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Old 13th September 2017, 09:40   #16
A0wen
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Sharing the formation isn't such a daft idea.

Take a look at the Whittier Tunnel on this article

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portag...emorial_Tunnel

The Kyle of Lochalsh line is never going to have high-frequency services (hourly or less)- therefore a shared formation solution might actually be a very good one.
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Old 13th September 2017, 09:42   #17
Bletchleyite
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How long is the proposed shared section?

Could it be operated as a long level crossing rather than (diesel, presumably) tram train?
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Old 13th September 2017, 10:34   #18
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Could it be operated as a long level crossing rather than (diesel, presumably) tram train?
I believe that is the desired solution but they need to explore all options. A tram-train is running for 82 miles for the sake of a few hundred meters of shared roadway is insanity of the highest order.
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Old 13th September 2017, 10:54   #19
Bletchleyite
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I believe that is the desired solution but they need to explore all options. A tram-train is running for 82 miles for the sake of a few hundred meters of shared roadway is insanity of the highest order.
Quite. It sounds like a solution similar to Porthmadog is more what is called for.
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Old 13th September 2017, 11:18   #20
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It will require a considerable upgrade to the signalling. At present it's one block section from Strathcarron to Kyle.
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Old 13th September 2017, 13:24   #21
Bletchleyite
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Could it be guard controlled?
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Old 13th September 2017, 14:01   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bletchleyite View Post
Could it be operated as a long level crossing rather than (diesel, presumably) tram train?
Not far away, the Connel Bridge operated that way for several decades.

Meanwhile, on the continent (northern Germany) trains share roads with much less regulation, or any need for special rolling stock:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcNrBY8VqGw
(not my video, though I was there recently)
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Old 13th September 2017, 14:18   #23
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Street running can certainly be accommodated in small sections. As others mentioned, it worked in Porthmadog and does so safely in many other parts of the world.

Declassifying the whole route to become a light rail "tram train" system, on the other hand, would be absolutely insane given the tourist potential from the charter market, whose usage of the route would be threatened as presumably track would be re-laid at a lighter grade to reduce maintenance costs.

In any sense, the spiralling costs of the Rotherham project (now 5x overbudget) would put a dent in any business case for such a solution anyway, so I wouldn't worry too much. That project alone has probably put Tram-Train projects in the UK back 2 decades, so trying it for an 80-mile route looks less likely than ever.

TBTC sums up the likely scenario well - as somebody with experience of local government, I can confirm that even the most bat-poo crazy ideas have to be entertained in the name of impartiality, even if that's just to give them a crap GVA figure and sweep them away as quickly as possible.

Last edited by mushroomchow; 13th September 2017 at 14:20.
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Old 13th September 2017, 16:44   #24
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Street running can certainly be accommodated in small sections. As others mentioned, it worked in Porthmadog and does so safely in many other parts of the world.
Part of the problem is that ORR take the position that there will be no NEW level crossings authorised except in exceptional circumstances. Is this case such an exceptional circumstance? I don't know but seeing as ORR are also the road regulator now, they might be in a a better position to make an 'integrated decision' on this one. The powers for the long crossing at Porthmadog probably didn't expire as the original railway never officially closed, so perhaps ORR were not in a position to refuse its reactivation.

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Declassifying the whole route to become a light rail "tram train" system, on the other hand, would be absolutely insane given the tourist potential from the charter market, whose usage of the route would be threatened as presumably track would be re-laid at a lighter grade to reduce maintenance costs.
Not insane but rather unwise in view of the charter market, including regular premium tour trains that make multiple trips every year. The linked page explains that regular trains on the route will be replaced in the next decade so it would certainly be possible to buy tram-train instead of standard heavy rail vehicles, or perhaps something in between, a 'train-tram' perhaps! Whatever happens, being able to run into Inverness rather than terminating at Dingwall would be highly desirable. Forcing a further change there would be very inconvenient and remove some of the frequency between there and Inverness, disincentivising local travel. I doubt lighter track would be appropriate, as tram-trains are not significantly lighter than lightweight multiple unit trains, although perhaps compatibility with the heavier axles of large locos and freight wagons might be removed when structures were renewed to save a few pennies. Again not a good development for future generations if ever railfreight solutions become more cost effective.

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Originally Posted by mushroomchow View Post
In any sense, the spiralling costs of the Rotherham project (now 5x overbudget) would put a dent in any business case for such a solution anyway, so I wouldn't worry too much. That project alone has probably put Tram-Train projects in the UK back 2 decades, so trying it for an 80-mile route looks less likely than ever.
I don't think Rotherham will be indicative of future roll out costs for the technology. Better planned schemes will be possible, technical standards have now been set and vehicles approved for use, so costs should be much better understood.

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Originally Posted by mushroomchow View Post
TBTC sums up the likely scenario well - as somebody with experience of local government, I can confirm that even the most bat-poo crazy ideas have to be entertained in the name of impartiality, even if that's just to give them a crap GVA figure and sweep them away as quickly as possible.
I agree, but the ORRs level crossing position needs to be established early, and the special circumstances and risks of a very long crossing studied and solved. Would obstacle detection for the entire length be practical? Could number plate recognition systems assist by counting road vehicles in then all out again before permitting a train to proceed? Could a 'locally monitored' rail solution be appropriate with a severe restriction so 'normal' trains could stop short of any obstruction encountered? How could a parallel cycle/pedestrian path be managed safely? As to rolling stock, perhaps new 'scenic' trains for the line built by Stadler (say) could incorporate the magnetic brakes mentioned, so would not be subject to as severe a speed restriction over the shared section as normal heavy locos used on charters and any future freights.
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Old 13th September 2017, 17:08   #25
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I think, to be fair, saying all tram-train schemes will be like Rotherham is a bit like saying all tram schemes will be like Edinburgh, ignoring massive successes like Metrolink.

The mention of Stadler is interesting - I know I'm a fan, but I would love to see a FLIRT DMU for the West Highland based on the scenic narrow gauge Swiss models (perhaps First Class with proper panoramic windows), with track brakes and fairings for street running, and it's exactly Stadler's core business to build small fleets of that sort of thing for vaguely decent money.
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Old 13th September 2017, 17:10   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkyT View Post
Part of the problem is that ORR take the position that there will be no NEW level crossings authorised except in exceptional circumstances. Is this case such an exceptional circumstance? I don't know but seeing as ORR are also the road regulator now, they might be in a a better position to make an 'integrated decision' on this one. The powers for the long crossing at Porthmadog probably didn't expire as the original railway never officially closed, so perhaps ORR were not in a position to refuse its reactivation.
ORR don't have any Road role at all in Scotland where Transport Scotland and Scottish Ministers are the appropriate authorities for roads decisions.

Whether that makes ORR more or less likely to sign off a tramway I'm not sure.

I don't see the tramway option being a preferred option for Highland Council, locals, Transport Scotland or Network Rail to be honest.

Stromeferry Bridge is almost certainly the best option with Glenn Udalain a slightly cheaper but inferior choice.
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Old 13th September 2017, 17:21   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mushroomchow View Post
Street running can certainly be accommodated in small sections. As others mentioned, it worked in Porthmadog
Is working, present tense.

Quote:
In any sense, the spiralling costs of the Rotherham project (now 5x overbudget) would put a dent in any business case for such a solution anyway, so I wouldn't worry too much. That project alone has probably put Tram-Train projects in the UK back 2 decades, so trying it for an 80-mile route looks less likely than ever.
The costs there seem to come largely from new designs of electrification equipment to allow future DC->AC conversion, so not relevant at Stromeferry!
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Old 13th September 2017, 18:29   #28
lejog
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Originally Posted by Bletchleyite View Post
How long is the proposed shared section?

Could it be operated as a long level crossing rather than (diesel, presumably) tram train?
I don't know if the proposed shared section covers the whole of the rockfall area, but that is 4.5km long. The temporary solution a few years back was only 150m.

www.highland.gov.uk/download/downloads/id/6486/exhibition_march_2014.pdf

Quote:
The existing Stromeferry Bypass is an approximately 12km long section of public road alongside the southern shore of Loch Carron. Since opening in 1970, a 4.5km section between Ardnarff and Cuddies’ Point has been subject to a number of landslide and rock fall events causing temporary closures, requiring a 130 mile diversion.

Last edited by lejog; 13th September 2017 at 18:34.
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Old 13th September 2017, 18:52   #29
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The main section where the road is adjacent to the railway appears to be about 3.4km so the length affected by the proposal is presumably at most that.
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Old 13th September 2017, 19:01   #30
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I don't know if the proposed shared section covers the whole of the rockfall area, but that is 4.5km long. The temporary solution a few years back was only 150m.
My reading of the report is that they don't seem to considering the entire 4.5km section. I don't think it's considerably longer than the area covered by the 2012 solution.
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