Re-opening is now 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 with 2 in peak times).
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 is now in place (April 2019).
The DCO was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate on 15 November 2019. This was a majormilestone. It was accepted to proceed to examination on 12 December 2019.
The DCO main Examination stage was completed on 19 April 2021 and the DCO is now in the Recommendation and Decision stage (stage 5 of 6).
On 19 July 2021 the Planning Inspectorate sent a report on its findings to the Secretary of State.
The Secretary of State is due to make a decision on the DCO by19October 2021.
Meanwhile MetroWest is working on the procurement of contractors to design and build the final scheme.
If approved, construction is expected to start in summer 2022.