Latest Rail News


Council admits Portishead Line reopening running £600k over budget

North Somerset Council has this week told passengers that extra funding has been agreed to complete works on the Portishead Line as costs for the much-anticipated project have spiralled up.

In a statement released this week, it was confirmed that the budget had been increased to £1.603m from the £1m originally set aside to deliver the project. 

The authority also confirmed that to deliver the Portishead service, the council will have to scale back the number of services running on the line due to a lower frequency of services requiring less infrastructure.

Relaunching the services from Portishead has also been described as a “top priority” for the council, as it makes up a key part of the MetroWest Phase One scheme.

The scheme, being co-ordinated by four councils in the west of England, is a large project designed to improve transport in the area.

North Somerset Council’s leader, Cllr Nigel Ashton, said: “The early indications are that substantial cost savings can be made based on a reduced train service frequency which requires less infrastructure.

“However, the objective remains to ultimately deliver the full half-hourly service and we will continue to work with Network Rail and the DfT to realise our ambitions.”

Cllr Ashton added that he was delighted the scheme continues to have the backing of both the government and the rail industry.

“The re-opening of the Portishead Line is vital to strengthening the transport infrastructure of the area and key to the success of a thriving west of England economy,” he explained. “We are committed to working together with all parties to deliver this scheme in full.”

The programme is set to begin construction in late 2017 and open in May 2019.

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an RTM columnist? If so, click here 


Andrew Gwilt   05/05/2017 at 02:38

About time to reopen the Portishead Line. It could reopen from next year. With GWR providing a local service between Bristol Temple Meads and Portishead.

Jim   05/05/2017 at 07:25

Andrew, read the article. The line is scheduled to reopen in 2019, not next year.

Andrew Gwilt   05/05/2017 at 11:01

Misheard the article. But thanks Jim.

Pdeaves   05/05/2017 at 11:41

Actually, the line cannot reopen at all until the issues that lead to the cost increase have been resolved, rolling stock and train crew requirements agreed (based on the timetable, itself based on how fast trains can run, in turn based on physical constraints up the Avon gorge). The *plan* is for 2019 but plans can change.

Andrew G   05/05/2017 at 15:15

If the line was to reopen. GWR could use some of the Class 165's, Class 166's, Class 153's or Class 156's DMU's on the Portishead line and to operate a 1tph service between Bristol and Portishead.

WENDY THORNE   06/05/2017 at 12:06

The headline in the article is rather misleading! The cost of reopening the Portishead line has actually trebled from £58M to £175M so the 'extra' £600k is a drop in the ocean. The reopening is not expected now until 2021.

Jonathan Mock   30/07/2017 at 13:31

It's approaching a farcical Yes Minister story whereby the money is committed to opening the line but it's more cost effective if they don't actually run any trains on it.

Add your comment

Rail industry Focus

View all News


The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >

'the sleepers' blog

On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

29/06/2020On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

Following an independent audit, Sulzer’s Nottingham Service Centre has been accepted as part of the rail industry supplier approval scheme (RISAS). The accreditation reinforces the high-quality standards that are maintained by Sulzer’s... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he would not rule out his organisation issuing future r... more >
Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projects across the UK, Pearson Business School, part of... more >