Pressure on mayor to reopen two stations in north Bristol

December 23 2013

RAIL campaigners are urging Bristol Mayor George Ferguson to support the opening of two stations in north Bristol and to ensure that approval and funding is secured for both.

RAIL campaigners are urging Bristol Mayor George Ferguson to support the opening of two stations in north Bristol and to ensure that approval and funding is secured for both.
The stations would be at Ashley Hill and further up the line to serve Lockleaze and Horfield, as part of the Metro West rail project.
However, Network Rail is only considering re-opening one of the stations. The upgrade would provide four tracks at the site, which would allow for fast and slow trains to pass through the station.
Plans for Ashley Hill are being reconsidered after it was discovered that the original track at the site was too steep for a modern-day railway station.
It was reported that the track at Ashley Hill has a gradient of 1 in 75, while the Office of Rail Regulations for Heritage Railways stated that stations should not be constructed on a gradient steeper than 1 in 500.
But, according to Councillor Sean Emmett, who is involved in the campaign, "the rules changed in 2010 precisely because train operators said that gradient wasn’t really an issue".
The station at Ashley Hill originally opened in 1864, but was closed after 100 years by the British Railways Board. The board also closed the Horfield station, which opened in 1927, in the same year.
Cllr Emmett said: “I want to hear the Mayor make it loud and clear that, despite his earlier announcement that he only supported one station, he now supports the re-opening of both stations - and is determined to deliver them.
“I have asked for meetings with [the Mayor] and with Network Rail so that local councillors and local groups can understand the constraints we face, and so they can fully appreciate the need for both these stations to be re-opened.
“But I keep being fobbed off - we need more transparency."
Bishopston councillor David Willingham said: "A station at Ashley Hill would also serve the constituents of Bishopston, including the provision of alternative public transport options for City of Bristol College and Gloucestershire County Cricket Club."
He added: "If steam trains were able to start and stop at the station in the 60s, and trains in the 21st century can't, there's something wrong."

Ashley Hill railway station
Photo: Paul Townsend @ www.bristolpast.co.uk