Set-back for rail project

PLANS to re-open the Portishead to Bristol railway line are facing delay once again.

Bidding for all British rail franchises is currently on hold after technical flaws were found in the bidding process for the West Coast Mainline.

A subsequent review of the overall franchise system will undoubtedly mean a delay in the tendering of the Great Western franchise, which includes the Portishead rail link.

The report on the bidding review is not expected to be presented back to Government Ministers until the end of the year, dashing hopes that the Great Western franchise would be finalised early in 2013.

Many now fear that the proposed rail improvements are at risk. But it is not all doom and gloom according to Colin Howells, vice-chairman of the Portishead Railway Group.

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He said: “There is no doubt that this is a setback for Portishead, however, while we can’t predict the outcome of the current reviews, we believe that even with a delay of up to nine months, the Portishead to Bristol railway line project could still be delivered within our 2017 time frame.”

Portishead Railway Group is keen to recruit new members to give it a stronger voice in its aim to ensure the project is kept on every relevant agenda, as it campaigns to get the Bristol to Portishead rail link open as soon as possible.

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The next members’ meeting and AGM takes place at the Folk Hall in Portishead High Street at 7.15pm on November 20.

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