Henbury Line

The Henbury Line forms a key part of the West of England Combined Authority’s MetroWest project to improve rail services in and around Bristol. New stations are planned for Ashley Down, North Filton (possibly to be known as Brabazon) and Henbury.

Henbury East station location
Henbury East station site looking east from A4018

1964

Ashley Hill, Horfield, Henbury and Chittening stations close to passengers.

1965

Stations close to freight. Line is retained for freight use as a direct route to Avonmouth Docks.

2011

South Gloucestershire Council discuss restoration of services on the Henbury Loop, providing the opportunity for a suburban metro service, serving Bristol Temple Meads, Clifton Down, Henbury and Bristol Parkway (and intermediate stops) on a circular route.

2013

Demonstration charter train shows feasibility of operating service around loop.

2015

West of England Partnership (WEP) Joint Transport Board resolve to prepare an outline business case for a Henbury spur service with new stations at Ashley Down, North Filton and Henbury as part of MetroWest Phase 2.

Loop or spur?

Consultants to the Partnership dismiss the case for a Henbury loop service extending west to Avonmouth via Clifton Down to Temple Meads, claiming this would attract only 8,000 more passengers per year than the proposed spur.

The business case ignores the volume of new residents of the 8,000 new homes in the Cribbs Patchway New Neighbourhood (old Filton Airfield) who will likely need to travel to employment hubs to the north-west of the city, such as Severnside. Also ignored is the potential passenger flow from the (not yet build) Portway Park&Ride station.

January 2016

Consultation on the location for a new railway station to serve Henbury asks for views on two options for the location:

  • the “West Site”, west of the A4018 and east of Station Road (the former station site)
  • and the “East Site”, immediately east of the A4018.

January 2018

In is announced that the new £10m station will be built on the East Site. The former Henbury station site is rejected due to a higher cost and a similar levels of public support for both sites.

September 2018

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees confirms his decision to cease work on a Bristol Arena at Temple Island behind Bristol Temple Meads. This decision clears the way for a privately developed arena funded by Malaysian investment firm YTL in the Brabazon hangar on Filton Airfield, conveniently located close to the potential site for new North Filton station.

The site of North Filton station site had previously been moved by agreement between YTL and South Gloucestershire. The new station site is 300m west of the old station site adjacent to the A38. The new station site is more central to the airfield housing development and closer to the Brabazon hangar.

March 2019

It is revealed that discussions are underway to expand MetroWest (Phase 2) 30 miles beyond Yate to Gloucester in the north and (Phase 1a) 15 miles from Bath to Westbury. The director of infrastructure for the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) David Carter says it is working with Network Rail to determine the necessary infrastructure. He states:

We have to make sure we keep, in both MetroWest 1 and 2, the cost of the turnback at Bath and the cost of the turnback at Yate until such time as the DfT confirms Gloucester and Westbury are in the GWR franchise.

June 2019

Kye Dudd (Cabinet Member for Transport) updates Bristol City Council cabinet about the design progress on Ashley Down station, which will be located at the old Ashley Hill station site. Councillor Dudd says there will be a public engagement around the design and access of the site, in particular the pedestrian and cycle access leading to Station Road, Muller Road and the Concorde Way cycle route.

WECA states that full planning applications will be submitted “over the next few months” for North Filton and Henbury, while Network Rail has permitted development rights to construct Ashley Down station on the site of the previous station.