Bristol Henbury Loop: Passenger line 'too expensive'

Train running on the Henbury Loop Image copyright P Richards
Image caption The Henbury Loop runs through Henbury, Filton and Hallen

Plans for a railway line in Bristol to be re-opened to commuters are likely to be dropped after councillors said it was too expensive.

The Henbury Loop line still carries freight between Filton and Avonmouth, but closed to passengers in 1964.

A report by the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership recommends the cheaper Henbury Spur option because it would need less rolling stock.

Local Conservative MP Charlotte Leslie said it was "the wrong answer".

Conservative councillor Brian Allison, chair of the West of England Joint Transport Board, said the Henbury Loop option was "far too expensive".

He said: "Like everybody else I assumed the loop would be the ultimate solution but when we actually looked at it, the numbers of passengers are a significant increase on both the spur and the loop.

"But the loop only increases the number of passengers by quite a small percentage and requires a lot more rolling stock. To do the spur, we need one new set of carriages, to do the loop you need three.

"To complete the loop, would take a train over an hour and to do that you need more trains."

He said only 2,000 more passengers would use the loop over a year.

Bristol North West MP Ms Leslie, who has been campaigning to re-open the line, called the report "incompetent".

She said: "You can always come up with technical reasons to justify something. We know that a large amount of fares aren't collected on that track, so if you actually look at passenger numbers in terms of actual passengers, rather than fares collected, you have a completely different passenger base.

The report will be discussed by the Joint Transport Board on 17 July.

Image copyright West of England Partnership
Image caption The Spur would involve trains running between Henbury and Bristol Temple Meads

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