'Huge step forward' for rail links
AN MP has hailed a "massive step forward" for Bristol's rail links after ministers agreed to consider long-awaited improvements.
The Department for Transport will carry out a feasibility study into the benefits and costs of having a full Henbury Loop line – part of an improved Bristol Metro local rail network – rather than the spur currently proposed. It could lead to the Henbury Loop being included in the new Great Western franchise, which is currently on hold.
Yesterday a cross-party group of Bristol MPs met rail minister Simon Burns to call for extra improvements to be included when the line is put out to tender following a delay caused by the collapse of the West Coast Mainline deal.
Speaking afterwards, Bristol North West MP Charlotte Leslie, who organised the meeting, said: "We managed to get a pledge from him that the department would look into the feasibility of the Henbury Loop.
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"It is real progress, and far more than I thought would come out of the meeting. It is potential game-changer for the Bristol Metro.
"It's not a promise that it will happen, but it's a massive step forward from where we were before."