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Author Topic: Bristol-Bath Railway Path improvement work  (Read 1567 times)
Lee
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« on: March 15, 2012, 10:02:51 AM »

From This is Bath:

Quote from: This is Bath
Work to start on improving Bristol to Bath Railway Path

Work is due to start on improving the Bristol to Bath Railway Path.

Bristol City Council will be undertaking extensive resurfacing, which has been funded with a grant from Sustrans and the Government's Links to Schools and Communities Programme.

The resurfacing will concentrate on sections of the path that have been damaged by tree roots and will stretch between Ridgeway Playing Fields in Speedwell and the end of the path in St. Phillips.

The path will be closed in sections to ensure the safety of path users and to allow the contractors carrying out the works a safe working environment.

A number of 24 hour closures will take place, with full signed diversions in place for pedestrians and cyclists.

Work will commence on Monday and last for around two weeks.

Motorists using roads adjacent and parallel to the Railway Path should expect a higher number of pedestrians and cyclists to be sharing routes between the March 19 and 30.

Adrian Roper, Sustrans regional director, said: "We're glad to be able to work in partnership with Bristol City Council on this project.

"We recognise the good work that Bristol is doing to promote walking and cycling in the city."
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grahame
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« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2018, 07:43:53 AM »

Sustrans:

https://www.sustrans.org.uk/news/plans-rapid-transit-link-along-bristol-and-bath-railway-path-our-response

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We were disappointed by recent reports in The Bristol Post about the potential use of The Railway Path for a light rail connecting the two cities. We believe the trackbed of the former Midland Railway line would not be a suitable location for a rapid transit link and there would be substantial local opposition to any plans.

Light rail use of the land would not be compatible with the majority of the path’s current usage value. Indeed, when bus rapid transit was last mooted along the path exactly a decade ago by the West of England Partnership, there was such a community response that over 7,000 signatures opposing the plans were collected in a month.

Railfuture:

https://www.railfuture.org.uk/Press+release+13th+February+2018

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When the Bristol and Bath railway path was first established, it was done on the clear understanding that it would be returned to rail use should the need arise.  Are you trying to renege on that commitment?

Your claims that the route is too narrow simply do not stand up. The original railway was double track through its entire length, and the current tarmacked section uses only approximately half the width of the trackbed, so what's the problem?  Experience around the Bitton area has shown that it is possible for the cycle track to be shared with rail, and other examples such as the reopened Borders railway and the Cambridgeshire busway also demonstrate that it is possible to accommodate cyclists alongside public transport routes with little difficulty.
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« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2018, 03:23:56 PM »

I read the first post in this thread and thought, Good, bits of that section are awful. Then I noticed the date; it's referring to work done almost six years ago. Shame they only did such small sections!

As for the light rail link, I've no idea what understanding there was when the path was first established but I wonder if any of those original understanding parties are still around? Avon County Council has gone, and though Sustrans is still around, the path actually pre-dates them. It's been there an awfully long time now; it's actually older than the mean age of UK population (which is 41)! Width? Probably ok for a single track from around Warmley east. The Bristol end is narrower, has a couple of steep gradients and a few sharp corners.
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grahame
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« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2018, 03:40:51 PM »

I read the first post in this thread and thought, Good, bits of that section are awful. Then I noticed the date; it's referring to work done almost six years ago. Shame they only did such small sections!

Sorry about that ... linking up new stories with old ones!

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As for the light rail link, I've no idea what understanding there was when the path was first established but I wonder if any of those original understanding parties are still around? Avon County Council has gone, and though Sustrans is still around, the path actually pre-dates them. It's been there an awfully long time now; it's actually older than the mean age of UK population (which is 41)! Width? Probably ok for a single track from around Warmley east. The Bristol end is narrower, has a couple of steep gradients and a few sharp corners.

Interesting question. I believe that when something is sold with a covenant on it (do I have the right term?) than covenant can only be released with the agreement of all bodies / inheriting bodies with interest
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2018, 03:51:30 PM »

This is a bit like watching two friends getting into a fist-fight.

I too am intrigued by Bruce Williamson's claim that the Railway Path was "established... on the clear understanding that it would be returned to rail use should the need arise". I'd be interested to see where that understanding was documented. Presumably the people whose houses were built on the trackbed at Clay Bottom will have some reference to it in their deeds? Or is he mis-remembering?

Williamson also points out that the Avon Valley Railway shares the alignment with the cycle path "in the Bitton area", and from this he deduces that there is room to share the whole route. But Bitton is one of the quieter stretches of the cycle path - the section through Easton is much busier, particularly in the rush hour; arguably it could benefit from widening.

Cyclists will also be rather wary of Williamson's suggestion that problems can be solved by "a small diversion for the cycle route" - such diversions tend to be badly-planned at best, unsafe at worst.

I don't mean to take sides here, but I'm worried that Railfuture are making the sort of error that leads to MetroBus - rather than committing to what is needed (a good solution along the Bristol - Keynsham - Saltford - Bath axis), they are looking at 'nearly good enough' options that might be easy. I think they'll be surprised at how not easy it is, when once again they take on the Bristol cycling community..!
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rogerw
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« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2018, 04:49:07 PM »

Many years ago in the days of Avon the proposal for the greater Bristol LRT had a line from the centre to Emersons Green which used the route of the old midland railway (now cycle path) as far as Staple Hill.  That was before the alterations in the Fishponds area to build a Safeway store (now Morrisons) were undertaken.
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froome
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« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2018, 05:45:10 PM »

A brief potted history of the Bristol & Bath Railway Path (hopefully mainly accurate though my memory isn't that good these days):

The first bit of path built on this alignment was done by the old Kingswood council, and had signs for long afterwards that directed people to the Old Railway Line (or something similar). However, the first purpose built section of cyclepath (or to be more accurate shared use path, for use of both cyclists and pedestrians) was conceived by Cyclebag, who were the cycling campaign group in Bristol in the early 1970s, who convinced Bristol council to fund a small section. From this, a number of Cyclebag members conceived the idea of building a path along the whole alignment from Bristol to Bath, and set up a sustainable engineering company called Sustrans, who put together a report for this. Once the first bits had shown how successful they were, Sustrans worked with Avon County Council on finding ways to fund and build the whole path (the rural sections were originally built as narrow lime dusted paths but Avon then improved the path to a standard tarmac 3 metre path). By this time, Sustrans were starting to put forward ways to take this idea forward elsewhere, and from this conceived the idea of the National Cycle Network.

I'm not aware of any agreements which would put the path back to rail use, but I expect the statement by Bruce Williamson comes from Sustrans early statements to the effect that their work was generally saving old rail lines for future sustainable transport usage, which could include rail. Various proposals have been made over the years for this, and has been noted, various developments have occurred, such as those at Clay Bottom, which would render these very difficult or impossible to achieve.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2018, 06:30:10 PM »

Cyclebag are still going, in some form. http://www.cyclebageast.btik.com
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froome
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« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2018, 06:55:34 PM »

Cyclebag are still going, in some form. http://www.cyclebageast.btik.com

Yes, Cyclebag as a city-wide campaign group finished around the end of the 70s when it was superseded by Bristol Urban Cycling Campaign and most of its energy went into Sustrans, but a splinter group has remained in east Bristol to this day.
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