Welcome to the 'New Somerset and Dorset Railway'
Friday, November 14, 2008
The Portishead line reopening really is a no-brainer. With car journeys taking up to 3 hours to cover the 12 miles, and with the line. signalling etc already in place except for the last three miles, this really is an idea ready to proceed with! But we ALL need to show the level of support for it.
As you may have seen in the local media FOSBR is running a postcard campaign to reopen the rail line to Portishead and the line between Avonmouth and Bristol Parkway via Henbury. Funding will become available from the government for transport priorities in the South West region in the new year. We want the West of England Partnership (ex-Avon authorities) to include them in the bid. Only items high up the regional list will receive funding. Previous funding bids have been exclusively road-based. Since the government have refused to allow Network Rail to fund these schemes, this is the only way. We think that we have a good chance, but need your support.
The postcard is now available on the FOSBR website here.
Please print it from the website, fold it in half and tape it together before you send it to the West of England Partnership. Sorry, but you'll need to provide a stamp!
Besides getting people out of their cars and into quick and efficient public transport, there are several good reasons to support the campaign
These rail links would provide a cross-city service and a new link between the Severn Beach line and Bristol Parkway.
There has been much talk about Rapid Transit. This is the original rapid transit: Filton Abbeywood to Temple Meads in 8 minutes & Parson St to Stapleton Rd in 12 minutes!
Greater Bristol rail stations have seen passenger numbers double in the ten years to 2004/5. There have been further significant increases since then. Since Bristol City Council put money into the Severn Beach line to increase the service in May, numbers increased by 30% in three months. The demand is there.
Portishead's traffic and that into Bristol along the A370 is notorious. The Henbury line runs close to major employers including Rolls Royce, Airbus and Royal Mail at Filton and would provide a public transport alternative where none may exist at present.
The West of England Partnership (representing ex-Avon authorities) estimate that congestion costs local businesses £350 million a year.
Government funding will be allocated for new transport schemes in the new year but our local decision-makers must submit a bid for it prioritising the schemes they want. This gives local councillors the chance to show that they are interested in schemes other than roads and buses.
For those who see such things as important, at roughly £20 million this proposal compares very well with road schemes.
What you can do:
Please send the postcard to the West of England Partnership.
If you want physical (rather than electronic) cards to send or to give to other people please let me know and I will arrange to get them to you. The more people who are involved the better.
Please foward this email to your friends and anyone who may be interested.
If you are involved with trade unions or other organisations please would you ask your colleagues to send cards and if the organisation will issue a statement of support as that would be wonderful!
For those interested, there is a Facebook group about the Portishead Railway campaign which can be found here. There is a copy of the postcard available here too.
Also posted to transition transport UK and Panther Bites!