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
TypeHeavy rail
SystemNational Rail
StatusOperational (freight only)
South Gloucestershire
Stations5 (0 in use)
OwnerNetwork Rail
Line length6 miles 39 chains (10.4 km)[1]
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Henbury Loop

miles-chains from London Paddington

South Wales Main Line
& Cross-Country Route
Bristol Parkway
North Filton Platform
Charlton Halt
Hallen Halt
Chittening Platform
Hallen Marsh Junction
St Andrew's Road

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 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]

This line has been identified by Campaign for a Better Transport as a candidate for reopening.[13]


  1. ^ Deaves, Phil. "Engineer's Line References: AFR – Avonmouth and Filton Railway". Retrieved 15 April 2012.
  2. ^ Disused Stations site record: North Filton Platform
  3. ^ Maggs, C. (1981) Rail Centres: Bristol Ian Allan ISBN 0-7110-1153-2 p.22
  4. ^ "Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways making rail difference". This is Bristol. Northcliffe Media. 25 September 2010. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
  5. ^ "Council leader's claim is a distortion of the facts". This is Bristol. Northcliffe Media. 29 July 2011. Archived from the original on 9 December 2012. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
  6. ^ Leslie, Charlotte MP (10 November 2008). "Unite to fight the sale of Henbury train station". This is Bristol. Northcliffe Media. Archived from the original on 15 September 2012. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
  7. ^ a b Bristol Evening Post (28 March 2012). "Campaigners raise questions over Henbury rail route". This is Bristol. Northcliffe Media. Archived from the original on 14 January 2013. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
  8. ^ a b "Our Case". Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
  9. ^ "Planners back Filton Airfield's closure". BBC News. 5 December 2011. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
  10. ^ a b "Bristol Henbury Loop train runs again after 50 years". BBC News. BBC. 27 July 2013. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  11. ^ "Bristol Henbury Loop service unlikely to reopen until 2018". BBC News. 31 July 2013. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  12. ^ "Bristol Henbury Loop railway line case pushed by MP". BBC News. BBC. 9 August 2013. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  13. ^ [1]