Portishead reopening

UK: Network Rail has awarded VolkerFitzpatrick the multi-disciplinary works contract for the reinstatement of 5·5 km of disused line between Pill and Portishead to enable the reintroduction of passenger services to Bristol.

There are two phases to the contract, with the £6·14m first stage covering detailed design and surveys, enabling works and support for the preparation of the full business case for reopening.

The second stage covering GRIP 6-8 implementation is available as an option which Network Rail can exercise subject to funding and consents being secured, and would take the value to £49·8m excluding VAT.

Railway control systems works are to be undertaken separately.

Full business case approval by the Department for Transport is expected in summer 2024. Construction would then commence shortly afterwards, for services to begin in autumn 2026 providing a journey time of 23 min to Bristol as a reliable alternative to the congested A369 road.

The scheme is being funded by the government’s Restoring Your Railway fund, the Department for Transport, West of England Combined Authority and North Somerset Council.

The contract award ‘is another important milestone passed which further oils the wheels when it comes to re-opening the much-loved Bristol to Portishead line’, said West of England Mayor Dan Norris on February 7. ‘This is a really important project that will see communities in south Bristol and across our city reconnected to Portishead and help keep us firmly on the right track when it comes to reaching our ambitious west of England net zero-by-2030 target. I look forward to working with VolkerFitzpatrick as we begin the hard work of physically bringing this rail line back to life.’