Track clearance work another ‘positive step’

The tracks being cleared near Trinity Primary School

The tracks being cleared near Trinity Primary School - Credit: supplied

ACTIVITY on land designated for the Portishead to Bristol railway has indicated a positive step forward for the re-opening of the line.

Contractors have started clearance work on an area of the disused section of track close to Trinity Primary School, to give North Somerset Council access to the track bed and to bridges and culverts.

This will allow the authority to establish more details of the scope and estimated costs involved to support the railway project if it proceeds as expected.

Portishead Railway Group vice-chairman Colin Howells said: “The work that is in progress to clear vegetation from the track from Quays Avenue through to the junction with the existing freight line near Pill, is essential to allow the next phase of the re-opening process to progress.

“Portishead Railway Group sees this as another positive step towards the ultimate goal of trains running on the track between Portishead and Bristol by 2017.”

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The work could take several weeks to complete and is therefore likely to overlap into the bird nesting season. Because of this, contractors will work under the supervision of a qualified ecologist who will be on-site to ensure any work avoids nesting birds and other protected species.

Four councils have teamed up with local businesses to form the West of England Local Transport Body (LTB).

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The body, which is responsible for setting priorities for major transport projects in the west, will meet on March 13 to set out its priorities.

To date, all parties are agreed that the priority should be phase one of the Greater Bristol Metro Project, which includes the Portishead to Bristol railway line.

Funding for much of this will come directly from the Government’s Department of Transport and is anticipated to be available in 2015.

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