A meeting of the West of England Joint Transport Board occurred on 29th January providing a number of updates on a number of rail enhancements in area around Bristol.
MetroWest Phase 1
Two key issues have impacted the timescales of delivery of the Portishead railway reopening.
There has been substantial opposition to the level crossing at Ashton Vale Industrial Estate. Alternative access arrangements have been proposed. Consultation on potential options including provision of a new link via the Ashton Vale park & ride junction and/or changes to the junction on Winterstoke Road will take place in February/March 2016.
The emerging designs are advising that there will be substantial construction issues and access difficulties on the operational freight line. These will be confirmed in April 2016.
The above issues have resulted in a delay in the start of the stage 2 Development Consent Order consultation. This was planned for January 2016 but is now expected to be June 2016. The proposed submission date of the DCO planning application will slip to November 2016 and the subsequent stages will delay by approximately six months. The expected opening date is now late 2019/early 2020.
There are also concerns that the resignalling project will be delayed by the reviews into Network Rail. Any delays will prevent the opening of the Portishead railway line.
The project does offer an opportunity to bring forward GRIP 4 and use that to feed into other parts of the programme. This will help remove risks from the programme.
MetroWest Phase 2
A consultation is being held on the location of Henbury railway station. It is expected to report in Summer 2016. This project will be affected by delays to the delivery of Bristol East Junction as this is necessary for phase 2. Phase 2 is ezpected to open on time in May 2021 although it was noted that the phasing funding would need to be revised because the capital funding only comes on stream on 2021/22.
Portway Park and Ride
Grip Stage 2 has been completed by Network Rail. Funding has been allocated to take the project forward to GRIP stage 3. Delivery is planned for the first half of 2019.
The local council arecawaiting the results of timetable modelling by Great Western Railway for MetroWest Phase 1, which will establish if there is capacity for an additional stop before any further work is commissioned to reopen Saltford railway station.
A petition has been presented to Bristol CC. £50k has been identified to develop the business case for Ashton Gate railway station.