West of England project updates 1

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.

Ashton Gate

A petition has been presented to Bristol CC. £50k has been identified to develop the business case for Ashton Gate railway station.

Source: West of England Joint Transport Board
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Portishead Consultation launches Monday

A public consultation into the reopening of the Portishead branch is to be launched on Monday 22nd June and run until 3rd August. This is the Stage 1 consultation.

The purpose of the stage 1 consultation is to set out in broad terms what the re-opening of the Portishead line entails and to seek views from the community and stakeholders on these works before the detailed engineering design is undertaken. We will use stage 1 consultation responses to inform the engineering design process and then proceed with stage 2 consultation, in autumn 2015. The purpose of stage 2 consultation is to seek views from the community and stakeholders on the detailed proposals (including engineering design), before they are finalised so that there is an opportunity to make final adjustments to the proposals before the application for development consent is submitted.

All stakeholders are encouraged to review the consultation document and respond before the closing date.

Consultation Website

Online version of consultation leaflet


Portishead Railway Station Location Approved by Council

North Somerset Council Executive has reached agreement with regards to the location of Portishead Railway Station. The station will be located on a corner site between Quays Avenue and Harbour Road. A section of Quays Avenue will be realigned to retain the road as a through route. The decision follows a public consultation last Summer and a submission to the ORR with regards to the possibility of a level crossing over Quays Avenue.

Source: North Somerset Council

Portishead Level Crossing proposal opposed by ORR

One of the original options for Portishead Railway Station will be proceeded with after the ORR advised that in a letter to the council following the level crossing proposal it was minded ‘to not contemplate a level crossing at Quays Avenue.’

Update 10 March 2015

At the meeting on 17 March, our Executive will consider a report asking them to confirm the location for Portishead rail station as option 2B, on the corner of Quays Avenue and Harbour Road.

The recommendation follows extensive technical assessment of six station options, the public consultation we undertook in June /July 2014 on three shortlisted viable options and further assessment of the case for a level crossing at Quays Avenue.  Following consideration of the technical assessment, the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) confirmed in a letter in early March ‘…to not contemplate a level crossing at Quays Avenue.’

The ORR’s reasons were that: there was no case for exceptional circumstances for a level crossing; there are viable non-level crossing options available; and there are significant traffic issues causing safety risks to the operation of the railway.  The ORR also had concerns about: the likelihood of pedestrians or vehicles blocking the level crossing is high; additional risks arising to pedestrians; and the likelihood of pedestrians jumping the barriers.  The ORR letter sets out 10 major concerns in respect of a level crossing at Quays Avenue.

A total of 407 people responded to the June/July 2014 consultation and made 1014 comments on the three station options.  The consultation results are summarised as follows:

  • Option 2A – 174 were either strongly in support or some support, 18 were neutral and 149 were slightly or strongly against
  • Option 2B – 213 were either strongly in support or some support, 13 were neutral and 86 were slightly or strongly against
  • Option 2C – 132 were either strongly in support or some support, 7 were neutral and 152 were slightly or strongly against

In relation to the specific question ‘On the basis that one of the three station locations is selected, would you use the station? Yes or No’, the response was 91% of people replied Yes.

To find out more about the case for a level crossing, download the ORR letter dated 2 March 2015 (pdf) and download the technical assessment of the case for a level crossing (pdf) submitted to the ORR in January 2015 by the project team

Source: North Somerset Council



Ashton Gate excluded from initial MetroWest plans 1

A railway station at Ashton Gate has been ruled out of the initial phase 1 plans for MetroWest following a study that advised that it would be cost prohibitive to introduce the station at that stage. However, passive provision for the railway station will be included in the initial plans by Network Rail to allow it to be constructed when funding and the business case allows. The railway station would be located on the Bristol – Portishead line.

Source: BBC News

Preferred Portishead Station Site Chosen

The preferred site for a railway station at Portishead has been identified as the option across Quays Avenue following a consultation that was held earlier this year. However, the station site may need to be consulted on again after the ORR adapted its guidance with regards to the level crossing that would be required to cross Quays Avenue if a station closer to the town centre was chosen. This is expected to report in late 2014.

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Portishead Councillors support Town Centre site

Portishead Councillors are urging transport chiefs to look at placing the new railway station for Portishead in the centre of the town following the recent consultation about the location of the railway station. Three options have been put forward but the proposal for a town centre site was sidelined because it would require a bridge to cross Quays Avenue after a Level Crossing was ruled out by Rail Regulators.

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Portishead Reopening delayed to 2018

Paperwork issues have been blamed for the delay to the reopening of the Portishead Railway Line from December 2017 to December 2018. Although the Portishead Railway line has reached GRIP 4, after the completion of GRIP 3 in 2010, the reopening is being delivered as part of the Greater Bristol Metro (now known as MetroWest), which is currently trying to complete GRIP stages 1, 2 and 3.

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This article was published on the site on 16th February 2014