info required about Scotish railways

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infoman

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I remember during the Maggie Thatches time in office,road improvements for the A9 were discussed which involved diverting the road straight across an estuary/river.
At the time a further plan was discussed for having a rail bridge along side the new road bridge.
The eventual out come was that the rail bridge did not go ahead and the rail lin ended up going all the way round via the long route which the A9 did not have to do anymore.
Any help or info most wellcome,and thank you in advance.
 
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PaulLothian

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Various plans were mentioned, but I think not seriously considered, at the time the Kessock Bridge was being planned. There was no political enthusiasm in Westminster for such an investment. Not just the cost of the bridge but the new rail route across the Black Isle, and a crossing of the Cromarty Firth.

In an ideal world we would have both that new route to speed journeys from further north, and the existing route to serve the communities along that line!
 

Grinner

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I don't know of any particualr sources about the plan, or how serious it was, but is the area in question not the Dornoch Firth, where the A9 takes a direct route across the firth whilst the railway runs inland via Lairg? You'll see it quite clearly on any map or road atlas. It would certainly have saved time to Thurso/Wick, and would also have added Dornoch to the railway, Dornoch being a fairly major settlement for that area of the country.
 
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iain789

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You are thinking of the Dornoch Bridge which was opened in 1991. There was a proposal to run the railway across the bridge as well as the road, but this never happened. The far north line loop via Lairg would almost certainly have closed had the rail bridge happened.

A thread on the subject is here http://www.railforums.co.uk/showthread.php?t=52459
 
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route:oxford

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I remember during the Maggie Thatches time in office,road improvements for the A9 were discussed which involved diverting the road straight across an estuary/river.
At the time a further plan was discussed for having a rail bridge along side the new road bridge.
The eventual out come was that the rail bridge did not go ahead and the rail lin ended up going all the way round via the long route which the A9 did not have to do anymore.
Any help or info most wellcome,and thank you in advance.

There were massive improvements made to the A9 whilst the Conservatives were in power.

Dunblane bypass, Blackford bypass, Auchterarder bypass, Cairnie Braes bypass, Perth Bypass - essentially dualling the A9 all the way to Perth, additional improvements like the Pitlochry and Aviemore bypasses - practically the whole road between Dunblane and Inverness was upgraded in one way or another.

Then in 1997 Labour got into power and the Scottish Parliament followed through - and very little changed for almost 20 years.
 

najaB

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You are thinking of the Dornoch Bridge which was opened in 1991. There was a proposal to run the railway across the bridge as well as the road, but this never happened. The far north line loop via Lairg would almost certainly have closed had the rail bridge happened.
Yup, that's the one. There was some talk about running a shuttle from Lairg to Tain (though Lairg to Golspie would be shorter).
 
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Philip Phlopp

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Yup, that's the one. There was some talk about running a shuttle from Lairg to Tain (though Lairg to Golspie would be shorter).

There's a video about this on YouTube, with Roger Ford talking about British Rail's reluctance to get involved.

I believe they would only have had to cover the additional cost of adding a railway line to the bridge, plus their own engineering costs for diverting track, but were really disinterested.
 

iain789

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There is an interesting exchange in Hansard from 1986 regarding the Dornoch Bridge.
http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1986/jun/24/dornoch-firth-crossing

Chris Green was then in charge of Scotrail and he was quoted -
The beginning of the modern proposal for the association of the rail bridge I think could be dated from the announcement of the then manager of British Rail, Scottish region, Mr. Christopher Green, on 17 January 1985, at a press conference held in Inverness following his first meeting with the Highlands Regional Council and the Highlands and Islands Development Board, that this was a proposal that British Rail favoured. In his statement he waxed lyrical about the prospects for the project and said that Sutherland could become a little Switzerland if it went ahead. He warned that if the major opportunity that he described was missed, the hour's difference between road and rail times could prove catastrophic for the line's future.

Mr. Green pointed out that the journey by rail would he 33 per cent. slower than the road journey if the rail bridge was not built. He said that he hoped that, as £300 million was being spent on the A9 between Perth and Wick there would be some investment in the railway. He said that there was a precedent for help from the Scottish Office and that the European Community looked favourably on equal treatment for road and rail.

The exchange seems to follow a familiar pattern of buck passing, with the Scottish Officer minister attempting to pass the blame for lack of funding on to Scotrail, while the original speaker suggested that the problem lay with the government. (and I suppose that at that time all rail infrastructure investment ultimately came from the government). Make of it what you will, it is all history now.
 

infoman

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Thank you to every one who replied.
We have our own similar scenario with the Second Severn crossing
A rail bridge could have been built along side.

A question for the technical guys and gals,would it be possible if one of the road bridges could be turned into a rail/road bridge.

Taking into account weight distribution etc.
 

route:oxford

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Thank you to every one who replied.
We have our own similar scenario with the Second Severn crossing
A rail bridge could have been built along side.

A question for the technical guys and gals,would it be possible if one of the road bridges could be turned into a rail/road bridge.

Taking into account weight distribution etc.

Far better to build the rail link on the top of the Severn Barrage.
 

Bald Rick

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Thank you to every one who replied.
We have our own similar scenario with the Second Severn crossing
A rail bridge could have been built along side.

A question for the technical guys and gals,would it be possible if one of the road bridges could be turned into a rail/road bridge.

Taking into account weight distribution etc.

It's not similar at all. The Dornoch Firth proposal was specifically to enable a significant reduction in journey times by shortening the route to the far north by approx 30 miles IIRC.

The existing Severn tunnel is never further than 800metres from the second Severn crossing as it crosses the river. Any reduction in journey time would be minimal.
 

DelW

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A question for the technical guys and gals,would it be possible if one of the road bridges could be turned into a rail/road bridge.

Taking into account weight distribution etc.

Most of the road traffic uses the newer bridge (SSC), so any shared use would almost certainly have to be over the now much quieter original bridge. However trains and suspension bridges are not a happy combination - suspension bridges need a fairly even load distribution throughout, whereas trains (especially if loco-hauled) are concentrated loads with nothing in front or behind. Someone may find an example, but I can't think of any instance world-wide of a railway crossing a long-span suspension bridge. (I think there are some over cable-stay bridges, but they are an entirely different structural principle). There is also quite a gradient up onto the bridge, not significant for road vehicles but I would guess pretty steep by railway standards.

The connections on the eastern bank would need quite a length of new alignment as well.
 

backontrack

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Yup, that's the one. There was some talk about running a shuttle from Lairg to Tain (though Lairg to Golspie would be shorter).

The Tain route would have served Ardgay and Bonar Bridge, however.

Agree that this should have happened - it's stupid and a shame that the bridge does not exist now.
 
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