Trans­port chief in rail­way talks

Western Daily Press - - News -

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.”

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