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Last Updated: Friday, 18 January 2008, 09:45 GMT
Rail link return 'not a priority'
Hopes of restoring a rail link to Portishead near Bristol have suffered a blow after the government said it was not a priority.

The Department of Transport said it had not found "enough predicted demand to develop disused railway lines".

North Somerset councillor Elfan Ap Rees said the fight was not over.

"We will continue to put pressure on them and we are revisiting earlier feasibility studies to prove the point," he said.

Inadequate highways

"We need to improve the links from Portishead into Bristol and into the north fringe. We cannot carry on with the situation as it is.

"And we don't expect to have to put money into something which at the end of the day is the fault of the government because they have failed to provide an adequate highway and transport system in North Somerset."

A 1,000-name petition, calling for an extension of the restored freight line from Portbury Docks and the creation of a new passenger station at Portishead, was sent to the government.

The Department of Transport said its immediate priority was to boost capacity and tackle overcrowding on the busiest parts of the rail network.

A key part of this, it said, was introducing 1,300 more carriages to the network, some of which will be used in the Bristol area.

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