Rail Update

BUT delays on Portishead Line Restoration

I just thought that I would give everyone an update on the railway developments (known as the MetroWest schemes) happening in and around Brtistol - and of course Henbury & Brentry.

MetroWest Phase 1, which includes the Portishead line and enhanced services on the Severn Beach and Bristol Bath lines, is still being designed. The West of England has just finished a study looking in detail at the engineering and signalling requirements for the project. It has highlighted a number of challenges which have taken a few months longer than planned to investigate fully, such as the works required to the track along the Avon Gorge to enable the required line speed, and the signal work required where the Portishead spur joins the main line. The result of this is that the costs for the Portishead element of the MetroWest Phase One have gone through the roof, although the other two elements (a better service on the Severn Beach Line and improvements to the Bath to Bristol Line) still seem to be fine. 

The results of this study will obviously have an impact of the overall scheme design and costs. All of this went to the Joint Transport Board around March 2017 with the result being that additional work will be done to try and bring down the costs of the Portishead Line restoration while we push ahead with the other two elements.

MetroWest Phase 2, which includes the Henbury line (with stations at Ashley Down, North Filton and Henbury) and a half hourly service to Yate, is moving towards the next phase of development, the GRIP stage 3 study (Network Rail speak for design and engineering). The study started earlier this year and aims to complete by December 2017. The GRIP 3 study will look at the detailed engineering solutions required to deliver the project. A requirement for the study will be to ensure that designs for the Henbury line are future proofed for potential conversion to a ‘loop’ should this become possible in the future.

At the moment there are two possible sites for the Henbury Station (these were consulted on last year). Both potential options for Henbury Station will be investigated in the first part of the GRIP 3 study as no clear preference was apparent from the consultation. The plan is that as the engineering needs are evaluated it will help determine which station is most practical. Completion of the project is still scheduled for May 2021.

Separately to the core MetroWest programme, the Council has been developing a brief for a ‘MetroWest Enhancements’ study, to investigate further potential enhancements such as improved frequencies, new route opportunities and the potential for new stations.

So at the moment things still seem 'on track' for the Henbury Station - fingers crossed.