On Track: Dave Wood's column on railways
THE loss of Filton airfield is going to haunt us. It should have been the primary location for Bristol airport, with excellent rail and motorway connections.
I am not knocking Bristol Airport but it is not connected to a railway line and has no motorway nearby.
I am also concerned about the number of houses that are going to be built on the airfield.
South Gloucestershire roads and motorways are already gridlocked in places and thousands of people moving into new houses are going to make matters worse.
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The only saving grace is the nearby Henbury loop freight line, otherwise known as the Filton to Avonmouth line. Whilst rail campaigners, rail unions, MPs from different parties and councillors can see the benefit of it as a passenger line plans are being considered to have a short section of line of about three miles leading to a dead end station at Henbury. I totally agree with Charlotte Leslie MP, when she said this is a half-baked idea.
With the Bristol Metro coming on line around 2017/18 and a new deep sea terminal planned for Avonmouth docks, a full Henbury loop is required.
After all loop lines are successful in other parts of the country. With the arrival of ocean-going liners at Avonmouth next year, the Henbury loop line could bring passengers to the ships from Bristol Parkway or along the Severn Beach line from Narroways Junction.
But a dead end station at Henbury would stop this happening for passengers arriving from Bristol Parkway.
For us not to take advantage of all the benefits a full Henbury loop line could bring is utter madness.
Henbury station needs to be made the rail head for Cribbs Causeway.
The number of passengers will increase if people along the Severn Beach line can continue their journey to Henbury station.
But not if they have to go back along the Severn Beach line to Stapleton Road or Bristol Temple Meads to get a connection.
Miss Leslie, MP for Bristol North West, is heading a cross-party group of MPs supporting the full Henbury loop line and would like your support.
I urge readers who want Bristol to succeed to get behind the campaign for a Henbury loop line by going to www.henburyloop.bristol.petitions. com.
David Wood, Rail Maritime and Transport Union, Bristol. Written in a personal capacity.