A PLATFORM and footbridge at Pilning train station are set for closure.

As part of the ongoing electrification works to the great western railway line, Network Rail have announced the demolition of the footbridge which connects to the westbound platform of the station, which will subsequently also close.

The station, which formerly offered a daily service, is now only weekly, going to and from Taunton on a Saturday, making it one of the quietest stations in the country.

While other bridges on the line are being raised to accommodate the electrification wires, Network Rail have said the level of use at the station does not justify the cost.

The removal of the footbridge is planned during a six-week closure of the Severn and Patchway tunnels from September 12, to October 21 when no trains will be running.

A spokesman for Network Rail stressed that while the platform and bridge will be closed, there is no intention to close the station altogether, saying that it “will continue to offer journey opportunities comparable to those provided at present.”

The spokesman said: “As part of the electrification programme, Network Rail needs to ensure that each bridge on the route has enough space underneath to accommodate the overhead lines that will power the new fleet of faster, longer, greener and quieter electric trains.

“To meet this requirement, Network Rail, in agreement with the Department for Transport, train operator GWR and Transport Focus, has decided to remove the footbridge which links the east and westbound platforms at Pilning station, South Gloucestershire.

“The footbridge will not be replaced as the low level of use does not justify the cost of doing so.”

But the Friends of Suburban Bristol Suburban Railways group, who are opposed to the change, say they are disappointed by the decision, claiming that the single train each week since 2006 was a poor service being provided by Network Rail.

Rob Dixon, chairman of group, said, “While we appreciate that Network Rail do not want to spend money on a little used station, Pilning is little used because it does not have a meaningful service.

“It is within walking distance - about 500 metres - of existing and proposed industrial and housing developments so has the potential to be a useful and well used station, which would provide workers and local people with an alternative to the private car.

“At present they have no such alternative. The increased passenger numbers travelling to Severn Beach and St Andrews Road, with a train only every two hours, shows the demand is already there and will only increase. Network Rail must keep this station open. We will oppose any attempt to close it.”

For more information on the Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways visit http://fosbr.org.uk/