Last train - No More!
The last train to call...for a while
- the line has come alive...after 38 long years!!!
photograph (right) is one of a series
of the outbound last passenger service train, running in under the footbridge
at Clifton Bridge station in 1964 - and yes, at the end of the 20th Century,
rusted rails, rotted sleepers, and traces of the platform, still existed
here, amid undergrowth and overgrowth.....
of Re-opening was announced on 28 November, 2000.
by: The Passage of Time
was given for a £15,000,000 investment, to re-open the line to serve
the Royal Portbury Dock, close to Portishead.
Prior to closure,
Portbury was the last - or penultimate - station on the line before Portishead.
The growth of freight traffic from Royal Portbury Dock, and the considerable
growth of Portishead itself, should eventually allow a viable passenger
service as well.
the track bed was safeguarded through all these years, though much of the
track itself became barely visible. This has now changed...a
flail was brought in to clear things quickly...trackwork at the Parson
Street end was noted to have been relaid/reballasted at the end of May
2001... and a whole new line had taken shape by Autumn.
VIPs were transported
to Portbury on December 21st, 2001 by a train hauled by saddle tank
"Portbury" (ex Avonmouth Docks), and Transport Minister John Spellar opened
the new terminal, now valued at £21m.
|Even the Clifton
Bridge station footbridge seen above, was being restored.
charters were planned once operations had settled down, and the sight
of these workers happily passing Ashton Gate Platform in October 2001 might
suggest that Railtrack could have made some much-needed cash by offering
trolley rides to the public...
- the once unthinkable possibility of opening this platform again would
be a relatively minor task. Perhaps your webmaster may live to see Prairie
tanks grandly rolling up again, or the memorable sight of a Bulleid Pacific
from Brighton with a football crowd...
officially began on January 7th, 2002. The first week produced a
curious accident...a heavy train from Portbury derailed at Temple Meads
station, then rerailed itself.
|This coal empties train is returning to Portbury
on 15th January, during the second week of (resumed!) operations. Only
a couple of trains ran during week 1, so this was the first fully operational
The location - Ashton Gate - is the one seen from
a dmu about 38 years earlier.
Another fully-booked charter ran through the Gorge
on September 7th, 2002, organised by Hertfordshire Rail Tours, followed
by steam tours in 2003/2004.
paying passengers arrived in the Gorge, courtesy of Pathfinder Tours, on
the 8th June, 2002. A big surprise - the train ran right to the mouth of
the Avon, where it meets the Bristol Channel.
may have received a big surprise, too - seeing a huge formation of 14 coaches
with 2 x class 37 locomotives top/tail - 38 years after the "last" train.
Please Click to return to Menu:-