New rail station for Nailsea
There are plans afoot to shunt Nailsea & Backwell railway station further along the line.
But is the actual building of a new station a long way off?
Nailsea People heard rumours that because of poor access the station should move eastwards.
And during a North Somerset Council Facebook Live session this week we asked the question - see video recording below.
On the panel were Ash Cartman, Robert Payne, Steve Bridger, chair Mike Bell and Bridget Petty, all part of the executive.
Green Party ward councillor for Backwell was nominated to answer.
Bridget said: "It has been part of conversation over past months/years."
Issues include the short length of the platform, access especially for people with disabilities, low bridge and how the people living in all the new houses being built will get to school/work/play both locally and the city centre or further afield.
Bridget agreed there had been massive underinvestment on our station and the road/rail issues need to be sorted.
Other councillors fear the station will be moved at far along the line as Flax Bourton.
Alison Morgan has been campaigning for 13 years for disabled access at Nailsea & Backwell.
Sadly, she said: "I can't see anything happening in my lifetime.
"Looking at the wording of the Local Plan on page 36-38 it is as airy fairy as ever, with only 'consideration' of possible expansion or relocation.
“It uses the phrase access improvements, no mention of disabled access improvements.
“All I can see ever happening is a bigger car park and cycle rack.
“I expect the fact that they can say they are considering relocation gives them the desired excuse to do nothing about the disabled access.”
Read more here: https://n-somerset.moderngov.co.uk/mgAi.aspx?ID=1013#mgDocuments
Alison added: “I know the stability of the embankment is a problem.
“However, if it is so unstable that it couldn't take a steel structure being constructed adjacent to it, eventually they will need to do some strengthening work to it even if the station remains in situ.
“Rather than expensive grand designs for a new station, I would think it more cost effective to repair the current infrastructure.
“This way they can incorporate a ramp as originally planned and keep the station at a site convenient to both Nailsea and Backwell residents...but what do I know!”
Alison consulted North Somerset Lib Dem ward councillor James Tonkin with whom she travelled to the House of Commons back in 2019 to meet railway bosses and North Somerset MP Liam Fox as part of her campaign.
You can read full story here:
James told her 'the station will not be moved as far out as either Flax Bourton or Chelvey. It should only be a few hundred metres from existing site, so it will still serve Nailsea and Backwell'.
Two schools and two artists have been chosen from the shortlisted to create platform art on the theme Landscape at Nailsea & Backwell railway station.
See original story below from launch of project.
Commissioned by GWR the ones taking part will be:
Backwell School Year 7
Alison had offered to get a poster submitted showing the lack of disabled access and arrange for a performance art protest.
A GWR spokesman said: “There was a lot of empathy for Alison's thoughts and frustrations with the station access.
“This is something the wider team at GWR are aware of, however there was a general consensus that this art scheme is not the appropriate place to involve politics or campaigning.”
And in another competition the travelling public is invited to have its say on a new HQ for Great British Railways.
It says: “Towns and cities across the country with strong links to the railways are encouraged to enter nationwide competition
“The new HQ will see home of the railways set up outside of London, spreading opportunities and levelling up communities including hundreds of jobs.”
The plan is for Great British Rail to integrate the railways and deliver simpler, cheaper, passenger-focused travel and is part of the Government’s commitment to level-up the UK.
We thought of offering Nailsea and Backwell as the new base but perhaps Bristol or Swindon have a better claim?
FACT FILE: Nailsea and Backwell railway station, on the Bristol to Exeter line, is in the village of Backwell, close to the town of Nailsea in North Somerset, England. It is eight miles (13 km) west of Bristol Temple Meads railway station, and 126 miles (203 km) from London Paddington. The station, opened in 1841 by the Bristol and Exeter Railway, has two platforms but little in the way of facilities. It is managed by Great Western Railway, the seventh company to be responsible for the station, and the third franchise since privatisation in 1997. The company provides all train services at the station, mainly hourly services between Bristol Parkway and Weston-super-Mare, and between Cardiff Central and Taunton, source Wikipedia
NO ROOM ON TOP: A bus with the words 'Stay Alert' on the front became wedged under the railway bridge at Nailsea and Backwell station in July 2020. It wasn't the first time this has a happened although usually it is a high-sided vehicle. The road is not normally used by double decker buses
FACEBOOK LIVE: Nearly halfway through this recording the question about Nailsea & Backwell railway station is posed by Nailsea People. Cllr Bridget Petty answers...