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Old 6th February 2014, 12:28   #46
The Planner
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It doesn't matter whether it costs 10p or 10 billion, unless there is a return and tangible benefit for doing it these things won't happen and schemes that are "just in case" invariably fall flat on their arse.
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Old 6th February 2014, 12:30   #47
Greybeard33
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Originally Posted by pistonvalve View Post
There is only a small section of the former LSWR main line that between Bere Alston and Meldon that needs to be re-instated to make a very useful diversionary route when the GW main line at Dawlish is cut. This diversionary route between Exeter and Plymouth was used often in the 50's by the Western region.

I don't think it would cost 'mega bucks' either.

Mike.
Interesting that, in an interview on this morning's Radio 4 Today programme (starting 02:10:45), Robin Gisby, NR Director of Network Operations, seemed to hint that reopening of the LSWR line to Plymouth is being seriously considered, following a meeting he had had with the Secretary of State and local MPs yesterday:
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...then we have got to take a longer term look at [the Dawlish] line and other routes, and move to talk much more about resilience....now we've got to invest longer term....it's worth looking at; there were some other lines that go more cross country - one of those was closed back in the Beeching era and that's something we've got to look at....

Last edited by Greybeard33; 6th February 2014 at 12:32.
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Old 6th February 2014, 12:34   #48
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the cost of maintaining Meldon viaduct was a major factor in deciding to close the line, in its final years only one train at a time was permitted to be on the viaduct, as there were often up and down trains on the mainline connecting with the North Cornwall branches some smart work was needed to avoid delays The North Cornwall branch left the main line at a point just west of the viaduct

As well a the missing section, there would have to be at least some restoration of double track between St Budeaux and Tavistock, also Okehampton - Yeoford
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Old 6th February 2014, 13:21   #49
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Originally Posted by The Planner View Post
It doesn't matter whether it costs 10p or 10 billion, unless there is a return and tangible benefit for doing it these things won't happen and schemes that are "just in case" invariably fall flat on their arse.
Agreed, which is why I was asking about Meldon Viaduct. But this is why Greybeard's comment is so interesting (I nearly spilt my tea when I heard it!)

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Originally Posted by Greybeard33 View Post
Interesting that, in an interview on this morning's Radio 4 Today programme (starting 02:10:45), Robin Gisby, NR Director of Network Operations, seemed to hint that reopening of the LSWR line to Plymouth is being seriously considered, following a meeting he had had with the Secretary of State and local MPs yesterday:
This is where the politics comes in. In light of the number of seats that the Tories need to retain (and Lib Dem ones they need to pick up) in the SW to stand any chance of winning in May 2015, then never rule out a grand gesture (esp. with UKIP relatively strong in the SW). After all, Cameron did explicitly say that money was no object in sorting out the SW storm damage.....
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Old 6th February 2014, 13:33   #50
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The products from Meldon quarry are going to be useful in plugging the 'gaps' hopefully rail transported.

If these 'freak' weather pattern's are to become the norm then the good people of S Devon and Cornwall will rightly expect a reliable rail service hence the old LSWR route should be restored. I cannot see any re-building at Dawlish is going to provide a reliable rail connection. - It never has in the past.

The re-building of Meldon viaduct is a small price to pay to insure a large chunk of the UK remains rail connected at all times.

Mike.

Last edited by pistonvalve; 6th February 2014 at 13:37.
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Old 6th February 2014, 13:47   #51
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Can I just say that as an ex resident of west Cornwall, the suggestion that the disused and extremely indirect Tamar Valley route should be reinstated as a replacement for the Dawlish section is just not acceptable. The people of Cornwall and south Devon have a long-standing aspiration for a faster intercity service. Network Rail should take a very long-term view here and accept that the Dawlish section needs to be rerouted inland. It does not require rebuilding the entire Plymouth-Exeter line, merely 15 miles or so of new track, aligned for higher speends, built on a sea-proof route well away from the coast. Can I add the rebuilding Dawlish in situ, while necessary for the short-term, is not a permanent solution.
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Old 6th February 2014, 13:57   #52
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Reopen the old Southern Railway line. Stephen Gilbert MP who I have as a friend on FB said

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a report looking at the feasibility of alternative routes, but that's a longer term issue.
following a meeting with the Transport Secretary

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Old 6th February 2014, 14:19   #53
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On R4 World at One, now.
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Old 6th February 2014, 14:32   #54
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There was another route past Dawlish via the GWR Heathfield branch.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi..._map_Devon.jpg
A new Dawlish diversion route is becoming 'cheaper' by the day, with an estimated 300m breakwater. as mentioned by the Newton Abbott MP, to ensure keeping the present route open long term.

Alternative routes.
Imo there should be more investment in alternative routes.
Where they do exist, capacity has been cut to the bone, which makes using them as a diversion route very restrictive.
Benefits, not only used during a blockage/ failure, but making closures for maintenance easier as well. Using them for night services.
Costs - does not add up by accountants.
For communities and business affected by delays, closures, etc the cost can be enormous. Estimated at 20M a day for the breach of the sea wall in Devon.

Plymouth Okehampton Exeter - A real boost for the Towns that would be served. (link a bus to Holsworthy, Bude, Launceston etc)
Or would it make more sense to spend the money in the densely populated SE? / Major cities? The rich areas get richer, and the less well off areas poorer?

Last edited by Cliveblackpool; 6th February 2014 at 14:35. Reason: spelling
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Old 6th February 2014, 14:36   #55
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And what's the condition of these routes today? Still there, but derelict (like Calvert to Bletchley), route still there but overgrown (like, say, Skipton to Colne), or only partly there but built on in places. I travel down to Penzance once in a while, and whilst this bit along the beach (as someone here called it) is very spectacular, it always looks very vulnerable, especially to a land-lubber like me. (We northerners carve our railways out of the solid inland hills far from the sea and get quite nervous if we see ripples on the canal, even).
Some housing development at Tavistock, most of the rest of the route a cycle track which runs from Okehampton to Plymouth. So apart from a deviation to avoid the aforesaid houses, the trackbed is nearly intact There is also the trackbed of the former GW branch which left the main line at Marsh Mills went to Tavistock South then parallelled the SR route before turning away northwards to terminate at Launceston
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Old 6th February 2014, 14:51   #56
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SoS for Transport confirmed that Dawlish would be at least six weeks, but that they're waiting for Saturday's storm and then an engineering assessment. He postulated putting the whole section "in a shed" which seems odd, given that the issue at the moment is not the cliff collapsing but the sea undermining the formation.

He's ordered a review of alternative inland routes - and this includes Okehampton which the Beeb asked him about specifically. Beeb said Okehampton would cost £100m, which seems optimistic (or more likely, uninformed) to me.

We'll see - but if this can't put Okehampton - Tavistock on the agenda, nothing can. (And yes, I'd love a 35028 Waterloo - Exeter / 34067 Exeter - Plymouth ACE extravaganza... or even a Devon Belle with the VSOE set, but let's not get too carried away just yet...!)
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Old 6th February 2014, 15:18   #57
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Originally Posted by The Planner View Post
Yes it works for that service, but for any FGW or XC services you need to reverse at Exeter and Plymouth to continue to Penzance who arguably carry much larger flows. I would argue that Devon and Cornwall have poor road links, the A38 and A30 are both good standard dual carriageway roads.
I can't follow that - have you missed out a 'not' or 'don't' somewhere?
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Of course the Tavistock route rebuilding does not get you to Torquay, does it? I suspect that both that route and a route from Exminster to Newton are required in the long run.

Last edited by HowardGWR; 6th February 2014 at 15:18. Reason: Double post prevention system
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Old 6th February 2014, 15:45   #58
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Originally Posted by Tobbes View Post
SoS for Transport confirmed that Dawlish would be at least six weeks, but that they're waiting for Saturday's storm and then an engineering assessment. He postulated putting the whole section "in a shed" which seems odd, given that the issue at the moment is not the cliff collapsing but the sea undermining the formation.

He's ordered a review of alternative inland routes - and this includes Okehampton which the Beeb asked him about specifically. Beeb said Okehampton would cost £100m, which seems optimistic (or more likely, uninformed) to me.

We'll see - but if this can't put Okehampton - Tavistock on the agenda, nothing can. (And yes, I'd love a 35028 Waterloo - Exeter / 34067 Exeter - Plymouth ACE extravaganza... or even a Devon Belle with the VSOE set, but let's not get too carried away just yet...!)
Something of the sort is planned for September with 35028 to run Waterloo -Exeter - Barnstaple while 34067 & 34046 Exeter - Penzance 5th September 50 years after the last ACE (steam dreams )

Last edited by 341o2; 6th February 2014 at 15:47.
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Old 6th February 2014, 17:04   #59
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If there wasn't any track in situ at all west of Exeter, what would you build?

Start from there, and see how close you can get at a sensible price.
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Old 6th February 2014, 18:33   #60
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Originally Posted by 341o2 View Post
the cost of maintaining Meldon viaduct was a major factor in deciding to close the line, in its final years only one train at a time was permitted to be on the viaduct, as there were often up and down trains on the mainline connecting with the North Cornwall branches some smart work was needed to avoid delays The North Cornwall branch left the main line at a point just west of the viaduct

As well a the missing section, there would have to be at least some restoration of double track between St Budeaux and Tavistock, also Okehampton - Yeoford
The problems with Meldon Viaduct were the condition of the viaduct deck units. The viaduct was originally built for a single line and the deck was then extended when the line was doubled. The viaduct was single line working from 1966 until the line closed in January 1968. The headshunt for the quarry extended all the way across the viaduct on the remaining single line until 1990. I walked along the headshunt on a railtour visit in 1978. A significant amount of money was spent on re-furbishing the decking of the viaduct when the cycle trail was opened, although that work was obviously not done on the basis that trains would use the viaduct again. I am assuming that the entire top deck would need to be replaced.
According to my reference book for the line, the distance on the old line from Meldon Quarry to Bere Alston is around 19 miles.
Since the entire trackbed from Crediton up to Meldon quarry is still clear, that section could be doubled and upgraded fairly easily. If the section from Bere Alston towards Plymouth is doubled once more, that would only leave 20 miles of single track, which would give the line plenty of capacity.
The main challenge is ownership. The line between Crediton and Meldon is now owned by a US company. The trackbed between Bere Alston and Meldon is mostly in private ownership. Eminent Domain takes a while, unless emergency legislation is passed.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
This is the link to a brief report from Devon County Council from 2010 which lists some of the challenges. The report does not rule out that the line can be reinstated, it simply hides behind the meme "but it will cost a lot of money". http://www.devon.gov.uk/loadtrimdocu...2500&dg=Public

Last edited by gshevlin; 6th February 2014 at 18:33. Reason: Double post prevention system
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