News Archive - 2006 – Newer at top Go to current news ...
‘Station’ built in Portishead
1 Dec 2006: Portishead company Hydrex Equipment UK Ltd have built a station complete with platform and ticket office in Portishead for £500,000, but it’s for training purposes only. It’s built alongside double track they’ve had to specially lay separate from the disused line, because they are not allowed to use the old line by the rail authorities. See Evening Post article 1 Dec 06.
Bristol MP raises Portishead line in Parliament
9 Nov 2006: Stephen Williams, MP for Bristol West, this week raised questions in Parliament over the government's decision to fund the freight train line between Portishead and Bristol while refusing to invest in a similar route for passenger trains. Mr. Williams said: "A new freight line has been built, at enormous expense to the taxpayer, from Portishead in Woodspring to the city centre in my constituency in Bristol—ironically, to import cars. It could also be used to reopen the passenger line to Portishead, but First Great Western tells me that under its franchise it is not allowed to argue for an expansion of its existing network. It must simply run existing services. Is not that absurd?" Read full text
New Group calls for creation of a Bristol Transport Authority
6 Nov 2006: A new pressure group, the Bristol Transport Alliance, is calling for the creation of a new Bristol Transport Authority together with increased funding for transport. The new group supports the reopening of the Portishead line amongst other proposals. Its manifesto was unveiled today. See also Evening Post article 6 Nov 2006. The Portishead Railway Group supports this campaign.
£750M to be spent on region’s railways
2 Nov 2006: Network Rail is spending £750M on rail refurbishment, but this does not include anything for the Portishead line. See Western Daily Press article 2 November.
Cycleway threat to Portishead railway
1 Nov 2006: Plans to divert a cycle track onto the route of the disused railway line have been criticised. NS council say this is only temporary and the cycleways would be removed if the railway were to be reopened. See North Somerset Times article 1 November.
Possible new Greater Bristol Transport Authority
3 Oct 2006: A Greater Bristol Transport Authority could be formed in two years by the four local authorities. This should enable a more united approach on transport issues in the area. Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander said at the Labour part conference that new legislation will be unveiled in weeks to give councils the necessary powers. See Evening Post article “United front to cut congestion” 3 October.
Regional Spatial Strategy - consultation ends
30 Aug 2006: This document, prepared by the South West Regional Assembly, sets out the planning and transport aims for the region. Public consultation ended on Aug 30. See Local Government page under South West Regional Assembly. See also Evening Post article 22 Aug. See Draft RSS website.
Portishead Flower Show - PRG stand
28/29 July 2006: The Group had a stand at the Portishead Flower Show (see photo) at which we were pleased to meet many people and to explain our campaign. A number of new members signed up and we welcome them to the Group, and look forward to seeing them at our meetings. Mr P Mason won the prize for tickets for the Avon Valley Railway.
Motorway expenditure wasted?
29 July 2006: Today saw perhaps the first big test of the extra lanes recently completed on the M5 at a cost of £28 million. It seemed to show that the money was largely wasted. Severe congestion occurred as usual on the Gordano Valley stretch. See photos. This railway could be fully reopened for far less money.
Another 150 houses to be built in Portishead
20 July 2006: An extra 150 houses will be built at The Ashlands in Portishead after NSC councillors caved in to a developer's threats. The council had previously refused to give the go-ahead to increase the cap at The Ashlands from 1,500 to 1,650. The council will net almost £800,000 planning gain from the developer however, the majority of which will be spent on education. See Press article 20 July.
Visit of Shadow Transport Minister to Portishead
23 June 2006: Chris Grayling was brought to Portishead by local MP Liam Fox to acquaint him with the absurd situation regarding the reluctance of the Government Office for the South West/Central Government to seriously consider reopening the Portishead line. Present at the gathering, adjacent to the future intended station site, were local and district councillors and members of Portishead Railway Group. The Shadow Minister fully supported our case. Click here for fuller report. See also Press article 29 June.
Greater Bristol Strategic Transport Study recommendations passed to Government
21 June 2006: Final recommendations for the GBSTS have been passed to the Government Office for the South West. Reopening of the line was not included. Report is available on line. See Transport Plans.
Rubber track proposal
1 June 2006: A proposal to lay a rubber road surface over railway track was condemned by PRG Chairman Alan Matthews. See Press article 1 and 7 June.
Open letter to media signed by 14 organisations published
18 April 2006: The letter signed by this Group and 13 other organisations, protesting at the lack of support by local authorities for Bristol’s suburban railways, is published in Evening Post. Click for letter.
Joint Local Transport Plan submitted to Government
April 2006: The 5-year Joint Local Transport Plan has been approved by all four local councils and has been submitted to the Government.
1 April 2006: The new Greater Western Franchise begins operation.
92,500 new homes planned for former Avon area
11 March 2006: Members of the South West Regional Assembly have agreed a draft version of a document called the Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) which will create a blueprint for the way in which the region grows during the next 20 years. It shows the quota for the former Avon area is expected to be 92,500 new homes until 2026 building on a lot of green belt land. See Press article 9 and 11 March. The Evening Post comments that the Assembly is an unelected Government quango, which is unknown to most people. It says it is undemocratic and unacceptable.
Congestion charge in 3 years
Portishead Railway Group looking for a loco
9 March 06: We are looking for a loco to stand on the existing track to advertise the station site and the railway, and to support the Brunel 200 celebrations. Further details
South West Public Transport Users’ Forum meeting
Meeting held Taunton 4 March 06: This was an important meeting attended by Portishead Railway Group representatives. The new Greater Western Franchise and the cuts in rail services proposed for the new timetable from Dec 2006 were of great concern. The public is urged to write as soon as possible with their concerns to various bodies.
Joint Local Transport Plan to go before Councils
6 March 06: The 5-year Joint Local Transport Plan is to be submitted to Bristol City Council on Thurs 9 March and also to the other local councils shortly with submission to the Government at the end of March. The Evening Post reports that the Plan estimates that £350m per year is being wasted in traffic jams in the Bristol area. Unfortunately the Plan does not suggest much investment in railways in general. See Press article 6 March.
Severn Beach Line subsidy to be cut
Feb 2006: Bristol City Council is to cut the £136,000 subsidy for the Severn Beach line, which will mean that the service cannot be improved in frequency. Portishead Railway Group supports retention and improvement to the Severn Beach line, since it is important to improve the whole local rail network. See Evening Post article 28 Feb 2006.
21 Feb 2006: Members meeting held.