Govenment Briefing 23rd May - Reversing Beeching Cuts

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vlad

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reopening Meir Railway Station between Stoke-On-Trent and North Staffordshire
Between Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire? :)

The problem with Meir is there isn't really anywhere to put a station that's accessible by road. The original station site is now hemmed in between the A50 and a housing estate, although I suppose you could have slip roads off the eastbound A50 to a car park on the waste ground. The only other obvious spot is at Caverswall crossing but again there's no room for a car park and it might be too close to Blythe Bridge.

reinstatement of branch lines on the Isle of Wight
Which branch lines? I can't see that much traffic wanting Bembridge. Newport is the obvious place but going via Haven Street could annoy the steam railway whereas following the other route via Newchurch would take quite a while to get where it's going.
 

37424

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I still think Clitheroe – Hellifield is an economic absurdity which will presumably get binned before it gets much further, although still better than the Skipton - Colne nonsense.
 

Glenn1969

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It does provide a link from Manchester and East Lancs to the S&C

How are they going to do Bury-Heywood without disrupting the ELR?
 

37424

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It does provide a link from Manchester and East Lancs to the S&C

How are they going to do Bury-Heywood without disrupting the ELR?
Just provide a summer weekend service, already happens on Sundays.

ELR well maybe something can be worked out after all NYMR manage to share the same track, maybe ELR don't operate to Heywood on weekdays, at weekends a reduced regular service operates with the ELR service.
 

Bald Rick

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Given the day's events, the journos weren't interested in these new lines.
Given that Grant Shapps was doing the press conference today, one assumes that he was lined up to announce this, but Mr Cummings’ unfortunate situation got in the way.

On this website for the last few years or so, there has been long discussions on the reopening of the Colne to Skipton line, with both freight and passenger traffic being discussed. Would there be any reason why that particular aspiration has not appeared on this new list?
Because it is, always has been, and always will be, an absolute basket case of a scheme.

I just fear that the "reversing Beeching" schtick is to *sound* like more stuff is being done than it actually is. Appealing to people who like the idea of reopenings without any real idea of the costs (usually under-egged by supporters) against benefits (usually over-egged)
‘Reversing Beeching’ is targeted at two audiences, one far more important than the other.
1) local campaigners and enthusiasts who want to (re)open lines, a frankly very small number of people
2) those who remember Beeching, and the controversy back then, who might be persuaded that undoing the ‘wrongs’ of 55 years ago is part of the agenda to take back control of the country, when the summers were always sunny, everyone had a job, everything worked perfectly, and there were no ‘forriners’ around to spoil things.

The work on this aspiration is more advanced than the Strategic Outline Business Case, so their funding requirements are more substantial. It should be announced as part of a different funding pot.
It really isn’t. To get to a decent SOBC for this sort of project would cost not less than £3m. Notwithstanding what might be being said.
 

Brush 4

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The usual negativity from Baldrick. Which of the 10 do you agree with and support then? Fawley and Leicester - Burton seem the most viable and realistic.
 
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PupCuff

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It does provide a link from Manchester and East Lancs to the S&C

How are they going to do Bury-Heywood without disrupting the ELR?
The signalling would need upgrading regardless of anything else as it's currently two staff sections which adjoin just east of Heywood station and the staff is held at the Castleton East Jn and Bury South ends. The AOCL at Green Lane would also require some work as it isn't currently automatically triggered. So options could potentially include making it all a single token section (you'd probably need the option to lock an ELR train in at Heywood, eg whilst taking on water, whilst a Northern-or-whoever train passes) though that may cause timetabling headaches as it'd be quite a long section, timewise. Alternatively, if it was tied in with the ELR's long term aspiration to run to Castleton, that would reduce the time ELR trains are occupying the section in one 'sitting' - train collects token at Bury South, runs through calling at Heywood and then into the ELR platform at Castleton, where the token is returned and a TOC train can then collect the token from Castleton East Jn and run through to Bury while the ELR train is taking water or running round etc, return the token and allow the ELR train to come through behind it. It'd be possible to achieve with some work, how much benefit you'd get out of it for what it would cost is a different matter entirely.
 

J-Rod

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I understand the cynicism that it is a political diversion away from the Cummings breaking rules fiasco etc but...... I still see a lot of positivity regarding railways from HS2 , decarbonization, and reversing Beeching that overall I am encouraged as opposed to the failing Grayling days.
Let's be honest here - the media have been knives out for Cummings for ages, so this was a massive gift to them, irregardless of who was doing the briefing today. Also, I suspect they would have found *something* on him at some juncture, so let's ignore that bit and focus on the positives - I'm with @GRALISTAIR on this one. You lot can argue about the minutiae all you wish but as someone who also follows the green agenda very closely, this is another piece of positive intention in that direction (and I never in a million years thought I'd wind up actually quite liking this government...).
 

Tobbes

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The usual negativity from Baldrick. Which of the 10 do you agree with and support then? Fawley and Leicester - Burton seem the most viable and realistic.
Except that @Bald Rick is a professional and has been consistently right, polite and well-informed. Your 'negativity' may be described as 'uncomfortable truths'.
 
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Mikey C

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‘Reversing Beeching’ is targeted at two audiences, one far more important than the other.
1) local campaigners and enthusiasts who want to (re)open lines, a frankly very small number of people
2) those who remember Beeching, and the controversy back then, who might be persuaded that undoing the ‘wrongs’ of 55 years ago is part of the agenda to take back control of the country, when the summers were always sunny, everyone had a job, everything worked perfectly, and there were no ‘forriners’ around to spoil things.
Plus
3) those who want to government to show some action towards shifting people out of their cars and decarbonising - at least it makes it look like the government is trying to do something
4) those who want to see the government investing in the regions in addition to big schemes like HS2 or those in London
5) those who likes trains
6) those who want public investment to improve the infrastructure (and kickstart the economy post Lockdown)

Whether anything significant will reopen as a result I don't know, but in total, there's a significant number of people who might be interested.
 

Tobbes

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3) those who want to government to show some action towards shifting people out of their cars and decarbonising - at least it makes it look like the government is trying to do something
4) those who want to see the government investing in the regions in addition to big schemes like HS2 or those in London
5) those who likes trains
6) those who want public investment to improve the infrastructure (and kickstart the economy post Lockdown)

Whether anything significant will reopen as a result I don't know, but in total, there's a significant number of people who might be interested.
1, 3, 5, and 6 are a handful of people. 4 could be larger, but "doing something" and "reopening a railway" can't be assumed to be the same thing, as most people don't use trains regularly, and the impact on the individual voter is almost certainly directly proportionate to the proximity of the investment to their home or workplace.
 

Bletchleyite

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I still think Clitheroe – Hellifield is an economic absurdity which will presumably get binned before it gets much further, although still better than the Skipton - Colne nonsense.
I wonder if there is some sneaky way of doing that without costing anything - the line is already there and passed for passenger use (for summer DalesRail and winter Lancashire Ramblers, aka "fresh air express" when I used it) - I wonder if there's enough slack in the diagrams for the Clitheroes to go there and back for little more than the cost of the diesel?
 

DelW

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Which branch lines? I can't see that much traffic wanting Bembridge. Newport is the obvious place but going via Haven Street could annoy the steam railway whereas following the other route via Newchurch would take quite a while to get where it's going.
Light rail between West Cowes and Newport, using the old alignment through the countryside with street running at each end? It might be viable if it could connect to the Redjet service, but that looks pretty tricky.
 

GetTaeFalkirk

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Can someone remind me. Will there be a Barnett wotsit for Scotland from this (ideally ring fenced for something useful like Peterhead, St Andrews or Leven)?
 

Bletchleyite

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Light rail between West Cowes and Newport, using the old alignment through the countryside with street running at each end? It might be viable if it could connect to the Redjet service, but that looks pretty tricky.
You can run steam trains on a tramway! :)

 

GRALISTAIR

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I still think Clitheroe – Hellifield is an economic absurdity which will presumably get binned before it gets much further, although still better than the Skipton - Colne nonsense.
I still have dreams of a regular scheduled circular timetabled route. Clockwise and anti-clockwise. Preston to Blackburn to Clitheroe to Hellifield then SandC and Carlisle and Preston.
 

JonathanH

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I wonder if there is some sneaky way of doing that without costing anything - the line is already there and passed for passenger use (for summer DalesRail and winter Lancashire Ramblers, aka "fresh air express" when I used it) - I wonder if there's enough slack in the diagrams for the Clitheroes to go there and back for little more than the cost of the diesel?
No, it is always going to need another diagram - the Sunday train takes 23 minutes to get from Clitheroe to Hellifield. Clitheroe is a pretty comfortable 3 hour cycle from Manchester Victoria.
 

Bald Rick

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The usual negativity from Baldrick. Which of the 10 do you agree with and support then? Fawley and Leicester - Burton seem the most viable and realistic.
Firstly, it’s Bald Rick, not Baldrick. There’s quite a difference; notably that I’m hopeless at poetry.

Secondly, one person’s negativity is another’s realism. I apologise if my post appeared to be the former.

To answer the question about the ten:

Meir and Devizes look good, particularly the latter.

Barrow Hill, Ivanhoe and Fawley (I had to look up ‘Waterside’) all suffer from the issue of capacity at their nearby main destinations. Sheffield is already at capacity with committed service proposals. Leicester isn’t far off, and there is the not insignificant issue of how you get trains off the branch to get to Leicester in the first place (a 10mph curve costing scores of millions is the best hope). Fawley is probably the easiest of the three, but there are capacity issues at Southampton, and extending existing services probably means third rail.

Bury - Rochdale will be a good test of how you persuade a heritage railway to take on a commercial service, and how you persuade the ORR to accept the safety case. I can see that working, but id be surprised if it was anything more than a trundle.

Wellington / Cullompton: clearly deserving cases, but what willl stop there? If new services, where to, given that Bristol is pretty full post Metro West? If not new services, which of the London / Xc services do you add 7-8 minutes to, how, and what is the cost to those already on the trains?

Clitheroe - Hellfiield. Easy to do. I can’t see there being much demand though.

IoW. By far the most accessible, most useful, most environmentally friendly, and most cost effective solution for the Isle would be a fleet of electric buses, with appropriate bus priority measures. Not a popular opinion, of course.

Abbey Line. Declaring an interest as I use it. I don’t know the proposal, but a conventional heavy rail loop will be a lot of cash, due to the signalling arrangements, and the need for an extra train. The best thing for this line would be a bespoke pair of units with tram style performance, operating under tram style control arrangements, with a tram style loop at Bricket Wood. That would enable a 15 minute frequency. The only issue is maintaining the things.

Personally I’m surprised that Exeter - Okehampton isn’t on the list. Seems like a gimme.
 
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Starmill

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Can someone remind me. Will there be a Barnett wotsit for Scotland from this (ideally ring fenced for something useful like Peterhead, St Andrews or Leven)?
1. That isn't how Barnett consequentials work
2. Leven has already been funded
3. St Andrews and Peterhead are rather a long way from that stage
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Can someone remind me. Will there be a Barnett wotsit for Scotland from this (ideally ring fenced for something useful like Peterhead, St Andrews or Leven)?
Presumably yes, but there's no telling what Cardiff Bay and Holyrood will actually spend the money on.
It probably won't be hypothecated for specific rail re-openings, just "transport" or "local government".
Even the England announcement had road schemes in there (eg A66 improvement).
 

Romsey

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Local press item about Devizes.

Lydeway that is quoted in the article is just beyond where the A342 crosses the Berks & Hants. So it's a parkway station to the west of the old junction for Devizes at Patney and Chirton.

As for the Isle of Wight proposals...
WIBN on steroids again. It's only a feasibility study and like every other proposal it will grind to a standstill when the cost/benefit analysis is done. Having travelled quite a bit on the Island in the last couple of years visiting elderly relatives, there is very little bus traffic between settlements which had stations. Most of the trade is to settlements which never had a railway service. Also a high proportion of bus passengers are OAP's students or on pre paid "Key Cards". One day I boarded a bus at Cowes at 0945 and I was the first cash fare since the driver signed on at 0700!

Waterside line.
About time too. Something else for Three Rivers Rail Partnership to get involved with.
 

37424

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I wonder if there is some sneaky way of doing that without costing anything - the line is already there and passed for passenger use (for summer DalesRail and winter Lancashire Ramblers, aka "fresh air express" when I used it) - I wonder if there's enough slack in the diagrams for the Clitheroes to go there and back for little more than the cost of the diesel?
I doubt it current turn around time appears to be about 25mins at Clitheroe, current timing appears to be 23 mins just to to Hellifield from Clitheroe then of course 23mins back plus turn around time, then would a regular service block the main Leeds route woulds you need to alter the track layout at Hellifield to accommodate that or even reinstate the south bay platform. would it make more sense to be able to reverse the service at Hellifield and run it to Skipton meanwhile the cost meter is running.
 
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Joseph_Locke

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The usual negativity from Baldrick. Which of the 10 do you agree with and support then? Fawley and Leicester - Burton seem the most viable and realistic.
No, as Tobbes has already said, Bald Rick says it is it is and his post is measured, considered and based in fact.

Have you the SOC work to support your statement? No? then you're guessing.
 

RT4038

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Wellington is Somerset, Cullompton is East Devon. Both on the GWML area between Exeter St Davids, (Cullompton), Tiverton Parkway, (Wellington), Taunton.

I'm also intrigued by the Isle of Wight option too. Hopefully this will include Ventor, I wonder if Newport will be considered too?

And I'm pleased for the Waterside line!
Like the Watford Junction-St Albans Abbey line, isn't the Isle of Wight reinstatement a passing loop at Brading?
 

Bald Rick

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3) those who want to government to show some action towards shifting people out of their cars and decarbonising - at least it makes it look like the government is trying to do something
4) those who want to see the government investing in the regions in addition to big schemes like HS2 or those in London
5) those who likes trains
6) those who want public investment to improve the infrastructure (and kickstart the economy post Lockdown)

Whether anything significant will reopen as a result I don't know, but in total, there's a significant number of people who might be interested.
3) these people need to look at the science. For some (not all) of the proposals, spending hundred of millions of quid on lots of carbon intensive concrete and steel, to enable a 2 car DMU to run up and down a rural line at 3mpg, to save a few hundred car trips a day is not decarbonising. Quite the opposite. Particularly given that by the time any such line could be open, a majority of car trips are very likely to be close to carbon neutral.

4) granted. Given current circumstances, what do you think most people would vote for:
a) several hundred million on a new railway linking town x with town y, or,
b) less money on a new hospital for the whole region.

5) no comment!

6) is much the same as 4. Infrastructure doesn’t have to be railways. It can be housing, high speed broadband, off shore wind (loads of which is shovel ready, or more precisely deep pile ready), airport expansion, etc etc. Notably none of this needs Government capital funding up front.
 

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