On Track: Dave Wood's column on railways
I READ with interest that a study is to be carried out into the possibility of creating a park and ride for the A37 near Whitchurch. Council leaders at Bath and North East Somerset Council have agreed to begin discussions with Bristol City Council and the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership to look at the possibility of creating the new facility.
This is happening 45 years after the Bristol and North Somerset railway closed
As I have argued many times in my previous On Track columns this was a desperately short-sighted decision.
This railway line ran from Bristol Temple Meads, North Somerset Junction, out through Brislington, Whitchurch, Pensford, and all stations to Midsomer Norton and Radstock.
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In the years since the final trains ran the amount of traffic on the A37 Wells Road into Bristol has multiplied many times.
I have highlighted this on numerous occasions.
Had the railway still existed people would have had a genuine alternative to driving in and out of the city each day.
It is such a shame that the station yard at Pensford and a lot of the railway track bed at Whitchurch had houses built on them. Similarly railway bridges have been knocked down.
Sadly there is no prospect of the track to Whitchurch being relaid and trains running again. However my question is this. Why isn't Bristol City Council and the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership looking at a park and ride rail bus interchange for a reopened Brislington station?
The station's old rail goods yard is still intact with one or more buildings left standing.
The track bed is still in place all the way down to Bloomfield Road.
At the moment the goods yard is a scrap yard but a halt platform could be built at Sandy Park before Bloomfield Road. An elevated line would be required to join up the missing track section to St Phillip's Marsh maintenance depot passing over the Saint Phillip's Spine Road and onwards to North Somerset Junction and Bristol Temple Meads.
An Ultra Light Rail vehicle, with rubber tyres which can run on rails and road, could be used.
At St Phillip's Marsh maintenance depot is a loop line that avoids Bristol Temple Meads and trains could run along here to Phyle Hill where another halt could be built for passengers going to the new proposed concert arena adjacent to Bristol Temple Meads.
Consideration should be given to opening up a station opposite Showcase Cinema.All these things should be considered for a joined up Bristol Metro,
David Wood, RMT, Rail Maritime and Transport Union, Bristol, Written in a personal capacity.