The West of England Combined Authority (WECA) is responsible for strategic transport projects in this sub-region. WECA has made a bid to the Department for Transport’s “restoring your railway (RYR)” fund seeking £50,000 towards the cost of £70,000 to develop the business and feasibility case for opening a station at Saltford as part of the MetroWest project.
MetroWest will provide half-hourly local train services across the Bristol-Bath sub-region. The Saltford station study will cover the areas required to establish whether the station is feasible, and if it is, what the next steps in its development should be. These areas include:
- Assessing the effectiveness of a new station at addressing the congestion issues on the A4 corridor and at improving connectivity at Saltford.
- Evaluating the capacity of the line for a new station given that services on the line have changed since the last study
- Determining the signalling infrastructure that would be required, and its cost. This was not done in previous studies.
- Working alongside the project for a new station at St Anne’s (funded by RYR) to evaluate the two points above to provide a holistic view of the rail corridor capacity
- Considering the effects on demand of the mass transit scenarios under consideration
- Updating costs, benefits and programme.
The bid follows a vote of Bath and North East Somerset Council in October 2019 supporting the opening of a Saltford station. Cllr Dine Romero (Lib Dem), leader of B&NES Council, said “The (Saltford) project matches the aims of B&NES Council which supports this bid enthusiastically; I too strongly support this application by WECA.”
Cllr Alastair Singleton, a Saltford ward councillor (Lib Dem), said “This is excellent news. This shows that the idea of a Saltford station is being taken very seriously by WECA.”
The WECA bid is welcomed by Saltford Parish Council and the Saltford Station Campaign, who have been actively supporting the re-opening of Saltford Station for many years. Cllr Chris Warren, Chair of Saltford Parish Council as well as the Saltford Station Campaign, stated ‘This bid is a strong, positive step towards the re-opening of Saltford Station potentially at its former site. Saltford Parish Council and the Saltford Station Campaign view this as a significant step towards making the re-opening of our station a reality’.
Cllr Neil Butters, joint B&NES cabinet member for Transport, said “I would like to congratulate Saltford Parish Council , Cllrs Duncan Hounsell and Alastair Singleton, and the people of Saltford for their achievement so far. A re-opened Saltford station would take many cars off the road, reduce carbon emissions, and lead to a pleasanter environment. This station project has my full support.”
The WECA bid makes clear that the development of a station would take a minimum of 5 years if there was sufficient line capacity. If a Saltford station was dependent on signalling enhancements the minimum time for delivering the station would be ten years.