Transport chief in railway talks
WEST of England regional mayor Tim Bowles said he has had a positive meeting with Chris Grayling on improving rail services in the region.
He said he talked with the Secretary of State for Transport about the possibility of improving the Severn Beach line to provide direct services to Bath and Westbury, reopening Henbury station and more frequent services to Yate.
He added that they also agreed to widen the scope of work that is already under way between the West of England Combined Authority and the Department for Transport, to consider the option of using light rail to re-open the Portishead line.
Mr Bowles said: “I want the West of England to have the rail network it deserves to help reduce congestion, improve air quality and keep people moving. This is a really positive step in the right direction to deliver a transport network fit for the future.
“We have to be ambitious and work at regional level to give people more options and encourage them to leave their cars at home. I hope including light rail as an option for Portishead will reduce the cost of re-opening the line and also open up other opportunities within the region.”
Mr Grayling, who visited Portishead in 2006 while he was shadow transport secretary, said at the time it was illogical not to reopen the line.
After his meeting with Mr Bowles he said: “Ensuring the delivery of local, rail-based transport systems in the region remains a vital project for the West of England.”