The Bristol to Portishead Branch with the Bristol Harbour Railway and Canon's Marsh Branch (Oakwood)

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A comprehensive illustrated history of the railway line connecting the city of Bristol with the nearby port of Portishead on the south bank of the Bristol Channel at the mouth of the river Avon.

By the middle of the 19th century, ships were getting larger and consequently were having difficulty in navigating the River Avon up to Bristol. The solution was to build a new port at the mouth if the river (a second port was also built at Avonmouth on the north bank of the river) and a connecting railway line to convey passengers and goods to Bristol and beyond.

Post-war car ownership and the resulting decline in railway passenger traffic led to the 1964 closure of the branch, but in 1978, the opening of the Royal Portbury Dock resulted in a £21m investment in rail access.

Later still, rush hour road congestion demanded a further rethink and in 1989 Royal Assent was given to construct a light railway from Wapping Road via Portbury to Portishead. The scheme has yet to come to fruition, but the plans are still active and it is hoped passengers may again be able to travel to Portishead in the not-too-distant future.

In The Bristol to Portishead Branch with the Bristol Harbour Railway and Canon’s Marsh Branch, author Colin Maggs relates the full story of these branch lines from the earliest days to the most recent developments. He examines the proposals for and construction of the line, freight and passenger traffic, locomotives, coaching stock, signalling and many other aspects of the lines’ operations. Well illustrated with archive black & white photographs, maps, diagrams and other reproductions. 192 pages.

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