New campaign for Portishead rail

A NEW campaign has been launched in the hope of achieving the reopening of a Portishead rail link.

One of the main aims of the newly-formed Greater Bristol Metro Rail group is to see the line linking Portishead with the city reopened.

Created by rail campaigners and the four councils of North Somerset, Bristol City, South Gloucestershire and Bath and North East Somerset with the aim of working for a common purpose, the group aims to lobby the Government and train companies for changes and improvements to rail services in and around Bristol.

The campaign has four main aims including reopening Portishead station, introducing half-hourly services across Bristol, reopening more stations in Bristol and reintroducing four tracks between Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway stations after two were removed in the 1980s.

The campaign has been started at a time when the Government is consulting on a document detailing what will be required of the next company to take on the Great Western Rail Franchise from April 2013.

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The contract, which covers the South West, London and South Wales, is currently run by First Great Western which has decided to terminate the franchise next year.

The Department for Transport is currently consulting on the terms of the next franchise before formal bids for the 15-year contract are submitted in August.

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In July, the department intends to make clear what the franchisee would be required to deliver between 2014-19.

Contenders for this list of demands include Bristol area developments including the Portishead line re-opening.

The Greater Bristol Metro Rail group is campaigning for this to be included in the franchise and it plans to continue efforts to keep the Portishead issue on the Government’s agenda.

North Somerset Council and Bristol City Council hope to make the case for Government funding for the Portishead line at the next opportunity and a campaign to raise awareness of the measures needed to open the link is planned.

It is expected to cost about �50million to reopen the line, which would require a new station in Portishead and intermediate stations at Pill and Ashton Gate.

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