Bristol City FC: How a new stadium at Ashton Gate could open a rail station nearby
A new stadium at Ashton Gate could help pave the way to open up the Portishead rail line to passenger services.
The club is keen to see a new station at Ashton Gate so fans could travel by train to within yards of the new ground.
They believe the new station could be built on land near the Ford dealership in Winterstoke Road.
It would be next to the existing track which currently only takes freight traffic from Portbury Docks.
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But the club believes the cost of improved signalling on the short stretch of line to Temple Meads would be minimal.
And it would help to support the business case to open up the whole of the Portishead rail link to commuters into Bristol.
The Portishead rail line is expected to be opened in 2017 as part of the long-awaited plans to create the Greater Bristol Metro - re-opening existing track and old stations to ease congestion on the road network in the Bristol area.
The club realises that transport issues are complex and expensive so the idea of an Ashton Gate station near the ground is still a long way off.
But rail campaigners have always been in favour of re-opening the station which currently lies derelict on the other side of the Cumberland Basin next to an allotment site.
One of the sticking points to building a new station off Winterstoke Road is the "BRT factor".
There are plans to build a bus rapid transit system (BRT) from the Long Ashton park and ride site into the city centre which would incorporate a stop at the existing rail station site.
And transport leaders might be reluctant to switch the site of the station so that the link with the BRT is lost.
Bristol's mayor George Ferguson has already promised a review on the route of the BRT into the city centre because he does not want buses running in front of the M shed museum and over Prince Street Bridge.
He might be persuaded to look at the possibility of the new station site as part of the review.
Ultimately, a decision about opening up a new station lies with Network Rail but the case might be made for TWO new stations - one at each site.
This is because the cost of re-opening stations is now dramatically falling as a result of modern construction methods.
Re-opening an old station can be as much as £3 million but transport leaders in the Bristol area were told in December that "kit built" stations can be built these days be pre-fabricating them offsite before assembly.
They have already been tried in other parts of the country and the idea might eventually be used on the Severn Beach line at the park and ride site at Shirehampton.
At the same meeting in December, Bristol Mayor George Ferguson made a plea for the Portishead line to include the re-opening of the station at Ashton Gate.
He said there was a "really good case" for it to be used again.