Portway Park & Ride Station opened to the public on Tuesday 1st August 2023. A few FoSBR members rode the first train arriving Portway Park & Ride at 05:34. There were some rail vloggers in attendance, and GWR staff members giving out freebie lapel pins and bags. FoSBR’s Tim was interviewed by YouTuber Geoff Marshall (he of All the Stations fame) and the vlog can be found here.
There was widespread press coverage of the official opening the previous day 31st July where special guests included Secretary of State for Transport Mark Harper, West of England (WECA) Metro Mayor Dan Norris, Bristol City Council Transport Lead Don Alexander and GWR Western Route Director Marcus Jones.
Speakers cited Portway Park & Ride as the first station in Bristol for nearly a century: Parson Street, opened 1927, is no longer the new kid on the block. The two other recent “Bristol” stations are technically in South Gloucestershire: Bristol Parkway opened in 1972, and Filton Abbey Wood was re-sited and renamed in 1996. FoSBR got a name check from the Transport Secretary. We were surprised he had heard of us!
Southeastern’s Thanet Parkway Station opened to the public on 31st July 2023, the same day as the Portway official opening, so there is some confusion amongst rail enthusiasts around whether Portway Park & Ride is the 2577th or the 2578th station on the national rail network. This is the third GWR station to open in last three months, the previous two being Reading Green Park (2575) and Marsh Barton (2576).
This is the first new station to open as part of WECA’s MetroWest scheme, with additional cross-city services, line re-openings and 7 new stations in 7 years – the next of those being Ashley Down, which could open in May 2024.
Portway Park & Ride station sits between Shirehampton and Avonmouth adjacent to the pre-existing bus park and ride facility. There is a half-hourly service between Bristol Temple Meads and Avonmouth (hourly to Severn Beach). The new station will provide the local community and park and ride users with a link to destinations on the Severn Beach line and to the wider rail network via Bristol Temple Meads.
The bus and train routes are complementary – Stagecoach service 9 routes via Hotwells, Broadmead, Temple Meads to Brislington Park & Ride. The Severn Beach Line arcs via Clifton, Gloucester Road, Easton and Lawrence Hill to Bristol Temple Meads, with many services continuing to Weston-super-Mare. The train to Temple Meads will appeal to those visiting the developing Temple Quarter area, which is shifting Bristol’s centre of gravity east.
The single platform is 126 metres long and can accommodate five-car trains. There are two shelters. The station was designed with accessibility features such as tactile paving and signage that includes raised text and braille. The car park has been extended to cater for 870 cars.
There is CCTV, a ticket machine and tap on/tap off points for the GWR Pay As You Go (PAYG) scheme. Neither the ticket machine nor the tap on/tap off were functioning on the first day of service.
Many thanks to Jane Jones and Stacey Lewis of GWR for facilitating the official opening, and all the organisations involved in commissioning and funding the £5.8m station, including GWR, Network Rail, Bristol City Council, WECA, DfT, Severnside Community Rail Partnership and contractors Dyer & Butler.