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22 July 2017: Network Rail has now responded to the FOI request for a copy of the GRIP 3 report made by Gareth Jones on behalf of PRG Committee after initially rejecting the request (see April 2017). Network Rail said that the GRIP 3 process is still ongoing (in conjunction with North Somerset Council) and no final option has been determined. NR have provided a (slightly redacted) GRIP 3 Option Selection Report. This is not the final GRIP 3 report.

Download report here (33 pages PDF 1.6 MB.)

2 May 2017: North Somerset Council has issued a Press Release saying that Portishead Rail is still on track. Full text …

April 2017: GRIP 3 for MetroWest Phase 1 was understood to have been completed in March, but as full details have not been released, PRG committee member Gareth Jones submitted a Freedom of Information request on behalf of PRG to Network Rail asking for a copy of the GRIP 3 report. This request was rejected – but see 22 July 2017.

17 March 2017: A meeting of the West of England Joint Transport Board was held on 17 March 2017. The board decided to consider a staged approach to Phase 1:

  1. Upgrading Keynsham and Oldfield Park and Severn Beach Line stations to a ½ hourly service (hourly beyond Avonmouth)
  2. Providing an initial frequency service to Portishead (1 train per hour)
  3. Providing a half hourly service to Portishead (2 trains per hour as originally planned).

Portishead Railway Group made the following statement to the meeting. A hard copy of PRG's Statement was also provided. PRG Statement >>

9 March 2017: MetroWest made an announcement that the cost estimate had risen from £58m to between £145m and £175m. PRG was expecting some increase but is shocked at the scale of it. West of England Joint Transport Board are to meet on 17 March to consider the way forward. See also Press articles 9 March, MetroWest statement and JTB Agenda document …

Special diesel train trip to Royal Portbury Docks

4 March 2017: On Sat 4 March a special excursion train – the diesel hauled Bristol Docker – ran down the Portishead line to Royal Portbury Docks as part of a tour of freight-only lines around Bristol.

Ashton Vale Road consultation

December 2016: Consultation on proposals for Ashton Vale Road alternative access closes at midnight on 12 December. Details …

Bristol rail electrification delayed indefinitely

8 November 2016: The Government announced that parts of the London to Bristol electrification were to be delayed indefinitely. Network Rail says that this will not have any impact on the reopening of the Portishead line.

Land Purchase

28 August 2016: North Somerset Council is reported to have purchased two small pieces of land in Portishead which will be used for the railway. See North Somerset Times article 28 August 2016.

Official updates released

11 August 2016: North Somerset Council issued Portishead Rail Services Summer 2016 update which explains the reasons for the delays to outline engineering design work in GRIP 3.

MetroWest Newsletter No 6

24 June 2016: Outline engineering design work is taking longer than expected due to technical difficulties in the Avon Gorge and completion is now delayed until this autumn. The Stage 2 formal DCO consultation will now take place following that. See MetroWest update June 2016. Updated timescales are not yet available, but estimates are shown on our timescales page. See also Bristol Post article 28 June 2016.

Land Purchase

19 April 2016: North Somerset Council is to purchase two parcels of land which are required for the stations at Portishead and at Pill. Most of the land required for the project is already owned by either by NSC or Network Rail. See also North Somerset Times article 20 April 2016. See also 28 August 2016.

Railway works – temporary line closures

April 2016: The Portishead line is dependant upon work being first completed elsewhere on the railway network, e.g. Filton Bank four-tracking and Bristol Area Signalling Renewal. Details here … Progress is now being made on these, resulting in some temporary line closures. See details of closures …

New public consultations

29 February 2016: Two new MetroWest Phase 1 public consultations have been announced. One is for proposed improvements to Pill Station with a closing date for feedback of 22 March 2016. The other is for Ashton Vale Road level crossings with a closing date for feedback of 23 March 2016.

Official updates released

22 January 2016: North Somerset Council issued Portishead Rail Services Winter 15/16 update. Slippage of about 6 months was announced. Building work is now expected to commence in 2018.

Opening to be delayed by one year?

20 January 2016: Newspaper reports say that opening could be delayed by up to a year. Official confirmation is awaited. See Bristol Post article 20 Jan 2016.

MetroWest Newsletter No 5

14 January 2016: MetroWest has published a newsletter about the Stage 1 Public Consultation. See Newsletter

News from previous years: