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How to reopen a station?

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L+Y

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Something I've been tasked with looking into...

I live and work in the area of a PTE, and we're hoping to lend some advice to a local would-be station reopening group. Knowing the area and having some vague idea of the process, I suspect that the group is going to struggle, but nonetheless I felt it a good idea to advise them how to go about things.

So, first and foremost: do the group need to go via the local authority, or directly to the PTE? Is it advisable to try to engage with Network Rail and the TOC, or at this point is it better to leave these out?

And from there, what happens? I know business cases need to be presented, but who goes about commissioning these? What grounds are they judged on?

As I say, I think that the would be reopeners in this case face a very uphill struggle, but any guidance for the sort of advice I can provide would be much appreciated.

Cheers!
 
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najaB

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I don't know, but at a guess it isn't going to get very far without the support of the local authority or PTE so involving them as early as possible is likely a good idea.
 

deltic

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Assuming that no one has looked at the idea of station reopening before at this site then some first steps are to

Look at what other reopenings/new stations have opened in that PTE area and the process followed
Find out what the attitude of the area's local councillors is to the idea
Look at the local transport and development plan for the area - are there plans for lots of new housing in the area
Look at the existing rail service - is it already full and standing or is there capacity for more passengers
Can the service cope with an extra few minutes in its schedule or is that going to lead to another unit
How many people live within a 15 minute walk catchment area and does that catchment area overlap with any other station
Looking at other station usage in the area and population within 15mins will potentially give you an idea of future possible patronage at your reopened station
What is the average fare in the area
Estimate your annual revenue
Look at the cost of other station reopenings - depending on the line and location could be looking at £10 to £100m depending on need for trackwork and signalling
Is it a PTE that wants its stations staffed or not - if yes add in cost of that
What potential is there for developers to contribute towards the station?
Is the annual revenue generated by the station more than 4% of the cost of building it taking into account any development contribution and does the station support housing development - if yes stands a reasonable chance of progressing which would involve working with the PTE or ITA and Network Rail.

If not it will require a much more political route and getting your MP on board.

In terms of business case you need

to set out a very clear rationale why the station should be re-opened - ideally support new housing, improve access to employment, tackle congested roads etc
the economic case - what are the benefits these mainly relate to journey time saving and net additional revenue raised from ticket sales (ie taking account of any displacement of demand from other stations and other public transport) and how do they compare to the cost of building and operating the station
where is the money going to come from to build the station and will it need any on-going subsidy
who is actually going to deliver the station ie be responsible for letting and managing building contracts
 
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DarloRich

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You will also need your MP's, TOC's and NR on board and supporting the scheme - i would contact them all early and start the ball rolling.

You will also need to get the publicity machine rolling and start banging out press releases and speaking to community groups at every opportunity. Also get a decent quality web site and social media account up and running ASAP.
 

deltic

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You will also need your MP's, TOC's and NR on board and supporting the scheme - i would contact them all early and start the ball rolling.

You will also need to get the publicity machine rolling and start banging out press releases and speaking to community groups at every opportunity. Also get a decent quality web site and social media account up and running ASAP.

I would be wary of the PR route at this stage - need to understand what the case is before you go public. Sound people out what they think about the idea by all means but it can backfire to go public with a proposal if you cant answer some very basic questions and key decision makers will not want to get associated with something that appears half thought out.

In my experience TOCs interest will range from complete indifference to polite interest - depends where you are in the franchise cycle. The time frame for new stations tends to be so long they are not on the TOCs radar - may be something they throw into a rebid to show engagement with local community by saying they will look into or work with partners etc. NR again can be less than enthusiastic and want paying to look at the feasibility of any new scheme. Obviously good to identify any show stoppers from them that will kibosh the whole scheme but dont expect much enthusiasm. The PTE/ITA route is more likely to be productive as long as you have the requisite political support.
 

Joseph_Locke

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Ultimately you will need some body with money to sponsor the early development of the project - LA's often have this kind of thing as a planning objective, so they're a good start.

(At this point I solemnly declare that my day job includes doing some of the activities listed below and would be pleased to put you in touch with my colleagues who do the rest ...)

Strategic outline business cases (SOBC) are complex pieces of work and getting them right is best left to professionals. Part of this will need the capital (construction) costs or CAPEX, and the ongoing operating costs (OPEX) to be worked out in detail; for this you need to accept that a re-opened station (even if the platforms are still there) is effectively a new station and will need to comply with all requirements for design, operation and timetabling.

Also, please don't fall into the trap of assuming that feasibility study, specification, rolling stock or timetable corners can be cut: when the industry (e.g. NR, ORR) insists, your assumptions will lose, as its their railway, not yours.
 

lejog

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Further to Deltic's post, there is no need to reinvent the wheel, there are published studies evaluating suitability of sites for new stations, which describe the methodology used.

One of which I'm aware is that used by the study for new station sites in West Yorkshire, which used a simple process for assessing local demographics, potential demand, constructional feasibility and operational feasibility. Rough and ready no doubt, but its green/yellow/red rating for these issues should flag up obvious issues at an early stage. It may need a few days work by someone with technical rail knowledge to investigate some of these.
 

Joseph_Locke

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You will also need your MP's, TOC's and NR on board and supporting the scheme - i would contact them all early and start the ball rolling.

You will also need to get the publicity machine rolling and start banging out press releases and speaking to community groups at every opportunity. Also get a decent quality web site and social media account up and running ASAP.

No, no, no; facts first. The industry has many noisy (and some very irritating) pressure groups, very few of whom have made any attempt to produce reasoned facts to support their assertions. As I mentioned above, some have used a local house builder to prepare their capital cost estimates and believe that because 20,000 people like the idea on Twitface that this equates to 20,000 nailed on customers!
 

DarloRich

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I would be wary of the PR route at this stage - need to understand what the case is before you go public. Sound people out what they think about the idea by all means but it can backfire to go public with a proposal if you cant answer some very basic questions and key decision makers will not want to get associated with something that appears half thought out.

In my experience TOCs interest will range from complete indifference to polite interest - depends where you are in the franchise cycle. The time frame for new stations tends to be so long they are not on the TOCs radar - may be something they throw into a rebid to show engagement with local community by saying they will look into or work with partners etc. NR again can be less than enthusiastic and want paying to look at the feasibility of any new scheme. Obviously good to identify any show stoppers from them that will kibosh the whole scheme but dont expect much enthusiasm. The PTE/ITA route is more likely to be productive as long as you have the requisite political support.

No, no, no; facts first. The industry has many noisy (and some very irritating) pressure groups, very few of whom have made any attempt to produce reasoned facts to support their assertions. As I mentioned above, some have used a local house builder to prepare their capital cost estimates and believe that because 20,000 people like the idea on Twitface that this equates to 20,000 nailed on customers!


indeed - but you need to start the communications machine early to start to secure relationships, access and draw people with different skills into your group.

By communication at this stage I mean publicisng that your group exists, getting it on the local radar, getting invites to community events, generating links with community figures/groups/politicians/industry partners, setting out the broad aims ( to reopen X station) of your group and potentially getting access to third party funding/advice.

I am not suggesting communicating a detailed message on how and when you will achieve your aims!
 
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