It’s full steam ahead for ‘reverse Beeching’ – Norris

PLANS for two new stations in north Bristol have made significant progress in the first months of 2023.

The new North Filton station, which will serve the homes and arena being built on the former Filton Airfield, has been given planning permission after South Gloucestershire Council fast-tracked the project. It is due for completion by 2026.

Meanwhile, funding has been secured for the Ashley Down station and work is due to begin soon.

As reported in February’s Voice, recreating the Ashley Hill station, which closed in 1964, will mean some diversions while construction takes place. A section of Concorde Way will be temporarily closed, and a diversion put in place along Boiling Wells Lane.  

The station, funded by the West of England Combined Authority and being built by Network Rail, is due to open next year and will be served by an existing Bristol Temple Meads to Filton Abbey Wood hourly service. This will subsequently be extended to North Filton station and ultimately a new Henbury station.

Dan Norris, West of England Combined Authority Metro Mayor, said: “The last time Bristolians could get a Ticket to Ride here, the Beatles were storming the charts. 60 years on, our ‘reverse Beeching’ programme is going full steam ahead.

“ I know there will be some disruption while building work takes place, but this is the exciting bit when we actually see spades in the ground, and hopefully residents will be able to look forward to using their new station soon. Improving public transport is so important to help people get around and to meet our ambitious net-zero targets.”  

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “Residents will be able to catch trains locally for the first time in nearly sixty years, and Gloucestershire fans will have another way to get to the cricket and Gasheads to the football. This train station should never have closed and I’m proud that we’re reopening it to help connect communities and tackle congestion and pollution. It’s another great boost for sustainable public transport as we work towards the mass transit system that Bristolians need and deserve.”

David Davidson, interim route director for Network Rail, said: “ It’ll be a very busy year on site and we’ll be working hard to keep disruption to residents to a minimum. This new station will bring huge benefits to local people, cutting journey times for commuters and providing greener travel opportunities for the wider region.”

The new North Filton station will serve residents of the 6,000 homes on the airfield development, known as Brabazon,  as well as the arena.

South Gloucestershire Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for planning and strategic infrastructure, Cllr Steve Reade, said: “This is a significant milestone, and I am pleased the council has been able to prioritise its efforts to accelerate the delivery of the planning permission for the new station.

“North Filton station will support not only the growing resident population, but the new and existing infrastructure, businesses and entertainment facilities, which will attract visitors from across the region and beyond to this part of South Gloucestershire. Having regular and reliable public transport links will be vital to make this area an attractive place to live, work and visit.”

How the North  Filton station serving Brabazon will look