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Sideshoots - associated subjects => Campaigns for new and improved services => Topic started by: Lee on April 10, 2007, 03:46:43 pm



Title: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on April 10, 2007, 03:46:43 pm
Bristol Evening Post Article (link below.)
http://www.epost.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=145365&command=displayContent&sourceNode=145191&contentPK=17044657&folderPk=83726&pNodeId=144922


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on May 03, 2007, 05:43:07 pm
Historic photos.
http://www.portisheadrailwaygroup.org/html/photos4.html

Photos of track clearance work (halted by Network Rail.)
http://www.portisheadrailwaygroup.org/html/photos-track_clearance.html

Photos of the current working line between Portbury Docks and the main line in Bristol.
http://www.portisheadrailwaygroup.org/html/photos-current_line.html

Photos of the line from Portishead to Portbury as it is today.
http://www.portisheadrailwaygroup.org/html/photos1.html

Portishead photos.
http://www.bristol-rail.co.uk/portishead.php

Sheepway photos.
http://www.bristol-rail.co.uk/sheepway.php

Portbury photos.
http://www.bristol-rail.co.uk/portbury.php

Marsh Lane photos.
http://www.bristol-rail.co.uk/marshlane.php

Pill photos.
http://www.bristol-rail.co.uk/pill.php

Pill Viaduct photos.
http://www.bristol-rail.co.uk/pillviaduct.php

"Paradise Bottom" Viaduct photos.
http://www.bristol-rail.co.uk/paradisebottom.php

Netham Quarry photos.
http://www.bristol-rail.co.uk/nethamquarries3.php

http://www.bristol-rail.co.uk/nethamquarries2.php

http://www.bristol-rail.co.uk/nethamquarries1.php

Stoneleigh Camp photos.
http://www.bristol-rail.co.uk/stoneleighcamp.php

Nightingale Valley photos.
http://www.bristol-rail.co.uk/nightingalevalley.php

Clifton Bridge No1 Tunnel photos.
http://www.bristol-rail.co.uk/cliftonbridgeno1tunnel.php

Rownham Hill photos.
http://www.bristol-rail.co.uk/rownhamhill.php

Clifton Bridge photos.
http://www.bristol-rail.co.uk/cliftonbridge.php

"A Bridge in Ashton" photos.
http://www.bristol-rail.co.uk/ashtonbridge.php

Ashton Gate Station photos.
http://www.bristol-rail.co.uk/ashtongate.php

Ashton Junction photos.
http://www.bristol-rail.co.uk/ashtonjunction.php

Ashton Drive photos.
http://www.bristol-rail.co.uk/ashtondrive.php

South Liberty Lane - West Depot photos.
http://www.bristol-rail.co.uk/southlibertylane.php


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on June 30, 2007, 11:51:09 am
The main concerns of people living in Portishead are the railway and the local transport infrastructure , a survey has revealed (link below.)
http://www.thewestonmercury.co.uk/content/twm/news/story.aspx?brand=Westonmercury&category=news&tBrand=westonmercury&tCategory=znews&itemid=WeED27%20Jun%202007%2014%3A01%3A56%3A370


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Graz on June 30, 2007, 09:02:05 pm
Depending on the extent of the survey, 1 out of 4 people is more than enough to justify a passenger service. It's clear to me enough people want it and that it would be well used and also cut traffic to this growing town. So why isn't it being pushed forward more? Surely it won't cost too much, to begin with, to build a small station at Portishead, upgrade the line, and operate a single pacer doing a hourly run to Bristol Temple Meads. Especially seeing the amount of money that gets poured into other 'projects'!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on July 02, 2007, 10:17:00 am
FGW and Portishead Railway Group have been in discussions for quite some time.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on July 21, 2007, 10:05:33 am
Portishead Railway Group will be having a stand at the Portishead Flower Show and Country Fair - Fri 27 - Sat 28 July - Opening times - 2:00 to 8:00 pm on Friday , 10:00 - 6:00 pm on Saturday.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on August 29, 2007, 11:53:16 am
From Portishead Railway Group :

During the last month some of our members along with residents of Portishead wrote to the Government Office of the South West (GOSW) asking in their own words why, with the chronic transport problems in Portishead and the Gordano Valley, the line to Portishead was not open to passengers. Dr Liam Fox MP described Portishead in Parliament as "the largest town at the end of a cul-de-sac"

Below is GOSW reply

Dear xx

"Your comments and concerns have been noted. The re-opening of the line was considered as part of the Greater Bristol Strategic Transport Study (GBSTS). The final report can be found on our website at

http://www.gosw.gov.uk/gosw/transport/regtransstrat/gbsts/?a=42496.

The study looked at the problems and issues in the area and considered many options for addressing them. The conclusion of the study indicated that a showcase bus route is the recommended scheme for this corridor in the short and medium term and possibly a rapid transit scheme in the longer term. The report was presented to the partners of the study, including the four Greater Bristol authorities, to look at the findings and investigate a way forward.

We await the outcome of their deliberations.

Yours sincerely"

Given that we had been told by the local authorities that it was GOSW that was the stumbling block. GOSW are saying it's the local Authorities that need to investigate a way forward !!!. As GOSW seem to be passing the buck members and residents are writing back asking if GOSW could answer their specific queries like how the hell does a 'showcase bus route work, between Bristol and Portishead, along the A369'

Also earlier this year I had a similar reply from the Dft Rail Sponsor Group saying that the opening of the line was nothing to do with them but down to the local authority. When North Somerset Council were questioned they said "we don't do rail, we do schools, roads etc"

Since Bus de-regulation and Rail privatisation were introduced it seems no one has the guts or balls to make any rational / sensible decisions on our transport needs apart from the mantra "it has to be bus"


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on September 05, 2007, 02:29:28 pm
7.30 pm , Folk Hall , High Street , Portishead.

New members welcome.
 
 
 


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on September 18, 2007, 03:46:47 pm
From Portishead Railway Group :

New 2007 petition

Although not initiated by the Portishead Railway Group, we support the petition raised by Mike Sperring and would like as many people as possible to sign it. Please click here >> http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/portisheadrail/

David Jolley petition

A separate petition raised by David Jolley gained 4917 signatures. It asked for changes to a Portishead traffic light junction and for the railway to be reopened. He submitted the petition to North Somerset Council on Tues 27 Sept 2005.

PHRP petition

An e-petition to Bristol City Council was raised in January 2005.

The petition read: ^The undersigned request that Bristol City Council seek the reopening of the Bristol to Portishead Railway as a matter of urgency, by incorporating the reopening of the line into their present and future transport policy and lobbying all agencies concerned with the reopening of the railway line.^

The petition closed on 29 March having collected 327 on-line signatures. It was decided also to produce a paper version which received over 1500 signatures.

It was then decided to take the opportunity of also submitting the petition to North Somerset Council and Portishead Town Council.

The petition was presented to Portishead Town Council on Weds 6 July.

It was presented to Bristol City Council on Weds 12 July by Matt Skidmore (PHRP Co-Chairman) through Councillor Helen Holland and referred to the Executive Member for Transport & Development Control for consideration and response.

It was presented to North Somerset Council on Tues 26 July by Jean Lord, Chair of Portishead Town Council.

An article on this can be found in the link below.
http://www.clevedonmercury.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=223432&command=displayContent&sourceNode=224133&contentPK=18381462&folderPk=104742&pNodeId=224152


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Graz on September 18, 2007, 07:54:19 pm
Signed with pleasure.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on September 29, 2007, 04:08:45 pm
More on this in the link below.
http://thisisbristol.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=145365&command=displayContent&sourceNode=145191&contentPK=18525832&folderPk=83726&pNodeId=144922


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: martyjon on September 29, 2007, 05:42:04 pm
I remember the 'new' station at Portishead which was built in the 50's to replace the original Portishead station, the site of which was required for the extension of Portishead power station, now another memory of the past. A modern building then with colour light signalling. I never actually travelled the line until after it closed to passengers. I dont know the ins and outs of the present situation but my proposal would be to provide a Park and Ride station outside of Portishead more or less at the Portbury site of the old Portbury Station House which is now a private residence. I would provide one station on the line at Pill and my proposal would be to provide 3 up services to Bristol in the morning peak at say 0700, 0730 and 0800, the units travelling down to Portishead as a 3 unit combo, in or out of service, and which split into the three seperate units to form the up services. In the evening peak 3 down services at say 1600, 1700 and 1800 from BTM, returning as a 3 unit combo if there is insufficient time for a unit to return to Parson Street station at least. My proposal would require the installation of a facing locking point at Portbury Junction operated the train crew using the single line token as the key to release the Ground Frame. There would also be a need for a single line token release instrument on this branch line to complement the single line token release instrument on the section that proceeds into the Portbury Docks complex. At Parsons Street station a single line token cabinet would be needed on both platforms similar to the situations at Maiden Newton on the Heart of Wessex line and St. Budeaux, Plymouth for the Gunnislake branch. The current coal and car trains over this branch is at present at a level that would preclude the operation of a greater number of passenger services.

I'm dreaming again.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on November 12, 2007, 11:50:59 am
7.30 pm , Folk Hall , High Street , Portishead.

New members welcome.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on January 04, 2008, 04:06:41 pm
Here is the response to the Portishead petition :

Quote
The Government's priorities for the railway are set out in the White Paper - Delivering a Sustainable Railway. This is backed up by the High Level Output Specification - a statement of what the Government wishes to buy from the railway industry over the period 2009-2014.

Priorities for this period are to continue to improve safety, improve performance and increase capacity. In respect of the latter, the Government has stated that an additional 1300 new carriages would be added to the network. Some of these will be allocated to services in the Bristol area and the city will also benefit from the investment in the Inter City Express Project which will replace the diesel High Speed Trains. However, the White Paper also states that the 'Government does not envisage changes in the pattern or level of demand large enough in the HLOS period to justify developing or opening new regional lines'.

The Government, therefore, does not include the re-opening lines as a priority. However, local transport authorities can consider whether the re-opening of a line is the best way to meet regional and local transport objectives. In Greater Bristol, the four local authorities are working together as the West of England Partnership. They have undertaken the Greater Bristol Strategic Transport Study to identify priorities for investment to address issues such as congestion and air quality. This study did not propose the re-opening of the Portishead line as a priority, but it remains open to the Partnership to review this and any other elements of the strategy at any time.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on January 15, 2008, 02:55:34 pm
Quote from the link below :
http://thisisbristol.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=145365&command=displayContent&sourceNode=145191&contentPK=19542083&folderPk=83726&pNodeId=144922

Quote
Real commitment needs to be given to re-opening the railway otherwise Portishead will eventually grind to a halt


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: dog box on January 17, 2008, 08:53:56 am
To get anything to happen peole NEED to take on Board what Andrew Haines said this week about a the formation of a strategic transport authority otherwise we are going nowhere


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on January 17, 2008, 10:30:49 am
To get anything to happen peole NEED to take on Board what Andrew Haines said this week about a the formation of a strategic transport authority otherwise we are going nowhere

I think it is important to note that the Greater Bristol Strategic Transport Authority initiative did not originate from Andrew Haines, but has in fact been around for some time (example FOSBR 2006 link below.)
http://www.fosbr.org.uk/Birmingham.htm

It is good that he supports it, though.

Having taken into account submissions from FOSBR and many others, the Regional Spatial Strategy inspector's report favours a Greater Bristol Transport Authority (link below.)
http://www.fosbr.org.uk/EIP.htm

Interestingly, the report goes on to support some involvement of West Wiltshire.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on January 17, 2008, 12:01:14 pm
Article link.
http://thisissomerset.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=147472&command=displayContent&sourceNode=243687&home=yes&more_nodeId1=242222&contentPK=19580980


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on January 18, 2008, 11:35:51 am
BBC article link.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/bristol/7195561.stm

Quotes :

Quote
North Somerset councillor Elfan Ap Rees said the fight was not over.

"We will continue to put pressure on them and we are revisiting earlier feasibility studies to prove the point," he said.

"We need to improve the links from Portishead into Bristol and into the north fringe. We cannot carry on with the situation as it is.

"And we don't expect to have to put money into something which at the end of the day is the fault of the government because they have failed to provide an adequate highway and transport system in North Somerset."

Bristol Evening Post article link.
http://thisisbristol.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=145365&command=displayContent&sourceNode=145191&contentPK=19588127&folderPk=83726&pNodeId=144922


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on January 31, 2008, 10:17:05 pm
A three-mile section of defunct train track between Portishead and Portbury could be bought by North Somerset Council - to safeguard its future use as a possible rail link for the town (link below.)
http://thisisbristol.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=145365&command=displayContent&sourceNode=145191&contentPK=19725891&folderPk=83726&pNodeId=144922

The section of railway, which runs between the former station at Portbury and Portishead, is owned by the British Railways Board (Residuary) Ltd, set up to manage British Rail's remaining assets when it was sold off in the 1990s.

After a consultation and review in 2006, a recommendation was made that the land be sold and North Somerset Council was given first option.

North Somerset Council executive member for strategic planning, highways and economic development, Elfan Ap Rees, said:

Quote
"We are looking at buying this land to protect the future of the railway.

"From our point of view this would be a real step towards developing a high-speed link between Portishead and Bristol.

"The British Railways Board has agreed to sell the land and has given us first option on it."

Mr Ap Rees said that if the council was not to buy the land, developers could snap it up instead - putting the re-opening of the railway at risk.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on February 12, 2008, 10:08:45 am
Folk Hall, High Street, Portishead on Tues 19 February 2008 7:30 pm.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on February 19, 2008, 10:57:35 pm
A water taxi scheme to take people from Portishead to Bristol by river should be considered as an alternative to re-opening the growing town's rail link, according to a leading councillor (link below.)
http://thisisbristol.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=144913&command=displayContent&sourceNode=231190&home=yes&more_nodeId1=144922&contentPK=19914598

North Somerset Council chairman David Shopland pressed members of Portishead and North Weston Town Council to look at the feasibility of introducing water taxis for commuters along the River Avon.

Councillor Shopland said any scheme to re-open a three-mile section of railway track from Portishead to Portbury was likely to cost more than nearly ^30 million (figure sure to be disputed - Lee) and suggested water travel would be a cheaper and more environmentally-friendly option.

The idea involves building a large damn at the mouth of the River Avon near the Avonmouth Bridge to keep a consistent level of water at all times. A park and ride could then be built either at Avonmouth or Pill where people from Portishead could leave their cars and pick up the water taxi.

His suggestions came at the same time as Portishead Railway Group, which has been campaigning for the re-opening of the rail link in the town for several years, made a presentation on progress of its campaign to councillors.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: John R on February 20, 2008, 08:34:32 am
Dam the Avon Gorge? That sounds contraversial and expensive. Makes restoring 3 miles of railway look like childsplay.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on February 20, 2008, 11:21:22 am
Quote from Alan Matthews, chairman of the Portishead Railway Group (link below) :
http://thisisbristol.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=145365&command=displayContent&sourceNode=145191&contentPK=19925669&folderPk=83726&pNodeId=144922

Quote
"To go by water taxi would take hours to get to Bristol whereas reinstating the railway line would be a much quicker commuting solution.

"To get from Portishead to Bristol Temple Meads would be 28-30 minutes by train taking commuters into the largest office building area in Bristol.

"If you take workers by water taxi how do they get into the town centre or to their offices elsewhere in Bristol, such as by Temple Meads?

"Also, there is the issue with cars still using the main Portishead road, the A369 to get to the water taxi service, so the roads would still be congested.

"First Great Western has told the council it will cost ^20m to rebuild the line and the Greater Bristol Strategic Transport study says ^29m.

"This sounds absurd to me when in South Wales they have built six stations and 18 miles of track for ^30m.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: John R on February 20, 2008, 11:33:54 am
and all those 18 miles had been disused for years, and it included 3 miles of double track. 


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Graz on February 20, 2008, 12:56:39 pm
It really makes me wonder (and worry) how crackpots like Mr Shopland got into the council in the first place. Has he done research into the cost of this, vs the cost of opening the railway, or whether such a scheme would actually be feasible? I think not...

Quote
...was likely to cost more than nearly ^30 million...
"More than nearly"? Wouldn't be susprised if this was his exact quote!  ;D


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on February 23, 2008, 07:43:47 am
Apparently, Bristol's water transport system could be like Venice in 10 years with the right investment, according to ferry boat operator Rob Salvidge (link below.)
http://thisisbristol.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=145365&command=displayContent&sourceNode=145191&contentPK=19948245&folderPk=83726&pNodeId=144922

This week Mr Salvidge invited city bosses and figures for a trip around the docks to share his vision of the future of public transport. On board were council leader Helen Holland, architect George Ferguson, Broadmead boss John Hirst, Andrew Griffiths of First and Matthew Tanner of the ss Great Britain, among others.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Btline on February 24, 2008, 06:30:45 pm
The absolute idiot! ::)

I'm sorry, but that has to be the worst idea ever! :D

Soon, they'll suggest "waterbuses" for the Thames Valley!!!!! ;)

"Yes," says FGW "with water buses, we can sell off the slow lines between London and Reading and a dual carriageway can be built there. In fact, we can go one further and stop all HSTs at Didcot and waterbus people to London. Tee Hee Hee, then we can sell of the fast lines as well, build a motorway and knock down Paddignton station, build multi billion pound flats and sell them!!!!"

 >:(


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on March 07, 2008, 06:32:32 pm
Have I "killed" this topic?  :D

As far as I am concerned, no, although your last post was rather entertaining.

I simply havent heard any more on this since, that's all. Maybe other forum members know more?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on March 08, 2008, 01:52:10 am
No, I think the idea of damming the River Avon, just to run a water taxi from Avonmouth to central Bristol, has been 'sunk without trace'.  ;)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Btline on March 08, 2008, 04:57:05 pm
No, I think the idea of damming the River Avon, just to run a water taxi from Avonmouth to central Bristol, has been 'sunk without trace'.  ;)

Excellent.  :)

Perhaps they will move onto something more worthwhile!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: dking on March 12, 2008, 10:24:21 am
Our conference last Saturday (see 'Social Enterprise and the Railways' posting) suggested the idea of using Parry People Movers on that line - having them supplied by a 'Social Enterprise RoSCo' and operated either by FGW (as the Stourbridge Town line is operated by the local TOC) or by a communuty organisation. With a bit of tweaking it would be eminently suitable. Alex Lawrie <alex@somerset.coop> was the speaker - John Parry was in the audience.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on March 12, 2008, 10:34:57 am
Our conference last Saturday (see 'Social Enterprise and the Railways' posting) suggested the idea of using Parry People Movers on that line - having them supplied by a 'Social Enterprise RoSCo' and operated either by FGW (as the Stourbridge Town line is operated by the local TOC) or by a communuty organisation. With a bit of tweaking it would be eminently suitable. Alex Lawrie <alex@somerset.coop> was the speaker - John Parry was in the audience.

See quote below :

Another new idea was outlined by Alex Lawrie of Somerset Co-operative Development. The agency was working with Parry People Movers who manufacture a form of lightweight tram which operates on existing (but segregated) rail lines without external overhead lines. Alex and PPM were exploring with other agencies the possibilities of supporting local and community rail transport operators by entering into leasing arrangements to enable them to run everyday passenger transport services.

More on Alex Lawrie in the link below.
http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=677.msg2442#msg2442


Sounds like a very interesting conference.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Graz on March 12, 2008, 11:06:08 am
Very interesting idea- I can really see it happening if Parry People Movers were allowed on the main line and into Temple Meads. There seems to be a lot of capacity for terminating trains from the West at Bristol TM- platform 4 is hardly used at all these days.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: eightf48544 on March 12, 2008, 02:39:14 pm
Why trams on segrgated lines? Bristol seems an ideal place to run trams on heavy rail.

You would have trams using Portishead possibly to Aston Junction and the  docks or BTM and then coming off onto the street and then picking up the Severn Beach branch somewhere and possibly following the road out towards Yate and picking up the old Midland alingment and terminating in Tytherington.

You could also electrify the heavy rail parts at 25KV in anticipation of mainline electrification and use dual voltage trams. There are also ED trams available if you din't want to say electrify on either voltage to Portishaed or Tytherington.

Trams could also run Avonmuth Henbury Filton back to BTM. They could be a segrated track if the 4 tracks down the hill from Filton were restored.

Why are we so scared of trams. They are the best congetion relieving  device available, especialy if they have priority at traffic lights. Who'd want to drive if you risk getting your car  hit by a tram (as happened to poor old boy when I was on a tram in Rostock) very definitely Tram 1 Car 0 there wasn't a scratch on the tram, but you should have seen the dent in his door.

Also why would you drive if you had fast, quite, efficient and  civilised public transport available?

There are absolutely no health and safety issues involved in doing this trams can be equipped with ERTMS just as trains will be. To say a tram is not strong enough to withstand a collision with a freight train is stupid a 142 wouldn't come off too well either. But that's beside the point you ensure he system doesn't allow a tram to collide with a freight train.

As for pedestrians go and  see how the locals dodge in between the trams in Picadilly Gardens. 


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on March 12, 2008, 05:36:10 pm
I was at that conference - yes, very interesting and indeed Mr Parry himself was there. Problem with H&S issues on running a lightweight such as a PPM on a line with regular trains would preclude it coming into Temple Meads (a gent just behind me poked me and suggested that it would suit the TransWilts until this matter came up ... but there are other issues there which make a 150 / 14x / 153 more suitable)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: John R on March 12, 2008, 08:14:28 pm
I think the capacity of a PPM would be inadequate for Portishead. Given the need to leave paths for the freight services (which after all were the reason and justification for the rebuild to Portbury), the most frequent the service could be would be half hourly (and I suspect even the infrastructure improvements required for that will be more than is currently envisaged.) So a Class 150 capable of holding 200 including standing would be needed.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on March 12, 2008, 09:25:03 pm
Given the need to leave paths for the freight services (which after all were the reason and justification for the rebuild to Portbury), the most frequent the service could be would be half hourly (and I suspect even the infrastructure improvements required for that will be more than is currently envisaged.)

My gut reaction is to go with John on that. When we looked into the feasibility of running an all-day half-hourly service to Portishead, we came down on the side of the following desirable enhancements :

This upgrade would include the provision of two short double - track sections on the Portishead line , in the Ashton Gate & Pill areas , as proposed by Andrew Griffiths of First Great Western. This would allow 2 freight and 4 passenger trains (in total, not in each direction) to run on the line per hour.

This, of course, would be in addition to the work needed to allow passenger services to run in the first place.

Another option would be to run an hourly off-peak Portishead-Avonmouth service, with a 2 train per hour Parson Street-Portishead shuttle service operating during the peaks, as envisaged in the link below.
http://www.raildocuments.org.uk/jan08/stage2.doc


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: John R on March 12, 2008, 09:36:41 pm
I think that's why the cost of ^30m is likely. You think what's it's costing to rebuild 3 miles of line and a platform at Axminster - (^18m I recall). Here you would have at least one platform, 3 miles rebuilt, a junction at Portbury, one or two loops, (which would presumably have to be freight train length not unit length so that the freight service could be held in the loop whilst the passenger service passed)  and general fettling to give a slightly higher line speed. Plus signalling changes. It's depressing, but I can easily see ^30m being needed in this day and age of boiling frogs.

Does anyone know how many freight services use the line each day? I'm always seeing car trains or coal trains at TM. Presumably they have fixed paths elsewhere on the network, so that would need to be taken into consideration too. 

   


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on March 12, 2008, 10:01:40 pm
Does anyone know how many freight services use the line each day? I'm always seeing car trains or coal trains at TM. Presumably they have fixed paths elsewhere on the network, so that would need to be taken into consideration too.

According to Network Rail, up to 5 freight trains each way per day currently use the Portbury line. However, up to 10 additional freight trains each way are planned.

It is also worth noting that the take-up rate of paths is 95% for container trains and 45% for coal trains.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: John R on March 12, 2008, 10:27:12 pm
Not bad for a line that only reopened 5 years ago. Now if that 5 becomes 15 then surely there will be justification in reinstating the down relief as far as Parson St? I presume if a Portbury bound freight service is held awaiting an up passenger service to pass before it can enter the branch then by the time it gets going again it must block the main line for around 10 minutes in total? 


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on March 12, 2008, 10:47:21 pm
Not bad for a line that only reopened 5 years ago. Now if that 5 becomes 15 then surely there will be justification in reinstating the down relief as far as Parson St? I presume if a Portbury bound freight service is held awaiting an up passenger service to pass before it can enter the branch then by the time it gets going again it must block the main line for around 10 minutes in total? 

Certainly when we looked at a half-hourly Portishead service, we did so in the context of a future network that included resignalling and provision of more lines into Bristol Temple Meads.

My personal view is that Portishead should start off with a lesser frequency than that (I give an example proposal above) , prove the demand is there (which I think it quickly would) and then push for improvements as part of an overall Greater Bristol package.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: eightf48544 on March 13, 2008, 10:02:00 am
Not bad for a line that only reopened 5 years ago. Now if that 5 becomes 15 then surely there will be justification in reinstating the down relief as far as Parson St? I presume if a Portbury bound freight service is held awaiting an up passenger service to pass before it can enter the branch then by the time it gets going again it must block the main line for around 10 minutes in total? 

Certainly when we looked at a half-hourly Portishead service, we did so in the context of a future network that included resignalling and provision of more lines into Bristol Temple Meads.

My personal view is that Portishead should start off with a lesser frequency than that (I give an example proposal above) , prove the demand is there (which I think it quickly would) and then push for improvements as part of an overall Greater Bristol package.

I can see Lee's point off view that it would be better to go for the least costly option to get passenger services going. However with the boiling frog syndrome mentioned previously what might be ^30 million at today's prices will be ^60 million in 5 years time so go for the ultimate solution it will actually be cheaper in the long term. However, you will have to change the Treasury's mindset of requiring payback from day one so good luck

There are ways of cutting station costs and providing disabled access for both directions. This is done by having one long platform with the loop entering half way. The loop can then be longer than the platform. It's quite disconcerting to run into the platform with the train waiting in the other half of the platform, stop and then start off towards it only to veer off into the loop. I've got the video to prove it.

Thus two passenger can pass, or a passenger can pass or overtake a freight which remains in the loop. With suitable siganlling you could have up freight in the loop a down passenger in the loop platform and an up passenger arrivng in the other half of the platform. The freight then leaves and the up passenger follows on the block. Thus three trains with loop.

It ought to posible with the fabulous ERTMS system  which is being trialled on the Cambrian. It should be incrediably cheap to install as it will use standard components from several manufactures which all Eurpean railways will use when resignalling. If remember my economics it's called economies of scale whch like many economic theories never seems to work for railways..


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on March 13, 2008, 10:20:08 am
I can see Lee's point off view that it would be better to go for the least costly option to get passenger services going. However with the boiling frog syndrome mentioned previously what might be ^30 million at today's prices will be ^60 million in 5 years time so go for the ultimate solution it will actually be cheaper in the long term. However, you will have to change the Treasury's mindset of requiring payback from day one so good luck

Unfortunately (if they ever approve funding for it at all) the DfT is likely to consider the cheaper (and more short-termist) option as being "best value for the taxpayer", and their attitude does shape my view on how best to get things going for Portishead. I would obviously prefer that they took a more long-term perspective.

However, their recent reply to the petition to the PM does not inspire confidence in this regard :

Here is the response to the Portishead petition :

Quote from: PM's Office
The Government's priorities for the railway are set out in the White Paper - Delivering a Sustainable Railway. This is backed up by the High Level Output Specification - a statement of what the Government wishes to buy from the railway industry over the period 2009-2014.

Priorities for this period are to continue to improve safety, improve performance and increase capacity. In respect of the latter, the Government has stated that an additional 1300 new carriages would be added to the network. Some of these will be allocated to services in the Bristol area and the city will also benefit from the investment in the Inter City Express Project which will replace the diesel High Speed Trains. However, the White Paper also states that the 'Government does not envisage changes in the pattern or level of demand large enough in the HLOS period to justify developing or opening new regional lines'.

The Government, therefore, does not include the re-opening lines as a priority. However, local transport authorities can consider whether the re-opening of a line is the best way to meet regional and local transport objectives. In Greater Bristol, the four local authorities are working together as the West of England Partnership. They have undertaken the Greater Bristol Strategic Transport Study to identify priorities for investment to address issues such as congestion and air quality. This study did not propose the re-opening of the Portishead line as a priority, but it remains open to the Partnership to review this and any other elements of the strategy at any time.

The official view (as stated by the Government Office Of The South West) is that a showcase bus route is the recommended scheme for this corridor in the short and medium term and possibly a rapid transit scheme in the longer term. Indeed, funding for the Portishead showcase bus route (and others) was approved in July 2006 (links below.)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/bristol/4747277.stm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/bristol/5157322.stm

My guess, as depressing as it sounds, is that they would prefer the railway line to remain open for Portbury freight only.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on March 31, 2008, 08:25:56 am
Tues 20 May 2008, 7:30 pm, Methodist Church High St - opposite White Lion, Portishead.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on April 08, 2008, 11:35:26 pm

This topic is a sideshoot from a discussion about Severn Beach at
http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=2078.0
I felt it merited its own thread and was starting to get a life of its own! - Graham





Bristol City Council Press Release :

Bristol City Council is investing ^395k pa on providing more train services on the Severn Beach Line under a three year contract with First Great Western, starting on 18 May 2008.

The Severn Beach Line has enjoyed a surge in popularity over the last 10 years and now carries over half a million passengers a year. 


... and, with a similarly suitable level of 'investment', how many passengers could even now be enjoying train services from Portishead to Bristol?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on April 09, 2008, 07:37:32 am
Bristol City Council Press Release :

Bristol City Council is investing ^395k pa on providing more train services on the Severn Beach Line under a three year contract with First Great Western, starting on 18 May 2008.

The Severn Beach Line has enjoyed a surge in popularity over the last 10 years and now carries over half a million passengers a year. 


... and, with a similarly suitable level of 'investment', how many passengers could even now be enjoying train services from Portishead to Bristol?

Unfortunately, there has been an official view that a showcase bus route is the way forward for the Portishead corridor.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on April 09, 2008, 07:56:24 am
Unfortunately, there has been an official view that a showcase bus route is the way forward for the Portishead corridor.

At a risk of being labelled "out of area", I am up in Cambridge at the moment, working just a few hunderd yards from the trackbed of the Cambridge to St Ives line.  Used until the 1970s (?), it was then left to moulder and is now being ripped up and a guided busway laid in its place.

The people I'm working with (happen to be two separate companies last week and this) all come in to work by a variety of means - very early, very late, cycle from Ely, motorbike, etc - to overcome the traffic, and I've chosen a hotel based on trafficability rather than what I would normally choose to avoid too much hassle.   And they are saying "what's the point of replacing rail" and "why didn't they start with something as simple as extending some trains that terminate at Cambridge through to a science park station?" and "why not simply refurbish the railway / improve that".  It certainly seems to me that the guided bus has been foisted on the general user here rather than being their preference, which would have been strongly for a train service!

Lots of questions there and perhaps lessons for Portishead there.  Lee or anyone else - do you have a different persepective on this?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on April 09, 2008, 08:37:39 am
Below is the Government Office Of The South West view on Portishead line re-opening :

Quote from: Government Office Of The South West
Your comments and concerns have been noted. The re-opening of the line was considered as part of the Greater Bristol Strategic Transport Study (GBSTS). The final report can be found on our website at

http://www.gosw.gov.uk/gosw/transport/regtransstrat/gbsts/?a=42496.

The study looked at the problems and issues in the area and considered many options for addressing them. The conclusion of the study indicated that a showcase bus route is the recommended scheme for this corridor in the short and medium term and possibly a rapid transit scheme in the longer term. The report was presented to the partners of the study, including the four Greater Bristol authorities, to look at the findings and investigate a way forward.

We await the outcome of their deliberations.

So indeed, something similar to what is currently happening to the Cambridge to St Ives line could happen to the Portishead line in the longer term. More on the Cambridge-St Ives line issue can be found in the links below.
http://www.castiron.org.uk/

http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/transport/guided/what/

Of course, if you were to do the same thing on the Portishead line, you would have to work out what to do with the growing number of freight trains running (and projected to run in the future) out of Portbury.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: eightf48544 on April 09, 2008, 09:40:29 am
Of course, if you were to do the same thing on the Portishead line, you would have to work out what to do with the growing number of freight trains running (and projected to run in the future) out of Portbury.

The freight problem is exactly why Portishead is ideal for tram/trains they can easily share the line with freight trains. They can start in the centre of Portishead and run through the streets to connect with the heavy rail and run into Bristol and then onto  the streets again. Giving a centre to centre service.

Let's hope they don't approve a busway until the St. Ives scheme has been evaluated. Who knows busways might prove a success!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on April 09, 2008, 05:40:17 pm
Letter from Joe Patrick of FOSBR to the Bristol Evening Post that is relevant to this.
http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=144936&command=displayContent&sourceNode=144919&contentPK=20351321&moduleName=InternalSearch&formname=sidebarsearch


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on May 23, 2008, 09:34:53 am
The next Portishead Railway Group meeting will be held on Tues 19 August 2008, 7:30 pm in the Folk Hall, High Street, Portishead.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: John R on May 26, 2008, 05:45:16 pm
This weekend's Telegraph Property supplement has a feature on Portishead. In it, it describes the commute to Bristol as "20 mins on a good day".  Xmas Day maybe, but 45 mins to an hour on a normal working day would be nearer the truth.

I only hope that nobody buys a house in the town on the basis of that information.   


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on June 20, 2008, 01:49:41 pm
The Halcrow study has concluded that it would be feasible to reopen the railway. A full report on the study will be available next month (link below.)
http://www.westpress.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=146238&command=displayContent&sourceNode=146064&contentPK=20907119&folderPk=100268&pNodeId=145795


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: John R on June 20, 2008, 05:31:24 pm
"Only" 6 years? I'm sure it could be running in 3 years if the funding was available.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on June 20, 2008, 08:29:15 pm
Agreed, John: just three miles of track to relay (the trackbed is still there), a station to build, and a bit of planning to do with timetables and allocations - and maybe provide some car parking!

It could all be done, if the money - and the will - was there.

Further details are available on the North Somerset Council website, at http://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/Transport/news-20080618-portisheadraillink.htm


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: signalandtelegraph on June 21, 2008, 07:28:11 am

It could all be done, if the money - and the will - was there.

"Only" 6 years? I'm sure it could be running in 3 years if the funding was available.


How can we get Portishead to become part of Wales (or Scotland)?  That'll get it sorted!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: John R on June 21, 2008, 08:29:18 pm
We wouldn't need to  - it would already have happened.

Maybe the residents of Portishead could have a refarendum and vote to become part of Wales - free prescriptions too as well, though they probably wouldn't like the fact that station announcements would be in Welsh first.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on June 23, 2008, 08:48:56 pm
The view from Portishead Railway Group (link below.)
http://www.fosbr.org.uk/Portishead.htm


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on June 23, 2008, 10:13:23 pm
... and the view from the Clevedon Mercury:

The most detailed analysis yet of creating a rail link for Portishead has been completed. And it could be full steam ahead for the line as the study shows no insurmountable objects to creating a rail route to Bristol. Rail campaigners and local councillors were given a presentation earlier this week of a feasibility study carried out by consultants on behalf of North Somerset Council. The study and its outcome have been broadly welcomed by rail campaigners.

Portishead Railway Group membership secretary Peter Maliphant said: "We were pleased with the report and pleased there are identifiable steps to move forward. Lots of people said it was good to hear what was possible rather than reasons why we should not do it."

The study looked at several different options, based on one train per hour between Portishead and Bristol Temple Meads, either direct or stopping at interim stations such as Pill and Ashton Gate. It also evaluated the cost of building infrastructure, including a new station for Portishead west of Quays Avenue, and re-laying track between the town and the existing Portbury Dock spur.

Depending on options chosen, detailed calculations show infrastructure is likely to cost between ^7.5 and ^15 million, while annual operating costs would be between ^1.6 and ^2.4 million, of which approximately a third will need to be covered by a subsidy. Identifying funding will now be the subject of ongoing work, as will a more detailed analysis of the route to meet Network Rail rail planning guidance.

See http://www.thisisclevedon.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=223432&command=displayContent&sourceNode=224133&contentPK=20909139&folderPk=104742&pNodeId=224152


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on June 24, 2008, 10:28:33 pm
In the meantime, more problems for Portishead commuters / residents: no petrol for a month.

Portishead will be without fuel from the end of the month, when its Waitrose garage closes for a refit. The Waitrose garage at Station Road is to shut on Sunday for nearly a month. The nearest filling station is three miles away at the M5's Gordano Services.

Local councillors are concerned the closure will cause inconvenience for local residents and increase traffic on the already congested A369 as people travel to buy fuel.

See http://thisisbristol.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=144913&command=displayContent&sourceNode=231190&home=yes&more_nodeId1=144922&contentPK=20934482


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on June 26, 2008, 06:26:36 pm
Public transport campaigners have welcomed news that a study into the viability of reopening Portishead rail line has found no technical obstacles.

North Somerset Council commissioned consultants Halcrow to study the feasibility of restarting rail services from the town and it reported last week, funding permitting, there were no 'show stoppers'.

Its report has been welcomed by the Campaign For Better Transport, which has now called for support from the Government.

Spokesman Alistair Lindsay said: "We hope we can now count on the support of rail minister Tom Harris in agreeing to subsidise the route and its integration into the Greater Bristol transport network."

See http://www.thisisclevedon.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=223432&command=displayContent&sourceNode=224133&contentPK=20958326&folderPk=104742&pNodeId=224152


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on August 18, 2008, 10:42:07 pm
"There is more light at the end of the tunnel for Portishead Railway as the old tracks have been safeguarded from development. North Somerset Council has this week agreed to purchase the three miles of track for ^75,000 from the remnants of British Rail."

For full details, see http://www.thisisclevedon.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=223432&command=displayContent&sourceNode=241560&home=yes&more_nodeId1=224152&contentPK=21286895


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on August 18, 2008, 11:09:05 pm
I have to say that I am impressed at North Somerset Council's commitment, this news coming after their recent positive study (link below.)
http://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/Transport/news-20080618-portisheadraillink.htm


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: John R on August 19, 2008, 06:37:41 am
Good news. By the way, has the full study been published yet. I can't find reference to it anywhere, but it was supposed to be out in late July.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on August 19, 2008, 01:57:58 pm
Agreed, John: I haven't yet been able to track down (heh, heh!) the full study, but I'm working on it!

In the meantime, more details on this story are available at http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/news/Council-makes-tracks-Portishead-line/article-275778-detail/article.html


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on August 19, 2008, 10:03:12 pm
Further article link.
http://thisissomerset.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=147472&command=displayContent&sourceNode=243687&home=yes&more_nodeId1=242222&contentPK=21313692


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on August 20, 2008, 12:13:19 am
... and the Portishead Railway Group seem quite happy about it, for obvious reasons: for their news page - which includes a useful list of previous news items relating to the line - see (link below.)
http://www.portisheadrailwaygroup.org/html/news.html


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on August 20, 2008, 10:19:21 pm
"With the purchase this week by North Somerset Council of a three-mile section of derelict track, the prospect of trains running along the line once again has moved a step closer.  The reopening of a route first envisaged by Brunel in 1839, opened in 1867 and closed to passenger traffic in 1964, would give thousands of commuters from Portishead a realistic alternative to driving to work in Bristol.  Currently, the only other option is taking the bus, which can take more than an hour.  If the branch line is reopened, journeys to the city will take less than 30 minutes.

A survey carried out by two Portishead councillors in December 2007 found that between 7am and 9am, 2,400 cars left Portishead on the Portbury Hundreds and 1,500 via Clapton Lane.  This number of commuters driving to Bristol every morning will only increase, as Portishead's population has more than quadrupled in size since 1960 and continues to grow.

North Somerset Council appointed a team of consultants to assess the potential for the reintroduction of a passenger rail service between Bristol and Portishead.  In their report, published in June, the cost of the scheme was estimated to be between ^7.7 million and ^14.4m.  This includes building a new road bridge at Quays Avenue in Portishead.  Operating costs were assessed by consultants Halcrow at between ^1.7m and ^2.4m per year, resulting in a likely subsidy of between ^400,000 to ^900,000. This would be paid by North Somerset Council.

The difference in prices is due to the various options proposed.  The cheapest of these would see one train an hour calling at Portishead and Temple Meads, with track reinstatement, a new station at Portishead and a signal upgrade.  The most expensive option would see two trains an hour on the line at peak times and one in less busy periods, with trains calling at Pill, Ashton Gate, Bedminster and Parson Street, a passing loop and additional signals.

The cost of tickets was not included in the Halcrow report, but if First Great Western becomes the line operator, as expected, tickets from Portishead to Temple Meads would probably cost about the same as the fare from Bath ^8 for an adult return."

For full details, see http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/news/Portishead-rail-link-plan-track/article-278147-detail/article.html


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: John R on August 20, 2008, 10:42:03 pm

The cost of tickets was not included in the Halcrow report, but if First Great Western becomes the line operator, as expected, tickets from Portishead to Temple Meads would probably cost about the same as the fare from Bath ^8 for an adult return."


Ouch! Bit steep compared with ^3.80 from Nailsea (which some P'head commuters drive to).


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on August 20, 2008, 10:50:02 pm
Interesting that was your reaction, too, John!

I didn't like to include my personal comment in my previous post about the Bristol Evening Post article, but that's exactly what I thought!

However, the pricing for Nailsea & Backwell to BTM is a bit odd: in the past, I've compared the cost of a return ticket from Nailsea to Paddington with the cost of BTM to Paddington, and it's an extra ^12 - not the ^3.80 we pay?

 ???


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on August 23, 2008, 12:19:16 pm
The Executive Summary of the Portishead study can be found in the link below.
http://www.raildocuments.org.uk/gwfuture/portisheadstudyexecsummary.pdf


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: bemmy on August 27, 2008, 10:56:16 am
I hope that someone somewhere learns the lessons from Ebbw Vale:
http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=3345.0

If they can only stump up the money for an hourly service they need their heads examined, but at the very least they should make provision for a passing loop so that when they come to the unforseeable realisation that an hourly 2 car train isn't making a big dent in the traffic congestion, there is the possibility of upgrading to a proper commuter service.

I'm surprised they are not considering a station at Portbury -- I don't really know the area but from the map it would seem to make sense.

I'm not surprised that they are talking about high fares. Portishead is notoriously wealthy (I know that's an unfair generalisation but these stereotypes stick) and as the train would be by far the quickest and most comfortable way into town, First will be wanting to charge a premium for it -- if people don't like it they can stay in their cars, or pay slightly less to spend over an hour on the bus.

On the plus side, the capital costs seem quite modest to me, compared to the ^16m spent on largely cosmetic improvements to the Bristol "showcase" bus routes.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: John R on September 08, 2008, 10:43:32 pm
http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/news/Portishead-hit-traffic-chaos/article-313202-detail/article.html

Neat trick this, arranging two sets of road works for the same time. The diversionary route for the local closure is signed as the M5, which will be congested with traffic tailed back from the Avonmouth Bridge works. Brilliant planning!

Now if only that 3 miles of track had been reinstated...... 


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on September 09, 2008, 10:00:54 pm
Portishead Railway Group chairman Alan Matthews picks up on John R's point in the link below.
http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/news/way-Portishead-commuters/article-315060-detail/article.html


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: John R on September 09, 2008, 10:14:51 pm
Note the official comment:-

Spokesman for the Highways Agency Robin Miller said: "The problems experienced yesterday morning appear to be the result of the volume of traffic.
"The road out of Portishead is often busy and it is suspected that this traffic and the return of the schools have resulted in the queues.

Well I never. Did nobody think of that? I can understand why the M5 work was delayed until the end of the holidays, but the local closure should have been carried out during the holidays.

Maybe we shouldn't be so critical of the railways, compared with this lot.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on September 09, 2008, 11:01:59 pm
Apparently, the Highways Agency still think they are dealing with Railtrack...
http://railwayeye.blogspot.com/2008/09/shropshire-ghosts.html


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: bemmy on September 10, 2008, 05:38:49 pm
Note the official comment:-

Spokesman for the Highways Agency Robin Miller said: "The problems experienced yesterday morning appear to be the result of the volume of traffic.
What's more, global warming is caused by a rise in temperature, the fall in property prices is caused by people paying less money to buy houses, and your train is late because it was delayed. :D


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on September 11, 2008, 09:19:06 pm
A company making a documentary about the effect of railway closures in the 1960s have got caught up in the congestion (link below.)
http://thisissomerset.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=147472&command=displayContent&sourceNode=243687&home=yes&more_nodeId1=242222&contentPK=21425434

Meanwhile, North Somerset Council and the Highways Agency appear to blaming eachother (link below.)
http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/news/Council-accused-Portishead-traffic-chaos/article-320704-detail/article.html


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on September 18, 2008, 09:57:18 am
The next Portishead Railway Group meeting will take place on Tues 18 November 2008, 7:30 pm, Folk Hall, High Street, Portishead.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on September 19, 2008, 10:00:59 pm
The main road between Clevedon and Portishead reopened today after three weeks of resurfacing work (link below.)
http://www.thisissomerset.co.uk/news/Clevedon-Portishead-road-reopens/article-341140-detail/article.html


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on September 26, 2008, 11:15:53 pm
The next Portishead Railway Group meeting will take place on Tues 17 February 2009, 7:30 pm, Folk Hall, High Street, Portishead.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on January 22, 2009, 04:10:26 pm
FOSBR reports that on Friday morning (tomorrow) Radio Bristol will have a phone in about congestion for Portishead commuters from 9-10 am.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on January 28, 2009, 12:40:28 pm
From the BBC:

Quote
Plans to re-connect Portishead in North Somerset to the passenger rail network are due to move a step closer.

Network Rail is to carry out a study into how feasible it would be to put the line back in service and to build a new railway station.

The section under the spotlight is three miles of line from Portbury Docks into Portishead town centre.

It has remained closed since 1964 despite a vociferous local campaign to get it reinstated.

The study, costing some ^164,000, will look at potential engineering problems, any conflicts with the freight-only service which operates along the first part of the route to Portbury Docks and the cost of reopening a full passenger service.

Deputy leader of North Somerset Council Elphin Ap Rees said the study is "an important step forward" towards trying to improve the transport infrastructure of Portishead.

See http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/bristol/7855254.stm


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on January 28, 2009, 02:39:08 pm
Maybe a Direct Service from Portishead to London Paddington 2 or 3 times a day would get people off the buses and roads because they know they can get to the capital city without having to mess around with different tickets for each mode of tranport, changing buses or parking etc.



Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: devon_metro on January 28, 2009, 04:31:06 pm
Maybe a Direct Service from Portishead to London Paddington 2 or 3 times a day would get people off the buses and roads because they know they can get to the capital city without having to mess around with different tickets for each mode of tranport, changing buses or parking etc.



Could this be a window for an open access operator?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on January 28, 2009, 04:43:56 pm
Maybe a Direct Service from Portishead to London Paddington 2 or 3 times a day would get people off the buses and roads because they know they can get to the capital city without having to mess around with different tickets for each mode of tranport, changing buses or parking etc.
Could this be a window for an open access operator?

No. There's no paths. Surely the residents of Portishead would be pleased enough with a reasonably frequent rail link to Bristol city centre and the onward half-hourly FGW service to London?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Btline on January 28, 2009, 05:08:58 pm
I doubt NR will want to build HST length platforms!

Don't get your hopes up about this! The Uckfield to Lewes line was declined after the feasibility study, despite everyone knowing that it needs to be built now!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: FarWestJohn on April 09, 2009, 01:44:25 pm
I read recently in the press about six years, if lucky, to get the line open for passengers to Portishead.

Perhaps Network Rail should read this and  employ the Thales and Saudi Binladen Group.

The 2 400 km network is expected to be fully operational by 2013 and includes seven stations and 41 sidings and will handle passenger and general freight traffic.

http://www.railwaygazette.com/news_view/article/2009/04/9503/north_south_railway_etcs_contract_placed.html


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on June 21, 2009, 09:53:06 pm
From the Clevedon Mercury (http://www.thisissomerset.co.uk/clevedon/news/Boost-Portishead-railway-scheme/article-1081557-detail/article.html):

Quote
Boost for Portishead to Bristol passenger railway

The prospect of passenger trains from Portishead to Bristol received support from the rail industry this week.

The Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) has published a report backing the reopening of some branch lines that were closed during the notorious Beeching cuts of the 1960s.

The report, entitled Connecting Communities - Expanding Access To The Rail Network, has specifically recommended 14 towns with populations of more than 15,000 where it feels there is a positive business case to reopen rail routes.

Portishead isn't included on that list, but it is specifically singled out as a case where an updated study reflecting its growing population would very likely tilt the balance in favour of reopening.

Alan Matthews, chairman of the Portishead Railway Group, said he welcomed the report. He said: "It is another step in the right direction. These train operating companies are obviously profit-driven, so the fact they are even looking at the line is a positive sign. In fact, I think Portishead is more viable than some of the others it mentions because most of the track is in place due to the freight line from Royal Portbury Docks."

Michael Roberts, chief executive of ATOC, said: "Many past studies have looked at reopening old railways, but this one looks first at the market, not the map. It starts with people, where they live and where they want to travel." He claimed the identified schemes could benefit an additional one million people not currently well served by rail.

Other towns on the list include Brixham, in Devon, Fleetwood, in Lancashire, and Ringwood, near Bournemouth.

In January North Somerset Council commissioned Network Rail to carry out a ^164,000 technical evaluation of the requirements to reopen the line. That report will be completed later this year, and is considered as stage three of Network Rail's eight-step process to open a rail line.

However, stage six is construction of the line, so the key stages are four and five, at which the government has to commit to the line reopening and funding needs to be allocated.

This latest report gives an outline capital cost of ^29 million, a figure Mr Matthews said is solid and fully takes inflation into account.

According to ATOC, the scheme currently has a benefit to cost ratio (BCR) of 0.6, meaning its costs outweigh its benefits. But it admits: "A number of factors mean this scheme requires further analysis with more recent data. In particular, the population has risen from 17,000 at the 2001 census to 21,000 today, with a further 2,000 planned before 2014. Traffic congestion at Junction 19 of the M5 has become chronic. These factors are likely to push the BCR over 1.0, which would justify further evaluation."


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: willc on August 06, 2009, 12:40:28 pm
On the same day as the electrification announcement, DafT apparently gave details of its regional funding allocation allowances, which as well as the ^21m for Swindon-Kemble redoubling, includes ^25.3m towards the Portishead scheme and ^12.5m for the Bristol Metro project http://www.railnews.co.uk/news/metro/2009/08/04-one-billion-investment.html (http://www.railnews.co.uk/news/metro/2009/08/04-one-billion-investment.html)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: clevedonian on August 06, 2009, 06:59:11 pm
On the same day as the electrification announcement, DafT apparently gave details of its regional funding allocation allowances, which as well as the ^21m for Swindon-Kemble redoubling, includes ^25.3m towards the Portishead scheme and ^12.5m for the Bristol Metro project http://www.railnews.co.uk/news/metro/2009/08/04-one-billion-investment.html (http://www.railnews.co.uk/news/metro/2009/08/04-one-billion-investment.html)

so is that enough to reopen the portishead line!

I would be over the moon if they did


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: willc on August 06, 2009, 08:36:07 pm
On the same day as the electrification announcement, DafT apparently gave details of its regional funding allocation allowances, which as well as the ^21m for Swindon-Kemble redoubling, includes ^25.3m towards the Portishead scheme and ^12.5m for the Bristol Metro project http://www.railnews.co.uk/news/metro/2009/08/04-one-billion-investment.html (http://www.railnews.co.uk/news/metro/2009/08/04-one-billion-investment.html)

so is that enough to reopen the portishead line!

I would be over the moon if they did

not quite enough, I believe Network Rail recently costed it at about ^30m, but I suppose the government is hoping it can nudge the local authorities and/or NR and FGW into bridging the gap


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: anthony215 on August 07, 2009, 11:23:15 pm
it should cost ^30 million to re-open the portishead line since all they need to do is install new signalling and build a few new stations although there may be a problem if FGW have not got any trains to run the service.

Anyway i do hope the portishead line is re-opened as can bee seen across in wales how good the recently opened Ebbw Vale line is ( Too good in my opinions, trains are often full even with 4 carriages)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on September 13, 2009, 06:21:13 pm
From the Clevedon Mercury (http://www.thisissomerset.co.uk/clevedon/news/Rail-report-gives-boost-Portishead-line-prospects/article-1309275-detail/article.html):

Quote
Rail report gives boost to Portishead line prospects

Rail chiefs have given new hope to campaigners in Portishead.  (The) publication of Network Rail's 10-year plan to expand rail services in the West has been welcomed by the Portishead Railway Group.

The 190-page report makes extensive mention of Portishead and shows rail bosses' thinking on how services from Portishead would fit into the network.

Portishead Railway Group chairman Alan Matthews said he is encouraged by the report. He said: "It is another piece in the jigsaw towards reopening the line. There is still a long way to go but the position has changed an awful lot in the last 18 months. I think back to then and the language used by the rail industry was very much 'if it will ever happen', whereas now they seem to be planning for 'when it happens'." He said North Somerset Council making the decision to promote the line had given the campaign credibility within the industry.

Network Rail, the owner and operator of the tracks, signals and other rail infrastructure, has produced the report, Great Western Route Utilisation Strategy, on behalf of the whole rail industry. The report presents various options for services to Portishead if the Government decides to meet the cost of reopening the line. The report doesn't just look at a service between Portishead and Bristol Temple Meads, via Pill, Ashton Gate, Parson Street and Bedminster. It also considers cross-Bristol services such as options for Portishead to Gloucester or Yate, to Temple Meads, Filton Abbey Wood and Bristol Parkway, or Portishead to Westbury, Wiltshire, via Temple Meads, Bath and Trowbridge.

Other elements of the report look at major schemes at London Paddington, Reading and Swindon to cope with a 31 per cent increase in passengers on the Great Western in the next 10 years. It also suggests longer trains on services between Cardiff and Taunton, increasing space on overcrowded trains serving Yatton and Nailsea and Backwell.

Reopening the Portishead branch line is now being promoted by North Somerset Council, which earlier this year commissioned Network Rail to carry out a separate ^164,000 feasibility study into reopening the line. North Somerset executive responsible for transport, Elfan Ap Rees, said that report was 'about a month' from completion. He said: "Network Rail have certainly been carrying out very detailed work on this."

It is stage three of an eight-stage process to reopen closed railway lines, but stage six is actually physically laying tracks, so the key stages are three, four and five when decisions are made on funding and route options.

The scheme is part of a wider West of England Partnership bid to secure government funding under the government's Transport Innovation Fund. The South West Regional Development Agency has also submitted a bid for ^25 million as a contribution to the scheme as part of its medium term commitments for 2014 ^ 2019.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on November 07, 2009, 03:06:07 pm
By the way - and I'm sorry if it's rather old news now - the full Halcrow report (http://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/4C5E709A-5D12-4B02-81E4-A8FCAFD06C81/0/report_200808_NSCPortisheadRailLineStudyFinalReport.pdf) for North Somerset Council is available online.

Actually, I only found it while 'digging' for something else, but as it hasn't been posted here previously, I hope it is of some use, to someone, at least!  ;)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: John R on December 31, 2009, 10:04:26 pm
From the BBC:

Quote
Plans to re-connect Portishead in North Somerset to the passenger rail network are due to move a step closer.

Network Rail is to carry out a study into how feasible it would be to put the line back in service and to build a new railway station.

The section under the spotlight is three miles of line from Portbury Docks into Portishead town centre.

It has remained closed since 1964 despite a vociferous local campaign to get it reinstated.

The study, costing some ^164,000, will look at potential engineering problems, any conflicts with the freight-only service which operates along the first part of the route to Portbury Docks and the cost of reopening a full passenger service.

Deputy leader of North Somerset Council Elphin Ap Rees said the study is "an important step forward" towards trying to improve the transport infrastructure of Portishead.

See http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/bristol/7855254.stm

Does anyone know what has become of this report? A search on the North Somerset website drew a complete blank.

Is it reasonable for a GRIP 3 survey to take nearly a year, particularly if someone else is funding it? 


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on December 31, 2009, 10:28:29 pm
From the Clevedon Mercury (http://www.thisissomerset.co.uk/clevedon/news/Rail-report-gives-boost-Portishead-line-prospects/article-1309275-detail/article.html) on 3 September 2009:

Quote
Reopening the Portishead branch line is now being promoted by North Somerset Council, which earlier this year commissioned Network Rail to carry out a separate ^164,000 feasibility study into reopening the line. North Somerset executive responsible for transport, Elfan Ap Rees, said that report was 'about a month' from completion. He said: "Network Rail have certainly been carrying out very detailed work on this."

 ::)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: John R on January 01, 2010, 12:53:48 am
A long month then....


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on January 01, 2010, 12:56:42 am
 ::) ::) ::)

Happy New Year!  ;D


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on January 14, 2010, 12:31:44 am
From Rail-News.com (http://rail-news.com/2010/01/13/bristol-rail-link-may-be-worked-by-buses/):

Quote
Bristol rail link may be worked by buses

Rail campaigners fear that plans to open the Bristol to Portishead line to passenger services could be abandoned in favour of buses.

A planning blueprint, called the Core Strategy,  produced by North Somerset Council states that the council will promote the opening of the route, but that services may be worked by buses as part of a rapid transit system.

The Greater Bristol Transport Alliance and pressure group South West Transport Network have objected to the idea of running buses instead of trains, with SWTN saying that upgrading the line for passenger use would have a ripple effect on other rail routes around Bristol.

A spokesman for NSC said said that the council are committed to introducing a transport link between Portishead and Bristol, but that there were other options apart from  ^hard rail^  and that  ^a rapid transit scheme that runs every 15 minutes might provide a much better and cheaper solution than a train service that runs every hour.^

Talks are in progress between NSC and Network Rail


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Super Guard on January 14, 2010, 01:25:59 am
So are these going to be flying buses that avoid all the congestion and traffic chaos that is Portishead to Bristol at present?  ::)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on January 14, 2010, 04:12:46 pm
Can't quite see what is wrong with an hourly off peak service, or maybe a '3 every 2' similar to the SVB Line. As long as the peaks are adequately catered for then I don't see the need for a 15 min rapid (yeah right!) bus service as opposed to a less frequent rail service. The current inbound morning peak bus services take anything up to 90 minutes to complete the journey from Portishead, hardly attractive to commuters. A little tinkering with bus lanes and priority junctions might bring this down a bit but will never make a great deal of difference.

As Donkey Guard rightly points out the traffic between Portishead and Central Bristol is a nightmare during the rush hours, and I fail to see how or where an improved bus service can be shoe-horned in.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: John R on January 19, 2010, 11:06:21 pm
Meanwhile, the WAG are moving ahead with plans to extend the Ebbw Vale line and (more uncertainly at the moment) run trains into Newport.

http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/gwentnews/4859629.Residents_welcome_Ebbw_Vale_station_plans/

Though to be honest, it should all have been done at the outset.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on February 18, 2010, 09:48:23 pm
From the Weston & Somerset Mercury (http://www.thewestonmercury.co.uk/content/twm/news/story.aspx?brand=Westonmercury&category=newsNorthSomerset&tBrand=westonmercury&tCategory=znews&itemid=WeED17%20Feb%202010%2009:56:57:130):

Quote
A detailed report due to be completed this year is expected to reveal the exact cost of opening a passenger rail link between Portishead and Bristol.

The report will be carried out by Network Rail and campaigners are hopeful that its conclusions will be within the costs expected for such a project.

The line running from Portbury Dock into Bristol is currently used for freight trains, which run at up to 30mph. To make it suitable for passenger trains, which travel at speeds of up to 60mph, the line would need major work carried out to realign the track.

Work would also be needed to improve the drainage and tracks at Pill tunnel.

Costs to re-open the railway were estimated by Halcrow, the consultants appointed by North Somerset Council in 2008, to be in the region of ^15 million.

However, the amount of government funding the project has applied for is ^28 million.

So, although Network Rail have suggested costs could be nearer to ^24 million, this still falls within the funding figure.

Chairman of Portishead Railway Group Alan Matthews said: "When Network Rail has completed its detailed inspection and analysis, it will draw up accurate costings. Until this time I don't think anyone needs to panic about possible escalation of costs."


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on May 26, 2010, 11:16:41 am
From the BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/bristol/8705221.stm):

Quote
Accident closes part of A369 from Portishead to Bristol

One of Bristol's main commuter routes has been shut after two cars collided and an electricity pole was damaged.
Emergency services were called to the A369, near its junction with the turn-off for Pill, just after 0600 BST.
A man in his 40s was taken to hospital with chest injuries but they are not thought to be life-threatening.
An Avon and Somerset Police spokesman said the road would stay closed until engineers from Western Power can inspect the damage.
He said calves from a nearby field also escaped on to the road but had since been rounded up.
"Western Power have indicated that the road may need to be closed for most of the day, while they carry out repair work," he added.
The closure on the A369 is between the Bush Lane and Sandy Lane junctions.
The police spokesman advised motorists to avoid the area if possible.
Traffic in and out of Portishead was also disrupted by a separate accident on the Portbury Hundred close to Station Road.

Yet another example of the need for some alternative to the A369 ...  ::)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Timmer on July 10, 2010, 05:13:09 pm
Sad news but not unexpected as another rail related project hits the buffers as a result of spending cuts:
http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/news/Rail-link-plan-hit-spending-cuts/article-2397867-detail/article.html

Quote
A ^30 MILLION passenger rail link between Portishead and Bristol has been put back years because of public spending cuts. The link would have provided a vital commuter route into Bristol and eased congestion on traffic-clogged roads in the area. But Transport Secretary Philip Hammond has told North Somerset MP Liam Fox there is no money to pay for the scheme. In a letter to Dr Fox, Mr Hammond says: "Whilst we support improvements to regional and local rail services, the Government's key priority at present is to tackle budget deficit.



Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: paul7755 on July 10, 2010, 05:26:46 pm
Had this ever been confirmed for funding by the Labour Govt - or was it for a future decision? 

What I mean is as it is only mentioned in the CP4 plan as a potential application for Regional Funding Allocation - is it really a cut?

Paul


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Electric train on July 10, 2010, 06:26:05 pm
Parlance in the rail industry is not cut as that has "Beeching" connotations things are now deferred into CP5 or even 6

There is more of this to come  >:( unless the proposed schemes could get private funding then public funding may be possible


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: JaminBob on July 12, 2010, 08:23:28 am
I don't know how true this is, but I've been told the promised cascaded rolling stock from the Thames valley will also not make its way west? Can anyone confirm / deny?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on July 12, 2010, 08:27:14 am
Don't think that cascade was ever 'promised'. Merely an aspiration should GWML electrification go ahead.

Also, what relevence is this to the Portishead Line?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: JaminBob on July 12, 2010, 10:12:09 pm
Don't think that cascade was ever 'promised'. Merely an aspiration should GWML electrification go ahead.

Also, what relevence is this to the Portishead Line?

Just on the subject of 'cuts'.

Sorry.  :-\


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: caliwag on July 12, 2010, 11:08:38 pm
Not enough people shouting for the project...lobbying is it called? Same in Yorkshire, Haxby station (not strategic it has to be said) has sunk again. Trouble is it seems to take more than the life of a parliament to approve these things...the only winners are the fee earners and the local journalists that can fabricate an article..."Haxby station on track" being fairly typical since 1991

Crossrail wins because there are big playing lobbiests...not least clown Boris


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on July 12, 2010, 11:18:59 pm
In a possibly light-headed moment, having reached 5,000 posts on this forum ( ::) ), I've merged these topics here, as they relate specifically to the campaign to re-open the Portishead Line to passengers.

C.  ;)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Mookiemoo on July 13, 2010, 12:02:31 am
I know its selfish but I never shouted for it before

I do now!

I won't comment on any cotswolds line threads from now on - I'll redirect my focus


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on October 19, 2010, 11:00:22 am
From the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-11566540):

Quote
Re-opening of Portishead to Bristol rail line examined

Plans to re-open the Portishead to Bristol railway could cut the journey time into the Temple Meads station to 17 minutes.

A report from Network Rail showed that although the project cost was greater than anticipated journey time was much quicker than previously thought.

Passenger services from Portishead were cut in the 1960s although part of the line was re-opened in 2002 for freight.

The estimated cost of the project is estimated at ^38.9m

North Somerset Council spokesman said at present traffic congestion on the A369 meant some commuters spent more than an hour or more on their journey.

"This route would represent a considerable time saving for residents of Portishead and surrounding villages who currently have limited travel choices into Bristol," he added.

It is hoped as a minimum to operate passenger trains every half hour at peak times and hourly off-peak. They will run from Portishead - via a reopened Pill station - and terminate at Bristol Temple Meads.

The report also shows that there is the capacity to call at other stations - where deemed necessary - along the branch line although this would delay journey times and could substantially increase costs.

Subject to funding and planning the line could open by 2017.

Further details are available on the North Somerset Council (http://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/Transport/News/news-20101018-raillinkmovesforward.htm) website:

Quote
Portishead Rail link moves forward

The prospects for re-opening the Portishead to Bristol rail line to passenger train services have taken a significant step forward with the publication of a report by Network Rail.

The option selection report, also known as a GRIP 3 report, is the result of a year-long study by Network Rail working with North Somerset Council on the engineering feasibility and estimated cost of re-opening the line.

Our deputy leader, whose portfolio includes strategic planning and transport, Cllr Elfan Ap Rees, said he was very encouraged by the findings.

"Network Rail has examined all the options and associated engineering implications very thoroughly and while the estimated costs are higher than previously thought, the train journey times are much better (quicker) than we had initially estimated.

"The re-opening of the line would put an end to years of commuting misery with a journey time into Bristol from Portishead of around 17 minutes.  This would represent a considerable time saving for residents of Portishead and surrounding villages who currently have limited travel choices into Bristol, with traffic congestion on the A369 meaning that commuter journeys often take an hour or more."

Passenger train services from Portishead to Bristol were cut in the 1960s, although the line to Portbury Dock was re-opened in 2002 for freight trains only.

However this is mainly a single track line and, to accommodate both freight and passenger trains in both directions of travel, will require major capacity upgrade works and completion of the line into Portishead town centre.

The GRIP 3 report takes account of the need to continue freight train operations on the line, and sets out the engineering and infrastructure requirements to operate a passenger train service.

The base project option is to operate passenger trains every half an hour at peak times and hourly off-peak, from Portishead calling at Pill and terminating at Bristol Temple Meads.

This represents the minimum level of service that the project would deliver.  The  report also indicates that there is capacity to call at other stations along the branch line subject to detailed business-case feasibility, although this would delay journey times and could substantially increase costs.  There is also potential to operate services to destinations beyond Temple Meads, subject to more detailed analysis with train- operating companies.

The engineering requirements identified in the report include:
- Upgrading works to the existing Portbury freight line to a line speed of mainly 55 mph
- Reinstatement of Pill railway station
- Replacement of the dis-used track between Portbury Dock Junction and Portishead
- A new road bridge at Quays Avenue (road over the railway)
- A new station at Portishead in Harbour Road.

The estimated construction cost of the project is ^38.9 million in 2010/11 prices.

In addition to this are costs of preparing detailed funding submissions, costs of preparing supporting information to secure powers to build and operate the project and costs associated with underwriting the operation of the train service for the first few years of operation.
 
Cllr Ap Rees warned that although the GRIP 3 report is highly encouraging and a major step forward, it is not a quick fix and he is keen to now talk with government and in particular the Department of Transport to speed up the various processes and establish a funding package for the project.

"Taking account of the major project milestones in terms of funding approval, further Network Rail processes and other approval hurdles, at present the earliest construction could probably start is late 2015, with passenger train services re-introduced in early 2017.

"While that may seem some time away and progressing the project in the current climate of government budget restrictions is certainly a challenge, five years is a typical lead time up to beginning construction for projects of this scale. At least by this time the UK^s budget position should have recovered, giving us a greater chance of success," he added.

The Portishead Rail project forms part of the prioritised programme of major transport schemes for the West of England sub-region, set out in the draft Joint Local Transport Plan 3, put together and agreed by the councils for Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol City, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.  The final version of the plan comes into effect on 1 April 2011 and covers a 15 year period to 2026.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on December 06, 2010, 11:01:13 am
A short documentary about the Portishead Line, it's history and the campaign to see it re-opened:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXLMLlglOe0


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: anthony215 on June 10, 2011, 01:56:25 pm
There is a report on WNXX, saying that on BBC radio bristol This morning that the portishead line is to be cleared  so that a passenger trial  can be run by FGW this autumn.

Any further information on this?

 


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on June 10, 2011, 02:21:48 pm
One line in a BBC News online story, about cuts to subsidised public transport, mentions this trial.

See: http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=8990.msg92851#msg92851



Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: anthony215 on June 10, 2011, 02:59:58 pm
Thanks that wasn't on here when i looked earlier. nice to FGW looking at it though


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on June 10, 2011, 03:37:51 pm
Slight error on my part. I thought I'd posted that latest BBC News item before your new thread. Turns out I got as far as composing the item and neglected to hit 'post'. Seeing your thread, I thought I'd link to my post, but was slightly perplexed when I couldn't find it! A trawl through my browser history and I realised what I'd done. Or rather failed to do.  :-[


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on June 10, 2011, 04:20:50 pm
That's an apology then? :-)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Super Guard on June 10, 2011, 06:35:25 pm
So what exactly is the trial going to do given there are no stations  ???


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: anthony215 on June 10, 2011, 07:40:52 pm
maybe they will test the track(once its been cleared of vegitation).

 i think network rail also have to do something with the signalling on the line as well as work to raise line speeds before regular services commence


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: eightf48544 on June 10, 2011, 11:12:14 pm
isn't freight running over the line yet?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: anthony215 on June 10, 2011, 11:23:45 pm
yes there is freight traveling to/from portbury docks


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: ReWind on June 11, 2011, 12:22:06 am
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-13719922

Note the following extract

In the same month, a passenger train will be trialed on the Portishead rail line with the intention of bringing the line back into use within 5 years.

That month being this September if I read it correctly!  How will that work?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on June 11, 2011, 12:35:39 am
There's approximately 3^ miles of abandoned line from Portbury Dock Junction to Portishead which needs serious work to bring it back into use.

Also at the Portishead end major work is needed as a main road now cuts across the old alignment.

The line from Parson Street Junction to Portbury Dock Junction (and then into the dock complex) is the stretch used by freight workings. I know for a fact this part of the route to Portishead is suitable for passenger workings - well at least HSTs - having travelled on one on a railtour last September!

A lot more information on the history of this line and the campaign to see it re-opened can be found here:

http://www.portisheadrailwaygroup.org/


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: anthony215 on June 11, 2011, 11:05:42 am
Already posted this:

http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=9066.0


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: bambam on June 11, 2011, 01:11:51 pm
How long does it take to drive from Portishead to Bristol?

The line will defiantly need speeding up if the speeds are about 20 or 30mph


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on June 11, 2011, 01:24:18 pm
Even at 20mph average a train would beat the the car in the rush hour. Approx 11 miles to Temple Meads and with one intermediate stop at Pill, say 40 minutes tops. The road traffic from Portishead to Bristol is terrible - amongst the most congested commute in the west. Often 60 minutes (sometimes more) to get from Portishead to central Bristol.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: matt473 on June 11, 2011, 07:15:04 pm
To increase viability of the service, would it not make sense to extend to Bristol Parkway via Severn Beach line with a station built at Henbury and at Cribbs Causeway with slight relocation of the railway if possible. No doubt there would be a market from Henbury and a station at Cribbs Causeway would benefit the whole region. Of course this would require a lot of planning but with the proposed closure of Filton airport this is an ideal opportunity to do this considering there would be a fewer obstacles laying track and building a station in a disused airport


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: anthony215 on June 11, 2011, 07:47:34 pm
Good idea, but i have seen a proposed timetable which includes Portishead.

I think the idea was to run the Severn beach services to Weymouth and the Great Malvern services would run through to Portishead, with a Henbury cicular service which ran through to Weston Super Mare


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Mookiemoo on June 11, 2011, 07:55:50 pm
Even at 20mph average a train would beat the the car in the rush hour. Approx 11 miles to Temple Meads and with one intermediate stop at Pill, say 40 minutes tops. The road traffic from Portishead to Bristol is terrible - amongst the most congested commute in the west. Often 60 minutes (sometimes more) to get from Portishead to central Bristol.

ahem - its not THAT far! Its about 9 miles - I'll clock it next time I drive it



Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on June 11, 2011, 08:13:49 pm
I was referring to the railway line. 9^ miles (exact: 9m37ch) from Parson Street Junction to the site of the last Portishead Station (next to Waitrose) plus 2m02ch from Parson Street Junction to Bristol Temple Meads, hence my approx. 11 miles.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on June 11, 2011, 08:30:36 pm
It seems that the DfT suggested to Bristol Counciul to put in a bid to the Regional Growth Fund to reopen the line. Bid duly submitted I hear.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: vacman on June 11, 2011, 09:07:20 pm
Sorry to seem really dumb here folks, been away for a while, I thought the DfT had rejected the Portishead proposal? is it back in the limelight again???


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: bambam on June 11, 2011, 09:20:20 pm
Sorry to seem really dumb here folks, been away for a while, I thought the DfT had rejected the Portishead proposal? is it back in the limelight again???

I don't think it was rejected. I think it got funding from the regional development agency, which was then abolished.

40 minutes for 11 miles is poor going. I get that to make 16pmh. Thats very poor for only 3 stops.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on June 11, 2011, 09:38:43 pm
I was just using the example of a low line speed in comparison to journey times by road. You don't need to trundle along the branch at any great speed to beat the time taken to commute by road.

I've no doubt that line speeds will be better than 20mph should the route to Portishead be re-opened.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on June 11, 2011, 10:25:25 pm
In view of some obvious and understandable confusion, I've now merged these topics, in the interests of continuity and completeness.

Chris.  :)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Mookiemoo on June 12, 2011, 12:08:53 am
I was just using the example of a low line speed in comparison to journey times by road. You don't need to trundle along the branch at any great speed to beat the time taken to commute by road.

I've no doubt that line speeds will be better than 20mph should the route to Portishead be re-opened.

The big problem - which is something that nailsea suffers from - is getting to say BTM for the very early morning trains

There seems to be two options

1. go from the station but basically 7am from BTM is the first choice
2. drive to BTM and pay a fortune in parking

opening the portishead line would be great and actually possibly would make me give up my car - IF I could get the 6am train from BTM without paying 25 quid in a taxi


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: bambam on June 13, 2011, 07:33:17 am
For the best business you will want a higher average than that. The faster it is the more people will be attracted.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: eightf48544 on June 13, 2011, 10:13:15 am
Tram/trains running on the branch should be able to do 60mph on 25Kv with no problems. I've a picture of the speedo on a Karlsruhr tram/train doing 100 clicks between Heilbronn and Karlsruhr.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: anthony215 on June 18, 2011, 01:30:57 pm
Looks like another campiagn has been launched to re-open the portishead line:

http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/New-fight-launched-reopen-railway-line/story-12794171-detail/story.html

I am sure it would be a commercial sucess like the severn beach line is now if it was opened. I also think it would be better if the Great Malvern/Gloucester - Weymouth route was split with the services to/from Great Malvern etc running to Portishead.

Now doubt that may help reduce some of the delays which  cause problems on the route.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: bambam on June 18, 2011, 02:42:02 pm
Looks like another campiagn has been launched to re-open the portishead line:

http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/New-fight-launched-reopen-railway-line/story-12794171-detail/story.html

I am sure it would be a commercial sucess like the severn beach line is now if it was opened. I also think it would be better if the Great Malvern/Gloucester - Weymouth route was split with the services to/from Great Malvern etc running to Portishead.

Now doubt that may help reduce some of the delays which  cause problems on the route.

It may help reliability problems but would be way less attractive to use as a service.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on June 18, 2011, 09:22:10 pm
Looks like another campiagn has been launched to re-open the portishead line:

I met a nice lady today from (I think) Transport for Greater Bristol Alliance on a stall in the Green Forum tent at the Bristol Festival of Nature. Had a chat with her about the line to Portishead - she was most enthusiastic about the Ultra Light Rail Hybrid (Flywheel, Biomethane) Tram for Bristol with extension to Portishead. I'm yet to be convinced about ULR and heavy rail sharing the same infrastructure. Is it really feasible to have 2000+ ton freight trains and a ULR Tram sharing the same tracks?

I'd rather see conventional rail return to Portishead as it would be a lot quicker to get up and running once funding was secured. 

I've found more information about the proposals to re-open the line to Portishead, including projected costings, Network Rail's GRIP (Guide to Rail Investment Projects) process and a list of FAQs at the following link:

http://travelplus.org.uk/public-transport/train/portishead-rail-corridor (see 'related links' on the top right of that web page)

From the list of FAQs at that link you'll see that my ultra-conservative figure of 40mins for Portishead to Temple Meads was way out. Proposed journey time with one intermediate stop at Pill would be 17 minutes. Now, that pees all over the road alternative!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Mookiemoo on June 18, 2011, 11:02:27 pm
Looks like another campiagn has been launched to re-open the portishead line:

I met a nice lady today from (I think) Transport for Greater Bristol Alliance on a stall in the Green Forum tent at the Bristol Festival of Nature. Had a chat with her about the line to Portishead - she was most enthusiastic about the Ultra Light Rail Hybrid (Flywheel, Biomethane) Tram for Bristol with extension to Portishead. I'm yet to be convinced about ULR and heavy rail sharing the same infrastructure. Is it really feasible to have 2000+ ton freight trains and a ULR Tram sharing the same tracks?

I'd rather see conventional rail return to Portishead as it would be a lot quicker to get up and running once funding was secured. 

I've found more information about the proposals to re-open the line to Portishead, including projected costings, Network Rail's GRIP (Guide to Rail Investment Projects) process and a list of FAQs at the following link:

http://travelplus.org.uk/public-transport/train/portishead-rail-corridor (see 'related links' on the top right of that web page)

From the list of FAQs at that link you'll see that my ultra-conservative figure of 40mins for Portishead to Temple Meads was way out. Proposed journey time with one intermediate stop at Pill would be 17 minutes. Now, that pees all over the road alternative!

I know its been done in 12 minutes - by road


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: eightf48544 on June 18, 2011, 11:36:28 pm
Is it really feasible to have 2000+ ton freight trains and a ULR Tram sharing the same tracks?

Yes given suitable signalling. The whole object of running railways is keep trains from crashing into each oterh either you have faith in suitable technology or you build in vast crumple zones.
 
But don't see point of ULR TRam the lines is too long lacks capacity of full tram/tram. Probably alos too slow. No a dual voltae tram train ie a tram equipped with suitable signalling to travel on main lines at 25KV AC  plus street running.on 600 DC.  Good acelaration to 60 mph plus excellent braking.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on June 19, 2011, 12:10:35 am
I know its been done in 12 minutes - by road

At 8am on a Monday morning?

Had your lead boots on did you?  ;) :P ;D


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: bambam on June 19, 2011, 08:03:41 am
I know its been done in 12 minutes - by road

At 8am on a Monday morning?

Had your lead boots on did you?  ;) :P ;D

It isn't always 8 am on a Monday morning though. You want the train to be able to attract off peak passengers?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: mjones on June 19, 2011, 05:32:53 pm
I met a nice lady today from (I think) Transport for Greater Bristol Alliance on a stall in the Green Forum tent at the Bristol Festival of Nature. Had a chat with her about the line to Portishead - she was most enthusiastic about the Ultra Light Rail Hybrid (Flywheel, Biomethane) Tram for Bristol with extension to Portishead....

Irrespective of whether ULTR is the right option in this case, I can accept that there is a role for it in some applications. The Stourbridge version seems to work very well and frees up a sprinter unit for use elsewhere. But why do ULRT advocates make their case more difficult by proposing non standard power sources? A small diesel engine is surely the most cost-effective solution,using the same fuel as the rest of the railway, and being most reliable and easiest to maintain. The Stourbridge Parry People Mover uses LPG, which required a specially constructed LPG store on site, adding to the cost, safety requirements etc, even though the air quality benefits of LPG over diesel don't confer any significant benefit at that location. Similar arguments apply to biomethane, which may have its role (though I suspect using it for CHP in stationary plant is the most efficient), but I can see no benefit in using it to power ULRT that justifies the added cost and complexity.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: dog box on June 29, 2011, 10:27:43 am
What with the ongoing saga of a new stadium for Bristol city FC, and the wish to re open the portishead line, surely as a condition of any planning consent to BCFC or Sainsburys or whoever wants to redevelop Ashton Gate. finances could be extracted from these two organisations to open the line to The old station by Ashton Gate.
Has anyone thought of this or have i missed the point somewhere?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on June 29, 2011, 10:57:54 am
Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways had a crack at this in July 2008 - http://fosbr.org.uk/news/2008/reopen-ashton-gate


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: dog box on June 29, 2011, 07:05:57 pm
times have changed a bit  since then BCFC are keen for a new stadium time prehaps for the club to offer some finances to re open the line as far as Ashton gate, it would be certainly a start in the right direction


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Mookiemoo on June 29, 2011, 10:43:58 pm
There are two porter cabins in the waitrose car park - assuming due to the building of a shopping complex and a trvelodge.  A little birdie has told me there are plans to have that being the cabins being a new station.  If it happened - I'd sell the car tomorrow!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on June 29, 2011, 11:02:41 pm
See http://www.portisheadrailwaygroup.org/ ;D


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on September 08, 2011, 05:30:10 pm
From the Bristol Evening Post (http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/REOPENING-LINE-WORTH-COST/story-13287358-detail/story.html):

Quote
REOPENING LINE WILL BE WORTH COST

I drive trains down to Portbury Dock so I can report on the condition of the line to Portishead and which trains can use it.

The has been a lot of rubbish and misinformation flying about either in emails or in letters to the local press by people who are not qualified to make such statements.

​To save time and without going too far back in history, the line from Parsons Street to Portbury Dock was completely re-laid in 2000 after 20 or so years of being abandoned.

A partnership between Railtrack, Port of Bristol Authority and English,Welsh and Scottish railway was formed to relay the line up to Portbury Junction just the other side of Pill, where the line bears left to Portishead.

A new section of line was then laid from Portbury Junction down into Portbury Docks. The reason for this all of this work was the need to connect Portbury Dock to the national rail network because it was the only UK dock not to be linked by rail.

I have always maintained that this was a massive opportunity missed and that Bristol City and North Somerset Councils should have been involved then and the line completed on to Portishead.

At the moment this line is capable of carrying both heavy freight trains and lighter passenger trains.

The freight trains weigh between 2,500 and 3,000 tons, so the line is pretty robust.

A special passenger train formed by a First Great Western High Speed Train proved this point by running the length of the line to Portbury Dock last year.

So there would be no problem running class 143,150, 153 or 158/9 trains, which currently operate the local passenger services in the Bristol area.

The current line speeds are quite adequate for either passenger or freight trains.

The signalling system between Ashton Junction to Portbury would need to be completely upgraded in order to run passenger trains.

In my opinion the signalling of the Ashton Junction to Portbury/Portishead section and the re-laying of the Portbury Junction to Portishead section are where the majority of costs will be. The current signalling system on the line is an old Victorian one, NST (No Signaller Token). The train driver in possession of the token is the only one permitted to use the line at any one time.

So only one train can use the line in any direction at any time. Most of the line is single anyway with little opportunity to double up because of the gorge. However, some sections could have passing loops extended, for example at Pill Station, where if passenger trains were re-introduced to Portishead the line would need to be realigned anyway.

The same can be said for the old Ashton Station. I am not sure which signalling system would best be suited to be introduced if the Portishead line were re-opened.

It would need to control trains running from Portishead and Portbury and regulate them along the single to Ashton and coming the other way from Parsons Street.

The Network Rail Grip Stage 3 Report on the reopening of the Portishead Line is lengthy and detailed, spanning four volumes.

The main volume is 50 pages long. This report sets out some excellent operational proposals to reopen the line with a half-hourly passenger service during peak time and an hourly service during off peak hours.

This is designed to fit in with the current freight train paths. There are also proposals to raise the speed limits and extend the passing loops at both ends of the line at Ashton and Pill to facilitate this timetable. A new, more robust signalling system is also detailed. I think that these proposals make complete operational sense under the circumstances.

The report certainly leaves no stone unturned and covers everything which would be required to introduce a frequent passenger service.

The downside of these proposals of course is that they will cost millions, probably around ^50 million. It is a real shame that these proposals were not considered back in 1999/2000 when the line was reopened to freight traffic.

The costs would then have been a fraction of what is detailed in the Network Rail Grip Report.

Having considered all of this I still think that the Government and the relevant councils should commit to investing in this project.

It will eventually bear fruit in the same way that passenger numbers on the Severn Beach line have increased by 90 per cent.

Bernard Kennedy,

ASLEF Bristol Branch Secretary


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on November 01, 2011, 12:08:27 pm
http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/Major-blow-rail-link-funding-Portishead/story-13721833-detail/story.html

Oops ...  the path to a proper rail service is paved with setbacks to be overcome  :-\


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: anthony215 on November 01, 2011, 07:46:29 pm
This set back is a shame but hopefully  this campaign will get some good fortune.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: anthony215 on November 04, 2011, 01:42:28 pm
Just read this online:

http://travelplus.org.uk/public-transport/train/woe-rail-conference-and-tour-nov-2011

Possibility of a special Visiting the line up as far as Pil/Portbury and teh Henbury loop lines after 4pm this evening


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: the void on November 04, 2011, 02:08:33 pm
it has just set off... 2Z50 150246

Schedule

BrstlTM  Bristol Temple Meads   14:04   14:03  1 early  (Down)                 
BrstlWJ  Bristol West Jn.  Pass  14:05                 
ParsnSt  Parson Street  Pass  14:09         
Ashjn  Ashton Junction  14:12  14:20               
Ptbrlop  Portbury Dock Stop Board  14:36  14:47             
Ashj335  Ashton Jn Signal B335  15:05  15:07                   
Ashjn  Ashton Junction  Pass  15:09             
ParsnSt  Parson Street  Pass  15:10           
BrstlWJ  Bristol West Jn.  Pass  15:12             
BrstlTM  Bristol Temple Meads  Pass  15:13       
BrstlEJ  Bristol East Jn  Pass  15:14               
DrDaysJ  Dr Day's Jn  Pass  15:14^                 
Stplnar  Narroways Hill Jn  Pass  15:16           
Filtnew  Filton Abbey Wood  Pass  15:19           
FiltnWJ  Filton West Jn  Pass  15:22                 
HlnMJn  Hallen Marsh Jn  Pass  15:32           
SadwJn  St Andrews Jn (Avon)  Pass  15:37^               
Avonmth  Avonmouth  15:39  15:40               
ClfDown  Clifton Down  Pass  15:50     
Stplnar  Narroways Hill Jn  Pass  15:55                 
DrDaysJ  Dr Day's Jn  Pass  15:57     
BrstlEJ  Bristol East Jn  Pass  16:01               
BrstlTM  Bristol Temple Meads  16:02               


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: devon_metro on November 05, 2011, 12:00:57 am
Was featured on tonights BBC Points West.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Sion Bretton on November 05, 2011, 01:23:20 am
I was on this train alone with about 70+ a very interesting trip


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on November 05, 2011, 04:42:19 am
So, what was the consensus on priorities at the end of the day? We often hear that these meetings take place but rarely, if ever get feedback from them


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on November 05, 2011, 12:19:27 pm
From the Bristol Evening Post (http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/future-putting-Bristol-Metro-right-track/story-13763570-detail/story.html):

Quote
Back to the future . . . putting the Bristol Metro on the right track

It was a journey that took us back in time in order to give us a glimpse of the future ^ a future in which the dream of a "Bristol Metro" seemed almost tangible.

It was an elaborate gesture from rail operator First Great Western, as they chartered a passenger train yesterday to travel on some of the city's historic branch lines, which have not carried passengers for almost half a century.

For the eclectic crowd of local politicians, media and rail enthusiasts and campaigners, it was an extraordinary opportunity for developing momentum ^ and a "rail conference" with a real difference.

It would allow guests to travel along lines they may once have believed had been consigned to the history books but, as yesterday's journey proved, could once again be revived for public use.

The magical mystery tour in a small, two-carriage diesel train, was ultimately an elaborate way for rail operator First Great Western to get behind plans for a Bristol Metro network.

In June the Evening Post called for an Integrated Transport Authority (ITA) to be created for the Greater Bristol region, which would be able to co-ordinate the redevelopment of the branch lines.

We appealed to the four local authorities in the former Avon area to work more closely to bring about an ITA which would also be able to co-ordinate greater integration with park and rides, bus and ferry services, and also have the power to provide new rolling stock, so the Bristol area would no longer have to put up with "hand-me-down" carriages from other cities.

At the core of the proposals would be the reopening of a network of abandoned branch lines across the city ^ many of which were the victims of Dr Beeching's infamous swingeing cuts of the 1960s.

Railway stations across Greater Bristol that have been disused for more than half a century could be given a new lease of life, from Ashton Gate to St Anne's Park; Thornbury to Henbury.

Lines such as the long-lamented Portishead line, which closed to passenger trains in 1964, the Avonmouth line and the Henbury loop line would all be reopened under the proposals.

Yesterday's historic journey took us along the Portishead line, along sections of the Avonmouth line, and around the Henbury loop line.

Among those on board keen to marvel at the journey was managing director of First Great Western, Mark Hopwood.

"Today is all about demonstrating that there are many rail lines here in Bristol that are really not a million miles away from being redeveloped as passenger lines.

"As a company we have always looked to the future, and we have always been keen to work with communities for new and better transport developments.

"A system like this, which would make use of existing branch lines, would be a cost-effective and a relatively quick way of encouraging people out of their cars; taking some of the pressure off the road system in and around the city. In local transport terms this is a very elegant solution, and we just need to make the case clear to Government, to make sure suitable funding can be secured."

The stunt comes in the same week that plans to reopen the Portishead rail line suffered a set-back after a bid for ^43 million of Government funding for the project was turned down.

North Somerset Council vowed to continue to work with Network Rail on its Guide to Rail Investment Project (GRIP) studies on the feasibility of reopening the railway and look at other possible funding streams.

Colin Medus, head of highways and transport for North Somerset Council, was among those enjoying yesterday's journey.

"It was a knock-back, but it's not the end of the world," he said.

"I believe we didn't get the Regional Growth Money because we couldn't prove that enough jobs would be directly created by the scheme ^ although by reinvigorating this entire transport link, it's hard to estimate the massive effect it would have on indirect jobs."

Julian Crow, First Great Western manager for the West of England, said the funding refusal was "not the end of the world".

"This event today will hopefully demonstrate the potential effectiveness of these lines, not only to local councils and campaigners, who don't need convincing, but also to the representatives from the Department of Transport and Network Rail, who have come along today.

"We're at the beginning of a long journey with this one ^ but we believe the dream of a Bristol Metro network really can be achieved."

Inspiration for the redevelopment of the branch lines came in response to the success of the Severn Beach line, which has seen an increase in the frequency of weekday trains and a Sunday service, after a successful campaign by the Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways (FOSBR).

In the first three months, the reinvigorated line saw 27 per cent more passengers using the service. If similar district branch lines were reborn, it is believed the change could radically improve congestion on the city's roads.

Rob Dixon, of FOSBR, said he was encouraged by yesterday's "travelling conference".

"It was fantastic," he said. "We were hearing lots of really positive things from lots of different people who have serious influence in these matters. Apart from that, as a rail enthusiast, simply to be able to travel on these historic lines has been incredibly exciting."

The journey took us out of Bristol Temple Meads, past the existing Bedminster and Parson Street stations, and on to the Portishead line.

Moments later we were creeping through the almost mythical-seeming Ashton Gate station, which once would have echoed to thousands of football fans each Saturday.

Then it was on past the ghosts of Pill station and Portbury station, where hardly anything is left to be seen of their once busy platforms.

But it was later, as we looped back through the north of the city, and travelled into the ivy-covered Henbury station that the nostalgia truly began to kick in onboard.

"It's really quite an experience to see that," said Daniel Casey, rail campaigner for FOSBR.

"I think this sort of event brings some of the railways' magic back into what could seem like a dry subject. I hope it will really encourage greater momentum and get things moving."

Julia Dean, of the West of England Partnership, said: "Apart from anything else, cramming all these different interested parties into a couple of small train carriages is a way of forcing everybody to fight out their differences.

"Everybody here is behind the idea of injecting new life into these lines ^ it has to now be about making sure we're all pulling in the same direction in order to make it happen."

Meanwhile, today more than 40 Saltford residents will set out from the village's disused railway station to hand every household in the village a leaflet and ask if everyone over the age of 16 in each home would sign a petition supporting the reopening of the station, which closed in 1970.

The petition will be open until early December. For details, visit www.saltfordenvironmentgroup.org.uk


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Super Guard on November 05, 2011, 01:07:28 pm
I love the way that any positive move that FGW try and make is just reduced to a "stunt"  ::)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: anthony215 on November 05, 2011, 02:39:34 pm
Praise  has to be given to everyone campiagning to get this line re-opened.

Maybe perhaps FGW could put in their bid for the GW franchise that they would pay for the portishead to be re-opened if they get a long enough franchise, somthing similar to the current Chiltern franchise.

Hopefully we will get to see the Portishead line re-opened.  I know there was along campaign for more trains on the fishguard line which has now paid off and it seems the locals etc are making use of the new train service with Fisguard & goodwick station re-opening in early 2012.

I personally see the Portishead line being an imediate sucess,  the council's etc  just need to take a look at how sucessful the Ebbw Vale line  has been and the current Fishguard trial services.

 In fact the WG are brining back the railink bus between Newport & Rogerstone although it will run direct between the 2 instead of the longish route it went before according to local press in Newport


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Super Guard on November 08, 2011, 12:12:39 pm
I agree, I have family that lives in Pill and children attend Portishead and it's a knightmare and that is before they attempt to get to Bristol city centre.

It would be a success no doubt passenger number wise - whether the fare cost versus investment cost make it a no-brainer too obviously is an issue.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: inspector_blakey on November 08, 2011, 03:17:33 pm
Used to live just off the A369 and commute to a job in Bristol by bus during school/college holidays...bit of a nightmare, and that was at the quiet times of year.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on November 09, 2011, 07:37:09 pm
It may be of interest to note that the main road in Portishead (Nore Road) has been shut for resurfacing for the last 10 days with no bus service along it. This has meant real hardship for local residents as First are only running their buses up to the highest part of town. I don't how pensioners are meant to manage when the ONLY shops are over a mile away down in the High Street and the ONLY buses 350 feet up on the hill.
If Portishead station was open we might be able to walk down to there and at least  catch a train into Bristol. Needless to say my emails to local councillors and First have been ignored.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on December 20, 2011, 06:41:45 am


Portishead rail link signals are encouraging, says North Somerset MP Liam Fox


.

Monday, December 19, 2011



North Somerset MP Liam Fox has said he believes work on the Portishead passenger rail link could begin by 2015.

The Conservative MP said that a string of recent high-profile Government announcements, including Bristol^s new rapid transit scheme, had pushed the project up the queue.




 ​

 Chris Grayling MP and Liam Fox MP by the remains of the rail link

.
This had made a ^fundamental difference^ to the prospect of bringing the line linking the North Somerset town to Bristol, which last took regular passenger trains in 1964, back into service, he said.

Dr Fox said: ^For the first time in a long time, we now have a reasonable hope that we will see building begin on the Portishead rail link before the end of 2015. It^s very good news. People have worked long and hard for this, and I think that we know have a realistic chance of success in a reasonable time frame.^

His optimism stems from a meeting he attended alongside North Somerset Council leader Nigel Ashton with Transport Minister Norman Baker at Westminster.

He said: ^Nigel and I met Norman Baker, and he was very clear. Because the Government is giving greater priority to capital projects, medium-sized projects will be pushed further up the agenda. So we will be able to be considered in 2013. We got the strong impression from the minister that the Government would look strongly on the Portishead case.

^We said we would go away and try to build a consensus and a more detailed business case.^

Mr Baker said that as no bid for the Portishead link had been submitted by May 2010, ^the shutters had come down^ for it to be among the next tranche of projects to be considered.

But he added: ^It was a constructive meeting, and I am probably sympathetic to what they are saying. I agree we need to find a way to deal with these medium sized rail schemes ^ I quite agree with that.^

Last weekend Dr Fox met representatives of the Portishead Rail group, and councillor Ashton, at his North Somerset home. They agreed to prepare a ^prospectus^ to present to private companies to persuade them to invest.

Passenger train services from Portishead to Bristol were cut in 1964, although the line to Portbury Dock was reopened in 2002 for freight trains only.

But the goods line is mainly single track and in order to accommodate both freight and passenger trains in both directions there would need to be major works to upgrade existing track and complete the line into Portishead town centre.

It is hoped that the bid will be able to lever in private cash by involving the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership.

Campaigners intend to finalise their case by the time the Great Western rail franchise is put out to tender, hoping it will be incorporated into the new package.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on December 20, 2011, 08:21:55 am
He said: ^Nigel and I met Norman Baker, and he was very clear. Because the Government is giving greater priority to capital projects, medium-sized projects will be pushed further up the agenda. So we will be able to be considered in 2013. We got the strong impression from the minister that the Government would look strongly on the Portishead case.

Such things are good news ... and should help establish a positive glow for Dr Fox in Portishead prior to the 2015 general election.  The tragedy of giving greater priority to capital projects, though, is to reduce seeding funds to support the operation of new and strengthened services in places where the capital has already been spent on providing a perfectly usable railway, but with a lack of services at the times they're needed, or a lack of enough carriages on those trains.  Even with the extra carriages now feeding through, there remain significant issues.

I do hope that the restored service that Portishead gets just after the next election, held in a euphoric blaze of hope a the line is rebuilt, doesn't turn out to be twice daily - from Temple Meads at 06:15 and 18:45, returning from Portishead at 07:05 and 19:35, because that's the only time that a train can be found to run the service.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: anthony215 on January 26, 2012, 12:57:57 pm
Just seen this article online:

http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/Henbury-Portishead-rail-lines-open-5-years/story-15038048-detail/story.html



Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on January 26, 2012, 04:06:04 pm
As one of the comments says, why give an article like that such a headline, when clearly it is far from definite?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: eightf48544 on January 26, 2012, 04:06:31 pm
Don't be so bitter Grahame just think there will be lots of 26 year old Turbos available after 2016 when the TV gets 28 year old 319s to replace them.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on January 26, 2012, 05:45:59 pm
Don't be so bitter Grahame just think there will be lots of 26 year old Turbos available after 2016 when the TV gets 28 year old 319s to replace them.

I'll give you cynical and cautionary ... but I certainly did not intend to come across as bitter - sorry if it read that way.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: eightf48544 on January 26, 2012, 06:55:35 pm
Don't worry I think you and all potential Melksham passengers have a right to be bitter.

There you were with a reasonably usuable service and good passenger growth only to have it snatched away with the stroke of pen. For no good reason that I can fathom.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: XPT on January 26, 2012, 10:18:20 pm
http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/Henbury-Portishead-rail-lines-open-5-years/story-15038048-detail/story.html

Quote
TRAINS could be running on the Portishead railway line again within five years.

That is the view of a rail industry insider who says plans to reopen the line from Bristol Temple Meads to the North Somerset town are already at an advanced stage.

The expert, who has asked to remain anonymous, believes the reopening of both the Portishead and Henbury Loop lines will be included in the new franchise agreement for the Great Western rail network.

This means the rail operator which takes over the running of the franchise next year will be obliged to run trains on both lines to meet the terms of their contract.

It is understood Portishead's railway station would be built on the site of the former station yard next door to the town's Waitrose supermarket.

The only major stumbling block is Quays Avenue, a road which intersects the line just before it reaches the proposed station. It is understood this could be overcome by either creating a level crossing or building a road bridge.

The terms of the Great Western franchise will be published in April or May.

The railway industry insider said the Department for Transport was responsible for choosing whether or not the reopening of the line should be included as part of the franchise agreement.

He said the Government was keen to see a rail operator bear the cost of reopening the line, rather than see it met by the public purse.

The insider said planning for reopening of the line was carried out years ago ^ right down to working out a timetable for the Portishead service. But he said a question mark had always remained over who would foot the bill for the project.

He said: "We firmly believe the Portishead and Henbury lines will be returned into the new franchise agreement. It's the Government's intention that the franchisee funds the reopening.

"In April or May, when the main invitation tender document is published, there will be an awful lot more detail.

"I've seen documents about the Portishead line for the last three years, including a full timetable. The problem has always been government departments arguing over who will pay for it.

"There's a lot of work going on behind the scenes trying to get these projects through.

"Reopening the Portishead line is easy to do. It would be a massive success and it would be a bonus for Bristol.

"The tracks are still there and the only issue would be crossing Quays Avenue. From the railway point of view, we don't like having level crossings. The best approach might be a bridge."

As well as the Portishead and Henbury lines, the source said he believed Henbury and Hallen stations would reopen, two extra lines of track would be added at Filton Bank by 2018, and a half-hourly Bristol Metro service would run between Yate and Weston-super- Mare.

He said a shuttle rail service could be set up between Henbury station and the Mall at Cribbs Causeway.

The insider said: "I can see this happening, especially with all the traffic that builds up around Cribbs Causeway at weekends. With the airfield shutting, it will allow some sort of transport link to be built ^ that would be desirable.

"Saltford has a very good case for reopening ^ we know people are seriously looking at that, and Ashley Hill as well."

Earlier this month, the Evening Post reported that Bristol City Council had joined forces with local transport groups to campaign to bring a metro rail service to the city.

The ambition of Bristol Metro 2013 is to run trains to local stations ^ including reopened ones ^ from Temple Meads every 30 minutes.

Those behind the campaign want whichever company that takes over the running of the Great Western rail network next year to include the improvements to local services.

Until March, the government is carrying out consultations on what the new 15-year franchise should include.

Campaigners want to convince transport companies that are likely to go for the franchise to include the Bristol Metro in their bid, and to convince the government that local improvements should be included in their list of requirements for the successful bidder.

First Great Western has already announced its intention to re-bid for the franchise, despite calling time on the existing contract early last year. In the process it avoided having to pay ^800 million to the government thanks to a get-out clause included in their original 10-year deal.

There are dozens of other rail operators across the country that could potentially bid for the franchise but the list of bidders is not due to be revealed until May.

Last month North Somerset MP Liam Fox said he believed work on the Portishead passenger rail link could begin by 2015.

His optimism stemmed from a meeting he attended alongside North Somerset Council leader Nigel Ashton with Transport Minister Norman Baker at Westminster.

Passenger services from Portishead to Bristol were cut in 1964, although the line to Portbury Dock reopened in 2002 for freight trains only.


Personally, I'll only believe it when I see it!

As for Saltford station re-opening, I remember watching a Driver's Eye View video where in the commentary it said "Saltford station closed here in 1964.  Future re-instatement is on the cards.".  That programme was made back in 1993!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: inspector_blakey on January 26, 2012, 10:28:25 pm
http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/Henbury-Portishead-rail-lines-open-5-years/story-15038048-detail/story.html

Quote
The only major stumbling block is Quays Avenue, a road which intersects the line just before it reaches the proposed station. It is understood this could be overcome by either creating a level crossing or building a road bridge.

No sh!t, Sherlock! The award for "most bleeding obvious statement of 2012 so far" goes to...

Well, I suppose the other option is that they could tunnel under the railway. Or maybe a transporter bridge.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on March 11, 2012, 09:02:28 pm
From the Western Daily Press (http://www.thisissomerset.co.uk/Reopening-Portishead-rail-line-passenger-trains/story-15488931-detail/story.html):

Quote
Reopening Portishead rail line for passenger trains could cost ^33m

The first phase of improvements in the biggest railway campaign in the West Country would cost ^40 million, it has been claimed.

Most of that sum ^ around ^33 million ^ would go on reopening the Portishead rail line for passenger trains. The rest would be spent on doubling the track at Filton Bank and adding an extra service between Bristol and Bath.

The Greater Bristol Metro campaign was officially launched last month by the West of England Partnership, the body that represents the four local authorities in the area. They are lobbying the Government and transport companies to include a raft of local rail improvements when the Great Western rail franchise is re-appointed next year.

The Department for Transport is currently consulting on what should be included in the new, 15-year contract.

Rail consultants Halcrow have produced a two-phase plan for the improvements, and gave a presentation to partnership members at a meeting this week.

Project manager David Crockett and rail operations specialist Graeme Pollard gave estimated costs for the various proposals, and explained why certain parts were given priority over others. Providing four tracks at Filton Bank is the first step, Mr Crockett said, as it allowed other improvements to follow suit.

He said: ^It^s the key pinch point, the bottle neck on the whole system. If you don^t have Filton Bank you don^t have very much at all. It gives us capacity, but it doesn^t actually buy any services.^

Mr Pollard said the area^s railways were being held back by changes that had been made in the past ^ such as closing stations and reducing track.

The main part of phase one improvements was the reopening of the Portishead to Bristol rail line. Although various figures have been quoted over the years, Halcrow estimate it would cost ^32.9 million, including ^25 million for the track and ^7.75 million for new stations at Portishead and Pill.

Providing an extra service between Temple Meads and Bath would cost ^2.76 million because there is currently no ability for trains to turn back at Bath Spa station.

Phase one also includes an enhanced service on the Severn Beach line. The last part of phase one would see one extra train an hour stopping at Parson Street by using the Cardiff to Taunton train.

Phase two prioritises the reopening of the Henbury loop, a network of stations in the north of the city.

But, to the disappointment of transport campaigners, Halcrow^s proposal does not include the full loop yet.

The two new stations at Henbury and North Filton would cost ^21 million and provide links to the development at Filton Airfield.

Halcrow also put forward a ^station package^ of stops that could be re-opened if the business cases could be proven. This included Saltford, Ashton Gate, Corsham and Ashley Down. Mr Crockett said: ^We need to get the base level of service in first.^


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on April 10, 2012, 06:11:56 pm
Tunneling under the railway may not be as daft as it sounds at first. Look at St Lukes Road, Bedminster, where the road drops under the railway bridge. GRIP3 report suggests a road bridge over the railway, dropping rather sharply to a T-junction at the A369. The embankment to raise the road level will not go down well with the locals, even if it does get them a railway. I guess the final solution will have something to do with cost - is a rail bridge more expensive than a road bridge?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on May 13, 2012, 08:33:40 pm
From the Weston Mercury (http://www.thewestonmercury.co.uk/news/summer_rail_repairs_planned_1_1371394):

Quote
Summer rail repairs planned

Network Rail plans to replace or repair sections of the track which connects Portbury Docks with Bristol at Pill Tunnel and Pill Station.

Concerns have been raised that this work, which will keep the track at standards necessary for freight trains, will have been of little use if approval is soon given for the line to be upgraded for passenger trains between Portishead and Bristol.

However, a Network Rail spokesman has confirmed the work would need to be done even if the track was later upgrade and by carrying out the Government-funded scheme this summer, this will cut ^2million off the cost of reopening the line for passengers.

The spokesman said: ^This work needs to be done. By doing it now it means it won^t then need to be done later on. This means it will complement the scheme to reopen the track as a passenger line.^

Reopening the passenger line from Portishead to Bristol, which would require a new station in Portishead and intermediate stations in Pill and Ashton Gate, is expected to cost about ^50million.

North Somerset Council and Bristol City Council hope to make a case for Government funding for the project at the next opportunity.

The recently-formed Greater Bristol Metro Rail Group is also campaigning for its creation to be included in the requirements set out to whichever company takes on the Great Western Rail franchise, which will run from April 2013.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on May 14, 2012, 04:28:46 pm
Presumably, this is to fix the drainage problem. I love the figures quoted though - is it ^33 million or ^50 million to Portishead? And I can't see Filton Bank being quadrupled for ^7 million, really.

Still, good news!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on July 16, 2012, 06:42:59 pm
Big update - see http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=551.msg114547#msg114547 (http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=551.msg114547#msg114547)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: centralman on August 31, 2012, 10:59:02 pm
Just to say FGW are running trains down the portbury part of the line on the 29th September during the Community Rail Festival :)

http://www.fgwevents.co.uk/communityrailfestival/

5 trains, booking in advance only and only the first 100 people will get on.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on September 01, 2012, 12:12:48 am
Thanks for helping to publicise this, centralman.  ;)

See also http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=11167.0  ;D


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: ACE on September 19, 2012, 04:59:53 pm
Just to say FGW are running trains down the portbury part of the line on the 29th September during the Community Rail Festival :)

http://www.fgwevents.co.uk/communityrailfestival/

5 trains, booking in advance only and only the first 100 people will get on.
Was Going but...
A comedy of errors...
Applied for two tickets for the 11.08, got a reply saying 'all tickets had gone', shame
Then got another email from 'Vicky Cropper' at FGW saying that an extra coach had been added (assuming it's a 153) and that i had then been successful, tickets would be with the lucky applicants by last Friday...they never arrived, also received another email from 'V.C' at FGW saying there was a print error on the tickets and to bring them to the gates on platform 8 and it would be sorted so all that were booked could catch the respective trains on the day...How can I do that when I didn't get my tickets??? Emailed her back with my 'problem', received an email saying 'she is now on holiday' and to contact someone else.
I have now given up and will go to Bodmin Railway Diesel Running day on the 29th instead
Therefore , FGW, thanks for nothing basically...wonderful P.R...NOT
But good luck to all who will enjoy the day and trips


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on September 19, 2012, 11:24:27 pm
I was down Pill way recently, garlic and crucifix close to hand just in case, and had a quick butchers at the station. Last time I was there was a few months back, and the disused southernmost platform was piled high with ballast. It isn't now:
(http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/Boyamijealous_7108a707/Pill/Pillstation.jpg)

Is this to do with the tunnel works?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on January 18, 2013, 11:31:24 pm
From the Western Daily Press (http://www.thisissomerset.co.uk/MP-Liam-Fox-signals-Portishead-railway-line/story-17894468-detail/story.html):

Quote
MP Liam Fox signals Portishead railway line return is on the cards

Fifty years after the infamous Beeching Report signalled its closure, the clearest sign yet that Portishead will once again get a railway line has emerged.

Dr Liam Fox, the former defence secretary and Conservative MP for North Somerset, has revealed he is more hopeful than ever before that the rail line to the fast-growing North Somerset town will reopen by 2017.

(http://www.thisissomerset.co.uk/images/localpeople/ugc-images/275793/Article/images/17894468/4488395.jpg)
Liam Fox on the disused rail line at Portishead with former Tory transport spokesman Chris Grayling

Portishead lost its rail line in September 1964 as a consequence of a review into the viability of Britain^s loss-making branch railways by Dr Richard Beeching. Almost ever since there have been campaigns to restore it, but finally ^ it seems ^ the project just might be making headway.

Dr Fox said he has been talking to government ministers and said he is more ^upbeat than on any previous time^ about the prospect of seeing trains running to Portishead once again.

The move has come just weeks after Network Rail, the organisation which operates train tracks across the country, said that the line is a part of its business plan for the next five years. Dr Fox took part in a meeting with Transport Minister Simon Burns along with rail campaigners from North Somerset.

He said: ^We were all very optimistic following the information that the minister was able to give us. I hope that we will now see trains running in 2017 and expect that we will get a definitive announcement on dates and funding in Parliament before the summer recess.^

Bristol^s new mayor has also been pushing for the line to be reopened as part of the plans for the Bristol Metro scheme. George Ferguson wants the rail network in the Bristol area to link up with the new Rapid Transit Network system.

Money would have to be spent on upgrading the track from Portbury Dock as it is not of a good enough standard to run passenger services. The track is currently only used by freight trains which carry coal and cars from Royal Portbury Dock to locations across the country. The track was reopened in the 1990s to freight and is capable of taking trains at speeds of up to 30mph, while passenger trains operate at speeds of up to 60mph. Further work will also have to be carried at the Pill tunnel to improve drainage.

Long-time transport campaigner David Redgewell said: ^I would say that the signs coming out of central Government are looking very promising at the moment.^


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on January 19, 2013, 03:59:01 pm
Slightly more detail on the same story in the Bristol Post: (http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/MP-Liam-Fox-signals-high-hopes-Portishead-rail/story-17890991-detail/story.html)

Quote
MP Liam Fox signals high hopes for Portishead rail line return

THE clearest sign yet that Portishead is to get its long-awaited rail link within the next four years has come from a former Government minister.

Dr Liam Fox, the Conservative MP for North Somerset, has revealed he is more hopeful than ever before that the rail line to Portishead will reopen by 2017.
 ​
The former Defence Secretary said he has been talking to government ministers and said he is more "upbeat than on any previous time" about the prospect of seeing trains running to Portishead once again.

The move has come just weeks after Network Rail, the organisation which operates train tracks across the country, said that the line is a part of its business plan for the next five years.

Dr Fox took part in a meeting with Transport Minister Simon Burns along with rail campaigners from North Somerset.

He said: "We were all very optimistic following the information that the Minister was able to give us.

" I hope that we will now see trains running in 2017 and expect that we will get a definitive announcement on dates and funding in Parliament before the summer recess."

Dr Fox went on to say that the efforts of Portishead Railway Group, North Somerset Council and the hundreds of local residents have helped in the campaign to get the line reinstated.

Bristol's new mayor has also been pushing for the line to be reopened as part of the plans for the Bristol Metro scheme. George Ferguson wants the rail network in the Bristol area to link up with the new Rapid Transit Network system.

People living in Portishead have been campaigning for more than a decade to get the line reopened to passenger trains.

Money would have to be spent on upgrading the six-mile section of the track from Portbury Dock as it is not of a good enough standard to run passenger services.

The track is currently only used by freight trains which carry coal and cars from Royal Portbury Dock to locations across the country.

The track was reopened in the 1990s to freight and is capable of taking trains at speeds of up to 30mph, while passenger trains operate at speeds of up to 60mph.

The existing track could be used, but major realignment work would be needed and some new lines would have to be laid. Further work will also have to be carried at the Pill tunnel to improve drainage and lines.

Long-time transport campaigner David Redgewell said: "I would say that the signs coming out of central Government and the Ministry of Transport are looking very promising at the moment.

"This is a key part of the Bristol Metro and something we have been campaigning for for a very long time. As I said, all the signals are looking very promising at the moment."

There is some concern that the process will be held up by the uncertainty surrounding the bidding for the rail franchise. The bidding was put on hold following the scandal surrounding the West Coast Main Line and major mistakes made at the Department for Transport. The issue was supposed to be settled in March but there are suggestions that First Great Western, which currently operates the franchise, will carry on for another two years.

A spokesperson for the rail operator said: "We are very pleased that the support for Bristol Metro continues to gain support and momentum from the Government.

"We are continuing to work with all the authorities to move the plans forward."

The first phase of the long-awaited Greater Bristol Metro is expected to be opened in 2017 and would include the reopening of the Portishead line to passenger services and half-hourly trains on the Severn Beach line.

Phase Two of the Metro, which will provide local train services in the Bristol area, is not likely to be completed until 2018/21.

It includes half-hourly services to Yate and provides new services on the Henbury line.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: swrural on January 19, 2013, 06:55:24 pm
It read like a PPB to me.  All around the country I am reading in local press releases about local MPs and the like all claiming that NR's announced plans are solely or chiefly down to their efforts  ('I've been pressing this at the highest level') .   :(

Dave Redgewell gave the right diplomatic quote.  Just say you are grateful and spur them on while the going's good.

Forgive this old cynic but I know how the local party agents work.  I expect some of you do too.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on January 21, 2013, 05:38:56 pm
It read like a PPB to me.  All around the country I am reading in local press releases about local MP's and the like all claiming that NR's announced plans are solely or chiefly down to their efforts  ('I've been pressing this at the highest level') .   :(


I tend to agree with you, swrural. "The highest level" is presumably the Prime Minister, unless he has the ear of the queen. In terms of national spending, this is a relatively minor project, and it is frustrating that so much gets said and so little done. Having a fairly senior MP and former minister banging on about it from time to time is probably necessary, though, lest poor old Posset be forgotten. I am sure Dr Fox will not be slow to claim the credit when it happens.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on January 21, 2013, 09:20:59 pm
To be fair, Dr Liam Fox MP has been a far more active and consistent supporter of the Portishead Line reopening campaign than certain members of North Somerset Council ...  ::)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on January 21, 2013, 10:06:11 pm
To be fair, Dr Liam Fox MP has been a far more active and consistent supporter of the Portishead Line reopening campaign than certain members of North Somerset Council ...  ::)

The Elfan in the room? I'm aware that Dr Liam has done what he can to keep the pot boiling


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on January 21, 2013, 10:13:55 pm
The Elfan in the room?

"You may very well think that: I couldn't possibly comment."  (Francis Urquhart (http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0030397/quotes))  ;) :D ;D


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on January 21, 2013, 10:17:49 pm
Beaten to it.

I was in the process of replying along the lines that I was fairly sure CfN would respond in the style of Francis Urquhart.

And so it came to pass!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on January 21, 2013, 10:27:22 pm

"You may very well think that: I couldn't possibly comment."  (Francis Urquhart (http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0030397/quotes))  ;) :D ;D
;D


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on February 01, 2013, 04:41:46 pm
From the North Somerset Times


Train link excitement mounts

Tracey Fowler, Reporter Thursday, January 31, 2013
9:00 AM

STEAM engines and a brass band will accompany the first passenger trains to run out of Portishead for 53 years.

..
These are just some of the plans already under way in anticipation of trains operating on the re-opened Portishead to Bristol line in April 2017 - 150 years after the station first opened.

Following a meeting in December between North Somerset MP Dr Liam Fox, members of the Portishead Railway Group and transport minister Simon Burns, Dr Fox said he felt more ^upbeat than at any previous time^ about the prospect of seeing trains running to and from Portishead.

He said: ^The information the minister gave us left us all feeling very optimistic and I expect we will get a definitive announcement on dates and funding in parliament before the summer recess.^

A report is expected to be issued by North Somerset Council within days, asking the council^s executive to agree to spending money on the development of the line, which is included in phase one of the proposed Bristol Metro rail project.

Work clearing the Portishead track could begin within weeks, ahead of the nesting season, to allow further surveys to take place on the line.

Bristol^s mayor George Ferguson has recommended the city council approves its share of the funding for the first phase and the other two authorities that make up the West of England Partnership, an organisation formed to respond to joint opportunities and challenges including transport, are expected to follow.



If this happens, re-opening the line will be one of the projects put forward to Government ministers during the spring. If successful, it would receive Government backing before the autumn.

Portishead Railway group confirmed this is exciting news.

Vice chairman Colin Howells said: ^After more than 12 years of campaigning, Portishead Railway Group now believes the re-opening of the Portishead to Bristol railway line is in sight.

^It appears decisions are being made both nationally and locally which, when progressed, should see trains running on the line by 2017. This would coincide with the 150th anniversary of trains first running on the track.^

Passenger services out of Portishead began on April 18, 1867.

To keep up to date with the progress of the Portishead railway campaign visit www.portisheadrailwaygroup.org


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on February 06, 2013, 10:38:26 pm
Exciting indeed! In another place (http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=1524711&page=5), I said that clearance of vegetation would be a solid sign of progress. If it isn't done by the end of March, though, then it cannot be done until October. Network Rail, or their agents, will want first of all to look at te old rail, some of it more than a century old, to see if it is sufficiently robust to allow use of it by construction trains. If it is, that would be a huge plus as a single train of empty wagons could accomplish as much by way of clearance as a fleet of lorries. According to the Halcrow report which forms the GRIP3 report  (http://travelplus.org.uk/media/195003/portishead%20grip%203%20volume%201.pdf)for the project, drainage will be assessed, and full engineering drawings can be made after clearance.

There is a fair bit of vegetation down there, as the pictures I took some months back show:

(http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/Boyamijealous_7108a707/Portishead/PortburyWharfbridge.jpg)
at the bridge near Portbury Wharf, and:

(http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/Boyamijealous_7108a707/Portishead/AwayfromPortburyStation.jpg)
looking back towards Sheepway. A good day's work for a good man with a strimmer!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on March 09, 2013, 06:26:12 pm
Clearing the vegetation has started at the Quays Avenue end of the line this week, as highlighted in the North Somerset Times.

North Somerset have produced a very clear consultation document regarding the site of the new station. You can access it here 

http://www.nsomerset.gov.uk/Environment/Planning+policy/Local+Development+Framework/Sites+and+Policies+Development+Plan+Document.htm.

 and I urge anyone with an interest to have their say. With NR very reluctant to build new level crossings a road over rail bridge is being considered at Quays Avenue, along with alternatives sites where the vegetation is being cleared or further on down the line making it more of a Portishead Parkway.

In my opinion the Waitrose site would still be the best option if there was a level crossing but I think the road over rail bridge would be a real blot on the landscape especially for the residents of Haven View who would probably be looking at the equivalent of the infamous Temple Meads flyover right outside their lounge windows...not to mention all the expense and disruption caused to everyone else, by taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut. I think NR should be persuaded to back down on their no new level crossings ruling, failing which Option 2 is by far the best option compared to the Parkway idea.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: ellendune on March 09, 2013, 06:31:15 pm
Link does not work


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on March 09, 2013, 06:33:44 pm
Such a long link....the end got missed off !

Try this ..

http://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/Environment/Planning+policy/Local+Development+Framework/Sites+and+Policies+Development+Plan+Document.htm.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: swrural on March 09, 2013, 06:58:51 pm
Thanks, Chuffed, you have made some good points.  I'll contribute after studying the options, especially if I think I have discovered something special.  Meantime, do you not think that the old Modernisation '60s garage (then, 'new station') site was the only one where you could reasonably expect people from the old part of Portishead to walk or cycle to?  Even the Waitrose site always looked like a P and R to me.

Just as an initial thought, if the town had a frequent local shuttle bus to connect with the train, would it matter where the station site was?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on March 09, 2013, 07:03:29 pm
Thank you for that, hope the link works now.

I too had thought of your last comment....but how many times have we seen buses laid on to new stations only to be wthdrawn as soon as the numbers begin to drop ...think Ebbw Vale/ Rogerstone.. and then reinstated and dropped again .... ??? ???


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on March 09, 2013, 07:08:27 pm
The existing Waitrose/ Lidl car park was full to overflowing this morning thanks to a combination of Sat shoppers and free coffee at Waitrose, the once a month Farmers Market, and the 20 deep queues in the library for the new X2 and X3 bus timetables...which incidentally have the route map printly wrongly...Just where any new station parking is meant to fit in with that lot is anyone's guess !!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: trainer on March 09, 2013, 07:09:43 pm
At the risk of suffering the ire of chuffed, I note that it is not NR that has a rule about level crossings, but is a new Standard set by Her Majesty's (mispelt in the official document) Inspectorate of Railways.  I'm sure they are not without influence, but it means that no amount of campaigning will bring about a level crossing.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: ellendune on March 09, 2013, 07:22:27 pm
In my opinion the Waitrose site would still be the best option if there was a level crossing but I think the road over rail bridge would be a real blot on the landscape especially for the residents of Haven View who would probably be looking at the equivalent of the infamous Temple Meads flyover right outside their lounge windows...

I see your point. I presume the blue hatching on the map is showing Quay Ave realigned slightly to the west to reduce the impact.  I agree the Waitrose site would be the best.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: John R on March 09, 2013, 07:38:03 pm
At the risk of suffering the ire of chuffed, I note that it is not NR that has a rule about level crossings, but is a new Standard set by Her Majesty's (mispelt in the official document) Inspectorate of Railways.  I'm sure they are not without influence, but it means that no amount of campaigning will bring about a level crossing.
A good example of how the UK authorities gold plate safety (and other) requirements and then politicians complain that our railway costs more to build and maintain than the rest of Europe. Given the proximity of the road crossing to the terminus, trains could cross at a very low speed thus reducing risk to virtually nil. A sensible risk assessment would conclude that a crossing was the optimum balance of cost versus risk, but unfortunately we don't do things like that here.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: swrural on March 09, 2013, 07:55:23 pm
The existing Waitrose/ Lidl car park was full to overflowing this morning thanks to a combination of Sat shoppers and free coffee at Waitrose, the once a month Farmers Market, and the 20 deep queues in the library for the new X2 and X3 bus timetables...which incidentally have the route map printly wrongly...Just where any new station parking is meant to fit in with that lot is anyone's guess !!

So a multi-storey car park is required there for the, er, less voluntarily ambulant residents?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on March 09, 2013, 08:37:06 pm
This is good news. Work had to start this month, or we would be into the nesting season, and would have to wait until October. I saw in WEP's programme that there would be a "refresh" of the GRIP3 report. Why, I don't know, unless it is to take account of the drainage works in the Pill - Ham Green tunnel and the awful spectre of the Bust Rabid Transit bridge (or Greater Bristol Metrobus, as our new red-trousered Mayor now calls it).

I like the idea of moving Quays Avenue slightly to the left. A level crossing would have alarms and motors that would annoy the people living very close - a matter of a few metres - to the line. Although there has been a continuous campaign since before their homes were planned, and the trackbed has been owned by North Somerset Council, they still did not buy a home next to an active railway. Given the history of most other transport projects, they could be excused for thinking nothing would ever happen. A humpty-backed bridge at the crossing point (right by the roundabout sign)

(http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/Boyamijealous_7108a707/Portishead/QuaysAvenue.jpg)

would not be popular. Building the station east of Quays Avenue would significantly reduce the number of people who would choose to walk to the station to get the train, and I am sure NSDC want to avoid building a huge car park. Shuttle buses won't solve the problem so far as the nearby area goes, but will be very useful in bringing passengers from the far ends of Posset - Redcliffe Bay, Walton in Gordano and such like.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: trainer on March 09, 2013, 10:25:27 pm
OR - let's get radical here - we could have a tram/train not crossing but running along the road through the town centre right up to Redcliffe Bay.  I know someone who'd be chuffed buy that idea.  I know this is a fantasy, but Clevedon's twin German town of Ettlingen benefits from such a creature and who knows...one day.   ::)

In the mean time, I regret to say that Quays Road is the best practical option.



Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on March 10, 2013, 12:37:32 am
OR - let's get radical here - we could have a tram/train not crossing but running along the road through the town centre right up to Redcliffe Bay.  I know someone who'd be chuffed buy that idea.  I know this is a fantasy, but Clevedon's twin German town of Ettlingen benefits from such a creature and who knows...one day.   ::)

In the mean time, I regret to say that Quays Road is the best practical option.

I think it is one possible way forward, too, but not now. Let's have the heavy railway reopened ASAP! We have to go through the formality of the Yorkshire trial before looking at tram-train anywhere, to show that the model that has worked perfectly well in some European cities will work here as well. Without four-tracking from Temple Meads to Filton Bank, and electrification, it would not work economically anywhere in GB (Greater Bristol, that is).

That said, Norman Baker, our esteemed transport minister, is all for it. In the foreword to "Green Light for Light Rail" (http://assets.dft.gov.uk/publications/light-rail/green-light-for-light-rail.pdf) he tacks his colours to the mast. I would say "nailed" were the tenure of a transport minister measurable in decades, rather than months. Norman, or "Social Norm" as he is known to party-goers, sounds like he knows his stuff, but could, in the twinkling of an eye, be left with the brief for overseas development. Maybe we need an ITA for the UK.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on March 10, 2013, 12:43:05 pm
Wow.. a tram train running up Nore road and along the coast road completing the loop back through Walton in Gordano through the Gordano valley. What a tourist attraction that would be ! Shades of the old WC and P !!

The idea of a road over rail bridge at Quays Avenue seems more preposterous by the hour. The Railway Inspectorate should be told in no uncertain terms, regardless of their current policy that a level crossing is the only viable solution. It is not as if the trains will be moving much more than 10mph and with good visibilty for drivers either side of the tracks there really should not be a major problem!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on March 10, 2013, 09:39:23 pm
The most uplifting piece of news to date regarding the Portishead line, and therefore the Greater Bristol Metro Railway, reaches me, courtesy of the  North Somerset Times (http://www.northsomersettimes.co.uk/news/track_clearance_work_another_positive_step_1_1967216) (no, I didn't know either, but will sign up).

Quote
Track clearance work another ^positive step^

Tracey Fowler, Reporter
 Thursday, March 7, 2013
   
ACTIVITY on land designated for the Portishead to Bristol railway has indicated a positive step forward for the re-opening of the line.

Contractors have started clearance work on an area of the disused section of track close to Trinity Primary School, to give North Somerset Council access to the track bed and to bridges and culverts.

(http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/Boyamijealous_7108a707/track_clearance_zps5371d15c.jpg)

This will allow the authority to establish more details of the scope and estimated costs involved to support the railway project if it proceeds as expected.

Portishead Railway Group vice-chairman Colin Howells said: ^The work that is in progress to clear vegetation from the track from Quays Avenue through to the junction with the existing freight line near Pill, is essential to allow the next phase of the re-opening process to progress.

^Portishead Railway Group sees this as another positive step towards the ultimate goal of trains running on the track between Portishead and Bristol by 2017.^
 

The work could take several weeks to complete and is therefore likely to overlap into the bird nesting season. Because of this, contractors will work under the supervision of a qualified ecologist who will be on-site to ensure any work avoids nesting birds and other protected species.

Four councils have teamed up with local businesses to form the West of England Local Transport Body (LTB).

The body, which is responsible for setting priorities for major transport projects in the west, will meet on March 13 to set out its priorities.

To date, all parties are agreed that the priority should be phase one of the Greater Bristol Metro Project, which includes the Portishead to Bristol railway line.

Funding for much of this will come directly from the Government^s Department of Transport and is anticipated to be available in 2015.

Portishead Railway Group's website (http://www.portisheadrailwaygroup.org/) has a picture of the cleared bit. This work is presumably to enable the GRIP4  work to be done. It isn't the point of no return yet, but is exactly the step forward I have been looking out for.

Of course, there is always a step backwards in this area. North Somerset Council is asking for views (http://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/8FE5A326-64A7-4580-8681-D2FFC886F0B7/0/CNP_Emerging_proposals_leaflet.pdf) on the site of the station. The intention was always that it would be close to the site of the former station, behind the car park next to Lidl. Quays Avenue was built across the alignment:

(http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/Boyamijealous_7108a707/Portishead/QuaysAvenue.jpg)

with the tracks still in situ either side of the road, right by the roundabout sign. Houses were built, then level crossings fell out of fashion. So the council has identified three options:
1) Build in the originally preferred site in Harbour Road, with a humpty-back bridge over the track at Quays Avenue.
2) Build the station immediately by Quays Avenue, with a car park on the opposite side of Quays Avenue
3) Build the station to the north of Moor Farm, with a car park accessible from Sheepway

Each has its own problems. For option 1, there is the cost of the bridge and the physical intrusion of the structure, plus some rather tricky traffic management issues, like having a roundabout very close to the end of a bridge. For options 2 and 3, there is the distance from the town centre. The further that gets, the less likely passengers are to arrive on foot, or even to arrive at all. To my mind, the railway will achieve its aims more fully with a station at option 1, despite the extra outlay. I would like to think that a strong case could be made for a level crossing across Quays Avenue. Trains will not be overly frequent - half hourly each way to begin with - will not take long to pass, and will be running slowly, being so close to a dead-end station. Failing that, closure of Quays Avenue, with a footbridge over for pedestrians and cyclists, should be looked at. The diversion for motorists would not be excessive. Or if a bridge must be built, why not  take it off the Quays Avenue roundabout at an angle, and behind the small trading estate, rather than close to houses?

Google Maps (https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=moor+farm+portishead&hl=en&ll=51.483935,-2.758169&spn=0.006708,0.020428&client=opera&oe=utf-8&channel=suggest&hq=moor+farm&hnear=Portishead,+North+Somerset,+United+Kingdom&t=h&z=16) is helpful.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on March 10, 2013, 09:43:40 pm
I've realised that I have posted in this and the Bristol Connections threads, each of which is beginning to head in the same direction. Is there a case for asking the mods to merge the two?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on March 10, 2013, 09:57:14 pm
Hmm.  :-\

I'm rather more inclined, for the time being at least, to simply move your post and merge it here, as it relates specifically to the Portishead Line reopening.  ;)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: trainer on March 11, 2013, 02:07:04 pm
To be fair, Dr Liam Fox MP has been a far more active and consistent supporter of the Portishead Line reopening campaign than certain members of North Somerset Council ...  ::)

I wonder how Dr Fox's pronouncement today about cutting all public expenditure for five years would affect the re-opening of this line if the Chancellor did as he advised.  I agree he has said a lot of good things about this subject and even attended the proposed station site unveiling.  However, consistency also includes having policies that actually enable what you say you want to do.  It's a hard thing to be a good local MP while having eyes on the prize of becoming PM one day, methinks.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on March 11, 2013, 05:32:39 pm
I wonder how Dr Fox's pronouncement today about cutting all public expenditure for five years would affect the re-opening of this line if the Chancellor did as he advised. 

Surely, it would put it back for at least another 5 years. I can't see that he would have said it had he thought there was the slightest chance of the PM and Chancellor agreeing with him - it sounds more like "Hello! Remember me?" after Theresa May's non-election broadcasts of the past few days. I'm no John Maynard Keynes, but I would have thought a recession, with wages and interest rates low, would be the perfect time for an infrastructure project.

Dirty job, politics, but someone has to do it.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on March 12, 2013, 08:49:56 am
There are more photos of the track clearance on the Portishead railway group website. It looks as if this may well be updated on an almost daily basis.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on March 12, 2013, 08:53:22 am
Just before you get to the Portbury railway bridge, on the other side of the old station (now in private hands)  there is a platelayers brick hut hidden underneath about 20 years of brambles I should think. It will be interesting to see what emerges from the undergrowth.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on March 12, 2013, 05:23:58 pm
I took a picture from the Sheepway bridge last summer:

(http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/Boyamijealous_7108a707/Portishead/AwayfromPortburystation2.jpg)

By kind permission of Portishead Railway Group, here is a view from the same vantage point now:

(http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/Boyamijealous_7108a707/wp5ba3c7c6_06_zps2658e1d7.jpg)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on March 12, 2013, 07:39:38 pm
Hopefully in five or so years time that same vantage point will afford the view of a shiny Class 165 Turbo passing underneath the bridge...


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on March 12, 2013, 08:02:25 pm
Indeed, IndustryInsider!  ;D

Purely for the historic record, then: a few of my own pictures, taken from that very same vantage point, on the road bridge over the line at the old Portbury Station, a couple of years ago:

(http://img11.imageshack.us/img11/6675/004ta.jpg) (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/11/004ta.jpg/)

(http://img545.imageshack.us/img545/2518/010vnj.jpg) (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/545/010vnj.jpg/)

(http://img820.imageshack.us/img820/1313/007tulv.jpg) (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/820/007tulv.jpg/)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: anthony215 on March 12, 2013, 08:13:23 pm
Hopefully in five or so years time that same vantage point will afford the view of a shiny Class 165 Turbo passing underneath the bridge...

And in 15-20 years time we might see some overheard wiring and  a class 317/321 emu


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on March 13, 2013, 02:22:46 pm
Discussion about use of what will then be 50 year old EMUs continues at http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=12144.0 - separated off because it takes a more general look that just Portishead.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on March 13, 2013, 04:55:45 pm
Taken almost year after your picture (16 Sept 2012), this shows little if any change:

(http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/Boyamijealous_7108a707/Portishead/Portburystation.jpg)

I may be that way Friday, and will look around if I am.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: trainer on March 13, 2013, 08:04:13 pm
I've looked down on this scene (FTN's picture) over the past few years and wondered whether the re-instated railway will increase or decrease the value of this ex-station building.  Since the M4/A369 roar is constant, being only metres away, noise won't be an added issue, but D/EMU enthusiast might find it the perfect abode. They might fall over each other to acquire it.

Further up the line there is already controversy in Pill about the movement of coal and other freight trains since the Portbury Dock line was (re-)opened.  Poor old Portbury village (FTN's picture is of the old station) has been much put upon by new infrastructure over the years with mixed results for residents.  No new station is planned immediately, I think.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on March 13, 2013, 11:27:07 pm
I've looked down on this scene (FTN's picture) over the past few years and wondered whether the re-instated railway will increase or decrease the value of this ex-station building. 

Tricky one to answer. If there is an expert on property values in my household, it is Mrs FTN, and I have sought her counsel. She doesn't know either, but between us we feel the effect will be neutral on that property. Because:
a) As you rightly point out, the hum from the M5 is audible 24/7/365
b) The property is in Portbury, which is accessible only by foot over the M5 bridge without a drive
c) There is no prospect of a CPO to reopen Portbury station
d) The trains running through the back yard will be of no profit to the householder, who will have lost a safe haven for the cat, unless he she is a train buff

BUT:-
a) A train every half hour each way at a relative low speed is an interest rather than an imposition, and will guarantee no further homes being built at the bottom of the garden, where fairies currently reside
b) Although the station will not reopen, it will not be a long walk to the new Portishead station, with its projected 17 minutes journey time to Temple Meads, given that it can take that long to get across the M5 and into the queue at Abbots Leigh for Bedminster
c) A new rail link is now always seen as a plus by estate agents.
d) The reopening of the Portishead railway, although long overdue, has been long campaigned for, long anticipated, and long awaited. It was still used for freight until 1981, and was the subject of a campaign to reopen from the day in 1964 that the last scheduled passenger train ran. It can hardly have come as a bolt from the blue, especially given the many thousands of home built since, a number curtailed only by our glorious country's recent fiscal troubles.

Adding the good and subtracting the bad, I reckon the overall effect will be neutral, possibly slightly beneficial.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: trainer on March 14, 2013, 09:04:28 am
Thanks FTN.  An excellent and, as always, thoughtful reply.  You kindly don't draw attention to my misnumbering of a road I drive on every day!  I think you and Mrs FTN could have a future in Estate Agency.  ;)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: swrural on March 14, 2013, 03:59:48 pm
Indeed, compliments. 

If you look at what is left of Station Road on Google SV, the 369 bus is waiting patiently outside the front gate!

I don't know about not reopening the station.  The footbridge link is a great traffic free route for cyclists and peds in dear old Portbury to get on the train?

What amazes me is why no one planted a row of cypress all along the A369 between that and the M5 (is that why the bus is called 369?).


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on March 14, 2013, 04:13:50 pm
Indeed, compliments. 

What amazes me is why no one planted a row of cypress all along the A369 between that and the M5 (is that why the bus is called 369?).

I am obliged. It was the 369, and the Weston super Mare bus was the 370 when the buses were green, and I think for a time after. Certainly, the route numbers paid homage to the roads. In latter years, though, Portishead has been served (badly, some say) by the 357, 358, and 359. You have to move with the times though, and you have less than a fortnight to ride one of services, before they are replaced by the faster-sounding X2, X3, and the 23 (eh?). I think this is tied to Comic Relief, and is being done so that we can all laugh at puzzled passengers who don't get on. What chance of a fare rise?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on March 14, 2013, 04:20:22 pm
Where's this 369 bus on Google Street View? I've had a look at Station Road in Portishead and can't see it.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: swrural on March 14, 2013, 04:23:01 pm
I accessed mine through GE not GM, but I thought you ended up at the same place (??).  You need to go down from the bridge to the road junction before it suddenly appears, parked next to a very convenient bus shelter (see another sales advantage for those occupants of the station; it's always easier to catch a bus at its terminus)..


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on March 14, 2013, 04:57:04 pm
Ahaha. My apologies. I got a bit geographically confused. I was looking at Station Road in Portishead, not Station Road in Sheepway/Portbury. Found the errant bus now.  ;D

http://goo.gl/maps/0mBWM


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on March 14, 2013, 06:54:21 pm
To clear up any confusion ....

the bus should be showing 359...its on the A369

Not been double deckered for a few years now. They were the cast offs when First lost the Long Ashton P&R,and had spent their working lives entirely on the flat and when confronted with Avon Way in Portishead, the poor dears simply couldnt cope!

Were famous for having carpeted ceilings on the lower deck and dodgy welding on the chassis so you got your internal shower when aquaplaning along sheepway which is mostly below sea level !

The new x2 and x3 projected buses are said to be ALMOST new...so where have they been cascaded from ....? Hope we can at last see the end of weekend jaunts for the  despised  disablity unabled Dennis Darts!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on March 17, 2013, 06:17:46 pm
Is it time to challenge Network Rail's policy on 'no new level crossings ?

A response from a Mr L J Summerfield to the North Somerset consultataion on the 3 options for the site of Portishead station. I think he has made the points very well and I am sorry I could not contact him to ask permission to bring this to a wider audience.

Siting of Portishead Rail Station.

I have studied the recent ^Evidence Policy reference PH3 document^ regarding the potential siting of the Portishead Rail station and would like to comment as follows.

^ The site 3 at Moor gate is clearly a non starter and only just reaches the Portishead town border. Building new access roads and entering via Sheepway is unacceptable.

^ The site 2 at Quays avenue is a better solution but fails to address the fact that the station and car parking are on opposite sides of Quays avenue requiring 200 people to cross the road. Passengers who are late will run across the road and it will become a significant highway safety problem.

^ The best solution is site 1 at Waitrose which is at the best geographical location and central to the town. I acknowledge the problem for trains to cross Quays avenue but it is now time to challenge network rail on their policies regarding level crossings.

Network policies regarding level crossings.

In 2002 during my time as a Portbury Councillor I challenged the outline plans which showed Quays Avenue breaching the Rail line and suggested that a 106 agreement should be applied to provide funds for future opening of the rail track. Few other Councillors shared my concerns and felt that it was an easy solution requiring moderate funds to accomplish at the pre-requisite time.

In the following years Network rail suddenly declared that it was a company policy not to develop any new level crossings. Had this been known in 2002 the road layout in the vicinity of Quays Avenue would have been done differently.

It is now apparent that there is no longer a sensible affordable modification to the Quays Avenue road layout and the Portishead Station is now being denied entry to the centre of the town. This is nonsense!

Discussion of Network Rail policy.

It is quite clear to me that not providing any new level crossing is a ^policy strategy.^ It is not UK or European law.

It is also my view that whereas it may be an inherently sensible carte blanche policy as a starting position, there may be special extenuating circumstances under which there may be justifiable exceptions.

In my view Portishead now falls within this exception category and should be challenging network rail with the following issues.

1/. There are hundred s of level crossings in successful safe operation in the UK.

2/. Accidents are most prevalent on high speed stretches of the rail network where inadequate pedestrian and traffic control are in place.

3/. There are hundreds of level crossings adjacent to stations where low speed train operation makes them significantly safer.

4/. Portishead Waitrose station is unique in so far as it is a terminus where every train stops and the level crossing would be just a couple of hundred yards away for this halt. It would be perfectly acceptable to get every train to STOP at the Quays avenue crossing and wait for the cars and pedestrians to stop at traffic lights before it proceeds with caution. This could reduce the risks to better than basic road safety levels.

5/. By preventing the station being built at Waitrose, Network rail may have eliminated their safety issues but shifted them to a significantly higher road safety issue at Quays Avenue with pedestrians crossing between the station and the car park. Is being injured or killed by a train any worse than enduring the same fate under a car?

Conclusions

1/. The Network rail policy of ^No new level crossings^ is a carte blanche policy which is denying Portishead of a central station.

2/. The Network rail policy takes no account of specific difficulties in providing an alternative crossing or the specific circumstances under which a level crossing may be acceptable.

3/. The policy eliminates Network rail risk but produces a larger risk for the Highways.

Recommendation

Network Rail should be encouraged to carry out a specific risk review of the Quays Avenue location and suggest ways in which a level crossing risk can be made tolerable and no worse than hundreds of commuters crossing the road if the alternative station site 2 were adopted.




Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on March 17, 2013, 08:00:32 pm
Getting Network Rail to give Portishead a derogation is, I fear, going to be an uphill task.

And I think they'd take issue with this statement:

Quote
2/. Accidents are most prevalent on high speed stretches of the rail network where inadequate pedestrian and traffic control are in place.

Is that backed up by facts and figures? Are the traffic controls really inadequate at level crossings on high speed stretches of line? There have been and continue to be accidents and incidents at level crossings of all types and on lines of varying speeds. Nobody can know for certain whether a LC on Quays Avenue will be any safer than one in any other location. The many valid points this correspondent brings to the debate are somewhat overshadowed by this rather disingenuous statement.

I also think it is somewhat disingenuous to make the argument for a level crossing because some passengers who are late will run across the road. If that is to be a factor that has to be considered by Network Rail, then it is one they should consider at all locations were a station is regularly accessed by crossing a road. That would be a little impractical. If there is going to be a significant highway safety problem then that is for the highways department to sort out. Does every developer need to consider people running across a road because they are late?

I like the comment, "In the following years Network rail suddenly declared that it was a company policy not to develop any new level crossings." I think it highly unlikely there was anything sudden about that policy. Incidentally that was a policy that wasn't wholly decided by Network Rail. The Office of Rail Regulation had arguably the greater input and it was they who drew up the policy document.

Finally, why, in this response, is there no mention of the road bridge over the railway at Quays Avenue that would go hand-in-hand with the option 1 site for the station? Does this respondent live near the Quays Avenue junction with Phoenix Way? That may explain his desire to see a level crossing built.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TerminalJunkie on March 17, 2013, 08:19:51 pm
Is it time to challenge Network Rail's policy on 'no new level crossings ?

No.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on March 18, 2013, 12:28:28 am
Chuffed - I take your points entirely, and have indeed argued most of them myself. However, I have to agree with BNM and TJ - Network Rail and any other powers that be will not make an exception, however unfair that may seem. Safety is probably not the only reason. The bean counters will have an opinion. A level crossing costs a packet to install, another packet to operate, yet a further packet to maintain, and still it doesn't always separate railway and other traffic in an entirely successful fashion. Some of the same people who will run across a road will vault a level crossing barrier or drive under a descending barrier, and the slower the rail traffic, the more likely that is. A bridge costs money to build, but not NR's money. Once built, it is largely passive, needing no monitoring and only occasional maintenance.

I agree with you also regarding the site of the station - it must be behind Waitrose (or if you don't have much money opposite Lidl) if the main aim of the rebuilding of the railway is to be achieved. Even the Quays Avenue location will decrease the number of passengers willing to walk to the station, and siting it off Sheepway with a car park will positively encourage driving from home to station. However big a car park is provided, it will quickly seem too small. Levy a charge to park, and suddenly taking the train to work seems less of an economic proposition. After all, you've driven from, say, Nore Road, past the Windmill, the car park's full, the weather's not so good: may as well carry on in the car.

So which way forward? I am absolutely certain of one thing - the station must be built on the site behind Waitrose to achieve the maximum benefit. To do that, a road bridge over the railway will be needed at Quays Avenue. Or will it? North Somerset DC's only option for the original station site requires a road bridge in Quays Avenue, over the railway, and very close to a roundabout. That will be costly, unsightly, and potentially hazardous. I have two alternatives for consideration.

The first is to offset the road bridge. It could go over the railway from a new exit off the roundabout, passing behind the small trading estate to a new junction on the main road.

More radical, but cheaper, is my second suggestion. Shut Quays Avenue to traffic at the railway, and reinvent it as a cul-de-sac. Instead, build a foot / cycle bridge over the railway. For people living in the small housing estate off Quays Drive to the south of the railway, this will mean that the intrusion of railway noise will be offset by the cessation of passing traffic. For people living in the not inconsiderable new residential area to the north of the railway, it will not be a major imposition. By cycle or on foot, one will find a bridge to cross if heading to the Co-op or the secondary school (or the Black Horse in Clapton in Gordano, for that matter). By car, the journey to Bristol from that northern enclave would be extended by - what? - 600 metres? All the more reason to take the train!

I would suggest this scheme to North Somerset DC but for two things:
a) I don't live in North Somerset, so have no right to comment on their consultations; and
b) I retain a simmering anger towards Councillors Elfan ap Rees and Nigel Ashton over their stance on the awful BRT2 route in Bristol - see Bristol Connections thread for reasons why. That said, I should give them credit for their proactive position on the clearance of the Portishead railway corridor, but what they propose for Bristol, where they have less right to comment than I have in Weston, is close to unforgivable.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: trainer on March 18, 2013, 02:32:13 pm
Four Track, Now! says:

'More radical, but cheaper, is my second suggestion. Shut Quays Avenue to traffic at the railway, and reinvent it as a cul-de-sac.'

North Somerset don't tend to do radical, but they do like cheap (probably not unique as a Local Authority in that respect).  I know these roads well and although as a non-resident I think BNF has an interesting idea, I suspect the prospect of sending all traffic for the Marina development and so-called 'Village Quarter' (and of course the new station) through the edge of the town centre will not go down well with the good (and vociferous) folk of Portishead.  Those roads are already heavily congested at peak times and would need a thorough re-organisation.  North Somerset councillors have already tangled with this town recently over the handling of traffic management.  I'm given to understand that there is an anti-rail lobby forming (are they mad?!) so radical solutions appealing to the pro-rail lobby (including me) which impinge even more on a changed visual landscape and add traffic to the already controversial Cabstand junction will probably be difficult to sell politically even if there was a desire to do so - which I'm sure there isn't.

Apologies for those who don't know this area, but to discuss the issue, we need to get down to this kind of detail.  Although I don't agree with FTN's specific proposal, he exemplifies the kind of radical thinking needed.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: swrural on March 18, 2013, 03:20:46 pm
I don't agree that FTN has no right to respond.  I see no legal basis for that at all - anyone may respond.  Visitors and others with a love of the area have a moral right as well.  I appreciate residents near the development have a right to be listened to very carefully, of course. 

Consultations are for everyone to respond to, should they wish.  I frequently do so when it has anything to do with the Bristol area, about which, judging from what has taken place in North Somerset over the last decades, I could have more of the said 'love' than Mr ap Rees does.   :(




Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on March 18, 2013, 06:31:25 pm
Apologies for those who don't know this area, but to discuss the issue, we need to get down to this kind of detail.  Although I don't agree with FTN's specific proposal, he exemplifies the kind of radical thinking needed.

Wow! Me up there with Che Guevara. Don't tell the vicar!

One of the most valuable things I take from this forum, apart from the massive leap forward in my education about railway matters, is the chance to float ideas  and read other peoples', even if they are shot down in flames. Public opinion does make a difference, apart from the awful BRT project, and I may even get in touch with NSDC after all. I take the point about the traffic. Had Quays Avenue been built with an imaginary railway running through it, then it could have been built as I suggested without any chance of protest from residents. But the clearest vision is always 20/20 hindsight.

So what about Radical Proposal #1, where the bridge over the railway is offset from the housing, or even (RP1a) moved east, towards the proposed Sheepway option? Don't forget that WEP, with the full support of Elfan ap Rees and Nigel Ashton, want to spend 14,000,000 of our hard-earned (or ill-gotten in my case) pounds on a bus-only junction to the M32, so the awful Bust Rabid Transit can get stuck in the rush hour traffic more quickly. They also want to build an embankment through Nigel Ashton Vale and a bridge over the Portbury line, so that commuters can get to work from the LA park and ride less quickly than they do now. If we can spend eye-watering sums on rubbish schemes, why can't we spend relatively modestly to facilitate good ones?

I was disappointed, BTW, to see no less a figure than Lord (Andrew) Adonis cast a damper on the Portishead line in no less august a publication than the Times today.

Quote
From the Scottish Borders to the West Country, via aspiring commuter towns in between, engineers are working to reopen rural branch lines severed by the Beeching Axe 50 years ago.

 Lines previously abandoned to nature are being revived by local authorities seeking to relieve congestion on the roads and restore public transport. Figures published last week showed that despite years of above-inflation fares rises, train travel is expanding to record levels.

 Where 50 years ago the political challenge was how to manage decline, the dilemma today is how to accommodate more passengers and achieve the Government^s aim of lower state subsidies.

 Next week, railway enthusiasts will mark the 50th anniversary of the Beeching cuts when the chairman of the British Railways Board published a report recommending the closure of 2,363 stations and 5,000 miles of track. Dr Beeching saw a future in which the car was king and recommended that more than half of all stations be closed and a third of the railway be junked to staunch heavy losses on the state-run railway.

 Local protest movements were cast aside and the 1960s saw many rural areas cut from the public transport network. But the diggers have returned to some lines, clearing vegetation and buildings that had taken over.

 Work has begun south of Edinburgh on a ^300 million scheme, the biggest currently under way. Network Rail, which took over the project to build 30 miles of track and seven stations last year, hopes that trains will return to the old Waverley line between Edinburgh and Carlisle in 2015 for the first time since 1969.

 In Devon, the county council is consulting on proposals to revive the Tavistock line. It is planning a 9km (5 mile) single-track line through cuttings and embankments abandoned by Beeching to reconnect Tavistock to Bere Alston. An hourly service to Plymouth is seen as a way of easing congestion on the A386 from a 750-house development on the outskirts of Tavistock.

 Last week, North Somerset Council hired contractors to clear the disused Portishead line as supporters prepare plans to rebuild the railway to Bristol. The 17-minute train journey would be far more convenient than the hour-long rush-hour drive, they claim.

 And Network Rail is waiting for government funding to rebuild part of the old Varsity Line between Oxford and Cambridge in a ^250 million scheme that would restore passenger services between Oxford and Bedford for the first time since 1967. The plan to relay track between Bicester and Bletchley would provide a link between the Great Western and West Coast Main Lines in a move which supporters claim would boost the local economy.

 Sir David Higgins, the Network Rail chief executive, said that one of the greatest challenges for the railway was how to cater for growth.

 Figures from the Office of Rail Regulation showed 385 million passenger journeys in the three months to January, 14 million more than for the same period last year and the highest number yet on the privatised railway. Revenue rose by 8 per cent to ^1.96 billion in the quarter.

 After a decade of above-inflation fares rises there is still no relief in sight for passengers. Network Rail^s blueprint for growth to the end of the decade is based on another five years of rising ticket prices.

 Michael Palin, the broadcaster and president of the Campaign for Better Transport, welcomed the reopening of lines. ^There was a time when there was a lot of sentiment about the railways and everyone had to have their own little line. Now there is a business case to be made. The more the merrier,^ he said.

 But Lord Adonis, the former Labour Transport Secretary, said that the priority should be investing in the existing railway. ^There are a few Beeching closures that should be reversed, like Lewes-Uckfield and Oxford-Cambridge, but the big demand for investment is in the existing network, not in reopening rural lines of marginal benefit,^ he said. ^Increasing capacity on the major commuter lines into the big cities and developing high-speed rail is the key priority for investment.^From the Scottish Borders to the West Country, via aspiring commuter towns in between, engineers are working to reopen rural branch lines severed by the Beeching Axe 50 years ago.

I thought better of him than I do now, but shall consider adding him to my Christmas card list deletees, along with Elfan ap Rees and and Nigel Ashton Vale.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: swrural on March 18, 2013, 07:43:42 pm
FTN
In the quote I don't see where Lord Adonis cast doubt on the Portishead line at all.  He did on 'rural lines of marginal benefit'.  The Portishead line is an urban line (to my mind, I know that it's pretty as well in places).

Better send him an Easter egg.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: trainer on March 18, 2013, 08:16:32 pm
FTN's quote from The Times:

'Last week, North Somerset Council hired contractors to clear the disused Portishead line as supporters prepare plans to rebuild the railway to Bristol. The 17-minute train journey would be far more convenient than the hour-long rush-hour drive, they claim.'

What does the journalist mean by 'they claim'? It seems to me to be patently obvious that 43 minutes saving in time will be 'far more convenient'. Or is bad grammar concealing a challenge to the journey time suggested?

I tend to give Lord Adonis the benefit of the doubt on this one as the article is a 'something and nothing' piece with little real substance to it and I doubt Portishead would rank with less commercially viable projects like...  (Nearly put my head on the block there by annoying another pressure group, but withdrew it.  ;))

[PS: anyone help me with how to put in short quotes in the purple boxes?  Thought I'd learned, but haven't.  Pm will do.  Thanks]


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Scott on March 18, 2013, 08:35:40 pm
I'm not even sure how they came up with that 17-minute figure. By my reckoning it's nearer 21, plus additional time at Pill whenever two services should be timed to pass one-another if the service is half-hourly. Or are they planning to have only Pill itself as an intermediate station between Portishead and BRI, which would weaken the economic case of the service?

Last I knew, intermediate stations were planned for Pill, Ashton Gate (or Ashton Vale), Parson Street and Bedminster, and *possibly* Portbury (which seems a bit pointless to me). Is there an update on this I am not aware of?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: trainer on March 18, 2013, 10:11:12 pm
IIRC Ashton Vale is off the plan for the time being for reasons to do with easy access to a station site and the lack of residential population in the immediate vicinity.  I'm sorry I can't reference this and I've done a quick search on the forum with no relevant results, so presumably I didn't read it here.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on March 19, 2013, 12:46:08 am
[PS: anyone help me with how to put in short quotes in the purple boxes?  Thought I'd learned, but haven't.  Pm will do.  Thanks]

I'm happy to help with that, trainer!  ;)

At the start of the piece of text you want to quote, type [ quote ] (without the spaces); at the end of the piece of text, type [ /quote ] (again, without the spaces).

Quote
Like this.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: trainer on March 19, 2013, 09:45:58 pm
Thanks, CfN, I will try that next time.  :)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: anthony215 on March 20, 2013, 09:41:08 am
An article about this has appeared in a certain Bristol newspaper:

http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/Portishead-rail-station-location/story-18468606-detail/story.html#axzz2O4Te4kBg


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on March 28, 2013, 12:37:13 pm
A detailed article, from the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-21573571):

Quote
Beeching Report: The fight to reopen Portishead's rail link

(http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/66581000/jpg/_66581933_c00ff59a-d620-4318-8bf5-8c17739840a6.jpg)
Work to clear the disused railway line has already begun to find out how much work will be needed before trains can start running again

Campaigners have been fighting for more than 20 years to get the rail link back in a North Somerset town.

Members of the Portishead Railway Group have even set the date of 18 April 2017 - 150 years to the day the line was opened - to have trains on the track.

Fifty years have passed since Dr Richard Beeching restructured Great Britain's railways, but the effects of his cuts are still being felt.

In 1964, the railway station in the Severn Estuary coastal town closed for the last time because of low passenger numbers and falling freight use.

The campaign group is supported by the West of England Partnership which argues there is a "very good business case" for using the branch line once again.

"Bridges, tunnels, cuttings - it's all there - none of it has been built on," said Alan Matthews, chairman of the group. "The line has never been lifted and the track is still there but all overgrown."

(http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/66581000/jpg/_66581934_159d350a-22bc-4d22-9f75-ec1553ff9078.jpg)
Despite an extra long platform at Portishead for day trippers, passenger numbers continued to fall

The nine miles of single track line between Ashton in Bristol and Portishead was opened in 1867. Running along the Avon Gorge, it offered passengers a regular service with stations at Clifton Bridge, Pill and Portbury.

"It was run to a timetable and was definitely profitable up to the start of the 20th century," said Mr Matthews. "It was very busy during both world wars but Dr Beeching said the line had to do ^5,000 per week or it would have to close."

Despite a "very long" platform being built in Portishead to accommodate large numbers of day trippers, passenger numbers fell and in 1964 the line was closed to all but freight and by 1981 was closed completely.

Twenty years later, it was re-laid as far as Portbury Docks but for freight use only. The remaining 3.3 miles of redundant track - from Portbury into Portishead - has been sitting idle for the last 49 years "collecting rust and buddleias".

In 1861 the population of Portishead was just 1,201 - this has risen to about 22,000 according to the town council. With new housing developments in the area it is expected to increase by a further 8,000.

But with just one major road, the A369, linking Portishead with Bristol, the town has been described by North Somerset MP Dr Liam Fox as "the most overcrowded cul-de-sac in Britain".

A study by Network Rail in 2010 showed travel time from Portishead to Bristol by rail would be 17 minutes, compared to an hour by road during rush hour.

In 2008 the redundant line was bought by North Somerset Council to stop the track being taken up or built on.

(http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/66580000/jpg/_66580681_9b2ea376-f7b4-4126-a964-c1f29ce3d42f.jpg)
An opening date of 18 April 2017 has been set - 150 years to the day it was opened by Brunel

And now the West of England Partnership is in discussions with Network Rail to develop the Greater Bristol Metro which will include Portishead.

James White, from the partnership, said it would make sense to bring the branch line back. "The proposal is for two stations; one at Portishead and one at Pill, and a possible station at Ashton Gate," he said. "The idea is to have a half hourly service at peak times, in the morning and evening, and an hourly service the rest of the day depending on demand."

With the organisation estimating up to 400,000 passengers a year and 1,300 a day, Mr White said he was confident trains would be running by 2017.

But with the cost estimated at more than ^40m, a Network Rail spokesman said the work start date depends on when North Somerset Council obtains the funding.

"Reinstating the Bristol to Portishead line for passenger services is not our proposal," he said. "It is a third party aspiration. It is not in the Network Rail strategic business plan for 2014 to 2019, although we are working with other interested parties to try and make it happen."

North Somerset Council has already had a ^43m bid to reopen the line rejected by the government.

The authority applied for the money from the Regional Growth Fund back in 2011.

The Department for Transport is expected to make an announcement on funding later this year.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on March 29, 2013, 01:09:04 pm
An interesting report (although it neglected Ashton Gate in the list of earlier stations), if not a sign of work about to start. I didn't realise Network Rail were not behind the proposal. The anticipated passenger numbers seem a little low to me, although in every other recent railway reopening, passenger numbers have exceeded expectations, usually by a big margin. It seems you play safe with railway proposals, and exaggerate wildly with bus schemes.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on April 17, 2013, 09:11:58 pm
From the North Somerset Times (http://www.northsomersettimes.co.uk/news/funding_approved_to_progress_railway_dream_1_2021087):

Quote
Funding approved to progress railway dream

(http://www.northsomersettimes.co.uk/polopoly_fs/train_ticket_1_2021086!image/3823452052.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_225/3823452052.jpg)

The next phase of preparation works for the re-opening of the Portishead^s railway line has been given the green light.

After considering an updated report on the rail project yesterday (Tues), North Somerset Council^s executive recommended a total of ^1.35million should be spent on more detailed preparation work over the next 12 months.

The money will come from four councils in North Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset and Bristol. North Somerset Council^s contribution will be ^675,000, funded by housing developer contributions to local infrastructure.

The re-opening of the Portishead line will form part of the Great West Metro Phase One project, which includes proposals for half-hourly train services between Portishead and Bristol.

The total cost of the project is likely to be between ^45m and ^55m, which is expected to be funded from a Department for Transport Major Schemes grant.

Leader of North Somerset Council, Nigel Ashton, said: ^This is a really major transport project which has the potential to have massive benefits, not just for North Somerset, but for the whole sub-region. We need to continue our efforts to move the project on sufficiently to secure the full approval and the necessary government funding. Any delay to this work would have a knock-on effect upon project timescales and costs.^

The next phase of preparation work includes progressing railway engineering design and preparation of a detailed business case.

Three locations are currently being considered for the Portishead railway station but financial and operational restrictions are likely to govern the final decision.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on April 17, 2013, 10:16:30 pm
From the North Somerset Times (http://www.northsomersettimes.co.uk/news/funding_approved_to_progress_railway_dream_1_2021087):

Quote
Funding approved to progress railway dream

(http://www.northsomersettimes.co.uk/polopoly_fs/train_ticket_1_2021086!image/3823452052.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_225/3823452052.jpg)

The next phase of preparation works for the re-opening of the Portishead^s railway line has been given the green light.

After considering an updated report on the rail project yesterday ...

At the risk of asking an extremely dumb question, why is the picture illustrating this a Brighton to Kingston Cheap Day Return from June 2006??


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: ellendune on April 17, 2013, 10:17:51 pm
At the risk of asking an extremely dumb question, why is the picture illustrating this a Brighton to Kingston Cheap Day Return from June 2006??

Because they wanted to get the article on another thread!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on April 18, 2013, 10:46:53 pm
Indeed!  ;) ;D

See also http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=11558.msg129033  ::)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on April 21, 2013, 05:00:42 pm
From The Post (Bristol) (http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/story-18736814-detail/story.html?#axzz2R5NFNmZq):

Quote
Portishead to Bristol railway line reopening ^ business case to be drawn up to keep project on track

Work is to start on drawing up a detailed business case for the re-opening of Portishead railway. North Somerset Council is to work with Bristol City Council, South Gloucestershire and Bath and North East Somerset (BANES) to draw up a detailed business case for rail improvements over the next ten years.

(http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/images/localworld/ugc-images/275775/Article/images/18736814/4769308.jpg)
The old railway line has been cleared alongside the Pill to Portishead cycle path with a view to reopening the line

The work, costing an estimated ^1.35 million, is to be jointly funding by the four councils with North Somerset earmarking ^675,000 towards the project. The funding will also be used to progress preparatory work for the engineering design of the new rail links.

The possible re-opening of the Portishead rail branch line would form part of the Great West Metro Phase One project, which would be the first of a host of major schemes identified to provide a range of improvements to the local rail network. The project includes proposals for half-hourly train services for the re-opened Portishead line, Severn Beach line and local stations between Bristol Temple Meads and Bath Spa. The total cost is estimated at between ^45 million and ^55million, and is expected to be funded from the Department for Transport subject to agreement of the proposed Local Transport Body.

North Somerset Council leader, Councillor Nigel Ashton, said: "This is a really major transport project which has the potential to have massive benefits, not just for North Somerset, but for the whole sub-region. We need to continue our efforts to move the project on sufficiently to secure the full approval and the necessary government funding. Any delay to this work would have a knock-on effect upon project timescales and costs. It is vital that we take a coherent and a credible approach to both the delivery and the operation of the line so that we can continue to present a strong case for the scheme to our funders and at future public inquiries. The process to secure the project is a lengthy one and dependent on a number of elements including funding approvals and planning powers. Authority to build and operate the project still needs to be gained. The process to secure planning powers is lengthy and requires the councils to set out a detailed evidence-based approach."

Work has already been carried out to clear three miles of the railway track to allow surveyors to assess the estimated costs of the work needed to re-open the line.

It is hoped that if Government funding is agreed for the project trains could be running out of Portishead again by 2017 and the Department for Transport is expected to make an announcement on funding later this year.

The work to re-open the town's railway would include re-laying the three miles of redundant track between Portishead and Portbury ^ purchased by North Somerset several years ago to protect it ^ and building a new station. A new road bridge would be built over the railway at Quays Avenue in Portishead and a station would have to be built. A site at Harbour Road was identified for a new railway station several years ago as part of the Portishead Quays development. But council chiefs now say putting a station on this land has raised a number of challenges and other locations for the station need to be considered.

A search for alternative sites has been undertaken and three possible locations have now been shortlisted. These include the site at Harbour Road, one at Quays Avenue and a further site on land on the edge of the town north of Moor Farm at Sheepway.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on April 21, 2013, 08:23:57 pm
I'm not even sure how they came up with that 17-minute figure. By my reckoning it's nearer 21, plus additional time at Pill whenever two services should be timed to pass one-another if the service is half-hourly. Or are they planning to have only Pill itself as an intermediate station between Portishead and BRI, which would weaken the economic case of the service?


The GRIP 3 (http://travelplus.org.uk/public-transport/train/portishead-grip3-report) report explains the assumptions. Jump to page 38 in Volume 1, and you will see that double track from Clifton Bridge station, rather than Ashton Gate station as was, is envisaged. Parson Street Junction will be a double lead. From Pill station, there will be two lines. The northernmost will go as now into Royal Portbury Dock. The other will go to Portishead, so there will not be a junction until, IIUC, the Pill end of Pill Viaduct. The timing from Portishead to BRI, with the only stop being Pikk, is estimated at 16^ minutes.

In cracking on with what is in all but name the GRIP 4 process, Cllr Ashton has my full support, unlike the awful BRT proposal, especially if he sticks to the station by Waitrose. That will necessitate a crossing of Quays Avenue, probably by a road bridge costing some ^4 million. That sounds a lot until you consider that the BRT-only junction with the M32 is costed at almost ^14 million, and will achieve nothing like as much good.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on April 22, 2013, 09:13:56 am
Had a look at the line immediately north-west of the M5 yesterday; there is a cycle path laid straight down the four foot, using the rails as kerbs. Presumably when the line reopens cyclists will need NR training and orange hi-viz to use this section...


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on April 22, 2013, 08:25:24 pm
... also white helmets and steel-toe-capped boots ...  ;) :D ;D


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: ellendune on April 22, 2013, 08:51:32 pm
And Orange overalls


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on April 22, 2013, 10:34:04 pm
... not forgetting block signalling...


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on April 23, 2013, 08:47:48 am
... not forgetting block signalling...
...would that be 'brake block' signalling?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on April 23, 2013, 06:04:58 pm
The deadline for comments on the 3 possible Portishead station sites has passed, and the original Option 1 (at Waitrose) is by far the most popular choice. However what has not really become apparent before now is the growing anti railway feeling being expressed by contributors rather like the one below. I feel that the Portishead Action Group needs to start a more robust, 'gloves off' campaign and to make the wishes of the silent majority heard against this increasingly vocal minority.

Quote
I've have read with interest the proposals for Portishead and in particular the resurrection of the existing railway line. I note that there are 3 options for the siting of the train station and as I live on the Village Quarter, the outcome of this decision is of particular interest to me. I have a few questions in this regard and I wonder if you could provide me with some answers.
 
1. Has any market research been carried out as to who and how often the railway link would be used? Speaking to commuter friends, they have told me that they would not use the line as they work nowhere near Templemeads. In order to get to their place of work, they would need to either get a bus or cab from the Bristol train station, both of which would add to the expense and time of their journey to work which would negate the time savings made on the A369. They have concluded that they would prefer to continue to drive.

2. Could you please tell me when the chosen site for the station will be formally agreed?

3. If option 1 or 2 is chosen, I notice that a footbridge will be erected at the back of Trinity school fields. Can you tell me why? Surely if the station was sited either on Harbour Road or Quays Avenue, there would be no need as passengers would be easily able to walk to Quays Avenue from the Village Quarter or the Vale with no need for such an intrusive bridge. I believe that the bridge would compromise the privacy of the houses and gardens that back onto the school and I am concerned that late at night, when the passengers are groups of people who have been out drinking in Bristol, the garages and fences of those houses - as well as the bridge - would provide an excellent canvas for graffiti, litter and urination. Such a bridge would not ensure a connection between the Vale and the Village Quarter either as there are further ditches and rivers to cross. Surely a better site for such a bridge would be the other side of Trinity School where schoolchildren currently cross to access Trinity, St Peter's, St Joseph's and Gordano schools without forcing them to use the main roads.

4. If option 3 is chosen, a footpath will be built through a residential area which will compromise the security and privacy of residents in that area. Surely, passengers would not want to walk down a narrow path and out of the station at night either as this represents a security risk to them also.

5. The fact that option 3 is so far out of town as to make walking to it seriously unlikely, any congestion in the Quays Avenue, Harbour Road and Sheepway areas will be exacerbated rather than alleviated. Added to this the fact that parking will become an issue for residents of the Village Quarter (already something of a problem) with commuters wishing to avoid the station car park costs or the journey to the car park simply parking on the Village Quarter and cutting through.

When considering the position of a train station, surely the accessibility for its passengers is the most important factor. Compromising the standard of living of those in the immediate area should be actively avoided. The overriding decision should certainly not be based purely on cost.  The original site (option 1) was chosen for its accessibility and suitability for the town as a whole. The decision to find alternative sites to option 1 appears to be based purely on cost whilst Village Quarter and Vale residents are viewed as acceptable collateral damage. We disagree.
 
On that note, the reinstatement of the railway appears to be being completed on a shoestring. I understand that the track is currently being investigated to check its condition as there is no contingency to have it completely replaced. Also, as the cost of new trains is not a viable option, old rolling stock is planned for use. The council has already admitted that the line will be a loss leader and with old trains being used, this raises the question as to how reliable the service is actually going to be.
 
To summarise, the track and trains are old, the line is never going to make money and the security, privacy and rights of way of residents will be compromised. There is no persuasive evidence that congestion will be reduced within Portishead nor indeed that anyone will actually use the trains consistently enough to reduce congestion on the A369.
 
If the railway is to go ahead, there needs to be real involvement with the community ^ including those both for and against it ^ so that opinions can be heard, research can be made and proper planning can be drawn up and worked on. Up until this point, there has been a strong feeling by many residents of finger-in-the-air planning by North Somerset Council and the pro-Railway Group, which will not serve to benefit the community as a whole, successfully. There is no need for one area of the town to be used as collateral damage in the ruthless pursuit of a plan that has not been properly thought through.

What do other forum memebers think ?



Edit note: Quote marks and formatting within quote amended, purely in the interests of clarity. CfN.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: trainer on April 23, 2013, 07:11:23 pm
Thanks for putting this on, chuffed.

The submission has more holes in it than a fishing net.  Fortunately the Planners have a wider strategic view than the writer(s) who are obviously concerned about their own immediate environment.  I don't understand how they managed to buy a property near a corridor reserved a long time ago by North Somerset for a revived railway without knowing or considering the possibilities at the time.  Was it a failure on their part or their solicitors?  I could rip into the loose language and emotive phrases, but haven't the time.

One observation about a comment by chuffed:  invoking the 'silent majority' is always dangerous as, because they are are silent, we don't know what they think.  I'm pleased to say I believe they agree with me  :D.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on April 24, 2013, 09:02:12 am
I think I would characterise this response as 'educated, but not well-informed':

Quote
Has any market research been carried out as to who and how often the railway link would be used?

Avoiding my natural tendency towards sarcasm for a moment; yes - I presume that's what GRIP 1 and 2 cover. (Incidentally if anyone wants a good reference to the GRIP process, here's as good a place as any: http://opsweb.co.uk/tools/risktool-site/GRIP/GRIP-lifecycle.html)

Quote
Speaking to commuter friends, they have told me that they would not use the line as they work nowhere near Templemeads (sic)

That'll be a random sample then? Agreed, Temple Meads has historically been somewhat out on a limb, but Bristol is moving towards it (for details of Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone see http://www.investinbristol.com/pdf/Invest-in-Bristol-Enterprise-Zone-FAQ.pdf). And other destinations are available; Stapleton Rd may not appeal to Portishead folk, but Clifton Down probably will.

Quote
I understand that the track is currently being investigated to check its condition as there is no contingency to have it completely replaced.

If they'd read the local paper (or looked at the state of the track!) they'd know that the 'track condition' survey is purely to establish whether it is good enough to use during construction.

Quote
...old rolling stock is planned for use

I saw a new train the other week - in London; quite exciting it was. Haven't seen one anywhere near Bristol for a while. Welcome to the real world!

Quote
...the line is never going to make money

A concept tried out by Marples/Castle, and now thankfully laid to rest.

Quote
If the railway is to go ahead, there needs to be real involvement with the community ^ including those both for and against it ^ so that opinions can be heard, research can be made and proper planning can be drawn up and worked on.

...or they could just do it the way they normally do; you know, just turn up one day with the jumbo Hornby set and hope for the best! Sorry, I said I'd try not to be sarcastic...


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on April 24, 2013, 09:24:28 am
Good points there, Red Squirrel!

One other thing to come out of the more positive responses was a clear call for the ORR to consider a level crossing at Quays Avenue, despite their stated policy of 'no new level crossings', instead of a road over rail bridge. This was considered to be be far too costly, and a visual intrusion into the area. However I do think a lot of rattling of the ORR ivory tower will need to be done for this to happen, so I would encourage everyone to write or email the ORR challenging this policy, and insist they pay a visit to the site.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: trainer on April 24, 2013, 09:47:11 am
Sorry, I said I'd try not to be sarcastic...

Quote
What I claim is to live to the full the contradiction of my time, which may well make sarcasm the condition of truth.
Roland Barthes, French Philosopher and all round good egg.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on April 24, 2013, 11:26:38 am
One other thing to come out of the more positive responses was a clear call for the ORR to consider a level crossing at Quays Avenue, despite their stated policy of 'no new level crossings'

I suspect that a statue of Jimmy Savile would be more likely to be approved than a level crossing in the current climate.

I realise it's probably too late to even think about this now, but how practical would it be to close Quays Ave where the line crosses and put in a diversionary road by extending Serbert Way across to the end of Newfoundland Way? I presume this area is earmarked for development anyway?



Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: swrural on April 24, 2013, 03:38:56 pm
Just had a look RS - what an eminent solution, so it must be impossible, as I expect they have issued planning consents for the whole area, which they could not now afford to revoke.  In fairness, I imagine that when the area plan was drawn up, this new 'rule' (is it really unchallengeable) did not exist.   


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on April 24, 2013, 03:45:29 pm
One other thing to come out of the more positive responses was a clear call for the ORR to consider a level crossing at Quays Avenue, despite their stated policy of 'no new level crossings'

I suspect that a statue of Jimmy Savile would be more likely to be approved than a level crossing in the current climate.

Looking at some pictures of the Manchester tram extensions, it strikes me that there are lots of new road / rail level crossings. What makes them acceptable when a very low speed (as I understand it) at Portishead would not be?  Would Portishead be better served by tram / light rail vehicles which reached Temple Meads from the Cumberland Road area via the south side of the Floating Harbour and Redcliffe Way - or even Welsh Back and Victoria Street?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on April 24, 2013, 03:52:30 pm
Well maybe new level crossings aren't completely impossible. According to the ORR:

Quote

^ Except in exceptional circumstances, there should be no new level crossings on any railway.

(see http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/upload/pdf/319.pdf)


So the argument we need to make is that these are exceptional circumstances, particularly given the risk of passengers (or 'commuters' as they seem almost invariably to be called these days) being flattened as they rush across the road to get to the station.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on April 24, 2013, 04:50:24 pm
Looking at some pictures of the Manchester tram extensions, it strikes me that there are lots of new road / rail level crossings. What makes them acceptable when a very low speed (as I understand it) at Portishead would not be?  Would Portishead be better served by tram / light rail vehicles which reached Temple Meads from the Cumberland Road area via the south side of the Floating Harbour and Redcliffe Way - or even Welsh Back and Victoria Street?

Yes, the Portishead trains could easily take this crossing at very low speed. As for tram or light rail... is your tongue planted firmly in your cheek? You mean like this:

Quote
In the 1970's Richard Cotterel (then an Euro MP) proposed an Avon Metro on the lines of the Tyne & Wear Metro. This would have comprised a central underground section and the use of parts of the BR track with lines to Yate, Bath, Weston-Super-Mare, Portishead, Severn Beach & the Henbury loop. This idea was never adopted largely due to cost and also Avon County Council was at that time committed to road building as the solution to traffic problems.

(see: http://www.tramdev.clara.net/hist.htm)

...don't get me started! There is a protected route from Temple Meads via Redcliff(e) and The Grove to the Centre; from there you'd start to tangle with the SWCBWSCIBCBCR (Somewhere in the West Country But We Shan't Call It Bristol Corporation Bus on a Concrete Road, otherwise known as the Bust Rabid Transit) scheme (presuming you could find a way across Prince St Bridge). George Ferguson's attempt to re-route the SWCBWSCIBCBCR via Cumberland Road to Temple Meads is laudible because (a) it's a better way to go, and (b) it may (we can hope) scupper the whole misbegotten scheme.

Oh, I seem to have started.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on April 24, 2013, 05:48:51 pm
Enjoying your posts very much RS. You seem to be a real chip off the ' Four Track Now' block ! Believe me that's a real compliment !


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on April 24, 2013, 06:26:51 pm
Looking at some pictures of the Manchester tram extensions, it strikes me that there are lots of new road / rail level crossings. What makes them acceptable when a very low speed (as I understand it) at Portishead would not be?  Would Portishead be better served by tram / light rail vehicles which reached Temple Meads from the Cumberland Road area via the south side of the Floating Harbour and Redcliffe Way - or even Welsh Back and Victoria Street?

Yes, the Portishead trains could easily take this crossing at very low speed. As for tram or light rail... is your tongue planted firmly in your cheek?

Yes, it is ... and it's also pointing out the irony of potentially different rules / guidelines for essentially the same crossing, depending on whether they turn left or go straight ahead the the Cumberland Basin.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: swrural on April 24, 2013, 06:46:36 pm
Tactically, it's best to fasten on the (challengeable by their own admission) ORR maxim.  I think trying to alter the route (now) as above will muddy the waters.

On the level crossings, I am sure they had a location more like Athelney or Ufton Nervet in mind and also possibly at a station pedestrian access like the one where the two girls were killed.   The latter case can be solved with the measures that are now being implemented. 


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on April 24, 2013, 08:44:55 pm
Enjoying your posts very much RS. You seem to be a real chip off the ' Four Track Now' block ! Believe me that's a real compliment !

Thanks for what I take as a compliment, Chuffed. Me and my bushy-tailed new firend  are going to get on fine, even if redsquirrel did beat me to the post with almost identical ripostes to those crazy objections to Portishead railway.

Manchester has a lot of crossing points with the tramway, all signal controlled. Trams are a familiar sight, and have been for over 20 years. This doesn't make accidents a mere historical footnote, but they are unusual. Much of the existing network runs on former heavy rail alignments, although the newer extensions to Oldham, Rochdale, Ashton and Didsbury will have more extensive on-street running when finished. Just about all major crossings are signal controlled, using TMS (Tram Management System), a new bespoke control system that has not been without problems. It seems to have been sorted now, and will enable short headways, as well as powering passenger information displays.

In Blackpool, when the tramway was renewed and modernised last year, a lot of the crossing points were closed, and those that remain were equipped with signals. These are standard traffic lights for motorists, and matrix LED signals for the trams. The new trams, helped also by a reduction in the number of stops, are faster than the heritage units. The lengthy closure, especially north of Little Bispham, where the track moves away from the seaside promenade, meant that drivers did not become accustomed to the new traffic signals. Within three weeks of the new service opening, a car was hit by a tram, as reported in the Blackpool Gazette. (http://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/news/traffic-travel/travel-news/tram-crash-safety-probe-call-1-4574301) The husband of the shocked but unhurt driver called for an investigation in the cause of the accident, which was quickly found to be his wife going through a red light.

Crossings controlled by lights are acceptable only because of it being a light railway Network Rail would certainly not allow a similar crossing on a heavy rail system. I hope that for all the reasons of low speed and proximity to the terminus that they can be persuaded that this is an exceptional case, that can be allowed a crossing. Even then, there will be grumblings from the nearest homes, because of the warning bells. Also, NR do not really sound as keen as the local councils on reopening the railway, although they will do it if told to. I really do think that the Waitrose site is crucial to the whole project, both now and from a future expansion point of view.

Blackpool's new tramway has surpassed expectations. It has recently signed up to a sort of ITA, although it covers parts of Lancashire it does not actually border upon. It has also announced its intention to apply for funds to run the tramway inland to Blackpool North station. Look at the track outside North Pier, and you will see points leading nowhere - yet. Taking the long view is always a good idea, except within the Greater Bristol area


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: trainer on April 24, 2013, 10:13:15 pm
FTN says
Quote
I hope that for all the reasons of low speed and proximity to the terminus that they can be persuaded that this is an exceptional case, that can be allowed a crossing. Even then, there will be grumblings from the nearest homes, because of the warning bells.

I think the local naysayers will complain about anything that disturbs their peace.  The railway will encroach on a very pleasantly calm corner of Portishead where the level crossing or Option 2 station will be located and I have some sympathy with the dramatic changes that will be wrought there.  There is also a nursing home nearby, but the busy traffic roundabout with constantly accelerating diesel and petrol engines much of everyday must contribute more noise than an intermittent level crossing alarm and comparatively infrequent trains accelerating away from a low speed crossing will.

I return to my earlier point: plans for the revival of this railway have been in the pipeline for long before most people in the immediate area bought their homes, so my sympathy is very limited. 


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on April 24, 2013, 10:39:01 pm
Hmm.  ::)

Quote
Also, NR do not really sound as keen as the local councils on reopening the railway, although they will do it if told to.

I have it on very good authority (from someone very senior at Network Rail, who Lee and I buttonholed at a meeting in Bristol some time ago!) that Network Rail are in fact quite happy to proceed with the reopening of the Portishead Line - provided the necessary funding is made available.  :-X


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on April 24, 2013, 11:42:35 pm
Hmm.  ::)

I have it on very good authority (from someone very senior at Network Rail, who Lee and I buttonholed at a meeting in Bristol some time ago!) that Network Rail are in fact quite happy to proceed with the reopening of the Portishead Line - provided the necessary funding is made available.  :-X

I made the point badly. NR will certainly be happy to add to their estate, but I have read elsewhere that Portishead is not a scheme they have been actively pressing for. It is up to the local councils to woo DafT, and get the spondulicks organised. I bow, in any case, to your superior access, and am heartened by your response.


I suspect that a statue of Jimmy Savile would be more likely to be approved than a level crossing in the current climate.

Now then, now then, now then...


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on April 25, 2013, 12:02:45 am
... Portishead is not a scheme they have been actively pressing for.

That was also the gist of what Lee and I were told: however, Network Rail were, and are, happy to go along with any sufficiently funded scheme to reopen the line - and that's the issue.  ::)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on April 25, 2013, 09:03:52 am
Yes, it is ... and it's also pointing out the irony of potentially different rules / guidelines for essentially the same crossing, depending on whether they turn left or go straight ahead the the Cumberland Basin.

I seem to have stumbled into a Heffalump trap: A-ha!

...redsquirrel did beat me to the post with almost identical ripostes to those crazy objections to Portishead railway.

Sorry! I'm getting rather over-excited by all this; must take another red-and-white pill...

Taking the long view is always a good idea, except within the Greater Bristol area

Greater Bristol? I think you mean 'Great West' (or should it be 'Froomshire'?).

All this reminds me of a good old Bristol word 'tempry' - first applied IIRC to the wonderfully dreadful Meccano flyover that once linked Redcliff(e) Way with Temple Way; driving over it was like driving round the edge of a thruppenny bit. 'Tempry' essentially means 'it's not much cop, but it's the best we're going to get'. Could be applied to a poorly-located railway staion, or even more appositely to the BRT.

By the way, thanks for you kind remarks FTN and chuffed - very much enjoying this forum.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on April 25, 2013, 03:13:19 pm
All this reminds me of a good old Bristol word 'tempry' - first applied IIRC to the wonderfully dreadful Meccano flyover that once linked Redcliff(e) Way with Temple Way

Like most Bristolians, I come from somewhere else, but have spent more than half my life here - over 35 years, I realise to my astonishment. I wouldn't be here if I didn't like the place, but it is certainly frustrating at times. A niece working on opening a new furniture place some years ago (I'm not saying which, but you get the Ikea) asked me to do a guided tour to introduce her colleagues from elsewhere to the city. I thoroughly enjoyed it. My research, though, showed that the history of Bristol from the time the Romans left Sea Mills has been a saga of having an idea, trying to do it on the cheap, then having to pay nasally to have someone clever put it right. Bristol is truly a brave and resourceful city, but it has been value-engineered by everyone in charge since Julius Caesar.

Look at the docks - William Jessop proposed, designed, and built it, before trying his hand unsuccessfully at flogging cameras. His wasn't the best plan, but it was cheaper than the others. Cumberland Basin was built, and the New Cut was dug (by two gentlemen of the Irish persuasion). It cost a fair bit more than the estimate, so the port had to charge more. making it less attractive as an alternative to Liverpool. At the same time, Pattersons Yard was opened, and built the SS Great Western, and then the Great Britain for Brunel - the latter being built without measuring the width of the lock gates first. So the SSGB spent over a year alongside, until the locks could be widened, before going on to prove that ships too big to get up the Avon were a worthwhile project, so sowing the seeds of the harbour's demise. Jessop's design, though, didn't give a reasonable flow of water through the docks, leading to silting problems, and not helping when cholera broke out. Enter IKB, with his brilliant, but expensive, Underfall Yard. If only they had asked him or his dad first.

"Tempry" also describes the prefabs, built after the Luftwaffe had finished their attempt at urban renewal. By the time anyone got around to replacing them, some people had lived in them for over 30 years, and had lavished money on them. Well, papered and painted. That is why, almost 70 years after the RAF in Bristol last heard a shout of "Bunch of monkeys on the ceiling, Sir, grab your egg and fours, let's get the bacon delivered!", there are still people living in "tempry" prefabs. Thank goodness for Amy Winehouse -"They tried to put me in a prefab, I said no, no, no!".

It is typical of Bristol that there have been calls made to replace that "tempry" flyover. I recall visiting the Grosvenor Hotel as part of my job, and having the disconcerting experience of watching a lorry pass the third floor window, with that scraping noise doing little to calm the nerves.

With Bust Rabid Transit, we see a value-engineered substitute for a decent transport system. A large part of the problem with public transport in the Greater Bristol area is the lack of a sensible transport hub covering all modes, and long bus routes going through the congested central area. The solution, BRT, is a long bus route running through the congested central area. Only a fool would repeat the same mistakes over and over again, in the hope of success.

So with Portishead, the biggest mistake would be to abandon the original station site in the hope of saving a few quid. We would run the very real risk of seeing the first reopening of a closed railway line to prove unsuccessful. 10 years later, someone would say "If only we had stuck to the original plan, we could have extended the line into the town, and run tram-trains on it".

Manchester, when Alistair Graham cancelled the government's contribution to the Metrolink extension on cost grounds in 2004, reacted by starting a northern version of the cold war. A big pair of boxing gloves appeared on the balcony of the city hall, and on the masthead of Manchester Evening Post. All of the area's MPs, of all parties including labour, mobilised. No government minister came to Manchester for any reason without spending the first half of his visit being lobbied about Metrolink, interviewed by the MEN first about Metrolink, and being given the guided tour of Metrolink, including long stops to show where the new routes would have been. Not even Alistair Darling could stand being given the cold shoulder for long, and he relented. Given similar treatment, our local councils' attitude has been "What a pity. Can we have something cheaper instead, please?" Don't do this with Portishead, for heaven's sake!

The dates and names are accurate. I may have changed some of the facts to protect the guilty.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on April 25, 2013, 06:45:48 pm
Fascinating observations FTN. Ever thought about being a guide on the open top bus in your own imitable style ??! ???


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on April 25, 2013, 06:50:01 pm
Oops ....I meant INimitable .... :-[


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on April 25, 2013, 07:02:22 pm
More like irritable...


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: swrural on April 25, 2013, 10:31:02 pm
The Waitrose site is still a helluva way from the front.  Having written that, I realise if the station (the then new post war one where the garage is) was still possible, Portishead has expanded so far to the south east, it would be quite a hike backwards for pax to reach it.  Of course those pax could always use Portbury.  ;D


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on April 25, 2013, 11:34:42 pm
Except that Portbury is on no agenda for reopening.

The expansion in Portishead, though it stalled for a while, has been high density housing around the area by Waitrose, and there must be quite a few thousand people living with a 5 to 10 minute walk  of there. There remains room for a lot more in brownfield sites, the limiting factor now being access to work. There is a lot more by way of leisure to be had since those homes were built, and I reckon the added stimulus of a railway would bring new investment on a scale not yet imagined.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: swrural on April 26, 2013, 10:43:12 am
Except that Portbury is on no agenda for reopening.
snipped

I did put a grin after my Portbury suggestion.  ;D  I am sure you are right about stimulus following re-opening btw (by the way). 


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on April 26, 2013, 01:51:56 pm
Sorry swrural. It's just that get a few pedants around these parts...
 ;D


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: John R on April 27, 2013, 07:02:37 pm
I think there's a big hint in the council's statement, which is the last comment as reported by the North Somerset Times (CfN's post of April 17th), and which is also on the council website. It says that the final decision on the station site will be governed by financial and operational constraints. That would seem to me as though the original site is being seen as just too expensive since the safety Taliban ruled against any new level crossings.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on April 27, 2013, 08:26:17 pm
That bothers me too. It would be the wrong answer to the wrong problem for the wrong reason.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: anthony215 on April 29, 2013, 04:06:39 pm
I do hope common sense prevails and teh station is built at the correct site.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: swrural on April 29, 2013, 07:05:03 pm
It seems to me that the Portishead situation is similar in character (low speed entry to a terminus) as the recently reinstated level crossing at Sheringham.

I believe that the difference between such situations and one I was reading about today at Botany Bay on the East Coast line in Notts (125 mph) is like chalk and cheese.  I realise planning should move forward and not backward but there is a world of difference between such locations.

I do think that the avoidance of pedestrian access is important during a closed gate event and we all have in mind the two girls who died.

If any of you have influence or are local (or both), I am sure you can make representations when the planning application comes up. 


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on April 29, 2013, 08:38:44 pm

It seems to me that the Portishead situation is similar in character (low speed entry to a terminus) as the recently reinstated level crossing at Sheringham.
 

Isn't it the case that the Sheringham crossing can only be used 12 times a year?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: swrural on April 29, 2013, 08:52:14 pm
True, but actually one could argue that one being used every half hour is a safer use as everyone gets used to the routine.

I wouldn't, actually, as a crossing is either safe or it isn't.  The Portishead one is bound to be safe as long as they use full barriers.

You have to think of this issue in terms of everyday road crossing use.  Does one really think one is unsafe at the many town level crossings everywhere?  No, neither do I.  I suspect decent historical data can be fished up about that. 


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on April 29, 2013, 09:01:33 pm
True, but actually one could argue that one being used every half hour is a safer use as everyone gets used to the routine.

One could equally argue that routine leads to complacency.

Quote
The Portishead one is bound to be safe as long as they use full barriers.

Full barriers are no impediment to stupidity on the part of motorists and pedestrians. Full barrier crossings have also been subject to human failings by rail network employees. Many incidents and near misses, as well as one or two serious accidents, have occurred at level crossings with full barriers.

The safest way to keep railways and public highway users (both vehicle and pedestrian) apart is grade separation.




Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: John R on April 29, 2013, 10:03:41 pm

The safest way to keep railways and public highway users (both vehicle and pedestrian) apart is grade separation.


Even if a 10mph limit is imposed over a full barriered crossing? Even grade separation isn't foolproof, as the accident at Great Heck proved.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: swrural on April 30, 2013, 11:51:25 am
And Oxshott - and Norton Fitzwarren recently and......... 

That's why they have been installing armco on the approaches to some of them but they don't stop a heavy goods vehicle,  as happened on the M42 recently.

I really think that the Portishead level crossing can be made as safe as anyone could expect and I am sure the locals would prefer that, to an inconveniently situated station or an unsightly bridge.



Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on April 30, 2013, 05:38:46 pm
Agreed, swrural. The crossing would be as safe as, say Avonmouth, where the trains are slowing to enter or accelerating from a full stop towards a slow curve. And agreed BNM - the British Plonker will always find a way, which is why we are having this debate in the first place.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on May 15, 2013, 09:07:06 am
According to the Bristol Post, the good burghers of Portishead are trying to enlist Dr Fox's help in securing a level crossing (and therefore a sensible location for the station):

http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/MP-enlisted-station-scheme-shunt/story-18989233-detail/story.html


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: stuving on May 15, 2013, 10:17:02 am
I really think that the Portishead level crossing can be made as safe as anyone could expect...

That is the point, really: how safe and who counts as anyone.  And it's not just the ORR. It is true their guidance on new level crossings says:
"Except in exceptional circumstances, ORR does not support the creation of any new level crossings, of any type."
Presumably in this case their decision was not as given in the news item, but that this case does not qualify as  exceptional.

We also have the Liverpool verdicts [http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=9790.0] as a precedent that railway operators and their staff are responsible for protecting the public from their own irresponsible behaviour. Trains and railways can be dangerous things, even at low speeds.

My local crossing is also at the end of a platform, and the line has a 30 mph limit but stopping trains go slower than that. Even so, a few years back a young lad saw some friends on the opposite platform getting on or off a train, and wanted to join them in a hurry. He vaulted the barrier and was struck by a train coming in to stop at the near platform and was killed. In this kind of conflict between physics and physiology, physics usually does win. I wonder how slowly a train has to be going to avoid that outcome.

You could say that exceeds the limits of a reasonably duty of care. You could also point to the very different attitude we take to the danger of cars (quite heavy enough to kill) passing within a few feet of pedestrians. However, on balance I would support the ORR policy, though I might be persuaded about the specific interpretation of "exceptional" in this case if a low enough speed is operationally practical. 


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on May 15, 2013, 12:27:29 pm
You could say that exceeds the limits of a reasonably duty of care. You could also point to the very different attitude we take to the danger of cars (quite heavy enough to kill) passing within a few feet of pedestrians. However, on balance I would support the ORR policy, though I might be persuaded about the specific interpretation of "exceptional" in this case if a low enough speed is operationally practical. 

It's as though trains somehow killed people deader than cars or buses, isn't it? The sad tale of the lad at your local station could just as easily have happened at a bus stop, yet no-one is suggesting that we should erect fences between the carriageway and the pavement along every road in the land. But this is essentially what the railway is expected to do.

High-speed crossings are another matter altogether; these are more akin to crossing a motorway and rightly we don't allow pedestrians to do this. Crossing a railway on foot on a single-track line where the trains are doing less than 30mph is no more dangerous than crossing a road in a town, whatever the ORR or Lord Crow of Shadwell say.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: jdw.wor on May 15, 2013, 12:40:53 pm
I cannot believe common sense will not prevail here. To provide a station other than "in town" will possibly be self defeating and make the investment less justified.
Operationally this can surely be handled by approach control signalling where the signal controlling the crossing and entry to the station is normally set at red and only changes to yellow, or is it green (its thirty years since I was a BR "operator") after the train has come to a stand. A 5mph speed limit, if required, could be applied for entry to platform.

Having "run" an area many years ago I am amazed by what we find dangerous today. Can anyone see more danger in the proposed level crossing than on any open platform, anywhere in the country, where trains pass at anything up to 125mph!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on May 15, 2013, 01:11:53 pm
I cannot believe common sense will not prevail here.

This IS North Somerset, you know...


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on May 15, 2013, 08:03:17 pm
It's as though trains somehow killed people deader than cars or buses, isn't it? The sad tale of the lad at your local station could just as easily have happened at a bus stop, yet no-one is suggesting that we should erect fences between the carriageway and the pavement along every road in the land. But this is essentially what the railway is expected to do.

Thanks for making that point, Red Squirrel.

Purely to illustrate that point, may I offer the following sad story, about a person killed by a bus at a terminus a few days ago, from the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-east-wales-22499604):

Quote
Talbot Green bus terminus death of pedestrian, 69

(http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/67554000/jpg/_67554302_talbotgreenbusterminus1bbc.jpg)
The pedestrian received fatal injuries at the bus terminus in Talbot Green

A 69-year-old man has died after he was involved in a collision with a bus leaving a terminus.

South Wales Police said the pedestrian was fatally injured in the collision at the exit of the terminus in Talbot Green.

It happened at about 14:15 BST as the bus was entering Talbot Road on Saturday.

Officers are appealing for any witnesses to the collision, or anyone who saw the man's movements beforehand.

Sadly, any amount of railings will not prevent the possibility of an accident - whether at a bus terminus, or a railway terminus.  :-X


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: anthony215 on May 15, 2013, 08:10:21 pm
I know the bus station pretty well at Talbot Green and some things I have seen there really have left me shaking my head at some people's stupidity.

People will just walk through the centre of the bus station where buses are manouvering rather than walk around on the various pavements.



Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on May 16, 2013, 11:20:57 pm
I don't regard myself as particularly stupid (pipe down at the back...) but I came close to laminating the front of a bus recently, due to being unfamiliar with my surroundings.

Folkestone Bus Station, and the quickest way to the information office/booth was across the bus station forecourt following what I thought was the proscribed walking route.

Seeing a double decker looming larger from over my left shoulder certainly concentrated my mind. As did the horn and the industrial language shouted by the driver.

I'd made a simple error by thinking I was on a safe walking route. It could have be an fatal error. Well, if not fatal, then I would have made an interesting looking front end ornament on the Dennis Trident that was bearing down on me.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: trainer on May 17, 2013, 07:44:43 am
the quickest way to the information office/booth was across the bus station forecourt following what I thought was the proscribed walking route.

I hope you won't mind me pointing out that a proscribed walk is forbidden because it is dangerous: a prescribed walk is the correct way.  It is of course an unintended typo, but I did smile.  Glad you weren't hurt.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on June 06, 2013, 12:24:24 pm
Not sure if this is the right way to do this cos I'm quoting from the Bristol Metro thread (apologies if this breaches forum standards!), but:


...That esteemed organ, the Bristol Post which is printed in Didcot, is reporting that the re-opening of the Portishead line is to be put back a year to December 2018. Although it is at GRIP 4 , it has to wait for the rest of the proposed metro lines to go through the GRIP process. The actual work would only seem to take about 9 months to complete, but it is all the vast bloated bureaucracy of planning, consultancy and over-engineering that ramps up the cost... an estimated eye watering  ^55 million... which just seems to beggar belief for just 3 miles of flat line! What would Brunel think ? I suspect he would be spinning in his grave so fast that he could probably power the entire electrification programme single handed ...or should that be single bodied ? ???


Thing is, it does seem to make sense to make sure the Portishead line hangs off the rest of the local infrastructure properly. So perhaps a little delay is worth it if it means we get a better result.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on June 06, 2013, 03:59:59 pm
I agree that doing it right is more important than doing it quick. Too many mistakes have been made in the greater Bristol area in the past, and the last thing we need is another low quality stab at transport improvements. What is needed is absolutely clear - the ability to get passenger trains from Temple Meads via Parson Street to a new station behind Waitrose in Portishead and back again, to a reasonable timetable, whilst not impacting on goods traffic from Portbury. Over-engineering isn't usually a problem these days, although making provision for future expansion - like tram-train - is a good idea.

I agree also that the actual building work is going to be relatively quick. Although not built to passenger standards, the whole line to Portbury, including the new embankment and chord, was achieved in under a year. Existing track replacement plant  (http://www.networkrail.co.uk/news/2012/september/New-high-output-track-laying-system-sets-new-record/)can do 650 metres in 8 hours, so if the existing rail is strong enough to allow new track and the laying machine to be delivered, the whole stretch to Portbury junction is theoretically capable of being done in under a week. I know that won't be the case, as the whole lot will need to be scrutinised with an intensive scrute, and drainage, stability, and all manner of things sorted. But it is an existing railway alignment, even if unused for 32 years.

Network Rail are beginning to show pride in getting projects done on time and within budget. In the scheme of things, this isn't a big project, and there shouldn't be any unpleasant shocks when building begins. Had two men with shovels been sent to start work when this was first mooted, it would have been finished years ago.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on June 06, 2013, 05:19:53 pm
Excellent comment and insightful observations as always FTN. Pity the powers that be,  can't have someone with your healthy dose of common sense/ slightly cynical approach on board. You speak far more sense than most. on a whole range of topics.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on February 26, 2014, 11:14:15 am
From the Bristol Post (http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/Commuters-face-delays-Portishead-Bristol-second/story-20706231-detail/story.html?):

Quote
Commuters face delays from Portishead to Bristol for second day

Commuters from Portishead faced heavy congestion for the second day in a row this morning.

Fallen power cables caused chaos yesterday after a car collided with a lamp post near the cricket club. Work on the power lines was not completed until 7.50am.

This morning Clapton Lane was closed to traffic causing heavy delays.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: anthony215 on February 26, 2014, 07:26:47 pm
More reasons why the the railink is required


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on February 26, 2014, 08:17:36 pm
More reasons why the the railink is required

As if any were needed. The case is more than made.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on February 26, 2014, 08:42:43 pm
I know: I merely saw the opportunity to give this topic yet another 'bump'.  ::)

If there was the will, I'm sure even North Somerset Council could get things moving - but then again, this isn't one of their personal vanity projects, such as a helicopter museum or North Somerset Life.  :-X


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on February 26, 2014, 08:58:10 pm
Blooming frustrating, all this waiting...


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on February 26, 2014, 09:18:13 pm
Although I doubt you will get anyone to admit it, I have always rather suspected that Portishead isnt pushed to completion because they fear demand would soon outstrip the amount of rolling stock you could reasonably allocate to what would be a frequency restricted service due to infrastructure constraints.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: trainer on February 26, 2014, 10:23:17 pm
Although I doubt you will get anyone to admit it, I have always rather suspected that Portishead isnt pushed to completion because they fear demand would soon outstrip the amount of rolling stock you could reasonably allocate to what would be a frequency restricted service due to infrastructure constraints.

I think this is very likely.  If Ebbw Vale can take off as well as it did in a less-than-ideal economic period, then I think demand from Portishead and Pill could easily outstrip an hourly Class 150 (or similar) from the beginning, particularly in the peak.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on February 27, 2014, 01:35:32 pm
The now lapsed GRIP3 report envisaged half-hourly services, 4-car at peak, 2-car off peak.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on February 27, 2014, 02:43:02 pm
The now lapsed GRIP3 report envisaged half-hourly services, 4-car at peak, 2-car off peak.

GRIP3 report envisaged hourly services off-peak. The report also made the point that the proposed service will meet current demand, but offers no judgement regarding future growth.

Therefore, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that demand could outstrip capacity very quickly, and with platforms restricted to 4-coach, it would be interesting to see what the fallback plan is.

Now, don't get me wrong - I think you need to be bold and build it. I can see why a rather less bold status quo might fear the consequences, though.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on February 27, 2014, 05:50:32 pm
I can see why a rather less bold status quo might fear the consequences, though.

Agreed - it will wreck the MetroBust ridership and the LA Park & Ride.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on February 27, 2014, 07:00:03 pm
The now lapsed GRIP3 report envisaged half-hourly services, 4-car at peak, 2-car off peak.

Now, don't get me wrong - I think you need to be bold and build it. I can see why a rather less bold status quo might fear the consequences, though.

4 car trains at peak hours, and you're probably looking at 3 trains so a total of 12 cars of dmu. In current times, where there is a shortage of trains / vehicles of this type, a natural but unfortunate competition can develop between the advocates of new flow provision (which, by definition, do not have an established base of users) and the advocates of strengthening flow provision, where you do have that established base and it might be quite vocal.

As electrification rolls in and local Thames Valley diesel trains are released to run elsewhere, this may become less of an issue - or it may not if Cardiff / Portsmouth needs to go up to 6 cars, the second train in the hour from Bristol to Westbury always carries on to Weymouth, and so on.  And perhaps other new services such as Blackburn, Accrington and Burnley to Manchester may soak up others.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on February 27, 2014, 09:16:43 pm
My head implodes at the thought that people don't do things because they might succeed. Maybe that's why I'm an engineer, not a politician.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on February 27, 2014, 09:38:01 pm
You wouldnt have enjoyed being us in the lean TransWilts years then, RS.

On the upside, we've seen far more co-ordination and support from the official players since improved services got the green light, and this followed on from a gradual move toward genuine partnership that began some time before that.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: John R on June 15, 2014, 12:56:03 pm
http://www.travelwest.info/sites/default/files/documents/Portishead%20Rail%20Consultation%20LEAFLET.pdf

Looks like the option of a centrally sited station in Portishead has definitely been discounted.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on June 15, 2014, 11:19:08 pm
From the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-27857122):

Quote
Portishead railway station location consultation begins

Potential locations for a new Portishead rail station are being discussed in a public consultation.

Proposals to re-open the line are part of a ^100m investment in the local area's rail infrastructure.

It was originally closed in 1964 and the revamp is part of the MetroWest Phase 1 project, being overseen by the West of England Partnership.

The project team has identified three potential station locations and is asking for comments.

North Somerset Council will use responses to decide later this year where the station will be located.

'Making progress'

The three locations under consideration are east of Quays Avenue, across Quays Avenue and between Serbert Road and Harbour Road.

The MetroWest Phase 1 project aims to reopen the Portishead line to passenger train services by Spring 2019.

The line will restore the rail link between the town and Bristol city centre.

Leader of North Somerset Council, Nigel Ashton, said: "There is still a lot to do before we could confirm re-opening the Portishead line, but we are making progress.

"Considering the viable options for a station is an important part of the project."

The proposals can be viewed and comments submitted online at the project website (http://www.travelwest.info/mw/portishead).

Two exhibitions are also being held at Portishead Methodist Church on 24 and 28 June.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: alan_s on June 24, 2014, 11:49:15 pm
I popped along to the "exhibition" this evening - to be honest it didn't tell me anything I didn't already know from the website - though it was useful being able to see the maps greatly enlarged so it was clear exactly where things were going!

I still fail to understand why a level crossing is out of the question, when we're talking final approach to a dead end platform at about 10mph - and there is already a level crossing on the line near Ashton Gate - there is nothing about closing that one!

Alan


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Umberleigh on June 29, 2014, 12:32:42 pm
I popped along to the "exhibition" this evening - to be honest it didn't tell me anything I didn't already know from the website - though it was useful being able to see the maps greatly enlarged so it was clear exactly where things were going!

I still fail to understand why a level crossing is out of the question, when we're talking final approach to a dead end platform at about 10mph - and there is already a level crossing on the line near Ashton Gate - there is nothing about closing that one!

Alan

My understanding is that NEW level crossings have been banned anywhere, even on major infrastructure projects


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: alan_s on June 29, 2014, 08:59:16 pm
major infrastructure projects I can understand, but not minor ones like this. 1 train per hour in each direction, under 10mph!  Wouldn't be a problem if this was a tram ...


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: trainer on June 29, 2014, 10:01:39 pm
Wouldn't be a problem if this was a tram ...

But it isn't.  However, perhaps one day?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on June 30, 2014, 08:13:09 am
Trainer and I agree to disagree on this. I cannot understand why NR has to take a sledgehammer to crack a nut over the question of a level crossing at Quays Avenue. Anyone with half a brain can see it is the most obvious and cost effective solution. I just think NR should be told, cajoled, emailed and petitioned  time and time and time again , until they get sick of all the aggro, and just go ahead and  build the damn thing. The three existing options on the table for the station are second, third and fourth best respectively.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on June 30, 2014, 09:04:31 am
Anyone with half a brain can see it is the most obvious and cost effective solution. I just think NR should be told, cajoled, emailed and petitioned  time and time and time again , until they get sick of all the aggro, and just go ahead and  build the damn thing. The three existing options on the table for the station are second, third and fourth best respectively.

It's a political thing. From every viewpoint except politics (and I include 'safety' when I say 'everything') it would be sensible to put in a level crossing... but just imagine the furore if someone then got hit by a train? The ramifications for the people who decided to build it would be severe. If, on the other hand, someone was killed crossing the road to get to the station - well that would be a whole different thing; the death of a person crossing a road is a hundred times less newsworthy than a level crossing death.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on June 30, 2014, 10:28:34 am
It is highly likely that if someone got hit by a train on aforesaid level crossing, it would be their own fault..as they would be trying to take a short cut, or jump the barriers/lights. As BNM has said 'level crossings are safe unless used in a unsafe manner


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Network SouthEast on June 30, 2014, 10:33:33 am
Anyone with half a brain can see it is the most obvious and cost effective solution.
Whilst the capital cost of a level crossing may be favourable compared to a bridge, don't forget to use the other brain half to look at the other costs such as:

* On-going maintenance of the crossing
* Staff to monitor/operate crossing. Even where this can be done within an existing signal box, can the signallers deal with this amongst existing workloads, or are they even the correct level to do this (there are differing 'scales' of signalling responsibility/pressure).
* Cost to local economy through road traffic and pedestrian delays
* Cost to local environment though road traffic noise and pollution
* Death or injury through either misuse, error or failure


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on June 30, 2014, 10:42:17 am
As BNM has said 'level crossings are safe unless used in a unsafe manner

Erm ... that was CfN, not BNM.  ;)




Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on June 30, 2014, 10:53:26 am
I still can't help contrasting the different levels of protection being necessary in Edinburgh on the new (light = tram) rail service opened up Princes Street in the heart of the city a few weeks ago, and in Portishead.  Is the answer in Portishead to use vehicles similar to those in use in Edinburgh  ;D


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: trainer on June 30, 2014, 11:15:46 am
Is the answer in Portishead to use vehicles similar to those in use in Edinburgh  ;D

That (ie tram/train) would be an ideal solution, but alas not on offer in the foreseeable future.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on June 30, 2014, 06:01:10 pm
As BNM has said 'level crossings are safe unless used in a unsafe manner

Erm ... that was CfN, not BNM.  ;)


BNM also said it, but later.

Is the answer in Portishead to use vehicles similar to those in use in Edinburgh  ;D

That (ie tram/train) would be an ideal solution, but alas not on offer in the foreseeable future.

Tram-train would open up the possibility of a town centre loop, or even a route to Clevedon. It will not be quick in coming, but the trick is to make provision for it now. We're in this mess of having a station out of the centre largely because that wasn't done when Quays Avenue etc was built.

Anyone thought of lowering the road, and having the railway cross by bridge? St Lukes Road in Bedminster is my inspiration.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on June 30, 2014, 06:12:55 pm

Anyone thought of lowering the road, and having the railway cross by bridge? St Lukes Road in Bedminster is my inspiration.

I'm sure we've all found St Luke's Rd a source of inspiration at some time in our lives...

I'm guessing that the cost of digging a cutting and its approaches is probably greater than the cost of embankments for a road overbridge - and the fact that it's all a bit close to sea level probably complicates things too.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: alan_s on June 30, 2014, 06:20:54 pm

Anyone thought of lowering the road, and having the railway cross by bridge? St Lukes Road in Bedminster is my inspiration.

I'm sure we've all found St Luke's Rd a source of inspiration at some time in our lives...

I'm guessing that the cost of digging a cutting and its approaches is probably greater than the cost of embankments for a road overbridge - and the fact that it's all a bit close to sea level probably complicates things too.

The other thing you could do I guess is raise the railway - there's plenty of straight track to have gentle-ish incline; and then have the whole station elevated like much of the DLR in London ...  :)

We could then extend and have the station right in the middle of the high street.   ;)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on June 30, 2014, 07:39:59 pm
As BNM has said 'level crossings are safe unless used in a unsafe manner
Erm ... that was CfN, not BNM.  ;)
BNM also said it, but later.

Indeed:

One of my fellow moderators, Chris from Nailsea, sums up the issue pretty succinctly in his forum signature:
Quote
'Level crossings on the railway network are safe - unless they are used in an unsafe manner.'


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on June 30, 2014, 07:46:29 pm
Where others lead...  :P ;) ;D


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on June 30, 2014, 08:37:40 pm
Where others lead...  :P ;) ;D

A true tribute.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on June 30, 2014, 09:01:27 pm
I cannot understand why NR has to take a sledgehammer to crack a nut over the question of a level crossing at Quays Avenue. Anyone with half a brain can see it is the most obvious and cost effective solution. I just think NR should be told, cajoled, emailed and petitioned  time and time and time again, until they get sick of all the aggro, and just go ahead and build the damn thing. The three existing options on the table for the station are second, third and fourth best respectively.

You would need to change the mindset of the Office of Rail Regulation, too - they are directing Network Rail in such matters.

From the website of the Office of Rail Regulation (http://orr.gov.uk/what-and-how-we-regulate/health-and-safety/guidance-and-research/infrastructure-safety/level-crossings/level-crossings-policy):

Quote
Level crossings policy

Our policies and aims on level crossings are set out here. We also explain what we will to do to help ensure the risks from level crossings are properly controlled.

Great Britain's level crossing safety record is among the best in the world, but every incident has the potential for significant human and economic loss. Level crossings are the single biggest source of railway catastrophic risk, but overall the risks are well managed.

We seek to influence dutyholders and others to reduce risk at Britain's level crossings. We do this through a variety of means ranging from advice to formal enforcement action. We check that preventive and protective measures are implemented in accordance with the principles of prevention set out in the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

Risk control should, where practicable, be achieved through the removal of level crossings and replacing them with bridges, underpasses or diversions. Where removal is not possible, we aim to ensure that duty holders reduce risk so far as is reasonably practicable and in accordance with the principles of protection.

As the safety regulator for Britain's railways, our role is to provide clear advice and enforce relevant legislation ^ including that which relates to level crossings. We also exercise delegated powers of the Secretary of State in making level crossing orders under the Level Crossings Act 1983.

We believe that it is neither effective nor efficient for only rail companies to be responsible for managing safety at level crossings. Decisions about level crossings should involve rail companies, traffic authorities and other relevant organisations such as planning authorities as early on as possible.

Relevant authorities should recognise the wider benefits that safety improvements at level crossings (for example, replacing them with bridges) can bring about, particularly for road users. If wider benefits can be achieved, the appropriate funding bodies should agree on how the costs of making safety improvements will be met.

We are also committed to helping people understand the importance of the safe use of level crossings.

Our aims

- other than in exceptional circumstances, no new level crossings on any railway therefore creating no new risks; and

- to make level crossing users more aware of what affects safety at level crossings.

What we will do

- we will use current laws on creating and using level crossings to support good practice; and

- we will work closely with Network Rail and other rail companies to help improve safety at level crossings, and be directly involved in working groups and committees where appropriate.

Last updated - 17 April 2014

(My highlighting. CfN.)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: John R on June 30, 2014, 09:35:36 pm
Other than in exceptional circumstances implies that it is not a total ban. Have NR even asked whether a concession could be made? I bet they haven't.

I'm sure passengers would rather travel at 10mph over the crossing and have a station in the town centre than have to walk.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Rhydgaled on June 30, 2014, 09:37:29 pm
Could building a new railway constitute 'exceptional circumstances'? It certainly isn't an everyday event, at least in the UK.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: stuving on June 30, 2014, 11:11:02 pm
Is the answer in Portishead to use vehicles similar to those in use in Edinburgh  ;D

That (ie tram/train) would be an ideal solution, but alas not on offer in the foreseeable future.

That may be so. The rules for tram-trains, where these are in use, do seem to be different.

Here's a (foreign) example: the station at La Chapelle-sur-Erdre on the newly-opened Nantes-Ch^teaubriant tram-train line. The old railway ran under the bridge and has been replaced by a road (the D38 by-passing the village). There was room for a new line at the upper level between the cutting and the cemetery, but that means a level crossing with the Rue de l'Erdre. Now I don't suppose it would be any easier getting permission for a new level crossing in France, especially as this is not at a terminus.

The crossing is a normal road/rail one with barriers and (single) red light, but the station also has a pedestrian crossing like those you find at tram stops. This is just some pavement-edge tactile strips, and no clear signage (there's a standard yellow warning notice about looking out for trams). It should be noted that there are still some pedestrian crossing at stations in France, on local lines, but the policy is to get rid of them.

In Nantes, this line has tram-style crossings with roads - no barriers and different lights - though it only crosses roads when it runs beside a tram line. The oddity about this tram-train is that the "train" part of its track is entirely isolated - it has no connection with train lines, except in Nantes station. So is it really a tram? But it does not run on the streets in Nantes either (it crosses them), nor connect with Nantes trams. So it's a ...

The difference between a tram-train and a tram isn't easy to see. The Edinburgh trams are certainly described as trams, and while they run on fenced off-road tracks out of town, they avoid railways. The Nantes ones also run to Clisson, sharing a twin-track railway line with all the other trains. On that line they never run as trams. But they look pretty tram-like on the outside, inside they are fitted out like TER trains).


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: John R on June 30, 2014, 11:25:50 pm
Actually, I'm sorry but you're all wrong as to what the stock will be. I've just been reading the article in the council ragazine North Somerset Life (distributed to all households) about the re-opening, and it clearly shows a double track third rail electrified line with a 4 car Class 375.

http://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/Your_Council/Communication_and_Information/North%20Somerset%20Life/NS%20Life%20July%202014%20(pdf).pdf

Interestingly, it does say the ORR have confirmed that a level crossing would not be allowed. So maybe they were asked after all.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on July 01, 2014, 08:28:12 am
Interestingly, it does say the ORR have confirmed that a level crossing would not be allowed. So maybe they were asked after all.

There is, of course, asking and asking.

If you ask, you'll be told the standard guidelines and in many cases the answer's "no, that doesn't fit with general policy".   If you ask, explaining why it makes sense in this particular case and bringing in a couple of heavy-hitters to support, with local community backing, you may find that there are ways and means through which the "can't" turns into "we may have a way to do that".

Were the ORR asked or asked, I wonder?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on July 01, 2014, 09:39:02 am
Thank you grahame. That was exactly my point, which i hope is taken up by publicity conscious MPs like Charlotte Leslie, (who even found her way into the Manchester Piccadilly Wetherspoons magazine ) and our own Dr Liam Fox who has done very little to advance the cause of the railway since securing an adjournment debate way back in the mists of time.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on July 04, 2014, 06:25:04 pm
Actually, I'm sorry but you're all wrong as to what the stock will be. I've just been reading the article in the council ragazine North Somerset Life (distributed to all households) about the re-opening, and it clearly shows a double track third rail electrified line with a 4 car Class 375.

http://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/Your_Council/Communication_and_Information/North%20Somerset%20Life/NS%20Life%20July%202014%20(pdf).pdf

Interestingly, it does say the ORR have confirmed that a level crossing would not be allowed. So maybe they were asked after all.

Simply to avoid duplication in posting - see also http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=11558.msg156866#msg156866  ;)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: John R on July 11, 2014, 06:55:10 pm
A last throw of the die regarding the central site.

http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/Town-centre-site-new-station-reconsidered/story-21449371-detail/story.html


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on July 13, 2014, 09:56:31 pm
ORR's view is that level crossings are dangerous. Mine, and I pay tribute to Chris from Nailsea for helping me find an economy of words, is that "Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner". The same is true of motor cars, knives, machine guns, aircraft, dynamite, and chain saws, all of which I have operated in complete safety (except, arguably, the last. OK, or the first).

It is also very true of roads, including Quays Avenue. Consider the prospect of the station being, because of lack of permission for a LC, to the east of Quays Avenue, with the 100-place car park to the west. Were there a LC in place, the car park and station would both be to the west of QA, and the train would be running at about 5 to 10 mph, the driver keenly alert for problems on the LC and planning his arrival at Portishead in terms of pulling up to a stop. Without the LC, we may well see drivers, maybe having had trouble finding a parking space and seeing the train at platform, throw caution to the winds and dash across QA without paying heed to the traffic. It only needs another driver en route to work from the estate behind the roundabout, maybe inexperienced, maybe distracted by finding the right track on the iPod, probably nearing 30mph, and the stage is set for calamity.

Put 50 people against a closed LC gate who desperately want / need to be the other side of the track, and I doubt more than two idiots would chance it (I would say none, had I not seen it before). Put them by a traffic light controlled crossing with the last train for half-an-hour in sight opposite, and I reckon that at most, you would have the vicar and the old lady with two walking sticks wait for the green man without at least thinking about it (and I'm not sure of the latter).

We could be in the situation where the relative risks are obscured by the risk assessment process. By the third inquest, Network Rail will be able to issue a standard letter to the coroner saying "ORR refused permission for a level crossing on safety grounds. No level crossing was involved in this tragic accident, which did not occur on NR property, nor involve any NR or TOC equipment, vehicle, or personnel. Our hands are clean; ask NSDC to make the path from car park to station safer".

This could make the second-best option a no-no, the first-best having been ruled out by ORR's opposition to what is essentially a piece of safety equipment, but leaving issues of potential conflict between pedestrians and cars. These will have to be dealt with by NSDC, who will, like Bristol CC when the layout of the City Centre was changed, leading to some serious accidents, including fatal collisions between pedestrians and buses, having to find answers.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on July 13, 2014, 10:24:16 pm
I pay tribute to Chris from Nailsea for helping me find an economy of words ... "Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner".

Thank you, Four Track, Now!  ;D

I formulated those words in my signature text quite intentionally as a sort of statement / discussion point - and, as far as I know, my wording is original.

The same is true of motor cars, knives, machine guns, aircraft, dynamite, and chain saws, all of which I have operated in complete safety (except, arguably, the last. OK, or the first).

I, too, have used motor cars, knives, machine guns and a chain saw in complete safety (although I was dutifully careful with one of the machine guns, as the MP40 is an historic masterpiece of German engineering, in my opinion).

My experiences with a German Mercedes Sprinter van are perhaps less appropriate for posting here.  :-X


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on July 13, 2014, 10:35:57 pm
The same is true of motor cars, knives, machine guns, aircraft, dynamite, and chain saws, all of which I have operated in complete safety (except, arguably, the last. OK, or the first).

I, too, have used motor cars, knives, machine guns and a chain saw in complete safety (although I was dutifully careful with one of the machine guns, as the MP40 is an historic masterpiece of German engineering, in my opinion).


We had someone slip and fall down a couple of stairs yesterday - actually could have been quite serious.  The suggestion was made that we put a protective gate on each step ...


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on July 14, 2014, 05:02:32 pm
I tripped over a safety notice at the top of stairs at work once, the one the cleaner puts out saying "Caution - Wet Floor" after she's finished rearranging the dirt, and before she goes home. The floor was, it goes without saying, dry. I didn't mention it, as I don't want to trip over a second saying "Caution - Safety Notice Ahead".


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: ellendune on July 14, 2014, 05:31:44 pm
I think the whole metro west idea should be recast as a tram-train scheme with this short street running section! Or an even longer section going right into the centre of Portishead.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Rhydgaled on July 16, 2014, 12:01:23 am
It is also very true of roads, including Quays Avenue. Consider the prospect of the station being, because of lack of permission for a LC, to the east of Quays Avenue, with the 100-place car park to the west. Were there a LC in place, the car park and station would both be to the west of QA, and the train would be running at about 5 to 10 mph, the driver keenly alert for problems on the LC and planning his arrival at Portishead in terms of pulling up to a stop. Without the LC, we may well see drivers, maybe having had trouble finding a parking space and seeing the train at platform, throw caution to the winds and dash across QA without paying heed to the traffic. It only needs another driver en route to work from the estate behind the roundabout, maybe inexperienced, maybe distracted by finding the right track on the iPod, probably nearing 30mph, and the stage is set for calamity.

Put 50 people against a closed LC gate who desperately want / need to be the other side of the track, and I doubt more than two idiots would chance it (I would say none, had I not seen it before). Put them by a traffic light controlled crossing with the last train for half-an-hour in sight opposite, and I reckon that at most, you would have the vicar and the old lady with two walking sticks wait for the green man without at least thinking about it (and I'm not sure of the latter).
I quite agree. I can't comment on this specific road in Portishead, but the point is valid. I've been in a similar suituation myself:

On board Arriva Aberystwyth to Synod Inn bus, late (again). On arrival, the Optare Tempo on the 'connection' to Cardigan, operated by Richards Bros, is already at the bus stop opposite, due to depart. Mad panic to get to the Richards bus before it left, had to cross over in a hurry. Not even a green man to wait for and a speed limit on the A487 (the road I was crossing) of 50mph. That's no typo, passengers really were required to cross a 50mph stretch of trunk road without the aid of a Zebra, Pelican, Puffin, Toucan or Pegasus crossing (have I left anything out?) to make the 'connection'. Green men are often painfully slow in coming too, although I like the crossing near Fishguard town hall which shows traffic the amber aspect as soon as you press the button. Why can't all pedestrian crossings give such priority to pedestrians?

As for the level crossing, your two 'idiots' would presumably have to be able-bodied to get over the barriers. Therefore, installing a good old-fashioned steep-stepped footbridge should make the crossing really, really, safe. Alot safer than any road you might encounter a car on. And such a footbridge should be alot eaiser and cheaper to build than either a bridge for the trains or one for the cars.

If the ORR really have a blanket ban on new level crossings, even on new lines, then Portishead isn't the only place that should be worried. For example, the TrawsLinkCymru campaign (part of which is a Carmarthen - Aberystwyth rail link) might as well give up because I can't see any way of getting a new line into Aberystwyth station without a level crossing. Which leads to another question, doesn't ScotRail's new borders railway have any level crossings? If it does, ask 'em how they got that past the ORR and apply the same thing at Portishead and elsewhere.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on July 16, 2014, 05:30:40 am
doesn't ScotRail's new borders railway have any level crossings?

http://www.bordersrailway.co.uk/media/33443/borders_spring_2014_newsletter.pdf

Quote
Network Rail has a policy not to introduce new level-crossings to the rail network due to the dangers they can pose. The Borders Railway will therefore not have a single level-crossing. Instead, we are constructing a number of new footbridges and pathways to better connect local communities to each other and the new stations.

Green men are often painfully slow in coming too, although I like the crossing near Fishguard town hall which shows traffic the amber aspect as soon as you press the button. Why can't all pedestrian crossings give such priority to pedestrians?

There are often timing things on crossings to bunch people up and get more traffic through on both foot and wheel.  With many, press the button and you'll be held back until the road sensors know that it's clear, or for a certain number of seconds to give others the chance of arriving to cross with you, then crossing you in a batch (and also getting cars through in batches)

I'm not sure I spotted the complete answer in a quick look at ...
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/3814/ltn-2-95.pdf
... but that does give you some idea of timing (tables 4, 6, 8).   It's also an old document, and more sophisticated algorithms have probably superseded some of the timings described.

We do have one notable three way road junction near us that used to be an accident black spot.   There, the algorithm seems to be "all red until a vehicle approaches" and there's no wait period - in other words, any approaching car will trigger a change and there's rarely a need to come to a halt. Goes back to red quite fast too.  Works well when it's quiet.  As it gets to be a busier time of day, I'm pretty sure that other algorithms kick in too, leaving a green period for following vehicles to arrive ... and that may take a account of a typical convoy bunching of cars and vans.   Come to think of it, there's often going to be a convoy approach to pedestrians when (for example) a bus or train has dumped them out, the cinema has ended, or they're batched by a previous crossing on their path.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on August 06, 2014, 10:46:20 pm
An editorial piece, from the Bristol Post (http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/Editor-s-comment/story-22082842-detail/story.html):

Quote
Editor's comment:

The opening of a passenger railway line to Portishead is the catalyst that will kickstart an urban rail network and could transform Bristol's gridlocked transport system. Somehow, however, that opening has already been put back several years by the frustratingly time-consuming process of funding and consultation.

Now, ignoring the completion of public consultation by North Somerset Council on where Portishead's station should be sited, the town's own councillors are calling for the plan to be put on hold ^ while a business case is drawn up for the use of a level crossing. Despite the fact that rail authorities have ruled out a crossing for the town unless it was an "exceptional case".

The town council's persistence on this issue is unhelpful. It argues that a site for the station was identified 20 years ago. But, while this original site is closer to the centre of town than those being consulted on, it is by just 400 metres. Portishead has changed beyond recognition in 20 years. And a level crossing would not be practical for a busy road that is about to become busier.

Meanwhile, the only real achievement is more delay. And that is something this vital scheme cannot afford.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Rhydgaled on August 10, 2014, 12:47:47 pm
doesn't ScotRail's new borders railway have any level crossings?

http://www.bordersrailway.co.uk/media/33443/borders_spring_2014_newsletter.pdf

Quote
Network Rail has a policy not to introduce new level-crossings to the rail network due to the dangers they can pose. The Borders Railway will therefore not have a single level-crossing. Instead, we are constructing a number of new footbridges and pathways to better connect local communities to each other and the new stations.
Thanks for that. I note however that the TrawsLinkCymru website now claims network rail support:
Quote
Having had a meeting with Network Rail in Cardiff in June we are convinced that they are keen to reinstate the railway link between Carmarthen and Aberystwyth and are fully supportive of our campaign. We do need political support so that the money for a feasibility study can be obtained.
Do Network Rail realise a level crossing would be required to connect any new line from Carmarthen into Aberystwyth station? If they do, then why won't they allow Portishead to have a level crossing if that is the only way to provide an optimal station?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: ellendune on August 10, 2014, 01:16:41 pm
Do Network Rail realise a level crossing would be required to connect any new line from Carmarthen into Aberystwyth station? If they do, then why won't they allow Portishead to have a level crossing if that is the only way to provide an optimal station?

Yes if it follows the original route into Aberystwyth.  However other routes may be possible to link with the existing line to the east of Aberystwyth which would get round some other obstructions in the town. 


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Rhydgaled on August 10, 2014, 11:23:21 pm
Do Network Rail realise a level crossing would be required to connect any new line from Carmarthen into Aberystwyth station? If they do, then why won't they allow Portishead to have a level crossing if that is the only way to provide an optimal station?

Yes if it follows the original route into Aberystwyth.  However other routes may be possible to link with the existing line to the east of Aberystwyth which would get round some other obstructions in the town.
Original route or no, I can't see any way of doing it without a level crossing. If Network Rail can, maybe they can dream something up for Portishead too. If they can make one of the two work, why can't they make both work?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: ellendune on August 11, 2014, 07:38:30 am
Do Network Rail realise a level crossing would be required to connect any new line from Carmarthen into Aberystwyth station? If they do, then why won't they allow Portishead to have a level crossing if that is the only way to provide an optimal station?

Yes if it follows the original route into Aberystwyth.  However other routes may be possible to link with the existing line to the east of Aberystwyth which would get round some other obstructions in the town.
Original route or no, I can't see any way of doing it without a level crossing. If Network Rail can, maybe they can dream something up for Portishead too. If they can make one of the two work, why can't they make both work?

The original route at Llanfarian, just south of Aberystwyth turned west at towards the coast and came into the station through the harbour area.  If instead it turned slightly east at that point it could cut through open country and join the existing railway near where it crosses the A44 on a bridge, I see a potential to do without a level crossing.

In Portishead there is not the same option as there is no existing railway into the town.   


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Rhydgaled on August 11, 2014, 09:21:11 am
Do Network Rail realise a level crossing would be required to connect any new line from Carmarthen into Aberystwyth station? If they do, then why won't they allow Portishead to have a level crossing if that is the only way to provide an optimal station?

Yes if it follows the original route into Aberystwyth.  However other routes may be possible to link with the existing line to the east of Aberystwyth which would get round some other obstructions in the town.
Original route or no, I can't see any way of doing it without a level crossing. If Network Rail can, maybe they can dream something up for Portishead too. If they can make one of the two work, why can't they make both work?

The original route at Llanfarian, just south of Aberystwyth turned west at towards the coast and came into the station through the harbour area.  If instead it turned slightly east at that point it could cut through open country and join the existing railway near where it crosses the A44 on a bridge, I see a potential to do without a level crossing.

In Portishead there is not the same option as there is no existing railway into the town.
'Cut through' literally, as I think what you suggest there would require double the tunneling I had presumed would be needed to build a new route into Aberystwyth (the route I had in mind would require a new level crossing). That bridge over the A44 is quite a way to the east... And how does a flat-crossing over a heritage railway (like at Porthmadog) compare to a level crossing with full barriers and a footbridge for able-bodied pedestrians in terms of saftey etc.?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: ellendune on August 11, 2014, 09:58:10 pm
'Cut through' literally, as I think what you suggest there would require double the tunneling I had presumed would be needed to build a new route into Aberystwyth (the route I had in mind would require a new level crossing). That bridge over the A44 is quite a way to the east... And how does a flat-crossing over a heritage railway (like at Porthmadog) compare to a level crossing with full barriers and a footbridge for able-bodied pedestrians in terms of saftey etc.?

It would not be straight but potentially could get through where the main road goes through the gap.  However I was just using it to illustrate that there are more possible alternatives to a level crossing, than with at Portishead.   


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on August 11, 2014, 11:41:11 pm
Posting here in a purely personal capacity, as I really don't have any expert / inside information on the subject:

My understanding of the situation at Portishead is that the Office of Rail Regulation will not allow Network Rail to build a new level crossing because there is a viable alternative - a road overbridge.  The fact that such a proposed bridge is obviously unpopular doesn't alter their decision: the Office of Rail Regulation would only allow the provision of a new level crossing where there is no practical alternative (for example, due to local geology or topography).

I certainly don't agree with that - but there it is.  ::)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on August 22, 2014, 11:59:01 am
TRANSPORT chiefs have agreed to present a case to the Office of the Rail Regulator for the use of a level crossing at Portishead's new railway station. The MetroWest project team, which is leading the drive to get trains running from the town again by 2019, confirmed the move this week.

It follows pressure from Portishead Town Council which has been campaigning for the original site for the station ^ at Harbour Road ^ and a level crossing to be reconsidered as part of the MetroWest project.

Harbour Road was earmarked 20 years ago for a new station as part of the masterplan drawn up for the Portishead Quays development.

But it was later ruled out after rail regulators said no further level crossings should be built in the UK, except in "exceptional circumstances".


In a consultation held as part of the MetroWest scheme, three sites ^ two at Quays Avenue and one at Serbert Way ^ were put forward for a station. Town councillors wrote to the local enterprise partnership earlier this month asking for it to appoint a team of consultants to work on a business case for a level crossing ^ and allocated ^50,000 towards the cost.

A MetroWest spokesman said: "The MetroWest project team will be preparing the necessary details to submit a case to the Office of Rail Regulation regarding the possibility of 'exceptional circumstances' to allow a level crossing at Quays Avenue. It is expected that the draft submission will be prepared by the end of October, but at this stage the timescale is not fixed."

The ORR has said to make an informed decision it expects the applicant to provide "sufficiently compelling" evidence to demonstrate there is an exceptional need.

The news that a business case is being drawn up for a level crossing has been welcomed by local councillors, including Arthur Terry.

Mr Terry said: "I am pleased that a decision has been made to carry out a full evaluation of the option of a level crossing which will go to the Office of the Rail Regulator. The business case is due to be completed by the end of October.

"We still believe that Harbour Road is still the best site for the station and that a level crossing will be the safest and least disruptive option."

A consultation on the three sites has now closed and North Somerset Council will use the responses as part of the process to decide the location for a new station.

However, any decision is likely to be put on hold until the level crossing option is fully investigated.



Read more: http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/New-stationWork-begins-case-level-crossing/story-22799713-detail/story.html#ixzz3B7KWqFIa
Read more at http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/New-stationWork-begins-case-level-crossing/story-22799713-detail/story.html#toxMPvO4HPdg4Cr5.99


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on August 22, 2014, 12:11:48 pm
A road overbridge is a most expensive  sledgehammer to crack a nut and would be the most dreadful visual intrusion especially for the residents of Haven Lodge nursing home opposite.

The latest proposal of a rail under road cutting as proposed in the North Somerset Times this week seems to conveniently  forget the fact that this part of Portishead is barely above sea level. When  road work was done, earlier this year, near Gordano School, you could see sea water at the bottom of a ten foot trench !

It would seem that the only way to make the ORR see sense about this, is to get them out of their ivory sidings and hire a train to bring them down so they can see for themselves that a level crossing really is the only solution. Surely that would be a far more effective and cheaper use of the ^50.000  earmarked by the Town Council, than yet MORE consultations that only ever seem to make money for the consultants, and just delays things even further!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on August 23, 2014, 06:38:23 pm
A road overbridge is a most expensive  sledgehammer to crack a nut and would be the most dreadful visual intrusion especially for the residents of Haven Lodge nursing home opposite.

The latest proposal of a rail under road cutting as proposed in the North Somerset Times this week seems to conveniently  forget the fact that this part of Portishead is barely above sea level. When  road work was done, earlier this year, near Gordano School, you could see sea water at the bottom of a ten foot trench !

It would seem that the only way to make the ORR see sense about this, is to get them out of their ivory sidings and hire a train to bring them down so they can see for themselves that a level crossing really is the only solution. Surely that would be a far more effective and cheaper use of the ^50.000  earmarked by the Town Council, than yet MORE consultations that only ever seem to make money for the consultants, and just delays things even further!

True on every point, chuffed, although I accept that the residential centre of Posset has moved. A new station in Quats Avenue would be accessible to many thousands of passengers.

But I still think the original site is the best. ORR have not been asked if they will allow a level crossing - everyone has simply assumed they won't. ^50K on top of a project cost in the likely region of ^50m is not a lot to ask ORR nicely.

When they say "NO!!!", we can get on with it.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on August 23, 2014, 07:53:16 pm
Erm .. in post number 347 above (http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=231.msg156679#msg156679), and subsequent discussion, it was confirmed that the Office of Rail Regulation have been asked about the possibility of building a new level crossing at Portishead - and the ORR said, "NO!!!".

The latest ^50,000 investment / gamble / money down the drain is apparently only intended to establish whether "NO!!!" means "NO!!!".


Admin note: I'm posting here in a personal capacity - I certainly don't agree with the situation, but I'm rather afraid that's what the response will be from the ORR.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Oxonhutch on August 24, 2014, 04:27:59 pm
So how about a six inch high double leaf bascule bridge (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bascule_bridge) that folds down on to the railway tracks. It is not a level crossing but a bridge! 

And the bridge-leaves act as an additional barrier to people and vehicles, but without a significant height penalty.

This is of course :P an expensive tongue in cheek solution :P, but it might demonstrate the ridiculousness of an entrenched position by the ORR.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: trainer on August 24, 2014, 05:37:06 pm
it might demonstrate the ridiculousness of an entrenched position by the ORR.

I think the 'entrenched' position is the one being advocated by those who want to burrow under the road!  :D


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on September 09, 2014, 12:21:39 pm
From the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-29123831):

Quote
West rail improvement plans submitted for funding

(http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/75537000/jpg/_75537263_portisheadline.jpg)
Re-opening the Portishead line, which closed in 1964, is part of the MetroWest Phase 1 project, being overseen by the West of England Partnership

A ^58m plan to improve railway services in and around Bristol and Bath is to be submitted to the government.

If approved, the proposal would see half-hourly services for the Severn Beach line, the Bath-to-Bristol line and a re-opened Portishead line.

The MetroWest Phase 1 project aims to reopen the Portishead line to passenger train services by Spring 2019.

The bid has been drawn up by the Joint Transport Board for the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership.

Chairman Brian Allinson said he hoped a decision would come in the next six months. He said: "We are talking about a lot of money, and the money has to be programmed. The money we want is programmed to be available at that time."

Potential locations for a new Portishead rail station were discussed in a public consultation over the summer. The three locations under consideration are east of Quays Avenue, across Quays Avenue and between Serbert Road and Harbour Road.

Mr Allinson confirmed a final decision had yet to be made on the location, but said: "We are still hoping that it will be close to the town centre."


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on September 09, 2014, 04:35:18 pm

Quote

Chairman Brian Allinson said he hoped a decision would come in the next six months. He said: "We are talking about a lot of money, and the money has to be programmed. The money we want is programmed to be available at that time."

A lot of money? Come now, Cllr Allinson, it's likely to come in under a mere ^50 million. Now, I couldn't dip my hand to my pocket and pull that much out, but it is not a huge wad of cash for such an important infrastructure project. This is the same Cllr Allinson who wants to spend ^200 million on MetroBust, a lame duck project with virtually zero support, according to one of its most ardent supporters. There is no land to buy, unless a new station site away from Quays Avenue is required. Public support seems to far outweigh opposition, something that cannot be said of MetroBust, so there is little chance of the councils needing to spend money contesting judicial reviews and the like. The work will surely be commissioned and overseen by Network Rail, who are getting good at delivering on time and budget.

The track is still there apart from the bit across Quays Avenue, and the points for the Portbury Junction are still in the undergrowth. They could be re-instated in a day, and if the line could be bodged enough to take a delivery of rail at 2 mph if necessary, then the rail could be positioned in the four-foot in very long lengths, to be relaid by one of those magnificent machines, and formed into continuously welded rail. As we have seen with the Airdrie - Bathgate link, and will see with the Borders line, the actual laying and commissioning of track is a relatively speedy process.

The day that ^50 million isn't a pretty penny is hopefully some distance away, but it isn't a lot in the scheme of things. The impact of spending it on the 25,000 people within the catchment area will be huge, and could kick start the Temple Meads enterprise zone by bringing people from Posset within 17 minutes. Who knows - it could be a good candidate for expansion via tram-train if the Sheffield experiment goes well. The work to reopen the line will also involve improvements to the current freight-only line, so giving a fringe benefit. All of which is more than can be said for MetroBust.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on September 25, 2014, 01:35:11 pm
From the Bristol Post (http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/Developer-offers-patch-land-new-railway-station/story-22925402-detail/story.html):

Quote
Developer offers patch of land for new railway station

A HOUSING developer has offered to sell a patch of land for a new railway station at Portishead. Persimmon Homes, which has built new houses and apartments in the town, has suggested using land at Moor Farm, Sheepway, for the station which would be needed when the line between Portishead and Bristol Temple Meads is opened up to passenger trains.

The best place for a new station has been keenly debated in the town for several months and now there is a danger that the issue could hold up the re-opening of the line.

In a letter to The Times, Carl Haley, managing director of Persimmon Homes Severn Valley, says they had always supported the re-opening of the line which would make it easier for commuters to travel backwards and forwards to Bristol and reduce congestion on the roads.

He says: "Persimmon has monitored the continuing debate over the location for the new station. Businesses and local people should be concerned that unless the debate is closed out soon, the project may be put in danger if the funding is lost.

"We understand that to deliver a station on Harbour Road a new level crossing will be required. But, the overall aim of the Office of Rail Regulation is that, 'other than in exceptional circumstances, no new level crossings on any railway; therefore creating no new risks'.

"Alternatively, to deliver North Somerset Council's preferred locations on Quays Avenue will result in disruption to one of the main vehicular routes into the town. This will not only affect the character of the residential area, but would come at some considerable cost.

"Persimmon Homes controls land at Moor Farm, Sheepway which can provide a station that does not require a level crossing and does not require costly and disruptive work to Quays Avenue. Furthermore, the Sheepway solution will not affect existing local residents with noisy, slowing trains tracking past their properties.

"Our Sheepway solution will also enable a sustainable pedestrian/cycle link along the former railway back into the town centre. Enhancement to the current X2 and X3 bus links and a further car park, sitting alongside the current car park locations, creates a genuine transport interchange.

"It does not require a new level crossing, creates no new risks, will be more economically viable and will minimise disruption to the town centre."


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: trainer on September 25, 2014, 06:30:08 pm
Re: BNM's post immediately above:

This would in effect be an 'out-of-town' or Parkway station and I thought one of the options rejected early on.  The road leading to the site would need a considerable upgrade (was on X3 bus today co-incidentally, and noted how narrow it is in places) and an even bigger car park needed because only the fanciful could believe that most potential train pax will use the bus first.

On a related note, I believe First are having considerable difficulties maintaining a service through the new Village Quarter because of parked vehicles in the narrow roads and are on the point of demanding North Somerset Council do something before they withdraw the X3 altogether. The railway needs to get in as close as possible to play its part in transporting people in and out.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on September 25, 2014, 06:59:31 pm
Very good point. Ditch the X3 and replace it by a train(er). the sooner the better !


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on September 25, 2014, 07:36:11 pm
The Village Quarter and East Quay Marina in Portishead are a classic example of a local authority rubber-stamping large residential developments and giving no consideration whatsoever to the practicalities of running a bus service through it.

The time to consider bus access was the time the developers submitted their roads plan for the development.

I've been round the route of the X3 numerous times and I can well believe the problems First are experiencing.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on September 25, 2014, 08:27:51 pm
Anyone wishing to comment on public transport issues in Portishead should address their concerns to Cllr Elfan ap Rees (http://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/Your_Council/The%20Council/councillors/Pages/Elfan-ap-Rees.aspx), Executive Member for Transport on North Somerset Council.  :-X


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on September 25, 2014, 08:37:54 pm
He's also a member of the West of England (dis)Joint(ed) Transport Board...


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on September 25, 2014, 09:15:16 pm
He's also a member of the West of England (dis)Joint(ed) Transport Board...
...of the Local Enterprise Partnership, where he is responsible for MetroBust, along with his fellow LEPers.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on September 26, 2014, 12:43:10 am
This week, the much vaunted X2 and X3 15 minute service has been reduced to 2 buses every half hour. Since Monday I have waited for almost 3 hours in total for what should be a bus every 15 minutes. Then 2 arrive together. Like PCSO's they seem to go around in pairs for protection !


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on December 19, 2014, 03:45:52 pm
I wonder if Travelwest's bus checker app works in Portishead? It gives information about the actual location of the bus, some of it accurate.

Meanwhile, the New Year should see the announcement of the site for Portishead station, according to the Bristol Post. (http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/Location-Portishead-s-railway-station-decided-New/story-25740252-detail/story.html)

Quote
Location of Portishead's railway station will be decided in the New Year

A decision on the location of Portishead^s new railway station will be made in the New Year. North Somerset Council says it expects to be in a position to announce the location for the new station in February.

A consultation was held earlier this year on three potential sites for the new station.

Three locations were put forward for the station, which will be delivered as part of the MetroWest Phase One project to re-open the Portishead line to passenger train services from Spring 2019.

Sites included land to the east of Quays Avenue, land across Quays Avenue and a site between Serbert Road and Harbour Road.

The consultation revealed that the site across Quays Avenue is the option most favoured by local people.

The site is 600 metres from the town centre and would require some modifications to the road to realign Quays Avenue and the creation of a new junction at Haven View.

The consultation results come at the same time as a business case for a level crossing at Harbour Road is being drawn up to be submitted to the Office of the Rail Regulator (ORR).

The move to draw up a business case for a level crossing follows pressure from Portishead Town Council which has been campaigning for the original site for the station ^ at Harbour Road ^ and a level crossing to be reconsidered as part of the Metrowest project.

The site at Harbour Road was identified 20 years ago for a new station as part of the masterplan drawn up for the Portishead Quays development.

But it was later ruled out after rail regulators said no further level crossings should be built in the UK, except for in ^exceptional circumstances^.

The move came after the ORR revealed it had not been formally asked to assess the feasibility of a level crossing at Quays Avenue.

North Somerset Council ^ which will have the final say on the station location ^ made an initial approach to the ORR in May 2013 asking it whether it was likely to support the construction of a new level crossing.

But the ORR said that based on the limited information it received from the authority and the fact that three options were being put forward, it would not, at that time, authorise a new crossing to go ahead.

The ORR said to make a more informed decision, it expects the applicant to provide ^sufficiently compelling^ evidence to demonstrate there is an exceptional need.

The business case is now being finalised by the MetroWest project team.

North Somerset Council spokesman Nick Yates said: ^A decision is expected to be made on the location of the station early next year, probably February. We are currently finalising a technical assessment in relation to the case for a level crossing, which needs to go to the Office of Rail Regulation, before a decision can be made.^

North Somerset Council has has already purchased the three mile section of redundant track between Portishead and Portbury to protect it from being developed and clearance work on the line has already been carried out.

That clearance work was done in spring 2013, and will need doing again.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: alan_s on December 20, 2014, 05:54:07 pm
I wonder if Travelwest's bus checker app works in Portishead? It gives information about the actual location of the bus, some of it accurate.

Not very well !  The same for the bus-stop electronic displays.

Thanks for the newspaper article.  I do hope they get the crossing sorted out and put the station in its proper place by Lidl.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on December 21, 2014, 07:03:29 pm
Thanks for the newspaper article.  I do hope they get the crossing sorted out and put the station in its proper place by Lidl.

Or for those with money, by Waitrose.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on January 09, 2015, 08:51:05 pm
From the Bristol Post (http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/Work-start-clearing-vegetation-Portishead-railway/story-25828893-detail/story.html):

Quote
Work to start on clearing vegetation on Portishead to Bristol railway line

(http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/images/localworld/ugc-images/276268/Article/images/25828893/9298168-large.jpg)
Railway lines leading out of Portishead intersected by Quays Avenue, part of the original tracks out of the town

WORK is to start on clearing vegetation along the disused section of Portishead's railway line this month. Contractors will start on clearing overgrowth on the three mile section of the redundant Portishead line as part of multi-million pound plans to get trains running out of the town again by 2019.

This will be followed by clearing work on some parts of the freight line in Pill.

The clearance work is needed so a full topographical survey of the line for the next stage of engineering design work for the project to reopen the railway can be carried out.

A considerable amount of technical feasibility work has already been carried out over the last 12 months, which was set out in the preliminary business case endorsed by the West of England Joint Transport Board in the autumn.

The business case found the project gave high value for money, had sound commercial footing and was financially affordable and deliverable by 2019.

The next stage of the project involves outline engineering design, further work on operation design and drawing up a planning application for the scheme.

The work will be included in the outline business case due to be completed by November. North Somerset Council leader Nigel Ashton, pictured, said: "A great deal of work is progressing on the project."

Over the next 12 months the project team will carry out more detailed engineering design, further work on operation design and the preparation of a major planning application. It will also be necessary for decisions to be made on the train service and to secure the remaining funding requirements."

A decision on the location of the new railway station for the town is due to be made next month.

The opening of the Portishead line is a key priority of the Metrowest Phase One project being pioneered and funded by the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). The MetroWest Phase One scheme, which will cost between ^44 and ^55 million, will see passenger trains run out of Portishead again by the spring of 2019. Passenger services from Portishead to Bristol were cut in 1964, although the line to Portbury Dock reopened in 2002 for freight trains only. A study in 2010 showed that travel time from Portishead would be 17 minutes compared to an hour by road during peak times.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on February 12, 2015, 05:25:43 pm
From the Bristol Post (http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/Decision-level-crossing/story-26013579-detail/story.html):

Quote
A DECISION on whether a level crossing could be built in Portishead as part of a multi-million-pound scheme to re-open the town's railway is expected within days.

The MetroWest project team leading the drive to get trains running out of the town again by 2019 submitted a business case for a level crossing at Harbour Road to the Office of the Rail Regulator last month.

The ORR's official policy is for no new level crossings on any railway "other than in exceptional circumstances" and to replace existing ones with bridges or underpasses.

But if the MetroWest planners are able to provide "sufficiently compelling" evidence one is needed on Harbour Road to make the planned route viable it could be allowed, with a decision expected by next week.



Moderator note. This post has been edited to attribute the text to the Bristol Post.






Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on February 12, 2015, 06:50:21 pm

A DECISION on whether a level crossing could be built in Portishead as part of a multi-million-pound scheme to re-open the town's railway is expected within days.

The MetroWest project team leading the drive to get trains running out of the town again by 2019 submitted a business case for a level crossing at Harbour Road to the Office of the Rail Regulator last month.

The ORR's official policy is for no new level crossings on any railway "other than in exceptional circumstances" and to replace existing ones with bridges or underpasses.

But if the MetroWest planners are able to provide "sufficiently compelling" evidence one is needed on Harbour Road to make the planned route viable it could be allowed, with a decision expected by next week.





Should point out that this is quoted from the Bristol Post (http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/Decision-level-crossing/story-26013579-detail/story.html#ixzz3RYg1wQgH)

Personally, I think this has gone on long enough. A level crossing here would be justified. Trains either way will be running at walking pace, and it will put the station in a correct position.

 ;)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on February 13, 2015, 03:14:46 pm

Should point out that this is quoted from the Bristol Post (http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/Decision-level-crossing/story-26013579-detail/story.html#ixzz3RYg1wQgH)

Personally, I think this has gone on long enough. A level crossing here would be justified. Trains either way will be running at walking pace, and it will put the station in a correct position.

 ;)


Sage words indeed!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on February 20, 2015, 02:28:10 pm
Well,it is 8 days since the BEP said the decision about the station was to be made 'within days'......anyone heard/seen anything ?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on March 03, 2015, 09:34:39 am
And a further 10 days of deafening silence.....

Ian B on the Portishead Streetlife page suggests, that as we have the 'Strawberry Line' and the 'Bluebell line'...not forgetting the 'Watercress line,Ian...., that the Portishead line is henceforth known as the 'Marmite line'.....love it or hate it.....

 And I wondered what the sticky black substance was, on the newly cleared rails beyond Quays Avenue towards Sainsburys.....( nearly said Salisbury lol, wishful thinking!)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on March 03, 2015, 11:49:08 am
I had a look around recently, and took some pictures. I've posted them with others I took in September 2012, for comparison.

Sheepway facing Bristol before:

(http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/Boyamijealous_7108a707/Portishead/Portburystation.jpg) (http://s1082.photobucket.com/user/Boyamijealous/media/Portishead/Portburystation.jpg.html)

After:
(http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/Boyamijealous_7108a707/IMG_5394_zps3lkpycfn.jpg) (http://s1082.photobucket.com/user/Boyamijealous/media/IMG_5394_zps3lkpycfn.jpg.html)


 Sheepway facing Portbury Wharf before:

(http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/Boyamijealous_7108a707/Portishead/AwayfromPortburyStation.jpg) (http://s1082.photobucket.com/user/Boyamijealous/media/Portishead/AwayfromPortburyStation.jpg.html)

and after:

(http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/Boyamijealous_7108a707/IMG_5392_zpssgwbonay.jpg) (http://s1082.photobucket.com/user/Boyamijealous/media/IMG_5392_zpssgwbonay.jpg.html)

From Portbury Wharf bridge towards Bristol before:

(http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/Boyamijealous_7108a707/Portishead/TowardsSheepway.jpg) (http://s1082.photobucket.com/user/Boyamijealous/media/Portishead/TowardsSheepway.jpg.html)

and after:

(http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/Boyamijealous_7108a707/IMG_5382_zpsrgni7gru.jpg) (http://s1082.photobucket.com/user/Boyamijealous/media/IMG_5382_zpsrgni7gru.jpg.html)

Towards Portishead from Portbury Wharf Bridge before:

(http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/Boyamijealous_7108a707/Portishead/TowardsPortisheadstation.jpg) (http://s1082.photobucket.com/user/Boyamijealous/media/Portishead/TowardsPortisheadstation.jpg.html)

and after:

(http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/Boyamijealous_7108a707/IMG_5383_zpszw2fqwfb.jpg) (http://s1082.photobucket.com/user/Boyamijealous/media/IMG_5383_zpszw2fqwfb.jpg.html)

Portbury Wharf bridge itself before:

(http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/Boyamijealous_7108a707/Portishead/PortburyWharfbridge.jpg) (http://s1082.photobucket.com/user/Boyamijealous/media/Portishead/PortburyWharfbridge.jpg.html)

and after:

(http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/Boyamijealous_7108a707/Portishead/IMG_2413_zps554472ed.jpg) (http://s1082.photobucket.com/user/Boyamijealous/media/Portishead/IMG_2413_zps554472ed.jpg.html)

From Quays Avenue towards Portishead station before:

(http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/Boyamijealous_7108a707/Portishead/QuaysAvenue2.jpg) (http://s1082.photobucket.com/user/Boyamijealous/media/Portishead/QuaysAvenue2.jpg.html)

and after:

(http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/Boyamijealous_7108a707/IMG_5387_zpstskidweo.jpg) (http://s1082.photobucket.com/user/Boyamijealous/media/IMG_5387_zpstskidweo.jpg.html)

There is traffic counting equipment in place where the level crossing will, common sense prevailing, be built:

(http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/Boyamijealous_7108a707/IMG_5389_zpsrvgx1rmf.jpg) (http://s1082.photobucket.com/user/Boyamijealous/media/IMG_5389_zpsrvgx1rmf.jpg.html)

Now, are those rails likely to be strong enough to be usable for delivery of rail and sleepers at 2 mpf (miles per fortnight)? That would save a lorra lorra lorry journeys.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Cynthia on March 04, 2015, 07:29:31 am
An impressive amount of work has obviously gone on to reopen this line.  Hope this isn't a stupid question, but was all this line restoration done by employed staff, or has there been any input by volunteers?  Who financed the work?  I knownotheeng, as Manuel used to say. ::) Thank you for your patience.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on March 04, 2015, 10:33:47 am
An impressive amount of work has obviously gone on to reopen this line.  Hope this isn't a stupid question, but was all this line restoration done by employed staff, or has there been any input by volunteers?  Who financed the work?  I knownotheeng, as Manuel used to say. ::) Thank you for your patience.

The work has been done by contractors, paid for by Network Rail. The purpose of this is just to allow inspection of the route.

Although the clearance is a visible sign of progress, there is a lot of planning to do before new rails and ballast go down.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on March 04, 2015, 10:19:24 pm
... has there been any input by volunteers?

No, Cynthia, there has not been any physical input by volunteers on the work carried out so far.

In the past, volunteers from the Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways (FoSBR) expressed an interest in helping to clear some of the vegetation, but their offer was declined.

To be fair, there are various quite legitimate 'health and safety' concerns in such cases.  The trackbed is private property (much of it bought by North Somerset Council) and Network Rail and their contractors have access to it, to carry out some industrial strength clearance work, on the basis that they will not expect to find anyone else on site (however well-intentioned).  :-X


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Cynthia on March 05, 2015, 07:53:30 am
OK, well, as long as the work is being done.....  I'm sure the volunteer force that would like to have hurried along the reopening must have been ruing the advent of overly-cautious H&S regulations. (Injury Claims UK and others of your kind; you're ruining the British culture of 'mucking in')

I will just add that I hope the Wilts and Berks Canal Trust manage to complete their restoration of the canal before H&S concerns prevent the presence of volunteers.  Most of the work completed so far wouldn't have been possible without the willing army of volunteers!  And yes, they also had some pretty chunky equipment present at work party sessions.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on March 05, 2015, 08:32:54 am
The clearance near Sainsburys has revealed the metal skeleton of what was designed to bring a train to a halt. After being revealed in Sleeping Beauty fashion after some 50 years, (the structure I hasten to add!), I was photographed  standing next to it. The caption for the photograph is Two Old Buffers but modesty forbids me from posting it here. ;D


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on March 06, 2015, 12:08:55 pm
From the Joint Transport Board's website[/] we find that:

 (http://www.westofenglandlep.co.uk/meetings/joint-transport-board)
Quote
Office of Rail Regulation response to the case for a level crossing at Quays Avenue in Portishead will be reported verbally to the Joint Transport Board on 13 March 2015.

North Somerset Council to decide on preferred location for Portishead station on 17 March 2015.

So, el momento de verdad, as they may say in Spain. The LEP clearly knows the outcome already. Is the delay to be able to report fabulous news, or to let us down gently? If it is thumbs up for the crossing, why would North Somerset have a decision to make?

The case for a crossing is strong. The case against is that no-one likes a precedent.

Advanced notice by way of leaks of insider information would be welcome...


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on March 06, 2015, 12:51:19 pm
There is a Portishead Railway Action Group meeting on that very same evening. I suspect that this decision, one way or the other  will be the only item on the Agenda !


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on March 06, 2015, 01:04:05 pm
There is a Portishead Railway Action Group meeting on that very same evening. I suspect that this decision, one way or the other  will be the only item on the Agenda !

Well let's hope PRAG-matism wins the day...


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on March 06, 2015, 02:38:28 pm
A quick search for FTN's el momento de verdad seems to indicate that there is no literal English translation for this phrase. One suggestion I found was 'when push comes to shove' which I can't help thinking is a MOST unfortunate metaphor when applied to the projected re-opening of a railway line ! ::)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on March 06, 2015, 05:26:23 pm
A quick search for FTN's el momento de verdad seems to indicate that there is no literal English translation for this phrase. One suggestion I found was 'when push comes to shove' which I can't help thinking is a MOST unfortunate metaphor when applied to the projected re-opening of a railway line ! ::)

I'm pretty sure I read it a Spike Milligan book - probably Puckoon. Although not part of the same chapter, the "Puckoon Flyer" does run out of peat at one point...


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on March 06, 2015, 06:51:55 pm
A quick search for FTN's el momento de verdad seems to indicate that there is no literal English translation for this phrase. One suggestion I found was 'when push comes to shove' which I can't help thinking is a MOST unfortunate metaphor when applied to the projected re-opening of a railway line ! ::)

Really? Google translate gives 'the moment of truth', which fits rather well with FT, N!'s context I'd say!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on March 06, 2015, 09:14:41 pm
Wouldn't it be unfortunate,if during the clearance, a colony of 'Sciurus vulgaris' were to be found in need of re-homing.....could almost be a Drey Fuss affair.... ::)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Andy on March 07, 2015, 12:39:36 pm
"the day of reckoning" sounds like an apt expression in this context, or even "judgement day". I don't like the sense of foreboding I'm getting on reading how the decision is going to be announced.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on March 07, 2015, 02:28:10 pm
"the day of reckoning" sounds like an apt expression in this context, or even "judgement day". I don't like the sense of foreboding I'm getting on reading how the decision is going to be announced.

Me neither.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on March 09, 2015, 07:06:35 pm
The latest Portishead Rail Services newsletter (Spring update) has just been published this evening. It states that the Office of the Rail Regulator has decided against a level crossing. It also says that the NSC Exec is to decide on the station location on 17 March adopting option 2B. This is the option which diverts Quays Avenue around the station area


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on March 09, 2015, 08:56:35 pm
Many thanks for that update, chuffed.  ;)

From the North Somerset Council website (http://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/Transport/transport%20planning/Road_improvement_schemes/Pages/Portishead-Rail-Services.aspx):

Quote
Portishead Rail Services

We are working with the other West of England councils on proposals for an ambitious programme of rail improvements for delivery over the next 10 years, including plans to re-open the Portishead rail line and re-introduce passenger train services.

The project

The re-opening of the Portishead rail branch line forms part of the Metro West Phase 1 project. The overall project includes proposals for half-hourly train services for the re-opened Portishead line, Severn Beach line and local stations between Bristol Temple Meads and Bath Spa. The total cost of the project cost is estimated at between ^49m to ^55m, and is expected to be funded from the Department for Transport major schemes devolved grant, subject to the agreement of the proposed local transport body. For more information about MetroWest visit the TravelWest website.

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 (http://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/Transport/transport%20planning/Road_improvement_schemes/Documents/Portishead%20rail%20services/ORR%20letter%20March%202015%20(pdf).pdf) (pdf) and download the technical assessment of the case for a level crossing (http://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/Transport/transport%20planning/Road_improvement_schemes/Documents/Portishead%20rail%20services/technical%20assessment%20of%20case%20for%20a%20level%20crossing%20(pdf).pdf) (pdf) submitted to the ORR in January 2015 by the project team.

- See more at: http://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/Transport/transport%20planning/Road_improvement_schemes/Pages/Portishead-Rail-Services.aspx#sthash.1e92ugiv.dpuf


My highlighting. CfN.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on March 09, 2015, 10:27:16 pm
In the cold light of day, the ORR's reckoning seems logical and sensible. Traffic on Quays Avenue cannot be described as light, as I noticed when taking my photographs the other day. The likely "barrier-down" time of 12 minutes in the hour at a peak that would coincide with the road traffic peak would see traffic queuing back into Harbour Road and Phoenix Avenue. Having three viable alternatives in the submission to ORR probably helped to hole the crossing plan below the waterline before the envelope had been sealed.

So we await NSDC's decision on St Patrick's Day. 2B, or not 2B - that is the question. A quick show of hands, then the Guinness* can start to flow.

(*Other stouts are available)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on March 10, 2015, 08:27:54 am
Having been a keen advocate of a level crossing, I now realise that I was wrong. The ORR report is extremely clear and details exactly why it is not a good idea. I thought that any such refusal would be  curt and dismissive, but no, the ORR has taken the concerns very seriously and produced an excellent report. It is in plain English, free from jargon and obfuscation with plenty of evidence, statistics and surveys on the ground. In fact it is so well written, that even someone like me who does not know one end of a spanner from another, could understand it.
My only concern about the Station 2B site, is that I think the overflow car park should stretch all the way up to the bridge crossing the rhine. That's a small r, pronounced 'reen'  in case anyone thought I was referring to a certain place in Germany !
I was pleased to see that the report mentioned that Class 165's ( refurbished Turbos) might be used on the branch instead of the ubiquitous 150/153's. I used these on the Thames branches last Saturday and found them to be most acceptable !


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Rhydgaled on March 10, 2015, 09:30:37 am
Does "diverts Quays Avenue around the station area" mean that the station will be in the same place it would have been with the level-crossing option? Just with the road diverted to avoid needing the level crossing?

The consensus on here seemed to be that the best location for the station was the one that required the level crossing, so if this option puts the station in that location and manages to do it without a level crossing, that sounds like win-win for Portishead. Although it sets an awkward precedent for elsewhere...


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: stuving on March 10, 2015, 09:34:42 am
Does "diverts Quays Avenue around the station area" mean that the station will be in the same place it would have been with the level-crossing option? Just with the road diverted to avoid needing the level crossing?

The consensus on here seemed to be that the best location for the station was the one that required the level crossing, so if this option puts the station in that location and manages to do it without a level crossing, that sounds like win-win for Portishead. Although it sets an awkward precedent for elsewhere...

Sorry - you'll have to look at the plans to see where it goes. The rearrangement of the roads isn't clear in the words they use for each option. But basically the option now proposed puts the station on top of the level crossing site, with the road re-routed round its end.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Network SouthEast on March 10, 2015, 10:26:12 am
Does "diverts Quays Avenue around the station area" mean that the station will be in the same place it would have been with the level-crossing option? Just with the road diverted to avoid needing the level crossing?

The consensus on here seemed to be that the best location for the station was the one that required the level crossing, so if this option puts the station in that location and manages to do it without a level crossing, that sounds like win-win for Portishead. Although it sets an awkward precedent for elsewhere...

See page 41 of this document - http://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/Transport/transport%20planning/Road_improvement_schemes/Documents/Portishead%20rail%20services/Portishead%20station%20options%20appraisal%20report%20(pdf).pdf


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on March 10, 2015, 10:51:22 am
As an aside, I am struck by the irony that it was not possible to divert the traffic via Serbert Way because of the new Sainsbury's. I suspect that if Sainsbury's had waited another year (a mere blink of an eye in the world of rail development) they would have been happy not to build there; the big supermarkets are retreating from this kind of development.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Rhydgaled on March 10, 2015, 11:52:51 am
Does "diverts Quays Avenue around the station area" mean that the station will be in the same place it would have been with the level-crossing option? Just with the road diverted to avoid needing the level crossing?

The consensus on here seemed to be that the best location for the station was the one that required the level crossing, so if this option puts the station in that location and manages to do it without a level crossing, that sounds like win-win for Portishead. Although it sets an awkward precedent for elsewhere...

See page 41 of this document - http://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/Transport/transport%20planning/Road_improvement_schemes/Documents/Portishead%20rail%20services/Portishead%20station%20options%20appraisal%20report%20(pdf).pdf
Thanks. Looks like 2B is not the most central proposal, but at least it is better than some of the other options.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: sprinterguard on March 10, 2015, 12:50:36 pm
Did they consider submerging the railway under the road or would that cost too much or offend a rare protected strain of soil in the area?

By the way, the railway looks quite open... do people walk along the trackbed? Presumably it is trespassing on the railway still.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on March 10, 2015, 12:56:10 pm
Tunnelling was dismissed at an early stage ....cost, difficulty, not to mention that the Portishead water table is so high at that point,or put another way so close to sea level (single figures?), that aqua trains might be needed.... ::)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on March 10, 2015, 01:16:20 pm
Quote

From Bristol Post: (http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/Site-agreed-new-Portishead-train-station/story-26143489-detail/story.html#ixzz3TzKZC1UA)

Site agreed for new Portishead train station

By Heather Pickstock

LONG awaited plans to get trains running out of Portishead for the first time in more than 50 years have taken a massive step forward ^ with a site for the town's new station agreed.

North Somerset Council has identified land between Harbour Road and Quays Avenue as the site for the new station.

The authority's executive committee is due to rubber stamp the decision at its meeting next week.
 
The move to decide the site comes after the Office of the Rail Regulator (ORR) ruled that a level crossing would be unsuitable.

The Metrowest project team, which is leading the drive to get trains running out of the town again by 2019, put forward a case for a level crossing at Harbour Road for the new station following pressure from Portishead Town Council.

But rail regulators have ruled that such a crossing would increase safety risks and cause a 'severe' impact on journey times and traffic congestion.

They said that traffic queues could potentially extend the length of Quays Avenue and to have a crossing 200 metres away from a primary school would increase safety risks for schoolchildren and pedestrians.

ORR chiefs also raised concerns that a level crossing could also lead to trains running late or even being cancelled.

North Somerset Council leader Nigel Ashton said: "We have chosen the best available location for the station and this is a very positive step forward for Portishead."

A series of options for the location of the new station were put forward in a public consultation last year. Some of the options required a level crossing at Quays Avenue and a case was put forward to the ORR. The chosen site for the station ^ known as option 2b ^ is 600 metres from the town centre and would require some modifications to the road to realign Quays Avenue and the creation of a new junction at Haven View.

A considerable amount of technical feasibility work has already been carried out over the last 12 months.

The next stage involves outline engineering design, further work on operation design and drawing up a planning application for the scheme. Work has also been carried out on clearing overgrowth on the three-mile section of the redundant Portishead line.

Mr Ashton added: "While we have a number of major milestones yet to get over, our programme is to commence construction in late 2017 and open the station and railway in May 2019."



Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on June 19, 2015, 11:40:11 am
New consultation document (20 page colour booklet with maps, explanations,colour photos and artists impressions) now available at travelwest.info/metrowest. This is obviously what will be on display and available in booklet form, at the exhibitions in Portishead, Pill and Temple Meads over the next month


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on June 19, 2015, 11:42:32 am
Here's the link:

http://travelwest.info/project/portishead-branch-line-consultation


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Bmblbzzz on June 19, 2015, 01:33:24 pm
I thought the decision to reopen the line had already been taken? Guess I was misled by optimism!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on June 19, 2015, 04:14:28 pm
The thing of it is, is that when a decision takes as long as a rail development decision takes to take, then it's difficult to really put your finger on any one event and refer to that event as the 'decision'. To remind you, here are the stages of the GRIP process for making a decision:

1. Determine what you are going to decide;
2. Decide whether you will be able to make a decision once you've decided what to decide;
3. Think up some other things you could decide about to make it look like you've looked into all the other things you could possibly have done had you not decided to make a decision;
4. Decisively rule out all the plainly mad things you thought up to satisfy stage 3;
5. Clarify what you meant by 'decision' in this context;
6. Remind yourself what you decided;
7. Review your position relative to the position of the exit, in case you need to make a sharp one;
8. Decide whether to claim the glory for a brilliant decision, or blame someone else for a cataclysmic cockup.




Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on June 19, 2015, 08:07:35 pm
To remind you, here are the stages of the GRIP process for making a decision:


GRIP - Get Rid If Possible???  :D


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on June 24, 2015, 07:44:23 pm
From the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-33221305):

Quote
Portishead railway reopening consultation begins

(http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/660/cpsprodpb/A8DD/production/_83792234_de27.jpg)
Reopening the Portishead line is part of the MetroWest Phase 1 project

A public consultation into plans to reopen a Bristol railway line has begun.

The Portishead branch line shut in 1964 but is now part of the MetroWest Phase 1 project which aims to reopen the line to passenger services by 2019. Work will involve opening a new station in Portishead, reopening Pill station, building new footbridges and doubling part of the track.

A six week consultation will run until 3 August.

When complete the line will link Portishead with Bristol Temple Meads and the Severn Beach Line.

Nigel Ashton, leader of North Somerset Council, said it was a "fantastic opportunity".

"I've been hearing about [the plans] for 25 years... but now I really do think that we're there, and we've got the plans for the station so it's getting quite exciting. It'll make a huge difference to businesses and work travel, and to social life in Portishead."

The reopening the Portishead branch line is part of a wider ^100m scheme investing in local rail projects by West of England councils.

It is not yet known which company will run trains on the line. First Great Western's current franchise is due to end in 2019.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on July 28, 2015, 06:13:16 pm
From Construction Enquirer (http://www.constructionenquirer.com/2015/07/28/arup-wins-design-or-60m-bristol-metrowest/):

Quote
Arup wins ^60m Bristol rail link design

Arup has been appointed by Network Rail to undertake the outline design for the ^60m Phase 1 of the MetroWest project in Bristol.

This first step marks the beginning of ^100m investment in the area^s rail infrastructure.

A new station will be built at Portishead as a part of the project, and Pill station and 5km of previously disused railway line will be re-opened by May 2019.

The line will restore the rail link between Portishead and Bristol city centre. Enhancement works at Bathampton and Avonmouth complete the scope.

Simon Snell, Project Manager, MetroWest Phase 1 for Network Rail, said Arup would provide multi-disciplinary railway design services including track, drainage, civils, structures, telecoms, signalling power, points heating, OLE, M&E and Geotechnical engineering, plus environmental consulting.

Plans for a ^43m Phase Two ^ delivering the long-awaited Henbury Loop or Spur ^ will be detailed at a later date.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Rhydgaled on July 29, 2015, 10:08:04 pm
From Construction Enquirer (http://www.constructionenquirer.com/2015/07/28/arup-wins-design-or-60m-bristol-metrowest/):
Quote
Simon Snell, Project Manager, MetroWest Phase 1 for Network Rail, said Arup would provide multi-disciplinary railway design services including track, drainage, civils, structures, telecoms, signalling power, points heating, OLE, M&E and Geotechnical engineering, plus environmental consulting.
OLE? (My bold). I'm guessing this means MetroWest phase 1 is a wider scheme than just the Portishead line, since I didn't think Overhead Line Equipment (electrification) was planned for Portishead.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Oberon on July 30, 2015, 09:33:05 pm
Maybe OLE is for the extra lines up Filton bank?

In a rational world all Bristol suburban lines, Portishead-Severn Beach-Henbury-Filton would be electrified..


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on January 20, 2016, 05:00:41 pm
Opening of Portishead rail line delayed by up to a year
By H_Pickstock  |  Posted: January 20, 2016


THE long awaited opening of Portishead's defunct railway line could be delayed by up to a year ^ due to technical and construction issues.It had initially been hoped the three mile section of the line would be open in early 2019, but this could now be pushed back to early 2020.

The Portishead rail line opening is the first part of the MetroWest project which will see the town's branch line reinstated, a new station built in the town and the Pill station re-opened.

It is understood the delay in the Portishead scheme will not impact other MetroWest project improvements planned across the Bristol area.

The delay is being blamed on a number of technical, construction and access issues which have emerged as the project moves forward.

These include the work needed to the Pill tunnel as well as the fact that Network Rail will also have to change signalling around the Bristol area to cope with the impact of more trains.

The extent and detail of the issues are due to be revealed in a report which will be discussed by the West of England Partnership Joint Transport Board at the end of the month.

The hold-up also follows the publication of the Sir Peter Hendy report to scrutinise Network Rail's future projects across the UK.

Network Rail is investing in the biggest programme of railway modernisation since the Victorian era.

The Transport Secretary asked Sir Hendy to develop proposals for how the rail upgrade programme could be put on a realistic and sustainable footing.

All the implications of the report are not yet known.

Work on building a new station in Portishead to serve the railway was due to start next year.

It is not yet known whether that building work will go ahead as planned.

A Metrowest spokesman said: "The combined impact of the constructability issues and the Hendy report is pushing the opening date for MetroWest Phase 1 into late 2019 or the first half of 2020.

"This is a complex project.

" As the project progresses there are technical, construction access and construction issues that have emerged.

" The details will be available in a full report that is going to the Joint Transport Board on January 29.

The news comes at the same time as it was revealed that 95 per cent of people who took part in a consultation backed plans for the re-opening of the Portishead line.

The re-opening the Portishead branch line includes plans for a new Portishead railway station at Quays Avenue, the reopening of Pill railway station, the provision of new footbridges across the line and other work including double tracking through Pill.

The opening of the Portishead line is a key priority of the Metrowest Phase One project being pioneered and funded by the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and is expected to cost up to^58 million.

Passenger services from Portishead to Bristol were cut in 1964, although the line to Portbury Dock reopened in 2002 for freight trains only.

A study in 2010 showed that travel time from Portishead would be 17 minutes compared to an hour by road during peak times.



Read more: http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/Opening-Portishead-rail-line-delayed-year/story-28570892-detail/story.html#ixzz3xnwQQ3QP
Follow us: @BristolPost on Twitter | bristolpost on Facebook

I hope this is the Post being unduly pessimistic or just plain wrong.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on January 22, 2016, 09:42:56 am
Dear Member,
 
You will probably have been as surprised and disappointed as we were, about the sudden news this week of substantial delays to the Bristol-Portishead line project. Some of what was reported did not make sense with other information we (and you) have been given and I^m pleased to say that a lot more information has now become available, which describes things in a clearer and somewhat less negative light.
 
I^ve extracted below the key pieces that were published this afternoon on the West of England Joint Transport Board website. You can find and read all the document here www.westofenglandlep.co.uk/meetings/joint-transport-board using the link to ^29 Jan 2016 Agenda and Papers^
 
In summary, completion has been delayed by up to a year. There are a number of issues causing delays that are outside the scope of the Portishead project itself, as well as some that are within. The entire ^100 million funding for the project ^ Phase 1 and Phase 2 - is now entirely in place. The delay allows GRIP 4 to actually be brought forward, so improving the quality of the DCO submission in late 2016. So it^s not all bad news.
 
MetroWest Phase 1 Update from West of England Joint Transport Board

5. Two critical issues have emerged which are likely to have a significant impact on both the cost and programme of the MetroWest Phase 1 project:

^         Operation and Deliverability of upgraded Level Crossing in Ashton Vale (Ashton Vale Road). Following a number of technical issues which have arisen in relation to the operation of the level crossing and opposition from businesses in the Ashton Vale industrial estate, alternative access arrangements need to be provided and these are under active consideration. 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.

^         Construction access and construction issues associated with the line to Portishead including Pill Station and its immediate environs, Pill Tunnel and the existing freight line between Pill station and Bower Ashton through the Avon Gorge. Full details will be available by April 2016, when the outline engineering design due to be completed. It is, however, likely to report a number of constructability, cost and programme challenges.

6. The issues above have resulted in a delay to the start of the Stage 2 (Section 42) Development Consent Order (DCO) consultation. This was planned for January 2016 but is now likely to be June 2016. The proposed submission date of the DCO application will also be delayed from June 2016 to November 2016 with subsequent delay to all further stages of the project.

7. A further programme pressure and one outside of the control of Phase 1 is Sir Peter Hendy^s report to the Secretary of State for Transport on the replanning of Network Rail^s investment Programme (see paragraph 18). Its implications are not yet fully understood as the report did not include ^renewals^ such as BASRE (Bristol area re-signalling) and Bristol East Junction. MetroWest Phase 1 cannot be implemented without BASRE being implemented first whilst Phase 2 requires Bristol East Junction for Henbury services. Furthermore the Phase 1 programme will have to take account of Network Rail^s standard 6 month embargo on further network/signalling changes from completion of the BASRE works.

8. The combined impact of constructability issues and the Hendy report is pushing the opening date for MetroWest Phase 1 into late 2019 or the first half of 2020.

9. The revised timescales, however, provide an opportunity to bring forward GRIP 4 (Single Option Development) and complete it by July 2016 (originally October 2016) and feed the output into the DCO application. This will increase the robustness of the DCO application and help to de-risk the programme.

 
Obviously any delay is disappointing, but as has been said previously, ^this is not a show-stopper^.  We will continue to question, to monitor progress and to inform you and the wider public of what^s actually going on.
 
Regards,
 
Peter
 
Peter Maliphant
Membership Secretary
Portishead Railway Group
 


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: SandTEngineer on January 22, 2016, 11:12:15 am
Just another example of why work of this nature needs to be taken away from NR (yes I know its not all their fault).  As I have said in many other threads there are plenty of companies out there that can deliver infrastructure work of this nature that can be handed back to NR at completion for operational and maintenance purposes.  If there is such a shortage of critical resources (such as signalling) then why are some of the major companies in the business talking of slimming down due to a lack of orders??

End of whinge ::) :P


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Tim on January 22, 2016, 11:43:50 am
No sure it is quite as simple as that.  A lot of the work on the Portishead line IS being done by private contractors.  For example ARUP is doing the design work and the construction work will presumable be tendered to other companies.  These are professional outfits who can get the job done on time if they are left to get on with it.

The kind of problems I have heard are things on the ground not working out as planned.  Things like turning up on site and finding the services are not in the position shown in the plan.  Or turning up to walk the line one night and finding that the signaller isn't happy with the paperwork and refuses you possession meaning that a highly paid team of engineers have to try again the following night when someone more accommodating is on duty.  A contractor doesn't face those kind of problem when building on a greenfield site. 

I don't think it is a NR versus private contactor problem (the Boarders railway is an example of the private sector pulling out and the project being rescued by NR stepping in).  Rather it is an interface problem.  NR and contractors both have a part to play but need to collaborate better. 


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: SandTEngineer on January 22, 2016, 01:24:48 pm
The point I am making is that NR has turned into (by its own fault) to be a very disorganised, disfunctional and inexperienced outfit.  Most of the engineers they have on projects that I have an involvement in are totally inexperienced and really don't have a clue how to manage the technical aspects of such projects.  I know we all probably started in the same way but we were not let loose for a considerable number of years and were guided by the ' old hands' so hated by recent NR directors and senior management.  I'm afraid that the requisite experience now lays in the hands of consultants and contractors hence my comment in my post above.

I'll keep quite now.

End of whinge No.2....... ::) :P :-[


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Tim on January 22, 2016, 02:20:13 pm
The point I am making is that NR has turned into (by its own fault) to be a very disorganised, disfunctional and inexperienced outfit.  Most of the engineers they have on projects that I have an involvement in are totally inexperienced and really don't have a clue how to manage the technical aspects of such projects.  I know we all probably started in the same way but we were not let loose for a considerable number of years and were guided by the ' old hands' so hated by recent NR directors and senior management.  I'm afraid that the requisite experience now lays in the hands of consultants and contractors hence my comment in my post above.

I'll keep quite now.

End of whinge No.2....... ::) :P :-[

That agrees 100% with what I have heard from other engineers.  NRs needs to increase its competency and experience even if outside contractors do most of the work.  I get the feeling that NRs sometimes lacks the experience to manage contractors properly.   


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: dviner on January 22, 2016, 07:18:18 pm
Quote
NRs needs to increase its competency and experience even if outside contractors do most of the work.  I get the feeling that NRs sometimes lacks the experience to manage contractors properly.

You only get experience by doing something. If you don't have the opportunity to do something, you don't gain the experience in doing that thing. If you contract someone in to do it for you (because you don't have the experience in doing it) you don't gain any experience in doing that thing. If you cock it up, you can either throw up your hands and say "I'm not doing that again, someone else can do it!", or you can look at what went wrong, work out why it went wrong and not do that thing when you have to do a similar thing again.

Remind me - were there any catastrophic over-runs of the Christmas/New Year engineering works this time?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on January 27, 2016, 09:14:26 am
Portishead rail update
Date:
21/01/2016
​Despite comments published to the contrary, North Somerset Council has confirmed that work will begin on the Portishead line in 2018 as previously stated, although the complexities of the construction work may see the opening of the line to rail services moving from May 2019 to around about the year end.

Progress on Metrowest phase 1 ^ which will provide improved services to Bath, Severn Beach and new services on the line to Portishead ^ will be officially reported to the Joint Transport Board next week.

Outline design work is progressing well and is on schedule for completion this April. This work has identified a number of engineering challenges which the team is working through before statutory consultation begins in June.  An application for a Development Consent Order will then be made in November ^ this is required before any construction on the line can begin. It is expected to take up to 18 months for the secretary of state to grant planning consent, after which work on the line can begin.

The outcome of the consultation from last summer has also recently been published. A total of 599 people attended the four manned public exhibition events and 858 consultation responses have been received. A number of responses from statutory bodies (for example Historic England and utility companies) have also been submitted.

The level of support for the project is very high with 95% of responses either supporting entirely or mainly supporting the proposals. The report sets out in detail the level of support for the individual elements of the project and the areas of concern, which generally relate to localised impacts such as parking and traffic impacts and environmental impacts.

Officers from North Somerset Council and West of England colleagues are feeding the consultation responses into the outline engineering design and following any necessary modifications stage 2 of the consultation process is expected in June.  This will provide an opportunity for people to make final comments on the proposals before the submission of the Development Consent Order planning application.

Cllr Elfan Ap Rees, North Somerset Council deputy leader who also holds the transport portfolio, said: "I am encouraged about the progress of the project, which we believe is the largest rail scheme in the country being locally funded. It is not a simple re-opening project but well worth waiting for.

"The new half-hourly service to Portishead will be far better than was ever available in the 1960s, so  is not a like for like replacement of previous infrastructure and we need to make sure that the existing freight services to the port are not adversely affected. While the project is on track to begin construction in 2018 as planned, we need to co-ordinate the work with the improvements planned by Network Rail to deliver electrification and other enhancements in the Bristol area and as always on projects of this scale and complexity, timescales are kept under review and we continue to explore opportunities to accelerate delivery."

Work on the outline engineering design began last summer and is scheduled to be completed this spring. There are three distinct engineering design elements of MetroWest Phase 1:
^       The disused line Portishead to Pill
^       Upgrading the freight line and its connection onto the main line (Parson Street Junction), and
^       Other engineering enhancement works beyond the Portishead branch line.

The engineering design must provide sufficient railway line capacity to operate both the existing freight trains and our proposed passenger train service.

There have been major land use and demographic changes along the line, since scheduled passenger trains last operated in the 1960s.  Royal Portbury Dock makes an important contribution to the local and regional economy and moving large volumes of freight by rail (that otherwise would go onto our roads), has economic and environmental benefits.  While only a few freight trains operate on any typical day at the moment, allowances have to be made for one freight train per hour in each direction, in the engineering design. The proposed passenger train service includes operating considerably more passenger trains than operated on the line in the 1960s.  The proposed half-hourly passenger train service (day time) will result in approximately 30 trains per day (Monday to Saturday) in each direction.

Providing sufficient line capacity for these freight train and passenger train presents some challenges. The four (single bore) tunnels through Avon Gorge mean the five kilometre section of track from below the Clifton Suspension Bridge to Ham Green will remain single track. This section of single track also has some environmental challenges due to the various national and European environmental designations.

So it will be necessary for the freight line speed to be increased and for the remaining sections of single track to be upgraded to double track, along with complete replacement of the signalling system. These requirements and constraints complicate the engineering design, which means the project is not about putting back the track and related infrastructure that existed in the 1960s; it's about re-building the disused line to modern engineering standards and upgrading/modernising the freight line.

Full details on the consultation can be found in the 'Report on DCO Stage 1 Consultation' at: http://travelwest.info/projects/metrowest/metrowest-phase-1

- See more at: http://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/News/Pages/Portishead-rail-update.aspx#sthash.sojK4mr6.dpuf


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on January 28, 2016, 04:13:25 pm
Thank you chuffed - what you found seems to be the most comprehensive outline of what is intended that I have seen so far.

So, if the DCO is submitted to the Secretary of State in November 2016, and is signed within 18 months, work could commence in summer of 2018. So long as it does, and so long as there is no further slippage, surely winter 2019 is attainable for passenger traffic?

Parson Street junction is already scheduled for improvement, because of the growth in traffic from the freightliner yard, as well as from Royal Portbury Dock. The latter will presumably lose some use as coal-fired power stations are taken out of service, but will be touting for replacement business already. The rail update from North Somerset suggests double track from Parson Street to Clifton Bridge, then single from there to the western end of Ham Green tunnel. That should mean clearing within 4 minutes or so if the speed is increased a bit. The level crossing at Ashton Gate would be problematic with any frequency of service. Traffic sometimes ends up queueing on the main road now, whenever a train is passing. The alternate access road around the rear is sensible.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on January 31, 2016, 07:42:42 pm
I have taken the opportunity, in the interests of clarity and continuity, to move a few posts and merge them with this ongoing discussion of the Portishead Line here.

Hope this helps. CfN.  ;)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on January 31, 2016, 09:46:40 pm
I have taken the opportunity, in the interests of clarity and continuity, to move a few posts and merge them with this ongoing discussion of the Portishead Line here.

Hope this helps. CfN.  ;)

I was going to have a bash at doing it myself - thanks CfN :)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on February 01, 2016, 12:02:43 am
No worries!  ;D

I'm looking forward to actually doing a 'Portishead Line bash' myself, sometime soon.  :P ::)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on February 01, 2016, 09:47:50 am
No worries!  ;D

I'm looking forward to actually doing a 'Portishead Line bash' myself, sometime soon.  :P ::)

Keep me posted!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Witham Bobby on April 22, 2016, 12:29:39 pm
http://www.westerndailypress.co.uk/Date-given-work-start-Portishead-railway-station/story-29147175-detail/story.html

Things appear to be moving ...


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on April 22, 2016, 01:43:28 pm
Welcome progress at last - although with our omnishambles approach, we could end up with the only two working railway stations in the world to not have a working railway.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on April 22, 2016, 04:05:38 pm
An interesting choice by the Western Daily Press (http://www.westerndailypress.co.uk/Date-given-work-start-Portishead-railway-station/story-29147175-detail/story.html) of a picture to illustrate their story:

Quote

(http://www.westerndailypress.co.uk/images/localworld/ugc-images/276309/Article/images/29147175/14021785-large.jpg)
View of line towards Portishead.


Erm, yes: that's the part of the track that cannot be used, because it's been cut off by the construction of Quays Avenue across the old trackbed.  ::)



Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on May 15, 2016, 10:14:01 pm
I'm posting my comments here, simply to avoid taking the source OkeRAIL topic off on a tangent  ::) :

The only snag with Okehampton station is its location.  It is a 15 minute to the town (and it is uphill coming back to the station!).

Hmm... According to Google maps, that's pretty similar to the time it'll take to walk into Portishead (12 mins from Quays Ave to Cabstand). Just, as the young folk would have it, sayin'.

Thanks for your observation, Red Squirrel.  ;)

However, if I may offer a couple of further observations on the subject:

Firstly, I'm not convinced that the rather historic definition of Cabstand as being the 'town centre' of Portishead is relevant today.  Most of the modern development (housing and commercial) has been to the east - around Quays Avenue itself.

Secondly, my impression is that those most likely to use the re-opened Portishead branch line will be those, generally young professional types, living in the myriad of residential developments around the marina.  Parking there is an absolute nightmare (I know, because I have to negotiate a Mercedes Sprinter van through it).  I'd suggest that many residents will make nothing of a level walk of maybe fifteen minutes to the new railway station near Quays Avenue - much as they probably already do now to access the various retail outlets on Harbour Way.

Just sayin'.  ;) :D


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on May 16, 2016, 03:12:04 pm
That's a fair comment, though there's a lot of awful an awful lot of Portishead to the west of Quays Ave...


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Noggin on May 18, 2016, 10:28:10 am
Indeed, there are a lot of people living around the marina and to the east. Don't forget that a lot of commuters are likely to cycle to the station, which increases the catchment area. Also, it's possible that commuters will move into Portishead (and Pill), particularly if they can continue on to Clifton and Bath. 


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: ellendune on July 16, 2016, 11:00:46 am
The new edition of Rail Magazine is reporting delays in the project due to unforeseen geometry issues in the Avon Gorge. Anyone know anymore?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on July 16, 2016, 12:54:22 pm
The new edition of Rail Magazine is reporting delays in the project due to unforeseen geometry issues in the Avon Gorge. Anyone know anymore?

From the Bristol Post (http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/design-work-on-portishead-to-bristol-rail-link-held-up-due-to-issues-laying-track-through-gorge/story-29448283-detail/story.html):
Quote
Portishead to Bristol rail link delayed AGAIN due to issues laying track through gorge

By H_Pickstock  |  Posted: June 27, 2016

(http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/images/localworld/ugc-images/276268/Article/images/29448283/14697742-large.jpg)

The track through the Avon Gorge for the new rail link is proving tricky to design

Technical difficulties with the design of the track through the Avon Gorge for the new Portishead to Bristol rail line have led to a delay in the scheme being submitted for Government approval.

MetroWest officials had hoped to submit a Development Consent Order (DCO) to the Secretary of State in November for the project which would see passenger trains start running again between Portishead and Bristol from 2019.

But due to technical issues and the 'environmental sensitivities' of laying track through the Avon Gorge this has now been be delayed.

The delay in the design work being completed comes because existing Portbury Freight Line needs to be upgraded to operate passenger trains at 50mph.

(http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/images/localworld/ugc-images/276268/binaries/The%20old%20railway%20tracks%20can%20still%20be%20seen%20in%20Portishead.jpg)

The old railway tracks can still be seen in Portishead

A MetroWest spokesman said: "This design work is taking longer than expected because of the environmental sensitivities of carrying out works in the Avon Gorge.

"The existing Portbury Freight Line will need be upgraded to operate passenger trains at 50mph.

"This requires the track geometry to be adjusted to straighten out a series of curves through the gorge. The existing track alignment follows a series of cliff faces, retaining walls and tunnels in the narrow space between the Gorge cliff face and river.

"This means it is taking us a bit longer to finalise our outline design than we envisaged."

The DCO process requires that outline engineering design is carried out ahead of a planning application is submitted.

It is anticipated that the design work will be completed by the autumn. A fresh round of consultation on the detailed scheme then needs to be held. The development consent order is expected to be submitted to the Government early in 2017.

The spokesman added: "Outline design work is now due to be completed this autumn and our Stage 2 formal DCO consultation will now take place following this."

MetroWest officials say that the delay in the DCO will not affect the overall timescale and trains will still start running in 2018 as planned.

Work is also being carried out to progress the design for upgrading the Parson Street junction where the Portishead branch line connects with the Taunton to Bristol main line.

Work is expected to start on the rail link in 2018.

The re-opening the Portishead branch line includes plans for a new Portishead railway station at Quays Avenue, the reopening of Pill railway station, the provision of new footbridges across the line and other work including double tracking through Pill.The opening of the Portishead line is a key priority of the Metrowest Phase One project being pioneered and funded by the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and is expected to cost up to£58 million. Passenger services from Portishead to Bristol were cut in 1964, although the line to Portbury Dock reopened in 2002 for freight trains only A study in 2010 showed that travel time from Portishead would be 17 minutes compared to an hour by road during peak times.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Bmblbzzz on July 16, 2016, 02:38:13 pm
So it's not just a question of laying new track on the old line. But surely these problems must have been evident as soon as they looked at the original alignment?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on July 16, 2016, 02:55:50 pm
The likely problems were known from the outset. Reinstatement of the freight line was done on the cheap, albeit with provision for reconnection to Portishead in the future. By that, I mean there were points fitted just outside the entrance to the docks, subsequently removed and left in the bushes. Some work was done to lower the floors of tunnels, but it was never intended to be used at anything more than about 20 mph. The signal for rejoining the main line is at the site of the old Ashton Gate station - any closer to Parson Street would have run the risk of the train stalling, and not being able to pull away from a complete stand, which is why that junction needs to be rebuilt.

The easiest bit will probably be relaying the line from the Portbury junction into Portishead.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: alan_s on March 09, 2017, 07:51:41 am
Well the cost has now trebled.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-39209486

Quote
A project to restore a disused railway line is under threat due to spiralling projected costs.

The Portishead branch line shut in 1964 and is scheduled to reopen in 2020.

The scheme was originally estimated at £58m, but the West of England Partnership said that figure had now risen to "between £145m and £175m".

It said as the revised costs were outside the existing allocated budget, it would "not be able to commit to delivery of the project at this stage".

"Now we know what is required we can look at how best to move forward to deliver these much needed improvements to the local rail network," it added.

The MetroWest Phase 1 project by the West of England Partnership and partners Network Rail and Great Western Railway (GWR) would link the town with Bristol Temple Meads and the Severn Beach Line.

A Network Rail report identified additional costs caused by the "increased scope" of engineering works through the Avon Gorge.

Councils in the region also said moving a level crossing in south Bristol would increase costs.

Network Rail described the scheme as a "major project" that required a "robust estimate" of costs.

"We will continue to work together with the West of England Partnership, GWR and the Department for Transport on potential next steps to deliver this project and further improve rail services for passengers," it added.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said he "recognises the benefits" of the scheme, and said the Department for Transport would "continue working with all parties to find a workable resolution to this issue".


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on March 09, 2017, 08:10:31 am
Absolute bonkers...what a way to run a projected railway! Where on earth do they get these figures from ??? For three miles of level track !!! Are the rails gold plated ? Are they running Bullet trains on them? Will Portishead station resemble St Pancras ?. Can't we just go back to what was originally projected - a shuttle up and down the line - which as I recall had already reached GRIP 3/4 before it all went back to GRIP 1, as it was seen as part of a wider Metrowest project. It must be 40 years since the reopening was first mooted ...indeed, I remember estate agents making claims to the effect that the line will  soon be open, at the time. I would willingly walk up and down the line with a red and green flag to save a few pounds on the signalling. The Chinese who built the Lhasa railway must be laughing uproariously up their voluminous sleeves at our unbelievable level of sheer incompetence and accountancy.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: alan_s on March 09, 2017, 08:29:49 am
I think to be fair the last 3 miles is the easy bit - it's the line through the Avon Gorge that due to curvature can only take speeds of about 30mph and they need 50 to get a decent service.  On Heart radio they said they might try to go ahead with slower, less-frequent service for starters - but I Can't see that working, as once trains are running regularly there'd never be chance to blast the rocks to straighten the line!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Western Pathfinder on March 09, 2017, 08:32:43 am
Piss up and Brewery spring to mind  ???


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: SandTEngineer on March 09, 2017, 09:01:09 am
.....yes, but don't forget, NR is a government organisation after all  ::) :P


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on March 09, 2017, 09:04:08 am
What did the line speed through the gorge used to be when passenger trains operated?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Bmblbzzz on March 09, 2017, 09:50:22 am
Any idea what the increased costs are? Is it just the same work costing more or have they identified more work that needs (apparently) to be done?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Oliver on March 09, 2017, 10:39:47 am
Disappointing news this morning.

Source: http://www.northsomersettimes.co.uk/news/portishead_railway_reopening_hangs_in_the_balance_as_metrowest_project_soars_100m_over_budget_1_4922718 (http://www.northsomersettimes.co.uk/news/portishead_railway_reopening_hangs_in_the_balance_as_metrowest_project_soars_100m_over_budget_1_4922718)

Quote
The first phase of the MetroWest project - which is being partially funded by North Somerset Council – would see trains run half-hourly between Portishead and Bristol with the existing railway station at Pill reopened. The project would also include improvements to the Severn Beach branch line service and upgrading stations and services between Bristol Temple Meads and Bath.

It was initially expected to cost £58million when it was first announced, but the Times reported in January the cost was likely to be ‘considerably more’. The total cost of implementing phase one is now believed to be between £145-175million and has been deemed unaffordable by the team implementing it.

At a press briefing in Bristol yesterday (Wednesday), representatives from North Somerset and MetroWest announced the project’s fate would be sealed at the next meeting of the West of England Joint Transport Board on March 17.

MetroWest and the council are now urging the board to approve splitting the project into three stages – the second of which (stage B) would see trains run to Portishead once an hour in 2021 – in an attempt to reduce costs. The first stage (A) would see improvements made to connections between Bristol and Bath and the Severn Beach branch line, while the third stage (C) would eventually see trains run to Portishead every half an hour as originally promised.

According to MetroWest, the project’s initial estimated cost of £58million has risen by so much because the full impact of works needed to run trains through Avon Gorge every half an hour had been underestimated. The organisation claims running trains at 50mph through the Gorge – which is needed for a half-hourly service – is more expensive and difficult to implement than running them at 30mph once an hour, as this is the speed currently in place along the existing Portbury freight line.

The council’s director of development and environment, David Carter, said: “The process we are suggesting and recommending is to look at stages A and B as they would significantly reduce the cost.

“We believe the work will be done and it will still be delivered in 2021, assuming the funding can be found.

“Stages A and B will still need to attract additional funding, but we believe there will be a significant reduction for A and B compared to C. However, until we have done the work, it is difficult to say exactly what that is.

“We are working with Network Rail and the Department for Transport to close that funding gap.”

For a full reaction to the announcement, pick up a copy of next week’s Times.

How could the project now be delivered?

Quote
MetroWest and North Somerset Council are advising the West of England’s Joint Transport Board to split the phase one project into three stages – A, B and C. If the board accepts their recommendation and appropriate funding is found, the stages will be progressed as follows:

A - Carrying out service improvements to the Severn Beach branch line and Bristol-Bath corridor.

B – Reopening the Portishead railway line to provide an hourly service between Portishead and Bristol Temple Meads, with trains running at 30mph.

C – Reopening the Portishead railway line to full capacity, meaning trains will run every half hour at 50mph.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: SandTEngineer on March 09, 2017, 12:10:06 pm
What did the line speed through the gorge used to be when passenger trains operated?

I'll see if I can find my copy of the 1960 BR-WR Bristol Division Sectional Appendix.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on March 09, 2017, 02:34:16 pm
From ITV (http://www.itv.com/news/westcountry/2017-03-09/portishead-rail-line-what-are-the-costs/)

Quote
The project was originally estimated to cost £58.2 million - which has now risen to between £145m to £175m.

So where have costs spiralled?

ORIGINAL COST EXPECTATION:

Where did it come from?

£4.3 million from the local Councils

£53.4 million from the WoE LEP Local Growth Fund

£0.5 million was yet to be funded.

WHY HAS IT INCREASED SO MUCH?

A "significant increase" in the scope of work through the Avon Gorge to meet safety standards, allowing the passenger service to run twice an hour.

Creating an alternative access from the A370 to compensate for two trains an hour alongside the existing freight services at the Ashton Vale Level crossing.

The impact of this on the land.

Increased risks associated with the project


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: alan_s on March 09, 2017, 08:31:19 pm
Any idea what the increased costs are? Is it just the same work costing more or have they identified more work that needs (apparently) to be done?

see http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/why-have-the-costs-spiralled-so-much-to-re-open-the-portishead-line/story-30190054-detail/story.html

In summary :

Quote
A 50mph track would mean:

    Almost completely relaying the track between Parson Street Junction and Pill (10km)
    Widening of cuttings and embankments
    Work on bridges, tunnels and retaining walls

Then there are the environmental issues.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Oliver on March 09, 2017, 08:41:59 pm
The 1959 WTT shows that there was a speed restriction of 35mph over the whole line, with further local restrictions of 20mph and 10mph at the crossing loops. There has been no need for Network Rail or its predecessors to upgrade anything down there since those days.

The original line was single between Clifton Bridge and Portishead, with passing loops at Oak Wood, Pill and Portbury Shipyard. In order to increase the line speed from 30 to 50 then it is possible that some curves may need to be eased and, if that is the case, land purchase may be involved together perhaps with some major engineering work – there is a lot of very solid rock right next to the single line down in that gorge…

Certainly there are things that will need to be done that were not needed when the line was built. For example, level crossings are frowned upon these days and there is at least one at Ashton that will need dealing with, and probably expensively. There would also be new stations to pay for, although seeing the extent of the facilities usually provided these days when new stations open, the costs of these isn’t going to be extortionate.

Furthermore, bearing in mind the financial debacle that the GWR electrification project has become, I can understand why people are erring on the side of caution when it comes to costing projects such as this.

However, and all that said, the line is rather less than 10 miles long (9 miles 49 chains from Parson Street Junction to the original Portishead station), and most of it is still there. The latest estimate of £145m to £175m does not compare particularly favourably with the £350m for the construction of the Borders Railway which is 35.5 miles long and needed complete reconstruction from the outskirts of Edinburgh: http://www.railfuturescotland.org.uk/bordersrailway.php

Whilst those costs for the Borders Railway are at 2012 prices, inflation is not high at the moment so, for round figures, we are now being told that although the Portishead branch is one-third of the length of the Borders Railway it will cost one half of that railway’s cost, despite the fact that the line is generally all still there.

On the face of it, something appears to be gravely amiss somewhere, and I for one would like to know a lot more about how those costs have been arrived at.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on March 09, 2017, 09:01:18 pm
Is it time to resurrect the idea of a coffer dam over the Avon at Sea Mills so that Portishead trains can run on the Severn beach line to give us a real metro like Tyne and Wear ?? Then they wouldnt need all that expensive rebuilding in the Avon Gorge !


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: trainer on March 09, 2017, 10:29:28 pm
For me, all the justification of the new estimate of costs doesn't answer the question about what the original estimates were based on.  Has the Avon Gorge section of the route become suddenly narrowed?  Was the Ashton level crossing a surprise to the surveyors when they got down to the detail?  Did those who gave the original figures imagine a half hourly service was indeed possible at 30mph (only slightly faster than a heritage line train ???)?

None of what has been said in defence of the revised estimate addresses how it was got wrong, only why it is now allegedly more accurate.

But surely these problems must have been evident as soon as they looked at the original alignment?

Exactly so.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Kempis on March 09, 2017, 10:57:41 pm
The story was covered on BBC Radio Bristol this morning (advance slider to 36:30):

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04sz69b (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04sz69b).

FOSBR's press release is here:

http://fosbr.org.uk/files/20170309_mwp1_fosbr_pressrelease.pdf (http://fosbr.org.uk/files/20170309_mwp1_fosbr_pressrelease.pdf).


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on March 10, 2017, 06:54:34 am
The change in price is astonishing.

Was the previous price quoted just a rough estimate with a range of possibilities so wide that the range of possibilities wasn't publicised?   I other words, I note we have gone from a single estimate to a range; should the estimate have said "between £50 million and £200 million"?

Have unforeseeable issues come to light which widen (double) the scope of the project?

Has there been project creep? Have we moved from a 30 m.p.h. line to a 70 m.p.h. on, for example, or have safety issues such as level crossing requirements changed?

Have prices rocketed?   In a market where there's a shortage of suppliers, prices tend to go up so that only those who want the supplies most badly (or rather "who can most afford it") go ahead, and where there's a monopoly / cartel of suppliers, those suppliers tend to be able to name their price.



I am tempted to wonder if an hourly 30 m.p.h. D train, running over light rail track from the end of the current alignment to a basic platform at Portishead and with gaps for freight (from BRI at - say 05:45 to 09:45, 12:30, 15:00 to 19:00, 21:30 to 23:30 from BRI, 30 minute later from PHD) would encourage traffic.  I rather suspect it would, to the extent that it would need 2 D trains coupled together for the round trips at 06:45, 07:45, 16:00, 17:00, 18:00 and (on Friday and Saturday nights) 22:30 and 23:30.

Looking on Real Time Trains to get an idea of how much traffic currently runs to the docks, I've drawn a blank for today - probably because I don't know the codes / know want to look for,. Can someone please enlighten me so they can help confirm the idea above, or blow it out of the water as being just too silly due to capacity issues.

Could Keith Walton's talk at TravelWatch SouthWest about how the Severnside CRP brought in a huge improvement at Severn Beach station at a fraction of the cost quoted to the partnership be a valid lead into providing something beyond a bare platform at Portishead, and further more providing something that gave community ownership.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: SandTEngineer on March 10, 2017, 09:22:30 am
I see someone has beaten me to it on the linespeed question: http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=231.msg210869#msg210869

(Note to moderators: We seem to be discussing this line in two separate threads; bit of merging required?)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on March 11, 2017, 05:35:39 pm
Thank you for confirming my own inclination to do a bit of constructive 'moving and merging' here, SandTEngineer.  ;)

I did look into it quickly, a couple of days ago, when I was rather limited for time - but I have now taken the opportunity to move some posts and merge them here.

These latest developments on the financial constraints do seem to show that the planning of the whole project has been a bit of a dog's breakfast, in my opinion.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: SandTEngineer on March 11, 2017, 08:23:56 pm
Thanks for burning the midnight oil CfN.  Makes more sense now. ;) :D


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: John R on March 12, 2017, 07:26:40 am

Looking on Real Time Trains to get an idea of how much traffic currently runs to the docks, I've drawn a blank for today - probably because I don't know the codes / know want to look for,. Can someone please enlighten me so they can help confirm the idea above, or blow it out of the water as being just too silly due to capacity issues.


From what I can see there is only one regular traffic flow now, which is an automotive train that passes through Bristol at around 6pm on its way to Mossend a couple of times a week, (and of course there has to be an equivalent inbound working).  There are a couple of coal slots but they appear to be cancelled frequently currently.  So with a bit of rejigging of that slot, surely the fact of freight is likely to be minimal.

Having said that I believe the Docks paid for the line to be reinstated, so they I suspect they have a strong contractual right to first dibs on the line's use currently.

The difference between 30mph and 50mph is 5 mins between the current stop board and Ashton loop. If it could be raised to 35 or even 40 in places without any work that would reduce that difference further.  That's hardly going to make a great difference to the attractiveness of the service.

I'd argue that 1tph over Ashton crossing in each direction is hardly enough to warrant it's closure, particularly given the traffic over it.

So there are ways to reduce the cost, and I hope those parties involved are sensible and take them, as a gold plated scheme is clearly unaffordable.




Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on March 12, 2017, 11:32:50 am
According to reports on the local TV news a few days ago, the discovery of rare newts is one reason for the increased costs.
Looks like the NR newt breeding department are doing well !


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on March 12, 2017, 04:47:13 pm
Not again !  The ones that I suspect were planted by the Co-op to try and prevent Sainsbury's rolling into town. Didn't work! Better don my hard hat and prepare for another noot shewt .


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on March 12, 2017, 06:12:48 pm
Hmmm.  ::)

See also http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=2662.0  ;) :D ;D

CfN.  :-X


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: trainer on March 12, 2017, 10:31:40 pm
Be they newts, bats or endangered flora, none is as rare as a train on the tracks in Portishead.  :D


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on March 14, 2017, 12:11:01 am
Bear in mind that the original Halcrow GRIP3 report was working towards a 50 mph linespeed. That would do the journey, with one stop only at Pill, in 17 minutes. That would allow for a clockface service from PHD to SVB, and from PHD to BTH, plus an occasional shuttle PHD to BRI P2. Now, 30 mph would be slower (d'uh) but would still allow for a clockface shuttle into BRI. Maybe a 24 minute ride, with a turnaround on the half-hour. But is that enough?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on March 14, 2017, 05:57:37 am
Bear in mind that the original Halcrow GRIP3 report was working towards a 50 mph linespeed. That would do the journey, with one stop only at Pill, in 17 minutes. That would allow for a clockface service from PHD to SVB, and from PHD to BTH, plus an occasional shuttle PHD to BRI P2. Now, 30 mph would be slower (d'uh) but would still allow for a clockface shuttle into BRI. Maybe a 24 minute ride, with a turnaround on the half-hour. But is that enough?

I checked my GRIP stages:

1. Output Definition – Establishes the scope of investment and potentially asset renewal.
2. Feasibility – Defines the investment goals and identifies constraints to ensure that they can be achieved both economically and strategically.
3. Option Selection – Assesses potential options and selects the most appropriate one to deliver stakeholders’ requirements.
4. Single Option Development – The implementation of the option selected during the third step.
5. Detailed Design – The creation of a detailed engineering plan that provides definitive costs, times, resources and risk assessments.
6. Construction Test & Commission – The project will be completed to the agreed specifications and testing will commence in order to confirm that everything is operating within the design brief.
7. Scheme Handback – The transfer of asset responsibility from the contractor to the operators.
8. Project Closeout – Contracts are settled while contingencies and warranties are put into place before an assessment of the benefits is finally carried out.

And have to wonder if the Halcrow report is really stage 3 ... or if it's stage 4 (developing a single option) with some stage 2 (identifying constraints to see if it's economic) thrown in.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on March 14, 2017, 12:51:49 pm
There was definitely a GRIP3 report completed in October 2010 by Halcrow, although the link I have for it via Travelwest no longer works. I wish I had downloaded it now - it was interesting and had photographs of a lot of the line. The whole scheme went back to GRIP0 with the plans for MetroWest Rail.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Umberleigh on March 17, 2017, 07:57:28 pm
Absolute bonkers...what a way to run a projected railway! Where on earth do they get these figures from ??? For three miles of level track !!! Are the rails gold plated ? Are they running Bullet trains on them? Will Portishead station resemble St Pancras ?. Can't we just go back to what was originally projected - a shuttle up and down the line - which as I recall had already reached GRIP 3/4 before it all went back to GRIP 1, as it was seen as part of a wider Metrowest project. It must be 40 years since the reopening was first mooted ...indeed, I remember estate agents making claims to the effect that the line will  soon be open, at the time. I would willingly walk up and down the line with a red and green flag to save a few pounds on the signalling. The Chinese who built the Lhasa railway must be laughing uproariously up their voluminous sleeves at our unbelievable level of sheer incompetence and accountancy.

Same trick Network Rail play every time they don't fancy taking on the workload. Remember the speculation about reopening Barnstaple to Bideford? Basically an unobstructed, flat trackbed. Yet after initial estimates of sub-£10 million, Network Rail claimed it would cost £80 million, so just a mere £5.3 million per mile of tracked, or if you prefer, over £83 an inch 🤔

http://www.devonlive.com/county-derails-plan-reopen-barnstaple-bideford-railway/story-11654325-detail/story.html

All it needs is ballast and light single track suitable for a dmu, seriously, go and cycle a mile of that cycle path and tell me how it would cost over £5 million...? Oh, it it seems that after the dust has settled, it was realised that the Network Rail figures had been "misquoted" (I remember posting on here about it). So basically, Network Rail inflate the cost to make the Council/supporters/whoever lose faith and thus case closed.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on March 20, 2017, 10:14:25 am
So the West of England Joint Transport Board met last Friday to discuss how to proceed with Metrowest Phase One. Any one know what was decided ?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on March 20, 2017, 02:41:15 pm
Bit late, but here is the agenda:

Quote
Agenda Item 8
West of England Joint Transport Board
17 March 2017
MetroWest Phase 1 Design and Cost Update
Purpose
1. To provide an update on the scheme design and report a significant increase in the
estimated scheme cost. To consider the options for taking the scheme forward
based on the discussions with Network Rail and the Department for Transport (DfT),
which recognise the strategic benefits of the scheme and recommend a staged
approach for the delivery of the scheme.
Background
2. MetroWest Phase 1 is a jointly promoted scheme between the four Councils in the
West of England. The aim of the MetroWest Programme is to deliver a ‘Metro’ local
rail network, similar to comparable sized city regions, through targeted investments,
making use of strategic rail corridors, including freight only lines and dis-used lines.
3. The scheme objectives are to:
• support economic growth
• deliver a more resilient transport offer
• reduce congestion on the highway network
• improve accessibility to the rail network
• make a positive contribution to social well-being
4. The scheme will result in a wide range of strategic and local benefits. These include
giving 50,000 people access to the rail network, enhancing the level of service for
tens of thousands of existing rail customers, increasing railway capacity, extending
the benefits of GW electrification and supporting job creation and housing growth.
5. The scheme preliminary business case was reported to Joint Transport Board in
September 2014. The headline outputs were as follows:
GRIP Stage1 2 (Feasibility)
Scheme Capital Cost £58.2M
BCR2 2.92 to 5.99
No of train sets required 6 gross (4 net)
Train type Class 15x or 16x
Train service revenue support3 £5.29m total for first three years
1 The GRIP process (Governance for Railway Investment Projects) is the standard methodology by
which all rail schemes are designed and delivered by Network Rail.
2 The BCR (Benefit to Cost Ratio) is used to determine whether a scheme represents value for
money. A BCR above 2 represents high value for money.
3 After the first three years operation the Government then meet future costs subject to criteria.
2
6. The preliminary business case also set out the key work streams needed to deliver
the scheme. As well as the engineering design, the other most significant element
was the requirement to secure a Development Consent Order (DCO). This
requirement is determined by the Planning Act (2008) which states that all schemes
with more than 2km of new railway need a DCO.
7. It is important to note that Phase 2 of MetroWest (Henbury/ Yate corridors), is not
affected by the funding challenges of MetroWest Phase 1 and continues to be
progressed as planned.
GRIP Stage 3
8. Since work on GRIP 3 began, a number of engineering and other challenges have
emerged that have increased costs and these have been reported to previous Joint
Transport Board meetings including the most recent in January 2017. The GRIP 3
design (Outline Design) is now complete and this has allowed Network Rail to
complete the GRIP 3 cost estimate. In accordance with the GRIP process, this is
only possible once the design has been agreed and signed off by all the relevant
Route Asset Managers within Network Rail and a full cost validation undertaken.
9. The overall capital cost ranges from £145M to £175M to deliver the full project
scope (railway, highway, DCO, environmental mitigation etc), compared with a
scheme budget of £58.2M, based on GRIP stage 2.
10. The key drivers for the increase are as follows:
• A significant increase in the scope of work through the Avon Gorge in order to;
meet modern safety standards to enable operation of a scheduled passenger
train service, to deliver the necessary line speeds to achieve the 2 trains per
hour aspiration and the poor access reducing construction productivity.
• The impact of the full service pattern (2 passenger trains per hour all day)
alongside existing freight services, at the Ashton Vale Level crossing on rail
safety, highway safety, traffic and the industrial estate resulting in the need to
consider an alternative access from the A370/ rear of the site.
• The consequential impact from the above on the amount of land, DCO
(planning) requirements and environmental mitigation needed for the scheme.
• The increased risks associated with the project following the expanded works
and recently identified constraints. As currently configured, the scheme has
significantly more delivery risks than previously identified, relating in particular to
the construction programme, technical interface, and environmental mitigation.
Options for MetroWest Phase 1 moving forward
11. The scheme has now reached a stage where the original full scope cannot be
delivered by the currently available budget. Some £8M has already been invested in
the technical development of the scheme, by the Councils and the Local Enterprise
Partnership through the Local Growth Fund, and a further £950k has been invested
by North Somerset Council in strategic land acquisition. A variety of options for the
scheme are available, ranging from the delivery of the scheme as a whole to delivery
of the scheme in stages with sub-options relating to the train service pattern, rolling
3
stock length, stations and cross-Bristol connectivity. The broad options for the
scheme are:
Option 1 - Do nothing – cancel the entire scheme
Option 2 - Continue to promote the scheme as currently proposed
Option 3 - Deliver the scheme in stages
12. Option 1: Do nothing – cancel the entire scheme. This would have a number of
detrimental implications. It would leave the M5 Junction 19 / A369 corridor without
a resilient transport offer. This would not be a tenable situation over the medium to
long term; putting job creation, environmental sustainability and economic growth
at risk. It would also result in revenue reversion costs falling to the four Councils.
13. Option 2: Continue to promote the scheme as currently proposed. Meeting a
funding gap of around £100M would be very challenging. Given the size of the gap
it would require additional funding from Government and securing this scale of
additional investment in the timescales required is unlikely to be achieved. It would
also likely require a substantial local contribution which could only be managed by
reprioritisation of existing funding sources i.e. Local Growth Fund, City Deal and
any other funding the Councils have access to in order to reduce the gap,
necessitating postponing the delivery of other strategic transport priorities.
14. This option would be a high risk approach because the Development Consent Order
requires the promoter to confirm all the funding to deliver the scheme is in place. If
we were to proceed as originally planned then we would anticipate making the DCO
application at the end of this year which effectively sets the deadline by which the
funding gap would need to be resolved. Furthermore, there would also continue to
be a significant level of expenditure preparing the DCO application, including
statutory consultation and further technical work to complete GRIP stage 4,
highway design, land assembly, environmental assessment and legal workstreams.
On balance therefore, this option is not recommended at this time.
15. Option 3: Deliver the scheme in stages. Since the likely increase in cost was first
realised the project team have been working to reduce the cost of the scheme, rescoping
some elements and looking at a potential staged delivery of the scheme to
better match both total available budget and the spend profile of the available
budget.
16. Stage A would be to deliver the Severn Beach Line and Bath Spa Line infrastructure
and train service upgrade. This would require the completion of design of
infrastructure at Bathampton and Avonmouth and delivering it using Permitted
Development rights. It would also require revisions to the train timetable to ensure
that linking just the Seven Beach Line with the Bath Spa Line could be achieved
efficiently (without additional train rolling stock). The revenue support implications
would also require further investigation. The capital cost of this stage could be
delivered within the existing scheme budget, and delivered within the current
programme by 2020. This is subject to technical & funding approval and detailed
operational arrangements with Great Western Railway and the DfT.
17. Stage B would be to deliver an initial passenger service for the Portishead Line. This
has the advantage of reducing the funding requirement in the short-term and also
4
allow the early demonstration of some of the benefits of the project. It would
potentially make securing the full funding more achievable and reduce risk exposure
at each stage. While further design and cost estimation for Stages A and B needs
to be undertaken, the extent of infrastructure required for Stage B could be
significantly reduced. For example, the line speed for the existing Portbury Freight
Line is unlikely to require increasing, also the extent of double tracking works and
junction enhancement works is likely to be much more limited, for a reduced
passenger service specification. While this would potentially substantially reduce
costs, it is likely that some additional funding above the current budget would still be
required. Further technical work needs to be undertaken to identity the extent of the
potential cost savings and this will be reported to the next available Joint Transport
Decision Making Meeting and Joint West of England Committee. Therefore it is
recommended this work is investigated further.
18. A further stage (Stage C) would be to deliver the full two passenger trains per hour
service to Portishead. The delivery of Stage B would bring the Portishead Line
back into the national rail network. This would place a responsibility on Network
Rail and the wider rail industry to respond to growth in passenger demand and
increase operating capacity subject to overall strategic priorities and availability of
funding and business case. See para 26 and 27 which provide an overview of how
Network Rail is funded. In summary Option 3 could entail the following stages:
Stage Description
Stage A Deliver the service improvements on the Severn Beach & Bath
corridors.
Stage B Deliver an initial rail passenger service to Portishead
Stage C Deliver the full two trains per hour passenger service to Portishead
at a later date.
Stakeholder Engagement
19. Stakeholder meetings are normally held soon after Joint Transport Board meetings.
The next stakeholder meeting is planned for May 2017, time and venue to be
confirmed.
Risk
20. Key risks form part of the quarterly reporting to the Board. Risks at the project and
programme level are managed through the Rail Programme Board.
Equalities Implications
21. New stations and services provided under MetroWest will be designed to meet all
statutory accessibility standards. Consultation will ensure wide opportunities for
diverse groups to have their say. Equality Impact Assessments will be undertaken
and maintained and updated as the scheme progresses.
5
Resources (financial and personnel)
22. The estimated spend for 2016/17 is £2.76M, comprising of Local Enterprise
Partnership Local Growth Funding. The proposed train services will require
financial support from the local authorities for the first three years. Subject to
meeting value for money criteria the Department for Transport may fund the
services from then on. Continued development of the scheme Business Case will
refine the levels of financial support required.
Environmental Impact Assessment
23. Modern rolling stock contributes less carbon emissions than other forms of
transport, on a passenger kilometre basis. Reinstating the railway line between Pill
and Portishead, new services on the Portishead and the construction of new
stations will have environmental impacts. Detailed environmental assessment is
ongoing which includes engagement with the relevant statutory bodies. This work
will be taken forward through the Development Consent Order formal consultation
process.
Working with the Rail Industry
24. The Department for Transport and Network Rail recognise that infrastructure costs
are increasing in the rail industry and along with Great Western Railway, are
working with us to find a resolution to the funding challenges to deliver an
affordable and deliverable outcome. All three organisations acknowledge the
strategic benefits of the scheme and the significant contribution the scheme will
make to increasing the capacity and connectivity of the local rail network. While the
rail industry acknowledges our ambition to deliver the half hourly scheme as a
whole i.e. in one go, their collective advice is the councils should take a staged
approach (reference attached letters).
25. In respect of Option 3, further design work with Network Rail is needed to identify
the options for Stage A and B in more detail and potential for cost reduction. This
will then be reported to the Joint Transport Decision Making Meeting and the Joint
West of England Committee, along with details on timescales, benefit cost ratios,
passenger numbers and revenue support requirements. In addition, the Department
for Transport will be engaged further as the scope of the scheme will also impact on
the next Greater Western rail franchise for the area and their support will be crucial
to taking the project forward. There will also need to be further engagement with
Great Western Railway and other train operators. Consequently the scheme
programme will need to be revised and it is necessary to delay work on GRIP4 and
the Development Consent Order formal consultation (2008 Planning Act section
42/47 consultation) while the above work is conducted.
26. The funding priorities of the rail industry are set out in five year tranches known as
control periods. The current control period (CP5) which is up to March 2019,
includes Network Rail’s Western Route Modernisation Programme, which is likely to
continue into the following control period (CP6), from 2019 to 2024. Priorities for
investment in the rail network through control periods are set by the Government
6
through the publication of the High Level Output Specification (HLOS). The HLOS
for CP6 is due to be published by the government in summer 2017.
27. There is a major opportunity to lobby the Government to include the scheme in the
HLOS, given that the rail industry support the scheme and acknowledge the
benefits it will deliver and given that the councils and the WoE Local Enterprise
Partnership have £58M (out-turn) available for the scheme. However in order to
increase the prospect of securing a funding contrition from the rail industry, it may
be necessary for the councils to review whether some additional local funding could
be made available.
28. Great Western Railway have confirmed the cascade of higher quality class 165/6
trains is planned to start entering service on the Severn Beach Line in July 2017,
with more trains to follow across the local network. These trains will start to make a
real difference for local rail passengers, addressing the overcrowding issues as they
have much higher seating capacity, circa 280 seats compared to class 150 trains
with 2 carriages and 140 seats. This is subject to the completion of gauge clearance
works under way across the local network and the completion of the electrification
works to Maidenhead, which triggers the start of the cascade of class 165/6 trains to
the West of England.
Recommendations
That the Board:
1) Note the capital cost range, is above the existing scheme budget, which
primarily arises from the rail engineering elements of the scheme and a
consequential increased scope across the rest of the scheme.
2) Agree that option 3 (to take a staged approach to the delivery of the scheme)
provides the most practical way forward, with the following indicative
programme:
i) Progress technical development of Stage A and B, and
ii) Pending the outcome of Stage A & B, investigate Stage C, in due course;
subject to further details on Stages A, B and C including funding profile and
delivery programme, being brought to the next Joint Transport Decision
Making Meeting and the Joint West of England Committee.
3) Agree for further engagement with Network Rail, Department for Transport,
Great Western Railway and other train operators, on the potential sub-options
and scope of the scheme.
Appendices: None
Author: Colin Medus, MetroWest Programme SRO, North Somerset Council
Tel: 01934 426498
Email: Colin.Medus@n-somerset.gov.uk

You will note that Option 3 - do it in phases - is recommended.

I can't quote the letter from NR to the councils (I'm looking at a bitmap of a pdf) but Mark Langham seems to be echoing this sentiment.

However Grayling, in his response to Fox, seems to be saying 'we'd love to help, but I'm afraid it's down to the councils to find the money'...

 


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on March 20, 2017, 02:43:38 pm
Red Squirrel, you beat me to it by a split second!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on March 21, 2017, 03:04:09 pm
From the Bristol Post: (http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/local-news/portishead-bristol-railway-line-re-11675)

Quote
Portishead to Bristol railway line re-opening work to be done 'in stages'

A multi million pound project to re-open the Bristol to Portishead railway line will have to be carried out in phases – after the costs of the scheme trebled.

The West of England Partnership Joint Transport Board has agreed that the first part of MetroWest Phase One – the Portishead line of which is the major component – should still go ahead.

Phase I of the project includes the Portishead line, half-hourly trains on the Severn Beach Line and to Keynsham and Bath Spa, plus building new stations at Portishead and Pill.

But due to the spiralling costs of the scheme, which have risen from an initial estimated £58 million to anything up to £145 million, any work will have to managed in more bit sized chunks.

The decision by the board means that, assuming the additional funding can be found for the project, any re-opening of the three mile section of line looks likely to be put back to 2021.

About £8 million has already been spent on the technical aspects of the scheme and North Somerset Council has spent £950,000 buying land needed for the development to go ahead.

The first phase of the work will be to deliver improvements on the Severn Beach and Bath lines.

The second phase of the work will see an ‘initial’ rail passenger service out of Portishead, but with hourly rather than half hourly services.

The third stage – the completion date of which has yet to be confirmed – is to get two trains an hour to Portishead.

A MetroWest spokesman said: “The scheme has now reached a stage where the original full scope cannot be delivered by the currently available budget.

“To take a staged approach to the delivery of the scheme provides the most practical way forward.”

The news of yet another delay to the re-opening of the railway line has come as a major blow for people who live in Portishead.

The town, which has seen its popular soar over recent years due to the regeneration of the docks and former power station site, is regularly referred to as the UK’s biggest car park with only one route in and out to the M5.

People fed up of sitting in the rush hour queues along the Portbury Hundred each day have for years been campaigning for the re-opening of the railway.

The various stages of the project – including funding and how it will be delivered – will now go before the next Joint Transport Decision Making Meeting and the Joint West of England Committee.

There will also be further discussions with Network Rail, Department for Transport, Great Western Railway and other train operators, on the potential sub-options and scope of the scheme.

Councillor Colin Hunt, chair of the West of England Joint Transport Board, said: “Now we know what is required to deliver the full scope of Phase I, we can look at how best to move forwards to deliver these much-needed improvements to the local rail network and are already working closely with Network Rail and Great Western Railways on this.”

Did it just slip another year? Hey ho.

Edit: Missed a bit


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: alan_s on March 21, 2017, 04:16:12 pm
Surely it's going to be a lot harder * to blast the rocks and straighten the track once trains are running!

* and thus more expensive


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on March 21, 2017, 04:51:15 pm
Surely it's going to be a lot harder * to blast the rocks and straighten the track once trains are running!

* and thus more expensive

I used to work for a large aerospace company, in whose Derby factories I once saw a sign which has stuck in my mind ever since and seems appropriate here:

Quote

Never enough money to do it right; always enough money to do it twice.



Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on March 23, 2017, 10:42:09 pm
Surely it's going to be a lot harder * to blast the rocks and straighten the track once trains are running!

* and thus more expensive

Not necessarily ...  ;)

I've just watched the Nilgiri Mountain Railway episode - it's absolutely brilliant!

No evidence of any Elfin Safety there - for example, dynamiting boulders on the track, even as the approaching train appears around the bend!  :o

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00qzzlm/Indian_Hill_Railways_The_Nilgiri_Mountain_Railway/

Watch that episode from 32 minutes in ...  :o ::) ???



Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on March 24, 2017, 08:10:50 am
 Mind you, a couple of sticks of dynamite under our leader and his deputy in North Somerset might be just what is needed as we are coming up to the 10th anniversary of this particular thread. That in itself, shows how proactive our locally elected representatives have been in pushing this project forwards.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on September 26, 2017, 11:16:06 pm
News of a mixed variety. According to the latest circular from north somerset parish council (http://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Portishead-rail-services-newsletter-summer-2017.pdf) on the subject:

Quote
Delivering an Affordable Project

In March 2017 the scheme’s outline design including GRIP3 (Option Selection) for a half-hourly train service was completed along with an updated scheme capital cost estimate. The amount of works required for this frequency made the scheme unaffordable, consequently it was decided to deliver the scheme in stages with initially an hourly train service (and possibly some additional peak time trains). This reduces the amount of infrastructure works required, which in turn reduces cost and lessens the impact on the sensitive environmental areas whilst still meeting modern safety standards.   
 
The service will be operated initially using three carriage trains (with approx. 270 seats), and can be increased to five carriage trains in the future as the platforms for the new Portishead and Pill station will be sufficient for operating longer trains.   Our ambition to ultimately provide a half hourly train service remains, however this would be a separate project (after the current project to re-open the branch line with an initial hourly train service), and separate funding and consents would be required.

So an hourly service with a maximum line speed between Pill and Parson Street of 30mph it is, then. At least to begin with - maybe the idea is to get something in place which is likely to be heavily used, then use passenger numbers to justify expansion of the services.
 


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Bmblbzzz on September 27, 2017, 08:46:07 am
It's not ideal but better than saying half-hourly is too expensive so we'll have nothing. Still another 6 Grips to get through.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on September 27, 2017, 09:55:03 am
It's not ideal but better than saying half-hourly is too expensive so we'll have nothing.

Totally agree with that philosophy.   I recall a choice / discussion on TransWilts about five years ago "probably should be hourly, but we won't be able to get the resource for that" ... and we accepted every 2 hours.  Going well, doing great things for the local economy ... and I suspect the same would happen with an hourly rather than half hourly service to Portishead.

Had we waited, we would still have virtually nothing on the TransWilts and quarter of a million journeys a year would not be happening, or would be done through much slower alternatives!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: alan_s on September 27, 2017, 10:48:58 am
The service will be operated initially using three carriage trains (with approx. 270 seats), and can be increased to five carriage trains in the future as the platforms for the new Portishead and Pill station will be sufficient for operating longer trains. 

5 car in the future! Short IEP? Direct services to London? We can dream..

Alan


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on September 27, 2017, 05:13:24 pm

5 car in the future! Short IEP? Direct services to London? We can dream..


Way things are going, it'll be rerefurbished ex-Scotrail short HST sets...


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Bmblbzzz on September 27, 2017, 07:10:48 pm
That sounds pretty good actually!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on September 27, 2017, 09:21:40 pm
A train service to and from Por'ersed would have been very useful today. The main road, into and out (A359), was closed all day following a serious police incident.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on September 27, 2017, 09:39:07 pm
It would indeed.  :o

However, just for the record, it's Port Said, and the road is the A369.  ;) :D ;D



Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Western Pathfinder on September 27, 2017, 10:22:22 pm
It would indeed.  :o

However, just for the record, it's Port Said, and the road is the A369.  ;) :D ;D


Or PortZ if it's easier


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on September 27, 2017, 10:38:20 pm
According to Derek Robinson (http://www.derekrobinson.info/index.html) (who I met, many, many years ago), it's Port Said.  :D



Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Noggin on September 27, 2017, 10:41:19 pm
News of a mixed variety. According to the latest circular from north somerset parish council (http://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Portishead-rail-services-newsletter-summer-2017.pdf) on the subject:

Quote
Delivering an Affordable Project

In March 2017 the scheme’s outline design including GRIP3 (Option Selection) for a half-hourly train service was completed along with an updated scheme capital cost estimate. The amount of works required for this frequency made the scheme unaffordable, consequently it was decided to deliver the scheme in stages with initially an hourly train service (and possibly some additional peak time trains). This reduces the amount of infrastructure works required, which in turn reduces cost and lessens the impact on the sensitive environmental areas whilst still meeting modern safety standards.   
 
The service will be operated initially using three carriage trains (with approx. 270 seats), and can be increased to five carriage trains in the future as the platforms for the new Portishead and Pill station will be sufficient for operating longer trains.   Our ambition to ultimately provide a half hourly train service remains, however this would be a separate project (after the current project to re-open the branch line with an initial hourly train service), and separate funding and consents would be required.

So an hourly service with a maximum line speed between Pill and Parson Street of 30mph it is, then. At least to begin with - maybe the idea is to get something in place which is likely to be heavily used, then use passenger numbers to justify expansion of the services.
 

Interesting - so in short:
- Portishead to Pill including both stations gets rebuilt as planned (with 5-car platforms)
- Everything else gets left as-is, with presumably a bare minimum of signalling work so it's fit for passenger service

In some ways it's good, it can presumably be delivered fairly easily and quickly, it doesn't require too much of NR, other than possibly Filton Bank being finished and GWR having a full compliment of Turbos, so it could be done within 2-3 years.

On the down side, it's likely to mean that when the line inevitably becomes a victim of its own success, the work will be much more expensive and disruptive.

But then again, minimum work through the Gorge means that there's less chance of, say, the line being redoubled but not bothering with expensive track lowering to enable future electrification.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on September 27, 2017, 11:23:18 pm
But then again, minimum work through the Gorge means that there's less chance of, say, the line being redoubled but not bothering with expensive track lowering to enable future electrification.

It was always single track after Clifton Bridge station, so you wouldn't be 'redoubling' it. Pill had a passing loop which, if memory serves me correctly, was in the plan for 2tph. The issue is the tunnels, which are a bit tight and bendy.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Bmblbzzz on September 28, 2017, 09:20:18 am
Right now, I'd have thought electrification of the Portishead line is even less likely than doubling.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Bmblbzzz on September 28, 2017, 01:41:38 pm
Portishead line should be put on hold so as to allow Henbury Loop to go ahead, say Mayor of Woe and BCC Conservative leader.
http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/portishead-rail-link-should-postponed-545119
Quote
Portishead rail link should be postponed in case it delays 'important projects' in north Bristol says Tory leader
Conservatives want it put on hold
he plan to create a train station at Ashton Gate and passenger services to Portishead should be postponed even further into the future – because it risks holding up ‘important rail projects in the north of Bristol’.

Conservative leaders in Bristol are calling on the city’s Labour mayor Marvin Rees to kick the Portishead rail link plan further into the long grass.

Costs are spiralling, and Bristol’s Conservative group leader Mark Weston said it is unlikely to happen anyway – and keeping it in a package of measures risks holding up all the things that are planned elsewhere in the city.

The £200 million MetroWest project to improve the Bristol region’s rail network comes in two phases, with the first phase due to be completed within a year.

That involves providing half-hourly passenger trains on the Severn Beach line, a new half-hourly service for Keynsham on the Bath to Bristol line, and an hourly service for a re-opened Portishead branch line.

The second phase, due in 2021, would be more ambitious, and includes new stations in Ashley Down, Filton North and Henbury, serving a new ‘Henbury spur’.

But opening up the Portishead line to passengers, which would eventually include a new station at Ashton Gate to serve Ashton Vale and sports fans heading for Bristol City and Bristol Rugby, has proved more costly and difficult than first thought.


And Cllr Weston said he fears Phase Two will have to wait for Phase One to be completed, so the delays to the Portishead line will have a knock-on effect to stations in the north of the city.

He and Metro Mayor Tim Bowles said they want the Portishead Line plan dropped from Phase One and moved to Phase Two, or even further, but not dropped completely – and called on Labour Mayor Marvin Rees to agree to that.

“Everyone wants the Portishead Line to open to the public, but on the current costs this isn't feasible,” said Cllr Weston.

“So rather than delay Phase Two of the programme, lets pause the Portishead proposals whilst additional work is conducted to bring down costs and simplify the plan, continue with the Bath and Severn Beach line proposals, and bring forward the Henbury line as soon as possible.


“Let us keep the focus on rail improvements but simply alter the running order to complete the Henbury Line sooner,” he added.

The need for a passenger rail service for Portishead was further emphasised this week with the closure of the A369 Portbury Hundred road between Portishead and the M5 and Bristol, following the shooting of a motorist by police on Wednesday morning.

That followed another Tuesday evening match at Bristol City where some local residents complained of parking problems in the streets around the ground, and called for a new station for Ashton Gate.

Before the game, local firefighters even warned fans not to block roads to their fire appliances with dangerous parking.

The Bristol Post contacted the Mayor’s Office about Cllr Weston’s idea, but has received no response.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Western Pathfinder on October 02, 2017, 05:06:52 pm
Came across this earlier
Thought I'd leave it here
http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/portishead-rail-link-should-postponed-545119.amp


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on October 02, 2017, 05:43:44 pm
Already posted on Sept 28th on the previous page.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on October 23, 2017, 07:45:50 pm
Quote

New consultation launched on whether to reopen Portishead train line

A new consultation on whether to reopen the train line between Portishead and Bristol Temple Meads has been launched.

Spoken about for years, but first considered as a serious possibility in 2008 – the MetroWest project has rumbled on for almost a decade with seemingly little progress made.

The latest consultation – which will open on Monday, October 23 – seeks to gauge a reaction to the prospect of having an hourly train service between Portishead and Bristol Temple Meads, rather than the half-hourly service initially proposed.

It comes after an updated budget in March revealed the first phase of the project had trebled in cost from £58million to between £145 and £175million.

Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, has previously promised the line will reopen and the West of England Combined Authority – which includes Bristol, South Gloucestershire and Bath & North East Somerset (B&NES) – Metro Mayor, Tim Bowles has made positive noises about the scheme.

While there is widespread support for the project, it is still unclear where the extra funding will come from, leading many to question whether the line will ever reopen.

The financial uncertainties have slowed down on works on the line - which was originally set to start operating in 2019 – and it now appears that works on the track will not properly begin until 2020 at the earliest.

Portishead is one of the fastest growing towns in the South West and its population has risen by more than 3,000 since 2001 and is expected to increase by a further 8,000 in the coming decade.

The A369 and M5 roads – the main commuter routes in to Bristol – are regularly congested during peak times, and when one or both are blocked it makes it almost impossible for people to drive to and from the city.

TravelWest – the umbrella organisation for Bristol City Council, South Gloucestershire Council, North Somerset Council and B&NES – estimate that the reopened line will provide a £264million boost to the local economy over the next decade.

The consultation document states: “MetroWest Phase 1 will reduce journey times which will not erode over time.

“MetroWest Phase 1 will also increase the number of people living within 30 minutes’ travel time of key employment areas such as the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone and the sub-region’s Enterprise Areas.

“This will generate a series of wider economic benefits, such as helping to increase business confidence and assisting in job creation.”

The Portishead line was closed to passengers in 1964 under the Beeching cuts. Some 9km of the track is still used for freight services and only “minor works” are required to enable passenger services to run.

However 5km of the track – which are not currently in use – will need greater investment to make it operational.

Two new stations at Portishead and Pill are proposed under MetroWest phase one plans, and train services will also serve Parson Street, Bedminster, and Bristol Temple Meads stations.

If successfully reopened, the branch line will be owned and maintained by Network Rail and the train service will be operated by the local train operator which is currently Great Western Railway.

Alongside the Portishead line, phase one of the MetroWest project includes running half-hourly trains on the Severn Beach Line and to Keynsham and Bath Spa.

Phase two of the project will see the Henbury Spur route reopen and improvements made to the Yate corridor.

Once the consultation has concluded on Monday, December 4, a final plan will be drawn up for the Metro West scheme. If additional funding for the scheme is secured, the plan will then be submitted to central government in the spring.

It will take around 18 months for the plan to be assessed and formally approved or rejected by government. If approved works could begin in early 2020.

Information about the consolation

The consultation will open on Monday, October 23 and close on December 4.

Consultation documents and questionnaires are available on the TravelWest website or can be requested by calling 0117 922 4513.

A number of public exhibitions on the scheme will take place on the following days:

Friday, November 10 – Between 12.30pm and 7.30pm at Somerset Hall, The Precinct, Portishead,

Wednesday, November 15 – Between 12.30pm and 7.30pm at the Engine Shed, Station Approach, Bristol, BS1 6QH

Tuesday, November 21 – Between 1.30pm and 7.30pm at Trinity Anglican Primary School (Community Hall), Marjoram Way, Portishead, BS20 7JF

Wednesday, November 22 – Between 12.30pm and 7.30pm at Ashton Gate Stadium, Ashton Rd, Bristol, BS3 2EJ

Thursday, November 23 – Between 3.30pm and 7.30pm at Long Ashton Community Centre, Keedwell Hill, Long Ashton, BS41 9DP

Friday, November 24 – Between 12.30pm and 7.30pm at the Community Centre, Church Place, Pill, BS20 0AE

Following the exhibitions, the plans will go on display from:

Monday, November 27 – Between 9am and 5pm at 100 Temple Street, Bristol, BS1 6HT

Source: Bristol Post (http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/new-consultation-launched-whether-reopen-664700)


To pull out two nuggets from this:

Quote
It comes after an updated budget in March revealed the first phase of the project had trebled in cost from £58million to between £145 and £175million.

...and:

Quote
...the reopened line will provide a £264million boost to the local economy over the next decade... MetroWest Phase 1 will reduce journey times which will not erode over time.

The arithmetic would suggest that it is still a good idea. Can we drop GRIP and replace it with JFDI please?




Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: SandTEngineer on October 23, 2017, 08:14:20 pm
Perhaps this could be the test case for the DfT proposed 'new way' of delivering projects to bring costs back to more realistic levels (i.e. take the project delivery away from NR) ;)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on October 23, 2017, 08:44:48 pm
I'm another advocate of stop talking, stop consulting, and JFDI.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on October 23, 2017, 09:15:49 pm
Never in the history of rail reopenings, has so much hot air, reams of paper and millions of pounds been wasted,by so many, for so few and for so little result.
The CONsultants must be laughing all the way to the bank and back again.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Timmer on October 23, 2017, 09:28:01 pm
Never in the history of rail reopenings, has so much hot air, reams of paper, and millions of pounds been wasted.by so many. for so few and for so little result.
The CONsultants must be laughing all the way to the bank and back again.
One of the posts of the year on this forum!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: PhilWakely on October 23, 2017, 10:06:47 pm
I'm another advocate of stop talking, stop consulting, and JFDI.
I remember, in a previous guise, having to explain JFDI to a very stiff upper lipped, starched suit and it produced an interesting response when he finally cottoned on....... "Oh no, we cannot do that, I would lose control - and mind your language lad!"


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Oberon on October 23, 2017, 10:09:35 pm
Anybody got the date when Portishead re-opening was first mooted? It seems like decades ago to me. The cost has spiralled hugely and nothing on the ground appears to have been done apart from cutting back some foliage.

I suppose the real question is, is anything else in the UKL run this badly?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: alan_s on October 23, 2017, 10:23:48 pm
Anybody got the date when Portishead re-opening was first mooted? It seems like decades ago to me.

When I first moved to Portishead back in 1978 there was talk of reopening the line as part of the "Avon Metro" scheme!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: trainer on October 23, 2017, 10:33:44 pm
It beggars belief that this project is still at an effectively non-planning stage. I actually felt angry reading the notice of a new consultation. Someone somewhere is swallowing large sums of public money just to tell us that it will cost HUGE sums of public money to achieve an essential, socially, economically and environmentally desirable piece of infrastructure.

Personally I never use strong language, but my visceral response to this is in full sympathy with the implied imprecation of the untranslated acronym at the end of BNM's post.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on October 23, 2017, 11:28:42 pm
... the untranslated acronym at the end of BNM's post.

The original reference to 'JFDI' was in Red Squirrel's earlier post - and I have now added details to the Coffee Shop forum's list of abbreviations and acronyms (http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/acronyms.html).  ;)



Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on October 24, 2017, 06:52:35 am
The same group of people seem to have come up with the old costings (£53 million) and the new (£158 million), How can anyone have the slightest shred of confidence in either figure when one seems so ridiculously low  and the other so ridiculously high when compared to each other ? I have always been a strong advocate for the railway and am generally an optimistic sort of soul, but even I, now have doubts whether anything will run in my lifetime.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Bmblbzzz on October 24, 2017, 09:28:19 am
It's hard to see GRIP as anything other than a tactic policy for transferring engineering funds to consultants and so-called planners.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: SandTEngineer on October 24, 2017, 10:27:56 am
Thats a bit unfair to consultants.  During my career I have specified (as the client) and undertaken (as a consultant) many GRIP 1 to 5 projects.  My most recent involvement was as the consultant for GRIP 3 part of a resignalling project, and I can assure you that when the client doesn't have a clue exactly what output it wants from that project, that there is bound to be a wide discrepency in cost estimates and project delivery timeframes that the consultant comes up with.  Now then, which client are we talking about here..... ::) :P


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on October 24, 2017, 10:52:26 am
During my career I have specified (as the client) and undertaken (as a consultant) many GRIP 1 to 5 projects. 

If I was involved in a big project, I might stage it:

1. Work out what you want to achieve

2. See if it's going to be possible

3. See if there are several ways, and if there are decide which is best

4. Work out how you're going to do it in general tems

5. Work out all the fine detail of what you're doing

6. Do it! Test it! Get it working!

7. Hand it on to the people who'll be looking after it in the long term

8. Help sort out any final issues

How does that compare to GRIP?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on October 24, 2017, 11:06:59 am
I think the GRIP process as a whole is staged more or less correctly.  What is frustrating is the constant yo-yo'ing between Graham's stages 3-5 above, and the fact that every month that passes sees costs added that seem very difficult to explain.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on October 24, 2017, 11:15:40 am
For completeness, here is the official definition of the GRIP process (according to Squirrel Consulting):

1. Output definition - What are we trying to achieve?
2. Feasibility - Can it be done?
3. Option selection - What’s the best way of doing it? This would be the point where we chose the best route.
4. Single option development - Outline design
5. Detailed design - Um… detailed design
6. Construction test and commission - Well I think we’ve got the hang of this now
7. Scheme hand back - Phew, nearly done
8. Project close out - Who left this shovel here?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on October 24, 2017, 03:24:23 pm
Never in the history of rail reopenings, has so much hot air, reams of paper, and millions of pounds been wasted.by so many. for so few and for so little result.
The CONsultants must be laughing all the way to the bank and back again.
One of the posts of the year on this forum!

Have made this response official whilst responding to the consultation. I was tempted to ask how many £'s per letter (that's letters in a word rather than the cursive missive) the consultants would be receiving !


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on October 24, 2017, 04:24:05 pm
What is frustrating is ... the fact that every month that passes sees costs added that seem very difficult to explain.

Hmm. ::)  I rather thought Red Squirrel had already explained that, very succinctly:

I've just realised that the revised costings for Portishead come out at somewhere between £15 million/Mi and £17.5 million/Mi.  However I think this is a special case - most of this is apparently required to straighten the Avon Gorge and re-locate the Clifton Suspension Bridge a few metres to the left of its current site.

 ;) :D ;D


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: johnneyw on November 22, 2017, 11:37:03 am
Okay, there have been many false starts and delays but could this new funding be progress?

http://www.northsomersettimes.co.uk/news/north-somerset-council-promises-6million-funding-for-portishead-railway-project-1-5289245


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on November 22, 2017, 11:42:08 am
I love the Councillor's final sentence in that article.   :D


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: johnneyw on November 22, 2017, 11:57:50 am
I love the Councillor's final sentence in that article.   :D


Just right for a modern reworking of "The Ghost Train"? 😀


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on November 22, 2017, 04:41:53 pm
I love the Councillor's final sentence in that article.   :D

Me too!

Quote
Cllr Reyna Knight said: “It seems to have taken an awful long time to reach where we are now.

“I hope to live long enough to see Portishead railway (open) and if I don’t I will come back to haunt it.”


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on November 22, 2017, 05:19:09 pm
I'll be dead chuffed when it reopens.

However with slightly different punctuation.... I'll be dead. Chuffed. When it re-opens.....

The latter would be much to trainers delight. If he insists on dancing on the track at my demise, I hope he gets mown down by the first train that runs rather like William Husskison. Then he can do a deadly dance macabre with Cllr Reyna Knight.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Western Pathfinder on November 22, 2017, 06:12:23 pm
Methinks the loss of Chuffed would be too grater price to pay to see the line to PortZ open again !.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on November 22, 2017, 06:15:53 pm
Methinks the loss of Chuffed would be too grater price to pay to see the line to PortZ open again !.

Aw, shucks ..... with cheesy grin ;D


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on November 22, 2017, 09:38:48 pm
Husskison.  ;)



Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: johnneyw on November 22, 2017, 10:02:41 pm
Husskison.  ;)



No wonder then that none of our great and good seem to want to have it opened and then go to the opening!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on November 22, 2017, 10:57:42 pm
First time I've seen the words great and good applied to our dear leader and deputy leader in North Somerset Parish !


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Western Pathfinder on November 22, 2017, 11:15:16 pm
''Tis nearly the season of peace and goodwill to all men after all !.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Noggin on December 07, 2017, 01:50:23 pm
Walking over the old railway bridge near Portbury today there were notices fixed advising of consultation relating to the T&W Act application to reopen the line. Hardly world-shattering, but encouraging nonetheless.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on December 07, 2017, 01:52:55 pm
I think that consultation closed 2 days ago !. As has been said so often on this page why don't they JFDI ?????


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: martyjon on March 10, 2018, 07:22:40 pm
Can't provide a link as my computer suffers from side effects when trying to access local rag websites and invariably goes, "Aw Snap, something went wrong", perhaps CfN might provide a link to the article in the Bristol Post which reports that North Somerset Parish Council are purchasing for £54 million the business park at Worle at WSM on which Sainsburys store is located AND is borrowing the money to transact the deal.

I expect the good people of Portishead will be picking themselves up off the floor when they read the story and wonder why the PC can't divert their efforts and borrowngs to GET ON with re-opening the Portishead Line to Pax.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on March 10, 2018, 08:14:22 pm
... perhaps CfN might provide a link  ....

Link is at https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/local-news/council-spends-38-million-retail-1319261, Chris  ;D


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on March 11, 2018, 11:22:13 pm
That's a return of more than 10% on the purchase price, although the authority will have to pay interest on the money borrowed. With that taken into account, we could find that North Somerset have borrowed £38 million to provide sufficient income to pay their chief executive's salary. Somewhat bizarre!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on March 12, 2018, 02:05:49 pm
... perhaps CfN might provide a link  ....
Link is at https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/local-news/council-spends-38-million-retail-1319261, Chris  ;D

Indeed.  ;D

From the Bristol Post (https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/local-news/council-spends-38-million-retail-1319261):

Quote
Council spends £38 million on retail complex to bring in £225,000 of revenue each year to support stretched services

Council borrows nearly £50 million to purchase investment properties at the same time as making £11 million in cuts to services

Cash-strapped North Somerset Council has ploughed nearly £38 million in borrowed cash to buying a major retail complex – as part of an investment scheme to generate cash to support stretched front line services.

The authority has completed a deal worth £37.95 million to buy the North Worle District Centre in Weston as part of its commercial investment strategy, which it says will bring in much needed revenue to help maintain frontline services.

The deal comes at the same time the council is making fierce cuts to plug an £11 million funding gap in its budget.

The cost of purchasing the site has been funded with cash from a Property Investment fund set up by authority leaders last summer.

Money to fund the investment purchases – a staggering £50 million – has been borrowed by the authority.

The district centre – which includes the Sainsbury’s supermarket – is the first in a series of investments the authority hopes to make.

Authority purseholders say the investment will generate £225,000 in revenue for council coffers in its first year, rising to over £400,000 in subsequent years.

Council leader Councillor Nigel Ashton said: “We will soon have no funding from central government for local services so, like other councils up and down the country, we need to find alternative ways of raising money. This investment is a fantastic opportunity for the council to generate a substantial income stream over a long period of time to help fund frontline services. And, as the new owners of the site, we will also have the opportunity to influence and regenerate the site in the future, contributing to North Somerset’s economic growth.”

The 11.8-acre site next to Junction 21 of the M5 includes the supermarket, a petrol station, retail warehouse TK Maxx, five other retail units, a pub and a 504-space surface car park.

The council appointed specialist property investment and asset management advisors Montagu Evans LLP to identify investment properties for its portfolio.

Montagu Evans head of investment Mark Girling said: “The property, sitting on nearly 12 acres and forming the district centre of a densely populated and fast-growing suburb, is a hugely successful trading asset with 100 per cent of the rental income being secured on a single overriding lease to Sainsbury’s. The net initial yield of about six per cent provides a margin over borrowing costs and there is the prospect of value-added regeneration initiatives over time.”

The Property Investment Fund will be managed by a Property Investment Board.




Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on March 13, 2018, 07:14:06 pm
Minutes of Portishead Railway Group Members AGM (PRG134) Tuesday 5th December, 2017 7.30 Folk Hall Portishead
 
1.  Welcome and Introduction – Chairman, Alan Matthews welcomed the 47 members in attendance to the AGM and introduced our guest speaker James Willcock, MetroWest Phase 1 Project Manager. 
2. Apologies for Absence – There were apologies from 15 members.
3. Minutes of the last meeting – accepted
The accounts for the past year and agenda were distributed on every seat. The accounts have been independently examined and show a surplus of just under £60 for the year. There has been very little movement.  Debbie proposes that they were accepted, Bob Grimler seconded and those present voted to accept them.
4. Chairman’s report
The Chairman thanked the committee and he provided a summary of the years activities:
March   A diesel passenger train came down the line.  A MetroWest press release caused a phone call from ITV to say that the cost of the line had almost tripled in value, to an estimate of between £145m and £175m.  A few days later a meeting of the four West of England councils were told about the price increase.  Joint transport meeting 4 days later said trains may now only run once an hour to Portishead.  PRG committee representatives met with Liam Fox.
April    Chris Grayling said he was trying to sort out the issues with the Portishead line.
July   PRG questioned why we needed a development consent order, but were assured that we need it.
October   PRG met with James Wilcox, Project Manager, as we do regularly, to explore progress.   Stage 2 consultation on the proposed scheme began.
November   Stakeholders meeting took place where it was confirmed that work should go ahead but the trains would only run once every hour as this would help to lower the cost  Government released a transport document in which our line is mentioned. Alan was filmed again with regards to the above statement.
December  Stage 2 consultation of the proposed scheme has now taken place.  1007 people have commented on the consultation
 
 
 
5. Election and Appointment of the Committee
Each member of the committee introduced themselves to those present. All agreed to stand again. Mike Travers proposed and Gareth Hughes seconded that the committee be re-elected. Agreed.
Colin Howells proposed Mike Travers as our Independent Examiner. Alan Matthews seconded.
6. Webmasters report 
Webmaster Paul Gregory started the website 12 years ago this month.  There have been 364,000 page views over the twelve years. Over the last 30 days this has averaged about 172 views per day. It peaked on the 29th November with 871 visitors and there were 580 yesterday. We have about 100 pages with the favourites at the moment being maps and news pages.
We wanted to have a members’ zone but we have a problem with the software at the moment and so we are looking for a replacement that will do what we want it to.
7. Secretary’s report
Facebook page reaches a lot more people than it is possible to by a meeting. There have been 1115 likes of the Facebook page, but some posts are reaching up to 2000 people. We appear to be getting a lot more engagement recently.  The only nay-sayers are those who believe that the line will never happen. We do respond to most of questions and comments put to us.
There are other sites in Portishead and Clevedon which carry more negativity, which we occasionally respond to. We have found that most people want the line to open: they just don’t understand why it can’t be by next week.
8. Membership report
We have 532 members so we have increased membership. In the summer we had a tidy up of the membership and made sure everybody on our list still wanted to be a member. We gained email addresses where we could. 26 people are not on email. When the group began email had barely started.
114 people, including some in the room, have been supporting the group for more than ten years and 30 have been members since year 2000.
Peter Maliphant showed graphs as to where members come from: 74% are from Portishead, but this percentage has actually dropped despite membership increasing as the number of members from the Bristol area has quadruped and from elsewhere has nearly doubled. We do have one member each in Australia, USA and Guernsey.
 
9. James Wilcox update.
The local train network is really quite poor and MetroWest is about putting that right. Proposing a mix of lines to Severn Beach and Portishead running hourly services. Problems with the M5 have really driven home the need for the railway – it will also bring social and well being benefits.
Finished Grip 3 with Network Rail only to find at the last minute that the costs were so much higher than expected and it became unaffordable.  So the project was split it into stages A, B and C.    Stage A:  Severn Beach and Bath corridors to stay the same.   Stage B:  Deliver an initial rail passenger service to Portishead. 
 At the moment not progressing anything on Stage C which is 2 trains an hour to Portishead, as we know this is currently unaffordable.
‘Hourly plus’ means extra trains at rush hour, but this is not a huge difference only an extra 2 trains a day. Hourly is 18 trains a day, ‘hourly plus’ is 20 trains a day – so 4 peak time trains in the morning and the afternoon rather than 3 trains otherwise.
Cost benefit ratio is still very strong as still £3 of quantified benefits for every £1 invested, but if you look at wider benefits it takes it to over 4:1. 
Scheme would be worth £264m to the local economy in the first 10 years and will create 514 permanent new jobs. It will bring an additional 50,000+ people within the area.
The railway will provide journey times of around 23 minutes, slightly slower than originally planned but still much quicker than it is to drive – and won’t erode over time as new roads do as they fill up with traffic. Therefore investment in the line is a very good long term investment.
Need for a DCO
The reason it needs a DCO is because it requires an extra 2km of new track. The fact the line used to be there doesn’t count. On the bad side it requires a lot of technical work and detail to reach the evidencebased bar that is set by the DCO as it is the same process as needed for a nuclear power station. 
The positive is that it is a process that brings everything together in terms of planning and ‘land assembly’.  Still a lot of land needs to be acquired to construct the scheme: some on a permanent basis, quite a lot on a temporary basis, with quite a lot of ‘land rights’ still required. E.G. Pill station is in a cutting and the platform needs to be wider and longer and have a ramp, but in order to do that we need to cut away some of the earth, but at the top of this are people’s back gardens.  In order to underpin this we need to put in ‘soil nails’ and acquire land rights. Without the DCO these would have been separate processes which would have been inefficient.
Consultations
Stage 1 consultation in 2015 was very successful
Stage 2 finished yesterday and the response was unprecedented at over 1000, usually projects get 50 or 100. It will take some time to analyse them. Although most were fairly concise and said they accepted the scheme, 350 went into some detail of their thoughts, some of whom will be directly impacted, so these will take some time to go through and address.
The consultation has taken a multi-channel approach which means there should not be anyone who doesn’t know about it. This has included:  Full page ad in the Guardian.   Local paper ads  Mail drop to 5000 individual addresses.   
The works
5km Portishead to Pill; 9km Pill to Ashton Junction. All comes under the DCO submission.
First section is Portishead, works including realignment of Quays Avenue to allow a multi-modal station with interchanges with walking, bikes, buses, taxis, cars and parking and on street bus stops.
Pill Station includes new platform, access ramp and earth works, forecourt and car park. Quite a lot of work at Pill as while things are there nothing can be kept, including demolition of the old station house.
Avon Gorge has 2 SSSIs and is a special area of conservation which creates its own challenges. Also some really rare trees growing in the gorge including 7 different variety of Whitebeam, the rarest of which there are only 30 species in existence in the world all in the gorge and quite close to the track. 
The positive of trains being reduced to 1 per hour is that the amount of track works will be reduced and the track wall now only need to move a few centimetres rather than over a meter as would have been necessary to increase train speeds to 50mph, now they will stay at 30mph.
Ashton Vale Road
The level crossing will remain operational as train now hourly. Previously Network Rail were going to have to acquire and demolish property in order to get different road access, but for the hourly scheme traffic is manageable, with just a few road alterations and a change to traffic signals to a dynamic controls and a pedestrian access.
Cycle Network and Public Right of Way
There will be disruptions during construction. The path will be shut for up to 18 months with diversions through Pill, but ultimately there will be bridle way extensions including one under the M5.
Other minor work
Minor work to bridges and structures along the disused railway. It is one thing to get a single train up the line, but 18 hours a day the infrastructure would not be up to it.  It is also not safe enough for a passenger train service as foliage needs to be cut back.
Construction
The disused line is a bit of a dream job as you can put a fence around it and it has easy road access. The freight line is the reverse of that as it has very poor highway access and we’ll need to create new highway access in 2 places including at Pill.
Difficulty that it is a live line and the Port has access. Looking at 2 blockades when the line can’t be used in August 2020 and 2021, then a lot of weekend working.
Facts and figures
There is a lot of infrastructure on the line:
12 under bridges and 14 over bridges plus 3km of retaining walls, 4 tunnels and 3 viaducts. 2 bridges need major work including one in Pill others need less work but it is still a lot in total
Timeline 
The next 6 months will be crucial.  Outline business case needs to be completed so that a funding bid to the DfT can be submitted by 22nd December. People are literally working night and day on it.
Aim to get the DCO in by June/July. Then expect DCO timescale to take about 18 months.  We don’t submit it and become passive; we will still have to feed a lot of information in. Planning inspectors will crawl all over it to decide whether it is in the public interest to build the line and to acquire the land.
Grip 4 is a shorter Grip stage which will be completed by mid next year.
Grip 5 is very detailed and will be happening in parallel with the DCO. Finally we will finalise the procurement of the scheme and drawing down the money in 2020 and appoint a contractor. Expect build to start in Spring 2020 and finish about August 2021 and then there will be testing.
Expected opening date Dec 2021.
Costs
MetroWest Issued a press release on how much the project will cost. The cost has had a lot of scrutiny since March. Mott Macdonald came in as an independent cost examiner to look at all the costs.  Expected cost £116m takes into account all the land, risk, future inflation, construction and planning costs. It is a big number but in the scale of a 14km railway project it is not that much.
Q&A with attendees
Q1.     Why will people leave their cars and use the train?  A1 There are 2 different markets: the peak commuter market and the leisure/off peak market and this latter has grown massively over the last few years. In the morning out of all commuters we only expect to get 10% of the commuting population but that’s enough to fill the trains.  The Ebbw Vale line using the same model soon quadrupled after it was opened and another line soon trebled.
Q2  Parking charges? Will people park in surrounding areas? A2 Considering a residents parking scheme or a specialist order to help the first 18 months
Q3.  Has a circular bus service been considered? A3 Bit too early to look at this in detail.
Q4.  You say it will bring £264m to the area how? A4 from time savings and efficiencies to the job market. People who will have more productive time rather than being stuck in traffic.
Q5. How has the timeline been decided? Bothered that it’s still so far away. Worried that it still has to get into control period 6. If the DCO is signed off does this mean it will definitely go ahead. What if the government changes? A5 Still many steps to go through including a judicial review and we’ve had to take these interdependencies into account. Won’t happen any earlier than Dec 2021
Q6. Worried about funding, how is the funding gap being filled? A6. This is our most pressing issue. At the moment we have £58m, NSC have promised another £6m and the other councils have pledged another £6m each. The rest we will be asking for from the government under essential infrastructure projects and the DFT but we think that we have a very strong business case. In the budget the DFT announced a number of different funding streams, but that will need that to be concluded from April next year.
Q7. Will the trains take bikes? A7 Yes 
Q8.  How will the passenger line operate alongside the freight trains and are there enough tracks at Bristol? And will the trains stop at Parson St and Bedminster? A8. Traditional alignment between BTM and Parson Street was lost many years ago and has been built on, but for an hourly service we don’t need that alignment. The train pathing is all done through a Network Rail model. The next big network timing changes are in December 2018 and
NR have very sophisticated modelling that we have been using. It has also driven the infrastructure requirements such the line speeds and 
Q9 When can we have half hourly trains? A9  The half hourly project is a completely different scheme. For the hourly service the rail does not need to be upgraded; to take the trains to 2 an hour at a 50mph will require major work as the track is very narrow so the track would have to be straightened out which would mean the track has to be moved by up to 1.5m, which would also affect the loading on the bridges. At the moment we will not do that work as we don’t need this to be done. 
Q10 What is an under bridge? A10 They support the railway track as they were build to maintain access for landowners.
Comment that it is always four years time until the line is opened but now we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
 
Meeting concluded at 9.30pm


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on March 13, 2018, 08:04:31 pm
Some very clear explanations there, which is to be welcomed. But I don't know whether to be cautiously optimistic, or optimistically cautious.


Title: Death knell for the Portishead line ?
Post by: chuffed on May 17, 2018, 06:34:41 pm
It is being reported by the Bristol Post that central government funding has been refused for Phase one of Metrowest. So much for Chris Grayling's assertion that 'Portishead wasn't dead in the water' when he was in Bristol to launch the Class 166's on the Severn Beach line. Well,if it wasn't dead then, it certainly seems to be now! It's Transport Questions next Thursday ....any chance Liam Fox will stand up to lambast his Cabinet colleague ? As I see it, the only thing Liam Fox has done for Portishead is to call it the 'longest cul-de-sac in Europe' in an adjournment debate, way way back in 2005.


Title: Re: Death knell for the Portishead line ?
Post by: martyjon on May 17, 2018, 07:45:17 pm
Punishment for North Somerset Parish Council not supporting election of Metro Mayor ?


Title: Re: Death knell for the Portishead line ?
Post by: Western Pathfinder on May 17, 2018, 07:48:30 pm
Anybody got a spare £47 million not doing anything at the minute?


Title: Re: Death knell for the Portishead line ?
Post by: ray951 on May 17, 2018, 08:33:15 pm
Money probably spent on Crossrail overspend.


Title: Re: Death knell for the Portishead line ?
Post by: johnneyw on May 17, 2018, 08:56:11 pm
Money probably spent on Crossrail overspend.

I feared that but is it perhaps more a time for a rethink?  Grand schemes for Portishead to have services to Bath and beyond always seemed a bit profligate in the current economic climate. All the good people of Portishead really want is a rail shuttle to Temple Meads from where they can get to Bristol or change to all the services beyond surely?


Title: Re: Death knell for the Portishead line ?
Post by: chuffed on May 18, 2018, 07:45:27 am
As was pointed out in the previous post, the much simpler idea of a shuttle up and down to Temple Meads from Portishead reached GRIP 4 before it was hijacked by the metrowest scheme.  With the snakes and ladders of GRIP being what it is, it all  went back to GRIP 1. So, would a way forward be, to treat metrobus and the Portishead line as 2 separate projects once again ?.


Title: Re: Death knell for the Portishead line ?
Post by: trainer on May 18, 2018, 07:04:22 pm
So, would a way forward be, to treat metrobus and the Portishead line as 2 separate projects once again ?

They seem to be equally doomed to delay and expense to no good purpose whether they are connected or not.



Title: Re: Death knell for the Portishead line ?
Post by: grahame on May 19, 2018, 07:26:27 am
So, would a way forward be, to treat metrobus and the Portishead line as 2 separate projects once again ?.

There is a massive danger in adding projects together and making them dependent on each other - the danger of the low hanging fruit falling off the tree as you try to pick it in the same hand a lovely looking fruit that's a bit further up and harder to reach.

I don't know Portishead - but I do wonder if a good heritage quality line laid from the Portbury Docks junction through to Portishead, running at light rail speeds .... a couple of trains around each peak (90 minute gap) and perhaps a middle of the day and evening round trip .... just might prove attractive.  Staff and token, Coombe Junction arrangement where the conductor locks the train onto the branch if you like.    I suspect that something like that could be achieved without needing a further £47 million and counting.  And I suspect it would meet a real social and community need for those who are not fortunate enough to be able to drive themselves out of the longest  cul-de-sac in England, and who don't enjoy the road congestion that the bus faces.


Title: Re: Death knell for the Portishead line ?
Post by: chuffed on May 20, 2018, 08:27:12 am
Rather more encouraging news from Portishead Railway Group


                   
Dear Member,

 

Once again the Portishead line is hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Social media and the local press are full of dramatic comments and partial truths that might mislead you into thinking that the MetroWest project and the Portishead line is now dead.

 

This is completely false. We have some important questions that we have raised with MetroWest and Liam Fox and we will let you know the response when we have it. Meanwhile, here are 10 things we’d like to highlight about the current situation, to anyone interested (or willing to listen):

 

1.     On Thursday it was announced that MetroWest (i.e. all four local councils) has failed in its bid for funding from the Large Local Major Transport Schemes fund. The DfT’s Large Local Major Transport Schemes fund guidance explicitly states “....There is a presumption against funding rail schemes ....".  So it was a long shot, but NSC/MetroWest felt it was worth trying. In fact all the fund went to 3 major road schemes, none to any rail schemes.

2.      This doesn’t mean the project is dead, just that particular source of funds is not available - as the fund’s guidance said. One of the reasons for that rule is that there are other sources of funds available for rail schemes, which NSC/MetroWest will have to utilise instead.

3.      £116 million is the Network Rail revised cost for the Portishead line from last year (down from £170 million). This is a robust figure that has been independently verified by MetroWest to ensure no more nasty surprises.

4.     £58 million is already in place to meet the original Network Rail project costing. Of this £4.3 million is local money and £53.4 million was awarded from the Local Growth Fund.

5.     £12 million more was committed to the project last December by WECA (West of England Combined Authority) and North Somerset Council (50% each), as part of the latest funding bid that just failed. These are big commitments by all four councils (not all of which are Tory by the way ....) but still leave £46 million to be sourced.

6.      About £11 million has already been spent, getting the project this far.

7.      It wasn't politicians that doubled the cost of the project, triggering the search for more funds, it was Network Rail

8.     The Metro Mayor is nothing to do with what’s happened. All four councils continue to work together as MetroWest.

9.      Work is continuing right now on the DCO and GRIP 4, despite the bad news

10.   The report on the DCO consultation at the end of 2017 will be published early next month

This setback is hugely frustrating for everyone, including those who work on the MetroWest project, but it’s not the first time and the project carries on. Today, there is a firm budget, £70 million of funding in place, a clear train service objective to deliver and a robust plan in place to deliver it. It just lacks £46 million.

We do need answers to some questions. We each need to ensure that decision makers and politicians understand the strength of local frustration with the delays. But most importantly, we all need to focus on what we can constructively do to help make the plan for trains to Portishead a reality.

We hope that helps clarify what is, and isn’t, happening.

Regards,

Peter

 

Peter Maliphant

Membership Secretary

Portishead Railway Group


Title: Re: Death knell for the Portishead line ?
Post by: stuving on May 20, 2018, 08:58:18 am
1.     On Thursday it was announced that MetroWest (i.e. all four local councils) has failed in its bid for funding from the Large Local Major Transport Schemes fund. The DfT’s Large Local Major Transport Schemes fund guidance explicitly states “....There is a presumption against funding rail schemes ....".  So it was a long shot, but NSC/MetroWest felt it was worth trying. In fact all the fund went to 3 major road schemes, none to any rail schemes.

2.      This doesn’t mean the project is dead, just that particular source of funds is not available - as the fund’s guidance said. One of the reasons for that rule is that there are other sources of funds available for rail schemes, which NSC/MetroWest will have to utilise instead.

To expand a bit on that, the guidance document adds this:
Quote
Q. Are all rail schemes excluded? What about station redevelopment/access to stations?
A. Rail schemes are not entirely excluded from consideration but, as the draft guidance says, there is a presumption against funds going to rail schemes as it will be much harder to make the case that they have no other way of being funded. So LEPs would have to make a strong case that the scheme could not come forward with national rail funding. Also, any rail scheme large enough to be above the guideline thresholds would need an exceptionally strong and convincing delivery case.
On both of the above points, schemes that do not have any rail service or rolling stock implications (e.g. station building/access schemes) might be relatively easier to make the case for.

Also, Metrowest's application is available here (https://metrowestphase1.org/large-local-major-schemes-bid-for-construction-funding/), including: Appendix 5.1: Network Rail Value Engineering Report June 2017.


Title: Re: Death knell for the Portishead line ?
Post by: A V Lowe on May 20, 2018, 04:05:46 pm
A privately promoted used of the line, with open access negotiated to Ashton, with an initial (interim) terminus in the Riverside Park where some 600 metres of new light rail alignment would deliver rails under the existing Brunel Way viaduct to the South end of the currently disconnected Ashton Rail Bridge, which can be reconnected with the rail lines to Bristol Harbour. As with early railway promotion, this detail can be delivered in stages, so that a market can be tested, and revenue generated at an early stage.

The fact that the Portbury Line is effectively run as a stand-alone 'siding' from where it leaves the main line, should greatly simplify any signalling works required to develop the initial service, and no train paths would need to be found for Temple Meads. If on street running is anticipated then the pointwork that any tram-train vehicles share with heavy rail will require modified check-rails as trams have a 1380mm back to back vs heavy rail 1360mm, and dual use vehicles require special wheelsets.   

With appropriate light rail vehicles - probably a tram-train specification, using either battery or hybrid vehicles, services can then run Portishead to Bristol Harbour - closer to the City Centre than Temple Meads! with minimal major works save for the link, between the Portbury freight branch and restoring (light) rail use of the Ashton Bridge.

From Bristol Harbour - which can be an interim terminus. The options remain to restore the railway route through to Temple Meads via Challoner Street and the existing Redcliffe Tunnel - which will now require reclamation of some land, and demolition/part removal of developments made in the past 30 years or so. Alternatively, and possibly faster, would be to run on street to Broadmead, and possibly split to pass through Queen Square to head for
the Redcliffe Bridge and a route paralleling Redcliffe Way which can bring Temple Quay in to a closer relationship with Temple Meads station.

Most important move however is to get a service running Portishead to Ashton (within easy cycling distance, and a moderate walk of the City Centre) and make the relatively quick onward connection to Bristol Harbour   


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: metalrail on May 21, 2018, 04:51:02 pm
Some very clear explanations there, which is to be welcomed. But I don't know whether to be cautiously optimistic, or optimistically cautious.


Think you'd better be optimistically cautious following the latest announcement of funding being turned down for it...  >:(

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-44166771


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: paul7755 on May 21, 2018, 07:19:16 pm
I thought I saw some sort of rebuttal of the scary BBC story.  Is there another thread current about this?

Paul


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on May 21, 2018, 07:42:10 pm
I thought I saw some sort of rebuttal of the scary BBC story.  Is there another thread current about this?

Paul

In "Bristol Commuters" at http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=19829.msg238217#msg238217 ... fit both "Bristol" and "Campaign" boards.   We should merge at some point.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: metalrail on May 21, 2018, 07:56:40 pm
Yeah just found another thread on this...

http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=19829.msg238254#msg238254


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on May 21, 2018, 09:22:47 pm
I thought I saw some sort of rebuttal of the scary BBC story.  Is there another thread current about this?

In "Bristol Commuters" ... fit both "Bristol" and "Campaign" boards.   We should merge at some point.



Yeah just found another thread on this ...


Thanks for your links, and those topics have indeed now been moved and merged as suggested.  ;)





Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: paul7755 on May 21, 2018, 09:36:57 pm
I thought I saw some sort of rebuttal of the scary BBC story.  Is there another thread current about this?

Paul

In "Bristol Commuters" at http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=19829.msg238217#msg238217 ... fit both "Bristol" and "Campaign" boards.   We should merge at some point.


Thanks Grahame.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: johnneyw on June 15, 2018, 09:57:36 pm
According to the Bristol Evening Post, North Somerset has worked with Gloucestershire County Council and Wiltshire Council to apply for money for the Portishead Line by submitting 'an expression of interest' in the government's Transforming Cities Fund'. Not sure what the chances are there nor why the other two councils would want to get involved. Come to think of it, I'm not sure what the fund is intended to achieve.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: stuving on June 15, 2018, 11:31:39 pm
According to the Bristol Evening Post, North Somerset has worked with Gloucestershire County Council and Wiltshire Council to apply for money for the Portishead Line by submitting 'an expression of interest' in the government's Transforming Cities Fund'. Not sure what the chances are there nor why the other two councils would want to get involved. Come to think of it, I'm not sure what the fund is intended to achieve.

Zero.

The fund is described in the call for proposals here (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/apply-for-the-transforming-cities-fund). Not only is it for regions of big cities:
Quote
As the Fund is seeking to support the largest city regions, the application form will look for evidence of high workday as opposed to residential populations. City regions with workday populations above 200,000 people will therefore score more strongly in the first section.

but it would need to not be part of WECA:
Quote
As they have received automatic allocations, the six Mayoral Combined Authorities (Liverpool City Region, Tees Valley, Greater Manchester, West of England, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and the West Midlands) are ineligible to bid for additional funding.

Unless they are applying to the mayor for some of his allocation?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: martyjon on June 16, 2018, 05:00:29 am
According to the Bristol Evening Post, North Somerset has worked with Gloucestershire County Council and Wiltshire Council to apply for money for the Portishead Line by submitting 'an expression of interest' in the government's Transforming Cities Fund'. Not sure what the chances are there nor why the other two councils would want to get involved. Come to think of it, I'm not sure what the fund is intended to achieve.

North Somerset got some hope, they did not want to be part of WECA and they sure do not even share a boundary with either Gloucestershire or Wiltshire. 


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on June 16, 2018, 11:52:36 am
My guess is that the tripartite bid is in the hope of getting around the WECA ineligibility for these funds. Wiltshire will be hoping for an extension of the proposed Portishead to Bath services as far as Westbury. Gloucestershire can join in citing Severn Beach. Bristol and Bath combined probably have a workday population of 200,000, so it could be a goer, but I wouldn't bet on it.
It may also be that Bristol and Gloucestershire have figured that despite the bold promises, there is little chance of getting anything out of the Western Super Mayor for improvements to local transport, just more MetroBust.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on June 16, 2018, 12:17:33 pm
...there is little chance of getting anything out of the Western Super Mayor for improvements to local transport, just more MetroBust.

...and roads, don't forget roads, Peter likes roads. Including, I see, the motorway that never got built from Cumberland Basin to Clevedon. Not sure how that fits in with marvellous Marv's plans to replace Cumberland Basin with a council estate...


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: stuving on June 16, 2018, 01:01:35 pm
My guess is that the tripartite bid is in the hope of getting around the WECA ineligibility for these funds. Wiltshire will be hoping for an extension of the proposed Portishead to Bath services as far as Westbury. Gloucestershire can join in citing Severn Beach. Bristol and Bath combined probably have a workday population of 200,000, so it could be a goer, but I wouldn't bet on it.
It may also be that Bristol and Gloucestershire have figured that despite the bold promises, there is little chance of getting anything out of the Western Super Mayor for improvements to local transport, just more MetroBust.

The Rules of the Fund are pretty clear, though couched in DFT-specific jargon. The money will only be granted to "city regions", and that's not a region of a city but a city with its boundary extended to make more transport sense. It's the kind of a thing that could have a combined authority, and two do - Liverpool City region (which is mayoral) and Sheffield City Region (which is, I suppose, amayoral).

So does anyone really think the various bits involved here constitute a (major) city region without including anything within the WECA boundary? It must be cheap to do, as it's a very, very, long shot. It would only work if DfT come back and say "we've had no valid applications, so we'll have to share the money among your fatuous suggestion and a couple of similar ones".


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: eightf48544 on June 18, 2018, 10:04:36 am
. I would provide one station on the line at Pill and my proposal would be to provide 3 up services to Bristol in the morning peak at say 0700, 0730 and 0800, the units travelling down to Portishead as a 3 unit combo, in or out of service, and which split into the three seperate units to form the up services. In the evening peak 3 down services at say 1600, 1700 and 1800 from BTM, returning as a 3 unit combo if there is insufficient time for a unit to return to Parson Street station at least.

I'm dreaming again.

Maybe ideal for a hybrid (battery diesel) 230 (ex D Stock)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: SandTEngineer on June 28, 2018, 08:09:16 am
Perhaps at last some good news......https://www.insidermedia.com/insider/southwest/116m-bristol-rail-project-poised-to-get-nod-from-cabinet

Quote
27 Jun 2018  South West Business

£116m Bristol rail project poised to get nod from cabinet

Bristol Council's cabinet is set to approve the first phase of the MetroWest Rail project, which forms part of ambitious plans to bring 105,000 new homes and 82,500 new jobs to the West of England by 2036.

Approval is being sought from cabinet for a third initial promotion agreement (IPA3), to be signed in conjunction with the other West of England authorities in a meeting on 3 July 2018.

The project forms part of the West of England Joint Spatial plan, which sets out how the new jobs and homes will be delivered up to 2036.

The MetroWest Phase one project will deliver a new rail link between Bristol and Portishead, serving intermediate stations. It will also increase rail service frequencies between Severn Beach and Bath.

The cost of the scheme is estimated to be £116m, up from an initial £58m as previously estimated.

The report to go before cabinet reads: "North Somerset Council has committed to take on all liability for the additional £58m scheme costs, over and above the original £58m scheme cost estimate. Signing the IPA3 will enable the project to continue to be developed without taking on additional liabilities.

"Bristol’s Cabinet endorsed the development of the MetroWest programme (Phases 1 and 2) in January 2013. Since that time the cost profile and delivery model have changed significantly and WECA has been constituted and become a partner in this project.

"Taking this into account and the time that has elapsed it is considered that a new cabinet approval should be sought. Although a clear funding strategy has not yet been identified, delegated authority to enter into a new Initial Promotion Agreement is being sought now to avoid programme delay once a funding strategy has been identified.

"Delays to the programme would result in further cost increases, put the already allocated Local Growth Fund money at risk due to spending deadlines, and add further risk to the project. Potential options for further funding for the project include the Department for Transport’s ‘Transforming Cities Fund’."


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on June 29, 2018, 11:26:02 am
Walked past the line parallel to Sainsburys earlier and saw the official laminated notice that said NSC were applying for a DCO order to build a new station. Interestingly the map had the coloured line terminating opposite  Kestrel Court, whereas I thought the station was to be located at the site of the current Quays Avenue roundabout.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on June 29, 2018, 11:41:42 am
Walked past the line parallel to Sainsburys earlier and saw the official laminated notice that said NSC were applying for a DCO order to build a new station. Interestingly the map had the coloured line terminating opposite  Kestrel Court, whereas I thought the station was to be located at the site of the current Quays Avenue roundabout.

After all the shenanigans about the level crossing last year (or was it the year before, or the year before that? Time flies in Portishead...) I think the sign must be wrong... or could the coloured line represent the path from the station towards the downtown district of Port Zed? (to be called Ap Rees Boulevard, I hear)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on June 29, 2018, 09:20:27 pm
I would leap up and down with joy, ordering drinks all round, had history not taught me caution. But north somerset parish council ponying up £58 mil? Maybe they are playing the long game. They were after buying the Worle Sainsbury store and all that surrounds it. The income from that will give them a lovely surplus. So why not borrow £58 million at, maybe 2% in bonds for 20 years? Financial advisors love that at the moment, and local authorities are good for the money. Repayments will be less than £3 million per year, for which they get a fast connection to where the jobs are, and a lorra lorra money from those Community Infrastructure Levy payments from all the new houses they will give permission for. Plus, as the council is a friend of the current government, Chris "Fayling" Grayling might give them a few quid.

It could all go horribly wrong, of course, if all those Polish folk return to Warsaw come Brexit. Personally, I hope the couple who run Espresso in WSM don't do one. He makes wonderful coffee, she is gorgeous, as is their child.

Dziękuję!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on June 29, 2018, 09:24:27 pm
Moja przyjemność, as Elfan would say.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on June 29, 2018, 09:52:09 pm
Moja przyjemność, as Elfan would say.


Murky buckets, mon sewer.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Bmblbzzz on July 01, 2018, 01:32:43 pm
Przyjemność będzie, jak przyjadą pociągy...


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on July 01, 2018, 01:37:57 pm
And I want to be in Pole position when the first tickets go on sale ....


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on July 01, 2018, 04:45:21 pm
Zbyt dobrze! (To both previous comments)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on July 01, 2018, 05:56:17 pm
If I were a Pole, I think that by the time the line reopens I would have repositioned myself to the Omerta pub in Krakow, to imbibe kilka piw and muse on the silliness of the English.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on July 17, 2018, 06:33:54 am
From Bristol Live (Bristol Post) (https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/bristol-portishead-rail-line-metrowest-1791152) published yesterday afternoon.   

Quote
Almost a decade after plans to reopen the Portishead railway line were taken up by Bristol and North Somerset councils, questions are being raised about whether the scheme is still on track.

It comes after the project missed out on millions in funding from Westminster in May leaving many wondering whether the Bristol to Portishead line would ever be reopened.

Officially called MetroWest phase one, the Portishead line project needs to secure another £47million before work to reopen it can begin.

And despite failing to secure the cash needed earlier this year, North Somerset is not giving up and has already approached the Department of Transport again for more money.

This time the authority has worked with Gloucestershire County Council and Wiltshire Council to submit an ‘expression of interest’ to the government’s Transforming Cities Fund. It is now waiting to hear the outcome of this bid.

North Somerset’s strategic planning and economic development scrutiny panel is due to meet on July 18 to receive and update on the project - which has seemingly failed to make any progress over the past 10 years.

One of the big problems is the route needs major investment to re-lay sections of track which have been ripped up.

A viable shared timetable will also need to be created with the freight companies which use part of the line. And of course there is the ever increasing cost of the project - which has so far only been partly funded.

In spring last year it was revealed the costs for the first phase of the project had spiraled from £58million to between £145 and £175million.

At that time officers went back to the drawing board in order to find a way to deliver the project at a lower, more affordable price. A decision was made to only offer one service an hour between Bristol and Portishead to bring costs down to £116million.

[etc]

Anything new in there?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: SandTEngineer on July 17, 2018, 10:14:47 am
No.  But reports elsewhere suggest there hasn't been a single freight train that has used the line since it was 'resignalled' back in April 2018.  There needs to be some serious discussion about freight access paths that aren't likely to be used ever again.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on July 17, 2018, 10:31:42 am
... there hasn't been a single freight train that has used the line since it was 'resignalled' back in April 2018. 

Blimey. How come?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: SandTEngineer on July 17, 2018, 10:37:35 am
Don't think that report elsewhere is accurate to date (it was a historic post on another forum) as RTT shows one train ran yesterday (16/07/2018) after nothing for at least the week before.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: PhilWakely on July 17, 2018, 10:47:25 am
Don't think that report elsewhere is accurate to date (it was a historic post on another forum) as RTT shows one train ran yesterday (16/07/2018) after nothing for at least the week before.

and one today (17/07/18)?
5Q32 09:00 Portbury to Manchester International Depot (http://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/train/K96124/2018/07/17/advanced)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: SandTEngineer on July 17, 2018, 11:19:56 am
Yes, not exactly the busy freight branch it used to be.  I think the coal traffic to Aberthaw power station hasn't run for a while, so only automotive traffic at present which is obviously linked to ship arrivals at Portbury dock.  Don't see why that should prevent a half hourly Portishead service (in the peaks at least) without the need for the suggested significant infrastructure works (i.e. another passing loop)......


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Adelante_CCT on July 17, 2018, 12:54:15 pm
The line is being used for the deliveries from CAF every few weeks at the moment as mentioned here (http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=19935.msg239726#msg239726)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Western Pathfinder on July 21, 2018, 12:57:57 pm
This may be of interest.
https://metrowestphase1.files.wordpress.com/2018/07/stage-2-consultation-report-final.pdf.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: SandTEngineer on July 21, 2018, 01:23:39 pm
Thanks for posting that WP.  I must admit I was a little bit concerned when I opened the document and Page 2 stated BLANK..... :P


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on November 01, 2018, 02:23:31 pm
An article has popped up in the latest edition of the Portishead and Portbury paper suggesting that the way forwards could be STRAIL. It is a system of new and recycled thick rubber panels laid within and beside existing rail tracks and has been used in 30,000 locations in 5 continents to allow road traffic to drive over railways. It does not stop the tracks being used by trains.
I wonder if the Dft and NR have considered this...the author claims it will reduce the cost to about 40 million, down  from the 175 million that has been bandied about elsewhere.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on November 01, 2018, 04:52:08 pm
Does the author explain exactly how this impressive reduction in funding required will be achieved, or give examples of where the system has been deployed successfully elsewhere on a line with an hourly plus peak enhancement passenger frequency, and Portbury-level freight operations?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on November 01, 2018, 05:08:58 pm
The author cheerfully admits '£40m is a back of the envelope calculation!'. He suggests infilling the rails and running buses through Portishead as now, along a bus only lane of the Portbury hundred, and then joining the STRAILed rail at Portbury dock as far as Cumberland basin and then join the Metro bus route M2 to the 'real' Temple Meads, Cabot Circus, BRI, University , Jacob Wells Road, and back to the centre. One snag that I can foresee is how to get off the strailed rail and on to the non guided busway bit of the M2 as it cant go over Ashton Avenue Swing bridge.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: stuving on November 01, 2018, 05:30:00 pm
The author cheerfully admits '£40m is a back of the envelope calculation!'. He suggests infilling the rails and running buses through Portishead as now, along a bus only lane of the Portbury hundred, and then joining the STRAILed rail at Portbury dock as far as Cumberland basin and then join the Metro bus route M2 to the 'real' Temple Meads, Cabot Circus, BRI, University , Jacob Wells Road, and back to the centre. One snag that I can foresee is how to get off the strailed rail and on to the non guided busway bit of the M2 as it cant go over Ashton Avenue Swing bridge.

Aha! I was going to ask if the idea was to run buses over the rail route - and why. The roads may be congested, but £40M ought to buy a few bits of bus lane and bus-only access road, without the hazard of meeting a goods train.

STRAIL are a German company, though that name (they prefer capitals) appears in their product names. If you go your local level crossing, the chances are you'll see some of their road panels between and beside the rails. I think their big advantage is that you can just lift them to get access to the track and then as quickly put them back, without any pneumatic drill or tar boiler.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on November 01, 2018, 05:51:55 pm
The author cheerfully admits '£40m is a back of the envelope calculation!'. He suggests infilling the rails and running buses through Portishead as now, along a bus only lane of the Portbury hundred, and then joining the STRAILed rail at Portbury dock as far as Cumberland basin and then join the Metro bus route M2 to the 'real' Temple Meads, Cabot Circus, BRI, University , Jacob Wells Road, and back to the centre. One snag that I can foresee is how to get off the strailed rail and on to the non guided busway bit of the M2 as it cant go over Ashton Avenue Swing bridge.

Aha! I was going to ask if the idea was to run buses over the rail route - and why. The roads may be congested, but £40M ought to buy a few bits of bus lane and bus-only access road, without the hazard of meeting a goods train.

Portbury Docks to Cumberland Basin is quite a long stretch of freight track for MetroBus to share...

Interesting how, in less than a month, the debate over Portishead options has seemingly downgraded from Heavy Rail, through Light Rail to Trojan Bus though, isn't it?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on November 01, 2018, 07:27:43 pm
An article has popped up in the latest edition of the Portishead and Portbury paper suggesting that the way forwards could be STRAIL. It is a system of new and recycled thick rubber panels laid within and beside existing rail tracks and has been used in 30,000 locations in 5 continents to allow road traffic to drive over railways. It does not stop the tracks being used by trains.
I wonder if the Dft and NR have considered this...the author claims it will reduce the cost to about 40 million, down  from the 175 million that has been bandied about elsewhere.

Can you give more details of this 'Portishead and Portbury paper'? The neaest thing I could find online was this article (http://www.northsomersettimes.co.uk/news/portishead-railway-north-somerset-councillors-slam-tram-plan-1-5739562) form a couple of weeks ago, which suggests that the local councillors think tram or tramtrain solutions aren't good enough for their town, so I can't see them promoting a bus on a rubber mat.

STRAIL (http://www.strail.de/index.php?id=151&L=1) appears to be a quick and easy way to do level crossings, not a means of building busways... is there more to this idea?

Without further information, this sounds like the kind of idea that just about makes the readers letters page in the Bristol Post on a quiet news day... or the kind of thing Marvin Rees would come up with...


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Bmblbzzz on November 02, 2018, 11:14:09 am
And how would this STRAIL idea help run trains?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on November 02, 2018, 11:24:52 am
And how would this STRAIL idea help run trains?

In this particular case, it appears that the idea would be to lay STRAIL on the freight-only Heavy Rail section between Portbury Docks and Cumberland Basin, thus theoretically allowing a MetroBus extension to Portishead co-exist with the freight trains. The author appears to envisage his huge "back of the envelope" reduction down to £40 millon would be achieved by running MetroBus rather than Heavy Rail services to Portishead.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: johnneyw on November 02, 2018, 12:07:53 pm
Perhaps if the author was familiar with Metrobust's overspending history those estimates would see a steep rise.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Bmblbzzz on November 02, 2018, 01:04:47 pm
And how would this STRAIL idea help run trains?

In this particular case, it appears that the idea would be to lay STRAIL on the freight-only Heavy Rail section between Portbury Docks and Cumberland Basin, thus theoretically allowing a MetroBus extension to Portishead co-exist with the freight trains. The author appears to envisage his huge "back of the envelope" reduction down to £40 millon would be achieved by running MetroBus rather than Heavy Rail services to Portishead.
I see. It sounds hazardous at best.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: ellendune on November 02, 2018, 01:25:13 pm
The Portishead Branch was only ever single track IIRC. Two track is only just wide enough for a busway, so there would need to be passing places for busses to pass. Would you then need a complex set of traffic lights - you could call it a signalling system. The widening necessary for the passing places (you could call them loops), together with the signalling would push the costs would go up dramatically to something like the same as Portishead reopening project. 

This STAIL idea seems to be not very well thought out!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: mjones on November 02, 2018, 01:31:33 pm
This idea has been kicking round for several years now. There was demonstration event a few years ago, when it was being promoted as 'rubber road' if I remember correctly. I'll look it up later. I'd have more confidence if there was a working scheme on an abandoned track before anyone suggests a shared scheme...


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on November 02, 2018, 01:49:14 pm
mjones - Are you thinking of the mid-2000s HoldFast proposal for allowing cars and trains to share the Newton Abbot-Paignton line? (http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=1310.0)

That method was also marketed as being able to facilitate guided bus.

EDIT - I had to use the Wayback Machine to find it, but here is the original HoldFast website. (https://web.archive.org/web/20060831160136/http://www.rubberhighways.com:80/)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: paul7755 on November 02, 2018, 05:31:55 pm
Holdfast kit appears on this road on rail temporary job in Scotland, about 150m long.
https://www.networkrail.co.uk/feeds/new-system-signals-changes-for-stromeferry-motorists/
It was also done a few years ago:
http://www.levelcrossinginstallations.co.uk/stromeferry-scotland/

Paul


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: ellendune on November 02, 2018, 05:53:34 pm
Holdfast kit appears on this road on rail temporary job in Scotland, about 150m long.
https://www.networkrail.co.uk/feeds/new-system-signals-changes-for-stromeferry-motorists/
It was also done a few years ago:
http://www.levelcrossinginstallations.co.uk/stromeferry-scotland/

Paul


150 metres on a temporary basis - rather different to the whole line from Cumberland Basin to Portbury on a permanent basis! Even with 150 metres the motorists complained about having to wait for trains!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on November 02, 2018, 06:55:38 pm
Quite. I'm not sure why we're dignifying this idea by discussing it!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on November 02, 2018, 07:39:53 pm
Look at it this way - Instead of being criticised for dismissing it out of hand without proper consideration, we can rest safe in the knowledge that we dismissed it out of hand after thoroughly researching and debating it!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: mjones on November 03, 2018, 07:59:37 am
Here is a BBC article from 2006:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/5034912.stm

They built a test track near Corby.

There were a lot of good objections to the suggestion that it could be used for general traffic. Maybe there are a few locations where something like this could work to get buses into places where there is an abandoned track, but it looks like yet another example of the UK obsession with finding "innovative " bus based alternatives to light rail, when the rest of Europe just gets in with it.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on November 03, 2018, 10:27:35 am
...it looks like yet another example of the UK obsession with finding "innovative " bus based alternatives to light rail, when the rest of Europe just gets in with it.

Exactly! Not just Europe, either!

I can't help thinking that a lot of these alternative ideas - hydrogen trains, bi-modes, rubber roads, guided busways and so on - are just neoliberal ploys to avoid investing public money. If you can defer investment for a year, it looks rather like you've spent less this year; you could spin this as a efficiency saving. Now just do the same next year... and repeat. This is a brilliant way to proceed if you don't believe these things are investments, but not so good if these things genuinely improve the economy...


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on November 03, 2018, 10:50:07 am
Well, in our part of the world, we have the salutary tale of Caen, where a guided bus system that was hailed as "just like Light Rail but cheaper" was opened in 2002 at a cost of €227 million, but due to its unreliability is now having to be replaced by an actual light rail system at a cost of around €250 million...

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caen_Guided_Light_Transit

https://lightrailnow.wordpress.com/2016/02/29/caen-guided-brt-out-real-lrt-tramway-in-by-2019/


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: stuving on November 03, 2018, 01:09:39 pm
Well, in our part of the world, we have the salutary tale of Caen, where a guided bus system that was hailed as "just like Light Rail but cheaper" was opened in 2002 at a cost of €227 million, but due to its unreliability is now having to be replaced by an actual light rail system at a cost of around €250 million...

I went to look at the thing last year, as I was in Caen anyway (but with no time to try it out). Certainly the service wasn't very reliable - even the not-very-exisitent Sunday one, being 30 minutes late.

But it's hard to draw conclusions about such systems generically from the issues at Caen, and at Nancy (though they haven't decided to scrap theirs - yet). Bombardier had so little success selling them they gave up supporting them some time ago, so if some quite feasible design changes would have made a big difference we don't know - they were never tried.

PS: that view is the back end - you can only drive them from the front, so they need a turning loop.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on December 05, 2018, 11:24:02 am

Commuters face a whole new method of getting to work as plans to reopen the rail link between Portishead and Bristol have moved a step closer.
North Somerset Council leaders say they have every confidence the rail link will reopen despite Government’s refusal to fund it.
The authority’s executive this week allocated another £1.4million - on top of the £14.2million they have spent so far - to advance MetroWest phase 1 by submitting plans to build and operate the proposed new line.
The £116million project is seen as the only way to reduce traffic and give more people direct access to the rail network, but it was dealt a blow in May when the Department for Transport refused to help cover a £47million shortfall.

Council leader Nigel Ashton this week insisted that Transport Secretary Chris Grayling was fully behind the scheme.

He told Tuesday’s executive meeting: "It's only because of the council's efforts over the last 28 years this is still going. It’s important for the whole region.
“It's been quite clear from the present minister for transport Chris Grayling that he is fully supportive and recognises this is an integral part of MetroWest.
“It's the only part that adds new passengers, and it makes a profit from year one. It's a shame it's been bogged down with other issues the government is talking about
“We support it, so does the whole of the West of England.

“It makes the whole scheme viable. It's down to the secretary of state and the civil servants to make a decision, which I'm pretty sure will be positive.”

Papers from the meeting say Mr Grayling wrote to North Somerset MP Liam Fox in October urging councillors to press ahead with MetroWest phase 1.
He said that additional Government support had not been ruled out but number of outstanding issues needed to be resolved.
Mr Fox wanted assurance that local funding options had been exhausted and that a tram/train study was considered as an alternative technology.

Cllr Bob Garner was pessimistic. He said: “I regret that I cannot share your enthusiasm that it will all be OK. If the money is not forthcoming, do we have a secret plan to deal with the lack of Government funding?”

Deputy leader Councillor Elfan Ap Rees said he had every confidence the project would go ahead
He said: “Funding has been a bit of an issue but we have been advised that additional government support is not ruled out, and there will be £500,000 coming in from Weca towards the project.

“I'm very confident we will get to the buffers at the end of the line.
“It's a high priority. It will produce additional jobs. It will help with reducing traffic, particularly at junction 19.
“It will give 50,000 additional people direct access to the rail network.
“We are fully confident it will wash its face and make a profit for the operator, and therefore will be a benefit.”

The £1.4million will come from a £6million contingency the council approved in November 2017.
The extra money will fund the completion of a development consent order for the works that officers are drawing up.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on December 05, 2018, 12:32:19 pm
"...and it makes a profit from year one."

It's that claim again!

"...the Portishead line could pay for itself in one year..."

Although worded differently, these look like the same claim.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on December 05, 2018, 01:12:35 pm
Incidentally, chuffed should probably have credited the Bristol Post (https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/new-rail-line-metrowest-between-2292973) (or affiliate) for the story he quoted. I will certainly credit them for their brilliant choice of pictures to illustrate the piece; here's one:

(https://i2-prod.gloucestershirelive.co.uk/incoming/article2142417.ece/ALTERNATES/s615b/2_TJR_BPO_170417londonmidland_1.jpg)

...is that Snow Hill?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: rogerw on December 05, 2018, 01:28:58 pm
No. Diesel only


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: ellendune on December 05, 2018, 01:52:06 pm
Council leader Nigel Ashton this week insisted that Transport Secretary Chris Grayling was fully behind the scheme.

He told Tuesday’s executive meeting: "It's only because of the council's efforts over the last 28 years this is still going. It’s important for the whole region.
“It's been quite clear from the present minister for transport Chris Grayling that he is fully supportive and recognises this is an integral part of MetroWest.
“It's the only part that adds new passengers, and it makes a profit from year one. It's a shame it's been bogged down with other issues the government is talking about
“We support it, so does the whole of the West of England.

“It makes the whole scheme viable. It's down to the secretary of state and the civil servants to make a decision, which I'm pretty sure will be positive.”

Papers from the meeting say Mr Grayling wrote to North Somerset MP Liam Fox in October urging councillors to press ahead with MetroWest phase 1.
He said that additional Government support had not been ruled out but number of outstanding issues needed to be resolved.
Mr Fox wanted assurance that local funding options had been exhausted and that a tram/train study was considered as an alternative technology.

Cllr Bob Garner was pessimistic. He said: “I regret that I cannot share your enthusiasm that it will all be OK. If the money is not forthcoming, do we have a secret plan to deal with the lack of Government funding?”

Deputy leader Councillor Elfan Ap Rees said he had every confidence the project would go ahead
He said: “Funding has been a bit of an issue but we have been advised that additional government support is not ruled out, and there will be £500,000 coming in from Weca towards the project.

“I'm very confident we will get to the buffers at the end of the line.
“It's a high priority. It will produce additional jobs. It will help with reducing traffic, particularly at junction 19.
“It will give 50,000 additional people direct access to the rail network.
“We are fully confident it will wash its face and make a profit for the operator, and therefore will be a benefit.”

The £1.4million will come from a £6million contingency the council approved in November 2017.
The extra money will fund the completion of a development consent order for the works that officers are drawing up.

Who knows what the Government might approve in the next few days to secure some votes next Tuesday?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on December 05, 2018, 02:46:19 pm
Who knows what the Government might approve in the next few days to secure some votes next Tuesday?

For an MP to be an effective opportunist for his or her constituency at this time, it's very useful for them to be able to say "I will support the government if".   The cunning of a Fox, perhaps?   Rather sadly, those of us who live in constituencies where the MP says "I will support the government" with unquestioning loyalty do not have that opportunity they can take.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Adelante_CCT on December 05, 2018, 03:14:07 pm
...is that Snow Hill?

Euston


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on December 05, 2018, 06:53:58 pm
"...and it makes a profit from year one."

It's that claim again!

"...the Portishead line could pay for itself in one year..."

Although worded differently, these look like the same claim.

There is no reason why it shouldn't operate at a profit. The passengers certainly exist in considerable numbers. But do north somerset council expect to recover their outlay, and how would that work? Dr Fox raised the matter of tram-train again - I don't know why. They are smaller than the 4-carriage trains originally envisaged, although they have the advantage of possible extension through the town one day.

WECA's offering of half a million seems a bit miserly, given that it is supposed to be doing transport now.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on December 05, 2018, 07:01:58 pm
I have a slight worry that Dr Fox may have something like this in mind:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sINjk3W-NjU


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on December 05, 2018, 07:13:45 pm
 ;D ;D


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: johnneyw on December 05, 2018, 07:29:04 pm
I have a slight worry that Dr Fox may have something like this in mind:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sINjk3W-NjU

Still an improvement on the current situation, maybe he has this in mind though:

https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=837410829632854&ref=content_filter


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on December 05, 2018, 07:39:17 pm
WECA's offering of half a million seems a bit miserly, given that it is supposed to be doing transport now.

But it's not supposed to be doing transport in North Somerset is it?   I get lost between who is
- Bristol
- Bristol, South Gloucestershire, BaNES
- Bristol, South Gloucestershire, BaNES, North Somerset
- Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, Poole, Bournemouth, Gloucestershire, North Somerset, South Glouceter, Wiltshire



Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on December 05, 2018, 08:08:47 pm
I have a slight worry that Dr Fox may have something like this in mind:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sINjk3W-NjU

Still an improvement on the current situation, maybe he has this in mind though:

https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=837410829632854&ref=content_filter

All sorts of alternatives - go over the top with rack sections?



Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: johnneyw on December 05, 2018, 08:33:35 pm
I have a slight worry that Dr Fox may have something like this in mind:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sINjk3W-NjU

Still an improvement on the current situation, maybe he has this in mind though:

https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=837410829632854&ref=content_filter

All sorts of alternatives - go over the top with rack sections?



Well, that's the gradient to Bristol Airport sorted!

Edit to help make quoting clear - Grahame


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on December 05, 2018, 10:57:20 pm
WECA's offering of half a million seems a bit miserly, given that it is supposed to be doing transport now.

But it's not supposed to be doing transport in North Somerset is it?   I get lost between who is
- Bristol
- Bristol, South Gloucestershire, BaNES
- Bristol, South Gloucestershire, BaNES, North Somerset
- Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, Poole, Bournemouth, Gloucestershire, North Somerset, South Gloucester, Wiltshire



Perfectly true, but the line to Portishead can't just stop at the boundary. A lot of people who live there work in Bristol, as is evidenced by the daily queue from Abbotts Leigh to the Cumberland Basin. They pay council tax in North Somerset, but also add value to Bristol. WECA really has little choice other than to consider north somerset when planning transport.

WECA is shortly taking over some 200 transport staff from its three constituent councils. If I were the Western Super Mayor, my first job would be to look at what they all do, then make as many of them as possible redundant. The chances are that the three councils have had staff writing letters to each other and doing the same research. If BaNES has someone planning bus routes between Bath and Bristol, and Bristol has someone planning bus routes between Bristol and Bath, then you have an obvious saving. Having transport under one roof must lead to economies of scale. As a former bureaucrat, I think having one official for every two or three buses is not sustainable, particularly when much of the day-to-day work such as the "back office" for divvying up cross-operator day rider payments will be automated by now.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on January 19, 2019, 09:35:26 am
An update from last night's FoSBR meeting ... would love someone with more detail to confirm this as it's my reading as someone with limited knowledge on the topic. E&OE

1. The tram trains idea being looked at is a report to be made on quite a short timescale, and will not effect the critical path / timing (unless of course its results are a suprise!)

2. There is an issue with conservation and law changes in the gorge - case law from a Northern Ireland fresh water mussel thing under European law which, however, was largely written by the UK team in Europe, and stays.  Something about "no you can't build / improve there - look at alternatives"  then "oh, isn't there an alternative, then we can give you special permission provided you put mitigation in place".  Not been able to find anything on Google - closets is http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/page-1379

3. Development consent order needed as it's more that 1 km of "new" track and that's a public enquiry and massive volumes of drawings.  The fact that the railway was never officially closed and is still there under the weeds doesn't remove the need for the enquiry - it's still regarded as 'new' because (?) it hasn't been tested under current legislation

4. "Going ahead" with 2023 as the current planned date for the first passenger services, even though there's a funding gap that they're looking to fill somehow in the next 18 months.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Dispatch Box on January 19, 2019, 12:05:54 pm
An update from last night's FoSBR meeting ... would love someone with more detail to confirm this as it's my reading as someone with limited knowledge on the topic. E&OE

1. The tram trains idea being looked at is a report to be made on quite a short timescale, and will not effect the critical path / timing (unless of course its results are a suprise!)

2. There is an issue with conservation and law changes in the gorge - case law from a Northern Ireland fresh water mussel thing under European law which, however, was largely written by the UK team in Europe, and stays.  Something about "no you can't build / improve there - look at alternatives"  then "oh, isn't there an alternative, then we can give you special permission provided you put mitigation in place".  Not been able to find anything on Google - closets is http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/page-1379

3. Development consent order needed as it's more that 1 km of "new" track and that's a public enquiry and massive volumes of drawings.  The fact that the railway was never officially closed and is still there under the weeds doesn't remove the need for the enquiry - it's still regarded as 'new' because (?) it hasn't been tested under current legislation

4. "Going ahead" with 2023 as the current planned date for the first passenger services, even though there's a funding gap that they're looking to fill somehow in the next 18 months.

This is just ridiculous!!!, If it's there, it should be just relaid and station provided, should only need planning permission from BCC and that's it, would of thought, sounds somebody putting obstacles in the way to delay opening it.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on January 19, 2019, 06:35:47 pm

...

2. There is an issue with conservation and law changes in the gorge - case law from a Northern Ireland fresh water mussel thing under European law which, however, was largely written by the UK team in Europe, and stays.  Something about "no you can't build / improve there - look at alternatives"  then "oh, isn't there an alternative, then we can give you special permission provided you put mitigation in place".  Not been able to find anything on Google - closets is http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/page-1379

...


The species referred to is, I think, the freshwater pearl mussel. My googlings suggest that they are seriously endangered, with the remaining population concentrated in a few places in Ireland.

Of course we don't have any of these in the Avon Gorge, but it is home to 24 rare and two unique (as in they exist nowhere else on earth) plant species, along with some rare invertebrates. In this time of mass-extinctions we can get a bit blasé when just one more species disappears for ever; to paraphrase Stalin 'a single extinction is a tragedy, a million extinctions is a statistic'. I'm as keen as anyone to see passenger trains return to Portishead, but I do think it is absolutely right to make sure that it is done in a way which minimises any impact on the special ecosystem they will pass through.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: CyclingSid on January 19, 2019, 06:45:14 pm
Should we expect a dose of the "Livingstone vapours" coming on?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Western Pathfinder on January 19, 2019, 07:53:30 pm
Let us hope that they don't find any sort of Newt !..


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on January 19, 2019, 08:13:21 pm
Of course we don't have any of these in the Avon Gorge, but it is home to 24 rare and two unique (as in they exist nowhere else on earth) plant species, along with some rare invertebrates. In this time of mass-extinctions we can get a bit blasé when just one more species disappears for ever; to paraphrase Stalin 'a single extinction is a tragedy, a million extinctions is a statistic'. I'm as keen as anyone to see passenger trains return to Portishead, but I do think it is absolutely right to make sure that it is done in a way which minimises any impact on the special ecosystem they will pass through.

Can't fault that logic.    I find myself wondering about adding a poll - but can't do it mid thread, so will ask the question for people to post their votes.   If anyone really wants to vote but not have their handle in public, send me a p.m. and I will post

Opening a rail service from Bristol to Portishead.  Been talking for years. What solution would YOU like to see adopted?
1. Use the current freight line, relay from Pill to Portishead, and accept some limit on number and speed of trains
2. Relay through the gorge to higher speed standards, accepting some effect on wild life but minimising it as practical
3. Add a connecting chord from 51.4834, -2.6928 to 51.4846, -2.6815 to avoid the need to go through the gorge
4. Provide another alternative, such as ferry across the Avon mouth or a tunnel from Portishead to Avonmouth
5. Stick with roads and look for junction and bus service improvements


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on January 19, 2019, 08:26:40 pm
When Bath's Two Tunnels project was in its design phase, I seem to remember something close to uproar when this issue of bats was raised. Then it turned out that all was necessary was a good lighting design that pointed the light away from the tunnel roof, and everyone was happy. I suspect that something similar will transpire in the Avon Gorge: 'tread softly, for you appear to be thinking of building a gabion wall on my sorbus wilmottiana...'

It was disappointing, though perhaps not surprising, that some (very few, thankfully) people at the FOSBR meeting seemed to be trying to turn this into an example of Eurocratic madness - as though we'd be following some other set of rules in a post-Brexit world!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on January 19, 2019, 08:35:36 pm
I still think a coffer dam at the end of the gorge connecting the Severn beach line with the oakwood cutting merits consideration. No worse than some of the other half baked solutions. As for more buses...this is a totally discredited solution.  They can't
 even run the existing ones at peak time round the marina for all the parked cars !


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: eXPassenger on January 19, 2019, 10:16:17 pm
I would go for 2, while minimising the effect on wild life.  If this is not possible then we will need 1 and a tram train might make sense for Portishead to Temple Meads.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: johnneyw on January 19, 2019, 10:48:10 pm
Go for 1 (JFDI) and later 2 when money allows and time has been taken to minimise ecological impacts.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Reginald25 on January 20, 2019, 08:15:36 am
I'd go for two. If 1 with a later upgrade to 2, the later upgrade would never happen.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on January 20, 2019, 08:29:15 am
Go for 1. If it ever gets approved, there will undoubtedly be limits on the number and speed of trains anyway to save money.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Bmblbzzz on January 20, 2019, 02:57:27 pm
1 is the least unlikely to happen this century.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: SandTEngineer on February 24, 2019, 10:30:20 pm
This was posted on the Cornwall Railway Society site today:

Quote
Re-opening a step nearer
From a letter received on the 20th February 2019

​Dear Member,
Last night North Somerset Council approved a number of very significant steps for the project to reopen the Portishead line.
 
The most significant is committing an extra £15 million from NSC’s own Tier 3 business rate funding  to reduce the funding gap. This means that the funding is now in place for roughly three-quarters of the total cost and hopefully makes it easier for WECA, central government, Network Rail or other sources to come up with the remainder over the next few months.
 
Other commitments approved include:
Signing the Initial Promotion Agreement which underpins WECA and NSC working together through to delivery of the railway

Spending a further £4.5 million in 2019/20 and £7.2 million in 2020/21 to progress the project, taken from the existing Local Growth Fund source

Spending £300k on land purchases

Jointly promoting Phase 1 with WECA  (para 3.2)

Tram Trains review by NSC and Network Rail will report by end February that tram trains are more expensive than heavy rail and that it will be easy to convert Portishead to trams later if needed


The Bristol Feasibility Study (referred to in Chris Grayling’s letter last year) will report later in 2019 and it assumes that MetroWest Phase 1 and 2 are implemented
 
The DCO Submission is now scheduled for June 2019 (para 3.08), presumably to allow some of the above and other work required to be completed first.

You can find the whole document here under 19 February MetroWest Phase 1: http://apps.n-somerset.gov.uk/cairo/committees/comidx163-2018.asp
 
This all sounds very encouraging. In particular, if NSC are committing a further £15 million, then possibly WECA and Central Government could each do something similar, to close the funding gap completely.
 
Regards, Peter.
 
Peter Maliphant
Membership Secretary
Portishead Railway Group


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on February 25, 2019, 11:16:18 am
I rather like that, despite opting out of WECA, north somerset parish council can play if they want to. Their money will come in handy too. The report that tram-trains would be more expensive suggests to me that tram-trains were not wanted, or the report would have said they were cheaper. The extra expense of electrification is probably the difference, although tram-trains could have been more flexible, extending into the town.

Still, encouraging for sure. Roll on 2025-ish.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on April 08, 2019, 09:34:55 am
AT LAST !

The £31 million shortfall funding gap has finally been plugged by the goverment. So it's now full steam ahead at 4mph with Chris Grayling walking in front with a red flag !

Source Bristol Evening Post April 8th 2019

The re-opening of Portishead rail line has been secured,  after Government transport chiefs confirmed millions in funding for the project.

The final £31.9 million needed to plug a funding gap in the £116 million project, known as MetroWest, to re-open the line has been agreed by the Department of Transport meaning all the funding for the scheme is now in place.


The funding boost was announced by Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling in a meeting held last week with North Somerset leader, Councillor Nigel Ashton, and West of England Mayor Tim Bowles.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on April 08, 2019, 09:37:54 am
AT LAST !

The £31 million shortfall funding gap has finally been plugged by the goverment. So it's now full steam ahead at 4mph with Chris Grayling walking in front with a red flag !

Source Bristol Evening Post April 8th 2019

Thanks - link at
 https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/local-news/opening-new-portishead-rail-line-2732666


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: johnneyw on April 08, 2019, 11:34:34 am
Good news indeed but what with planning permission being granted for Portway station just a few days ago, by railway standards, aren't things currently moving forward round here with reckless haste?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: martyjon on April 08, 2019, 11:43:00 am
AT LAST !

The £31 million shortfall funding gap has finally been plugged by the goverment. So it's now full steam ahead at 4mph with Chris Grayling walking in front with a red flag !

Source Bristol Evening Post April 8th 2019

The re-opening of Portishead rail line has been secured,  after Government transport chiefs confirmed millions in funding for the project.

The final £31.9 million needed to plug a funding gap in the £116 million project, known as MetroWest, to re-open the line has been agreed by the Department of Transport meaning all the funding for the scheme is now in place.


The funding boost was announced by Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling in a meeting held last week with North Somerset leader, Councillor Nigel Ashton, and West of England Mayor Tim Bowles.



Where's the £ millions of 'over budget" going to come from ?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: mjones on April 08, 2019, 11:43:43 am
Surely the bats and newts will turn up shortly to add a few more year's delay?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: martyjon on April 08, 2019, 11:47:49 am
AT LAST !

The £31 million shortfall funding gap has finally been plugged by the goverment. So it's now full steam ahead at 4mph with Chris Grayling walking in front with a red flag !

Source Bristol Evening Post April 8th 2019

The re-opening of Portishead rail line has been secured,  after Government transport chiefs confirmed millions in funding for the project.

The final £31.9 million needed to plug a funding gap in the £116 million project, known as MetroWest, to re-open the line has been agreed by the Department of Transport meaning all the funding for the scheme is now in place.


The funding boost was announced by Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling in a meeting held last week with North Somerset leader, Councillor Nigel Ashton, and West of England Mayor Tim Bowles.


I thought announcements like this weren't supposed to be made at such a time as this, weeks before an election albeit local ones, something called purdar ?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: martyjon on April 08, 2019, 12:01:53 pm
Surely the bats and newts will turn up shortly to add a few more year's delay?

Don't forget the badgers also.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: martyjon on April 08, 2019, 12:17:17 pm
Good news indeed but what with planning permission being granted for Portway station just a few days ago, by railway standards, aren't things currently moving forward round here with reckless haste?


Could do with some haste to get the Long Ashton Park and Ride to open on Sundays and later in the evening.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Phantom on April 08, 2019, 12:32:30 pm
Good news indeed but what with planning permission being granted for Portway station just a few days ago, by railway standards, aren't things currently moving forward round here with reckless haste?


Could do with some haste to get the Long Ashton Park and Ride to open on Sundays and later in the evening.
Still mind blowing it isn't open for events at Ashton Gate


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: johnneyw on April 08, 2019, 01:33:10 pm
What stages now remain before one of our great and good take their photo opportunity of digging the first turf to commemorate the commencement of it's construction?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Bmblbzzz on April 08, 2019, 01:37:58 pm
What stages now remain before one of our great and good take their photo opportunity of digging the first turf to commemorate the commencement of it's construction?

Oh, several more election cycles (ref Martyjohn) and a couple of telegrams from the Queen!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on April 08, 2019, 01:44:41 pm
My evergrowing collection of great crested newts will not take too kindly to having Bristol Port Company tattooed on their backs. It took hours of work to get 'property of Co-op' scrubbed off when the Sainsbury's supermarket application went in.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on April 08, 2019, 01:56:14 pm
What stages now remain before one of our great and good take their photo opportunity of digging the first turf to commemorate the commencement of it's construction?

Well, according to Eight Steps to Filton, (http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=13113.msg249742#msg249742) it looks like we've cracked "GRIP 4 - You finally agree a scheme" and we've already had a bit of "GRIP 5 - You dither over design", so we are probably somewhere between there and "GRIP 6 - Test construction and commission - At this rate we'll open in 2023."


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Noggin on April 08, 2019, 02:15:57 pm
Good news indeed but what with planning permission being granted for Portway station just a few days ago, by railway standards, aren't things currently moving forward round here with reckless haste?


Could do with some haste to get the Long Ashton Park and Ride to open on Sundays and later in the evening.
Still mind blowing it isn't open for events at Ashton Gate

Wasn't it a condition of planning permission that it couldn't be used on Sundays?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: martyjon on April 08, 2019, 02:46:32 pm
Good news indeed but what with planning permission being granted for Portway station just a few days ago, by railway standards, aren't things currently moving forward round here with reckless haste?


Could do with some haste to get the Long Ashton Park and Ride to open on Sundays and later in the evening.
Still mind blowing it isn't open for events at Ashton Gate

Wasn't it a condition of planning permission that it couldn't be used on Sundays?


Yes, but that was over 40 years ago when shops in general didn't open on Sundays in town centres, League Football wasn't played on Sundays and what is there to stop BCC applying to North Somerset Parish Council for planning permission to increase the opening hours of the LA P & R by relaxation of the conditions attached to the original planning permission conditions. I'll tell you the reasons, INCOMPETENCE on the part of BCC and INTRANSIGENCE on the part of NSPC.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on April 08, 2019, 04:26:32 pm
Here's the announcement on the North Somerset Council website (nothing new here, but it's just good to read it again):

Quote
Funding secured for Portishead Rail
08 Apr 2019, 12:12 pm

A nationally-significant scheme to improve transport in the region has received over £31m funding from the Department for Transport (DfT).

The funding announcement for MetroWest Phase 1, which includes the reopening of the Portishead to Bristol rail line, was made by Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport at a visit to Portishead.

The funding announcement comes ahead of the submission of a Development Consent Order (DCO) to the Government in July.

All nationally-significant infrastructure projects require a DCO before they can progress.

MetroWest Phase 1 is being led by North Somerset Council and the West of England Combined Authority on behalf of South Gloucestershire, Bristol City and Bath and North East Somerset councils.

As well as reopening the Portishead Rail branch line, with two new stations at Portishead and at Pill, this MetroWest scheme also includes vital improvements to passenger services along the Severn Beach and Bristol to Bath Lines.

Colin Medus, Head of Transport and Infrastructure at North Somerset Council said: “The Portishead Rail scheme is a nationally-significant project that will open-up the rail network to thousands of people across the region and will help relieve congestion during the rush hour periods.

“We are committed to investing in the infrastructure of our area and this Government funding is the news we have been waiting for. MetroWest Phase 1 is firmly on track for delivering rail services fit for the future of our region.”

Source: North Somerset Council (http://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/news/funding-secured-for-portishead-rail/)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on April 08, 2019, 06:53:34 pm
With "£31 million in funding secured" how long until the cost escalates to £310 million.

Then a few more reviews, studies, and consultations. And as already said, newts, bats, badgers and something else rare and not yet found in the area.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: martyjon on April 08, 2019, 07:14:32 pm
With "£31 million in funding secured" how long until the cost escalates to £310 million.

Then a few more reviews, studies, and consultations. And as already said, newts, bats, badgers and something else rare and not yet found in the area.


I don't think the cost will escalate to that extent but you can be assured that the authorities will be constantly praising the project as being on time and on budget until err 6 months before opening before a delay in opening is announced and then after a further period of time a further delay is announced PLUS an escalation on costs.
Metrobus went £30 million over budget so I predict this project could go over budget by £15 - £20 million and what councils council taxpayers is going to stump up the shortfall, North Somersets or Bristols or WECAs even though NSPC are not a participant, by choice, in WECA but willingly hold their hands out for contributions from said authority.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Robin Summerhill on April 09, 2019, 10:44:27 am
With "£31 million in funding secured" how long until the cost escalates to £310 million.

Then a few more reviews, studies, and consultations. And as already said, newts, bats, badgers and something else rare and not yet found in the area.


I don't think the cost will escalate to that extent but you can be assured that the authorities will be constantly praising the project as being on time and on budget until err 6 months before opening before a delay in opening is announced and then after a further period of time a further delay is announced PLUS an escalation on costs.
Metrobus went £30 million over budget so I predict this project could go over budget by £15 - £20 million and what councils council taxpayers is going to stump up the shortfall, North Somersets or Bristols or WECAs even though NSPC are not a participant, by choice, in WECA but willingly hold their hands out for contributions from said authority.

Projects of any kind can go over budget, but the reasons are often remarkably similar. Some of the usual ones are:

* Paying out for additional compensation for local residents once the complaints come in
* Paying out for additional work once the complaints come in that wasn't allowed for in the original budget
* Changing specifications part way through the project - DfT are especially good at this - you only need to look at additional bi-modal 800s in place of straight electrics to see where the money goes.
* Additional work found to be necessary as the project progresses eg. dealing with unstable land conditions that weren't uncovered during the original survey
* Poor weather causing delays eg. its a bad idea to lay concrete during a prolonged frosty period

I must admit I haven't kept abreast of recent developments so the answer to this may be already on this thread somewhere, but I understood that one of the issues was that a 50mph railway had originally been promised. Then it was realised, after they sent in someone who knew about such things, that it would be hard to exceed 30mph given the curvature on the line, and that to get any higher speeds would require slewing curves and potentially knocking bits out of the Avon Gorge to do it.

is there an update on this or must I stop being bone idle and read back through the whole thread?  ;D


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on April 09, 2019, 12:55:12 pm
is there an update on this or must I stop being bone idle and read back through the whole thread?  ;D

Well... the original scheme was 2tph; it's now 1tph. It's so stripped-back that it is hard to see how they could possible go much more that 15% over budget, which is not to say it would be impossible... It does seem pretty inevitable that 1tph will quickly prove inadequate though, and then what?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on April 09, 2019, 01:07:21 pm
Well... the original scheme was 2tph; it's now 1tph. It's so stripped-back that it is hard to see how they could possible go much more that 15% over budget, which is not to say it would be impossible... It does seem pretty inevitable that 1tph will quickly prove inadequate though, and then what?

There will be years of overcrowding before it becomes so bad the line is upgraded again to what we were originally hoping for, though costing more that had it been done properly originally, and no doubt leading to a line closure for several months whilst the work in undertaken.   :-\


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: johnneyw on April 09, 2019, 01:11:23 pm
There was a suggestion somewhere of a slightly higher frequency that could be achieved in the morning rush hour by having 2 train sets starting from the Portishead end. To me, the only way of doing that is a double platform in Portishead Station or perhaps having one waiting on the Portbury Dock branch until the first of the two passes towards Bristol.
I cannot remember what the platform provision plans are for Portishead and am absolutely without clue if my second speculation is even remotely possible.
The only other capacity increasing measure I can think of, other than the changes to the line itself, is longer platforms for longer trains.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Clan Line on April 09, 2019, 02:53:19 pm
and something else rare and not yet found in the area.

..............trains ?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: SandTEngineer on April 09, 2019, 03:05:33 pm
There was a suggestion somewhere of a slightly higher frequency that could be achieved in the morning rush hour by having 2 train sets starting from the Portishead end. To me, the only way of doing that is a double platform in Portishead Station or perhaps having one waiting on the Portbury Dock branch until the first of the two passes towards Bristol.
I cannot remember what the platform provision plans are for Portishead and am absolutely without clue if my second speculation is even remotely possible.
The only other capacity increasing measure I can think of, other than the changes to the line itself, is longer platforms for longer trains.

I'm sure the station plans must be burried somewhere in here... https://www.portisheadrailwaygroup.org/current.html


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: johnneyw on April 09, 2019, 03:47:05 pm
There was a suggestion somewhere of a slightly higher frequency that could be achieved in the morning rush hour by having 2 train sets starting from the Portishead end. To me, the only way of doing that is a double platform in Portishead Station or perhaps having one waiting on the Portbury Dock branch until the first of the two passes towards Bristol.
I cannot remember what the platform provision plans are for Portishead and am absolutely without clue if my second speculation is even remotely possible.
The only other capacity increasing measure I can think of, other than the changes to the line itself, is longer platforms for longer trains.

I'm sure the station plans must be burried somewhere in here... https://www.portisheadrailwaygroup.org/current.html

Thanks S&T.

The link did indeed help.

Both the text and a computer graphic show that Portishead is due to be single platform only. Pill, however, is double tracked according to what I saw. Now that might be where a 2nd train can lurk to provide extra rush hour services above the hourly usual one?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: alan_s on April 09, 2019, 05:42:08 pm
The current plan is indeed a single platform at Portishead.  During the consultation I did suggest a second for resiliance but I'm sure it was ignored on cost grounds.  No reason a platform couldn't be long enough for a 6 car ECS to arrive and split into the first and second departure of 3 cars each. (Assuming it will be turbos running the line - they could of course get the pacers out of retirement!)

My understanding from the latest presentation is the twin track at pill, one line will be for freight and the other for passenger.  The points won't be restored where the Portishead splits from Portbury Docks, it will be two separate lines until after the Pill platform where they merge into 1.  I guess if there's no freight due a passenger unit can fester on the freight section, but Pill was not designed nor would be any use as a passenger passing facility.

Cheers
Alan


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on April 09, 2019, 06:14:11 pm
A passing loop somewhere between Ham Green and Paradise Bottom would, one might think, add a great deal of flexibility. A quick check of the 1946 aerial view (see here: http://maps.bristol.gov.uk/kyp/?edition= ) suggests that the formation here was once double track.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on April 09, 2019, 07:01:18 pm
In Mike Vincents book 'Reflections on the Portishead branch' it mentions that the Oakwood loop and signal box  were put in on 14th May 1929 and taken out again in September 1960 (P.78)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: johnneyw on April 09, 2019, 07:06:19 pm
The current plan is indeed a single platform at Portishead.  During the consultation I did suggest a second for resiliance but I'm sure it was ignored on cost grounds.  No reason a platform couldn't be long enough for a 6 car ECS to arrive and split into the first and second departure of 3 cars each. (Assuming it will be turbos running the line - they could of course get the pacers out of retirement!)

My understanding from the latest presentation is the twin track at pill, one line will be for freight and the other for passenger.  The points won't be restored where the Portishead splits from Portbury Docks, it will be two separate lines until after the Pill platform where they merge into 1.  I guess if there's no freight due a passenger unit can fester on the freight section, but Pill was not designed nor would be any use as a passenger passing facility.

Cheers
Alan

Well, if it's Pacers or nothing!
I have to admit that I have no idea how long the Portishead platform will be although I will be having another look but if you can fit two 3 car sets onto it then that would be a solution to upping the morning peak frequency.

Edit: Subsequent research seems to indicate 130m platorm, revised from the earlier 105m plans. I understand this increases provision from 4 to 5 car but I suppose this also depends on the actual lengths of the cars.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on April 09, 2019, 07:16:28 pm
In Mike Vincents book 'Reflections on the Portishead branch' it mentions that the Oakwood loop and signal box  were put in on 14th May 1929 and taken out again in September 1960 (P.78)

Gosh, I've just found a copy among the books I inherited from my Dad - turns out I gave it to him for Xmas in 1983! Oakwood Loop appears to have been pretty much where I was suggesting, just to the north of No.3 (Sandstone) Tunnel.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Robin Summerhill on April 09, 2019, 08:03:40 pm
A passing loop somewhere between Ham Green and Paradise Bottom would, one might think, add a great deal of flexibility. A quick check of the 1946 aerial view (see here: http://maps.bristol.gov.uk/kyp/?edition= ) suggests that the formation here was once double track.

The winter 1959 Working Timetable reads as follows:

"Single line Clifton Bridge to Portishead worked by electric train token. Crossing places Oak Wood, Pill and Portbury Shipyard"


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: martyjon on April 09, 2019, 08:53:24 pm
A passing loop somewhere between Ham Green and Paradise Bottom would, one might think, add a great deal of flexibility. A quick check of the 1946 aerial view (see here: http://maps.bristol.gov.uk/kyp/?edition= ) suggests that the formation here was once double track.

The winter 1959 Working Timetable reads as follows:

"Single line Clifton Bridge to Portishead worked by electric train token. Crossing places Oak Wood, Pill and Portbury Shipyard"


Oak Wood was indeed a passing loop but only for a passenger and goods train, the passenger train using the Down/Up single line and the goods train using the loop. There is a signal box diagram for the Oak Wood Box on the signalling society website.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: alan_s on April 09, 2019, 08:54:28 pm

Edit: Subsequent research seems to indicate 130m platorm, revised from the earlier 105m plans. I understand this increases provision from 4 to 5 car but I suppose this also depends on the actual lengths of the cars.

Thanks for the update - yes train coaches are about 20-22m long - so I think 130m would just get a 6 car DMU in.  Assuming the track runs all the way along the platform - they don't put the buffers half way along or something daft!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: martyjon on April 09, 2019, 09:06:36 pm
The link to Oak Wood Signal Box ;

https://www.s-r-s.org.uk/html/gwb/S644.htm


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: johnneyw on April 09, 2019, 09:20:34 pm

Edit: Subsequent research seems to indicate 130m platorm, revised from the earlier 105m plans. I understand this increases provision from 4 to 5 car but I suppose this also depends on the actual lengths of the cars.

Thanks for the update - yes train coaches are about 20-22m long - so I think 130m would just get a 6 car DMU in.  Assuming the track runs all the way along the platform - they don't put the buffers half way along or something daft!

But of a squeeze though. I can picture the concerned looks on the H&S people's faces. Failing that a 1 x 3 set and a 1 x 2 might still be a help.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: SandTEngineer on April 09, 2019, 10:53:36 pm
The Portishead end of the line will probably be an 'One Train Working' signal section, so no splitting of services allowed.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: johnneyw on April 09, 2019, 11:00:37 pm
The Portishead end of the line will probably be an 'One Train Working' signal section, so no splitting of services allowed.

That does rather end the talk (including that on the Portishead railway group's website) of some peak time extra services beyond hourly. Seems the only remaining option is to maximise the number of cars per set.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Noggin on April 10, 2019, 02:34:01 pm
I rather suspect that it will be as the Valley Lines reopening (and the Borders railway) - minimum viable product to make the numbers work, only to be proved wholly inadequate when services start, a period of "coping", followed by a lengthy, disruptive and expensive rebuilding to how it should have been done in the first place.

Nonetheless, it is at least a railway, and will be Turbos rather than Pacers. It should help prove that there is a market and business case for heavy rail in the mid-west, and build the case for electrification, resignalling, further investment etc. 


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: johnneyw on April 10, 2019, 11:47:45 pm
An unusually well written article on the future for the PortZ line on Bristol Live. At bit long to put on here so here is the link.

https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/portishead-rail-link-really-more-2740619


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on April 11, 2019, 08:06:08 am
An unusually well written article on the future for the PortZ line on Bristol Live. At bit long to put on here so here is the link.

https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/portishead-rail-link-really-more-2740619

Re-iterating that comment - well worth a read.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on April 24, 2019, 04:34:10 pm
Portishead Railway Group had written a piece containing their best guess at a likely timeframe for reopening, along with an explanation of why it will take some time.

Quote
...a possible overall programme from a July 2019 DCO application could look like this:

o DCO process, to signature   18 months (end Jan 2021)
o Contracts start-up time       6 months (end Jul  2021) See Note *
o Railway and road works      21 months (end Apr 2023)
o Testing period                   4 months (end Aug 2023)

[...]

* A note regarding the contract start-up period

No contracts should be signed until after the DCO has been signed. 

Contractors will then require reasonable contract start-up times – the period during which they will marshal materials, machinery and labour, perhaps also placing subcontracts on other organisations. This all takes time. 

Even then, very little ‘rail’ work can be carried until the various compounds and temporary roadways have been built, and these cannot be built until the DCO is signed off.

In the programme estimate above, PRG Committee has assumed a start-up period of six months. This is generous; the start-up period could be shorter if there is a will to make it so.

You can read their full article here: https://www.portisheadrailwaygroup.org/apr19.html


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on April 24, 2019, 04:54:15 pm
Portishead Railway Group had written a piece containing their best guess at a likely timeframe for reopening, along with an explanation of why it will take some time.

Quote
...a possible overall programme from a July 2019 DCO application could look like this:

o DCO process, to signature   18 months (end Jan 2021)
o Contracts start-up time       6 months (end Jul  2021) See Note *
o Railway and road works      21 months (end Apr 2023)
o Testing period                   4 months (end Aug 2023)

[...]

* A note regarding the contract start-up period

No contracts should be signed until after the DCO has been signed. 

Contractors will then require reasonable contract start-up times – the period during which they will marshal materials, machinery and labour, perhaps also placing subcontracts on other organisations. This all takes time. 

Even then, very little ‘rail’ work can be carried until the various compounds and temporary roadways have been built, and these cannot be built until the DCO is signed off.

In the programme estimate above, PRG Committee has assumed a start-up period of six months. This is generous; the start-up period could be shorter if there is a will to make it so.

You can read their full article here: https://www.portisheadrailwaygroup.org/apr19.html

What stages now remain before one of our great and good take their photo opportunity of digging the first turf to commemorate the commencement of it's construction?

Well, according to Eight Steps to Filton, (http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=13113.msg249742#msg249742) it looks like we've cracked "GRIP 4 - You finally agree a scheme" and we've already had a bit of "GRIP 5 - You dither over design", so we are probably somewhere between there and "GRIP 6 - Test construction and commission - At this rate we'll open in 2023."

I'll get me coat  ;D


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on April 26, 2019, 04:52:52 pm
More details from the PRAG website about funding and the GRIP process

PRG April 2019 statement

How the funding was agreed and what happens now

Portishead Railway Group (PRG) Committee have prepared this paper so that residents of Portishead, Pill and the surrounding villages can understand the process that got us here and also the lengthy process that should eventually lead to the reopening of the railway.

It is really important that as many people as possible understand why rebuilding the railway can’t simply start immediately. They can then spread the word – expectations must be realistic to avoid further disappointment.

A recent history of the completion of the funding jigsaw

About a year ago it became clear to PRG Committee that it was unlikely there would be sufficient local money to reopen the line. Therefore, central government was the only other source.
o PRG Committee decided that ‘being nice’ with central government wouldn’t result in additional funding.
o PRG therefore adopted a strategy that can be summarised as ‘firm insistence’. Some of PRG Committee met with Dr Fox in June 2018, with follow-up correspondence sent to him as a record of the discussion.
o A further letter was sent in September 2018, reminding Dr Fox that the railway wouldn’t go ahead unless central government released some funding. Dr Fox, Tim Bowles of the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and Nigel Ashton, leader of North Somerset Council (NSC) have individually met with Chris Grayling and Department for Transport (DfT) officials, on several occasions.  MetroWest have also had several meetings with DfT officials. Chris Grayling wrote a letter, insisting that WECA and NSC must work together on solving the wider Bristol area transport issues, and that local funding sources must be fully exhausted.
o WECA and NSC issued ‘working together’ undertakings.
o A further £16m of local funding was identified. To complete its strategy, PRG Committee had an article entitled ‘Why is Portishead still waiting for its railway to reopen?’ published in the Railwatch quarterly magazine on 2 April 2019. The article:
o Made it clear that the remaining funding shortfall of £32m could now only be provided by central government.
o Proposed a combined national and local funding solution for future railway reinstatement schemes up and down the country. On Monday 8 April, central government stumped up the missing piece of the funding jigsaw: £31.9m PRG wasn’t the only organisation trying to prise open central government’s purse –  NSC, WECA, MetroWest, as well as PRG, have all played their part.
o The release of £31.9m of additional funding will have resulted from pressure applied by all of these organisations, not just by one particular organisation or individual.
o  As a result, no single organisation or individual should claim sole ‘bragging rights’.

Why rebuilding the railway can't just start immediately

Railway reinstatement is governed by the need for planning permission, just like almost all ‘build something’ projects.

More importantly, the Planning Act 2008 sets out a specific protocol for approval to spend public money on public infrastructure projects such as Hinckley Point ‘C’, or reopening the Portishead-Bristol line.
o These projects are known as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects. Why is reopening the Portishead line deemed to be a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project?
o Because between Portbury Junction and Portishead more than 2km of track will be built (the main criterion for railways within the Planning Act 2008). That may seem an astonishingly short length of track to be Nationally Significant but please bear in mind that the on-going cost of upkeep (maintenance and replacement) falls to central government in future years.
o Therefore any track built and added to the rail network forever increases the cost of maintaining the rail network. This ongoing increased upkeep funding commitment must be properly authorised and accepted, via a Development Consent Order. The Planning Act 2008 mandates the approval of the relevant Secretary of State before work can start on a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project.
o This is achieved by a Development Consent Order (DCO). The application for a DCO has to be submitted by MetroWest to the Planning Inspectorate (the government body charged with assessing DCO applications) who then make a recommendation to the relevant Secretary of State. A huge number of documents have to be written to support a DCO application.
o One of them is a Full Funding Statement which obviously couldn’t be written until central government had stumped up the final piece of the funding jigsaw: £31.9m.

PRG understands that MetroWest hope to submit the DCO application to the Planning Inspectorate in June or July but there is still a massive amount of work to do.

The DCO process and why it is important

For Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects, obtaining a DCO is the equivalent of obtaining planning permission, but at a national level.

o Because reinstating the Portishead railway is classed as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project under the criteria set out in the Planning Act 2008, a DCO is required. Therefore, it is a legal requirement that an application for a DCO has to be made to the Planning Inspectorate, under a process that is published and maintained by the Planning Inspectorate.
o MetroWest has the responsibility for preparing and submitting the DCO application –  hopefully in June or July. The process operated by the Planning Inspectorate takes a standard 18 month period, regardless of the topic or the size of the project.
o Assuming the application is received by the Planning Inspectorate by the end of July, a decision could reasonably be expected in Q1 2021.
o There are circumstances which could lead to a longer assessment period, or possibly a shorter assessment period, but it seems these rarely occur.

A possible overall programme

The railway works are complicated:

o Construction compounds and temporary roadways have to be built first.
o Much of the line through the Avon Gorge is in a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), with almost no access.
o The line has to be sufficiently available for Royal Portbury Dock rail traffic to run. Very little work can start until the DCO has been signed off by the Secretary of State although NSC may start some roadway works ahead of the DCO being signed.
o These could be separately authorised locally, if that is seen as advantageous. However, with a railway works programme of around 21 months, plus time for testing (signals, points control, and the necessary safety interlocks) it seems likely that the roadway infrastructure works can be carried out in parallel with the railway works. So a possible overall programme from a July 2019 DCO application could look like this:
o DCO process, to signature   18 months (end Jan 2021)
o Contracts start-up time       6 months (end Jul  2021) See Note *
o Railway and road works      21 months (end Apr 2023)
o Testing period                   4 months (end Aug 2023)

Possible total:  approximately 49 months from DCO submission

This sort of programme is little more than a reasoned guess at this stage, based on provisional information.
o Unexpected geological issues uncovered during the works in the Avon Gorge could extend the railway works period.
o As a counterbalance, the railway and road works period and the final test period could both be slightly shorter.

Trains could therefore be running as early as the end of Q2 2023 but a more realistic estimate might be by the end of Q3 or possibly the end of Q4 2023.

* A note regarding the contract start-up period

No contracts should be signed until after the DCO has been signed. 

Contractors will then require reasonable contract start-up times – the period during which they will marshal materials, machinery and labour, perhaps also placing subcontracts on other organisations. This all takes time. 

Even then, very little ‘rail’ work can be carried until the various compounds and temporary roadways have been built, and these cannot be built until the DCO is signed off.

In the programme estimate above, PRG Committee has assumed a start-up period of six months. This is generous; the start-up period could be shorter if there is a will to make it so.

PRG Committee hopes the reader now has a good grasp of why these things have been, are, and will be, this complex, and therefore why work cannot start for around another two years. 

Formatting cleaned up - RS



Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on May 03, 2019, 02:46:17 pm
Interesting times in North Somerset! Not only have the Conservatives lost control of the council, but deputy leader Elfin Ap Rees has lost his seat.

As has happened elsewhere in the country, the Lib Dems and independents have made big gains.

Portishead has elected four 'Portishead Independents', a Lib Dem, and a further independent. The Portishead Independents promise to:

Quote
Vote and campaign against housing developments without a clear infrastructure
Establish a community led plan for Portishead
Create accountable government for our town
Protect our natural environment and greenbelt.
Back community projects with proven public support.
Develop local partnerships to distribute resources fairly

(source: https://portisheadindependents.com/index.html )

...so, perhaps surprisingly, no reference to the railway; in fact I can't find any mention of it anywhere on their website or their Facebook page...

It'll be interesting to see whether this alters North Somerset's isolationist stance towards WECA. Of course there's also always a slight worry that central government may be less amenable to getting its chequebook out, now that North Somerset is no longer true blue.
 


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on May 03, 2019, 03:23:30 pm

...so, perhaps surprisingly, no reference to the railway; in fact I can't find any mention of it anywhere on their website or their Facebook page...


The top page picks up "traffic" and "parking" as key issues for them to address .. and perhaps an oblique reference in the main text ...

Quote
4. Promote car sharing and alternative public public transport schemes that reduce traffic.

I suspect their proof reader should have deleted one copy of the word "public" but as members here will know, I should be the last one to criticise accuracy of spelling and getting the words right.



Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: stuving on May 03, 2019, 03:37:18 pm
I suspect their proof reader should have deleted one copy of the word "public" but as members here will know, I should be the last one to criticise accuracy of spelling and getting the words right.

Maybe it refers to public transport for an alternative public ... very Brechtian.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Robin Summerhill on May 03, 2019, 07:20:51 pm
Interesting times in North Somerset! Not only have the Conservatives lost control of the council, but deputy leader Elfin Ap Rees has lost his seat.

As has happened elsewhere in the country, the Lib Dems and independents have made big gains.
A. Of course there's also always a slight worry that central government may be less amenable to getting its chequebook out, now that North Somerset is no longer true blue.
 

That's not the way that politics work - money tends to be thrown at seats that governments are afraid they might lose.

That said, Liam Fox's majority was quite impressive last time. Things would have to get a lot more dire than they currently are before that seat gets considered to be a marginal (2017 results below):

Conservative       Liam Fox    Votes 33,605    vote_share 54.2    
Labour           Greg Chambers    Votes 16,502    vote_share 26.6    
Liberal Democrat Richard Foord    Votes 5,982    vote_share 9.6    
Independent    Donald Davies    Votes 3,929    vote_share 6.3
Green Party    Charley Pattison Votes 1,976    vote_share 3.2    


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: caliwag on May 03, 2019, 09:01:18 pm
You make no mention of the Greens who did quite well elsewhere, I'd have they would promote rail, if they got a seat that is!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: martyjon on May 04, 2019, 08:40:47 am
Interesting times in North Somerset! ....

Yes indeed.

Will Long Ashton P & R finally be allowed to be used on Sundays and later in the evenings for sporting Fixtures at Ashton Gate Stadium and for the concerts/events planned for this summer, Rod Stewart, The Spice Girls to name just two.

Will the new administration of this Parish Council morph into a fully fledged Unitary Authority and come in from the cold and join WECA as a full member authority rather than a reluctant co-opted joint committee member.

WECA's May meeting is certainly going to be interesting.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on May 04, 2019, 09:18:58 am
You make no mention of the Greens who did quite well elsewhere, I'd have they would promote rail, if they got a seat that is!

Apologies! The Greens, as you suggest, did do well - they now have 3 seats in North Somerset. Full results are here: http://sites.n-somerset.gov.uk/sites/districtelection/Pages/default.aspx


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on May 04, 2019, 10:48:23 am
I have received a message from Paul Gardner, Independent Councillor for Portishead East.

Broadly, their group fully supports the railway, but want to see a much higher frequency than the currently planned hourly service 

They would really appreciate any data and information from the prospective passenger perspective, and are happy to meet with us to discuss all of the above.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Robin Summerhill on May 04, 2019, 03:08:39 pm
I have received a message from Paul Gardner, Independent Councillor for Portishead East.

Broadly, their group fully supports the railway, but want to see a much higher frequency than the currently planned hourly service 

They would really appreciate any data and information from the prospective passenger perspective, and are happy to meet with us to discuss all of the above.

They can "want" whatever they like, but the practicalities of operating more frequently on a predominantly single track railway will significantly restrict the options, unless they want to knock parts of the Avon Gorge down. And being the Green party I have my doubts that they would like the idea of that (especially after I've just listened to Any Questions on radio 4 and heard what one of their 'erberts had to say about HS2...  ::) ).

Before they start to compile a wish list from a "potential passenger perspective," they need to be made fully aware of what is realistically possible and/or feasible.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on May 04, 2019, 03:20:36 pm
I think you can rest assured we will be doing just that, Robin  ;D Its the view of the Portishead Independents rather than the Greens though, although we would be happy to hear from them as well.

We will be looking to include forum members when we do meet them, so if you are interested Robin, let us know via PM, and that extends to other members reading this.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on May 04, 2019, 04:11:31 pm
And being the Green party...

Just to be clear, none of the four Portishead wards has elected a Green Party councillor. Green councillors have been elected in Backwell, Long Ashton, and Banwell and Winscombe.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Robin Summerhill on May 04, 2019, 04:44:27 pm
And being the Green party...

Just to be clear, none of the four Portishead wards has elected a Green Party councillor. Green councillors have been elected in Backwell, Long Ashton, and Banwell and Winscombe.

I consider myself suitably admonished. Its always best to properly read what one's quoting before one spouts off about it  ;D


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on May 05, 2019, 08:46:31 pm
Its always best to properly read what one's quoting before one spouts off about it  ;D

I know, but it can be fun doing it the other way around.


Title: M4 relief road cancelled
Post by: martyjon on June 04, 2019, 06:31:42 pm
Not the only cancellation. Whilst having a coffee with an insider today he let slip that he had heard of a proposal to modify the Portishead line re-opening into a, hmm, guided busway using composite recycled rubber/plastic moulded sections laid along the track which would still allow freight traffic over the line to Portbury Docks and give greater coverage of the town by running along the towns highways. He said the accountants are happy too, this scheme has had an under £50 million price tag put on it, putting it at less than half that of the Portishead line heavy rail reinstatement estimate, any Bristol forum members aware of any truth in this.
 ???


Title: M4 relief road cancelled
Post by: grahame on June 04, 2019, 07:33:14 pm
Not the only cancellation. Whilst having a coffee with an insider today he let slip that he had heard of a proposal to modify the Portishead line re-opening into a, hmm, guided busway using composite recycled rubber/plastic moulded sections laid along the track which would still allow freight traffic over the line to Portbury Docks and give greater coverage of the town by running along the towns highways.

https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/local-news/running-buses-along-portishead-railway-2939324

Quote
Proposals to replace the long awaited Portishead rail link with a bus service into the heart of Bristol have been put forward.

The proposal – the idea of former computer engineer Barry Cash – would see plans for a rail line scrapped and a commuter bus service introduced along the route instead.


Mr Cash says instead of restoring and upgrading the rail line between Portishead and the city at a cost of tens of millions, a ‘STRAIL’ system should be used.

STRAIL is a system of thick interlocking panels made from virgin and recycled rubber that fit between and beside railway lines.

They are in use at 30,000 locations on five continents to provide level crossings for road traffic to drive over railways and have been in use for 40 years.

Mr Cash says buses could then go along the route – and to the Cumberland Basin where it could join the existing bus route network.


Title: M4 relief road cancelled
Post by: stuving on June 04, 2019, 07:43:16 pm
https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/local-news/running-buses-along-portishead-railway-2939324
Quote
Proposals to replace the long awaited Portishead rail link with a bus service into the heart of Bristol have been put forward.

The proposal – the idea of former computer engineer Barry Cash – would see plans for a rail line scrapped and a commuter bus service introduced along the route instead.

Is that just an idea hatched by a couple of blokes in a pub on the back of a fag packet, or is there anything moire behind it in terms of backing and knowledge, which the Post haven't bother to tell us?


Title: M4 relief road cancelled
Post by: chuffed on June 04, 2019, 07:50:42 pm
This is just the EP rehashing old news yet again. This first came out at about the time of the massive cost increase,and it was roundly derided back then. Now that full funding has been found for a heavy rail scheme...tram train was dismissed as too expensive..... why would you even consider an alternative scheme ? I fear your coffee contact martyjohn, is way behind the curve on this. This needs splitting off back into the Portishead thread. The DCO goes in, in the next few weeks and will probably take 18 months to get through.


Title: M4 relief road cancelled
Post by: Reading General on June 04, 2019, 07:52:04 pm
I have an even better idea! We could take those buses and run them along tarmac roads between Portishead and Bristol allowing private car owners to also do the same........................... oh no, hang on!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: alan_s on June 04, 2019, 08:09:49 pm
New article in evening post:

https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/local-news/running-buses-along-portishead-railway-2939324

This is the most ridiculous thing I've heard.

Quote
The route needs major investment to re-lay sections of track which have been ripped up, and for a viable shared timetable to be created with the freight companies which use part of the line.

None of the track has been ripped up, it's still there under all the foliage.   

Quote
The buses would be able to pick up from all over Portishead and go straight into the centre of Bristol where eventually it could link up with the current Metrowest bus service.
It would not interfere with the current freight trains using the track, which could be timetabled around the buses.

so if buses can be timetabled around freight trains, why can't passenger trains !!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: stuving on June 04, 2019, 08:29:15 pm
New article in evening post:

https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/local-news/running-buses-along-portishead-railway-2939324

This is the most ridiculous thing I've heard.

Earlier report and discussion starts here (http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=231.msg250184#msg250184).


Title: M4 relief road cancelled
Post by: grahame on June 04, 2019, 08:32:29 pm
This is just the EP rehashing old news yet again. This first came out at about the time of the massive cost increase,and it was roundly derided back then. Now that full funding has been found for a heavy rail scheme...tram train was dismissed as too expensive..... why would you even consider an alternative scheme ? I fear your coffee contact martyjohn, is way behind the curve on this. This needs splitting off back into the Portishead thread. The DCO goes in, in the next few weeks and will probably take 18 months to get through.

I will tidy up later ... in the mean time I did a Google search on the name of the chap said to be behind it - and found this (https://thebristolian.net/tag/barry-cash/),  this (https://www.facebook.com/people/Barry-Cash/100006558379194) and this (https://www.bristol247.com/business/news-business/elderly-entrepreneurs-debut-hitch-hiking-app/) for starters.



Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Robin Summerhill on June 04, 2019, 08:48:32 pm
Some further posts might be joining us shortly because this is beginning to be discussed on "M4 diversion around Newport scrapped" thread, and they could really do with being moved to this thread.

However, someone over there asked if this scheme is something thought up by two blokes in a pub on the back of a fag packet. I have some sympathy with that view...

It looks like the idea has its origins in the Turn Railways into Roads campaign from the late 1950s, which was rubbished then and has not really advanced very far now. Then, as now, the practicalities have not been thought about:

You have, currently, a single track railway line. Even allowing for the railway land on either side, this is not wide enough for a single carriageway road, let alone one that would allow buses to pass (in order to get them in and out of Portishead in the peak, virtually empty buses have to go the other way). The profile of a railway line (ballast and track forming a sort of mound) is incompatible with running road traffic over it so this STRAIL stuff would need to be provided each side of the trackwork, presumably on some sort of trestle that could take the weight of a bus and also not interfere with the drainage arrangements below it.

Would a bus fit through the tunnel on the line? How would you stop other road traffic from trying to use it?

These are just issues that spring immediately to mind without thinking too deeply about the "proposal." Others will come to me in time, as they may well have come to other readers already.

There is however a passage in quotation marks virtually at the bottom of the story, but the journalist gives no indiation of who they are quoting: "Changing the scheme from rail is not something under consideration given the funding is now in place and the DCO application process is in its latter stages."

My first thoughts are that Mr Cash should stick to his day job of engineering computers...


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: alan_s on June 04, 2019, 08:50:11 pm
Earlier report and discussion starts here (http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=231.msg250184#msg250184).
Thanks.  Sorry, no idea the BEP were recycling old articles, must be a slow news day!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on June 04, 2019, 08:59:51 pm
I have merged in posts that started as asideshoot of some Welsh topic  ;D ;D

Original at http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=21707


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on June 04, 2019, 09:07:15 pm
Earlier report and discussion starts here (http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=231.msg250184#msg250184).
Thanks.  Sorry, no idea the BEP were recycling old articles, must be a slow news day!

I'm not sure it was even that - I suspect that a database error at the Bristol Post has caused two old stories to collide and pop out with a new date.

Barry Cash's concept of turning the whole line into an axial level crossing is ironic, given the impossibility of building a conventional one at Quays Avenue... and the second half of the story is a re-run of the news about the DCO process starting, which doesn't relate to Mr Cash's idea at all.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on June 04, 2019, 09:10:16 pm
Some further posts might be joining us shortly because this is beginning to be discussed on "M4 diversion around Newport scrapped" thread, and they could really do with being moved to this thread.

They have indeed been joined in ... hope the cobbling together isn't too bad.

Quote
My first thoughts are that Mr Cash should stick to his day job of engineering computers ...

A sentiment I'm inclined to agree with.  It is, though, excellent to test ideas / plans / directions against independent ideas; in this case the alternative offered just confirms in my mind that the scheme being pressed forward officially is an excellent one, especially compared to that from Mr Cash.  I could come up with a number of other elements in addition to Robins which I see being - err - very serious concerns.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on June 04, 2019, 09:18:51 pm
Quite. I'm not sure why we're dignifying this idea by discussing it!

Red Squirrel's very valid thinking is worth dragging up from a few months ago. This idea is no more. It has ceased to be. It is an ex-idea, all suggestions that this idea is still a going concern are from this moment inoperative. If you hadn't nailed it to the Bristol Post, it would be pushing up the daisies, etc etc.

In any case, give MetroBust a scheme costing £40 million, and they'll find a way to at least treble it, then have to redo it after a couple of years because of having used cheaper recycled condoms instead of new rubber from Malaysia, just to spite the Mayor's besties.

Nah. An even slower news day than usual.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on June 05, 2019, 06:02:50 am
From Grimsby Live (https://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/news/grimsby-news/borsi-johnson-suggitts-lane-reopen-2941812)

Quote
Boris Johnson says he would reopen Suggitts Lane level crossing if he becomes Prime Minister

Q: What has this to do with Portishead?
A: Perhaps this would allow a level crossing in Portishead to be (re)opened allowing trains closer in

Q: Would Boris have the time to meet promises like this amongst the great affairs of state
A: I really have to wonder ...


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Bmblbzzz on June 05, 2019, 10:05:41 am
Barry Cash is a well known figure in Bristol. I believe he was at one point a city councillor for the LibDems, he also engages in long running disputes by letter in the Bristol Post. And apparently, in a burst of nominative determinism, he owns a cash and carry!

Edit: On closer inspection it's not a cash and carry, unfortunately.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Robin Summerhill on June 05, 2019, 04:12:56 pm
Quote from: grahame
It is, though, excellent to test ideas / plans / directions against independent ideas;

I absolutely and entirely agree. However, in order to avoid one's new idea being shot down in flames before the ink is dry, and/or to stop oneself looking like an ill-informed idiot, it is usually found best to do at least a little research on and testing of your idea before one announces it to the general public.

This Mr Cash appears to have failed to do. Dismally...

However, all has become more clear since this thread informed me that the man was once a City Councillor. Politicians, of all hues, are very good and publicising innovative and ground-breaking ideas to get themselves the headlines, before someone with more nouse comes along, costs it and discovers the pitfalls that there will inevitably be.

Perhaps he could stand for the new leader of the Tory party? Then to compliment the Boris Bridge and Boris Island non-schemes, we could have a Barry Brexit. This could involve renaming the country Utopia and then claiming that, whilst the old tired UK might still be in the EU, the new and forward-looking Utopia would not be. It seems as good an idea as anything that anybody else has come up with...

;)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on June 05, 2019, 05:57:15 pm
From Grimsby Live (https://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/news/grimsby-news/borsi-johnson-suggitts-lane-reopen-2941812)

Quote
Boris Johnson says he would reopen Suggitts Lane level crossing if he becomes Prime Minister


You are just so much better read than I am, grahame. Things quiet in Melksham?  ;D

Edit: On closer inspection it's not a cash and carry, unfortunately.

No, smash and grab is the other one.

Quote from: grahame
It is, though, excellent to test ideas / plans / directions against independent ideas;

I absolutely and entirely agree. However, in order to avoid one's new idea being shot down in flames before the ink is dry, and/or to stop oneself looking like an ill-informed idiot, it is usually found best to do at least a little research on and testing of your idea before one announces it to the general public.

This Mr Cash appears to have failed to do. Dismally...

To put it another way, he would look mad, even at a Liberal Democrat conference.

Now, where did I leave my coat...


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Trowres on June 05, 2019, 11:31:58 pm
As the forum has slipped a little from its usual high standard on the reception of ideas for testing, here's a reminder that shared-use of rail route has its uses:

https://www.highland.gov.uk/news/article/11319/road_to_rail_traffic_management_in_place_at_stromeferry_bypass (https://www.highland.gov.uk/news/article/11319/road_to_rail_traffic_management_in_place_at_stromeferry_bypass)

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-45963730 (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-45963730)



Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on June 06, 2019, 04:50:31 am
As the forum has slipped a little from its usual high standard on the reception of ideas for testing, here's a reminder that shared-use of rail route has its uses:

https://www.highland.gov.uk/news/article/11319/road_to_rail_traffic_management_in_place_at_stromeferry_bypass (https://www.highland.gov.uk/news/article/11319/road_to_rail_traffic_management_in_place_at_stromeferry_bypass)

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-45963730 (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-45963730)


The things I recall about that setup was the incredibly long time needed to switch between the two types of traffic along the joint use section, and the weight limits on its use.  It was a partial temporary solution to a problem - I don't know about its expandability / changeability.   Previously was also done over the bridge at Connel Ferry?

 


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Bmblbzzz on June 06, 2019, 09:32:48 am
There are various bridges in New Zealand which are shared use between rail and road. But those are specific points in areas without much road traffic (probably little rail traffic too) where the cost of a separate bridge presumably cannot be justified. "Longitudinal level crossings" as someone said. And it was way back in the 90s when I saw them, some might have been converted now.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: martyjon on June 13, 2019, 06:31:29 pm
Big day tomorrow June 14th, WECA to approve £350 million spend on rail infrastructure works in the Bristol Area with
7 new stations including Portishead, Pill, Henbury, Filton North and Charfield. All old news re-cycled of course, as is the norm with our local (and national) politicians but this time with the added bonus words "will approve" but how long will it be before we see shovels on the ground ?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on June 13, 2019, 11:11:06 pm
Big day tomorrow June 14th, WECA to approve £350 million spend on rail infrastructure works in the Bristol Area with
7 new stations including Portishead, Pill, Henbury, Filton North and Charfield. All old news re-cycled of course, as is the norm with our local (and national) politicians but this time with the added bonus words "will approve" but how long will it be before we see shovels on the ground ?

Years await us. I assume the missing ones are Ashley Down / Ashley Hill and maybe Horfield?

Quote
Some tweaks will be required to the final scheme to increase the benefit-to-cost ratio to the required threshold.
from the Bristol Post (https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/seven-new-train-stations-set-2976851) story. Not like MetroBust, then.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: johnneyw on June 14, 2019, 11:00:38 am
Big day tomorrow June 14th, WECA to approve £350 million spend on rail infrastructure works in the Bristol Area with
7 new stations including Portishead, Pill, Henbury, Filton North and Charfield. All old news re-cycled of course, as is the norm with our local (and national) politicians but this time with the added bonus words "will approve" but how long will it be before we see shovels on the ground ?

Years await us. I assume the missing ones are Ashley Down / Ashley Hill and maybe Horfield?

Quote
Some tweaks will be required to the final scheme to increase the benefit-to-cost ratio to the required threshold.
from the Bristol Post (https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/seven-new-train-stations-set-2976851) story. Not like MetroBust, then.

Sadly, no word of the Henbury Loop being revisited in the Bristol Post article but it's interesting to see Aztec West mentioned in a mass transit/suburban rail context.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: martyjon on June 14, 2019, 08:03:44 pm
No mention of Ashton Gate Halt either in a resurrected Ashton Gate Interchange right alongside the Metrobus guided Busway. The local politicians got no vision, their only view is through the windscreen of their cars cos they consider themselves too high and mighty to use A BUS.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on June 28, 2019, 05:26:27 pm
North Somerset Council has agreed to submit the DCO:

Quote
Government approval sought for major transport scheme

A nationally significant scheme to re-open the Portishead to Bristol railway line is to be submitted to the Government for formal approval.

At yesterday’s Full Council meeting (Tuesday 25 June), North Somerset Council agreed to submit a Development Consent Order (DCO) application to the Planning Inspectorate for the £116m MetroWest Phase 1 scheme. The DCO application seeks powers to build and operate the disused section of railway from Portishead to Pill, gain environmental consent to undertake works to the existing freight railway through the Avon Gorge and obtain powers for the compulsory acquisition of land.

Councillors also agreed to enter into a new formal agreement with Network Rail.

Relaunching train services from Portishead with new stations at Portishead and Pill is a key part of the first phase of the MetroWest programme of transport improvements across the region being led by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and North Somerset Council.

Benefits of the scheme include:

181,000 fewer car trips in the opening year, increasing to 278,000 fewer car trips a year by 2036
A reduction of 7.5 million car kilometres in the opening year
958,980 passenger trips by rail in the opening year increasing to 1,295,103 passenger trips by 2036
Bringing more than 50,000 people within the immediate catchment of the two new stations at Portishead and Pill
Providing better access to employment and educational opportunities
Upgrading the existing train service at 16 stations across three rail corridors, directly benefiting 180,000 people within a 1km catchment
Creating 514 new direct permanent jobs and temporary jobs during construction
Providing £3 of quantified benefits for every £1 invested to deliver the scheme, putting the scheme in the high value for money category
Enhancing the regional economy by £264m in the first ten years.
Leader of North Somerset Council Cllr Donald Davies said the council was committed to investing in local infrastructure: “MetroWest Phase 1 is a nationally significant project that will deliver wide ranging environmental and economic benefits to our region.

“Once completed, Metro West Phase 1 will connect an additional 50,000 residents directly to the national rail network and will improve the level of service for a further 180,000 residents on the Severn Beach and Bath corridors.”

Regional Mayor, Tim Bowles, added: “I want the West of England to have the rail network it deserves to help reduce congestion, improve air quality and keep people moving. This is a huge step forward and complements our plans to provide direct services between Severn Beach and Bath for the first time, as well as the re-opening of Henbury train station.”

Once the application is registered by the Planning Inspectorate, the Secretary of State for Transport is expected to make a decision within 18 months.

Subject to final business case approval, construction work is expected to start on the Portishead to Bristol line in December 2021 and take around two years to complete.
Source: North Somerset Council (https://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/news/government-approval-sought-for-major-transport-scheme/)



Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on June 28, 2019, 06:02:05 pm
Quote
958,980 passenger trips by rail in the opening year increasing to 1,295,103 passenger trips by 2036

I don’t know what’s more impressive.  The number of passenger trips that will be taken, or the fact their forecast modelling is that advanced it can predict usage down to a single passenger level of accuracy!  ::)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: johnneyw on June 28, 2019, 06:19:14 pm
Not to forget that rail passengers usage estimates for new/reopened line have tended to underestimate the actual figures, often quite considerably.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on June 28, 2019, 09:35:20 pm
Quote
958,980 passenger trips by rail in the opening year increasing to 1,295,103 passenger trips by 2036

I don’t know what’s more impressive.  The number of passenger trips that will be taken, or the fact their forecast modelling is that advanced it can predict usage down to a single passenger level of accuracy!  ::)

The 2036 forecast is really odd.  Look at any recent year ORR station figures and you'll find even numbers at all (nearly all? - there may be exceptions) times.  But there's a forecast for 2036 that includes an odd number of one way trips.  Do we expect a heavy one way hiking traffic, will people be moving to Portishead and arriving by train, or is there plans for a school traffic like Dilton Marsh where the kids go to school by bus and home by train ...


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on June 28, 2019, 09:46:04 pm

The 2036 forecast is really odd.  Look at any recent year ORR station figures and you'll find even numbers at all (nearly all? - there may be exceptions) times.  But there's a forecast for 2036 that includes an odd number of one way trips.  Do we expect a heavy one way hiking traffic, will people be moving to Portishead and arriving by train, or is there plans for a school traffic like Dilton Marsh where the kids go to school by bus and home by train ...

Don't knock it. This is what happened in getting the necessary brownie points to "build" MetroBust, and what used to happen when my performance was assessed by numerical results. First, write the number that you need to achieve at the bottom of a large piece of paper. Next, work backwards until you arrive at the correct question.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: martyjon on June 28, 2019, 10:13:58 pm
Quote
958,980 passenger trips by rail in the opening year increasing to 1,295,103 passenger trips by 2036

If the above statement were to read, 'over 900,000 passenger trips in the opening year rising to over 1 1/4 million by the year 2040', yes I would accept that but here we are again, all the planners, decision makers and knowalls putting out figures designed to impress, they must think we are all village idiots.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on July 02, 2019, 12:02:21 pm
Some orange army activity in between the two hump backed bridges in Portbury.
Some vehicles and a caravan in a compound, surveyor poles and black plastic on the line and in the fields either side. Anyone have any idea what's going on ?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on July 02, 2019, 01:18:04 pm
Some orange army activity in between the two hump backed bridges in Portbury.
Some vehicles and a caravan in a compound, surveyor poles and black plastic on the line and in the fields either side. Anyone have any idea what's going on ?

Could be some surveying.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: johnneyw on July 02, 2019, 08:07:01 pm
At least it's activity, more activity than at Portway.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: bradshaw on July 16, 2019, 07:50:47 am
This appeared on the Cornish Railway Society site this morning
http://www.cornwallrailwaysociety.org.uk/latest-input--news--old-pictures-etc

Quote
Portishead branch
Peter Maliphant

​Dear All,
At our meeting last week, we reviewed all the latest news and the detailed plan looking forward to the line reopening in late 2023 or thereabouts.
 
There are three documents that you might be interested in reading:
 
My presentation summarising the news and forward plan is here:
https://www.portisheadrailwaygroup.org/The%20Next%20Four%20Years.pdf
The minutes from the meeting, covering parts of the presentation and Q&A, are here:
https://www.portisheadrailwaygroup.org/PRG%20152%20-%20members%20meeting%20minutes.pdf
 
The full briefing by North Somerset Council, with masses of information about the DCO, is here:
http://apps.n-somerset.gov.uk/cairo/docs/doc29672.pdf
 
If you have any questions or comments, please do email them to me and we’ll answer as best we can.
 
Regards, Peter.
 
Peter Maliphant, Membership Secretary, Portishead Railway Group 


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on July 16, 2019, 11:17:20 am
The links make for interesting reading, including the council's minutes. I have been critical of North Somerset Council in the past for their handling of their end of the project, but not any more. They made a couple of daft decisions earlier on, and at one time seemed to have no enthusiasm for reopening the railway, prefering roads (and MetroBust). But as the project reaches a much more mature phase, they seem to be doing all the right things. It's good to see that there will be a fair bit of preppy-uppy work done in anticipation of the DCO. They have put quite a large bet on the DCO, which must surely go through, but it's brave for a council to pony up 10% of its budget for one project. WECA will try to take at least some of the glory, but this is going through because of Weston super Mare, not Western super Mayor.

I'm still critical of them on other topics, mind.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Timmer on July 16, 2019, 05:29:25 pm
‘The line reopening in late 2023 or thereabouts’.

Using wording like that doesn’t exactly fill you with confidence does it  ???


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on July 16, 2019, 05:46:13 pm
No, but making statements such as  ‘will be opening by 2023’ when the project is still at a fairly early stage has proven to be unrealistic for so many other schemes that I think I’d prefer a level of vagueness.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Phantom on July 17, 2019, 11:35:11 am
‘The line reopening in late 2023 or thereabouts’.

Using wording like that doesn’t exactly fill you with confidence does it  ???

I'm going for no earlier than 2025 then  :)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Timmer on July 17, 2019, 01:20:46 pm
No, but making statements such as  ‘will be opening by 2023’ when the project is still at a fairly early stage has proven to be unrealistic for so many other schemes that I think I’d prefer a level of vagueness.
And when it comes to the railways delivering plenty of vagueness is often required.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on August 12, 2019, 02:46:04 pm
A four page special feature on the Portishead line in the current issue of RAIL (issue      885). Includes a detailed explanation of what needs to be followed in order to get trains running, and includes a black and white photo from August 1964 of a steam train in Portishead station that I've never seen before !


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: sikejsudjek3 on August 13, 2019, 09:17:02 am
The amount of time this project has dragged on you'd think it was HS2 ! Utterly ridiculous, and should have been done years ago.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: johnneyw on August 29, 2019, 02:19:31 pm
Arrived in my inbox from Travelwest today, confirmation that the DCO is on target to be submitted September:

29.08.201908:49 am

North Somerset Council is working towards submitting a Development Consent Order (DCO) application in the autumn to the Planning Inspectorate for the £116m MetroWest Phase 1 scheme.
The DCO application seeks powers to build and operate the disused section of railway from Portishead to Pill, gain environmental consent to undertake works to the existing freight railway through the Avon Gorge and obtain powers for the compulsory acquisition of land.

Relaunching train services from Portishead with new stations at Portishead and Pill is a key part of the MetroWest programme of transport improvements across the region being led by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and North Somerset Council.
The council is in the final stages of engaging with statutory bodies on the environmental and flood risk impacts of the scheme which need to be worked through before the DCO application can be submitted. These discussions have meant revisiting the track designs and providing flood compensation areas to counter any impacts from possible flooding. Further work is also required to take into account advice received on the effects of the scheme on air quality which need to be modelled and then reflected in a number of the DCO application documents.
Leader of North Somerset Council Cllr Donald Davies said the council was committed to investing in local infrastructure: “The Portishead line is a nationally significant project that will deliver wide ranging environmental and economic benefits to our region.
“Once completed, Metro West Phase 1 will connect an additional 50,000 residents directly to the national rail network and will improve the level of service for a further 180,000 residents on the Severn Beach and Bath corridors.
“We want to ensure that the DCO application is as strong as possible and we need to be meticulous with regards to the process. By addressing these points now, we will save time within the overall programme, and a submission in September should not impact on the 2023 opening date.”
West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles, said: “This is an important milestone in the MetroWest project, which will improve rail services for people living across the region. I want the West of England to have the rail network it deserves to help reduce congestion, improve air quality and keep people moving.”
Once the application is registered by the Planning Inspectorate, the Secretary of State for Transport is expected to make a decision within 18 months.
Subject to final business case approval, construction work is expected to start on the Portishead to Bristol line in December 2021 and take around two years to complete


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on August 29, 2019, 04:37:51 pm
The council is in the final stages of engaging with statutory bodies on the environmental and flood risk impacts of the scheme which need to be worked through before the DCO application can be submitted. These discussions have meant revisiting the track designs and providing flood compensation areas to counter any impacts from possible flooding.

Fascinating - arguably eccentric - that it is necessary to do a flood risk assessment. Does the scheme involve building vast new embankments and cuttings, or is it more a case of replacing worn-out ballast and rusty track with fresh ballast and new track? Have I missed something?

Further work is also required to take into account advice received on the effects of the scheme on air quality which need to be modelled and then reflected in a number of the DCO application documents.

One would hope that less than five minutes with a calculator should be sufficient to prove that a train (even a fairly elderly DMU) emits less pollutants than 200 or more cars queuing on the Portbury Hundred. But again, maybe I've missed something?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: martyjon on August 29, 2019, 06:48:19 pm
This quip is a bit over the top isn't it.

Quote
“The Portishead line is a nationally significant project that will deliver wide ranging environmental and economic benefits to our region". ....

Talk to anyone outside of "our region" and they wouldn't know where you were talking about but mention HS2 and everyone knows about that project.

Quote
Once the application is registered by the Planning Inspectorate, the Secretary of State for Transport is expected to make a decision within 18 months.

And if he / she doesn't, what then ?

Quote
Subject to final business case approval, construction work is expected to start on the Portishead to Bristol line in December 2021 and take around two years to complete

And knowing how rail project constructions tend to over run snopak out the two to read "three years to complete" that is assuming the final business case approval is granted.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: johnneyw on August 29, 2019, 08:24:20 pm
This quip is a bit over the top isn't it.

Quote
“The Portishead line is a nationally significant project that will deliver wide ranging environmental and economic benefits to our region". ....

Talk to anyone outside of "our region" and they wouldn't know where you were talking about but mention HS2 and everyone knows about that project.


It does sound a bit grandiose doesn't it?  I think, though, it refers to the fact that it is going to extend the national passenger rail network rather than just opening a station or two on the existing network. Besides, since when have politicians anywhere chosen to downplay their claims?    :D


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: ellendune on August 29, 2019, 08:29:57 pm
This quip is a bit over the top isn't it.

Quote
“The Portishead line is a nationally significant project that will deliver wide ranging environmental and economic benefits to our region". ....

Talk to anyone outside of "our region" and they wouldn't know where you were talking about but mention HS2 and everyone knows about that project.


It does sound a bit grandiose doesn't it?  I think, though, it refers to the fact that it is going to extend the national passenger rail network rather than just opening a station or two on the existing network. Besides, since when have politicians anywhere chosen to downplay their claims?    :D

I think it is a technical planning definition - this sort of development is deemed to "nationally significant" and is therefore determined by the Secretary of State rather than the local authority. 


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Bmblbzzz on August 29, 2019, 09:08:09 pm
Talk to anyone outside of "our region" and they wouldn't know where you were talking about
Unless they were fans of 1990s trip hop.  :D


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: johnneyw on August 29, 2019, 09:20:51 pm
Talk to anyone outside of "our region" and they wouldn't know where you were talking about
Unless they were fans of 1990s trip hop.  :D

That threw me for a mo, then it clicked..... Portishead. Definitely a trip hop band of more than regional significance.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on August 29, 2019, 09:52:44 pm
This quip is a bit over the top isn't it.

Quote
“The Portishead line is a nationally significant project that will deliver wide ranging environmental and economic benefits to our region". ....

Talk to anyone outside of "our region" and they wouldn't know where you were talking about but mention HS2 and everyone knows about that project.


It does sound a bit grandiose doesn't it?  I think, though, it refers to the fact that it is going to extend the national passenger rail network rather than just opening a station or two on the existing network. Besides, since when have politicians anywhere chosen to downplay their claims?    :D

I think it is a technical planning definition - this sort of development is deemed to "nationally significant" and is therefore determined by the Secretary of State rather than the local authority. 

And I think you are right, ellendune. I seem to recall that very form of words being used by our Noble Friend, Andrew, Baron Adonis, way back in the day when he was transport minister. I think that once a railway is deemed to be of national significance, it can only be cancelled then reinstated for a maximum of three elections. And let's face it, adding 50,000 customers to a business is never going to be sniffed at!

As regards the time scale, we should recall that the line was relaid for freight from Parson Street to Portbury Dock in less than a year from the announcement, and that included the chord into Portbury from just west of Pill. The original centruty-old track remains in situ from Portbury nearly a junction - the points were thrown into the grass by the line last time I looked. Said points could be refitted and clipped in a day, and the new rail delivered in 250 metre lengths at 5 mph. There is no reason why  the 3 miles or so that needs to be relaid couldn't be done quickly, although doubtless it won't be. It's in the preppy-uppy. That drainage will take time, and there's bound to be a newt or two along the way.

In my previous life as a person who wasn't retired, working in the 1980s - 1990s as a fraud investigator for what was then DSS, I followed someone to work from his home in Portishead, where one of my solicitor brothers-in-law then had his practice. The traffic along the Portbury Hundred at 7.30am was so bad that on day two, I had a colleaugue waiting on the Bristol side of the A369, and another in Abbots Leigh, because even if I was right behind the target car as we got to the M5 roundabout, there was little chance of me still being in eyeball contact on tghe other side. Since then, thousands of new homes have been built in dear old Posset. (BTW, it was fun at the other end. He went into Asda in Bedminster to get his lunch, before we got to the nitty gritty. As I pressed the PTT button on the built-in radio to talk to a colleague, all the alarms in all the Fords within a 25-metre radius went off. Like the responsible adults we were, we drove around the car park setting off more alarms, and almost missed our man leaving.)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: johnneyw on August 29, 2019, 10:30:47 pm


In my previous life as a person who wasn't retired, working in the 1980s - 1990s as a fraud investigator for what was then DSS, I


My good lady who used to work for said authority lent me a book by a Bristol chap in the same line of work called "Where's My Money?". It was an intersting read. His fortitude about being beaten up by a claiment was inspiring.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: stuving on August 29, 2019, 11:05:01 pm
"Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP)" is indeed planning jargon; used in the Planning Act 2008. Basically it means the project must follow the DCO route rather than getting a TWA, which in turn means a minister has to approve it.

The threshold for being an NSIP is too low, and known to be - HMG proposed setting a higher lower limit but never went through with it. However, that would only lift the maximum size for a TWA from anything that can be done as permitted development to 2 km of track. I knew I'd dug out some more on this a while ago, it's here (http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=20681.msg257593#msg257593) if you like that sort of thing.







Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on September 02, 2019, 06:08:51 pm
"Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP)" is indeed planning jargon; used in the Planning Act 2008. Basically it means the project must follow the DCO route rather than getting a TWA, which in turn means a minister has to approve it.

The threshold for being an NSIP is too low, and known to be - HMG proposed setting a higher lower limit but never went through with it. However, that would only lift the maximum size for a TWA from anything that can be done as permitted development to 2 km of track. I knew I'd dug out some more on this a while ago, it's here (http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=20681.msg257593#msg257593) if you like that sort of thing.


Bravo stuving!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on September 06, 2019, 03:18:55 pm
Dr Liam Fox ...for it is he....has secured an adjournment debate in the Commons next Wednesday 11th September on the reopening of the Portishead line. It's only 14 years since his previous adjournment debate on the same subject when he described Portishead  as the longest cul-de-sac in Europe !


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: johnneyw on September 06, 2019, 03:36:24 pm
Dr Liam Fox ...for it is he....has secured an adjournment debate in the Commons next Wednesday 11th September on the reopening of the Portishead line. It's only 14 years since his previous adjournment debate on the same subject when he described Portishead  as the longest cul-de-sac in Europe !

Is it known what specifics will be debated and what outcome it sets out to achieve?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on September 06, 2019, 04:30:51 pm
Dr Liam Fox ...for it is he....has secured an adjournment debate in the Commons next Wednesday 11th September on the reopening of the Portishead line. It's only 14 years since his previous adjournment debate on the same subject when he described Portishead  as the longest cul-de-sac in Europe !

We should have general elections more often!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Western Pathfinder on September 06, 2019, 04:34:16 pm
Oh No Not Another One ! Copyright Brenda from Bristol.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on October 04, 2019, 12:10:39 pm
The adjournment debate secured by Dr Liam Fox on the future of the Portishead railway is now scheduled for Wednesday 16th October, unlawful prorogations permitting. I wonder what sort of an update he can provide, since the last one in 2005 !


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: johnneyw on October 16, 2019, 03:37:47 pm
BBC Radio Bristol reminded me today that the postponed Commons debate on the Portishead Line is due today. Might check out BBC Parliament.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Noggin on October 16, 2019, 10:13:43 pm
BBC Radio Bristol reminded me today that the postponed Commons debate on the Portishead Line is due today. Might check out BBC Parliament.

For goodness sakes, what on earth is there to debate?

Who wants to bet me a tenner that Levenmouth reopens before Portishead does?



Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: johnneyw on October 16, 2019, 10:31:49 pm
BBC Radio Bristol reminded me today that the postponed Commons debate on the Portishead Line is due today. Might check out BBC Parliament.

For goodness sakes, what on earth is there to debate?

Who wants to bet me a tenner that Levenmouth reopens before Portishead does?



I had wondered what it's value might be, other than electioneering.  I could understand it if this helped speed up the remaining processes but those are all surely now all beyond any parliamentary debate stage.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on October 16, 2019, 10:42:08 pm

For goodness sakes, what on earth is there to debate?


An adjournment debate isn't very often a debate. There is no vote, and no question to be decided. There are 650 MPs, so actually being selected by the Speaker for one is not easy, which could explain why it has been so long between debates. The motion moved by a government whip is "That this House do now adjourn", and the adjournment debate addresses this with a significant degree of thread drift. The member, Dr Fox in this case, then basically makes a statement. Others may ask to make interventions. The Minister concerned, who knows the subject for the day, then makes his erply. The usual right of reply is absent, so when the Minister has finished, the House empties of the few members left, and everyone heads to the bar.

The point of the exercise is to give someone chance to make a substantial statement on a subject close to their hearts, have a response from a minister, and have the whole exchange recorded in Hansard to avoid any question of misinterpretation and raise the profile. I don't know what was said yet - Dr Fox isn't one to hit Twitter the moment he leaves the Chamber, but all will be known soon. Meanwhile, the Doctor  gives us a preview. (https://twitter.com/i/status/1184527773601271808)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on October 17, 2019, 07:48:15 am
I watched it , and it was really a rehash of what has gone before. Dr Fox sought assurances,was supported by the 3 Bristol Labour MPs, and the newly appointed rail minister gave his reply. He reassured everyone by saying the money was safe and went on to say it was a heavy rail led project, all other options having been discounted. As a resident of Portishead I was less than impressed to hear Dr Fox say that the population of Portishead would increase by another 8000 in the next decade. He also stated that the density of housing in the marina was double what is normally granted.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Noggin on October 17, 2019, 09:11:14 am
I watched it , and it was really a rehash of what has gone before. Dr Fox sought assurances,was supported by the 3 Bristol Labour MPs, and the newly appointed rail minister gave his reply. He reassured everyone by saying the money was safe and went on to say it was a heavy rail led project, all other options having been discounted. As a resident of Portishead I was less than impressed to hear Dr Fox say that the population of Portishead would increase by another 8000 in the next decade. He also stated that the density of housing in the marina was double what is normally granted.

Thank you both for the info, I suppose it is reasonably reassuring that it is still heavy rail and on teh cards. Painfully slow progress though.   


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on October 17, 2019, 09:32:39 am
Here it is in full, from Hansard.

16 October 2019Volume 666

 8.34 pm

Dr Liam Fox (North Somerset) (Con)
 
I am grateful for the opportunity to have this debate, especially during the week of the Queen’s Speech. I am also grateful for the dogged and outstanding support that the Portishead railway project has had from the residents of the town itself, from North Somerset more widely, and from the wider region. I am also grateful to my fellow Bristol MPs for being here this evening. I single out and pay tribute to the Portishead Railway Group, whose contribution has been utterly invaluable.

When I last raised this issue in an Adjournment debate in this House, in January 2005, I spoke about the increase in population in Portishead. In the mid-1950s, the town had a population of around 9,000, which had risen to some 15,000 by the time I was first elected in the early 1990s. The population now stands at around 25,000. The power station and the phosphorus works that used to sit on the dock are long gone, with the last stacks having been brought down in 1992. In their place, we now have one of the country’s finest marinas, and we have contributed more than most to the rise in the country’s housing stock.

That housebuilding has not been without controversy. John Prescott, as Housing Minister, ordered that the housing density be doubled, so almost twice as many homes as originally intended were built on this land. That inevitably had consequences for the traffic in the town and parking has been a particular problem. Although the housing density was doubled, the number of parking spaces per home was allocated at the national average of 1.6 per household, when the average in North Somerset, even at the time, was 2.76. It does not take a mathematical genius to work out that the inevitable consequence was a huge deficit in the number of parking spaces available compared with what was needed.

The increased population in what I described back in 2005 as the most overcrowded cul-de-sac in the country—a phrase that has been widely deployed since—has inevitably put pressure on our road system. The A369 is the only A road out of the town, and junction 19 of the M5 is a regularly miserable experience for Portishead commuters, particularly at peak times. The answer to many of our problems, but by no means all, is to reopen the railway line to Portishead, providing additional capacity to our overstretched transport network.

The reopening of Portishead railway is part of the MetroWest project, which was given the go-ahead in July 2012 as part of the city deal under the coalition Government led by David Cameron. Portishead railway was part of MetroWest phase 1, but it has been beset by delays and cost overruns. In 2017, the planned date of the Portishead opening was 2020, yet by then the original cost of £50 million had mushroomed to £116 million. It became quickly clear that it would be beyond the financial scope of North Somerset Council or, indeed, the partnership of four councils to absorb such an increased cost. We were therefore pleased that the former Transport Secretary, my right hon. Friend the Member for Epsom and Ewell (Chris Grayling), came to visit North Somerset and indicated that this Government would ensure that additional money became available. I wish to focus on that area ​and some of the technical issues around it so that the Minister can give us categorical assurances where there remain some anxieties.

The proposed allocation of £31.9 million by the Department exactly closed the funding gap. It did not reduce it; it closed it. The four local councils and the West of England Combined Authority have spent, and continue to spend, millions of pounds on the design of the reinstatement of the railway, the necessary environmental studies, and in preparing the development consent order application. For those who may not be familiar with the process, let me describe what this entails. The development consent order process is based on many submission items, one of which is a full funding statement. The statement has had to be generated on the assumption that the Department’s £31.9 million funding share will not be withdrawn. Another item is the business case, which is strong. Its benefit-cost ratio of around 3:1 is almost unheard of for a public infrastructure project. In other words, we know the reinstatement would be an efficient and effective use of public funds to produce a defined benefit. That is a lot more than we can say for many projects funded with taxpayers’ money.

Karin Smyth (Bristol South) (Lab)
 
I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman, my constituency neighbour, both for securing this debate and for allowing me to intervene. He will be aware that, in addition to the football and the rugby, Ashton Gate stadium has hosted a number of entertainment events this year. Investment in transport to and from the ground is critical. As the line goes through south Bristol, it provides an opportunity to open up more local transport provision, so it is not just about what we can get now. We are very supportive of this opportunity, which is critical to us in south Bristol.

Dr Fox
 
I am extremely grateful to the hon. Lady, and she is right that we deserve better public transport in the Bristol area. Bristol is one of only two cities in the United Kingdom, outside London, that produce a net benefit to the economy, and we deserve a level of spending commensurate with that level of economic contribution to the UK economy.

Jim Shannon (Strangford) (DUP)
 
I thank the right hon. Gentleman for securing this debate. He was very good to us in Strangford on many occasions in his former position as a Minister, so I wanted to come along to support him tonight.

The right hon. Gentleman has outlined the need for the Portishead railway to be encouraged and rebuilt, based on the population trends, the extra traffic and the pressure on our roads. Does he agree that perhaps it is time for the Government to look at sustaining public transport, be it railways or buses, to take pressure off the roads?

Dr Fox
 
It is not simply a specific case; it is also a generic one. We need to see major improvements in our railway capacity for exactly those reasons and for the environmental benefits that will come from not having the pollutants from slow-moving traffic congesting our towns and villages.

As a result of the Department for Transport announcing its £31.9 million funding share, the four local councils and the West of England Combined Authority have ​now committed to their £84 million share of the funding for the railway project. I make it clear that the railway reinstatement cannot be completed without the Department’s £31.9 million, so can the Minister make a clear commitment tonight that the Department’s funding will be solely on the basis of there being a good business case?

Darren Jones (Bristol North West) (Lab)
 
I am pleased to be here to support the right hon. Gentleman’s case for the Portishead line. Does he agree it is part of what should be a much broader rail network? It is about commuter traffic into and out of Bristol. My Bristol North West constituency is adjacent to his, and there should be a connection to the Henbury loop line so that people can travel between the major areas of employment, as well as travelling into and out of the city.

Dr Fox
 
I completely agree. Our transport network is now an economic rate-limiting step in the Bristol area. I know, and my colleagues will know, of companies that want to grow but are incapable of doing so. We are fortunate to have low levels of unemployment in our area, but it is difficult to get people to come into those areas where growth could occur because our public transport network is so inadequate.

The second issue I would like the Minister to address tonight is the Department’s rail network enhancements pipeline. As the House will know, the RNEP is a multistage process that could lead the Department to adjust its priorities such that its £31.9 million funding share could be either reduced or cancelled. This railway reinstatement is widely accepted as a no brainer in the region and beyond. It has a strong business case, and it is viewed as being of the highest priority in the wider Bristol area. The Department for Transport itself seems to think that the reinstatement of the Portishead line is a major improvement to our railways overall, and so do I. A ministerial commitment on this issue would be most welcome, so will the Minister confirm that the RNEP process will be used only to assure the Department that it is using its money wisely, rather than being used to generate a reason to reduce or cancel the Department’s funding contribution?

The Portishead reinstatement will upgrade 8 km of existing Network Rail freight line to Pill and reinstate the track along 4 km of existing permanent way from Pill to Portishead. Given the length of time it has taken and the amount of money spent, it must be one of the greatest investments in one of the smallest increases in railway track that the House has seen.

Unfortunately, despite the extremely modest nature of this particular project, the reinstatement is subject to the weighty process that applies to major rail improvements. Why? Because the criterion set out in the Planning Act 2008 is pegged at more than 2 km of track on non-railway land. The only reason why more than 2 km of the reinstatement track is on non-railway land is that North Somerset Council wisely decided to purchase the Portbury to Portishead section to ensure future reinstatement. In other words, we are being penalised because of the council’s foresight and confidence that this most worthwhile project would eventually be brought to fruition.

I understand that, unfortunately, the processes operated by the planning inspectorate for the DCO and by the Department for the RNEP clearly have to be followed, ​despite the non-major nature of the reinstatement. I want from the Minister an assurance that everything possible will be done to ensure that the process is as speedy as possible, within the constraints of the law.

Given the urgent need to reduce CO2 emissions, which has been widely discussed recently, will the Minister confirm that he and his officials will do everything they can to speed up the processes, so that the long-standing congestion and environmental pollution that afflict the 50,000-plus people who will directly benefit from the railway and the 130,000-plus people who will indirectly benefit from the railway, can be reduced at the earliest opportunity?

I wish to raise two other brief points. There has been much speculation locally that, rather than a traditional railway, a hybrid of bus, tram and train might be introduced. What is the Minister’s understanding of the likely outcome of any such proposals currently under consideration? There has been a great deal of debate about the relative merits of a range of different alternatives, but we are now seeking an end to the indecision, and clarity about the timescale and nature of the transportation system itself.

When I visited the North Somerset summer show this July, I gave my word that I would raise the issue of Sustrans. I am sure the Minister will be aware that Sustrans has been instrumental in the creation of a national network of cycle routes on quiet roads and traffic-free paths that now extends to more than 17,000 miles. I hope that he and his Department can look into the potential for a dual-use path alongside the planned railway, to see whether we can improve our local facilities further, with all the benefits that that will bring to recreation, transport and health.

As I have said, this project is a no-brainer. It fulfils all the Government’s criteria for reducing road congestion, improving our environment and improving the functioning of our local economy. We are keen to give the Government all those things—if they give us reassurance, clarity and the necessary funding. After all the delay, I would be proud if this Government gave the people of Portishead what they deserve and what they have waited so long to get.

 8.49 pm

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Chris Heaton-Harris)
 
It is a pleasure to answer the debate of my right hon. Friend the Member for North Somerset (Dr Fox). I thank everyone who has contributed to the discussion, including the Bristol massif, who are lined up on the Opposition Benches—the hon. Members for Bristol North West (Darren Jones), for Bristol East (Kerry McCarthy), and for Bristol South (Karin Smyth)—ably assisted by the hon. Member for Strangford (Jim Shannon) in his support for his old right hon. Friend. I also congratulate my right hon. Friend on securing this debate on the future of the Portishead railway line and, indeed, the railway group that he named in his speech.

My right hon. Friend has always been an advocate of this important proposal and for improved transport links in and around his constituency. He describes the town of Portishead as one of the fastest growing in the south-west. Its population has risen by more than 3,000 since 2001 and is expected to increase by another 8,000 in the coming decade.​
Reopening the Portishead line is an important part of the MetroWest scheme. This is a project that is led by North Somerset Council and the West of England Combined Authority, which have been leading on devolved matters in the area since 2017. I understand that good progress is being made—the business case for the Portishead line is being developed, and North Somerset Council will very shortly be taking a big step forward by submitting a development consent order for reopening the line to the Planning Inspectorate. I am very confident that our decision to provide £31.9 million of funding, subject to a satisfactory business case, provides the necessary commitment for North Somerset Council to submit the application and supporting funding settlement.

As my right hon. Friend knows, it is the Planning Inspectorate’s responsibility to assess and decide on whether to grant the consents necessary for construction to commence, and he mentioned that in his speech. Once the outcome is known, we expect to carry out a full assessment of the business case for the scheme. He asked me to be as speedy in that process as I possibly can, and I give him the guarantee that my Department will be.

Although the development and delivery of MetroWest and the Portishead route are ultimately the responsibility of the local authorities and have been since their inception, the Government are committed to working closely with Network Rail, North Somerset Council and the West of England Combined Authority to support the reopening of the line and all elements of MetroWest, because improving rail services for the people in the Bristol area and the west of England has been, and will remain, one of the Government’s key priorities. The importance that we place on the Greater Bristol area is demonstrated, I hope, by the recent investments that we have made. For example, we are investing £5 billion into the electrification and upgrade of the Great Western main line, from Paddington through to Bristol Parkway and Cardiff, delivering better services and new trains with thousands more seats.

Modernisation of the line will improve more than 100 million rail journeys each year and stimulate economic growth from London, through the Thames valley, to the Cotswolds, the west country and south Wales. It includes major rail infrastructure projects in the Greater Bristol area, such as the four-tracking at Filton Bank. This, combined with the biggest signalling renewal of its kind undertaken by Network Rail in the Bristol area, has increased capacity and contributed to reducing end-to-end journey times for Bristol to London Paddington services.

Kerry McCarthy (Bristol East) (Lab)
 
I wish to reaffirm my support for what the right hon. Member for North Somerset (Dr Fox) said in his speech. I remember back in 2005, when I was first elected, that we talked about the urgent need for the Portishead line to be reopened. And here we are some 14 years later still waiting. All these rail improvements for Bristol are a really good thing, but we do also need to look at the very short local journeys on the suburban branch line, because they are as important for getting people around as the commuter services.

Chris Heaton-Harris
 
Yes, I agree with the hon. Lady. She is absolutely right in what she says. As a Minister in the Department, I welcome the cross-party nature of the support that is being given to my right hon. Friend and this proposal.​
These services that I was talking about when I took the hon. Lady’s contribution will ensure that the rail network can meet the growing passenger demand and will allow more trains to run in the future. My officials are working with Network Rail to secure funding to upgrade Bristol East junction to support future service enhancements and, importantly, to enable the capacity needed to run the second phase of MetroWest services. These works will also improve the resilience of the network, so passengers in the area will benefit from a more reliable railway.

As my right hon. Friend knows, the coming December 2019 timetable change will bring a significant increase in services making use of this new infrastructure, which is already providing performance benefits along the route.

The investments that we are making in the area are not just on the railways. As I am told by many people who live in and around Bristol, it is an exciting time for Bristol and the wider area. There are plans to develop the Bristol Temple Quarter enterprise zone, including Bristol Temple Meads station, for business, housing and education, including a new university campus. That work is progressing and is being led by the West of England Combined Authority and Bristol City Council. The combined authority will also receive £103 million from the Government through the transforming cities fund to transform connectivity in the city region.

On roads, the area has benefited from £36 million through the local highways maintenance challenge fund. Three separate awards provided by the Government, totalling £113 million, have been provided towards the metrobus scheme, which will provide a 50 km bus rapid transit network in the greater Bristol area.

Then, of course, there is MetroWest. The Government continue to be highly supportive of its development and recognise the benefits it will bring to the area. The plan is that MetroWest will help to reduce congestion in the centre of Bristol, get people out of their cars and create a cleaner environment for people in the city with a decrease in carbon emissions. That demonstrates the Government’s commitment to decarbonisation through moving journeys from road to rail and helps to meet our ambitious, legally binding target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Darren Jones
 
Does the Minister recognise that the Mayor of Bristol is doing some extraordinarily important work in trying to meet our air pollution targets? As we have been discussing this evening, the delivery of public transport is a vital part of that. Can the Minister commit to continued support from the Department to help us to meet our air pollution targets in Bristol?

Chris Heaton-Harris
 
I do recognise the work of the Mayor of Bristol that the hon. Gentleman details and I can give him that commitment.

Matt western (Warwick and Leamington) (Lab)
 
Bristol and that area is a fabulous part of the country—I used to live there. The Portishead line is a microcosm of the problem in many regions across the country. Does the Minister agree that one of the great challenges, as we have just heard, is that if we are to improve air quality in our urban areas—our city centres and so on ​—improvement in sub-regional transport, as exemplified by this project, is critical? Does he see that as a greater priority than HS2?

Chris Heaton-Harris
 Share
I will deftly pass on answering the last part of the hon. Gentleman’s question, but I do absolutely see that as critical—100%. That is why we stepped in to provide £31.9 million to bridge the funding gap for the Portishead line element of the project after costs increased.

I thank my right hon. Friend the Member for North Somerset for acknowledging that that support was over and above what was expected from the Government, which I hope shows our commitment to seeing the line reopened. That support is, obviously, subject to my Department receiving a full business case that demonstrates the benefits for passengers and successfully passes through the Department’s rail network enhancements pipeline process, as he described. That is a process, not an excuse to cancel. I assure him that it will be used as it would be for any other scheme.

I am pleased to say, as my right hon. Friend notes, that the business case for the scheme is looking positive. It is currently at the outline business case or design level. Work is under way by North Somerset Council and the West of England Combined Authority to develop the scheme further to a full business case.

Once that work is concluded and the outcomes of the development consent order are known, the business case will be assessed to ensure that it delivers sufficient passenger benefits and offers value for money for the taxpayer, to inform the Department’s final investment decision. That approach will ensure that we are confident in our decision making, and it is in line with the Government’s approach to funding all major improvements to our railways.

My right hon. Friend will be pleased to hear that outline designs for the project are being been completed and feasibility works are under way to look at timetabling and how the new Portishead services will fit around existing train services in Bristol. Network Rail is continuing to develop strategies for the construction and future maintenance of the line. My officials and I will continue to work closely with the West of England Combined Authority and North Somerset Council to support the ​delivery of all elements of MetroWest as quickly as possible and to ensure the best possible outcomes for the Greater Bristol area.

Our transport investment in the Greater Bristol area, and our work with local authorities to improve transport in the area, does not stop there. My Department last year committed to jointly fund the Greater Bristol area rail feasibility study with the combined authority, which will conclude shortly. The purpose of the study is to address transport priorities in the area, assess the feasibility of a number of proposals and support delivery of a local transport network that can be locally run and sustainable.

The study is looking at a wide range of areas such as station improvements, light rail and tram-train options in the Bristol area and a passenger demand study. That is a positive step towards developing a shared long-term vision for transport in the area and determining how best to meet the needs of passengers, the rail industry and all interested stakeholders. We will continue to support local authorities in the area, again because rail in the Bristol area and the west of England is a priority for the Government and the subject of significant investment.

I am aware of the benefits of reopening the railway to Portishead and of the need for an improved local rail service in the area. I look forward to continuing to work with the combined authority and North Somerset Council to support the scheme’s delivery.

My right hon. Friend asked whether other options such as light rail could be considered. No, this is a rail solution—a heavy rail solution. He also mentioned the Sustrans plans for the local area. I met the chief executive officer of Sustrans today, and I look forward to developing all the proposals with that organisation that will get people out of cars and on to bicycles and, we hope, walking as well.

I should conclude, before I am timed out, by thanking everybody who took part in the debate. I thank my right hon. Friend again for securing this debate on the future of Portishead railway. I hope that, like me, he feels it has a very bright future indeed.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on October 17, 2019, 11:14:38 am
This is good, and extremely well worked. A bit of reading between the lines:

The first paragraph sets the scene. This has cross-party support at local as well as national level, has the support of the great majority of the local community, and is backed by a tireless community group. Also, Dr Fox himself. Lest we forget, he is properly referred to as the Rt Hon gentleman, reminding us that as a Privy Counsellor, he has the ear of the Queen if push comes to shove.

The next three paragraphs address his party's traditional road-building stance, rubbish the opposition gently, and explain why a Conservative government should align itself with a very expensive public transport project that ends in a Labour-run city.

Paragraph 5 is critical to the whole project. Costs have soared beyond the usual red line for cancellation, but it is still an extremely good project, even if it was approved under the coalition government, and later smiled upon by Chris Grayling. He goes on in the next paragraph to say how generous the government has been, how well the councils have managed the project and what a whopping great BCR it has.
He ends by damning MetroBust with very faint praise.

Up pops Karin Smyth: "Can we have a station at Ashton Gate please?" To which the Doctor replies: "I'm not falling for that one - ask WECA. But I've made a note, and I like Bristol. Hopefully, they will vote Tory next time."

Next the Irish intervention: "Thanks for the billion quid investment, which is why I'm here. Can we have a shiny new monorail system in my village please? And we'll support your next plan?" To which the Doctor says: "All in good time, maybe, but shut up for now. I like railways and public travel generally, but I want to cement the government contribution to the Portishead line, then we'll talk behind closed doors."

Darren Jones next: "Don't forget Henbury! And don't forget which constituency I represent! Or that Bristol has a north-west." The Doctor agrees with him, in a way that isn't exactly agreeing with his point, then gets the discussion back on thread, and starts with the technical stuff. Irksome bureaucracy, but necessary, or every Tom, Dick and Isambard would be building railways all over the place. Then comes a point of information - I didn't know that about the 2 km of non-railway land, nor that North Somerset had potentially delayed the project by buying the trackbed. Is Elfan ap-Rees doing a face-palm and saying "D'oh!" as he reads this, or did the council save it from development?

Two more paragraphs down, the Doctor remembers to mention pollution. You can tell he is old-school (as am I in this regard) because of his mention of CO2 emissions, rather than the trendier "carbon emissions", which I reserved for people throwing buckets of powdered graphite or soot around. Having established his environmental credentials - although he didn't say "sustainable" once - he moves on to quash the fanciful notions of others to pave the route for buses or downgrade to light rail, and begs the minister's confirmation, before throwing in a cyclepath for good measure, and summing up.

If the minister is annoyed at having his post-parliamentary pint delayed by half an hour, he doesn't show it. It gives him the opportunity to get down with da kidz with his new nickname for the local opposition by bigging up the Bristol Massive - although it gets ponced up in translation. Massif Attaque? He then quotes some figures that look short of a zero, and reminds everyone what a wonderful government we have, throwing money at railways like a three-handed lunatic, what with the election coming up, and reminds an adoring public of the...

Kerry McCarthy: "Shut up. The Severn Beach Line could do with a bit more investment too."

The Minister apologises for getting carried away, before carrying on getting carried away, even at one point referring to MetroBust as a "rapid transit network."

Darren Jones: "Don't forget the Mayor!"

Minister: "I had forgot the Mayor."

Matt "Great" Western: "Can I just say that this is the first time I have been on television? Scrap HS2."

Minister: "Bugger off. Yes, we will commit to building the Portishead line, and possibly trams or tram-train in Bristol too, but this is definitely heavy rail. Now - who fancies a pint? I'm spitting feathers."


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on October 17, 2019, 11:18:56 am
Spot on and very witty analysis from a very well informed and erudite correspondent, with a wicked sense of humour! ;D


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on October 17, 2019, 11:33:42 am
Quote
Does the Minister recognise that the Mayor of Bristol is doing some extraordinarily important work in trying to meet our air pollution targets?

Hansard's autocorrect obviously doesn't recognise the word 'impotent'...



Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: johnneyw on October 17, 2019, 12:04:22 pm
I noted with some disappointment that my local Bristol West MP seems to have not shown up there yesterday. Frankly, I'm not totally surprised at that.  Despite there being several existing and potential MetroWest stops in the constituency, all their flyers that I get through the door give little real indication that my MP treats this as a priority.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on October 17, 2019, 12:23:30 pm
Well... she asked a question about MetroWest in June 2018.

She's also been trying to get funding for step-free access to Severn Beach line stations, among other things. According to her blog:

Quote
The government cancelled electrification of the train line to Bristol Temple Meads. As a result, polluting diesel trains will still be running into the heart of the city.

This is particularly insulting for people living near the train lines in Lawrence Hill, one of the most deprived parts of Bristol. They had months of disruption and noise from electrification works, but will see no benefit from it.

This morning I asked the Department for Transport whether people in Lawrence Hill will receive any compensation for this inconvenience. The answer showed little understanding of the problem. Watch it here (https://www.facebook.com/debbonaire/videos/283161429259953/).

Even worse, residents of Lawrence Hill, Easton and Clifton who need step-free access are unlikely to be able to fully use these stations any time soon. I have been pushing Network Rail to grant Access for All funding (https://www.debbonaire.co.uk/in-parliament/2018/05/24/challenging-the-transport-minister-on-accessibility-of-bristols-local-train-network/) to improve facilities for wheelchair users, parents with pushchairs and disabled people at Lawrence Hill, Stapleton Road and Clifton Down. These bids were rejected. I have since written to Department for Transport (https://www.facebook.com/debbonaire/photos/pcb.666778697076640/666777813743395/?type=3&theater) directly to ask this decision to be reconsidered.

I will continue to press the government on this, particularly when it comes to the least well-off parts of my constituency. These areas are most reliant on public transport, so when the system discriminates against some passengers, it seems particularly unfair.

Source: Thangam Debonnaire's blog (https://www.debbonaire.co.uk/)




Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: johnneyw on October 17, 2019, 01:00:58 pm
Well okay, although that would be the minimum contribution I'd expect for such an important project for Bristol's future.
I know I'm just reading between the lines that I've been fed but I am still left with the impression that my MP is not enthused enough to be amongst those at the forefront of the campaigning.



Edit: Minor sentence correction.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on October 17, 2019, 01:25:07 pm
I noted with some disappointment that my local Bristol West MP seems to have not shown up there yesterday. Frankly, I'm not totally surprised at that.  Despite there being several existing and potential MetroWest stops in the constituency, all their flyers that I get through the door give little real indication that my MP treats this as a priority.

Twitter suggests that she was in Bristol, meeting with Lawrence Hill GPs, Thangham style. She and Kerry McCarthy speak with one voice on many local issues. Lawrence Hill is a bit of a Cinderella in Bristol West constituency, so I will assume her meeting was important, and that Kerry spoke for the sisterhood. I can't think what she could have added, in fairness.

Well... she asked a question about MetroWest in June 2018.

She's also been trying to get funding for step-free access to Severn Beach line stations, among other things. According to her blog:

I once helped the TM give a fairly substantial lady, with at least one bad leg and a stick, a bunk-up from the platform to the train at Stapleton Road, then we had to help her down at Lawrence Hill, where the steps are steep. She obviously knew what she was in for, but I agree entirely with step-free access and platforms level with the door being a priority.

Hansard's autocorrect obviously doesn't recognise the word 'impotent'...

It may be that voice recognition software is used. If that is the case, then despite the mishearing of that word, it has come on in leaps and bounds since my former department tried it out some 20 years ago. As is usual there, they dispensed with the human staff before seeing how reliable it was going to be, although I still use it myself occasionally.

That day when the system went live was the last day I ever saw a Thai pissed in the office.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on October 22, 2019, 09:38:17 pm
From the North Somerset Times (https://www.northsomersettimes.co.uk/news/government-support-for-rail-project-1-6334314)

Quote
Railway line reopening a Government 'priority' with hopes of ending 'miserable' M5 congestion

The line is due to reopen in 2023 - four years later than scheduled - with North Somerset Council awaiting a Development Consent Order from the Planning Inspectorate.

Dr Fox took the opportunity to emphasise the importance of the £116million scheme to MPs, and to praise the 'dogged support' of campaigners.

He said: "In the mid-1950s, the town had a population of around 9,000, which had risen to some 15,000 by the time I was elected in the early 1990s. The population now stands at around 25,000.

"The increased population in what I described back in 2005 as the most overcrowded cul-de-sac in the country has inevitably put pressure on our road system.

If another 4 years is a "priority", I dread to think what timescales there might be on other projects ...


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on October 22, 2019, 11:58:53 pm
He could have said JFDI !


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on November 08, 2019, 03:25:58 pm
Quote
“Nationally significant” rail scheme on track for Portishead
07 Nov 2019, 12:02 pm

Getting the train to Bristol is another step closer for people in Portishead.

The application for a Development Consent Order for the £116m MetroWest phase 1 scheme is being submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by North Somerset Council along with a formal letter of support from West of England Mayor Tim Bowles.

The DCO application seeks powers to build and operate the disused section of railway from Portishead to Pill, gain environmental consent to undertake works to the existing freight railway through the Avon Gorge and obtain powers for the compulsory acquisition of land.

Relaunching train services from Portishead with new stations at Portishead and Pill is a key part of the MetroWest programme of transport improvements across the region being led by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and North Somerset Council.

Benefits of the wider MetroWest scheme include:

181,000 fewer car trips in the opening year, increasing to 278,000 fewer car trips a year by 2036
A reduction of 7.5 million car kilometres in the opening year
958,980 passenger trips by rail in the opening year increasing to 1,295,103 passenger trips by 2036
Bringing more than 50,000 people within the immediate catchment of the two new stations at Portishead and Pill
Providing better access to employment and educational opportunities
Upgrading the existing train service at 16 stations across three rail corridors, directly benefiting 180,000 people within a 1km catchment
Creating 514 new direct permanent jobs and temporary jobs during construction
Providing £3 of quantified benefits for every £1 invested to deliver the scheme, putting the scheme in the high value for money category
Enhancing the regional economy by £264m in the first ten years.
Leader of North Somerset Council, Cllr Don Davies, said the council was committed to investing in local infrastructure: “The Portishead line is a nationally significant project that will deliver wide ranging environmental and economic benefits to our region. Once completed, MetroWest Phase 1 will connect an additional 50,000 residents directly to the national rail network and will improve the level of service for a further 180,000 residents on the Severn Beach and Bath corridors.”

Patricia Greer, Chief Executive of the West of England Combined Authority, said: “Reaching this milestone puts us within touching distance of the long awaited re-opening of the Portishead to Bristol line. It is also a significant moment in the wider MetroWest project, which will improve rail services for people right across the West of England.

“We are making major investments through MetroWest to give our region the rail network it deserves. From Severn Beach to Portishead and Henbury to Bath, we will be helping cut congestion, improve air quality and keep people moving. Making MetroWest a reality is only possible thanks to everyone involved working together, from the West of England Combined Authority and North Somerset Council to the Department for Transport and Network Rail.”

The Secretary of State for Transport is expected to make a decision within 18 months.

Subject to final business case approval, construction work is expected to start on the Portishead to Bristol line in December 2021 and take around two years to complete.
Source: North Somerset Council (https://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/news/nationally-significant-rail-scheme-on-track-for-portishead/?fbclid=IwAR1yuOVG4nvwJk0zoUjzUyZlQSTriC9LvmFpxK6DU71eduVTLQJ-RsqRHNQ)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on November 08, 2019, 05:21:13 pm
As I said in October, JFDI !

Never in the field of railway reopenings, can so many millions of pounds, millions of words, millions of seconds been invested in such a project with so little to show for it!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on November 08, 2019, 05:49:38 pm
It does make you wonder, after at least 5 years of concerted effort, research, planning, and document preparation by North Somerset DC, the LEP, and now WECA what exactly is left to do that is going to take DfT and a minister 18 months to make a decision on something so blindingly obviously needed. Beggars belief.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: stuving on November 08, 2019, 06:07:23 pm
It does make you wonder, after at least 5 years of concerted effort, research, planning, and document preparation by North Somerset DC, the LEP, and now WECA what exactly is left to do that is going to take DfT and a minister 18 months to make a decision on something so blindingly obviously needed. Beggars belief.

Only the last three months of that is the SoS's own personal delay. The rest is the Planning Inspectorate's, to do National Infrastructure Planning under the Planning Act 2008.
(https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Application-process-diagram2.png)

Their "what we do" page (https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/application-process/the-process/) starts with:
Quote
The Planning Act 2008 (PA2008) process was introduced to streamline the decision-making process for major infrastructure projects, making it fairer and faster for communities and applicants alike.

I hope you are all duly appreciative.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on November 08, 2019, 07:07:41 pm

Only the last three months of that is the SoS's own personal delay. The rest is the Planning Inspectorate's, to do National Infrastructure Planning under the Planning Act 2008.

Crikey, it must have been even worse once upon a time! Still, with few exceptions, those are maximum times. The Inspectorate could do the first bit within a fortnight rather than 28 days, the SoS could be sat with his pen poised ready for action waiting to sign off the Inspector's recommendation, rather than playing Candy Crush on his PC (or worse) for 89 days, them making his mark. They won't though. It will go to the wire. It would be nice to hear the starting gun soon.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on November 15, 2019, 04:46:39 pm
An addendum: I have just read in my newspaper that one of the major political parties is promising £500 million to reverse some of the Beeching cuts. Included are Portishead and Okehampton, and I'll bet the others are re-re-re-announcements too.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: bradshaw on November 25, 2019, 10:17:18 am

Just appeared on Twitter

Quote
An application for a development consent order (DCO) to construct a new railway line between Bristol and Portishead has been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate   

https://twitter.com/wilderbags/status/1198887204619198466?s=21


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on November 25, 2019, 10:48:39 am
So it has:

https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/south-west/portishead-branch-line-metrowest-phase-1/

...and here, for those who like this kind of thing, is the indicative design plan for great crested newt mitigation ponds:

https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/wp-content/ipc/uploads/projects/TR040011/TR040011-000381-2.59%20Great%20Crested%20Newt%20Indicative%20Pond%20Design.pdf

...or, perhaps more usefully, the D&A:
https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/wp-content/ipc/uploads/projects/TR040011/TR040011-000534-8.1%20Design%20and%20Access%20Statement.pdf


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Celestial on November 25, 2019, 11:43:03 am
Only 212 documents submitted, and this for, what, 3 miles disused railway that is (I believe) substantially still intact, and some work on an existing freight line.  How much has that all cost?  Makes you wonder doesn't it?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on November 25, 2019, 01:26:20 pm
So it has:

https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/south-west/portishead-branch-line-metrowest-phase-1/

...and here, for those who like this kind of thing, is the indicative design plan for great crested newt mitigation ponds:

https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/wp-content/ipc/uploads/projects/TR040011/TR040011-000381-2.59%20Great%20Crested%20Newt%20Indicative%20Pond%20Design.pdf

...or, perhaps more usefully, the D&A:
https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/wp-content/ipc/uploads/projects/TR040011/TR040011-000534-8.1%20Design%20and%20Access%20Statement.pdf

With 100 - 300 square metres of pond, I am assuming that there are two newts in the area, possibly more!

But I rather like the overall plan, which looks much better that it did in the earlier drawings, obviously because of the greater detail. A great number of people will be within walking distance of the new Portishead station, and the minor rerouting of roads isn't too much for anyone to bear.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: sikejsudjek3 on November 25, 2019, 04:00:48 pm
It does make you wonder, after at least 5 years of concerted effort, research, planning, and document preparation by North Somerset DC, the LEP, and now WECA what exactly is left to do that is going to take DfT and a minister 18 months to make a decision on something so blindingly obviously needed. Beggars belief.

Because
a) Its not in London.
b) It doesn't move bankers into the city faster.
c) North Somerset will return Tory MP's irrespective of spending in the locality. You could get a root vegetable elected there if it had 'Conservative' next to the voting box !

Hence the confusion in government and the many more months of dithering.... they probably don't even know where Portishead is. A five year old could work out there was an overwhelming case for reinstatement inside 10 minutes.



Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Noggin on November 25, 2019, 11:21:44 pm
Only 212 documents submitted, and this for, what, 3 miles disused railway that is (I believe) substantially still intact, and some work on an existing freight line.  How much has that all cost?  Makes you wonder doesn't it?

An enormous amount of money I am sure. But on the other hand we'd all be up in arms if the railway was CPO'ing land left, right and centre, or splashing cash on hare-brained projects, so it's one of those unfortunate checks and balances I'm afraid. I've not gone into the paperwork in any depth, but if it covers the Avon Gorge there's an awful lot of protected wildlife - each bat and vole probably needs a designated caregiver and strategy ;-)

More seriously, yes, it might be a fairly safe Conservative seat, but it will move a lot of people into one of the richest cities in the UK outside London, and by doing so, should considerably reduce the amount of traffic going into the City of Bristol, considerably increase the viability of an urban rail network in Greater Bristol, and help with Bristol's housing crisis. On that basis it is pretty scandalous that the current Mayor of Bristol is not spending considerable energy lobbying for urban rail investment such as the redoubling of the Severn Beach line and a timeline for electrification.   

 


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on November 26, 2019, 12:21:20 am
Thank goodness it is only one page and one diagram for the Great Crested Hilton Hotel. At 81 pages for the full DCO report, I was seriously worried that this section would be 80 pages long. I cannot help wondering, why, if the GCN is so rare, why does it seem to pop up at every infrastructure project throughout the country?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on January 01, 2020, 01:34:57 pm
Quote
On Thursday 12th December, we received a letter from the Planning Inspectorate stating they have accepted the DCO application for Examination. The letter can be read on PINS website (https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/south-west/portishead-branch-line-metrowest-phase-1/). We are now preparing for the next stage of the DCO process. Over the next few weeks, there will be some activity in the local area. This will include:

  • The display of public notices along the railway corridor stating that an application for development consent has been made and signposting people to where they can access the application documents
  • Hard copies of the application in local libraries
  • A copy of the application online
  • Preparation for the examination in public which is likely to be held in the Spring.

Source: TravelWest (https://travelwest.info/projects/metrowest)




Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on January 01, 2020, 03:31:42 pm
It's good to know the letter wasn't lost in the post. Something will therefore eventually happen - let's hope it's before the next election.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on January 01, 2020, 04:50:39 pm
Wasn’t it supposed to be open by now?!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on January 01, 2020, 05:29:23 pm
Wasn’t it supposed to be open by now?!

What, the letter?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on January 01, 2020, 06:09:53 pm
Wasn’t it supposed to be open by now?!

You may be confusing it with the Portway station, due to open in 2013. Then again, maybe not.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on January 09, 2020, 10:50:27 pm
Oh dear. I have heard a serious rumour that work has been paused on the section between Leigh Woods and the suspension bridge, and may not restart. It seems some politicians are becoming anxious about the rare plants there - whether that is real concern about plants or an excuse for concern about money. I do not know. Anyone else have more solid information?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Western Pathfinder on January 09, 2020, 11:45:02 pm
Might be worse someone could of found a newts nest !...


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: johnneyw on January 10, 2020, 12:16:45 am
Oh dear. I have heard a serious rumour that work has been paused on the section between Leigh Woods and the suspension bridge, and may not restart. It seems some politicians are becoming anxious about the rare plants there - whether that is real concern about plants or an excuse for concern about money. I do not know. Anyone else have more solid information?

It's news to me that any work had started there.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on January 10, 2020, 11:23:48 am

It's news to me that any work had started there.

For "work" I think we should read "looking at" and "planning" in this context, which is the normal precursor to any hardcore action with, well, hardcore amongst other materials. If that isn't done, nothing will get done.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: johnneyw on January 10, 2020, 11:48:33 am

It's news to me that any work had started there.

For "work" I think we should read "looking at" and "planning" in this context, which is the normal precursor to any hardcore action with, well, hardcore amongst other materials. If that isn't done, nothing will get done.

Ah yes, I see what you mean.  I jumped the gun there somewhat.  Thing is, along that stretch, the line is already laid and in use. It's not like they are about to four track it (or even double it) so I'm not sure what new peril this would put the rare plants in. Plus, there is the ecological price to pay for inaction too.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on January 10, 2020, 02:02:54 pm
...It seems some politicians are becoming anxious about the rare plants there...

Someone from North Somerset stood up at last year's FoSBR AGM and said words to the effect that the whole thing was doomed on account of Sorbus bristoliensis. Since then, North Somerset and HMG have stumped up a load of cash, and a DCO has been submitted.

Could the source of your rumour be the same person, or is there some new information? Isn't this all in the hands of the Planning Inspectorate now?

Planning has certainly taken place in this area; here is evidence (dated November 2019): https://tinyurl.com/wl9wndc

You will note that the route from Horseshoe Bend to the Suspension Bridge is all within the Avon Gorge SSSI.









Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on January 10, 2020, 02:15:01 pm
Quote
(https://cdn.networkrail.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Leaves-300x219.jpg)
In the Avon Gorge, on the Portishead line (freight trains only), there are six rare species of whitebeam trees on the cliffs above the River Avon that can’t be found anywhere else (leaves pictured left). They have all evolved within a self-contained ecosystem. We have to manage the whitebeams carefully, working with Natural England to ensure we can keep the rock faces safe while protecting the trees.
Source: Network Rail (https://www.networkrail.co.uk/communities/environment/wildlife/trees-and-the-railway)

I do hope they put those leaves back when they finished with them. Waydaminnit - there are seven of them..!



Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Bmblbzzz on January 10, 2020, 05:03:09 pm
Some of them, possibly all, are also grown in the botanical gardens in Stoke Bishop. Not that that's a substitute for growing in the wild, but as Tony K says, there won't be new track or even a new introduction of trains. At least not in the foreseeable future: perhaps in 2099 it'll be "maglev to Portishead now!"


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: johnneyw on January 10, 2020, 07:04:50 pm
There's nowt on the Portishead Railway Group website about this. I don't know if they have commented elsewhere.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on January 10, 2020, 09:18:35 pm
...It seems some politicians are becoming anxious about the rare plants there...

Someone from North Somerset stood up at last year's FoSBR AGM and said words to the effect that the whole thing was doomed on account of Sorbus bristoliensis. Since then, North Somerset and HMG have stumped up a load of cash, and a DCO has been submitted.

Could the source of your rumour be the same person, or is there some new information? Isn't this all in the hands of the Planning Inspectorate now?

Planning has certainly taken place in this area; here is evidence (dated November 2019): https://tinyurl.com/wl9wndc

You will note that the route from Horseshoe Bend to the Suspension Bridge is all within the Avon Gorge SSSI.


I am hoping that the source of the information is a local merchant of doom and gloom - you don't have to go far to meet one in Bristol - and that the information is wrong. There is certainly plenty of subtle engineering needed to bring the line up to passenger spec and a decent speed, presumably to stabilise the rocks beside the track mainly. Said whitebeams could be in the way of that.

I didn't know there were six species of whitebeam in the world, let alone just in Avon Gorge. Is every single whitebeam a separate species, I wonder? If they are unique, then I wouldn't like to think of them being dug up and replanted in NR's mitigation plot, to be draped with sleeping bats and to provide shade for the newt pond. I'll keep an eye open for anything else.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on January 10, 2020, 09:55:09 pm
It's worth remembering that every few years it becomes necessary to close the A4 Portway, on the other side of the Avon Gorge but also part of the 156 hectares that make up the Avon Gorge SSSI (https://designatedsites.naturalengland.org.uk/SiteUnitList.aspx?SiteCode=S1003073&SiteName=avon&countyCode=&responsiblePerson=&unitId=&SeaArea=&IFCAArea=), while they do works to stop rocks falling on cars below. This involves, I suspect, far more damaging interventions than will be needed for the Portishead line.




Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: stuving on January 10, 2020, 10:05:50 pm
I didn't know there were six species of whitebeam in the world, let alone just in Avon Gorge. Is every single whitebeam a separate species, I wonder?

Closer than you think! Resorting to Wikipedia, it says that there are many apomictic microspecies of Whitebeam. It hybridises with other sorbuses - rowans and service trees - and the results then reproduce asexually (that's apomictic). So it's possible to have several of that kind of species on the go in one small area, as they won't interbreed.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on January 10, 2020, 10:26:31 pm
Well if any of this does cause further delays to this reopening, I for one will certainly be apomictic with rage.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on January 11, 2020, 06:50:41 am
Enough for a red squirrel to turn white no doubt!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on January 11, 2020, 01:49:19 pm
It's worth remembering that every few years it becomes necessary to close the A4 Portway, on the other side of the Avon Gorge but also part of the 156 hectares that make up the Avon Gorge SSSI (https://designatedsites.naturalengland.org.uk/SiteUnitList.aspx?SiteCode=S1003073&SiteName=avon&countyCode=&responsiblePerson=&unitId=&SeaArea=&IFCAArea=), while they do works to stop rocks falling on cars below. This involves, I suspect, far more damaging interventions than will be needed for the Portishead line.


Indeed so. It used to be a lot more intensive before the canopy was built under the bridge, although I'm not sure that falling rocks were the primary reason. I can recall the Portway being closed for months one year, whilst people in harnesses swung from ropes, inspecting and chiselling here and there. I don't believe there is a way to completely stabilised the A4 side of the gorge to the point that there could never be a rock big enough to do some serious harm fall 80 metres. There are countries where the response to this danger would be to erect a sign saying "Beware of falling rocks", but I can well understand why that isn't the way here.

Well if any of this does cause further delays to this reopening, I for one will certainly be apomictic with rage.

I'm personally hoping it doesn't come to that, what with the holiday season just around the corner.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Noggin on January 15, 2020, 12:52:47 pm
Notice of Acceptance of Application for DCO in the paper this morning - https://ibb.co/3FTdN5n (https://ibb.co/3FTdN5n)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: stuving on January 15, 2020, 01:38:34 pm
Notice of Acceptance of Application for DCO in the paper this morning - https://ibb.co/3FTdN5n (https://ibb.co/3FTdN5n)

For those who prefer it, the same news on the interweb (https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/south-west/portishead-branch-line-metrowest-phase-1/), and the letter from TPI (https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/wp-content/ipc/uploads/projects/TR040011/TR040011-000585-Notification%20of%20Decison%20to%20Accept%20Application.pdf):
Quote
Dear Mr Willcock,Planning Act 2008 (as amended) – Section 55
Application by North Somerset District Council for an Order Granting Development Consent for the Portishead Branch Line – MetroWest Phase 1
Notification of decision to accept an application for Examination for an Order Granting Development Consent
I refer to the above application for an Order granting development consent made under section 37(2) of the Planning Act 2008 (as amended) (PA2008) and received by the Planning Inspectorate on behalf of the Secretary of State on 15 November 2019.

The Secretary of State has decided to accept this application for Examination. In reaching this decision, the Secretary of State has:
• in respect of section 55(3)(e) had regard to the matters set out in section 55(4), and concluded that the applicant has complied with Chapter 2 of Part 5 of PA2008; and
• in respect of section 55(3)(f), had regard to the extent to which those matters set out in section 55(5A) have either been complied with or followed, and concluded that the application (including accompaniments) is of a satisfactory standard.

Please be aware of your duties under:
• sections 56, 58 and 59 of PA2008;
• Regulations 8, 9 and 10 of the Infrastructure Planning (Applications: Prescribed Forms and Procedure) Regulations 2009 (as amended); and
• Regulation 13 of The Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2009 or, for projects scoped after 16 May 2017, the Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017. Delete this bullet point if your project is not EIA development.

Yours sincerely
Simone Wilding
Head of Major Casework Management
For and on behalf of the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing,
Communities and Local Government


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on January 16, 2020, 12:09:12 pm
A hard copy of the Development Consent Order documents can now be viewed at Portishead Library, Pill Resource Centre and Bristol Library until 26 February (Note: The documents total 20,735 pages!).

The documents can also be viewed online at:

https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/south-west/portishead-branch-line-metrowest-phase-1/.

One page for every great crested newt I guess !


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on January 18, 2020, 08:16:27 pm
Or 4 or so per sleeper.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on January 21, 2020, 09:05:24 am
Quote
Ashton Gate frustration at station and metrobus inaction

Bosses at Ashton Gate Stadium say they are trying and so far failing to persuade council leaders to improve the transport links to their stadium.

The chairman of Ashton Gate said they have asked council chiefs to work towards reopening the old Ashton Gate station and move the Metrobus stop named Ashton Gate closer to the stadium, but have been ‘unable to get a commitment’.

[...long article continues...]

Ashton Gate Stadium Ltd and Bristol City Council are working together on other transport issues, however. The stadium is part-funding work to install parking restrictions and double yellow lines on roads near the stadium, mainly along Duckmoor Road, to improve local access while matches are on.

[...]
Source: Bristol Post (https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/ashton-gate-frustration-station-metrobus-3759890)





Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on January 21, 2020, 11:11:57 am
The wider saga of Ashton Gate shows how Bristol City Council continually gets it wrong. I recall a temporary platform being put up opposite the stadium in the early 1980s to cater for people travelling to see the Rolling Stones and Billy Graham (two separate gigs, obviously) with enough rolling stock to make a big difference. The stadium now holds 16,000 and regularly gets close to that for at least 23 home football and 16 rugby matches, plus a variety of concerts, conventions and events throughout the closed season. As the club has grown, there has been a considerable increase in the problems experienced by local residents and businesses by the regular influx of visitors. So far, BCC's most notable response has been to help wreck plans to build a new stadium away from the present one. Ashton Gate is to gain many more homes in the near future, yet a station there remains only an aspiration rather than the subject of tough lobbying. MetroBust is seemingly unable to run additional services because of its "special" guided bit, and the stops were in any case sited to discourage use by football fans. The other local service, the 24, is a single deck service that has seen its frequency cut since the M2 began.

Bristol City want to expand further to make fuller use of the ground. There's a chance they will be in the Premier League next season. A station there is required for the stadium alone, let alone the thousands of people living nearby. I can think of no other football ground with such poor transport links, except Bristol Rovers, of course.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Phantom on January 21, 2020, 11:21:15 am
The stadium now holds 16,000 and regularly gets close to that for at least 23 home football and 16 rugby matches, plus a variety of concerts, conventions and events throughout the closed season

Sorry to be pedantic but those numbers are massively short
The capacity of the stadium is now 27,000. City get over 20,000 every game and the Bears are getting just under that, with a number of sell outs already, they're playing Gloucester this weekend and will way over the 20,000 again for this game
As for the concerts, this summer there is permission to go over 30,000 for "The Killers" gig.

As for conventions etc, these take place all year round and not just out of season


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on January 21, 2020, 04:55:57 pm
Or 4 or so per sleeper.

Actually, you could easily lose the whole lot in the ballast:

(https://fosbr.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/dco_files.jpg)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on January 21, 2020, 05:03:05 pm
Actually, you could easily lose the whole lot in the ballast:

I’m sure it’d be found lying there when the next set of studies and ground surveys take place.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on January 22, 2020, 05:19:04 pm

Sorry to be pedantic but those numbers are massively short
The capacity of the stadium is now 27,000. City get over 20,000 every game and the Bears are getting just under that, with a number of sell outs already, they're playing Gloucester this weekend and will way over the 20,000 again for this game

My typo - I intended 26,000, but thank you for t the correction. I understand there is now  a plan to enlarge the stadium further, which will probably make  some of those who campaigned for the Town Green on the alternative site wonder  if  they  backed the right horse.

I last  saw  the Who there, before I got old. I think that was a pretty big crowd, and only my encyclopaedic  knowledge of  the area got us out  and  home quickly. I also recall going to a football match at Highbury when in London. That was a stadium built as big as it could be, surrounded by houses, at least with the  benefit  of a tube station close by. There's  a little bit of BS3 heading the same way.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on February 02, 2020, 11:23:56 am
Spotted this in the Jan 2020 Draft JLTP. I wonder if this is the issue TonyK was alluding to? This issue was being discussed last year, I think, but the following statement doesn't seem to have a conclusion...

Quote
HRA Mitigation
The MetroWest Phase 1 project level HRA proposes a series of mitigation measures, including implementing protective measures during scheme construction which would reduce the adverse effects on the Avon Gorge Woodlands SAC. However, it is not possible to avoid the loss of up to 0.71ha of woodland within the SAC and therefore an adverse effect on this SAC remains following mitigation.
The project level HRA has therefore proceeded to evaluate the alternatives to the MetroWest Phase 1 scheme, however, it has not been possible to identify any feasible alternatives to this scheme. It is therefore necessary for this scheme to advance to the ‘IROPI test’ (imperative reasons of overriding public interest). The IROPI that have been considered within the project level HRA relates to human health, public safety and important environmental benefits. Compensatory measures are also provided within the project level HRA, including habitat management and planting of additional woodland with whitebeams. However, as a result of the European Court of Justice interpretation of the Habitats Directive, these measures cannot be taken into account in the assessment of the implications of the project.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: stuving on February 02, 2020, 01:24:15 pm
If you look in the DCO document set, there isn't one called Habitat Regulations Assessment (HRA). There is a counsel's opinion that the HRA is legally well-founded, which kind of suggests such a thing exists. There is also the oddly Trotksyite sounding "Report to Inform Habitats Regulations Assessment APFP Regulation 5(2)(g)". I guess the point is that the HRA is a process, involving several reports. Maybe it should finish with one called the HRA Assessment...

Anyway, the RIHRA has this conclusion to one of its sections:
Quote
11.8 Conclusions
11.8.1 The decision to go ahead with a plan or project must meet the conditions and requirements of Article 6(4). In particular, it must be documented that:
  • the alternative put forward for approval is the least damaging for habitats, for species and for the integrity of the Natura 2000 site(s), regardless of economic considerations, and that no other feasible alternative exists that would not adversely affect the integrity of the site(s);
  • there are imperative reasons of overriding public interest, including ‘those of a social or economic nature’;
  • all compensatory measures necessary to ensure that the overall coherence of Natura 2000 is protected are taken.
11.8.2 For the reasons set out above it is considered that all three tests are met in the case of the DCO Scheme and that the adverse impact on the integrity of the Avon Gorge Woodlands SAC predicted at Stage 2 is adequately compensated. It is concluded that the grant of consent for the DCO Scheme will not cause detriment to the maintenance of the overall coherence of the Natura 2000 network. The grant of consent to the DCO Scheme offers potential to improve the condition of the Avon Gorge Woodlands SAC.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: SandTEngineer on February 02, 2020, 01:32:23 pm
If you look in the DCO document set, there isn't one called Habitat Regulations Assessment (HRA). There is a counsel's opinion that the HRA is legally well-founded, which kind of suggests such a thing exists. There is also the oddly Trotksyite sounding "Report to Inform Habitats Regulations Assessment APFP Regulation 5(2)(g)". I guess the point is that the HRA is a process, involving several reports. Maybe it should finish with one called the HRA Assessment...

Anyway, the RIHRA has this conclusion to one of its sections:
Quote
11.8 Conclusions
11.8.1 The decision to go ahead with a plan or project must meet the conditions and requirements of Article 6(4). In particular, it must be documented that:
  • the alternative put forward for approval is the least damaging for habitats, for species and for the integrity of the Natura 2000 site(s), regardless of economic considerations, and that no other feasible alternative exists that would not adversely affect the integrity of the site(s);
  • there are imperative reasons of overriding public interest, including ‘those of a social or economic nature’;
  • all compensatory measures necessary to ensure that the overall coherence of Natura 2000 is protected are taken.
11.8.2 For the reasons set out above it is considered that all three tests are met in the case of the DCO Scheme and that the adverse impact on the integrity of the Avon Gorge Woodlands SAC predicted at Stage 2 is adequately compensated. It is concluded that the grant of consent for the DCO Scheme will not cause detriment to the maintenance of the overall coherence of the Natura 2000 network. The grant of consent to the DCO Scheme offers potential to improve the condition of the Avon Gorge Woodlands SAC.


I really wonder how we manage to build anything in this country now....... ::)


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: eightf48544 on February 03, 2020, 10:10:44 am
Won't we be getting rid of all this paperwork now we've left the EU?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: stuving on February 03, 2020, 12:22:16 pm
Won't we be getting rid of all this paperwork now we've left the EU?

Maybe. Maybe not. While leave campaigners (really meaning senior Tories here) did go on about getting rid of regulations, I don't recall hearing the same said for their end product - the protection of habitats in this case. That would be a bit along the lines of "vote Boris for dirtier Diesels". So it's hard to know what distinction will be made between various aspects of "regulations": (1) their effect on the real world,  (2) the steps necessary to produce (1), (3) the amount of effort consumed on doing (2).

But my understanding was that all this technical stuff was processed initially by just changing formal references to directives and the ECJ, so as to leave the workings of the laws and regulations unchanged. That meant it could be done by a small army of legal clerks doing text searches and cut and paste, and Parliament could rubber stamp the results without looking at them. In fact it also changes geographical references more generally, and some of this may alter the meaning quite a bit - for example, does "a species of (European) Community importance" mean the same as "a species of national importance"? Functional changes may be made later (and may or may not involve Parliament bothering to think about the effects).

The legal opinion in the DCO documents (https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/wp-content/ipc/uploads/projects/TR040011/TR040011-000540-8.2%20Legal%20Opinion%20from%20Stephen%20Tromans%20QC%20regarding%20the%20Report%20to%20Inform%20the%20HRA.pdf) gives the details:
Quote
Case law
12. The starting point in this matter is that by Article 6(4) of Directive 92/43/EC as amended (the Habitats Directive) because of the conclusions reached in the HRA, the competent authority may only agree to the project, in the absence of alternative solutions, if it must be carried out for imperative reasons of overriding public interest, which because the site hosts a priority habitat may only be considerations relating to human health or public safety or beneficial consequences of primary importance for the environment (absent a positive opinion from, at present, the Commission). In addition the UK as a member state must “take all compensatory measures necessary to ensure that the overall coherence of Natura 2000 is protected.” The requirements of the Directive are transposed in Part 4 of the Habitats and Protected Species Regulations 2017 and apply to DCOs, subject to the pending amendments made by the Conservation of Habitats (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 to reflect departure from the EU.

So, there you go - it's actually the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (aka 2017 No. 1012 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2017/1012/made)), as amended (now in force) by the Conservation of Habitats and Species (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 (aka 2019 No. 579 (https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2019/579/made)). This might be a good example to look at, if you want to know how much our regulatory environment has actually changed so far (and it would save me having to read it all). But be warned; the legal opinion cites sections in the directive, not in the act that had already transposed them into UK law!


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on February 04, 2020, 03:16:05 pm
Quote
11.8.2 For the reasons set out above it is considered that all three tests are met in the case of the DCO Scheme and that the adverse impact on the integrity of the Avon Gorge Woodlands SAC predicted at Stage 2 is adequately compensated. It is concluded that the grant of consent for the DCO Scheme will not cause detriment to the maintenance of the overall coherence of the Natura 2000 network. The grant of consent to the DCO Scheme offers potential to improve the condition of the Avon Gorge Woodlands SAC.

Having read that for the fourth time, am I right in thinking that they are saying that not only is it OK to build a railway move a signal 20cm to the right, but also that the gorge will actually be a nicer place when they've done it?


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on February 08, 2020, 08:13:38 pm

So, there you go - it's actually the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (aka 2017 No. 1012 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2017/1012/made)), as amended (now in force) by the Conservation of Habitats and Species (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 (aka 2019 No. 579 (https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2019/579/made)). This might be a good example to look at, if you want to know how much our regulatory environment has actually changed so far (and it would save me having to read it all). But be warned; the legal opinion cites sections in the directive, not in the act that had already transposed them into UK law!

Interesting. The one explanation that wouldn't be plausible is that the barrister offering the opinion sort of forgot that things were changing. More likely that such presedent as exists relates to the European directive and will still be enforceable under EU protocols until the end of the transition period. After that, the Court hearing any challenge could still look to EU court judgments for guidance if deciding the matter under the new UK regulations. I'm sure that any newts will sleep soundly tonight.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: ellendune on February 08, 2020, 08:46:18 pm

So, there you go - it's actually the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (aka 2017 No. 1012 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2017/1012/made)), as amended (now in force) by the Conservation of Habitats and Species (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 (aka 2019 No. 579 (https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2019/579/made)). This might be a good example to look at, if you want to know how much our regulatory environment has actually changed so far (and it would save me having to read it all). But be warned; the legal opinion cites sections in the directive, not in the act that had already transposed them into UK law!

Interesting. The one explanation that wouldn't be plausible is that the barrister offering the opinion sort of forgot that things were changing. More likely that such presedent as exists relates to the European directive and will still be enforceable under EU protocols until the end of the transition period. After that, the Court hearing any challenge could still look to EU court judgments for guidance if deciding the matter under the new UK regulations. I'm sure that any newts will sleep soundly tonight.

Another explanation is that - if you read the Regulations - they make reference to the Directive for crucial details, so the papers need to directly reference the text of the Directive. 


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on February 09, 2020, 01:15:08 pm
Another explanation is that - if you read the Regulations - they make reference to the Directive for crucial details, so the papers need to directly reference the text of the Directive. 

For goodness sake, don't tell certain people! There'll be Watneys Red Barrel sprayed all over the walls.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on March 06, 2020, 08:06:20 pm
I really wonder how we manage to build anything in this country now....... ::)

I didn't know we did...

Won't we be getting rid of all this paperwork now we've left the EU?

I had a quick rummage through some of it. My favourite part is part 5.4. the Construction Strategy (https://metrowestphase1.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/5.4-construction-strategy.pdf), which lays out the proposals for how things will be done, once the thinking is finished with and someone picks up a shovel and say "Right, then". It's interesting in parts. Some 15,000 m2 of old ballast, track, newts etc has to be removed, and much the same brought back in again. Give the sheep the night off if you like, and have a read - there's too much to quote bits.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on April 23, 2020, 02:49:54 pm
From Somerset Live (https://www.somersetlive.co.uk/news/somerset-news/portishead-railway-line-reopen-4068807)

Quote
When will the Portishead railway line reopen?

Photo caption "The tunnel between Portishead and Bristol Temple Meads hasn't seen a train in decades"

Reopening the Portishead railway line will play a critical role in North Somerset’s recovery from the coronavirus crisis, project leaders say.

The exact impact the pandemic will have on the £116million cost of Metrowest remains unknown but it could cause delays and add nearly £5million to the bill.

Construction work, which will include new stations in Portishead and Pill, is expected to start in December 2021 and take around two years to complete.

More than £20million has already been spent.

[snip]

Quote
The report asks North Somerset Council’s executive to approve a further £7million spend to cover railway engineering design and technical support, legal services, land agents and environmental impact assessments.

MetroWest phase 1 will need the cooperation of around 100 landowners along the track.

Project leaders are expected to secure as much as possible on a voluntary basis but without compulsory purchases it “will not proceed in a reasonable timeframe”.

Once completed, the scheme is set to result in 181,000 fewer car trips in its opening year, increasing to 278,000 car trips by 2036.

Other benefits will mean 958,980 passenger trips by rail in the opening year increasing to 1,295,103 passenger trips by 2036.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: rogerw on April 23, 2020, 03:36:55 pm
Typical example of the poor quality of local reporting.  Funny how a tunnel that hasn't seen a train in decades has shiny rails going through it. I seem to recall travelling through it in September 2012 or perhaps I was only dreaming (was it really that long ago?). I like the way that the track has to be resurfaced


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on April 23, 2020, 05:22:47 pm
"The tunnel between Portishead and Bristol Temple Meads hasn't seen a train in decades"

Yes it has, as rogerw points out. The reporter may also be interested to know that it is not the only tunnel.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: infoman on April 24, 2020, 06:25:08 am
https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/plans-hundreds-new-homes-site-4062313


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on May 07, 2020, 07:46:15 am
From North Somerset Times (https://www.northsomersettimes.co.uk/news/portishead-railway-project-moves-step-closer-1-6640997)

Quote
MetroWest project will be ‘essential to economic recovery of North Somerset

Reopening the Portishead railway line will play a critical role in North Somerset’s recovery from the coronavirus crisis, project leaders believe.

The authority agreed to procure and award contracts for professional services to support the continuation of the development consent order process through to the MetroWest project completion.

Contracts for rail engineering technical support and rail industry technical processes up to £2million, legal services up to £2.9million, land agent fees up to £900,000 and environmental impact assessment services up to £1.9million will be awarded.

The contracts form part of the estimated total project cost of £116.4million.

The contracts of engagement will have break clauses at key milestones within the project, should the council not be in a position to proceed.

Construction work, which will include new stations in Portishead and Pill, is expected to start in December and take around two years to complete.

Is that essence of recovery due to all the work created by the re-opening project, or the travel benefits once it has been re-opened?  That latter is expected to be 30 months away yet, and on past project form I am not holding my breath.


Title: Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion
Post by: martyjon on June 20, 2020, 03:17:03 pm
https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/metrowest-project-extended-gloucester-4245736


Reading the above article in todays post makes me question whether WECA and the LAs of the region are committed to rail.



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