Posts Tagged ‘Filton Airfield’

Filton Airfield site to act as base for railway electrification project

Posted on Friday 8th July 2016 at 9:57 am by SH (Editor)

Severn Tunnel electrification drilling work.

Network Rail has announced that it is to set up a temporary compound on the Filton Airfield site, in support of its project to prepare the 130-year-old Patchway and Severn tunnels for the arrival of a new fleet of longer, faster, quieter and greener electric trains.

The compound, adjacent to the A38 Gloucester Road, will provide a parking area for the approximately 500 workers assigned to the project, who will work in shifts and travel by minibus to access the track at Patchway and Pilning stations. It will also provide a base for working on sections of new track before they are transported to the tunnels.

Around 30 management staff will be based at the compound and up to 200 workers will arrive and leave per shift (6am, 2pm and midnight).

Work on setting up the compound at Filton Airfield was expected to get under way as we went to press (late June), with the delivery of sleepers and rails commencing shortly after.

Workers and delivery lorries will access the site via the airfield main access gate, off the A38. Wherever possible, deliveries will be planned to avoid the start and end times of shifts at the nearby Rolls-Royce and Airbus sites.

Pre-assembled track panels will be transported from Filton Airfield to the railway access points in the evenings, after 8pm. Local residents are advised that temporary congestion may occur on Station Road in Little Stoke as HGVs travel to and from the Network Rail compound at Patchway Station.

The upgrades required to prepare both tunnels for electrification are extensive and will involve installing conductor beams to power the new fleet of electric trains to run underneath. To install this beam in the Severn tunnel, four tonnes of soot needs to be removed and extensive improvements made to the brick work.

In addition, to accommodate the electrification equipment, the track will be lowered in one of the Patchway tunnels and underneath the nearby Little Stoke Farm bridge (on Station Road, near the Sort It centre), to preserve its historical architecture.

The scale of this engineering challenge together with the type of machinery required to carry out the work means that a temporary closure of both tunnels is unavoidable. This temporary closure will take place over six weeks, from 12th September to 21st October 2016.

Throughout the work, train services to and from South Wales will still be running, but some journeys will take longer and on some routes replacement bus services will be in operation.

Ahead of the closure, passengers are advised to check before they travel through Great Western Railway or National Rail Enquiries.

For more information on railway closures, visit

Photo: Severn Tunnel electrification drilling work.

This article originally appeared in the July 2016 edition of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine, delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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Jack Lopresti speaks out on the sale of Filton Airfield

Posted on Friday 5th April 2013 at 7:00 pm by SH (Editor)

An open letter from Jack Lopresti, MP for Filton and Bradley Stoke

Jack Lopresti, MP for Filton and Bradley Stoke.

In recent weeks I have seen several pieces in the local press that seek to scaremonger over the future of our local economy now that Filton Airfield has closed. It is particularly disappointing that local Labour politicians have been cynically talking our local industries down in this way, they’ve been more concerned about scoring parochial party political points than looking at the opportunities and promoting the success of our world leading high tech aerospace and aviation manufacturing industry.

The local Labour party have never made clear how they would have acquired control of a privately owned airfield, forced BAe to keep operating it and forced Airbus to keep supporting it commercially. The Labour party know that the only way this could have been done would be compulsory purchase backed by a huge public subsidy, but they refuse to be honest with local people that they would plough millions of pounds of hardworking tax payer’s money into something that is commercially unviable. The future plans for investment and infrastructure for the airfield site were put to a South Gloucestershire Council Meeting at the end of December 2011 – and when it came down to it, when they had the opportunity to show some kind of leadership what did Labour do? They abstained from the vote.

Since the announced closure Filton aerospace industry has gone from strength to strength and still has a world-leading aviation industry and is still seen as the country’s foremost aerospace technology hub, something which many local people, me included, are very proud of.

After the announcement which surprised and saddened all of us local residents I sought and received assurances from all of the major local aerospace businesses, including Rolls Royce, Airbus, GKN and others, that the loss of the airfield will not compromise their operations in Filton. I also had discussions with Defence Ministers about the loss of use of the airfield to the Military, should they ever need to use it, but was informed that due to the availability of places like RAF Fairford and Brize Norton the closure of the airfield would have no bearing on any future Military Operational capability.

More: "high-tech manufacturing of the future does not need the airfield" »

Funeral atmosphere as last planes take-off from Filton Airfield

Posted on Friday 21st December 2012 at 6:41 pm by SH (Editor)

Cllr Bill Bowrey (Lab, Kings Chase) "pays his respects".

An air of sadness hung over Filton Airfield today as the last few planes took-off ahead of the official closure at the end of the year.

Aircraft enthusiasts, past and present aerospace workers, local Councillors and members of the public gathered at various sites around the airfield to witness the historic occasion, which brought to an end over one hundred years of aviation operations at the site.

Local Labour Councillors who have campaigned to save the airfield laid a symbolic wreath on the boundary fence at the eastern end of the runway to mark its closure.

District Councillor Adam Monk (Labour, Filton) said:

“It is perhaps appropriate that the night which follows the closure of the runway at Filton is the longest and darkest night of the year. In 1940 German bombs failed to close the airfield but today developers and short-sighted Tory and Lib Dem Councillors have succeeded where they failed. They have closed the birthplace of Concorde, the Brabazon and the Bristol Beaufighter, perhaps for ever, and endangered thousands of high tech jobs in the process.”

The Labour Councillors acknowledged the work of the Save Filton Airfield group, which continues to argue that the airfield must be re-opened, and said they will be encouraging the new Mayor of Bristol to pursue the independent economic study that he says is necessary to determine the regional impact of the airfield’s closure.

Labour Councillor Bill Bowrey said:

“I respectfully suggest to the Mayor of Bristol that this economic study for our City Region will also have implications for the wider UK economy and should therefore be conducted with the support of the UK Government, which is currently consulting on its long-term aviation policies.”

The ongoing campaign to save the airfield was also supported by UKIP, which yesterday sent a letter to Simon Burns MP, minister of State for Transport, calling on him to urgently consider the implications of “closing and building over” the airfield.

More: Government called on to "override local planning decision" »

Trust seeks views on proposed aerospace heritage museum

Posted on Wednesday 12th December 2012 at 7:07 pm by SH (Editor)

Bristol Aero Collection.

Following last week’s announcement that British Aerospace has donated £2.4 million towards the establishment of an aerospace heritage museum on the northern edge of the Filton Airfield site, the charitable organisation behind the project has launched a survey to collect the views of local people.

The proposed site includes two World War One, Grade II listed hangars, which will be fully refurbished to provide a first class aviation heritage museum, a learning centre and an archive. There are also plans to construct a new building to house Concorde 216 (currently based on another part of the airfield but closed to the public) and related exhibitions.

As part of a wide consultation process, the Bristol Aero Collection says it would welcome the public’s views on what the museum should look like and what it should contain.

Subject areas that the questionnaire suggests might be addressed by exhibits in the new museum include:

  • How the community around Filton has grown and been affected by the aerospace industry
  • The history of the aerospace industry in Bristol from 1910
  • The role of Bristol’s aircraft, engines and people in two World Wars
  • The stories of Concorde from its design and technology to its use as a commercial aircraft
  • The different types of Bristol-built products from trams to aircraft and cars to missiles

Respondents are also asked about the different ways in which material could be presented, e.g. through written graphics panels, audio tours, guided tours by ex-workers, discovery tours, staff in costume, audio-visuals, hands-on interactive displays, handling objects, making & testing and working exhibits.

To take part in the survey, visit:

The trust says it welcomes BAE Systems’ contribution to the project and adds that it is preparing a Heritage Lottery Fund application to be submitted early in the New Year.


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