How far would £755m go on Welsh railways?

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krus_aragon

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Following from the announcement covered here:
BBC said:
Wales will get an extra £755m over five years as a result of money being spent on the HS2 high-speed rail line in England, the Welsh government has said.

...

The new high-speed line, linking London to Birmingham by 2026, with routes to Manchester and Leeds by 2033, is officially predicted to cost £55.7bn, according to the Department for Transport.
Let us assume that the whole Barnett consequential will be spent on transport within Wales. (I'll leave it to you to decide what proportion would be on rail.) What would you wish to see done with the money? Alternatively, what do you think will actually be done within the transport budget?
 
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HLE

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£754 million on consultancy fees and £1m actually used for something useful
 

LNW-GW Joint

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That's the obvious one, but then what is patently obvious to us is not necessarily obvious to those in Caerdydd
It would just about pay for electrification Warrington/Crewe-Chester-Holyhead and Wolverhampton-Shrewsbury-Wrexham-Chester.
The English budget would need to chip in for its bit.
South Wales is already getting its SWML upgrade for IEP, and a chunk towards the South Wales Metro.
 

Chester1

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It would just about pay for electrification Warrington/Crewe-Chester-Holyhead and Wolverhampton-Shrewsbury-Wrexham-Chester.
The English budget would need to chip in for its bit.
South Wales is already getting its SWML upgrade for IEP, and a chunk towards the South Wales Metro.
Actually £755m would easily cover both lines but would be a waste of money. Chester-Holyhead electrifcation was given a BCR of 0.55:1 recently. There arent enough stops to give a signifcant time improvement. I am a regular user and I am on a train on the line as I type, personally id like to see it be done but there are better uses of the money. There are even less services between Shrewsbury and Chester. Also, the money is being spent over the next 5 years and there wont be any spare electrifcation capacity until 2022 at the earliest. At best its one for future Barnett consquentials.
 
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Techniquest

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Some new trains? Maybe juice up as far as Ludo?

Making the Cambrian hourly would be nice too. Oh and making the Borderlands line reliable, a timetable that doesn't fall apart with no effort.

Without digging into memory banks, modernising some stations wouldn't hurt either. Llanelli comes to mind, as does Llangennech. The latter needs platforms where you don't have to literally jump down off or climb into a train!
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Some new trains? Maybe juice up as far as Ludo?
Making the Cambrian hourly would be nice too. Oh and making the Borderlands line reliable, a timetable that doesn't fall apart with no effort.
Without digging into memory banks, modernising some stations wouldn't hurt either. Llanelli comes to mind, as does Llangennech. The latter needs platforms where you don't have to literally jump down off or climb into a train!
If it's infrastructure money (capital) it would have to be spent on hardware, not new trains or services.
Somebody in Cardiff will want it spent on dualling the A470 throughout, or a 3rd Severn Bridge... ;)

Reading the BBC article again, the £755m is for the rest of this parliament.
You would expect another settlement in 2020 for 2020-25 (when most of the HS2 construction will take place).

Back to HS2:
North and Mid Wales will benefit directly from HS2 because of shorter journey times south of Crewe/Birmingham.
Having said that, there is no plan to run classic-compatible HS2 stock on diesel lines (ie west of Crewe/Wolverhampton).
So if the wires don't get any further, through trains from Holyhead/Chester/Shrewsbury to London via HS2 will not happen.
Maybe through services will use the current route (possibly diesel hauled off the wires as proposed by Virgin/First in 20102).
But that will mean no direct journey time benefits from HS2.
The HS2 material is careful not to include any of these destinations on its journey time map - it only includes places on the electrified WCML/ECML networks.
 
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Philip Phlopp

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Some new trains? Maybe juice up as far as Ludo?
North Wales Coast doesn't suit partial electrification - it's either Chester or Holyhead, and very unlikely to be anything in between, with Holyhead a 50/50 bet at the moment. Crewe to Chester will feature soon, maybe CP6.
 

Hophead

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Unless the Welsh Government has already nailed down the cash for Valleys electrification, I'd expect that to be top of the list....
 

Gareth Marston

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The local Conservative party in Montgomeryshire will probably want to spend it on "road improvements". The reality is £775 million sounds a lot but once you let the big construction companies loose with it it won't go far.

Maybe it could cover cost overruns on the A465 dualling :oops:

Rail wise there's quite a few projects that could go forward,
Reopening up to Hirwuan, and Treharris/Nelson, extra passing loop on Maesteg branch, 3 rd platform and turn back at Aberavenny. Line speed raising on Swansea District Line. Station @ St Clears. More passing loops on Cambrian stations @ Carno and Bow St and reopen to Caernarfon and they'd still be change.
 

lazydragon

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Personally, I'd love to see a start on reopening the line from Carmarthen to Aberystwyth. There's lots of work to even make it feasible, but with new Welsh Assembly offices in Aber, it might give the bigwigs in Cardiff a reason to try and link up with the underlings in Mid Wales.

More than a few CPOs might be needed to reclaim the lost land, but I reckon it would be a great re-addition to the network. In reality, I doubt it goes anywhere at all.
 

backontrack

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Could we see Tredegar reopened? I know Hirwaun's a possibility - really quite probable at this stage.
Hirwaun is probably the cheapest, but Tredegar is the logical extension from Ebbw Vale. There might be enough money for both, judging by what others have said, but Bangor to Caernarfon would be a priority.

Wrexham redoubling very important (although it does seem that the money will be focussed around Cardiff), and possibly a start on Valleys electrification - quite possibly (although unlikely) Crewe to Llandudno too.
 
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ChiefPlanner

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"Best bang for buck" - means the urban areas of South Wales and the North and West ?North Wales coast I reckon.

Though a package of station improvements right across the network would be a help.

Obviously - a differentiation between "capital" - i.e infrastructure and "operating" - more services and rolling stock would be a major decider.
 

Mikey C

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While I'm happy to see money spent on rail infrastructure, does nobody else feel the logic of this is completely warped, i.e. because money is spent on HS2, Wales automatically gets some more money to spend?

If the West Country and East Anglia were devolved, would they get more money as well, as neither of them benefit from HS2? What if HS2 is cancelled, will the Welsh have to pay the money back!
 

6Gman

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Personally, I'd love to see a start on reopening the line from Carmarthen to Aberystwyth. There's lots of work to even make it feasible, but with new Welsh Assembly offices in Aber, it might give the bigwigs in Cardiff a reason to try and link up with the underlings in Mid Wales.

More than a few CPOs might be needed to reclaim the lost land, but I reckon it would be a great re-addition to the network. In reality, I doubt it goes anywhere at all.
This has been discussed - at length - elsewhere on here.

As somebody who travelled Aber - Carmarthen by rail (!) : it was very quiet then, would be very quiet now, would be a waste of money.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I'm surprised only juicing as far as Ludo isn't workable, but I'm far from an expert so I'll trust you!

It's workable, just not sensible! :D

The case for wiring the North Wales Coast is pretty weak - just count the number of carriages per hour on each section. But wiring only part of it is much, much weaker.
 

ChiefPlanner

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DMUs are a couple of million per vehicle, aren't they? Could get a good number for that money.
You certainly could - but note my comment on CAPEX versus OPEX.

A balanced mix is the answer - and there are lots of good options , but at the end of the day there is a big Value for Money test which has to be passed and the wilds of Carmarthenshire (where I was born incidentally) - ain't going to cut the mustard in this financial scenario. (referring to Aber - Carmarthen here)
 

Llanigraham

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You certainly could - but note my comment on CAPEX versus OPEX.

A balanced mix is the answer - and there are lots of good options , but at the end of the day there is a big Value for Money test which has to be passed and the wilds of Carmarthenshire (where I was born incidentally) - ain't going to cut the mustard in this financial scenario. (referring to Aber - Carmarthen here)
Arrgghh!!
What?
 

The Planner

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Capital expenditure versus Operational expenditure. Capital being a resignalling project that saves on opex as you dont need the manpower or new rolling stock which is cheaper to run and maintain.
 

Philip Phlopp

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This has been discussed - at length - elsewhere on here.

As somebody who travelled Aber - Carmarthen by rail (!) : it was very quiet then, would be very quiet now, would be a waste of money.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---



It's workable, just not sensible! :D

The case for wiring the North Wales Coast is pretty weak - just count the number of carriages per hour on each section. But wiring only part of it is much, much weaker.
The business case for North Wales struggles because it's an isolated route - electrification of the route, in isolation, can't eliminate a large number of diesel units - it allows everything to London and Manchester to be converted, subject to new EMU stock being procured, but North to South Wales services still need to be diesel operated for operation between beyond Chester in the southerly direction, of which there's 19-20 services per day.

That's a lot of diesel operated services to leave behind on a newly electrified route.

If it's bundled together with Cardiff to Chester via Shrewsbury electrification and some more wiring in the West Midlands, the business case might actually get somewhere close to a BCR of 1:1.
 

Bletchleyite

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I know it's political, but how many people *actually* travel North Wales to South Wales direct?

I still think North Wales to Birmingham via Crewe, as used to be operated, is much more actual use. You can change at Brum for Cardiff. That would leave all but the Manchesters electric, and those not far off being with a small amount of infill.

Wales isn't like Scotland - it is very much economically dependent on the nearby bits of England, however much the WAG likes to think it isn't or that they can make it not be.
 

Gareth Marston

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I know it's political, but how many people *actually* travel North Wales to South Wales direct?

I still think North Wales to Birmingham via Crewe, as used to be operated, is much more actual use. You can change at Brum for Cardiff. That would leave all but the Manchesters electric, and those not far off being with a small amount of infill.

Wales isn't like Scotland - it is very much economically dependent on the nearby bits of England, however much the WAG likes to think it isn't or that they can make it not be.
The North Wales to South Wales market is around 200 each way a day on average, and throw in some from Chester to S Wales as well but without the public sector element. Its smaller than the Cambrian to London and the South East market but no ones proposing a single direct train for that let alone an hourly service.
 

Llanigraham

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I know it's political, but how many people *actually* travel North Wales to South Wales direct?

I still think North Wales to Birmingham via Crewe, as used to be operated, is much more actual use. You can change at Brum for Cardiff. That would leave all but the Manchesters electric, and those not far off being with a small amount of infill.

Wales isn't like Scotland - it is very much economically dependent on the nearby bits of England, however much the WAG likes to think it isn't or that they can make it not be.
Actually quite a lot!
And I think your geography is a bit out. North Walians invariably head towards Liverpool, Chester and Manchester.
Mid Walians head towards Hereford and Birmingham, and the Southerners Cardiff and Swansea.
 
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