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Author Topic: Patchway to the River Severn - intermediate traffic for the places passed  (Read 465 times)
grahame
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« on: December 03, 2018, 11:03:57 am »

The railway lines from London and Bristol come together at Patchway, and out of the urban area, through the final southern gasp of the Cotswolda and across flat lands to the River Severn, which they cross via the Severn Tunnel - still a mastepiece of engineering - and then head on for Newport and Cardiff.

The Pilning, Redwick, Aust and New Passage areas hosted multiple ferries prior to the opening of the first road bridge, and at Pilning Station you could load your car onto the train if you preferred to go under rather than float over.  Alas, these days that use of Pilning station has long gone and the station's sevrvice has been whittled away, dropping from a regular service to just a few calls by train, sna even most of them were lost, with the station being served only on Saturdays. In 2016, the station footbridge was removed and now trains can call only as they head out of Wales - making the station pretty impractical for any day trips.

The northern Bristol flank - field when the railway was built - now host the Aztec West business park employing some 7,000 people and yet there is no station there, nor close enough for people to use it and walk.

At Patchway, the old Rolls Royce site has shrunk out of all recognition and is being redeveloped.  Patchway station is being given a new accessible bridge, but is the hourly train that calls there enough to encourage mass transit use?

Should the future of the line from Patchway Junction to the Severn Tunnel (and Severn Tunnel Junction, just across in Wales) be purely as a conduit for through passngers from the London line and Bristol to South Wales, or does it have a local function too?

The map (below) shows the geography of the area in question; white stars are exisiting service stations. They are at Caldicot and Severn Tunnel Junction in Wales, Severn Beach, St Andrew's Road and Avonmouth on the Bristol side of the Severn Estuary, and Patchway, Bristol Parkway and Filton Abbey Wood towards Bristol.  Blue flags 1, 2 and 3 are all locations that have been suggested as possibilities for the revival of the station at Pilning, which at present is in poor condition and only served on a Saturday, even though it's on the main line with lots of trains passing through. Green flag 4 is the location that has been mentioned for a possible station for Aztec West. Blue diamond flags are other potential future stations on other lines - on the Henbury loop and on a re-opened line to Tytherington / Thronbury.



Stealing from another thread (I'm allowed to - it's mine) and extending it slightly to look at a scheme that's slightly larger than one station, here are a dozen questions that need to be addressed. And if the scheme involves funding, there needs to be a business case and not just "isn't it nice to have a station". So.

1. Who do you want to use it?
2. How will they get to / from the station (bus, cycling, walk, car consideration)?
3. Is it a safe place for a station? (And with sufficient space for the station's projected growth)
4. What trains will call there?
5. Will they be frequent enough?
6. Will there be enough space for extra passenger on the train?
7. Will they go to the right places?
8. Is there space on the line and in their schedules for the extra stop?
9. Who will pay for it?
10. Will it just abstract passengers from other stations / modes?
11. Is there a wider economic, congestion, clean air benefit?
12. Who will take the lead in promoting it and the risk?

Let's take Aztec West first
1. Employees and visitors to the Aztec West and adjoining business areas; residents nearby.
2. Largely walking, some cycling, the nearness to Cribb's Causeway by bus is also noted!
3. Yes - provided it is not a park and ride.  There ARE engineering challenges for the build though
4. Current Hourly Taunton to Cardiff plus extended Weston-super-mare to Bristol Parkway trains now headed for Newport
5. At half hourly, they will be frequent enough
6. These trains will get busy, but extra capacity is in the pipleline
7. They will mostly go the right places; a change at Bristol Parkway for The Midlands and North, Swindon and London is also useful
8. Yes
9. There are private funding initialtives where payment is based on a per-passenger levy for 30 years. Worth exploring
10. The station is intended to absract from private cars (see point 11). There will be minimal abstraction from Patchway (a few people walk) amd from buses, but Patchway and Aztec West will serve broadly different catchments.
11. Yes, yes, yes.
12. I get myself utterly lost in the onion-like layers of mayoral authorities in Bristol ... I dunno.
Verdict - Green Line to look further

Let's try Severn Beach in its current form
1. Residents of Severn Beach and the nearby areas. Also some business traffic
2. Mostly foot or cycle. Some bus transfers
3. Station is already there
4. Local trains via Avonmouth and Clifton Down into Central Bristol. Talked about extension to join the South Wales main line is way above my pay grade, and frankly I think it's fancilful.  I took a look at parts of the old track bed yesterday - it's basically gone / built over / blocked.
5. Every 2 hours is not frequent enough to encourage mass transit, but I am unclear as to whether enough passengers would want to use the service if it was up to the metropolist standard of eveny 30 minues.
6. At present, these trains get very heavily loaded as the approach teh centre of Bristol
7. Not really.  The journey to Bristol is slow and wriggley, and journeys to elsewhere involve going into Bristol and back out.
8. There would be space for extra trains (extending from Avonmouth)
9. Would probably need to be revenue supported within the franchise or local agreement
10. Abstraction from other public transport would be unlikely.  With any one of the three "Pilning" options on the main line, they would very likely abstract a little traffic from Severn Beach station, but the destinations on offer are so different ...
11. Some
12. I suspect this would need to be a local / governmental based lead. But see (12) on Aztec West.
Verdict - leave as is.

With the removal of Severn Bridge tolls, with the continued traffic congestion into Bristol, with the growth of Severnside business parks up to within a couple of hundred yards of Pilning village (just to the south of the Railway) and with a new access going in to the M49 to service those business parks, how would the various options for a station in the Pilning area fit in?

Let's try Pilning, on current site
1. Residents of Pilning?   On a back lane by an awkward bridge, looks limited
2. Walk and cycle; a few could drive
3. Station already there but major work to re-open a second platform to attraact any significnat new traffic
4. Current Hourly Taunton to Cardiff could call, plus extended Weston-super-mare to Bristol Parkway trains now headed for Newport
5. It would be hard to justify too meny extra stops in terms of likely traffic
6. Yes
7. Yes - but without a second platform could people come back?
8. Yes
9. I suspect it would need to be a political decision
10. Too few passengers for that to be a consideration
11. Too few passengers for that to be a consideration
12. No-one
Verdict - Treat with care.  Hard to see extra traffic justifying major spend.

For Pilning on the B4055
1. Residents of Pilning (and it would up their house values!) - much infill.  Businesses at Westgate (200 yards from Station . New builds to South. Park and ride via new M49 juction approaching from South and not through Village. Some may also drive from Aust motorway junction through the village, but it's 4 times the distance off the motorway.
2. Walk, cycle, drive. Note also hourly bus service each way that will be supported / could be enhanced to serve station
3. Yes; footways from Pilining and from the south. Land quite close for car parking. Probale need for pedertsian crossing from car parking to slopes to platform.
4. Current Hourly Taunton to Cardiff to call (hourly both ways, not twice a week one way!) plus extended Weston-super-mare to Bristol Parkway trains now headed for Newport
5. Yes
6. Yes - bearing in mind 2nd train is an extra
7. Yes - and change at Bristol Parkway for Midlands and North, Swindon, London
8. Yes
9. There may be a private funding initialtive as per Aztec West
10. There may be some abstraction from Severn Beach as the journey in to Bristol will be much faster. There may also be some abstraction from Bristol Parkway as access there to park is getting very congested. And there may be people who now drive over the (no toll) Severn Bridges to Pilning rather that parking / joining trains in South Wales when headed for English destiations.
11. Yes, Yes, yes.  Note the potential relief of congestion into and in the centre of Bristol, and also for journeys in to Filton Abbey Wood and Aztec West.
12.
Verdict - Green Light to look further

And finally - Pilning on the A403
1. Available for the residents of Pilning and Redwick; also proposed as a significant bus interchange for transfer to employment areas
2. Walk, Cycle, Bus
3. A difficult place for a station as the railway is in a deep cutting / tunnel and the road transforms from due to single carriageway as it pased over. There is space around, including some brown field land but you could be lookig at significant build costs.
4. Current Hourly Taunton to Cardiff plus extended Weston-super-mare to Bristol Parkway trains now headed for Newport
5. Yes
6. These trains will get busy, but extra capacity is in the pipleline
7. They will mostly go the right places; a change at Bristol Parkway for The Midlands and North, Swindon and London is also useful
8. Yes
9. You are probably looking at a regional or government funding scheme
10. There may be some abstraction from Severn Beach as the journey in to Bristol will be much faster. There may also be some abstraction from Bristol Parkway as access there to park is getting very congested. And there may be people who now drive over the (no toll) Severn Bridges to Pilning rather that parking / joining trains in South Wales when headed for English destiations. Note that a significant number coming over the new Severn Bridge would likely approach from the M49 new Pilning Junction and through the village.
11. Yes, Yes, yes.  Note the potential relief of congestion into and in the centre of Bristol, and also for journeys in to Filton Abbey Wood and Aztec West.
12.
Verdict - Amber - proceed with caution; expensive build and other issues

The above has been written as a scene setter for newcomers to these various ideas, looking at noting all / most of the options that have been suggested and putting some sort of business framework on to each of them.  Take a further look at Pilning Station, SEWWEB and  Integrated Transport.  The SEWWEB link (more to come there) covers each possible site including Aztec West, Pilning, and making better use of Patchway. The other tend to be looking purely at the flat area on the approached to the River Severn.
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« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2019, 12:15:03 pm »

Not trying to be negative, but your point 4 is more likely to be "None" in all cases. The official line from GWR is:
"Pilning is on the mainline, stopping trains here impact on journey times for long distance services at a time when customers and stakeholders in Wales and Bristol are asking for faster connections to support the regional and local economy. We have to be mindful of this and we will not be increasing calls at Pilning beyond the Service Level Commitment set down by the Department for Transport".
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grahame
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« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2019, 01:11:32 pm »

Not trying to be negative, but your point 4 is more likely to be "None" in all cases.

The official line from GWR is:
"Pilning is on the mainline, stopping trains here impact on journey times for long distance services at a time when customers and stakeholders in Wales and Bristol are asking for faster connections to support the regional and local economy. We have to be mindful of this and we will not be increasing calls at Pilning beyond the Service Level Commitment set down by the Department for Transport".

We met at nine, we met at eight, I was on time, no, you were late
Ah, yes, I remember it well
We dined with friends, we dined alone, a tenor sang, a baritone
Ah, yes, I remember it well

Ah yes, I remember it well, being told a similar story. "There are no trains passing through" in our case and "running them for you would mean not running them elsewhere".  All sounded pretty terminal.  But then note "beyond the Service Level Commitment set down by the Department for Transport".   Yep, familiar, and for a commercial company looking to make a modest return for its shareholders, not unreasonable and sadly even the busiest of local services tends to be a net balance sheet negative for the TOC, compensated by the faster, longer train, longer journey, more expensive per mile high speed stuff.   Improved local services beyond the SLC may bring the most massive economic benefits to the area served, but if the improved service is at a net loss to the TOC, it's not in their interest to run it.  So ... get the SLC changed  Grin

We had two trains each way per day.  We encouraged our local council to apply for a DfT grant through the LSTF for a 3 year trial. In turn that encouraged the TOC to provide a service - it now made business sense for the three years. But we also took care to ensure that there was an onward route for an alteration to the SLC as set down by the Department for Transport.    From next January, then, 17 calls per weekday at Melksham where it used to be 4. But it's not calls "beyond the Service Level Commitment set down by the Department for Transport"

Different station, different things needed.   We needed the train, you need - well - look at the options, but there is an initial hourly train passing through that could stop.  It does within the clock face a couple of times a week already.  Get the good business case, get (almost) all the ducks, including the local ones with Victorian outlooks who would still like to travel to Wales by water rather than bridge or tunnel, lined up.  Get it in the strategic plans and - I will admit to my surprise when I first did some initial maths - it seems to add up.

GWR are, perhaps, somewhat simplifying the issue of trains stopping on the main track in the lines above. But reading between the lines, they're pointing the way forward to the mutual advantage of all parties.
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« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2019, 02:32:25 pm »

Can I pick you up on a tiny detail?

At Patchway, the old Rolls Royce site has shrunk out of all recognition and is being redeveloped.

Rolls-Royce may have knocked down their pre-war facilities to the south of Gipsy Patch Lane, but not before investing massively in a state-of-the art new facility on land they owned to the north of Gipsy Patch - see https://www.apm.org.uk/media/32779/rolls-royce-bristol-site-map-1.pdf

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grahame
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« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2019, 04:28:07 pm »

Can I pick you up on a tiny detail?

At Patchway, the old Rolls Royce site has shrunk out of all recognition and is being redeveloped.

Rolls-Royce may have knocked down their pre-war facilities to the south of Gipsy Patch Lane, but not before investing massively in a state-of-the art new facility on land they owned to the north of Gipsy Patch - see https://www.apm.org.uk/media/32779/rolls-royce-bristol-site-map-1.pdf



Yes, I'll give you that. It's changed beyond my recognition from circa 1980 when I used to spend a lot of time on site.  All the stuff to the south of Gipsy Patch Lane has been raised to the group; much of the stuff to the north has been rebuilt;  I was in there just a handful of years back and may be doing further work soon.
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« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2019, 05:40:24 pm »

All the stuff to the south of Gipsy Patch Lane has been raised to the group;
I presume you mean "razed to the ground." Or are you actually speaking corporatese for "not our responsibility anymore, HQ's looking after it"? Think Bod for autocollect!  Grin
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grahame
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« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2019, 07:17:50 pm »

All the stuff to the south of Gipsy Patch Lane has been raised to the group;
I presume you mean "razed to the ground." Or are you actually speaking corporatese for "not our responsibility anymore, HQ's looking after it"? Think Bod for autocollect!  Grin

I did indeed mean razed. "Raised to the ground" is what happens to your car just after you pick ir up from the Southgate station parking at Bath Spa.
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