For this Avon Story, I travelled 20 miles outside of Bristol, to find out about the railway line that runs up the Avon Gorge to Pill and the Royal Portbury Dock, and used to continue on to Portishead, on the Bristol Channel.
Dave Chillistone of the Portishead Railway Group told me about how the issues that made the Avon so difficult for shipping in Victorian times resulted in the railway being built, the impact on the town, why it was closed, and why the PRG are campaigning for it to be re-opened.
Dave took me for a walk around the key places we talked about, and you can follow that walk, with photos of where we stopped, on this map – and scroll down for more photos, and lots more information about Portishead, the railway, the PRG and the plans for the railway’s return.
You can download the podcast directly from the Avon Stories Soundcloud, and sign up to the Avon Stories RSS and subscribe on iTunes, to make sure you hear all the future stories. Make sure you’re also following on twitter and instagram, for regular photos of the river.
Click on them to run the slideshow:
In some of those photos, you’ll see Dave holding up photos of what some of the places used to look like. You can find all of those, and a whole lot more information about the history of the town from the Iron Age onwards and details about the railway, in this document Dave wrote. I especially love all the old photos and images in it. Dave also shared a series of photos he took on a walk down the disused section of the railway after it was cleared in 2015, and it’s definitely inspiring me to walk it too, one winter.
There are more images of the railway in the galleries on the Portishead Railway Group website, as well as videos and a range of maps showing what it used to look like, and where they hope it will be in the future.
The PRG links page is full of information about the town, transport in the region, and a lot more, including links to the other projects run by MetroWest, the regional transport body. And of course, keep up to date with all the PRG news on their website.
Big thanks to Dave Chillistone – I can’t wait to come back to Portishead by train one day!