East West and Northumberland rail lines get £794m boost

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SOURCE: East West and Northumberland rail lines get £794m boost - BBC News

Two railway lines, closed to passengers since the 1960s, are to get almost £800m funding from the government.
East West Rail, which will eventually connect Oxford and Cambridge, will get £760m to open new parts of the line.
The Northumberland Line, which still carries freight, will get £34m for initial work aimed at reintroducing passenger services.
Reopening closed lines like these would help connect "left-behind" communities, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said.
"Restoring railways helps put communities back on the map and this investment forms part of our nationwide effort to build back vital connections and unlock access to jobs, education and housing," he said.
These investments would return these routes "to their former glory" and was part of the government's "levelling up" agenda, Mr Shapps added.

Green trains​

Diesel engines will initially run on the lines, but Mr Shapps said he hoped more environmentally friendly trains, for example powered by hydrogen or new battery technology, would replace them in the future.
When asked by the BBC why the lines wouldn't be electrified, he said these lines might potentially bypass the overhead wire technology altogether.
"We're building it in such a way that we can use, probably, the very latest technology, potentially, in the future," he said.
"The most important thing is the infrastructure," he said. "It's about building the stations, things you need to do no matter what kind of train you're going to run on there, if it's going to take passengers."

But Labour MP Daniel Zeichner, who represents Cambridge, said: "Every rail expert will tell you it will cost more later to electrify a line."
"In a time of climate emergency, we really shouldn't be building railway lines for diesel, it's got to be electric."
The line connecting Oxford and Cambridge would serve new housing developments, he said., and rail was "the right way to get people in and out of a city like Cambridge".
"It's very important for the UK economy, but it's got to be done in an environmentally sustainable way," he said. "It seems crazy to be building new railways which aren't electrified in the first place, and I really hope the government will reconsider."

Bletchley connection​

The East West Rail investment will rebuild a train line between Bicester and Bletchley which was closed in 1968.
The project is being delivered by a publicly-owned body called the East West Company.
The first phase of East West Rail, which was completed in 2016, connected Oxford and Bicester.
But at the moment, rail passengers wishing to go from Oxford to Bletchley have to take a detour via Coventry.
The aim is to get trains running between Oxford and Bletchley by 2025, with new stations at Winslow and Bletchley.
The Department for Transport said the works will create 1,500 jobs, and have a wider economic benefit for the area.
The eventual aim of the project, which the government expects to be completed by the end of the decade, is to connect Oxford and Cambridge by rail via Bedford, taking in Milton Keynes and Aylesbury on branches.

'Levelling-up'​

The Northumberland Line was closed to passengers in 1964 as part of a rationalisation of the railway network known as the Beeching cuts.
Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said the Northumberland Line was "a really critical piece of local infrastructure" that would help bring people in south east Northumberland and north Tyneside closer to Newcastle city centre, and closer to well-paid jobs.
"Having better connectivity will help attract businesses to that area, and it will help to deliver genuine levelling-up," he said.
The new £34m investment, which aims to reopen the line between Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Ashington, will include funds for preparatory works and land acquisition.
There are plans for new stations at at Ashington, Bedlington, Blyth, Bebside, Newsham, Seaton Delaval, and Northumberland Park, in North Tyneside, as well as upgrades to the track and changes to level crossings where new bridges or underpasses were needed, the Department for Transport said.
 
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PG

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Don't make me laugh! - We're not electrifying so that "we can use, probably, the very latest technology, potentially, in the future," - if that's really the case why bother electrifying HS2!!
Too many ifs, buts and maybes...

Also seems a bit rich to stick East West Rail in the restoring railways list when we know its going to be happening!
 

brad465

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Don't make me laugh! - We're not electrifying so that "we can use, probably, the very latest technology, potentially, in the future," - if that's really the case why bother electrifying HS2!!
Too many ifs, buts and maybes...

Also seems a bit rich to stick East West Rail in the restoring railways list when we know its going to be happening!
Add to that in the above article they use the below image of a train design very similar to the APT stock that was an ultimate failure, not really the sort of image you want to use for a project they hope will be delivered effectively:

1611365988674.png
 

Taunton

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The Northumberland Line, which still carries freight, will get £34m for initial work aimed at reintroducing passenger services.
Whatever "initial work" can cost £34m? There won't be any signalling improvements, concrete poured or platform building in this. Just a "consultants report" of 200 PowerPoint pages from one of the usual handful of suspects, selected on the Buggins Turn Next principle, which will conclude ... er ... "we need more money to make a more detailed study".
 

JamesRowden

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Don't make me laugh! - We're not electrifying so that "we can use, probably, the very latest technology, potentially, in the future," - if that's really the case why bother electrifying HS2!!
Too many ifs, buts and maybes...

Also seems a bit rich to stick East West Rail in the restoring railways list when we know its going to be happening!
The answer is that they want to use the low quality cheap in the short term option rather than the high quality cheaper on the long term option. But being honest would not maximise their immediate popularity (which is very important to them).
 
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21C101

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The answer is that they want to use the low quality cheap in the short term option rather than the high quality cheaper on the long term option. But being honest would not maximise their immediate popularity (which is very important to them).
It also enables them to get more done. If they electrified east west rail then there would be no money left over for blyth and tyne.

Disappointing to see no mention of Aylesbury though.
 

JamesRowden

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It also enables them to get more done. If they electrified east west rail then there would be no money left over for blyth and tyne.

Disappointing to see no mention of Aylesbury though.
Or they just spend more money on infrastructure now to boost the economy.
 

Ianno87

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Don't make me laugh! - We're not electrifying so that "we can use, probably, the very latest technology, potentially, in the future," - if that's really the case why bother electrifying HS2!!
Too many ifs, buts and maybes...

Also seems a bit rich to stick East West Rail in the restoring railways list when we know its going to be happening!

I also detest East West Rail being touted as a "reopening".

It's a rebuild of a former alignment as a 100mph-capable main line railway, achieving intercity average speeds. Not some chuggy jointed track branch line to Little Snorington.

If Bedford-Cambridge sees the light of day, that will truly not be a reopening, that it an entirely new railway, via an entirely new alignment.
 

Taunton

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However many times has "East West Rail" been reannounced by politicians? How much work has actually been done, apart from what Chiltern funded and got going between Bicester and Oxford?
 

21C101

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Or they just spend more money on infrastructure now to boost the economy.
Even if there was more money (the money they have found is debt imposed on our children) there are only so many railway builders and manufacturers to do only so much at any given time.
 

Nicholas Lewis

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Headline is £794m less 34m for Ashington means 760m to build out c20m miles of railway and one new station and we don't even get it electrified for that.

Say 20m for station 40m for Bletchley Viaduct means its 35m/route mile. New track is £3m/mile under renewals conditions so should be far cheaper in greenfield conditions as is signalling. In fact virtually the whole job is a construction site so can avoid many of the overheads having to work under operational railway conditions will require that Ashington will have to bare.

Can't see many other proposals from Restoring Your Railway Ideas Fund being selected for construction if this is the going rate.
 

JamesRowden

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Even if there was more money (the money they have found is debt imposed on our children) there are only so many railway builders and manufacturers to do only so much at any given time.
Spend money on training more workers. If they live in the the UK a significant amount of their earnings are then recycled back into our economy, unlike the additional costs of purchasing self powered stock if manufactured abroad.
 
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Bletchleyite

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Can't see many other proposals from Restoring Your Railway Ideas Fund being selected for construction if this is the going rate.

My inclination is, and has been for some time, that any rebuilds of branch lines (which Ashington I guess is, though EWR isn't even though I euphemistically called it one in another thread) should be as light rail, as it's much cheaper, and allows for the addition of new stations more easily later too, if you go low floor.

I would agree heavy rail has got decidedly (and unnecessarily, for a branch line) expensive.
 
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Bald Rick

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Whatever "initial work" can cost £34m? There won't be any signalling improvements, concrete poured or platform building in this. Just a "consultants report" of 200 PowerPoint pages from one of the usual handful of suspects, selected on the Buggins Turn Next principle, which will conclude ... er ... "we need more money to make a more detailed study".

Full design - typically 10% of a construction job by value
Consents - this needs a Tranport and Works Act Order
Property acquisition and occupation
Enabling works (utilities diversions, demolition, site compound set up, temporary works, and more)
Booking (and paying for) possessions

So yes there will be concrete poured.
 

Ianno87

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However many times has "East West Rail" been reannounced by politicians? How much work has actually been done, apart from what Chiltern funded and got going between Bicester and Oxford?

Also have developed route options and chosen a preferred alignment from Bedford to Cambridge.
 

21C101

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Spend money on training more workers. If they live in the the UK a significant amount of their earnings are then recycled back into our economy, unlike if the additional diesel stock is manufactured abroad.
Then in five years or so time when everything is done you have to make most of them redundant at great cost. Wasteful.

My inclination is, and has been for some time, that any rebuilds of branch lines (which Ashington I guess is, though EWR isn't even though I euphemistically called it one in another thread) should be as light rail, as it's much cheaper, and allows for the addition of new stations more easily later too, if you go low floor.

I would agree heavy rail has got decidedly (and unnecessarily, for a branch line) expensive.
Ashington isn't a rebuild though, its a refurbishment of an existing heavy rail freight line.

The only land being bought will be station car parks etc.
 

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Then in five years or so time when everything is done you have to make most of them redundant at great cost. Wasteful.
Just continue spending on the infrastructure. There are a significant number of unelectified lines.

Paying decades of additional running and new stock costs for slower, less efficient self powered stock is the wasteful option.
 

Gathursty

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However many times has "East West Rail" been reannounced by politicians? How much work has actually been done, apart from what Chiltern funded and got going between Bicester and Oxford?
They have tinkered with the Bletchley flyover and have cleared some of the route between Bicester and Bletchley but I too am under the impression that it's taking far too long notwithstanding Covid. Oxford and Cambridge are 2 of the best universities in the world and are tourist traps in their own right. Covid hopefully will get stamped down soon so the train line should be ready in anticipation of users returning.
 

21C101

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Full design - typically 10% of a construction job by value
Consents - this needs a Tranport and Works Act Order
Property acquisition and occupation
Enabling works (utilities diversions, demolition, site compound set up, temporary works, and more)
Booking (and paying for) possessions

So yes there will be concrete poured.
It's high time Network Rail introduced engineering hours on much of the network, which would eliminate most red zone working and eliminate having to book possessions three months in advance for all but major track renewals etc.

There are a few lines on which it would be impracticable, such as two track bits of the ECML used 24h a day, and four track up up down down lines used 24h a day, but it could be introduced for the majority of the network if the will was there.

Just continue spending on the infrastructure. There are a significant number of unelectified lines.

Paying decades of additional running and new stock costs for slower, less efficient seljf powered stock is the wasteful option.
What makes you think it will have new stock, rather than a combination of cascaded stock and better utilisation of the existing Chiltern DMU fleet?

Building new stock and binning perfectly servicable existing stock before life expiry is the most wasteful course of all, both financially and enironmentally.

If you have a diesel or petrol car it is far more environmentally friendly to keep it and run it into the ground than scrap it early and buy an electric car because such a high proportion of the carbon footprint is the resources and energy used in manufactue and disposal.
 
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Ianno87

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It's high time Network Rail introduced engineering hours on much of the network, which would eliminate most red zone working and eliminate having to book possessions three months in advance for all but major track renewals etc.

There are a few lines on which it would be impracticable, such as two track bits of the ECML used 24h a day, and four track up up down down lines used 24h a day, but it could be introduced for the majority of the network if the will was there.

Have you heard of Network Rail's Engineering Access Statement? Section 4 of it details exactly what you are describing - standard repeating overnight possession opportunities.
 

PG

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Add to that in the above article they use the below image of a train design very similar to the APT stock that was an ultimate failure, not really the sort of image you want to use for a project they hope will be delivered effectively:

View attachment 89145
Ironic that the image shows an electrified line!
However many times has "East West Rail" been reannounced by politicians? How much work has actually been done, apart from what Chiltern funded and got going between Bicester and Oxford?
I'm beginning to wonder if we'll see phase 1 of HS2 running before East West Rail.
 

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What makes you think it will have new stock, rather than a combination of cascaded stock and better utilisation of the existing Chiltern DMU fleet?
They will need to be replaced one day. So you then have to electrify it later anyway or buy new self powered stock. Or hope for some new amazing way to transfer energy (which the present government can't be held to account on since they will be long gone, just like their banning polluting cars plan).
 
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Bald Rick

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It's high time Network Rail introduced engineering hours on much of the network, which would eliminate most red zone working and eliminate having to book possessions three months in advance for all but major track renewals etc.

There are standard engineering hours on most of the Network. You still have to book worksites and possessions though. Otherwise they get in each others’ way....

There’s also not enough standard engineering hours to do any more than routine maintenance. Which this project isn’t.
 

21C101

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There are standard engineering hours on most of the Network. You still have to book worksites and possessions though. Otherwise they get in each others’ way....

There’s also not enough standard engineering hours to do any more than routine maintenance. Which this project isn’t.
You can do a lot more than routine maintenance, such as cable installation etc. if you plan it properly.

Are you able to reduce the notice period from three months to a few days if the only issue is stopping clashing of worksites etc and is the OHLE/Third rail switched off every night at those times?
 

hwl

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Ironic that the image shows an electrified line!

I'm beginning to wonder if we'll see phase 1 of HS2 running before East West Rail.
We certainly should do by several years
 

21C101

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We certainly should do by several years
The most important thing is to stop anyone getting ideas about saving a few pounds on HS2 by destroying the Aylesbury to Calvert line.
 

The Planner

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You can do a lot more than routine maintenance, such as cable installation etc. if you plan it properly.

Are you able to reduce the notice period from three months to a few days if the only issue is stopping clashing of worksites etc and is the OHLE/Third rail switched off every night at those times?
Do you mean planning within the maintenance opportunities or planning disruptive access.
The most important thing is to stop anyone getting ideas about saving a few pounds on HS2 by destroying the Aylesbury to Calvert line.
They aren't destroying it, there are well laid out plans on building the new Calvert waste terminal and the realignment of the existing route to Claydon at the northern end.
 

Bald Rick

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Are you able to reduce the notice period from three months to a few days if the only issue is stopping clashing of worksites etc and is the OHLE/Third rail switched off every night at those times?

You can do anything if you’re prepared to pay.
 

Nicholas Lewis

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There are standard engineering hours on most of the Network. You still have to book worksites and possessions though. Otherwise they get in each others’ way....

There’s also not enough standard engineering hours to do any more than routine maintenance. Which this project isn’t.
On E-W Rail its only at the extremities of the project that you will need possessions the rest of the job is a standard construction site without any specific restrictions unless the T&W put limitation on hours near built up areas (of which there are few). I acknowledge that Bletchley is a more difficult and needs a lot of forward planning.

Ashington is a freight railway currently so the ability to get daytime possessions ought to be possible to allow more efficient working.
 
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