Govenment Briefing 23rd May - Reversing Beeching Cuts

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Andy Pacer

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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.
I recall seeing previous references to a terminus out of Leicester near Meynells Gorse to connect with the Park & Ride site there. Far from ideal though.
 

yorksrob

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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.
I'm surprised Leicester is near capacity. Two island platforms seems quite uncramped for the of IC services and cross country routes that cross there.

If Fawley manages to lift the ban on third rail extension, it will be beneficial for the whole Southern.
 

bluenoxid

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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.
You can tell I was distracted when writing this.
At best, this funding will get an initial feasibility review for transport improvements on the corridor.
My understanding is that Skipton-Colne is more advanced. I think that they are either tail end of GRIP2 or a bit further forward, so need a lot more funding than the Ideas Fund offers

Quick question for those who may know. Has the infrastructure to the south of Hellifield got the flexibility to terminate trains in both platforma?
 

DynamicSpirit

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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.
23 minutes seems an absurdly long time to go basically 10 miles non stop. Is there any potential for line speed improvements? (Yes, I know that would turn an almost-free improvement into a potentially expensive one in a very rural area).
 

DynamicSpirit

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Quick question for those who may know. Has the infrastructure to the south of Hellifield got the flexibility to terminate trains in both platforma?
Trying to look a bit more creatively at this, would there be a better case for Clitheroe-Hellifield if you terminated at Settle rather than Hellifield. Much bigger population, and - so far as I can tell from Google maps - a station located at a less awkward location for people living nearby than Hellifield. Too long to commute to Manchester, but may attract some commuters to Blackburn (still pretty iffy in numbers I know).
 

bluenoxid

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Trying to look a bit more creatively at this, would there be a better case for Clitheroe-Hellifield if you terminated at Settle rather than Hellifield. Much bigger population, and - so far as I can tell from Google maps - a station located at a less awkward location for people living nearby than Hellifield. Too long to commute to Manchester, but may attract some commuters to Blackburn (still pretty iffy in numbers I know).
That would be a stronger option. I start to wonder if that pushes into two extra trains territory. If the trains are going further, is Skipton better?
 

Iskra

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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.
If you think of it as just linking those two towns, then yes. But in reality the service would be Manchester-Hellifield (or even on to Settle). Linking Manchester with the Yorkshire Dales will surely provide some patronage. Plus it does provide Lancashire-Yorkshire connections that aren't currently well-served.
 

Iskra

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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.
It doesn't serve Manchester. Serving Manchester would be key. Otherwise it's marginal at best.
 

DynamicSpirit

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I was looking on Google Earth in conjunction with an old railway clearing house map and found that with the aid of the aerial view it is quite easy to follow the Ventnor line. The first part from Shanklin goes west and then arcs round to enter Wroxhall alongside the B3327. This part is shown as "The Sunshine Trail". On Street View you can see get onto the trackbed under the bridge where Castle Road crossed over the railway. The line would have then crossed St Martins Road on the level, by its junction with Station Road (but I doubt that St Martins Road would have existed prior to the railway closing, so Station Road would then have been a cul-de-sac with the station at the end. From there follow the line of trees, firstly crossing Brookside Crescent and then passing alongside the far end of Brookside Crescent, Follow the line of trees further and you come to the bridge where Manor Road crossed over the railway, You can also see the bridge, but not much of the overgrown trackbed, from this point.

Shortly after this the trackbed largely disappears but there are two small oval overgrown patches in two fields which I would think were remains. There is no evidence on Google Earth of where the line would have entered Boniface Down Tunnel but it would be somewhere in the large wooded area. However, if you draw a line from manor Road bridge through the two overgrown patches you will see the old station site at Ventnor which was hollowed out at the far end of the tunnel.
Ah yes thanks, I got it now. It was the disappearance South of Manor Road that confused me. I also see the road to the site in Ventnor is called Old Station Road.
 

Bletchleyite

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If you think of it as just linking those two towns, then yes. But in reality the service would be Manchester-Hellifield (or even on to Settle). Linking Manchester with the Yorkshire Dales will surely provide some patronage. Plus it does provide Lancashire-Yorkshire connections that aren't currently well-served.
It's not unduly difficult to do that now, though, just go via Leeds. If anything, going from Lancashire to the Dales is the bigger faff, but switching the Lancashire and Manchester legs at Blackburn could be highly unpopular for something that is more for tourists.
 

strawbrick

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There seems to be a lot of speculation on the site about the extent of the various "reintroductions" announced yesterday.

It would seem that all the schemes announced are "winners" in some sort of competition for funding to do "something" in respect of each of the schemes.

The speculation would be unnecessary if the DfT had published details of the winning entries, stating the basis on which each was judged to have passed to "Round 2". Similarly, there is no informnation about the "losers".

But perhaps the DfT have published the details and no-one has looked at it ...
 

mwmbwls

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I felt overwhelmingly underwhelmed by the Government’s announcement of the first round schemes announced as part of the “Reversing Beeching” Programme. The short-term opportunistic schemes announced seem to be part of a “spiffing wheeze du jour” strategy chosen because of the limited expenditure that they would entail and their perceived ease of implementation. What I was looking for was more than just a selection of local electoral prospect lollipops but a number of competing projects that would have a real regional/sub-regional impact. I saw the East West Railway and/or the Borders Railway as exemplars of what needs to be done. I recognise that there would be fewer projects falling into this category and there would be significant winners and losers. For example, I would have expected, for example, the Withered Arm route to Plymouth via Tavistock; the Ivanhoe line; the Peak line from Great Rocks to Ambergate, and the route from Liverpool via Ormskirk to Leeds via the Skipton Colne line to have been contenders for a rigorous comparative exercise – including the benefits generated by relieving other more crowded routes. There is a place for smaller projects to backfill-in both project management and finance terms and there is still an investment void in catering for the elderly and disabled passengers which should be separately assessed.
 

Gathursty

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My prediction for the Clitheroe - Hellifield announcement will be a circular service Preston - Blackburn - Hellifield - Carnforth - Lancaster - Preston or to free up the WCML just have it as a crescent shaped service to Carnforth or Lancaster.

I would use the allocation for the Bentham line on this to free up Leeds capacity and brand the service as the Lancashire Circular or Bowland Circular etc...
 

ainsworth74

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Trying to look a bit more creatively at this, would there be a better case for Clitheroe-Hellifield if you terminated at Settle rather than Hellifield. Much bigger population, and - so far as I can tell from Google maps - a station located at a less awkward location for people living nearby than Hellifield. Too long to commute to Manchester, but may attract some commuters to Blackburn (still pretty iffy in numbers I know).
If you're going to to something involving Settle you'd be better of spending the money on buying some more 769s for Northern and extending one train per hour from Leeds to Skipton on to Settle instead. I bet you'd find the business case on giving Settle an hourly service to Leeds is much better htan trying to faff with Clitheroe and Hellifield/Settle...
 

Ianno87

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I felt overwhelmingly underwhelmed by the Government’s announcement of the first round schemes announced as part of the “Reversing Beeching” Programme. The short-term opportunistic schemes announced seem to be part of a “spiffing wheeze du jour” strategy chosen because of the limited expenditure that they would entail and their perceived ease of implementation. What I was looking for was more than just a selection of local electoral prospect lollipops but a number of competing projects that would have a real regional/sub-regional impact. I saw the East West Railway and/or the Borders Railway as exemplars of what needs to be done. I recognise that there would be fewer projects falling into this category and there would be significant winners and losers. For example, I would have expected, for example, the Withered Arm route to Plymouth via Tavistock; the Ivanhoe line; the Peak line from Great Rocks to Ambergate, and the route from Liverpool via Ormskirk to Leeds via the Skipton Colne line to have been contenders for a rigorous comparative exercise – including the benefits generated by relieving other more crowded routes. There is a place for smaller projects to backfill-in both project management and finance terms and there is still an investment void in catering for the elderly and disabled passengers which should be separately assessed.
I would like to think that in compiling this new list, the DfT has at least compared all the projects side-by-side at a high level and done a basic assessment of the likely level of cost and benefits, to at least permit the schemes to be ranked to determine the ones most likely to fly in a business case.

So there probably has been the comparative exercise that you suggest out of sight behind DfT's doors, which has led to the list we now see before is.

The problem is making it "rigorous" costs money. But the list needs to be narrowed down first to determine where such money is likely to be best spent.
 
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In case anyone else is, like me, geographically challenged (plus a few comments):
  • reopening Meir Railway Station between Longton and Blythe Bridge on the Stoke-Derby line
  • reinstatement of the Barrow Hill line between Sheffield and Chesterfield
  • reinstatement of the Ivanhoe line Leicester-Burton
  • reinstatement of branch lines on the Isle of Wight (only Cowes and Ventnor are post-Beeching!)
  • reinstatement of the Abbey line between St Albans Abbey and Watford Junction
  • reopening of Wellington and Cullompton stations (new local service, or stops on Paddington-Exeter semi-fast?)
  • reinstatement of the Bury-Heywood-Rochdale lines
  • reinstatement of weekday passenger services on the Clitheroe to Hellifield railway line
  • reinstatement of rail access to Devizes via a new station on the B&H main line where it is crossed by the A342 at Lydeway
  • reintroduction of passenger rail services on the Waterside Totton-Fawley line
Thank you.
 

jonesy3001

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When will the rebuilding of these lines start or do they have to go through a couple more rounds first?
Be ideal if the fleetwood line, the Buxton to matlock and the reopening of woodhead route be in the next, but that would be a long shot
 

yorksrob

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If you're going to do that level of work, it needs to be an arrangement that supports the eventual 4 tracking. You don't want to spend money changing a layout like that, only to spend more changing it again a few years later.
Well, the reversible line could easily double as a down slow. I believe that there's a similar situation north of Peterborough.

If you're going to to something involving Settle you'd be better of spending the money on buying some more 769s for Northern and extending one train per hour from Leeds to Skipton on to Settle instead. I bet you'd find the business case on giving Settle an hourly service to Leeds is much better htan trying to faff with Clitheroe and Hellifield/Settle...
The normal terminus point is Ribblehead, so I suppose with there and Horton, it becomes a very convenient service for walkers.
 

Ianno87

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When will the rebuilding of these lines start or do they have to go through a couple more rounds first?
Be ideal if the fleetwood line the Buxton to matlock and the reopening of woodhead route be in the next, but that would be a long shot
All this money is for is to develop business cases for the selected lines. I.e. identify if they are a vaguely sensible thing to do in terms of costs against benefits. It is not any commitment to actually do any of them (it's still entirely possible none of them will happen or have reasonable business cases)

Fleetwood already has funding for business case development seperate from all of this.
 

Dumpty

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I'm surprised that Barrow Hill is on the list but not Stocksbridge: the two make more sense to me combined than Barrow Hill does on its own. I wouldn't have thought that trains from Barrow Hill are going to be allowed into Sheffield Midland station, given the capacity constraints and in particular that any eastbound train from Midland to Darnall has to cross the southbound line from Meadowhall, so they might as well continue towards Stocksbridge.

Is there any more detail about the Barrow Hill proposal available anywhere? Presumably Eckington and Killamarsh are the main communities they're thinking of.

This is what the local MP said;
Some great news for New Whittington, Staveley, Barrow Hill, Renishaw, Eckington & Killamarsh!

Last month, I posted that we were applying for funding to assess the possibility of re-opening the Barrow Hill freight line to passenger traffic as part of the Government’s “Reverse Beeching” plan. Working with your local County, District and Parish Councils, along with a Sheffield City Region, we submitted a proposal to the Government to consider.

And yesterday we learnt that we have secured money for a full feasibility study! This is great news and the first step in seeing whether the re-opening of the line, which could see stations open again in Killamarsh, Barrow Hill / Staveley, Eckington / Renishaw and Whittington, is possible.
This is all very early days and we are still a long way off being able to re-open the railway but it’s great that we can take the first step and do a feasibility study. Once we’ve done the study we can see whether it would be practical to re-open and then, if so, make the case to Government for funding.
I’d like to thank our local County, District and Parish Councils for the work and help they’ve done on this so far, along with Sheffield City Region, and look forward to working with them on the feasibility study in the coming months. And we want to involve the communities too as much as possible - so stay tuned for more information about how to get involved!
 

S&CLER

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Nothing was said explicitly about intermediate stations between Clitheroe and Hellifield. Gisburn and Chatburn are the only villages where stations might be reopened. Gisburn is reasonably convenient down the lane by the livestock market, but Chatburn is a bit awkwardly situated for the village. Both places are on a more direct bus route along the A59 to Skipton and Preston, which are the main draws for local traffic (shoppers etc.); the railway would be more handy for Blackburn and Manchester, and would have weekend tourist/rambler traffic beyond Hellifield to the Dales.

Is there room for a terminal bay on the up side at Settle?
 

mr_jrt

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1) The Abbey line - Surely there is a case for reopening back to Hatfield, avoiding the need to travel into London and back out again to get to Hatfield?
The Abbey line never went to Hatfield. The Abbey line was built as the start of a loop line to serve Luton, before the Midland's falling out with the GNR caused them to build an extension south from Bedford to their own terminus at St. Pancras which killed off the plan. No idea where the intention to rejoin the LNWR was, but that's why it points north at Abbey station. The GNR built a branch to meet it from Hatfield, and they had a north-facing junction on the southern outskirts of the station.

...short version: you'd be reopening two branches not one. :)
 

Devonian

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I could either see an extension of the Devon Metro out to Taunton (Perhaps Plymouth or Paignton to Taunton?) or anything from Taunton extended to Exeter? What about the local services which stop at Taunton / Tiverton Parkway / Exeter?
Mostly Parkway is served by Paddington or the NE-SW trains - I think there's a Bristol stopper from Exeter very early or late but I've rarely needed to be there then & iirc usually they terminate at Taunton. Paignton-Taunton all stops sounds a good idea on the surface ( I'm not qualified to go below the surface, I'm afraid ), or Taunton-Ex Central, or ... well, lots of things you could do I guess if there's the resources to actually lay on more services.
Currently very few local stopping services Exeter-Taunton, with 2-4 services an hour mostly covered by intercity. However, as well as a late evening Bristol-Exeter service, GWR run regular stopping services from Cardiff via Bristol to Taunton, and four a day each way are extended through to Plymouth and Penzance; perhaps more could be extended to Exeter to include Cullompton and Wellington.

In addition, adding stops at Wellington and/or Cullompton on a limited number of Paddington trains would effectively make them no slower than they were before the IET timings were applied.
 

DarloRich

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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.
That's exactly what it was. Obfuscation and spin to try and get the plebs talking about something fluffy. There is no structure, thought or plan to any of this Anyone want odds on these schemes happening?

By the way the plan failed. Literally no one in the area in question is talking about a new station at Horden. There is actual, real, burning anger in the north east about how Cummings has behaved. The dualing of the A66 is something i have supported and advocated for many years. It is great news. No one cares today.

Whosoever would think that a Conservative Government would ever cause such aspirations as these to appear in print.
One desperate to protect their puppet master and move the debate from the fact we have to make sacrifices but they don't?
 

waverley47

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Yeah, we've just been handed a document asking us to look into two of the above lines as part of the whole BCR test and study. I can't really say which but to be honest, they're pretty obvious reinstatements in the more populated parts of the country. Interestingly we've not been given any of the new stations, so I'm assuming they'll go through local government rather than the national government studies we've been given.

On a personal note, what can really be done on the isle of wight? Surely they should bite the bullet and hand it over to a community rail operated group?
 

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