Trains timetabled to return to Portishead by 2017, says MP

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By Prue_Reid | Thursday, January 17, 2013, 15:54

North Somerset MP Liam Fox is predicting passenger trains will return to Portishead by 2017.

Dr Fox, in a statement issued this week, said he was more 'upbeat than on any previous time' about the prospect of seeing trains running to Portishead.

Dr Fox attended a meeting with Transport Minister Simon Burns and members of the Portishead Railway Group shortly before Christmas.

He said: "We were all very optimistic following the information that the minister was able to give us.  

"I hope that we will now see trains running in 2017 and expect that we will get a definitive announcement on dates and funding in Parliament before the summer recess."

Dr Fox expressed his thanks for the support given by the Portishead Railway Group, North Somerset Council and the hundreds of local residents who have given their support.

The Portishead Railway Group was formed to  lobby on behalf of the residents of Portishead and the communities bordering the A369 for the re-establishment of a passenger rail service from Portishead to Bristol. 

The line closed to passenger traffic in 1964 and freight in 1981. 

The line was rebuilt and reopened in 2002 for freight trains only from the junction with the Bristol to Taunton Line at Parson Street to the Royal Portbury Docks, via a new spur built in 2000-2.

The group was formed by merging of the Portishead Railway Action Group  and the Portishead Heritage Rail Project. 

Both groups were working together towards the same goals, the former on the technical aspects and the latter on educational, heritage and publicity aspects.

It was announced late last year that thefirst phase of the long-awaited £7 million Greater Bristol Metro is expected to be opened in 2017.

And part of this plan includes the re-opening of the Portishead line to passenger services and half-hourly trains on the Severn Beach line.

Phase Two of the Metro, which will provide local train services in the Bristol area, is not likely to be completed until 2018/21.

North Somerset Council is appointing a project manager to lead on the Portishead scheme.

Bristol mayor George Ferguson made a plea for the Portishead line to include the re-opening of the station at Ashton Gate.

He said there was a 'really good case' for it to be used again.

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