New park and ride rail platform in 12 months in Avonmouth
A NEW rail station at the Portway park and ride site in Avonmouth could be up and running by this time next year.
It will mean commuters will be able to park their cars at the park and ride site and catch the train to Clifton, Redland or other stations on the Severn Beach line which runs to Bristol Temple Meads.
The new station was held up on the grounds of cost – the traditional method of using bricks and concrete was estimated at about £3 million.
But a new kit-type platform which has been used in other parts of the country is now expected to be used and which will reduce costs dramatically to about £750,000.
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Keith Walton, chairman of the Severnside Community Rail Partnership, said Bristol City Council was footing the bill for the new platform.
It has already earmarked about £500,000 towards the project and it is hoped will find the rest of the money, despite severe cutbacks.
Mr Walton said they were hoping to make further savings on the platform costs.
As the Severn Beach line is single track, only one platform is needed and a footbridge is not required.
If there was double track at the station, then the cost of a traditionally-built station and a footbridge would be about £6 million.
One of the advantages of a kit-built platform is that trains can continue to run normally. The platform is fabricated offsite and bolted on to a concrete plinth.
It is hoped the tendering process for the work will start early in the new year and work on site will begin in the autumn.
This will be the first new station in the greater Bristol area for 17 years – the last one was built at Filton Abbeywood.
The new kit-built platform is regarded as a testbed for the region and if successful, likely to be adopted at other stations.
Mr Walton said the aim was not to take passengers away from the buses which serve the park and ride site.
He said there was a market for commuters who work in Clifton and Redland and have difficulty in finding somewhere to park their cars.
The community partnership is not a pressure group but a body which brings improvements to the Severn Beach line.
The board is made up of representatives from councils, train operators and the business fraternity.