News - Portishead Railway Group
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17 July 2018:

MetroWest has published the report on the Stage 2 Consultation held in late 2017. View report >>

15 June 2018:

North Somerset Council together with Gloucestershire County Council and Wiltshire Council, has submitted an ‘expression of interest’ to the Department of Transport’s Transforming Cities Fund as one of a number of options to secure the remaining funding required for MetroWest Phase 1. See NSC News item.

6 June 2018:

Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling has written to North Somerset MP Liam Fox, pledging his support for the Portishead line scheme. See Press articles 6 June 2018.

20 May 2018:

MetroWest has failed in its bid for £46 million funding from the Large Local Major Transport Schemes fund. However, this doesn’t mean the project is dead, just that that particular source of funds is not available. Funding of a total of £70 million is already in place leaving £46 million which MetroWest still needs to source.

18 February 2018:

Railfuture has submitted its response to the Public Consultation on the extension of the Great Western Railway Franchise. View document here >>.  See also GW Franchise page.

23 December 2017:

A bid for construction costs and the Outline Business Case have been submitted to the Department for Transport's Large Local Major Schemes programme by West of England LEP and the promoting authorities (Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol City, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire and the West of England Combined Authority). See MetroWest info …

29 November 2017:

The Dept for Transport today published a Strategic vision for rail (44 page PDF) including proposals that rail services lost under 1960s Beeching cuts may reopen. The Portishead line is mentioned on page 25.

The Dept for Transport also announced that the Great Western Railway franchise would be extended until March 2020. See Dept for Transport announcement >> which included news of a Public Consultation on the future of the Great Western rail service. See also Franchise page >>.

14 November 2017:

North Somerset Council has pledged a further £6m to help improve its chances of securing government funding. See Bristol Post article 14 Nov 2017.

20 October 2017:

More details of the Stage 2 Public Consultation on the project to reopen the Portishead line are announced. Details …

26 Sept 2017: North Somerset Council has announced that a Stage 2 formal public consultation will run from 23 October to 4 December. See Portishead Rail Services Summer/Autumn 2017 newsletter and MetroWest update. It has also been decided that the existing level crossing at Ashton Vale Road can remain open. Details from MetroWest here …

22 July 2017: Network Rail has now responded to the FOI request for a copy of the GRIP 3 report made by Gareth Jones on behalf of PRG Committee after initially rejecting the request (see April 2017). Network Rail said that the GRIP 3 process is still ongoing (in conjunction with North Somerset Council) and no final option has been determined. NR have provided a (slightly redacted) GRIP 3 Option Selection Report. This is not the final GRIP 3 report.

Download report here (33 pages PDF 1.6 MB.)

2 May 2017: North Somerset Council has issued a Press Release saying that Portishead Rail is still on track. Full text …

April 2017: GRIP 3 for MetroWest Phase 1 was understood to have been completed in March, but as full details have not been released, PRG committee member Gareth Jones submitted a Freedom of Information request on behalf of PRG to Network Rail asking for a copy of the GRIP 3 report. This request was rejected – but see 22 July 2017.

17 March 2017: A meeting of the West of England Joint Transport Board was held on 17 March 2017. The board decided to consider a staged approach to Phase 1:

  1. Upgrading Keynsham and Oldfield Park and Severn Beach Line stations to a ½ hourly service (hourly beyond Avonmouth)
  2. Providing an initial frequency service to Portishead (1 train per hour)
  3. Providing a half hourly service to Portishead (2 trains per hour as originally planned).

Portishead Railway Group made the following statement to the meeting. A hard copy of PRG's Statement was also provided. PRG Statement >>

9 March 2017: MetroWest made an announcement that the cost estimate had risen from £58m to between £145m and £175m. PRG was expecting some increase but is shocked at the scale of it. West of England Joint Transport Board are to meet on 17 March to consider the way forward. See also Press articles 9 March, MetroWest statement and JTB Agenda document …

Special diesel train trip to Royal Portbury Docks

4 March 2017: On Sat 4 March a special excursion train – the diesel hauled Bristol Docker – ran down the Portishead line to Royal Portbury Docks as part of a tour of freight-only lines around Bristol.

News from previous years: