Steam up for Posset link

 

By Richard Bache.    Clevedon Mercury 14 July 2005

 

THE campaign to reopen the Portishead to Bristol rail line is going full steam ahead with the arrival of a 1,500‑name petition at both ends of the line.

 

The Portishead Heritage Railway Project has collected more than 1,500 signatures from the town's residents urging policymakers to prioritise the reopening of the line to ease chronic traffic problems.

 

The line was closed in the 1960s as it, like many other rural lines, fell victim to Dr Beeching's reorganisation of Britain's railways.

 

But Portishead's rapidly growing population has seen traffic congestion increase to such an extent that last year Woodspring MP Dr Liam Fox told Parliament the town was 'Britain's biggest cul‑de‑sac'.

The PHRP handed the petition to Portishead Town Council last Wednesday evening and to Bristol City Council on Tuesday. The new joint chairman of the group, Matt Skidmore, said that the idea of the petition was to let councillors working on the Joint Local Transport Plan gauge the depth of feeling in Portishead about the line.

 

The LTP is a joint document currently being worked on by North Somerset Council, Bristol City Council, South Gloucestershire Council and Bath and North East Somerset Council. The authors of the document say the disused passenger line should be reinstated to meet demand from commuters but it is unclear how the reopening would ever be financed.

 

Mr Skidmore said: "It is a no-brainer. Everybody wants to see the line reinstated but it is a matter of convincing those that control the purse‑strings to act."