Category Archives: News Blog

The Group’s application to the DfT’s Ideas Fund for reinstatement of the station footbridge was unsuccessful, but useful pointers were offered for making future submissions and the campaign continues. After that disappointment, the Group was delighted to find that the latest ORR Station Usage statistics showed yet another significant increase in usage (55%) for the period April 2019 – March 2020 – making a staggering 1,440% increase since the footbridge was demolished in November 2016. The Group therefore put a well-argued case to GWR, asking them to recognise this increase in interest and demand by providing one extra train on Saturday lunchtimes. However, GWR refused this very modest request, giving no reasons but merely observing that the present service of two trains a week (Saturdays only) met DfT requirements and they had no plans to increase it. This disappointingly negative response is markedly at variance with Transport Minister Grant Shapps’…

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West of England Combined Authority are developing a Spatial Development Strategy and invited everyone to help them shape the plan https://consultation.westofengland-ca.gov.uk/infrastructure/the-spatial-development-strategy/ This is Pilning Station Group’s response to the consultation: – It is discouraging that WECA continue to disenfranchise residents, commuters, and leisure travellers to Pilning and Severnside. Despite a long-running campaign (which stems back to the late 1980s), WECA continue to ignore pleas from the local campaigners and refuses to include Pilning in the plans for MetroWest. According to the letter from Tim Bowles to Jack Lopresti MP, dated 2 April 2019, the reason for that is that WECA feel that the demand for the services at Pilning will be limited and investments in Pilning will not deliver a high enough return. Upon further investigation, we found out that WECA’s assumption was not based on any tangible evidence. In the email to Pilning Station Group dated 21 February 2020,…

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By email to GWR Interim MD (sent 9 December 2020): – Dear Matthew, The latest Station Usage figures have just been released by ORR, and show a further significant increase for Pilning – 55% compared to 2018/19, and a truly remarkable 1,440% increase compared to 2015/16.  This shows beyond doubt that the initial increase was no flash in the pan – it has not only been maintained, but usage has continued increasing year on year as more and more people become aware of the station and the journey opportunities that even its current very limited service offers. The normal reaction of any commercially-minded organisation to such an upward trend would be “There’s clearly demand and further potential here – what can we do to capitalise on it and develop it further?”  Covid has of course affected usage since March, but our observations indicate that in the circumstances it is holding…

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A bid to secure improvements at Pilning station is among a number of schemes submitted to the Department for Transport’s Ideas Fund for restoring lost railway services to communities. Ten projects were successful in the first round of bidding (none in the Bristol or South Gloucestershire area), and bids for the second round closed on 19 June 2020.  The Pilning bid is centred on reinstatement of the station footbridge, which was controversially demolished by Network Rail in November 2016 to make way for overhead electrification wires, cutting off access to the westbound platform and rendering the station’s service “one way only”.  Reinstatement of the footbridge, above the overhead lines, would enable a two-directional train service to be restored at the station, and would pave the way for future much-needed service improvements.  Despite its reduction to two trains a week (Saturdays only) in only one direction, the station’s recorded usage has…

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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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