Category Archives: News Blog

A blanket email from GWR, dated 30 March 2020 I wanted to drop you a quick note to confirm that FirstGroup and the Department for Transport (DfT) have signed a new Direct Award to continue operating GWR from 1 April 2020, when the current agreement comes to an end.  This will run for three years, with the option for the government to add a further year and will run concurrently with the six months Emergency Measures Agreement now in place with the DfT.   This will mean we can use our experience of managing the route over many years to keep the railway running for key workers and essential travel. Our responsibility right now is to run a service that can be relied upon, and this is where our current focus lies. It is also important to take a moment to look forward to a time when things return to normal,…

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Pilning Station Group responded to WECA Bus Consultation. We request that a bus service is provided to connect with the weekly train service at Pilning Station, as at the moment, there is no public transport suitable for rail / bus interchange, despite the growing numbers of Pilning passengers. The majority of passengers arrive at Pilning either by walking from the 625 bus stop at Swanmoor Lane, walking from Severn Beach railway station, or by car. A provision of the bus service that coincides with the Pilning train arrival and departure would be very welcome. Read our proposed new times for a Pilning Station bus / rail interchange here

Email from Pilning Station Group to Jack Lopresti MP Dear Jack, I am writing to you to express our concerns over the local transport arrangements in Severnside, particularly in the light of the new Arena at the former Filton Airfield being approved for development earlier today.I understand that the plans have been approved by the planning committee, and Bristol City Council decided that it should be referred to the Secretary of State. However, there were concerns raised by Highways England that the Filton location will have a negative impact on the already congested road network, in particular the Cribbs Causeway and Aztec West motorway junctions. https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/filton-arena-m5-traffic-council-3905771 Pilning residents will start feeling trapped very soon – once the speed restriction measures on the B4055 have been introduced fully, bringing the speed down to 20mph through the villages and 40mph along Marsh Common Road it will probably be quicker and easier to get…

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30 January 2020 30 January 2020 Thank you for your message. I have passed your response to the Group, and a further clarification has been requested – I would very much appreciate another prompt response from you – we are holding a stakeholder meeting in the next few days, and it would be good to be able to provide an explanation. Kind regards, Pilning Station Group 14 February 2020 Please could you kindly provide the clarification as discussed previously?  Jack Lopresti MP spoke at the House Of Commons yesterday, reiterating the point that regular service must be restored to Pilning railway station (https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-02-13/debates/D9EDEDFE-1305-4F7B-85E2-5DEC1BE1674C/FebruaryAdjournment#contribution-41DDEC76-117E-4B10-88E1-9F88654F3457). This is likely to put some wheels in motion. The DfT will need to gather the relevant information to make an informed decision. As things stand, the onus is currently on South Gloucestershire Council to request that Network Rail should conduct a feasibility study and present the results…

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Despite South Gloucestershire Council declaring Climate Emergency, Jack Lopresti MP urging station improvements in the House of Commons, and local residents and commercial organisations crying for more public transport links, GWR have rebuffed yet another request for some extra services to stop at Pilning station, which could be used to create better connections to Bristol, Swindon, Gloucester, Newport and Cardiff for thousands of residents and commuters to Severnside. In the message sent on behalf of GWR MD Matthew Golton, they write – We don’t have any plans to add more station calls at Pilning.  I know that this is disappointing but unless the Service Level Commitment is altered by the Department for Transport Pilning will continue to have two station calls a week, provided by our West fleet and not on our high speed InterCity Express Trains. We have the easement in place that allows travel to and from Severn Beach station on…

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*** Pilning Station Group were forwarded this message, which we publish unedited. This message highlights the importance of Pilning station, which would facilitate Thornbury residents’ commute to Bristol, Newport and Cardiff *** Dear Luke I trust you are well. I am writing with regard to the WECA JLTP4 Consultation draft, picking up on previous correspondence that we’ve had regarding provision for rail returning to Thornbury, acting as both a Thornbury resident and member of FOSBR (Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways). When we last spoke back in 2018 regarding this, you had written to Network Rail to ask them their intentions about the Tytherington line.  Did they ever come back to you with a response?  I know they have been working on relaying track in the headshunt at Grovesend recently, which suggests freight activity recommencing. Recent changes to the JLTP4 Consultation draft added in a new phrase about “new links to…

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The campaign to improve Pilning station and its current skeleton service received a major boost on 13th February, when MP Jack Lopresti highlighted the issue in a speech about developing Severnside. … there are some issues that need addressing. First, a regular service must be restored to Pilning railway station. We are lucky enough in my constituency to have the Wave, the first inland surfing lake of its kind in England, on the edge of Pilning and Easter Compton. That amazing facility opened recently and will attract thousands of tourists. If we do not want people to drive there, which would put pressure on rural road networks with limited capacity, it would be sensible to ensure that they have a reliable rail service, especially because there is a railway station already on the door step” Full text can be viewed here The quote is also available to view on YouTube How many stations get their case for…

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Dear Jack, We were greatly encouraged by the commitment to rail demonstrated by the Government’s announcement yesterday that HS2 is to go ahead. The Prime Minister was absolutely right to say that this country is being held back by its inadequate infrastructure and that the transport revolution is local, because it must be local. He added that the government will unite and level up the country with local improvements. This is so relevant to Pilning! He also said that the government is embarking on a massive programme of investment in local transport, and that there will be more details in the Budget. In view of this, we are anxious to ensure that when the additional funding to support the Government’s ‘transport revolution’ is announced in the coming weeks (including the Budget in March), Pilning station will be included, especially taking into consideration the recent successes of the campaign to improve…

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When questioned by they would not stop IETs at Pilning, GWR came up with the following excuse: – Giving a station clearance for IETs to set down / pick up at a station requires a significant amount of work and is particularly in-depth for this type of rolling stock – it includes a variety of safety checks, measurements, calculations, upgrading of systems and software, and physical testing. We can fulfil our service level commitment by stopping an alternative service at Pilning formed of stock that already has the necessary clearance in place. Is this enough to put us off demanding a better service? NOPE! Here’s what we wrote back: – Thank you – but this is far too vague to be an acceptable reply, and I cannot believe that it can be so difficult to stop a new-design train at a station which already meets the stringent present-day requirements for…

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If you can’t wait to get to Bristol on Saturday 28th to spend your Christmas money, gift tokens etc, don’t expect to get the train from Pilning – they’re suspended due to engineering works. Rail replacement taxis will run from Pilning station to Bristol Parkway (change for Temple Meads) at 08:00 and 15:15 (!!)  In the other direction, taxis leave Bristol Parkway for Pilning at 07:30 and 14:45 – train connections leave Temple Meads at 07:00 and 14:28 respectively. So at least that day we have a service in both directions! NB – the taxi may not come right up to the station to pick up – we suggest you wait at the bottom of the station approach road and flag it down if it goes past you! Luckily, we’ve been told that there is Zero Chance for Pilning to be served by Bloodhound LSR, so at least taxis will definitely stop there!

10/23