Government rules out North Cotswold Line upgrade

Discussion in 'Infrastructure & Stations' started by The Ham, 9 Apr 2015.

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  1. The Ham

    The Ham Established Member

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    An unusual announcement for just before an election:

    http://www.railnews.co.uk/news/2015/04/09-government-rules-out-north-cotswold.html

     
  2. Ironside

    Ironside Member

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    That's disappointing, I thought it was a good reconnection.:(
     
  3. route:oxford

    route:oxford Established Member

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    It's not a surprise really.

    There has been considerable below-the-raider disquiet and lobbying about the risk of improved transport links on this route resulting in a considerable house-building exercise in rural Oxfordshire.

    (Still a very good idea though.)
     
  4. TheKnightWho

    TheKnightWho Established Member

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    Can't disappoint the upper-middle Chipping Norton set, can we?
     
  5. Class 170101

    Class 170101 Established Member

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    In terms of the blockage at Hartbury freight traffic could now be diverted via the south Cotswolds and Cheltenham
     
  6. The Planner

    The Planner Established Member

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    Is it W10 via Kemble now?

    Just checked, no it isnt, so it wouldnt have helped all that much.
     
    Last edited: 9 Apr 2015
  7. jimm

    jimm Established Member

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    All the government has done, unless I am misreading the story, is ruled out doing work to create a diversionary route for freight traffic to go this way.

    So not ruling out any prospect of improvements on the Cotswold Line generally, which are most certainly on the radar - the headline rather misses the point of what the minister seems to have been trying to say in her letter. Nor Stratford-Long Marston, where the official line has always been that reopening is a matter for the local authorities - something which is a stock DfT line for pretty much any reopening proposal going and was used for years about East West Rail until the Government suddenly jumped on that bandwagon after the local authorities had done all the groundwork with precious little help from Whitehall.

    The sum of money mentioned seems utterly fantastical anyway in the context of both the previous redoubling in 2009-11 (£70m for 20 miles of track and lots of work on Chipping Campden tunnel), estimates in the £60m range to reopen Stratford-Long Marston and the £70m it cost to gauge clear the entire route from Southampton to Birmingham - maybe it includes a whole new Chipping Campden tunnel, as the existing structure is unlikely to be capable of being cleared for W10 or anything near it anyway and has just seen a lots of work at the north entrance to avoid a Hartpury-style landslip so perhaps not the best place to start digging out the tunnel floor.

    And nothing whatever to do with supposed fears about housebuilding, which has been going on merrily in West Oxfordshire (the MP is some chap called Cameron) for 40 years (Witney's population is double the size it was in the mid-1970s) and will carry on for some years to come - there are plenty of consents already approved and more in the pipeline, including to the north-east of Witney - lots more potential traffic at Hanborough - and up to 500 homes on the eastern side of... Chipping Norton, where none of the so-called set live anyway.
     
    Last edited: 10 Apr 2015
  8. 67018

    67018 Member

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    Seems a bit of a non-story: confirmation that it's not worth the money purely as a diversionary route and, by implication, would have to be viable in its own right. Pretty much the conclusion the debate reached on here recently if I remember right.
     
  9. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    Looking at the dates within the article they are reporting something that was normal correspondence that happened on 27th March, so prior to 'purdah' rather than an 'announcement'; so I don't think it is significant in terms of the election.
     
  10. Class 170101

    Class 170101 Established Member

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    Can W10 Boxes be diverted this way on low floor wagons though? Insofar as passengers services go the line is now double track throughout of course so I can imagine it would have weakened the case for North Cotswold doubling rather than strengthened it.

    However more Houses around the route - hmm Section 106?
     
  11. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

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    Not generally realised that in steam locomotive days a lot of Birmingham-Oxford freight, especially the slower stuff, went this way from Tyseley via Honeybourne, to keep it off the double track main Paddington line through Leamington and Warwick. Likewise any freight deemed "Western" between the West Midlands and Bristol etc went through Stratford and Honeybourne as well, instead of down the Lickey.
     
    Last edited: 10 Apr 2015
  12. jimm

    jimm Established Member

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    Flaw in that idea is the low-floor and pocket wagons that used to be used on Southampton-Birmingham and Manchester services have been redeployed by Freightliner to other services to places like Leeds and Wakefield to allow it to carry more 9ft 6in boxes where W10 clearance is not available. And they seem to have just about coped with diversions via the WCML, which probably doesn't help make the case for alterations to clearances on either route through the Cotswolds anyway, which will presumably have to wait until they are considered for electrification.

    That the Kemble route is now double throughout really doesn't affect potential for further redoubling of the Cotswold Line. They serve different areas of the region, so local factors, such as all those new houses in West Oxfordshire, will be a far more important consideration.
     
  13. BantamMenace

    BantamMenace Member

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    They just about coped by running services 24 hours and cancelling maintenance work, that situation cannot be put forward as long term solution as you'll have a railway in need or more maintenance than currently (due to the increase in traffic) receiving less than at current.

    I know it appeared that the industry coped but i can assure you some customers took a big hit, the only one i can speak for for certain is Jaguar Land Rover who missed sailings in Southampton and had a back log of cars for export.
     
  14. jimm

    jimm Established Member

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    Like I said - just about coped. I didn't say it was ideal and I'm aware that a lot of people put in a lot of time and effort to make the diversions work as well as they did, but it was an emergency situation caused by the closure of Banbury-Leamington, where a long-term solution will hopefully be found to solve the problems with that cutting.

    I don't think anyone believes it is a good idea to try to path that amount of freight via the WCML and on the GWML to Reading on a regular basis but whether the cost of gauge-clearing/reopening other routes 'just in case' is justified is another matter. DfT clearly doesn't, if that letter is anything to go by
     
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