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New Ashton Gate station delayed as part of £60m MetroWest project

Network Rail says it is not ‘currently feasible’ to build a new station at Ashton Gate in Bristol during phase 1 of the £60m MetroWest rail project. 

The multi-million pound new station will remain in the MetroWest ‘new stations package’, but it is unlikely to be built until sometime after 2019. 

Phase 1 of MetroWest includes the re-opening of the Portishead Line, which used to serve the former Ashton Gate station, to passenger services. The line has been closed since 1964. 

The MetroWest project team say re-opening the line is a ‘priority’ for the west of England’s local authorities. It would increase the UK’s passenger rail network by 10 miles and connect an additional 35,000 people to the railway network. 

However, extensive preparation and construction work mean services to Portishead will not start before spring 2019. 

Cllr Mark Bradshaw, vice chair of the Joint Transport Board and assistant mayor, said: “All rail schemes really must have strong business case backing and clearly more work is needed to shape the special case for Ashton Gate. 

“Operational rail and funding issues need to be worked through and rail schemes do not come cheaply or happen overnight. Working with Bristol Sport, Network Rail and First Great Western, there is a commitment to get this work done. 

“Network Rail has agreed to provide ‘passive-provision’ so that any of their works will not get in the way of a future rail station at Ashton Gate.” 

The West of England Joint Transport Board has stated that implementing MetroWest phase 1 will not rule out options for an Ashton Gate station. Network Rail has also confirmed that the scheme will be future-proofed to enable a new station to be developed when the “funding and business case allow”. 

(Image: The site of the old Ashton Gate railway station on the Portishead Branch Line. c. Greater Bristol Metro Rail) 

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