Train link excitement mounts
- Credit: Archant
STEAM engines and a brass band will accompany the first passenger trains to run out of Portishead for 53 years.
These are just some of the plans already under way in anticipation of trains operating on the re-opened Portishead to Bristol line in April 2017 - 150 years after the station first opened.
Following a meeting in December between North Somerset MP Dr Liam Fox, members of the Portishead Railway Group and transport minister Simon Burns, Dr Fox said he felt more “upbeat than at any previous time” about the prospect of seeing trains running to and from Portishead.
He said: “The information the minister gave us left us all feeling very optimistic and I expect we will get a definitive announcement on dates and funding in parliament before the summer recess.”
A report is expected to be issued by North Somerset Council within days, asking the council’s executive to agree to spending money on the development of the line, which is included in phase one of the proposed Bristol Metro rail project.
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Work clearing the Portishead track could begin within weeks, ahead of the nesting season, to allow further surveys to take place on the line.
Bristol’s mayor George Ferguson has recommended the city council approves its share of the funding for the first phase and the other two authorities that make up the West of England Partnership, an organisation formed to respond to joint opportunities and challenges including transport, are expected to follow.
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If this happens, re-opening the line will be one of the projects put forward to Government ministers during the spring. If successful, it would receive Government backing before the autumn.
Portishead Railway group confirmed this is exciting news.
Vice chairman Colin Howells said: “After more than 12 years of campaigning, Portishead Railway Group now believes the re-opening of the Portishead to Bristol railway line is in sight.
“It appears decisions are being made both nationally and locally which, when progressed, should see trains running on the line by 2017. This would coincide with the 150th anniversary of trains first running on the track.”
Passenger services out of Portishead began on April 18, 1867.
To keep up to date with the progress of the Portishead railway campaign visit www.portisheadrailwaygroup.org