Bletchley Flyover

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PhilipW

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All this week I have had a slightly wry smile.

Right from the moment the flyover was built in the early 60s, it was never really used to its full potential and for most of the last 40 years has hardly been used at all.

Now, far from being a colossal white elephant as was generally perceived, it is actually a key component of both the East-West rail link and the Electric Spine. One could even put forward a case to say that the Electric Spine would never have been proposed if the flyover did not already exist.

So, far from being an act of folly, it has turned out to be an act of vision.

So, well done to all those who campaigned for it and built it in the 1960s. This generation is grateful to you all.
 
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DarloRich

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All this week I have had a slightly wry smile.

Right from the moment the flyover was built in the early 60s, it was never really used to its full potential and for most of the last 40 years has hardly been used at all.

Now, far from being a colossal white elephant as was generally perceived, it is actually a key component of both the East-West rail link and the Electric Spine. One could even put forward a case to say that the Electric Spine would never have been proposed if the flyover did not already exist.

So, far from being an act of folly, it has turned out to be an act of vision.

So, well done to all those who campaigned for it and built it in the 1960s. This generation is grateful to you all.

WOW check out that 1960's forseight - i mean it has only stood there for years with sod all running over it. Fantastic investment :roll:

(useful now mind!)
 

LNW-GW Joint

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WOW check out that 1960's forseight - i mean it has only stood there for years with sod all running over it. Fantastic investment :roll:
(useful now mind!)

I wonder if will need any attention for its future role?
The flyover at Rugby is the same age and had to have work done to it for the new WCML traffic.
Concrete bridges built c1960 haven't had a happy life (M5/6 etc, M4 last week).
It was originally intended for the London orbital route which would also have included a flyover at Redhill.
Pity the links from Bedford to Cambridge and Hitchin were lost.
 

LE Greys

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I wonder if will need any attention for its future role?
The flyover at Rugby is the same age and had to have work done to it for the new WCML traffic.
Concrete bridges built c1960 haven't had a happy life (M5/6 etc, M4 last week).
It was originally intended for the London orbital route which would also have included a flyover at Redhill.
Pity the links from Bedford to Cambridge and Hitchin were lost.

Well, like a lot of ideas from the time, nice try but...

At least we can make some use from it now. The London orbital route would have been very useful, taking a lot of pressure of various termini and saving a lot of people money by allowing a lot more 'not via London' routes. I would be very interested in further details.
 

ole man

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In the two weeks i've seen various DB class 66's on the flyover, even during T3 Possessions they are allowed to go through to Swanbourne
 

Joseph_Locke

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In the two weeks i've seen various DB class 66's on the flyover, even during T3 Possessions they are allowed to go through to Swanbourne

Swanbourne is the site of a run-round loop, allowing spoil trains to get from north of Milton Keynes to Lidlington by reversing at Swanbourne. It was installed as part of Rugby remodelling, but seems to come in handy so they've kept it.

The main part of the flyover is a bit ratty and has recently been re-waterproofed, but since it has technically never ceased to have two running lines over it, it can't be in too bad a condition structurally.
 

1018509

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Place:- RailUK forum late 50's early 60's

Thread:- What a waste of money the Bletchley flyover is.

Thousands of posts bemoaning the waste of cash on this little used project.

Fast forward to today:-

Them birds, Villiers, Greening, transport whatnots stick two fingers up and say "We told you so".

God forbid we have given the rail planning politicians the opportunity to prove that they have foresight.

Heaven help all of us!!!!!
 

PaxVobiscum

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It's all a bit of an enigma really.

Perhaps it wasn't used because it was kept secret for 40 years.
:D
 

LE Greys

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Place:- RailUK forum late 50's early 60's

Thread:- What a waste of money the Bletchley flyover is.

Thousands of posts bemoaning the waste of cash on this little used project.

Fast forward to today:-

Them birds, Villiers, Greening, transport whatnots stick two fingers up and say "We told you so".

God forbid we have given the rail planning politicians the opportunity to prove that they have foresight.

Heaven help all of us!!!!!

Answer by forum member IT Vat in 1967:

After all the investment they put in, why are they running the line down? Two answers really. Firstly, it connects quite neatly with the Great Central, and we all know about the LMR's attitude to ex-LNER lines. :roll: Secondly, it's yet another attempt by Marples to fragment the railway system. Why (Tom) Fraser hasn't seen that and overturned the decision is anybody's guess. Beeching and Marples killed off a lot of the transverse links around London (except on the Southern) and this is one of the last and most important of them. If we don't hang onto this line, the result will no longer be a network, it will be a radial system with loads and loads of freight from the improved East Anglian ports dependent upon the NLL to get to the other side of the country. What about the coal going to Didcot's new power station (surely they won't use Welsh steam coal for it)?

We've had a lot of progress in the last twenty years, and this flyover is a nice piece of investment in holding the network together. Give it a chance, give the whole route another ten years as East Anglian traffic builds and London traffic dies off (we all know what's happening to the London docks) and we will see that it is the most valuable freight link in the country. But it's dependent upon the entire line being open.

Still, I'm sure Marples-Ridgeway will be there to help construct the M12 (or whatever) to take all the container traffic. ;)
 

Joseph_Locke

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Answer by forum member IT Vat in 1967:

After all the investment they put in, why are they running the line down? Two answers really. Firstly, it connects quite neatly with the Great Central, and we all know about the LMR's attitude to ex-LNER lines. :roll: Secondly, it's yet another attempt by Marples to fragment the railway system. Why (Tom) Fraser hasn't seen that and overturned the decision is anybody's guess. Beeching and Marples killed off a lot of the transverse links around London (except on the Southern) and this is one of the last and most important of them. If we don't hang onto this line, the result will no longer be a network, it will be a radial system with loads and loads of freight from the improved East Anglian ports dependent upon the NLL to get to the other side of the country. What about the coal going to Didcot's new power station (surely they won't use Welsh steam coal for it)?

We've had a lot of progress in the last twenty years, and this flyover is a nice piece of investment in holding the network together. Give it a chance, give the whole route another ten years as East Anglian traffic builds and London traffic dies off (we all know what's happening to the London docks) and we will see that it is the most valuable freight link in the country. But it's dependent upon the entire line being open.

Still, I'm sure Marples-Ridgeway will be there to help construct the M12 (or whatever) to take all the container traffic. ;)

No no no, I cannot comprehend what a mis-guided grey concrete elephant this is - I see much better returns in expanding the number of hump yards (such as Kingmoor), allowing BR to monopolise with the massive potential for loose freight traffic. I see no future whatsoever in "containers"; I mean, what use are they? Despite the bally-hoo, they don't even come in standard sizes!

Secondly, I believe that increased use of the Great Central's route would be a much better solution to the provision of faster services and additional capacity to the north, rather than any pie-in-the-sky gas turbine trains, electrification or the proposed "tinkering" at Rugby, etc.
 

Tiny Tim

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Whilst we can congratulate ourselves on the more-or-less accidental retention of the Bletchley Flyover, what about the line East of Bedford? There are some serious obstacles. Have detailed proposals been made as to how the remainder of the link to Cambridge is to be reinstated?
 

Joseph_Locke

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Whilst we can congratulate ourselves on the more-or-less accidental retention of the Bletchley Flyover, what about the line East of Bedford? There are some serious obstacles. Have detailed proposals been made as to how the remainder of the link to Cambridge is to be reinstated?

Is there a formal desire (in writing I mean) to do this now? The last I understood was that it was in the "far too hard to be cost-effective" tray.
 

MK Tom

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Whilst we're talking about the flyover, may I raise the question of the 'Bletchley High Level' platforms? All the EWR publications I've seen have steered clear of tackling the issue of what form that will take.
 

The Planner

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All I have ever seen on the subject was a single platform on the flyover, nothing else.
 

route:oxford

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Whilst we can congratulate ourselves on the more-or-less accidental retention of the Bletchley Flyover, what about the line East of Bedford? There are some serious obstacles. Have detailed proposals been made as to how the remainder of the link to Cambridge is to be reinstated?

Take it in stages I would have thought.

The trackbed at the Bedford end forms part of car-park and turning circle to some retail sheds. So nothing insurmountable there - especially the way the property market is at the momemnt, Then there is a road, over which I imagine a bridge/flyover could be built. Then it's pretty much cycle path until close to the ECML where a new route would be required for the final mile to accommodate significant house building.

Getting to the ECML would open a fair number of travel opportunities anyway. Especially if there were the capacity to run some services to Stevenage (or is it Hitchin) to change for Cambridge.
 

Railcar B

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I believe the restoration of Bedford-Sandy has been jeopardised by the construction of a rowing lake flooding the trackbed near Willington? Perhaps someone can update us on this?

Details of the full East-West project can be found on the East-West Rail consortium's website:- http://www.eastwestrail.org.uk/

and more particularly on the Central Section within that site:-
http://eastwestrail.org.uk/wordpres...West-Rail-Central-Section-Report-Feb-2009.pdf

It does look very much a "Pipe Dream" project.

Let's all be thankful the Western Section's going ahead.
 

DarloRich

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Whilst we can congratulate ourselves on the more-or-less accidental retention of the Bletchley Flyover, what about the line East of Bedford? There are some serious obstacles. Have detailed proposals been made as to how the remainder of the link to Cambridge is to be reinstated?

Quick answer - no

Whilst we're talking about the flyover, may I raise the question of the 'Bletchley High Level' platforms? All the EWR publications I've seen have steered clear of tackling the issue of what form that will take.

As the Planner has said everything i have seen refers to one platform on the flyover. I cant see there being a need for anything more
 

route:oxford

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I believe the restoration of Bedford-Sandy has been jeopardised by the construction of a rowing lake flooding the trackbed near Willington? Perhaps someone can update us on this?

Is Google Maps considerably out of date then?

The route to Sandy appears to diverge just South of Bedford St John (Is it Saint John or is in Sin Gin) and skirt the lakes.
 

Skimble19

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There may need to be a slight re-routing, but there's plenty of space around that area. At the end of the day, it's likely the trackbed would need considerable work by now anyway, so moving t slightly may not hugely change costs.
Whilst we can congratulate ourselves on the more-or-less accidental retention of the Bletchley Flyover, what about the line East of Bedford? There are some serious obstacles. Have detailed proposals been made as to how the remainder of the link to Cambridge is to be reinstated?
By far the easiest thing to do would be to get onto the ECML just north of sandy, run down to north of Hitchin, with a new spur linking to the Cambridge branch. Ironically, Potton station is still there, unfortunately there's a large warehouse at the end of the platforms. Of course, I'm completely ignoring any potential capacity issues on that route, but perhaps this could spur some investment that way.
 
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LE Greys

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No no no, I cannot comprehend what a mis-guided grey concrete elephant this is - I see much better returns in expanding the number of hump yards (such as Kingmoor), allowing BR to monopolise with the massive potential for loose freight traffic. I see no future whatsoever in "containers"; I mean, what use are they? Despite the bally-hoo, they don't even come in standard sizes!

Secondly, I believe that increased use of the Great Central's route would be a much better solution to the provision of faster services and additional capacity to the north, rather than any pie-in-the-sky gas turbine trains, electrification or the proposed "tinkering" at Rugby, etc.

:lol:

Rail UK Letters Club (courtesy Dr Who)
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
There may need to be a slight re-routing, but there's plenty of space around that area. At the end of the day, it's likely the trackbed would need considerable work by now anyway, so moving t slightly may not hugely change costs.By far the easiest thing to do would be to get onto the ECML just north of sandy, run down to north of Hitchin, with a new spur linking to the Cambridge branch. Ironically, Potton station is still there, unfortunately there's a large warehouse at the end of the platforms. Of course, I'm completely ignoring any potential capacity issues on that route, but perhaps this could spur some investment that way.

To step back from the TARDIS for a bit, that's quite possible. The capacity is there, thanks to the Hitchin flyover. Passenger train can reverse in the station, while freight can either come off the ECML at Ickleford and meet the new curve (crossing mostly empty fields) or use the flyover and run round in Hitchin Yard. If for some reason the capacity is needed for something else, then one way to get round some of the problems would be to keep going with the old route as far as the observatory, then turn south and meet the old cement works branch just west of Foxton.
 

Railcar B

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Is Google Maps considerably out of date then?

The route to Sandy appears to diverge just South of Bedford St John (Is it Saint John or is in Sin Gin) and skirt the lakes.

Google Maps could well be out of date; Google Earth certainly is.

It's Bedford Saint Johns.
 

IanD

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I believe the restoration of Bedford-Sandy has been jeopardised by the construction of a rowing lake flooding the trackbed near Willington?

Ha. This is the "Bedford Rowing Lake" that the local authority short-sightedly gave permission for because they thought it would be completed for the Olympics and would bring fame and glory to Bedford as a base for some teams to do their training. They could have agreed a plan for the lake that would not affect the East/West rail route but decided that it would be better to sever it and force any re-instatement to include a massively expensive bridge over it.

Anyway, they'd better get a move on with this lake project what with the games starting next week and all.
 

D365

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The major [physical] obstacle to completing the link is definitely Bedford-Cambridge, not just because of the rowing lake and observatory (a telescope operating on the tracks?). The old trackbed between Trumpington and Cambridge Station has all but vanished thanks to the (Mis)Guided Bus(t)way.

Surely, something's being missed with the Hitchin flyover. Why hasn't anyone thought about adding a Cambridge down to Peterborough slow up (and vice versa) alongside? It would be expensive doing it in the future ...
 

Skimble19

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I guess it depends how wide they've made the alignment.. It's hard to tell at the moment. Hopefully it'll be wide enough for at least one extra track.
 
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