BML2 is back

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Chris125

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Yes, BML2 is back - an update on their news page reveals the latest plans now based around a tunnel from Stratford to Lewisham forming 'Thameslink2' and allowing a 'Stanwick' service...

I cant say im entirely persuaded, there's something of the 'clutching at straws' about this latest plan which continues to ignore their biggest problem, journey times. Frankly they might be better just trying to shoehorn it into Crossrail 2, or more likely 3.

Thoughts?

Chris
 
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OxtedL

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Yes, straws.

Although it's good to see that they might be starting to recognise there isn't anywhere for the trains to go beyond Sanderstead, they've still got a way to go before they're anywhere near touching on a probable project.

As a campaign, they're still focussing on the wrong things, they should aim more for "regional connectivity" or such garbage rather than "capacity relief".
 

OxtedL

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The website is awful. It is particularly marred at times by too many biting and unnecessarily sarcastic comments, focussing on entirely the wrong things. They quite possibly need to find a competent PR person if they hope to progress further...

Leaving Brighton, trains will apparently take the East Coastway (where there are already at least 5 trains an hour I believe), until they reach Lewes. They won't actually reach Lewes, however, as that would accidentally provide connectivity and, more to the point, massively slow down journey times. Instead, they propose some expensive link thingy out towards the former Lewes-Uckfield alignment, which they propose for reopening. (Lewes-Uckfield reopening is actually the sole original point of the campaign, they've just fleshed it out into something that they reckon politicians could get their teeth into, which is as a result an unlikely to actually happen mega-project).

They then trundle along the Oxted line from Uckfield to just shy of South Croydon, where they suddenly realised there was no capacity. In an inspired move, they therefore propose opening another section of old line from just north of Sanderstead to Elmers End. This old line is used in a considerable way by Tramlink at the moment, but they propose some vague expensive solution to this issue as well, involving double deck rail formations.

From Elmers End they intend to magic up some capacity on the Hayes line up to Lewisham, which is almost fathomable, but there again they meet a sticking point in that there is no available capacity from Lewisham into London Bridge. In their original proposal they forgot to actually stop and think about this. So instead, they have now come up with a plan to tunnel from Lewisham to Stratford, forgetting that this wouldn't help capacity between London and Brighton in any way at all, would require even more duplication of services to allow travel from a variety of termini to places like Brighton, and would duplicate the DLR which already operates in this corridor.

In it's most recent incarnation, they also appear to propose a link from the the BML tracks near South Croydon to the absolutely-impossible-really-not-happening-what-are-they-on link to Elmers End, which I can't recall seeing before, although I may have done. Hence "Stanwick".

They also propose reopening the Tunbridge Wells-Eridge as a branch, which is a good idea to provide regional connectivity and thus is a part of the project they tend to overlook.

So, to summarise the awful post I've just written, Brighton-Falmer-(Lewes)-Uckfield-[Tunbridge Wells]-Oxted-Sanderstead-Elmers End-Lewisham-Canary Wharf-Stratford.
 
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Bald Rick

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This is almost amusing now.

BML2 started as a way of justifying reopening Uckfield-Lewes, by badging it as a relief to the Brighton Main Line, without quadrupling the 2 track 'bottleneck' from Balcombe tunnel Junction to Brighton.

As various commentators have pointed out - some directly to the BML2, err, team in person, the capacity constraints on the VTB (ha!) are further north - Croydon, Windmill Bridge and at Victoria (and London Bridge) itself.

So the BML2 team have come up with various tunnelling, tramlink shifting and new routing options to get around this. The end result appears to be considerably more expense than would be required to quadruple Brighton - Balcombe Tunnel Jn.

A triumph of kitchen table route planning over socio-economic realities.
 

swt_passenger

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One of their cunning plans, and not that long ago either, was to run up the ELL and into Liverpool St. It must have been around the time the ELL project were busy filling in the cutting towards the old Shoreditch LU station, and building their bridge over the GEML towards the new Shoreditch High St.
 

OxtedL

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BML2 is of course already used for the section of the Bournemouth Main Line between Northam and Dorchester.
I knew this would come up sooner rather than later. :)
 
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ushawk

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Uckfield to Lewes isnt going to be reopened anyway, so why do they bother bringing up with these plans which arent realistic and will cost so much money, that it would probably be cheaper to do work between Balcombe Tunnel Jct and Brighton to make it 4-track (and even thats near impossible).
 

steamybrian

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I wish Brian Hart and his Wealden Line Campaign group would stop producing fantasy schemes costing billions of pounds and brainwashing councils and Network Rail by wasting their time.
His Campaign Group should concentrate on campaigning for reopening the Uckfield- Lewes with a simple cost effective scheme.
At the present time even Uckfield-Lewes reopening is low on Network Rail schemes for future in fact at present it is by their predicitions not even cost effective although that is questionable
 

stanley T

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Tunbridge Wells (west)- Eridge is the only part that makes sense. Oxted trains could be split, given the capacity constraint at East Croydon.
 

yorksrob

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Well, I do sympathise with BML2.

As far as I'm concerned, I feel the re-instatement of the link between Brighton and Tonbridge is the main thing, and should have been re-instated long ago.

But all we get are Councils who are determined to spend all of their money on dual carriageways (East Sussex). We get MP's who support the project all the way - until they actually get into power, when they suddenly become mute as a log (Norman Baker - this is directly aimed at you. When are you going to do something worthwhile about getting the line re-opened ?)

All we ever get is the same old BS that our throwback politicians, who still regard the railway as some drain on resources with no benefit to the community, as though it were 1962.

Is it any wonder that BML2 makes itself more ambitious to get it's voice heard ?

The real problem is the continual failure of East Sussex County Council and the rest of the political establishment.
 

Rational Plan

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Forgetting the line from Uckfield to Brighton for a second, how about the tunnel from Croydon to Canary Wharf and Stratford? I feel that has some potential. It would certainly relieve the crush on the Jubilee line, DLR and the Overground if various commuter lines could send trains direct to Canary Wharf.

It's no more strange than sending trains to both Victoria and City Stations at the moment. A North South tunnel could have all sorts of spurs. The chance of grabbing a seat at Canary Wharf rather than hoping you can squeeze on at London Bridge, New Cross Gate or Lewisham must have quite some appeal.
 

bluenoxid

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I raised this to them on Twitter when they came out with this and their justification was that NR planned to build a tunnel from London to Redhill

You dont win money by combatting one persons fantasy with another persons fantasy.

Bypasses keep the money in your area and relieve chronic congestion. They may not be the best destination for money but unfortunately their relative costs are much lower than this rail project

Anyway, next week SELRAP will be bringing you their plans to link Blackpool Airport with Leeds Bradford, a Rail Exclusive.
 

tbtc

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So they want to link the DLR Stratford - Lewisham to a stretch of the Croydon Tramlink track?

But with mainline trains?

And this is all just dressing so that they can reopen Uckfield-Lewes?

I get frustrated with the way that "minor" upgrades are increasingly inflated into huge projects to try to justify them
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
next week SELRAP will be bringing you their plans to link Blackpool Airport with Leeds Bradford, a Rail Exclusive.
That's exactly what I mean! And brand new EMUs, and....

#wishlists
 

Chris125

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I raised this to them on Twitter when they came out with this and their justification was that NR planned to build a tunnel from London to Redhill
Redhill? Im pretty sure its Purley (Stoats Nest Jct) that NR believe a tunnel might have to stretch to, though i think thats more based on where the worst congestion begins than any in-depth analysis given the timescales involved. Good to see BML2 continue to get their facts right though... :roll:

Chris
 
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Redhill? Im pretty sure its Purley (Stoats Nest Jct) that NR believe a tunnel might have to stretch to, though i think thats more based on where the worst congestion begins than any in-depth analysis given the timescales involved. Good to see BML2 continue to get their facts right though... :roll:

Chris

One possibility would be to shadow the route of the unbuilt nothern extension of the M23, which would run from Hooley up to Mitcham, from where the route could follow the existing line through Mitcham Eastfields to Windmill Bridge Junction and from there to either Victoria or London Bridge. (Obviously extensive remodelling of Windmill Bridge Junction would be required.)

For more info on the unbuilt northern extension of the M23 see: http://www.cbrd.co.uk/histories/m23/img/1976.jpg and
http://www.cbrd.co.uk/histories/m23/ .
 

OxtedL

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Forgetting the line from Uckfield to Brighton for a second, how about the tunnel from Croydon to Canary Wharf and Stratford? I feel that has some potential. It would certainly relieve the crush on the Jubilee line, DLR and the Overground if various commuter lines could send trains direct to Canary Wharf.

It's no more strange than sending trains to both Victoria and City Stations at the moment. A North South tunnel could have all sorts of spurs. The chance of grabbing a seat at Canary Wharf rather than hoping you can squeeze on at London Bridge, New Cross Gate or Lewisham must have quite some appeal.
The major issue here is that you would still require trains to both Victoria and London Bridge (Thameslink), but there is only a limited amount of room on tracks south of Croydon, so all you're doing is diverting capacity away from central London where it's currently needed most of all.

Canary Wharf remains a mainly commuter destination, and thus doesn't offer a good use of off peak capacity. Stratford is starting to be a draw on demand, but probably more for Londoners rather than people travelling from Sussex.

The incredible expense of a tunnel means they wouldn't want to have a large number of spurs - this would be even more expensive and also reduce the number of trains you can force through the further reaches of the new infrastructure, damaging the business case.

Jubilee overcrowding can be much better solved through other projects. Such as Crossrail, which serves London and is thus actually useful to more than a handful of people.
 

yorksrob

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Bypasses keep the money in your area and relieve chronic congestion
I suspect some of the wayside businesses losing passing trade might dispute the assertion of them keeping money in their area.

In regards to that point, the Uckfield - Lewes link would be the ideal way to keep money in the area. At the moment, if residents in the Weald want to use the train for shopping/leisure etc, their only real option is to go to London. With the mkissing link re-instated, they would have the option of spending their money in Brighton or elsewhere on the South coast.

This project (as with some others) seems to fall between two stools. If they come up with a small, relatively affordable project, we're told that the benefits supposedly aren't enough to justify it. Alternatively, if they come up with a big scheme, we're told it's unaffordable. What is actually needed is some way of developing a business case for the smaller scheme (say single track unelectrified) but which also takes into account the possible future benefits which could be available from doubling and electrification later on - but this seems to be beyond the wit of the authorities.

I'm also extremely dissappointed that no-one in the present Government has seen fit to progress the idea (regularly mooted) of protecting certain strategic railway formations with a view to future re-openings. If they were to put in a clause stating that Local Councils that wanted to build roads across these formations would have to build in the necessary bridge from the start, it would cut out a lot of the nonsense from East Sussex CC.

Really, this is exactly the sort of policy that the Liberal Democrats should be pursueing in Government, instead of spending precious time on trying to reform the House of Lords or some other such irrelevance.
 

ushawk

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A business case has been done for the reopening of Uckfield to Lewes and it was found it wasnt viable. Yes it would be useful if the Main Line was disrupted/closed for works, but thats at most a couple of times a month. There is a regular bus service between Uckfield and Lewes taking 30 minutes, with this there is no need for the line to be reopened (although if the Lewes Plusbus area was extended to Uckfield, that could improve links).

Would be cheaper and easier to build the Arundel curve so if the line was closed, trains can be diverted via Horsham (and maybe Sutton).
 

swt_passenger

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I wish Brian Hart and his Wealden Line Campaign group would stop producing fantasy schemes costing billions of pounds and brainwashing councils and Network Rail by wasting their time.
I doubt NR worry about these ideas too much, their official position given in the London and SE RUS, appeared to be that none of the ideas would help with the present problems...
 

yorksrob

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A business case has been done for the reopening of Uckfield to Lewes and it was found it wasnt viable. Yes it would be useful if the Main Line was disrupted/closed for works, but thats at most a couple of times a month. There is a regular bus service between Uckfield and Lewes taking 30 minutes, with this there is no need for the line to be reopened (although if the Lewes Plusbus area was extended to Uckfield, that could improve links).

Would be cheaper and easier to build the Arundel curve so if the line was closed, trains can be diverted via Horsham (and maybe Sutton).
Yes, the business case done on a single unelectrified track but not takeing into account the possibility of future doubling etc.

This really isn't just about diversions during disruption to the mainline. It is also about regional connectivity.
 

Greenback

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I suspect some of the wayside businesses losing passing trade might dispute the assertion of them keeping money in their area.
Correct. Whilst bypasses are seen as Very Good Things by residents whose roads are subject to a lot of traffic, particularly heavy lorries, most of the shops will lose out when traffic is diverted.

In regards to that point, the Uckfield - Lewes link would be the ideal way to keep money in the area. At the moment, if residents in the Weald want to use the train for shopping/leisure etc, their only real option is to go to London. With the mkissing link re-instated, they would have the option of spending their money in Brighton or elsewhere on the South coast.
Agreed. At the moment, residents in the area have little choice if they want to ehad south; a bus (presumably with no through fares) or drive themselves. Arail link to Lewes will open up access to the entire coast for those who can't or don't wish to drvie.

This project (as with some others) seems to fall between two stools. If they come up with a small, relatively affordable project, we're told that the benefits supposedly aren't enough to justify it. Alternatively, if they come up with a big scheme, we're told it's unaffordable. What is actually needed is some way of developing a business case for the smaller scheme (say single track unelectrified) but which also takes into account the possible future benefits which could be available from doubling and electrification later on - but this seems to be beyond the wit of the authorities.
I'm not completely up to date with how it works, but it seems to me that ther eis a big difference between a business case and a viable business case. Is it still the case that schemes have to yield a benefit:cost ratio of a certian amount to be considered viable? If so, how much is it now?

There is a regular bus service between Uckfield and Lewes taking 30 minutes, with this there is no need for the line to be reopened (although if the Lewes Plusbus area was extended to Uckfield, that could improve links).
There are some people who will not consider mixed mode travel. Others simply won't use a bus but will travel by train. Then there is the issue of through ticketing. Finally, it's not just about Uckfiedl, but improving access for other towns along the line.

Would be cheaper and easier to build the Arundel curve so if the line was closed, trains can be diverted via Horsham (and maybe Sutton).
That's true, but there are benefits to reopening Lewes - Uckfield apart from diverting Brighton trains.
 

yorksrob

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I'm not completely up to date with how it works, but it seems to me that ther eis a big difference between a business case and a viable business case. Is it still the case that schemes have to yield a benefit:cost ratio of a certian amount to be considered viable? If so, how much is it now?
According to the DoT:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/webtag/documents/expert/unit3.13.php

They will approve some projects with a medium value for money score (1.5 - 2) and most projects with a high score of 2+.

However, this depends on how they work out non monetary benefits !

Incedentally, I notice that they add in a factor to the calculation to compensate for historically observed cost overruns on rail projects.

I can't see an adjustment for historically observed passenger underestimates though !
 

Bald Rick

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A few things here.

1) all transport project benefits are calculated in exactly the same way, using the Government 'New Approach to Transport Assessment' guidelines.

2) assessments of demand are made using standard transport planning models. In some cases it underestimates, in some cases it overestimates. Some of this is timing, e.g. demand reaching year 3 prediction in year 1 (but then levelling off). Some of it is the vagaries of forecasting. Naturally the rail industry will not publicise when a reopened station or line has traffic 50% below forecast. For every Ebbw Vale branch there's a Coleshill Parkway.

3) the Lewes - Uckfield reopening study specifically took into account wider network benefits, and also modelled underestimated demand that happened on some other reopenings. The report showed that demand would have to be 3 times that forecast by the recognised model for it to be justified. There is no funder anywhere, public or private, who will take that bet.
 

tbtc

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the rail industry will not publicise when a reopened station or line has traffic 50% below forecast. For every Ebbw Vale branch there's a Coleshill Parkway
I'm glad to hear someone else point this out - I've seen far too many people use the excuse of "...but the Alloa line got significantly more passengers than was expected" as justification for their own weak case (there are certainly a few new stations that never get mentioned like this, because they underperformed).
 

yorksrob

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I'm glad to hear someone else point this out - I've seen far too many people use the excuse of "...but the Alloa line got significantly more passengers than was expected" as justification for their own weak case (there are certainly a few new stations that never get mentioned like this, because they underperformed).
You can't really count Parkway Stations in the same way though. Ebbw Vale etc are lines linking stations serving traditional settlements generating traffic in the traditional way (as would be the Uckfield re-instatement).

Parkway stations on the other hand are designed to bring motorists to the railway from further afield, hence why they're usually in the middle of nowhere. This is a completely different business prospect to a traditional station, or lines serving traditional stations for the local population, and it's not surprising that they take a while to catch on sometimes.

It's a shame Challenge Anneka isn't still on. Frankly she'd have more likelihood of getting anything done than the DfT.
 

Bald Rick

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You can't really count Parkway Stations in the same way though. Ebbw Vale etc are lines linking stations serving traditional settlements generating traffic in the traditional way (as would be the Uckfield re-instatement).
Ah yes, the Ebbw Vale line, linking an area of high unemployment, low car ownership and painful deprivation to the regional capital, serving a number of established settlements en route (with several thousand new houses built along it that weren't included in the business case). Just like the Uckfield line!
 

yorksrob

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Ah yes, the Ebbw Vale line, linking an area of high unemployment, low car ownership and painful deprivation to the regional capital, serving a number of established settlements en route (with several thousand new houses built along it that weren't included in the business case). Just like the Uckfield line!
Well, the Uckfield line does link a number of established settlements at either end. True, this is in a more affluent region than Ebbw Vale, but it is one that is known to generate large railway passenger flows.
 
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