Bristol Airport - what a stupid location!

Discussion in 'Other Public Transport' started by Envoy, 20 Dec 2018.

  1. Envoy

    Envoy Established Member

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    I read that Bristol Airport is set for even further expansion. Unfortunately, it is sited to the south of the city in a location with no rail link and no direct link to the motorway system. It developed at this location due to it originally being a war time airfield.

    From both a rail and motorway point of view, Filton would have been the ideal location for a major airport serving south-west Britain- but they went and blew the chance of that by developing land in this area for Cribbs Causeway Mall, Bradley Stoke, etc.

    Failing that, a new airport should surely have been built near the M49 with an expanded Pilning station bringing mainline trains directly into the airport terminal. Such a location would have had direct trains to not only Bristol centre & the south-west but also Bath and the line via Salisbury; Newport, Cardiff & on to west Wales. Gloucester and Cheltenham could also have had direct trains to such an airport - especially if a new link line was built to link with the route up the Vale of Berkeley.

    https://forums4airports.com/threads/4817/
    Map of Pilning area:>https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place...b24828a!8m2!3d51.5316526!4d-2.5765851!5m1!1e1
     
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  3. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    Wouldn't developing Filton into a major airfield have been difficult due to the Avonmouth line passing through it? At least its closure removes one obstacle to a passenger service.

    Due to our history in the 20th century, the UK is littered with former airfield sites and that is probably why we have a lot more airports than some other countries. Along with most of England having a high population density, it's probably very difficult to justify building an airport on a site where none has ever existed.
     
  4. Stompehh

    Stompehh Member

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    The railway wasn't really an obstacle to the airfield and vice versa. The taxiway level crossing was only used to access the Airbus test facilities and previously some heavy maintenance facilities, not for general aircraft movements.
     
  5. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    Thanks for that. I used to wonder if they ever wanted to electrify how they would do it without having a pantograph reaching several tens of metres. But I suppose these days they'd just leave a gap in the OLE (in the highly unlikely event it happened at all).
     
  6. bluenoxid

    bluenoxid Established Member

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    With regards to the taxiway issue, it would probably be easier to drop the railway under it or build a hump back bridge for the planes (tongue in cheek comment is the latter)

    Leeds-Bradford Airport has similar issues and I understand that the issues at both airports are realised.

    I understand that a link road and existing road upgrades is an option for both but increasing road capacity is not exactly popular at the moment. Communities near the likely proposed routes are very aware that a link road means housing development.

    Rail links are on both agendas with a park and ride set for LBIA.

    The problem for both airports is that they are in private ownership. It’s a bit hollow when they both make calls for public money.
     
  7. mmh

    mmh Established Member

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    That's never put Heathrow off!
     
  8. CHAPS2034

    CHAPS2034 Member

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    Last edited: 20 Dec 2018
  9. Ken H

    Ken H Established Member

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    Leeds/Bradford put he Bradford - Harrogate road in a tunnel under the runway.
     
  10. Envoy

    Envoy Established Member

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    Many thanks for all your contributions thus far. As I said in my opening statement, Filton would have been ideal but would now be unacceptable due to noise issues over the massive developments that have taken place in north Bristol.

    For those of you who are not sure where Bristol Airport is located, please click the following link. Notice that it is miles from the M5 and has no direct road link. To get to this airport from the M5 one must drive on the A4 through the Avon Gorge and then over a swing bridge that gets closed when vessels wish to access/leave the old docks. The area is very congested and includes a football ground as well as Ashton Court - which holds events. The new short link road helps - but not by much. The alternative is to leave the M5 at the Gordano services (J19) and use back roads on a complicated route that is not sign posted (on purpose). For those from the south-west, it is a bit easier as they have the A38 to M5 J22. Needless to say, it has no rail connection meaning that people must use buses to and from Temple Meads.

    So, we have an ever expanding airport serving the whole of south-west Britain located in the wrong place with dire transport links. It is a pity that the Davies Commission - which examined Airport Provision under the Blair Government, did not recommend to new airport near to the Prince of Wales Bridge/ Severn Tunnel. (The suggestion of one in the estuary was not viable due to being away from the railways/ environmental damage and the fact that birds would get sucked in the jet engines).

    Map of Bristol Airport location:>https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.4279363,-2.6874315,16997m/data=!3m1!1e3!5m1!1e1
     
  11. camflyer

    camflyer Member

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    I lived in Bristol for 5 years and never used the local airport once. It was always easier/cheaper to go to Heathrow, Birmingham or even Cardiff (and that's another airport with big problems) and the choice of routes was always very limited. Once the Western Rail link to Heathrow (which has just finished its public consultation) is opened it will be even easier to access from the West Country.
     
  12. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    Simple answer, close Bristol and use Cardiff instead, especially now the Bridge is free.
     
  13. Mag_seven

    Mag_seven Established Member

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    I've been saying that for years but its too late now.
     
  14. S-Bahn

    S-Bahn Member

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    Having flown from Bristol a number of time I can confirm it is a real pain to get to by road and rail. There is a direct and regular bus service from Temple Meads, but it's trip down an inadequate country A Road.

    By comparison Southampton Airport, whilst a lot smaller has a mainline railway station next to the terminal, the M3 and M27 junctions and reasonable bus service.

    I think it goes without saying that it's a prerequisite for an airport to have good transport links. Will be interesting to see if Crossrail reduces vehicle usage to Heathrow from Parts of London.
     
  15. S-Bahn

    S-Bahn Member

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    And yes with the benefit of hindsight and common sense, developing Filton into an airport would have been a better idea.
     
  16. Dai Corner

    Dai Corner Established Member

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    The road access to the airport from the M5 at Jn 18 isn't quite as bad as suggested. The Plimsoll swing bridge hasn't closed to road traffic regularly since commercial shipping to the Docks ceased decades ago. The newish South Bristol Link Road avoids the crawl past Ashton Gate football stadium and round the Parson Street gyratory.

    For public transport users there is a dedicated bus every ten minutes from the bus/coach station and Temple Meads Railway station.
     
  17. S-Bahn

    S-Bahn Member

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    Although I would add that with the exception of the middle of the night, Google Maps navigation on my phone always takes me up the back country lanes to J19 at Gordano Services because the A4 etc is usually heavily congested.
     
  18. HowardGWR

    HowardGWR Established Member

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    There is not much to moan about in reality with Lulsgate access. Judging by the hundreds of Welsh voices I hear every time I fly from there, it can't be too difficult to get there from the other side of the bridge either!

    The bus to the station and bus station are very well used and frequent, so I don't see the need for a new rail link at all. Indeed, with the bus now to use the special Metrobus dedicated access into Bristol, I would leave the car at home if were still a Bristolian dweller.

    If you read why the Inspector recommended not choosing Filton in the original Inquiry, you will weep, as an environmentalist, or businessman, or a socially conscious person. It was a dead dodgy affair all round.
     
  19. 47271

    47271 Established Member

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    I use Bristol quite a bit - and it's one of Britain's less annoying large airports - and I have to say that I find the bus and taxi arrangements far more friendly and way less perverse than what we have to put up with in Scotland.

    - Edinburgh - a busy railway line right at the end of the runway and at the location of the old terminal, rip off tram costs to link from the Gateway station or anywhere else.

    - Glasgow - a busy railway line right at the end of the runway but no thought as to how it might be linked. Endless fruitless discussions about a dedicated link.

    - Aberdeen - a busy railway line at the wrong side of the runway and at the location of the old terminal. No means of reaching one from the other. Pie in the sky proposals for a dedicated link.

    - Inverness - a busy railway line nearby and at least some future plans to connect the two, but a relatively small and little used airport.

    - Only Prestwick, Scotland's grottiest and otherwise most useless significant airport, has a railway station. But nobody wants to go there.

    So Bristol has some integrity in that it has no nearby rail links to be squandered or abused, or isn't an absurd distance from the city. The buses and taxis are relatively inexpensive and in my experience without exception drivers provide excellent service.

    Edinburgh has become a terrible example of what happens when a privately run airport comes into contact with publically funded transport infrastructure and a nearby railway line - it's cheaper for two people to come and go by taxi than it is by tram and train. On the basis of how UK airports are run at the moment, and the evidence found in Scotland, having Bristol closer to a railway would provide few gains I fear.
     
  20. adrock1976

    adrock1976 Established Member

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    Prestwick was significant back in 1960 when Elvis Presley stopped off there on the way back to the USA. It is noted that it was the one and only time that Elvis had set foot on UK soil.
     
  21. 47271

    47271 Established Member

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    True, but Elvis, and just about everyone else, has left the building.
     
  22. Envoy

    Envoy Established Member

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    Well, yes but Cardiff is also poorly located - miles from the M4 and anybody going to this airport from England has to get through the dreaded Brynglas Tunnel - (2 lanes each way on the very busy Newport section of the M4). Carwyn Jones has now departed as first minister and left a decision on a new M4 south of Newport in the hands of his successor - Mark Drakeford. He has just appointed Lee Waters (Labour AM for Llanelli) as deputy Transport Minister. This man is quite pleased that everybody is stuck in jams on the M4 at Newport and presumably would rather see us all on bicycles on the motorway? If Drakeford does not immediately give the go-ahead for the black route (3 lanes each way) south of Newport M4, then I think the Welsh Government can kiss goodbye to any hopes that they may have of developing Cardiff Airport (which they own) any further. No doubt the anti-car brigade will come back on here with responses. At least Cardiff Airport has a rail station 1 mile away at Rhoose with a shuttle bus. However, the trains are only hourly and 2 hourly on Sundays - despite this being the shortest route between the sizeable town of Barry and Bridgend and points west. (No plans for any increase until 2023 I think). See map of Cardiff Airport’s location & zoom out to see position in context of the greater region:>
    https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.3966704,-3.350404,4178m/data=!3m1!1e3!5m1!1e1

    I can’t help but think that the site of the old Llanwern steelworks should have been turned into a new airport - even though some rolling mills remain. Main line trains could have looped into a terminal railway station; the location is mid-way between the major cities of Cardiff & Bristol; the site is aligned east-west = in line with the prevailing winds; it was a brownfield site so less chance of protestors; aircraft noise would have been mainly over industrial south Newport; finally it would have been close to the M4 & A449 expressway.

    Anyway, just as Filton was rejected as a site for an airport, so it was with Llanwern when the Welsh Government decided to buy the Airport at Rhoose and put houses and business parks on the Llanwern steelworks site. See map:>
    https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.5745337,-2.8942116,8573m/data=!3m1!1e3!5m1!1e1

    So, instead of having one decent airport ideally located, we are left 2 airports which are on the wrong side of their respective cities and miles from the main lines of communication. There is the possibility of a new link road (not dual) running south from the M4 at J34 (Miskin) to the A48 at Bonvilston in order to improve road access to Cardiff Airport. However, such a road would do nothing to improve access between Cardiff Airport and the city centre. Indeed, it is likely that traffic from the city centre heading to the airport would go via St.Nicholas rather than there A4050. That being so, one must ask why new housing development has been permitted at St.Nicholas as well as Bonvilston - thus creating more congestion on routes to Cardiff Airport? (They have already turned the A4050 into an urban highway with ribbon housing developments between Culverhouse Cross and Barry - thus making access to the airport even slower).
     
    Last edited: 21 Dec 2018
  23. The Planner

    The Planner Established Member

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    They would have needed to decide decades ago if they wanted to use Filton, as Bradley Stoke had been planned since the 70s and started building mid 80s.
     
  24. corsaVXR

    corsaVXR Member

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    The predominant direction for winds in the UK is from the west / south west - most major airports in the UK have runways that point to the west / south west. (except Birmingham, which is just plain stupid...)

    Therefore, from a winds point of view, it makes sense to place any airport to the North or South of a city - building to the East / West is stupid, and is pretty much why everyone hates Heathrow, because all the flights have to travel over the city.

    From a transport perspective, building to the North of Bristol is far better, as there are easy links to the M5 and M4 and the GWML.

    Just need a reasonably flat piece of land, several billion quid and a 20 year legal battle with the locals and greenpeace.
     
  25. HowardGWR

    HowardGWR Established Member

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    Yes, but nothing had happened when she recommended abandoning Filton.

    Lulsgate was developed for WW2 pilots to practice taking off and landing from an unsuitable foggy location! This is why so many flights ended up in Birmingham, although I think they have better equipment now.

    I am on the whole glad that there is no rail link/deviation to Lulsgate. It would mean far more trains would have to stop there, whereas Taunton to TM is 30 mins for 45 miles and that 90 mph sprint is preferable for the vast majority of pax. A fast bus now runs from Weston to Lulsgate, so far-west pax have a good link via Weston or TM.
     
  26. Dai Corner

    Dai Corner Established Member

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  27. bluenoxid

    bluenoxid Established Member

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    Just spotted this

    The Bristol Southwest Economic Link study (BSWEL) – work continues with NSC and Bristol Airport in developing proposals. One output of BSWEL has been a pre- feasibility report to carry out high-level investigations into the potential for improved rail connections to Bristol Airport, provided as either a heavy rail link, light rail link or using a metro type technology. The interaction with any proposed mass transit solution for the region is therefore critical and officers are discussing how best to align objectives and milestones for the proposals.

    Scroll down to item 15

    https://westofengland-ca.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=141&MId=129&Ver=4
     
  28. sikejsudjek

    sikejsudjek New Member

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    The problem isn't the location of the airports - the problem is the utter inability of this country to have a joined up transport system. Unless of course a) the proposal makes someone some short term profit or b) its in London and moves bankers around quicker.
     
  29. Mojo

    Mojo Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Bristol is by far a bigger, busier and more important airport than Cardiff, even though Cardiff has Qatar flying there. Bristol is also more economically important and active than Cardiff.

    Filton would have been a bad location even before the development in the past thirty years; look at the problems with Heathrow in having an airport in an urban area, not to mention the fact that Bristol's[1] aerospace industry is centred around this location which would presumably have had to have been relocated to somewhere else.

    [1] technically not within the City of Bristol but within the urban area and what the locals would still describe as "Bristol"

    Airports without decent public transport links are not uncommon and in many parts of the world, airports with high-quality public transport access are probably the exception rather than the rule!

    If anything it sums up how, despite having probably the most socially aware and intelligent population out of any of the regional cities, as well as a history of activism as well as thinking of itself as a "Green city," the Greater Bristol sub-region seriously lags behind other urban areas when it comes to provision of public transport thanks to being screwed over by successive Governments probably fed up with their constant infighting and lack of ability to make and justify a decision.
     
    Last edited: 29 Dec 2018
  30. mildertduck

    mildertduck Member

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    I've used Bristol Airport, and found it more than satisfactory. The Bristol Flyer bus was regular, efficient, took under half an hour, and priced pretty reasonably. When I used it, it was on time, and I found the whole airport experience pleasurable (which is often a difficult thing to say!)
     
  31. SwindonBert

    SwindonBert Member

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    It doesn't help when once you've gone past Bath on the M4 / GWML you may as well go to Heathrow and get the benefit of the additional routes, once you get to Swindon it is quicker to get to Heathrow even though it's much further away
     

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