Portishead to Bristol railway line reopening looking uncertain, mayor says

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An artist's impression of what the rail line could look likeImage source, Metrowest
Image caption,
Closed to passengers since 1964, the rail line will connect Bristol and Portishead as part of the MetroWest project

Plans to reopen a railway line to passengers have become uncertain after questions over funding and inflation.

The Portishead railway line was due to reopen in 2024 as part of a £100m scheme to improve public transport.

However, delays due to unknown environmental issues and inflation have caused concerns about its costs.

The West of England Metro mayor Dan Norris said: "The government is contemplating giving additional funding to get us over the line".

However, Mr Norris said the government required some money from North Somerset and the combined authority as well.

While he was not certain they had the money, Mr Norris said he was "keen" to find what he could about the funding situation.

Closed to passengers since 1964, the rail line will connect Bristol and Portishead as part of the MetroWest project, the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) said.

The MetroWest project is part of the West of England combined authority and will also include a new train station at Pill, and upgraded train services on the Severn Beach line and between Bath Spa and Bristol Temple Meads.

Image source, Dan Norris
Image caption,
West of England Metro Mayor Dan Norris said he was keen to find what he could do to facilitate the reopening

Speaking to the scrutiny committee at the West of England combined authority on 27 June, Mr Norris said "there's no movement" until the extra government funding comes through.

Mr Norris added: "The reality of inflation is going to be that they're going to cut some schemes."

Similar schemes have been dropped due to inflation, which reduces how much the government can get for its money.

However, Mr Norris said: "I don't think they're contemplating that for the Portishead line."

Mr Norris said while he understood people's concern about the investment and its cost, he said there were "quite a lot of jobs in North Somerset that Bristol could benefit from" and that reopening the line would be in "Bristol's interests too".

"I'm very much behind it, but it depends how much it costs," he added.

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