By now you've probably heard that the 'new' Hitachi 800 class trains are being withdrawn because of a hair-line crack.
So, i spent about 30 minutes down at Swindon Station this morning.
One of the station staff told me that there were no bus replacement services.
With 26 passenger entries and exits between April 2014 and March 2015, it was the second-least used station in Great Britain, behind Shippea Hill. It is one of only two stations on the National Rail network to have the designation 'halt'.
Meanwhile, you’ll be pleased to hear that work on reopening the line has carried on unabated and everything is going well.
As you may know, the DCO (Development Consent Order) was submitted in December 2019 and it completed the examination stage in April 2021. PRG recently met with James Willcock and the MetroWest team for a progress update and here’s the latest news:
- The Planning Inspectorate are now preparing their report and this will go to the Secretary of State on July 19th.
- The Secretary of State will take three months to make his decision, which should be announced towards the end of October.
- The full business case for the Portishead line then has to be approved by North Somerset Council. This cannot occur until after the Secretary of State's decision has been announced.
- Meanwhile, the MetroWest team will continue work on various outstanding matters and on procuring the contractor to carry out the line’s construction.
- Once the full business case is approved in November/December, the Department for Transport will then take six months to sign off the project, including obtaining HM Treasury approval, in around July 2022.
- Only then can North Somerset Council award the construction contract, so construction is unlikely to get started before early 2023.
- Construction will take 12-18 months, so train services are likely to commence in the second half of 2024.
Peter Maliphant, Membership Secretary, Portishead Railway Group