'Computer says no attitude to Saltford station not good enough'

February 05 2018

Campaigners fighting to reopen Saltford station say they fear the project has stalled and are urging B&NES leaders to “drive it forward”.

Campaigners fighting to reopen Saltford station say they fear the project has stalled and are urging B&NES leaders to “drive it forward”.

The Keynsham and Saltford Liberal Democrat group says there has been “no further apparent progress” on the scheme since 2015 following a number of studies and a public consultation with people living in the village.

A spokesperson for Bath and North East Somerset Council said investigating the possibility of reopening Saltford is included in the recently developed Joint Transport Study, which won the backing of all four West of England councils in October.

Campaigners say they have been told delays to drawing up timetables to include half-hourly stops at Keynsham and Oldfield Park have led to a hold-up for work on the Saltford station proposal, however.

The timetable work is being carried out as part of the multi-million-pound MetroWest scheme to enhance the rail network across B&NES, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, and includes the reopening of the Portishead line and more frequent trains between Bath Spa and Bristol.

There is no mention of Saltford in the business case drawn up for Phase 1 of MetroWest and recently submitted to the Department for Transport’s Large Local Major Schemes programme – but it does say that “further projects are expected to be added to the MetroWest programme in due course”.

In a letter to Keynshamvoice, Duncan Hounsell, chair of Keynsham and Saltford Liberal Democrats, said passenger numbers were up at every station in B&NES and it was time to reopen Saltford’s station.

He said: “All that we hear from the Conservatives is that they are waiting to hear from Network Rail if the timetable allows stops at Saltford. The project needs to be driven forward and championed by B&NES. A ‘computer says no’ attitude is not good enough.”

A B&NES spokesperson said: “The four West of England councils have developed a Joint Transport Study (JTS), which is designed to help the region meet the growing travel demands that new growth will bring, as well as tackling existing pressure on road and public transport networks.

“This includes providing the key transport infrastructure needed to reduce reliance on cars and tackle congestion.  This includes measures to improve walking and cycling, better access to public transport and where necessary highway capacity improvements. 

“The study concludes that in the B&NES area it is seeking to make improvements to the existing Keynsham station and investigate the possibility of opening a station to serve Saltford.”