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 PDF approximately 54.65 K
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Phase 1 (Portishead to Bristol, Severn Beach Line, and Bath to Bristol)
Ecology enabling works continue with the disused line being cleared of vegetation, and various surveys underway which have to take place in the correct season. Ground investigation works have also taken place at a number of different sites, mainly on the existing bridges which cross the line in various places. Road restrictions have been in place where required and we thank local residents and travellers for their patience.
From Monday 23rd January, tree planting will commence on the A369 Portbury Hundred. These works are to provide an alternative bat corridor away from the railway by filling in gaps in the trees lining the road between the Sheepway Roundabout and Station Road. Planting will occur across eight different plots, with four native species sourced from the UK. A maintenance plan to ensure they are able to establish successfully has also been agreed. The works will be carried out using temporary traffic lights for up to two weeks, within which a short section on one side of the road will be coned off to allow the contractors to work safely. The length of restriction will be as short as possible without compromising safety, and move depending on which plot they are working on. The works will commence at the Portishead end of the A369, during weekday daytime hours only. We understand that this may cause minor delays to travellers but please be assured that these are essential ecological enabling works for the project.
As part of the Section 134 process, from the week commencing 12th December 2022 we’re sending letters to residents in the local area with information to update them on the compulsory acquisition process and the next steps. In most cases, these letters are for information only as we are already in conversations with impacted landowners. Site notices about the Development Consent Order will also be placed at locations close to the future railway line. Hard copies of the DCO documents can be viewed at Portishead library, Weston-super-Mare Town Hall library, and Pill Resource Centre until the end of January 2023. They are also available online at metrowestphase1.org
Starting in early January 2023 ecology enabling works will commence and will involve cutting the overgrown vegetation on the disused section of the line as well as any surrounding land required for the project. We understand that this can be sensitive to local residents but please be assured that these works are vital for the ongoing development of the scheme and are fully supervised by experienced ecologists. This webpage will be updated with more detail on the works as they progress.
The Department for Transport (DfT) announced consent for the Portishead Branch Line on Monday 14th November 2022. Over the next 18 months the project will complete its detailed design, undertake ecology enabling works and, finally, submit its Full Business Case to funding decision makers (the Department for Transport, the Combined Authority and North Somerset Council).
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.
Phase 1 updates
The Development Consent Order that granted planning consent on the 14th November 2022 also includes permission to start the compulsory purchase of land needed to build the rail line.
As of the week commencing 12th December 2022 we’re sending letters to residents in the local area with information to update them on this process and the next steps. Site notices about the Development Consent Order will also be placed at locations close to the future railway line.
In most cases, these letters are for information only. We are already in conversations with impacted landowners and are working towards bringing the Portishead rail line forward with them.
The complete set of Development Consent Order documents will be available to view at Portishead Library, Pill Resource Centre and Weston-super-Mare library until the end of January 2023. They are also available online at MetroWest Phase 1 document library.
The Department for Transport (DfT) announced consent for the project on Monday 14th November 2022.
The Development Consent Order (DCO) includes planning consent, environmental consent and the compulsory acquisition of land and is required before nationally significant infrastructure projects can be built. The achievement of this major milestone means the project can now move forward towards the delivery phase.
Over the next 18 months the project will complete its detailed design, undertake ecology enabling works and, finally, submit its Full Business Case to funding decision makers (the Department for Transport, the Combined Authority and North Somerset Council).
Following the additional funding commitments from the Combined Authority, North Somerset Council, and Department for Transport – all of which closes the remaining funding gap – a response was sent to the DfT’s ‘minded to’ letter.
This included an updated Funding Statement which sets out in detail the revised estimated cost of the scheme, and details confirming that the funding needed for delivery has been secured.
The updated Funding Statement also addresses all the points set out in the letter of 19th April 2022.
The expectation is that the DCO decision can now be made no later than 14th November 2022.
The Department for Transport have committed an additional £15.5m to deliver the scheme. This is in addition to £10m committed by North Somerset Council, and another £10m committed by the West of England Combined Authority, which closes the remaining funding gap. The gap was the result of approval of the scheme’s Development Consent Order (DCO) costing more than anticipated and unprecedented global increases to the cost of energy, labour and construction materials. For further information see North Somerset Council’s press release about the additional funding and the Combined Authority’s press release about the additional funding.
North Somerset Council has been working closely with the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and the Department for Transport (DfT) for additional funding to progress the scheme. Projected capital costs of the scheme have risen to £152m following delays to approval of the scheme’s DCO and unprecedented global increases to the cost of energy, labour and construction materials. Both the council and WECA are seeking to commit an additional £10m to the project to bridge the funding shortfall and deliver the scheme, and are asking the DfT to close the remaining £15.5m funding gap.
A decision on the DCO was due on the 19th April 2022.
The Secretary of State announced a further delay to consent for construction of MetroWest Phase 1. For further information, please refer to the written statement laid out in Parliament.
North Somerset Council issued a press release setting out their views on the decision on the 19th April 2022.
As of January 14th 2022, the MetroWest Phase 1 project is still awaiting a decision on the Development Consent Order (DCO) by the Department for Transport (DfT).
The DCO application was submitted in November 2019. The process included an examination in public which took six months and ended in April 2021. The decision had been expected in October 2021 but it was confirmed then that the Secretary of State would require up to a further 6 months to make the decision.
The project team are continuing to press for a decision to be made as soon as possible.
On October 20th 2021, a Written Ministerial Statement was presented in the House of Commons stating that the deadline for the DCO decision is to be extended to 19 April 2022 (an extension of 6 months) to allow further consideration of environmental matters.
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
- These new train stations will form part of the Henbury spur and a new hourly train service will run between Bristol Temple Meads and Henbury, calling at Ashley Down and North Filton.
Ashley Down Station
- The proposed station at Ashley Down is part of MetroWest phase 2 and will increase the community’s connectivity to the wider train network through to Bristol Parkway and Temple Meads and then further afield to London, Wales, the Midlands and the South West of England.
New Stations: Portway Park & Ride
Portway Park & Ride rail station
- Portway Park & Ride will be the first new railway station to be delivered as part of MetroWest and will be served by the recently improved services between Bristol Temple Meads and Severn Beach.
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.
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Bristol City Council and Network Rail are working together to build a new railway station at Portway Park & Ride in Shirehampton.
Construction of the new station got underway early in 2022 and it is expected to open later this year.
For more information and updates visit the page below.
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