Re-opening is planned as a key part (Phase 1B) of the MetroWest project which will link and upgrade the railway system in the Bristol area, providing an initial frequency service to Portishead (1 train per hour).
The project is considered to be a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project, so requires a Development Consent Order (DCO) so as to attain the planning powers to build and operate the project.
All of the funding necessary was in place in April 2019.
The DCO was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate on 15 November 2019. This was a majormilestone.
The DCO main Examination stage was completed on 19 April 2021 and on 19 July 2021 the Planning Inspectorate sent a report on its findings to the Secretary of State.
The Secretary of State for Transport was due to make adecision on the DCO by 19October 2021,but delayed it until 19 April 2022, then delayed it again until 2023.
On 4 July 2022 North Somerset Council said that it and WECA were seeking to commit an additional £10m each to the project, and were asking the DfT to close the remaining £15.5m funding gap.
On 27 July 2022 North Somerset Council announced that the Department for Transport had committed the additional £15.5m required to fill the funding gap.
To reduce costs, current plans have no station buildings at Portishead or Pill and platforms will take 3-coach trains rather than the previously planned 5. It is hoped that this can be improved upon.
On 14 November 2022, the Secretary of State for Transport granted development consent and approved the DCO. This will allow the detailed design work to be done and completed during 2023 (GRIP 5). Dept for Transport statement >>
Network Rail appointed VolkerFitzpatrick as the primary contractor for the programme in Feb 2023 covering detailed design, plus ground and ecology surveys.
PRG has issued a statement to provide an accurate picture of current progress for the general public so as to counter some misinformation.
October 2023: Extensive ecology enabling works have taken place through the year and detail design (GRIP 5) has progressed significantly. See MetroWest latest news …