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 DCO Examining Authority issued a Recommendation Report to the Secretary of State on 19 July 2021. The Secretary of State has three months in which to issue a decision. The decision letter and Recommendation Report will be published on this project page and PINS website once a decision has been made.
Network Rail, on behalf of North Somerset Council and the West of England Combined Authority, issued an Invitation to Tender (ITT) to four contractors for the main works to re-open the Portishead to Bristol railway line.
Parts of the historic Portishead railway line are to be recycled and reused as part of an exciting project with the Avon Valley Railway Heritage Trust. The old rails, points and buffers will remain in the region to be used for the heritage railway which runs between Oldland and Avon Riverside, and needs upgrading and improving in some areas.
The Examining Authority are readying their report to make a recommendation to the Secretary of State, the deadline for this being the 19th July 2021. The Secretary of State will then have three months in which to make a decision.
The procurement of contractors to design and build the final scheme is being led by Network Rail, with whom the project team are working closely with. The Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) stage is underway, with the Invitation To Tender (ITT) stage now being prepared for. This stage involves potential contractors that have passed the PQQ stage to look at the detail of the scheme and submit their bid to construct the scheme. The ITT is likely to be published by Network Rail in the coming weeks.
The ecological survey season is well underway now and you may spot some of our contractors on and around the railway over the next few months carrying out survey work. Many different species can be found in the area, including reptiles, Great Crested Newts, and rare flora and fauna particularly through the Avon Gorge. The survey programme ensures we have the most up-to-date information as we approach construction to ensure our planned mitigations protect – and in some cases – enhance areas to enable ecology to be as unaffected by the scheme during both the construction and operational periods as possible. We also found out this month that the pond created at the Ecology Park in Portishead as part of our mitigation for Great Crested Newts has started to become inhabited by them which is very good news for this European Protected Species.
The Examination closed on 19 April 2021. There will now be a period of three months for the Examining Authority to write its report and make a recommendation to the Secretary of State, the deadline for this being the 19th July 2021. The Secretary of State will then have three months in which to make a decision.
Whilst the Examining Authority writes its report, other workstreams continue to move forward. This includes the procurement of contractors to design and build the final scheme, for which the team are busy preparing documents for the Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) stage. The PQQ sets out a number of questions for potential applicants to assess their ability to undertake the proposed tender. This is likely to be published by Network Rail in the coming weeks.
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.
Parts of the historic Portishead railway line are to be recycled and reused as part of an exciting project with the Avon Valley Railway.
The historic railway assets, some of which date back to the 1920s, are not needed by the MetroWest Phase 1 project which is set to deliver a new £116m railway line between Portishead and Bristol.
At North Somerset Council’s meeting on the 19th July, councillors agreed that parts of the disused Portishead line could be used to assist the Avon Valley Railway Heritage Trust.
The line allows visitors to experience a bygone age of steam and heritage trains along the old Midland Railway branch line which ran between Mangotsfield and Bath. The current three-mile heritage railway line runs between Oldland and Avon Riverside and needs upgrading and improving in some areas.
The DCO Examination period began on Tuesday 6th October 2020 and lasted 6 months, closing on 19th April 2021.
It began with two preliminary hearings followed by a number of open floor and issue specific hearings. Many different parties were engaged in the Examination process raising their issues and concerns, which the Examiners then addressed to the project team. The process resulted in a significant number of written questions to the project team as well as stakeholders, partners and other bodies and individuals. A series of formal deadlines were set, and it proved to be a very intense period for the project.
Following the Examination’s closure, there is a period of three months for the Examining Authority to write its report and make a recommendation to the Secretary of State, the deadline for this being the 19th July 2021. The Secretary of State will then have three months in which to make a decision.
Network Rail are leading on the preparations to appoint the contractors who will carry out the vast amount of works required. The tendering process is multi-staged and begins with the pre-qualification questionnaire stage beginning in May/June 2021. This will be followed by the Invitation To Tender stage later on in the year.
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.
North Filton and Henbury train stations
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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