please empty your brain below

One of your best DG, poignant, moving with delicate self deprecation. Loved it!
With some joined up thinking you could add to your putative parkway a junction off the m49 and a park and ride into Bristol, maybe even stopping the m32 being an adhoc car park in the rush hour.
That was too much tension to deal with this early in the morning...
This all seems very familiar.

(Superb! Olga will be chuffed...) 😁
Oh I love posts like these. Quirky, fascinating, makes you want to visit somewhere few other people would want to go.

Best of all, a really good riposte to those who commented on the previous day that what you really should have done was ...
How come they built the station so far from the village? The tracks run very close all along. As if they purposely wanted to make it less appealing.

dg quotes: "A new Pilning station was opened on the new alignment, not in the village itself but some distance outside, just before the 1 in 90 downward gradient set in."
From 1928 to 1968 there was a passenger service between Severn Beach and Pilning, a little quicker than walking.
The Piling war memorial is more interesting than it looks. It names 12 war dead from the first war, and 8 from the second (plus 6 returned). Damaged by enemy bombing in 1943 and then by an American military truck, repaired at the cost of the US Army and moved elsewhere, and only returned near its original position in the 1990s, it seems. It was listed at Grade II a few years ago.

St Peter's church is also Grade II listed, as is the Romanesque St Thomas's a short distance away (seems to be in a separate hamlet to the north called Mill Farm).

Most of the other listed buildings nearby are farmhouses, but the jewel in the heritage crown, listed at Grade II*, is ....



the Severn Tunnel East Portal due to the architectural interest of its classical composition, and its engineering innovation. At about 4½ miles long, including 2¼ miles under water, it was "the longest railway tunnel under water yet constructed".

Drainage problems were exacerbated by a spring breaking into the tunnel more than once, and a 6ft tidal wave (!) in October 1883.

Gosh. Who knew?
Most of the New Passage line was re-used for the connection to Severn Beach, which opened in 1900. The junction from the original line is roughly where the M4 crosses the road to New Passage; it then passed over the top of the new main line, almost on top of the tunnel mouth.

History repeats itself - the road DG walked through Redwick had been realigned to accommodate the new branch line - the stub of the old road can be seen to the east.

At some stage - probably 1928 - the new branch gained several halts: from Severn Beach, at New Passage and Cross Hands, then Pilning Low Level, so there was better local access than at present. The current station on the main line was Pilning High Level, bypassed by the Avonmouth line. My 1962 timetable shows half a dozen trains serving these halts.
I often wonder if these poorly served areas are a self-fulfilling prophecy - numbers drop so services are cut, which in turn encourages fewer passengers to use them, so services are further cut, and so on.

In the same vein, when you;'re used to being reliant on the car for everything, would people be willing to give up that flexibility to travel by, generally slower, public transport if the infrastructure was in place?

I know plenty of people (from the Home Counties admittedly) who choose to pay the congestion charge over taking public transport!!
I guess it takes all sorts!
So that's who you are!
I was amused by your frustration at finding the platforms closed and work going on. If I end up using a remote request stop I get a tang of dissapointment if there is someone else there, so the train hasn't stopped just for me!
This is the sort of post that I really love. A bit of transport history, a quirky station story, a nice old map, what's still to be seen today and a walk (well a run).
You could have done with a bit more time to do it justice, but the train won't wait for you.
I sometimes think you are me. This is just the sort of trip I enjoy.

If you haven't already done so, can I suggest investing £26 for an OS Maps 12 month Premium subscription? You get access to all the GB (not NI) 1:25k and 1:50k maps on PC and phone and can print and download areas. It is very good for spotting handy footpaths and cycle tracks - or the lack thereof.

I am currently doing the Thames path both ways and the Kennet and Avon canal from Reading using rail as much as possible. A recent connection failure for the new electric service at Didcot resulted in arrival at Culham instead of Radley and required a circle around the Joint European Torus building. The lack of a footbridge where the railway crosses the Thames north of Culham was inconvenient but at least could be foreseen and planned around.
Pilning station was briefly used as a kind of proto-Motorail service. After the car had well established itself but before the construction of the original Severn Bridge, they used to run a car-carrying train between Pilning and Severn Tunnel Junction. It's still possible to see the loading ramp for cars on the main platform.
Panifex Peregrinations looks promising
Google Street view is revealing. the latest image of the entrance dates from 2016, when there were still two platforms. It would seem that GWR have gone to the trouble of re-numbering the remaining one, as in 2016 eastbound trains left from platform 2.
Really great posts since that ombudsmen report
The "Trainspot" site to which you linked has the viewpoint marked in the wrong place on the map, and it is unlikely you would have been able to see anything from the A403 had you diverted down there. The written directions take you to the bridge you actually used over the M49, which is directly above the portal of the Severn tunnel.

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