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10:40 - 01 December 2006
Campaigners calling for the railway to reopen between Portishead and Bristol were given a ray of hope when this station suddenly sprang up in the coastal town.It has a long platform with sloping ends, a ticket and station master's office, double rail track, points and buffers.

There is a traditional chocolate and cream Portishead sign in the old Great Western style, copied from the original station which closed in 1964.

A warning urges passengers not to cross the line.

It has certainly opened the eyes of local railway campaigners who have been calling for the passenger service to Bristol to reopen for years.

But the new station is in no way connected to the old track being given a new lease of life.

Instead it is a training facility built at a cost of 500,000 by Portishead company Hydrex Equipment UK Ltd, which specialises in providing heavy plant for the railway industry.

Project director Trevor Bidwell-Ford, who plays the role of station master, said: "The station has been built in our large yard purely for training purposes.

"We work with Network Rail and other rail authorities to replace track and carry out other jobs in and around stations from the tip of Scotland to the depths of Cornwall.

"It is sited only a stone's throw away from the town's former station and the original track, which still exists.

"Lots of rail enthusiasts have called in with hope in their eyes that it might be connected with the reopening of the passenger service into Bristol.

"But as much as we support the idea, we sadly have to tell them this is not the case. We use the station purely for training and have made it look as authentic as possible."

The Government announced last year that the line would not be opened in the "foreseeable future" but train operator First Great Western said recently it would be carrying out a survey on the line.

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