Pilning’s tiny Christmas tree matches its minuscule rail service

Rail users near Pilning, Bristol, have been treated with contempt by the Government and the rail industry, but campaigners fighting for a better service responded with a tongue-in-cheek message of Christmas good will.

To reflect the minuscule service they now experience at Pilning, the campaigners illuminated a small Christmas tree on the station for the festive season.

The future of Pilning station, on the English side of the Severn tunnel and served by just two trains on Saturdays only, came to a head after Network Rail removed the station footbridge in 2016 during electrification work.

NR considers that the tiny number of users did not justify rebuilding it to clear the overhead wires.

Railfuture Severnside wrote to the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership and to Network Rail saying that the station had the potential to attract commuters to industrial development planned on Severnside and to a possible new power station at Oldbury.

Pilning Station User Group released a song and video to mark the second anniversary of losing the station footbridge, rendering the station one-direction-only (towards Bristol). The song, inspired by John Lennon’s Imagine, and the Christmas video can be heard at www.pilningstation.uk

People who have campaigned against the “closure by stealth” tactics of the Government and the rail industry can sign a petition about this on the Pilning User Group's website: www.pilningstation.uk 

In Scotland, the Scottish transport minister intervened to stop Network Rail closing Breich station during electrification work on the Glasgow-Edinburgh line via Shotts.

Rail campaigner Graham Larkbey said: “It is a pity Transport Secretary Chris Grayling was not so robust with Network Rail over Pilning as his Scottish counterpart was over the exact same situation at Breich!”