Henbury Loop Line

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Henbury Loop
A double-tracked railway line passes through a cutting. The lines are clean and well-maintained, with fresh ballast. The banks of the cutting have light foliage, with few buildings visible nearby.
The line at Henbury
Type Heavy rail
System National Rail
Status Operational
Locale Bristol
South Gloucestershire
Termini Filton
Stations 5 (0 in use)
Owner Network Rail
Line length 6 miles 39 chains (10.4 km)[1]
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Henbury Loop
Miles and chains from London Paddington
112.03 South Wales Main Line and Cross-Country Route
Cross-Country Route
112.78 South Wales Main Line
113.10 North Filton Platform
114.15 Charlton Halt
115.31 Henbury
116.08 Hallen Halt
M5 motorway
M49 motorway
118.03 Chittening Platform
118.42 Severn Beach Line Hallen Marsh Junction
119.41 St Andrew's Road
120.33 Avonmouth
Severn Beach Line

The Henbury Loop Line, also known as the Filton to Avonmouth Line is a railway line following the boundary between Bristol and South Gloucestershire between the Severn Beach Line at Hallen Marsh Junction, Avonmouth and the Cross Country Route/South Wales Main Line at Filton. It is currently only used for freight.


The line was opened on 9 May 1910, as a more direct route to Avonmouth docks, and was initially known as the Avonmouth and Filton Railway. Although the line was mainly intended for freight services, passenger services were also provided until 1915, with stations at Filton Halt, Charlton, Henbury and Hallen. In 1917 a small station was opened at Chittening Platform to serve a new factory. The line was fully reopened to passenger traffic in 1922. Filton Halt, Charlton and Hallen stations did not reopen, but in 1926 a new station, North Filton Platform, was opened on the site of Filton Halt. The line closed to passenger traffic in 1964.[2]

In 1971 a curve was opened to link the line to the South Wales Main Line at Patchway. This was to facilitate traffic to and from South Wales, including zoo excursions to Clifton Down.[3]

Proposed re-opening[edit]

Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways (FOSBR) and other local rail campaign groups support the reopening of the line to passengers, as well as the stations at North Filton and Henbury.[4][5][6][7] FOSBR suggest this would help services along the Severn Beach Line, allowing a Bristol Temple Meads-Avonmouth-Bristol Parkway service, and also provide services to the north of Bristol generally, the Cribbs Causeway shopping centre,[8] and the redevelopment at Filton Aerodrome.[8] A South Gloucestershire Council planning committee in 2011 recommended that the line be re-opened for passenger services.[9]

A consultation document produced for the West of England Partnership by the Halcrow Group suggested passenger services use the line as a spur. Campaigners objected that the suggested services would not call at stations such as Stapleton Road and Lawrence Hill.[7] A South Gloucestershire Council planning committee in 2011 recommended that the line be re-opened for passenger services.[9]

A one-off service, operated by First Great Western, ran on the line on 27 July 2013.[10] The train operator hoped to use the service to demonstrate the feasibility of running services over the line, and to make the case for suitable funding.[10] However, any reopening is unlikely before 2018,[11] and depends in part upon the four-tracking of Filton Bank to allow more trains to operate the line from Bristol Temple Meads to Filton Abbey Wood.[12]