Port applies for more train journeys
VILLAGERS in Pill could soon hear the rattle of more trains passing their homes if a proposal from The Bristol Port Company is approved.
The company has applied to North Somerset Council for permission to increase the number of trains using the railway line from the Royal Portbury Docks to Bristol, which passes through Pill.
Currently, there is permission to allow 10 trains to use the line each day and the company wants to increase this to a maximum of 20.
The application has been made to accommodate the company’s plans to begin importing biomass into the UK for electricity production.
For almost 20 years, handling coal has been one of the main money makers for The Bristol Port Company but this is in decline due to Government legislation. The business now plans to import wood pellet biomass for use in power stations.
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The pellets would come into Portbury by boat and be transported out by train, with each train carrying about 1,200 tonnes of pellets – the equivalent of 48 lorry movements on the area’s roads.
It is envisaged that as the use of coal reduces, the number of trains using the line each day would decline again.
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Existing noise restrictions will also apply to all biomass train movements.
However, Pill and Easton-in-Gordano Parish Council has objected to the proposal on the grounds it could increase disturbance for residents.
Parish council chairman Andy Jopp said: “We couldn’t really understand why they require double the number of trains. It seems excessive.
“Given that we had a resident complaining about the noise of the trains at the meeting and he’s not the only one to complain.
“If it was a smaller proposed increase we probably wouldn’t have batted an eye lid as we want to encourage the employment opportunities.”
The single track railway line linking Royal Portbury Dock to Bristol was reopened in 2001 and has in the past decade carried a variety of goods including cars, coal and steel.
A Bristol Port Company spokesman said: “We were aware that residents might have questions and concerns about the use of the rail line to transport wood pellet to power stations which is why we briefed the parish councils earlier this year.
“Power stations and Network Rail will decide when trains run, as they currently do with coal trains, and we will continue to minimise effects on people, working with Network Rail, through measures such as restricting the speed of trains, the use of modern wagons, banning the use of whistles near houses and automatic lubrication. We have offered to meet with the parish council to discuss this with them and we are waiting for them to give us a date to meet.”