Dave Wood: The Henbury Loop line is part of a wider vision for local railways.
COUNCILS in and around Bristol are backing the reopening of the Henbury loop line to passenger trains. Bristol City Council pledged its support following a special excursion along the line which is currently used only by freight trains.
Assistant mayor Mark Bradshaw has said he supports the aim to see the Henbury loop included as part of a wider vision for local railways in the Bristol area.
The Henbury loop is already at a high standard and is capable of running passenger trains on it.
But more stations are needed.
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For example North Filton, Henbury and Chittening stations will have to be rebuilt. So too will Henbury station.
I think there is also a case for a new station at Cribbs Causeway. It would require only a short additional line across what is now Filton airfield.
I also think the only remaining section of single track on the Henbury line between Filton West Junction and the old closed Filton Junction station should be doubled.
It should be obvious to everyone that all the other single sections of track on the Severn Beach line should be doubled as well. Otherwise they create bottlenecks and if a train is delayed it affects all those which follow it. In my view this is a priority and we cannot afford to leave it.
The Severn Beach line runs through the constituency of Bristol West MP Stephen Williams and he is interested in information on problems caused by the lack of a double line between Narroways Junction to Avonmouth.
I have already highlighted to Mr Williams all the stretches of single track on the Severn Beach line that could cause potential problems.
First Great Western deputy managing director Andy Mellors has also recognised that some stretches of track would need to be doubled along the Severn Beach line.
But I would go further. I would like to see all the sections of single track doubled, not just some.
The Metro West, as the Bristol Metro is now called, would also require new stations at Ashley Hill and Horfield as well as reopening and renovating others.
Also Montpellier, Redland, Sea Mills stations need to be restored to two platforms.
And Filton Abbeywood would need a rail-bus interchange. Something which South Gloucestershire council seems to be dragging its feet over.
David Wood. Rail Maritime and Transport Union, Bristol
Written in a personal capacity.