The MetroWest Phases 1 and 2 rail development strategy has been developed by the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (four local councils and two business representatives) who are the transport development body for the Greater Bristol area. Government funding for major transport schemes is channelled through the Partnership and is applied for by them. The councils are Bristol City, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire and Bath and North East Somerset.
Click here to see the overview of the MetroWest programme published in June 2014. Phase 1 is being implemented now and is due for completion in 2019. It will provide:
- Reopening of the Portishead line for half-hourly passenger services with new stations at Portishead and Pill
- Half hourly services for the Severn Beach line
- More trains serving Keynsham, Oldfield Park, Bedminster and / or Parson Street
The Government has agreed funding for the bulk of MetroWest Phase 1 rail improvements under the Bristol City Deal.
A new Ashton Gate station is mentioned in Bristol City Council and West of England Local Enterprise Partnership reports as part of Phase 2 of the MetroWest rail developments / new stations package, to take place 2019 onwards for station openings in 2022.
These stages are not currently funded by the Government and a cost benefit business case has to be made for funding to be approved. This is done by private consultants employed by local Councils looking at rail proposals and calculating a cost benefit score. The current requirement is that a scheme must have a Cost Benefit Ratio (CBR) of 2:1 i.e. the benefits are worth twice the costs.
A November 2014 consultants report on a new Ashton Gate station concluded that the CBR score would be 0.98:1 in 2022. This is chiefly due to the fact that they predict only 213 passenger trips would be made from the station each day, i.e. 67,000 per year.
We say a station at Ashton Gate is integral to the reopening of the Portishead line and must be a part and parcel of Phase 1.