Regional Mayor wants new options for Portishead railway.
The regional mayor has announced plans to enhance Bristol’s suburban rail network. The improvements, if delivered, would bring areas of Greater Bristol within easier reach of Temple Meads and the city centre. But what new options are on the table?
Predictions from figures developed by the West of England Combined Authority and Network Rail, is that the investment could generate 1.7 million new passengers a year and give 80,000 more people access to train services.
The big news is for Portishead. In agreeing to widen the scope of the options to include light rail, a radically easier solution to speed up the delivery of the long-awaited link could be found.
Many other major cities like Sheffield, Manchester and Nottingham already have light rail infrastructure. There have been mixed reactions in Birmingham where the light rail link has so far failed to attract the forecasted passenger numbers, and in Edinburgh where costs spiralled during construction. But the Metrolink in Manchester and the Tyne and Wear Metro have both delivered a city-wide solution to traffic jams and provide around 40 million journeys a year.
Portishead is one of the largest towns in the UK to have no rail link. Commuters often face densely packed roads to reach Bristol and with the town set to swell given its popularity with families and those looking for an out-of-town home, the news will likely have many supporters.
One of the many obstacles has been in improving the infrastructure in the Avon Gorge sufficiently to cope with heavier, faster passenger trains. There is also the problem of routing trains into the now crowded Portishead town centre. Trams – or another light rail project – would mean services could share road space and be better equipped to navigate tight corners.
Other plans discussed at the meeting include providing Avonmouth and Clifton, on the Severn Beach line, with direct services to Bath and Westbury and building residents in Henbury a station to replace the one that closed in 1965 as part of British Railway’s Beeching cuts. The suburb – with its population of over 10,000 – would be a more convenient location for commuters. It might also mean a rail station near Cribbs Causeway.house price, Protishead Railway
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This post was written by Marcus Robinson