Work is underway to help design the first new railway station in the Bristol area in over 20 years. The station will serve the existing Portway Park & Ride site near Avonmouth.
Over the next month rail engineers will survey the development site next to the Portway Park & Ride to assess ground conditions to inform the design of the new £2.23m station, which is due to be completed by 2019.
Bristol City Council secured £1.67m from the government’s New Stations Fund to make the project possible after working with Network Rail on developing the project.
The newly formed West of England Combined Authority and the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is supporting the project by providing some of the additional funding required to deliver the station, as well as wider investment to better link the new station to the Park & Ride site.
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “Securing this much-needed rail funding from the government is great news for Bristol and it will help meet a long held aspiration to build a new station to serve the Portway Park & Ride site. It will complement the existing bus services which will continue to serve the city centre and encourage more people from a wider area to use these routes, reducing congestion and improving our air quality.
“Council colleagues have already been working with Network Rail over the last few years to develop the scheme and detailed development work is underway. We are working towards completing the station during 2019/20.”
The scheme forms part of a long-term rail strategy for the city region through the MetroWest programme, including improved frequencies on the Severn Beach Line which will serve the station by 2020.
The funding from government announced last month will help the scheme move forward with credibility after being endorsed by the Department for Transport (DfT) and the rail industry.
Cllr Mhairi Threlfall, Cabinet Member for Transport at Bristol City Council, added: “To improve the flow of people across the city and connect them to jobs, education and healthcare, we need the right transport infrastructure – and rail improvements like this are an important part of our travel planning. The Portway scheme will also play a critical role in improving access to both the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone and the Avonmouth Enterprise Area, which are anticipated to accommodate up to 31,000 new jobs over the next 25 years.”
Malcolm Parsons, Director Route Business Development at Network Rail, said: “This is great news and will significantly improve journeys for passengers in Bristol at a time when more people are using the railway than ever before.
“Securing the funding is the culmination of years of hard work and supports the wider upgrades being delivered in Bristol which includes the biggest signalling modernisation anywhere in the country, Filton Four Tracking and improvements to the Severn Beach Line. These upgrades will provide greater capacity, more frequent services and a more reliable railway with the new Portway Station further enhancing Bristol’s rail network.”
The current estimated cost of the project is £2.63m which includes £2.23m for delivering the rail infrastructure plus funding to make improvements to the Park & Ride site to accommodate the station, including a new amenity building to benefit both rail and bus passengers.
The West of England LEP Joint Committee awarded funding from the Local Growth Fund (LGF) for this scheme in June, subject to further development work and planning permission being secured, in the knowledge that a bid to government for part of the New Stations Fund was pending. This was to ensure the scheme could continue to progress in case the bid wasn’t successful.
The money from the New Stations Fund will reduce the call on the LGF by £1.67m and means this funding back go back into the regional programme to support other key projects.
Bridgeway Consulting Limited is conducting the investigation works at the Portway new station site on behalf of Network Rail. The works will run until late September.
The last new railway station in the Bristol city region to be built was Filton Abbey Wood, which opened in 1996.