaving your walk form temple meads to the centre off Bristol even more annoying if you make it.

    By Portishead at 00:00 on 06/05/13

  • Profile image for SlotBoy

    Amazing that this estimates at a mere £1.35 million to reopen a whole railway track when MT's funeral cost over £15 million. How can it be so expensive to push someone down a road to church?

    By SlotBoy at 22:20 on 22/04/13

  • Profile image for arkansonney


    "At least when the Post writes these reports, they can just cut and paste from old ones from previous years......there is hardly any difference."

    I wonder if there's an article in Ye Olde Eveninge Worlde circa 1860 calling on the Bristol and Exeter Railway to open the original branch?

    By arkansonney at 14:50 on 21/04/13

  • Profile image for Dodge

    For how long has this been going on? In the real world this line should already be operating and not in another 5,10,15 years or so. More money is wasted on debates, decision making, public inquiries, surveys etc., etc. We all know that this line could prove itself to be successful so why don't they just get on with it???? Urban railways are the only way forward as the trains can run like clockwork to time and much quicker than buses that have to contend with an outdated and congested road network that Bristol inherited from the Victorians when we use to travel by horse & carts to get around.

    By Dodge at 11:01 on 21/04/13


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