THE REOPENING of two former train stations could be nothing more than pipe dreams because of funding constraints.

Campaigners wanting to see a train station returned to Thornbury and the reopening of Charfield station could be left disappointed as regional transport bosses focus their attention and money on improving bus services and cycle routes because they are cheaper.

Campaign group, Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways, have long pushed for many of the district’s stations, like Thornbury and Charfield, to be reinstated to help reduce congestion and pollution.

The Transport for Greater Bristol Alliance have gone as far as to ask for an Integrated Transport Authority (ITA) to be formed in the hope of forcing regional transport bosses to progress more rail schemes.

However, the West of England Partnership, a joint strategic body which looks at transport, has this week told the Gazette an ITA may not deliver the desired results.

The West of England Partnership represents South Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and Bristol, enabling the four authorities to work together on areas such as transport and waste.

Julia Dean, from the partnership, said an ITA would add an extra level to local government to the cost of local payers, but would not have access to any new money.

"It would still have to bid for funding. There is no new money. There isn’t a blank cheque," she said.

Despite the West of England Partnership including the reopening of Charfield train station, which closed in 1965, in its Joint Local Transport Plan, the project may never go ahead.

Ms Dean added: "Rail has always been part of the plan for transport but rail takes a huge amount of time to organise. We have to work with Network Rail.

"Rail is also expensive. We are pushing the rapid transit because it will help most people."

South Gloucestershire Council also mentions protecting land around the former Charfield train station in its planning blueprint the Core Strategy, with ambitions that one day it may be reopened.

But neither document reiterates campaigners’ desires for a new Thornbury train station.

A spokesman for South Gloucestershire Council said the authority supported the aspirations for new Thornbury and Charfield stations, but said there was no funding or plans for such projects.

Mavis Choong, from Network Rail, said any project would have to have a strong business case.

She said: "We have to look at the feasibility of doing them. We can’t be frivolously saying yes or no to schemes until we know it fits into a wider strategy.

"Secondly is there a strong business case. We play an advisory role from an industry point of view."

This week the West of England Partnership announced a £5 million grant it had received from Government to help encourage commuters to get out of their cars and use alternatives like buses and bicycles.