Progress for rail link in Portishead

A SECTION of train track between Portishead and Portbury could be bought by North Somerset Council to provide a rail link for the town.

A SECTION of train track between Portishead and Portbury could be bought by North Somerset Council to provide a rail link for the town.

The council is in discussions with BRB (Residuary) Ltd, which owns the three-mile section of track between the former station at Portbury and Poritshead, to establish the market value of the land.

Officers are also looking into possible ways of funding the line.

North Somerset Council has already agreed a long-term plan to re-open the Portishead to Bristol railway to ease traffic chaos for commuters on the A369.


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Cllr Elfan Ap Rees, the council's executive member for strategic planning, said: "The re-opening of the branch railway line from Bristol to Portishead to passenger traffic is a long-standing objective of the council and the purchase of this land would safeguard it from any development.

"However we need to establish the cost and quantify the risks and liabilities before committing to buy it.

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"Obtaining this land would be another step forward in our desire to create a fast corridor link between Portishead and Bristol."

The council is keen to buy the land to prevent developers from snapping it up, which could prevent the re-opening of the track.

The news comes just weeks after the Department of Transport said it would not earmark the cash needed to re-open the line.

Portishead Railway Group and the Gordano Valley Local Councils Transport Group have been campaigning for years to get the line re-opened and are delighted with the news.

Chairman of Portishead Railway Group, Alan Matthews, said: "We are really pleased that North Somerset Council is at least showing some progressions towards re-opening the line and this is the first step.

"The next step is to get a feasibility study done and to promote the line."

Members are planning to ask North Somerset to carry out a feasibility study to discover how much it would cost to open up the line and run it and to find out how many people would use it.

The railway was closed to passenger traffic in 1964. The line between the former Portbury station and the docks was opened for freight use six years ago at a cost of £21million, but the last three miles of track has stayed closed.

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