great western electrification

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timstours

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i read with some dismay that the relief lines between newport and cardiff are not to be wired ,therefore reducing capacity and there would be no electric freight .
why is there some much appathy towards electric freight trains in this country .
also does this also mean that the loops at pilning and hullavington plus foxhall junc to didcot north will not be wired as well ,therefore stopping the reintroduction of the oxford to bristol service which is very much missed in these parts.
 
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swt_passenger

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I think you possibly read that a decision hasn't been made yet, and they might not be wired?

The 'very much missed' Bristol - Oxford service - wasn't that binned because not enough people used it?
 

anthony263

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If the main line from Cardiff to Swansea isn't busy/important enough to justify electrification (as things stand) then I'd be amazed if any "relief" lines are wired any time soon
Frankly I was amazed with the excuse that the mainline isnt busy enough between Swansea & Cardiff to justify electrification, Hopefully if the Maesteg line is wired as part of the Cardiff Valley Lines electrification then the Bridgend - Swansea section will be included.
 

Gareth Marston

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The DfT state that there is 1 passenger train per hour on the line. (FGW - IC) in fact in the early morning/evening its half hourly as the depot is at Landore.

It seems they ignore the local service between Bristol and Cardiff in the plans and any potential for local services west of Cardiff to be electric.

DfT also dismisses railfreight on basis that the services that run over the south wales main line come from off the wires at there start points/ end points though a large percent are apparently flows between Port Talbot and Llanwern.
 

Mojo

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I have always wondered why there are even any relief lines between Severn Tunnel Junction and Cardiff. There are no intermediate stations and other lines cope with such an intensive service and only two tracks.
 

Oswyntail

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I would have thought that the cost of electrifying relief lines was marginal to the overall project, and tiny compared with electrifying them at a later date.
 

RP

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Wouldn't it be easier to erect catenary with masts on the outside of all four running lines instead of individual posts between the "passenger" and "freight" lines? What about at Newport and Cardiff Central stations - wouldn't catenary be suspended by crossways supporting cables?

Also, a lot of use is made nowadays of all through platforms at both stations, trains crossing from main to relief lines - wouldn't this also restrict the railway operators' flexibility a lot if a Swansea to Bath service was added to the half hourly London service?

I suspect that some of this, and also the business case for Cardiff to Swansea is being deliberately passed to Welsh Government for them to make the decision!
 

Gareth Marston

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I agree.

The WAG should be careful what they wish for - with greater powers come greater costs...
It is interesting to note that in March a £150 million road contract was signed off by the then Minister, the contract is to turn the Gilwern to Brynmawr section of the A465 Heads of The Valleys Road into a dual carriageway - its already got an uphill 3rd crawler for most of the 5 miles involved. It also lies in the Brecon Beacons National Park.

£150 million would have paid for the relief lines and Swansea with plenty left over.
 

Chris125

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Why isnt Swansea being wired? A cynic might suggest that reducing the number of bi-modes much further would risk making them uneconomic....

Chris
 
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anthony263

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Why isnt Swansea being wired? A cynic might suggest that reducing the number of bi-modes much further would risk making them uneconomic....

Chris
The DFT recon its not worth wiring to Swansea as there is only the hourly Swansea - London service off peak which would use the wires. Turns out they completly forgot about the Swansea - Cardiff Swanline services which could also go over to emu operation providing they were not continuing west of of Swansea.

I do suspect however that another reason was to put pressue on the WG to fund some it. I have sent a letter to my local AM, who is mr carwyn jones suggesting the idea of a hourly Swansea - Cardiff - Bristol TM service which could provide a 2nd off peak electric train west of Cardiff.

I did get a letter back saying my letter had been passed to the transport minister and it would be looked and , also a thank you for my suggestion (Even though others have also suggested it including some at FGW i am told)



I do agree with wiring the relief lines, might as well especially if the cardiff valley lines wiring goes ahead and includes the Ebbw vale branch as the Ebbw vale trains run on the relief lines after they have come off the Ebbw vale branch on their way to Cardiff. There is a lot of freight between Margam & Llanwern which could also go over to electric operation something TATA have said they are in favour of.

A station on the relief lines at St Mellons would be a good idea if it is served by the Cardiff - Ebbw Vale/Chletnham Spa services, perhaps with platforms on teh fast lines as well as the relief lines?
 

Sun!

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To be fair the dualing of the Heads of the Valleys A465 Road has been long in comeing and some parts had already been finished.
Of course like all UK infrastructure programmes it should have been built as a dual carriageway from the start, but was built as a 3 lane road to save costs. (Heared of this before?). It is now costing far more to upgrade than it would have originaly to make it a dual carriageway.
 

83G/84D

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i read with some dismay that the relief lines between newport and cardiff are not to be wired ,therefore reducing capacity and there would be no electric freight .
why is there some much appathy towards electric freight trains in this country .
also does this also mean that the loops at pilning and hullavington plus foxhall junc to didcot north will not be wired as well ,therefore stopping the reintroduction of the oxford to bristol service which is very much missed in these parts.
Only certain platform lines at Temple Meads station to be electrified (I heard 3 in total) and the wires will stop just west of the station by Bath Road bridge.
 

Bald Rick

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It is interesting to note that in March a £150 million road contract was signed off by the then Minister, the contract is to turn the Gilwern to Brynmawr section of the A465 Heads of The Valleys Road into a dual carriageway - its already got an uphill 3rd crawler for most of the 5 miles involved. It also lies in the Brecon Beacons National Park.

£150 million would have paid for the relief lines and Swansea with plenty left over.
Perhaps, just perhaps, the business case for the dualling of the HoV is better than electrifying relief lines that would see relatively little use? They are assessed on exactly the same criteria.
 

sprinterguy

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I have always wondered why there are even any relief lines between Severn Tunnel Junction and Cardiff. There are no intermediate stations and other lines cope with such an intensive service and only two tracks.
There's still quite a high density of freight traffic from Margam and other areas of South Wales, and with the higher density of faster passenger services east of Cardiff it would be very difficult to thread the freights in between without a four track alignment.

Not wiring the Newport-Cardiff slow lines smacks of an electrification project being done on the most minimal of shoestring budgets. Even the ECML electrification saw fit to electrify all the lines in four track areas. Not doing so between Newport and Cardiff will completely eradicate any flexibility that would have been available in instances where a train fails, or the wires are dragged down on one line only, or where keeping one line open during an engineering possession would have been a possibility.

Not to mention that it will reduce any possibility of growth in local services if additional electrification projects take place in the distant future.
 

zn1

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electrification of GWR will be the best thing to ever happen to it, its about time the whole line was done, including all branches !
I think Mr Brunel and Mr Gooch would have jumped at the chance to do it
 

Rhydgaled

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Why isnt Swansea being wired? A cynic might suggest that reducing the number of bi-modes much further would risk making them uneconomic....

Chris
I agree. I think it was Rodger Ford in modern railways who said that the 70 5-car bi-modes currently planned is the minimum viable quantiy. Since 35 of those are for East Coast, which only has 8 or 9 off-wire services each way per day, I'd say the case bi-mode is looking pretty weak indeed. I think wires to Swansea would kill it, which means they would have to wire Swindon-Cheltenham as well, so perhaps they made out Swansea didn't have a case because Swindon-Cheltenham really does only have 1tph, with the max being sensible probabally about 1.5tph.

If IEP bi-mode has to be built, I'd personally only order 14 of them, for the Cotswolds line (if there was a hourly Paddington - Exeter semi-fast service via Westbury then mabye a few more, but 180s more likely).
 

Solaris

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There have been some exploratory investigations into the potential of a tram-train service between STJ and Cardiff Central with intermediate stops at places like Llanwern, St Mellons, Splott, Coedkernew, etc. This would though have to use the relief lines and would need electrification to enable it. This is a corridor currently poorly served by public transport..
 

cle

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I agree. I think it was Rodger Ford in modern railways who said that the 70 5-car bi-modes currently planned is the minimum viable quantiy. Since 35 of those are for East Coast, which only has 8 or 9 off-wire services each way per day, I'd say the case bi-mode is looking pretty weak indeed. I think wires to Swansea would kill it, which means they would have to wire Swindon-Cheltenham as well, so perhaps they made out Swansea didn't have a case because Swindon-Cheltenham really does only have 1tph, with the max being sensible probabally about 1.5tph.

If IEP bi-mode has to be built, I'd personally only order 14 of them, for the Cotswolds line (if there was a hourly Paddington - Exeter semi-fast service via Westbury then mabye a few more, but 180s more likely).
Once Swindon - Gloucester/Cheltenham is fully doubled, I would not be surprised to see some extra services. The shuttles could be purely EMU too although these might disappear with hourly London services, once double tracked.

If this was wired too, even better. Journey times are shocking from Cheltenham.

Just a few fast trains from Cheltenham, no Gloucester messing and fast to Swindon (maybe Stroud/Kemble stops? No Stonehouse) - would be a huge improvement. And then fast from Swindon to London.
 

route:oxford

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I think you possibly read that a decision hasn't been made yet, and they might not be wired?

The 'very much missed' Bristol - Oxford service - wasn't that binned because not enough people used it?
It is defintely missed and was usually well loaded.

Not the ideal stock for the service though - a 2 car 165 wasn't great for comfort and felt distinctly odd on the Didcot-Bristol stretch. It wasn't ideal for pathing either.

A 4 Car 180 would probably be far more suitable. Thus strengthening other 180s to 6 Car..
 

cle

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I liked that service too. Has the makings of a great E/W cross country route too!

And Bicester is a huge demand driver these days.

Will the new Bicester Town be able to reverse trains terminating there? Or have a siding to put them (or somewhere beyond the Chiltern line)...
 

The Planner

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Yes it will, the down platform will be bi-di as that will be the only line that can route you to/from Claydon. You won't be able to reverse in the up platform though as it isn't a fully signalled route from Oxford.
 

cle

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Is the down platform the northerly one trains from Oxford towards Marylebone would arrive into?

And would trains needing to reverse head on towards Claydon, before reversing? Or do so in the platform?
 

Gareth Marston

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To be fair the dualing of the Heads of the Valleys A465 Road has been long in comeing and some parts had already been finished.
Of course like all UK infrastructure programmes it should have been built as a dual carriageway from the start, but was built as a 3 lane road to save costs. (Heared of this before?). It is now costing far more to upgrade than it would have originaly to make it a dual carriageway.
but is it really worth spending 50% of the capital investment budget this decade to finish?
 

timstours

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It is defintely missed and was usually well loaded.

Not the ideal stock for the service though - a 2 car 165 wasn't great for comfort and felt distinctly odd on the Didcot-Bristol stretch. It wasn't ideal for pathing either.

A 4 Car 180 would probably be far more suitable. Thus strengthening other 180s to 6 Car..
There was a teatime service from oxford (via didcot west curve) which was full and standing from oxford to swindon at times .
now we have a 66 bus every halfhour which is also full and standing at times. in january 2012 the single deckers are to be replaced by double deckers ,so there is demand on this corridor.
a class 319 emu operated service from oxford to bristol would therefore be very welcome .
 
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