MetroWest will transform rail travel in the region, generating over a million new rail journeys and giving 80,000 more people access to train services.
The West of England Combined Authority is working in partnership with DfT, Bath and North East Somerset Council, Bristol City Council, North Somerset Council, South Gloucestershire Council and Network Rail to deliver new and more frequent rail services across the region.MetroWest Network Map Download pdf
The examination period is now underway, with the preliminary hearings complete and the first open floor hearing over which took place on the 19th October. Following these meetings, the Examining Authority has issued a significant number of questions to the project team as well as stakeholders, partners and other bodies and individuals. These questions must be answered by Deadline 2 on the 23rd November. Deadline 1 was set for the 2nd of November when the Examining Authority requested a number of documents by. The project team met this deadline and submitted all the requested documents. There are two more hearings which the project team are now preparing for:
- 4th December – Compulsory Acquisition Hearing
- 7th December – Issue Specific Hearing on the draft Development Consent Order
Further details are available from PINS website.
In other news, the disused line is being stripped of vegetation again to enable ongoing access. We understand the works can be disruptive to local residents but please be assured that they are essential for the continued development of the project.
The examination began on the 6th October and will last approximately 6 months. During the examination, the inspectors will look in detail at the DCO application. The process begins with a preliminary meeting which is being held online because of Covid-19 restrictions and will be in two parts on Tuesday 6 October and Monday 19 October. After these meetings, the formal examination process begins, with an open floor hearing on the evening of Monday 19 October when interested parties can give the panel their views on the project. The deadline for requests to be heard at the Open Floor Hearing on 19 October 2020 has been extended to Procedural Deadline B on 14 October 2020.
As part of the process for DCO schemes, PINS are required to hold an examination in public (similar to a public inquiry), which takes around 6 months. This process begins with a Preliminary Meeting, notified by a Rule 6 letter which we’ve just received and can be read on PINS website. It sets out the timescales and details for the DCO examination. The Preliminary Meeting is being held online because of Covid-19 and will be in two parts; (1) Tuesday 6th October; and (2) Monday 19th October (which contains an open floor hearing in the evening). After that the examination proper commences. We anticipate it will be a very intense 6 months for the project. The letter is 46 pages long and covers the following: Agenda for the Preliminary Meeting
Introduction to the Preliminary Meeting
- Initial Assessment of Principal Issues
- Draft Examination Timetable
- Notification of Open Floor Hearing on 19 October 2020 under Section 93 of the Planning Act 2008
- Availability of Examination Documents
- Other Procedural Decisions made by the Examining Authority
- Coronavirus Response: Examination Practice Changes and Your Privacy
Portishead rail line: MetroWest Phase 1
- Severn Beach: Hourly services on the Severn Beach Line to Bristol Temple Meads and half hourly services from Avonmouth to Bristol Temple Meads calling at a new station at Portway next to the Park and Ride.
- Bath & Westbury: Half hourly services from Bristol Temple Meads to Bath to Westbury.
- Portishead Line: Re-opening of the Portishead Line providing an hourly service between Portishead and Bristol Temple Meads with new stations at Pill and Portishead.
The Planning Inspectorate (on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport) has accepted the Development Consent Order (DCO) Application made by North Somerset District Council. The Application was made on 15th November 2019 and accepted for examination on 12th December 2019. The acceptance letter can be read on PINS website.
The final application consists of:
- 287 documents and 20,735 pages
- 69 sets of plans/drawings
- An Environmental Statement which has 19 chapters and 62 appendices
- The Book of Reference which has 2,465 pages
- The Consultation report which is 630 pages excluding the appendices.
When printed and stacked the application is around 7ft high!
A hard copy of the full suite of Application documents, including plans, maps and other documents may be inspected free of charge at Portishead Library, Pill Resource Centre, and Bristol Central Library until further notice.
Henbury rail line: MetroWest Phase 2
- Henbury Line: Re-opening of the Henbury Line with new stations at Henbury, North Filton and Ashley Down, providing an hourly service from Bristol Temple Meads to Filton Abbey Wood and onto North Filton and Henbury.
- Yate & Gloucester Line: Half hourly services between Bristol Temple Meads and to Gloucester via Yate with a potential new station at Charfield.
Ashley Down Station
New Stations Package
The MetroWest Phase 1 and Phase 2 proposals include new or reopened rail stations at Portishead, Pill, Henbury, North Filton and Ashley Down.
In addition to these stations, a separate new stations package is looking at the potential for future new stations in other locations.
Proposals for a new station at Saltford on the line between Bristol and Bath are being pursued by Bath & North East Somerset Council. Bristol City Council has commissioned a study to investigate the likely costs, benefits and operational feasibility of a new station at Ashton Gate.
Bristol City Council commissioned a study to investigate the likely costs, benefits and operational feasibility of a new station near Ashton Gate stadium.
The former Ashton Gate station was served by the Bristol to Portishead rail line, which closed to passengers in 1964.
The Greater Bristol councils are developing the £60million MetroWest rail project, Phase 1 of which includes the reopening of the Portishead rail line to passenger services.
Our studies have shown that it is not feasible to build a new Ashton Gate station as part of Phase 1. A new station at Ashton Gate remains within the MetroWest new stations package.
The West of England Joint Transport Board has stated that implementing MetroWest Phase 1 will not rule out options for an Ashton Gate station. Network Rail has also confirmed that the scheme will be future-proofed to enable a new station to be developed when the funding and business case allow.
Bristol City Council commissioned Network Rail to produce a GRIP 2 study to assess options for a new railway platform and associated station facilities at the Portway Park and Ride site.
The station would provide Park and Ride users with an alternative mode of transport to the existing bus service.
The report can be viewed below.
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