We visit the last stop of the new Bristol railway service nearly lost forever

The railway line closed to passengers almost 70 years ago - but it’s now close to reopening
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It’s been almost 70 years since Henbury lost its railway station. Then, back in 1964, the city of Bristol was still emerging from the post-war years and the now-bulging north western suburb was in its infancy.

But with roads like the A4018 now frequently clogged up with traffic and a Clean Air Zone in full operation, the growing population of the area are keen for a new way to get into the city centre.

So last week’s news that plans for a new railway station for Henbury have been submitted by Network Rail have been strongly welcomed locally, especially by those who have campaigned for decades.

It’ll be the final piece in the jigsaw for a new service line called the Henbury Spur which will see hourly services from Bristol Temple Meads, with stops at Ashley Down and North Filton along the way.

“I’ve been on this 17 years - I’m a Johnny come lately on this,” laughs Henbury and Brentry councillor Mark Weston as we stand on the road bridge next to where the new station will go. “You’ve got groups like Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways, they’ve been making this, decades in the making. “So this is really an important milestone for so many people.”

The new station is proposed for land on the Brentry side of the A4018, and will be accessed via Passage Road with a small car park with just over 30 spaces. The location is a short distance from the old station, which now sits within a cements work yard off Station Road.

The new station will not just serve people in Brentry and Henbury, but also the new Cribbs Patchway neighbourhood being built on farmland behind where the proposed station will be.

“This is really exciting for us because as a community we’ve been pushing this for so long - so to finally have an application is beyond words,” says Councillor Weston.

Henbury and Brentry councillor Mark Weston on the bridge overlooking where the new Henbury Railway Station is set to be builtHenbury and Brentry councillor Mark Weston on the bridge overlooking where the new Henbury Railway Station is set to be built
Henbury and Brentry councillor Mark Weston on the bridge overlooking where the new Henbury Railway Station is set to be built

“It connects you to the city centre, so you’ll be able to access jobs in Temple Meads and jobs in Filton all via a non-road means of transport. So if they are digging up the roads, which seems to be a council hobby, then you can just jump on the rail.”

And that’s not the end. Despite reaching this milestone, Councillor Weston has a long-term goal to continue the service past Henbury, connecting it with the Severn Beach line to creae a ‘Henbury Loop’. “That’s the ultimate goal,” he says.

But for now, the Tory councillor is delighted that plans are well afoot for the station and line, with Ashley Down almost built and work to start at North Filton soon. The line is expected to be open by 2026.

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