Calls to restore railway line following closure of Tytherington Quarry
CALLS have been made for a railway line for commuters in the Thornbury area to be restored following news of the impending closure of Tytherington Quarry.
With the asphalt and concrete plant due to be mothballed at the end of December, the tracks behind it could now be given a new lease of life and returned to their original purpose, thanks to two district councillors.
Conservative Cllrs Brian Hopkinson and Trevor Jones are spearheading the campaign to bring the line back into use and have already lobbied transport chiefs asking them to consider reopening the old railway.
They said the local authority should "grab" this unexpected opportunity.
"We believe that it is within South Gloucestershire Council’s strategic transport remit to request that Network Rail reclaim this line and protect its potential for future use and we request that this is attended to swiftly," they said.
"We cannot countenance this line being scrapped and parts of the trackbed used as a cycle track/footpath or just allowed to 'return to nature' without the potential this line offers for commuter route alternatives being investigated."
According to the West of England Area Rail Studies report published in April 2012 reopening the line would cost £38 million with operating costs of £3 million each year.
The construction of a large-scale nuclear power station in Shepperdine would require easy access to a transport links, the councillors told the Gazette.
"The amount of concrete, steel, equipment, and construction workers, coming into this area will be enormous," they added. "To see a greater part of this coming in by rail and the waste removed via the same route could enhance the speed of construction and may well reduce overall costs to the developer."
The Greater Bristol Metro Rail campaign, which aimed to bring former stations back into use and increase services’ frequency, was launched by the four local authorities, including South Gloucestershire and Bristol City Councils, this year.
Despite Thornbury’s rush-hour crowds flocking to and from Bristol every day, the town was not considered as part of the project's first phase, which is due to be rolled out around 2017, or second stage.
But this does not mean it will not come to be in the future and the councillors are hoping the £38 million necessary to make the line operational again will become available in time.
Thornbury Cllr Clive Parkinson said considering reopening the line was an "interesting thought".
He said: "I'm sure people in Thornbury would want all opportunities explored. Commuting into Bristol is not good at the moment."