East Midlands Parkway - Pointless?

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ivanhoe

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When the dual carriageway is completed, it may be used more but yes it would appear to be a bit of a white elephant! Not the fault of EMT though . This was a DFT decision.
 

Hairy Bear

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It's getting busier month on month but not helped by the lack of bus connection to the airport.
What you dont see is the early morning/ evening commuter traffic that is slowly building.
It's also the interchange point for the mega-bus which is very popula twice an hour.
It's also useful as a temporary change for notts traffic when engineering work takes place between trent and nott's.

But if you want to see it's real worth, visit it the weekend that the great unwashed come to the 'download' festival at Donnington,
..it''s heeeevng !!.
 
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Mugby

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Is there a more pointless railway station in the UK? It seems deserted, poorly placed, terribly used and a massive white elephant. Does it serve any real purpose?
No it doesn't. It was a hugely expensive political folly. Of course there will be some usage in the peak periods but every time I've passed through on a stopping train, off peak passenger numbers usually varies between 1 and 5.
Taxi drivers very quickly realised after it's opening that it wasn't worth their while to wait there but Megabus takes a few South Humberside passengers who would otherwise use TPE.

And sorry, but one festival per year doesn't justify it either!
 

civ-eng-jim

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Regarding its existence I'm fairly ambivalent to be honest but I'd be curious to know what objective criteria people use to determine whether something is a white elephant or not.

If it's purely patronage, there are 100s of other stations with a lower usage than East Midlands Parkway.

Ratio of build cost to patronage? New stations will always lose out to those built 150 years ago where the build cost is long forgotten.

Ratio of patronage to number of service calling at said station?

Actual usage vs projected usage?

Does the station provide a service that isn't bettered by another means of transport?

As we're in the EM area, I'd nominate Spondon and Pear Tree in Derby as pointless stations - What purpose do they serve with their token few calls per day?

One could argue that rural stations with a fairly pitiful patronage aren't pointless on the grounds that road/bus services in the area are considerably poorer than the train.

I'd say the point of East Midlands Parkway is to provide a viable alternative for rail commuters who would otherwise drive into the city centres of Derby/Leicester/Notts to park and then catch a train to further afield, namely London.

I'm not sure of its use as park and ride station for those wishing to go to East Midlands towns and cities.
 

telstarbox

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@civ-eng-jim:

It would be very difficult to measure, but '£ spent on station construction per new passenger' would be a sensible measure. If passengers are just diverting from Loughborough or other stations it's less worthwhile.
 

edwin_m

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The business case for a new station needs to take all factors into account including:
- Extra capital and operating cost
- Revenue and socio-economic benefits from extra passengers using rail
- Correction for abstraction (people using this station who would previously have caught the train somewhere else)
- Loss of existing passengers put off using the train by extra journey time
- Effect on road congestion
- Any overcrowding issues

The above is for public funding - any private venture station would have to make sense on financials alone. The sum of the benefits should be at least double the costs, including allowance for a hefty markup of "optimism bias".
 

yorksrob

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The above is for public funding - any private venture station would have to make sense on financials alone. The sum of the benefits should be at least double the costs, including allowance for a hefty markup of "optimism bias".
Is that not a little onerous ?

Surely the sum of the benefits would only need to be greater than the sum of the costs, rather than double.

Also, is an optimism bias appropriate, given that some new/reopened lines and stations have exceeded expectations - perhaps we should account for a pessimism bias ?

As for East Midlands Parkway, it does seem to be becoming busier over time, just from my personal observation.
 

ivanhoe

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IMO, it's a shame the airport link didn't last.
I think the problem for the airport link is that the majority of passengers for the airport either drive or are on either skylink type services or direct national express services. The number of train passengers is really small. I should also mention that taxis from Local cities and towns are quite competitive.
 

HowardGWR

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Is that not a little onerous ?

Surely the sum of the benefits would only need to be greater than the sum of the costs, rather than double.

Also, is an optimism bias appropriate, given that some new/reopened lines and stations have exceeded expectations - perhaps we should account for a pessimism bias ?

As for East Midlands Parkway, it does seem to be becoming busier over time, just from my personal observation.
You appear not to have understood the point Edwin was making. He was talking about private investment when he made the point about allowing for risk. If you go back and read his post again you will see it. There is a difference between risking one's own money and the government or council risking public money for the public good.
 

yorksrob

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Apologies if that wasn't the intention, but the wording doesn't make it clear to me that Edwin was just talking about private investment, rather than benefits needing to be double costs on all occasions.
 

Bald Rick

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Also, is an optimism bias appropriate, given that some new/reopened lines and stations have exceeded expectations - perhaps we should account for a pessimism bias ?
Optimism bias is there to allow for unknown risk and construction cost increases; it applies to assessment of all transport schemes requiring capital public funds. It is not related to benefits.

And not all lines / stations have exceeded expectations. East Mids Parkway for example!
 

yorksrob

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Optimism bias is there to allow for unknown risk and construction cost increases; it applies to assessment of all transport schemes requiring capital public funds. It is not related to benefits.

And not all lines / stations have exceeded expectations. East Mids Parkway for example!
Well, to be fair, I can't remember the last time I heard about a project coming in under budget ! Odd name for it IMO though.
 

Bald Rick

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Well, to be fair, I can't remember the last time I heard about a project coming in under budget ! Odd name for it IMO though.
Well that depends on when you set your budget. The second rule of project management is that cost and schedule estimates have ranges, and the earlier in the development process, the bigger the range. Many a project that has gone 'over budget' is simply because what has been described as the budget is no such thing.
 

edwin_m

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I tried to cover the business case issues for both a private and a public promoter, but perhaps that was too big a topic for such a small post.

Basically the private promotor can do what they like with their own money, but to convince themselves and any other investors or lenders they will probably need to do some work to predict with reasonable certainty that there will be a return on the investment. East Midlands Parkway was originally promoted by the Midland Mainline TOC, possibly on this basis.

A public promotor can also take into account non-financial benefits which make it worth investing even if there is no financial return. Because this is taxpayers' money it needs to be used wisely, which is the reason for the threshold benefit:cost ratio in England being around 2:1 - in Scotland it's 1:1 and some big rail projects there have gone ahead without even meeting that, illustrating that a politician can authorise just about anything at the risk of suffering at election time if their judgment is perceived to be poor.

Optimism bias has been justified by some studies into the outturn (actual) costs of projects compared with the predicted cost at various stages of development. Various figures are applied but capital cost estimates for a rail project at an early stage of development attract the maximum uplift of 55%. It's basically the same thing as contingency, and "budget savings" as projects progress are often the result of contingency being "released" when the project gets far enough that it's obvious that some of the events the contingency was set aside for aren't going to happen.

The final threshold which I didn't mention before is affordability. A project may have a perfectly good BCR including all optimism bias but it won't happen if the funding department hasn't got the money in its budget.
 
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ECML180

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If passengers are just diverting from Loughborough or other stations it's less worthwhile.
Not necessarily, it's better placed traffic-wise so I'd say it's probably better for people to drive to a parkway station than a city centre station...people seem to prefer it for shopping these days!

When I pass through (usually early morning and mid afternoon) there does seem to be good commuter flows, especially given that it doesn't have that many London trains! (1 from Nottingham & 1 from Sheffield?) I think perhaps an extension of the Nottingham tram system to the airport serving the station (with a Parkway-Airport shuttle maybe) would substantially add value, but this is probably not worth doing for a few years.
 

swt_passenger

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IIRC the business case for East Midlands Parkway did not require or include the impact of an airport link. It was basically located specifically to attract people heading towards London who did not want to drive into other possible stations in town centres. Any other use is incidental...
 

thenorthern

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I don't think its the worst although its passenger numbers are disappointing.

The worst post-beaching I reckon are Sinfin North, Sinfin Central and Teesside Airport.
 

civ-eng-jim

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I don't think its the worst although its passenger numbers are disappointing.

The worst post-beaching I reckon are Sinfin North, Sinfin Central and Teesside Airport.
Are there passenger services to the two Sinfins? Do they even exist? I thought they now formed part of Rolls-Royce's terminal for fuel?
 

gordonthemoron

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most of the poorly used stations mentioned have been in decline for years, whereas East Midlands parkway, Stratford International & Ashford International are relatively newly built
 

asylumxl

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most of the poorly used stations mentioned have been in decline for years, whereas East Midlands parkway, Stratford International & Ashford International are relatively newly built
Here here! Even with the Olympics, Stratford International didn't manage very high usage figures. I find it somewhat amusing it has lower use than Kentish Town.
 

yorksrob

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and to a lesser extent Ashford International
I was under the impression that lots of people use Ashford International (just not that many for international journeys !).

Seriously though, in terms of international journeys, Ashford is a reasonably sized town and has a large catchment of people in Kent and East Sussex, for whom it would be pointless going into London to come back out again. I suspect that the low numbers have more to do with the decision to only stop a few international trains a day there.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
The final threshold which I didn't mention before is affordability. A project may have a perfectly good BCR including all optimism bias but it won't happen if the funding department hasn't got the money in its budget.
Yes indeed, it is the perfect get out clause for the rail sceptic establishment. Go on and on about the BCR then when the project satisfies this criteria, it becomes unaffordable.
 

Moonshot

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I tried to cover the business case issues for both a private and a public promoter, but perhaps that was too big a topic for such a small post.

Basically the private promotor can do what they like with their own money, but to convince themselves and any other investors or lenders they will probably need to do some work to predict with reasonable certainty that there will be a return on the investment. East Midlands Parkway was originally promoted by the Midland Mainline TOC, possibly on this basis.

A public promotor can also take into account non-financial benefits which make it worth investing even if there is no financial return. Because this is taxpayers' money it needs to be used wisely, which is the reason for the threshold benefit:cost ratio in England being around 2:1 - in Scotland it's 1:1 and some big rail projects there have gone ahead without even meeting that, illustrating that a politician can authorise just about anything at the risk of suffering at election time if their judgment is perceived to be poor.

Optimism bias has been justified by some studies into the outturn (actual) costs of projects compared with the predicted cost at various stages of development. Various figures are applied but capital cost estimates for a rail project at an early stage of development attract the maximum uplift of 55%. It's basically the same thing as contingency, and "budget savings" as projects progress are often the result of contingency being "released" when the project gets far enough that it's obvious that some of the events the contingency was set aside for aren't going to happen.

The final threshold which I didn't mention before is affordability. A project may have a perfectly good BCR including all optimism bias but it won't happen if the funding department hasn't got the money in its budget.
Without a doubt, probably the most intelligent post I ve ever seen on here.
 

Kettledrum

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Is there a more pointless railway station in the UK? It seems deserted, poorly placed, terribly used and a massive white elephant. Does it serve any real purpose?

opinions/comments???
As a regular user of EMP I'm well placed to comment.

The short answer is it depends what you compare it to. It's less well used than many of the other stations on the line: Derby, Nottingham, Leicester, Kettering, Market Harborough etc.........but that's not surprising is it given it's not a big city station and it's not prime London commuter belt either.

I would disagree that it's terribly used. It has a healthy level of usage compared with many stations, but EMT don't try very hard to attract more passengers to it. My biggest criticisms are:

1. Train departures to London for most of the day are at xx.35 and xx.42 - i.e only 7 minutes apart. So for anyone passing through on a non-stopping train at another time of the hour, it will look quiet.

2. You can only travel to it by car, but excessive car parking charges deter some potential users.
 

Deerfold

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1. Train departures to London for most of the day are at xx.35 and xx.42 - i.e only 7 minutes apart. So for anyone passing through on a non-stopping train at another time of the hour, it will look quiet.
When it first opened there were big signs on the M1 advertising it (almost as a P&R style station). I can see a good few people being put off if they went to look and found it was 50 minutes until the next train.

2. You can only travel to it by car, but excessive car parking charges deter some potential users.
Well you can also use megabusplus - which makes various off-peak trains significantly busier.
 
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Mugby

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As a regular user of EMP I'm well placed to comment.
I would disagree that it's terribly used. It has a healthy level of usage compared with many stations, but EMT don't try very hard to attract more passengers to it.
That's an interesting point. Am I correct in thinking that there has been a reduction in the number of stopping trains since it first opened?

Do you think that EMT would prefer to see a further reduction?
 

edwin_m

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I don't think the service has changed since the last major timetable recast (2010?) - fast Nottingham and slower Sheffield services plus the Lincoln-Leicester.

I got the impression East Midlands Trains were keen on the Parkway, possibly because (I assume) they get a bigger slice of the London revenue than at Nottingham, either walkups via ORCATS or advances. Someone posted on here a while back that the fares southwards are similar to those from Nottingham despite the shorter distance.

However the only evidence I can cite is the way they were pushing it as the alternative during the Nottingham shutdown, when buses to other railheads were often quicker. This exceptional situation may not say very much about what their attitude is day-to-day.
 
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