Portishead Branch Line – MetroWest Phase 1

The views expressed in this page do not represent those of the Planning Inspectorate. This page consists of content submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by the public and other interested parties, giving their views of this proposal.

Portishead Branch Line - MetroWest Phase 1

Received 24 February 2020
From Barry Cash


Response to Bristol MetroWest Phase 1 DCO. Feb 2020 by Barry Cash This DCO has been applied for without considering alternative proposals e.g. the Portishead Busway campaign plan to to provide a peak time only bus service on the railway using “Strail” panels. The National Policy Statement for National Networks has 12 paragraphs setting out Government goals that this proposal does not help in meeting. The busway proposal does help in achieving them. The passenger forecast shows that only rush hour trains will be full. Initially only12% of seats will be occupied. Even after 15 years only 16.3% will be filled. Both Bristol and North Somerset Council's have declared a climate emergency. Running 120 tonne trains up and down the line with no one on them will not reduce our fossil fuel use. The cost is £116m for one train per hour. A further £55m will be required to provide two trains per hour. ( Even more empty seats). The cost of the busway is £40m. A massive saving for the taxpayer. A busway will offer a better service to passengers. It could start from the far end of Portishead in the Redcliffe bay area and instead of stopping at Temple Meads could continue on to the central areas of Bristol. Alternatively the buses could join the 31 miles of dedicated Metrobus tracks at Ashton gate and serve many other areas of Bristol. A new station and car park will be required for the trains. The busway will not need this. The official report estimates total running costs for the first three years up to £5m higher than revenues, but claims the trains ‘could break even after 5 years’. However, passenger numbers are not expected to rise dramatically, and nothing is offered to support this optimism. Therefore, fares will always be expensive or massively subsidised. When the total fossil fuels used in both construction and use is taken account of research finds diesel buses much more efficient than trains. A busway would have much lower environmental costs, substantially mitigating rather than worsening the climate crisis. There could be even higher efficiency/lower economic and carbon costs by running buses on electricity, bio gas. LPG etc. Trains will be diesel unless a huge amount of extra money is spent to electrify the line and this is not even propose at present. A busway with a reversible one-way flow to serve each ‘rush-hour’ (actually three hours) could provide a bus every few minutes at peak times. Off-peak, Portbury Docks trains would be able to run as normal over a Strail busway. With far lower capital and running costs, busway fares would be much lower than train fares.