You can solve Bristol's biggest problem
For most people that problem is traffic – congestion, delays, pollution and accidents. More and more of us realise that it cannot be solved on the roads alone and that the neglected railways can make a crucial contribution. People power has already notched up some victories:
- The campaign led by the Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways (FOSBR) persuaded the City Council to pay for more frequent weekday trains on the Severn Beach line and a Sunday service to Avonmouth.
- In its first three months this has already brought 27% more passengers on to the line.
- FOSBR and the Portishead Railway Group have already persuaded the four local councils to raise their priority for restoring passenger trains between Temple Meads and Portishead. They are commiited to study the feasibility of regular passenger trains on the Avonmouth-Henbury-Parkway line.
- Re-opening of stations at Ashley Hill and Horfield is already being discussed by City planners.
Your power showed itself when almost everyone made trains every half hour on the Severn Beach railway their top choice for the City Council budget, backed by 3,000 petitioners, and by the hundreds of postcards flowing to the four local councils in support of our Portishead and North Bristol Campaign.
How you can do it - and win!
That power has to be organised and focussed. FOSBR researches and publicises the case, speaks at Council meetings, launches petitions and lobbies councillors. More remains to be done. The aspirations have to be turned into reality. Trains are more frequent but the target of at least half-hourly has not yet been achieved. Mistakes have to be corrected – South Gloucester-shire’s withdrawal of the substitute bus between Avonmouth and Severn Beach, the sale of Henbury station, trains not scheduled to call at Lawrence Hill and Stapleton Road. Too many people are still unaware of existing train services.
Whilst rail is the most reliable form of local transport, FOSBR campaigns for performance agreements to prevent cancellations and unpunctuality. FOSBR welcomes the Severnside Community Rail Partnership’s improvements to local stations, making them more attractive to existing and potential passengers. We have been promised better access, signing, ticketing, information and safety at Severn Beach line stations and Patchway.
Every extra passenger on the train means less congestion, less pollution, fewer accidents on the roads and a better life in the city. Emissions from road transport damage health and cause climate change. Emissions from rail trips are much lower than from the same journey by car. Rail is quicker.
It doesn't stop there
We already have a local railway network, but it is not being used. Stations have been dismantled or trains rarely serve them. We need to:
- restore passenger services to Portishead and between Avonmouth and Parkway.
- build or re-open stations at Hallen, Henbury (& Cribbs Causeway), Filton, Horfield, Ashley Hill, Ashton Gate, Pill, Portbury, Saltford, Tytherington, Thornbury and Charfield.
- make better connections with other modes of transport.
- increase services to at least every 30 minutes at ALL stations.
Other cities are gaining new and improved local rail and tram services. Their leaders show support for improvement and expansion and are willing to speak out in the interests of their communities. FOSBR wants leaders in and around Bristol to show equal foresight and supports them when they do. FOSBR supports the Transport for Greater Bristol Alliance’s call for an Integrated Transport Authority to cover Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset. A Transport Authority will have access to more funding and more power over all forms of public transport. It will be a united force supporting the best interests of the region.