MP: City must not miss chance of a generation
BRISTOL North West Tory MP Charlotte Leslie says Bristol is being left short-changed if Network Rail does not change its vision for train services in the Bristol area.
She has heavily criticised a document published by Network Rail which sets out a possible future for the rail network in the Bristol area.
It highlights the Bristol Metro system but Ms Leslie said the absence of a "Henbury Loop" meant the city would not get the rail service it needed and that there was a danger of missing the "chance of a generation".
Under the plans, a reopened Henbury station would be at the end of a turn-back line, not a "loop" connecting up with the Severn Beach Line. In other words, trains would arrive from the city centre via Filton but then return from where they came.
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Ms Leslie, right, says Bristol needs a loop-line, completing the circuit round the city, and providing a public transport network for the north of the city. Henbury is seen as a crucial hub for access to Cribbs Causeway and with significant housing development planned for North Bristol, a rail service serving it is essential to avoid unacceptable congestion.
She said: "It is disappointing to see just a Henbury Spur in Network Rail's plans, which chime with the West of England Partnership's sadly under-ambitious vision for the Bristol.
"We are in danger of missing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to give the city the rail service which would be the game-changer for transport in this city.
"Last month I led a cross-party delegation of local MPs to meet with transport minister Simon Burns. At that meeting, he agreed that there seemed to be a compelling argument for a Henbury Loop Line, and that the previous assesment which concluded it should only be a 'spur' needed to be seriously looked at again. The Department for Transport is committed to working to reassess the case for a Henbury Loop, and I will be pressing Network Rail very strongly to reconsider their strategic plan.
"It's now time for us as a community to ramp up the pressure on network rail and the West of England Partnership to ensure they do not make a catastrophic mistake.
"We're fed up with looking back and regretting appalling decisions. It's time to do something right for Bristol's future which we will look back on with pride."
An e-petition can be signed at www.henburyloop.bristolpetitions. com and the Twitter campaign at #henburyloop.