Rail study confirms North Fringe station sites
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The report by consultants CH2M Hill was commissioned by South Gloucestershire Council and will inform the business case for the West of England authorities’ MetroWest Phase 2 rail scheme, which foresees hourly services on a reopened Henbury Line as well as more frequent services for Yate.
The report will also inform South Gloucestershire’s emerging masterplan for the Cribbs/Patchway New Neighbourhood, which will host a major new economic Enterprise Area as well as 5,700 new homes.
South Gloucestershire Council is already investing significant sums in the area’s road network, bus services and cycle/walking facilities in order to reduce the traffic impact of the New Neighbourhood.
Among these, the proposed North Fringe to Hengrove bus rapid transit scheme – known as MetroBus — is at an advanced stage of development and will soon provide a key alternative to the car for those living and working in the new neighbourhood.
New rail services on the Henbury Line will complement these measures, but depend on Network Rail making a number of major changes to local rail networks including ‘four-tracking’ Filton Bank. For this reason the new services are expected to begin in 2021, by which time just less than half of the new neighbourhood’s homes will have been built.
Among key conclusions in the report, the consultants recommend that Parkway Station should remain the area’s principal rail transport interchange linking bus, rail, cycle and walking facilities as a major transport hub for the North Fringe.
Parkway’s status as the area’s premier station is set to be further enhanced by programmed travel improvements including the MetroBus scheme, developments to bus feeder services and new cycle and walking links along Brierley Furlong.
The consultants note that Filton Abbey Wood and Patchway will continue to have important secondary roles, but even with selected improvements to station facilities, could not match Parkway as the main access point for rail in the North Fringe.
The report also considers potential station sites for the reopened Henbury Line, focusing on six possible locations between the former station at Filton North and Henbury itself.
Following consultation with Network Rail, sites on the approach to Charlton Tunnel were discounted due to poor drainage and as a result the report recommends that stations be provided at two key sites. These are to be at Filton North, near the new Enterprise Area, and Henbury, either on the former Henbury station site or on a new site east of the A4018 (Henbury East).
Welcoming the report, Chair of the council’s Planning, Transportation & Strategic Environment (PTSE) Committee Cllr Brian Allinson said: “Rail has a vital part to play in future transport provision in the North Fringe and the wider West of England and as a council we are fully committed to the MetroWest scheme including plans to reopen the Henbury Line to passenger services.
“This report provides welcome technical support for these plans and will help us progress the project with our partners in the West of England confident that we have identified the correct locations for the new stations and the area’s main transport interchange.
“The report will also be an important consideration in the masterplan for the Cribbs/Patchway New Neighbourhood, which will guide the development of this new community and economic area, and its transport network, in the coming years.”
Members of South Gloucestershire Council’s PTSE Committee will consider the report at their meeting on 26 March, after which further option studies for MetroWest Phase 2 will be commissioned.
These studies will identify the final preferred location for the Henbury rail station and are expected to report at the end of 2014.
The CH2M Hill report is available to view on the council’s website at www.southglos.gov.uk/metrowest
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