Hopes rise for rail station revival
PLANS to reopen Saltford Station could take a big step forward before the end of the year.
Bath & North East Somerset Council has given overwhelming support to the idea and will urge the West of England Combined Authority, which has responsibility for transport across the area, to champion it.
The hope is that the long-awaited station revival will form part of a Greater Bristol Rail Feasibility Study, which is due to be completed this autumn.
This would strengthen bids to the Department for Transport and Network Rail for funding.
Liberal Democrat Councillor Duncan Hounsell spoke up for Saltford Station at a B&NES full council meeting.
He said: “A reopened station is not just about providing Saltford’s commuters with a gateway to the awaited half-hourly Metro West services, but also playing a part in reducing road traffic and pollution in Bath, and helping to address the climate emergency by reducing car use. There is a strong case for a Saltford Station to be championed by WECA.”
He pointed out that the majority of residents in Saltford and the surrounding villages want the station, which could also serve the needs of Bath Spa University’s Newton Park campus.
Councillor Neil Butters, Lib Dem joint cabinet member for transport services, said: “You can be sure we will be pursuing this project at the West of England Transport Board with full vigour.”
Saltford station was originally opened in 1840 and closed in 1970. Mr Butters said a timetable from 1962 showed a train could get to Bath in nine minutes, or to Bristol Temple Meads in 15 minutes, and the times would be shorter nowadays.
B&NES agreed to ask WECA to take the project forward and consider how it might be funded. It also said Saltford Parish Council would be kept fully informed of developments.