Mid Hants Railway Butts Bridge line possession

Discussion in 'Railtours & Preservation' started by Engineer, 24 Oct 2018.

  1. Engineer

    Engineer Member

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    Following a great Watercress Line Steam Gala last weekend, I noticed the Ropley stock siding being extended, presumably to allow overnight carriage rake stabling overnight during the January to July Alton line possession. The spoil is being dumped near the disused Butts Junction, to the former Fareham and Basingstoke lines. People were amazed how thin the top soil is, viewed against the new Ropley wider white chalk cutting. Butts Bridge at Alton over the A339, is being replaced by outside contractors next year, meaning trains running from Alresford terminate at Four Marks. Will fares be reduced during the shorter line usage?
     
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  3. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    I can’t see any information about the timetable or fares for next year.
    Not sure how it will work. Obviously the railway will lose some custom during the blockade, but I think they’ve done quite well out of the deal financially overall.
     
  4. Bedpan

    Bedpan Established Member

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    The 2019 timetable is now on their website. It looks like the line will be severed until at least the end of July. looking at the area where the soil has been dumped, in the neck of the old Butts junction, it would make a marvellous space for a small goods yard.
     
  5. Engineer

    Engineer Member

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    Predictably the Butts Bridge line possession was not handed back end July. The Contractor allegedly had foundation issues and now promising to finish late Summer. I guess this will mean increased ticket charges when re opened to Alton, hopefully before Autumn, as pricing has been the same for many years. The Mid Hants is in my opinion a very well run line, with a good engine policy to protect future operations. The reverse osmosis, water softening system at Ropley is impressive.
     
  6. Bedpan

    Bedpan Established Member

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    I do know that there is a provision for lost income in their agreement with the contractors, so at least there is some protection in that regard. As expected, passenger numbers are down so far this year. It will be interesting to see what happens when the line reopens; whether there will be a surge in passenger numbers or whether the recovery will be more slow.
     
  7. Enthusiast

    Enthusiast Member

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    Stopped off in Alton last Friday for refreshments on my way back from the West Country. Spoke to a couple of bods I know who seem to have their ears to the ground and they told me that the contractors have no idea whatsoever when they are likely to hand back the line. Apparently there have been serious issues with the bridge re-build and some estimates suggest Christmas is a bit optimistic!
     
  8. ajs

    ajs Member

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    Local TV news tonight suggested that the work will not be completed until November. This could have an impact on their October Gala and a continued impact on their other services.
     
  9. UP13

    UP13 Member

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    I'm sure they'll be compensated.
     
  10. Justapunter

    Justapunter Member

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    It must be battering their revenues. Especially the rat trains.

    By the way, if they are usual NR contractors, did they say which Christmas ? (Joke...before the report button starts...)
     
  11. Enthusiast

    Enthusiast Member

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    I read in (I think) this month's Railway Magazine that the railway was being adequately compensated for the disturbance.
     
  12. ajs

    ajs Member

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    Their web site states that they are having to delay the AGM until later in the year as they are waiting for one final number to slot in. I wonder if this is the compensation figure for loss revenue.
     
  13. AndyB28

    AndyB28 Member

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    Any word on progress with construction? I had a quick look for photographs on-line but the latest examples I could find were all of the demolition work, nothing later.
    Many thanks.
     
  14. Engineer

    Engineer Member

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    Latest promise was End Oct to end the bridge possession. Permanent Way Gang have work to do, so early November Alton service return is optimistic. Luckily the Santa Specials terminate at Four Marks, so are not affected. I believe the delay will impact the Autumn Steam Gala running line length, 18th to 20th October. RAT evening trains have still been sold out in August..
     
  15. AndyB28

    AndyB28 Member

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    Many thanks for the update. Good to know that a return to normal isn't too far off.
     
  16. ajs

    ajs Member

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    The Mid Hants have just released the timetable for their Autumn Steam Gala on the 18 to 20 October 2019. They will only be running trains as far as Medstead & Four Marks. They are using their home Steam fleet plus the Class 20.

    They are also advertising for a new General Manager, get your applications in.
     
  17. Engineer

    Engineer Member

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    The Butts lane Bridge in Alton is still under contractor possession. The latest information rumour for the re opening of trains from Medstead Four Marks to Alton, is now mid February 2020. The good news is that MHR will be running a special event in February, to commemorate the full line length Alresford to Alton re opening, details to be confirmed after a track maintenance schedule is planned.
     
  18. Dunfanaghy Rd

    Dunfanaghy Rd Member

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    Local paper report:
    http://www.altonherald.com/article....end this year?&sectionIs=news&searchyear=2019

    "WORK to replace Butts Bridge has once again been delayed with some residents now wondering whether it will be done by Christmas.
    Knights Brown, the firm behind the development, had previously scheduled July as the finishing date.
    But a number of complications has seen the project delayed several times.
    In its latest update statement, the company said the bridge is “now broadly complete” with landscaping, fencing and brickwork left to do.
    However, when excavating the roundabout they “uncovered a number of uncharted services and discrepancies”. As such there have been some “design changes”.
    This has “inevitably” had “a knock-on effect”, meaning the new target date is the week of December 16.
    Knights Brown said it knows residents “will be disappointed” adding it is “sorry for the continued inconvenience”."

    With winter weather, and the usual 2 week construction shut down at Christmas I reckon that they are losing the battle against the clock, frankly.


    Meanwhile, further down the line, some sad news:
    http://www.altonherald.com/article....ng from bridge&sectionIs=news&searchyear=2019

    "A MAN died this morning after falling from Boyneswood Road bridge.
    Police said they are not treating the incident as suspicious.
    A Hampshire Constabulary spokesman told the Herald: “We were called at 6.45am today following reports of a man who fell from a bridge onto the railway tracks below, at Four Marks.
    “The man, who is in his 30s, was pronounced dead at the scene.
    “His next of kin have been informed.
    “At this stage, the death is not being treated as suspicious and a file is being prepared for the coroner".”

    Pat
     
  19. Justapunter

    Justapunter Member

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    Of course it's late. And no doubt it costs a lot more. I just hope that the MHR has paid a competent lawyer to ensure that their compensation agreement has an appropriate liquidated damages clause and that the person they can recover from stays solvent long enough to pay it !

    We usually do two RAT trains a year (around 16 people in total and spend freely on them...), but we've just gone, "there's no way I am faffing with buses when I have a full bladder...." - it's a shame because they are going to have to work really hard to rebuild that business if it is closed for so so long....
     
  20. packermac

    packermac Member

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    Liquidated Damages, if they exist would have been based on a predetermined amount calculated against the original completion date. I spent many years writing LD clauses into contracts and to my memory I only ever managed to successfully recover money using the clause once. Any money will help the MHR of course, but I suspect there will also be a Force Majeure clause and even from the latest article I can see grounds for an attempt in exercising that by the contractor.
    I am sure it will have hurt the MHR financially, apart from the autumn gala I have not visited at all this year as the timetable gave so much waiting around at each end it was an unattractive day out to me. Yet apart from my local heritage line 300 yards away it is my nearest one to visit.
     
  21. Justapunter

    Justapunter Member

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    I've managed to use LD to make contractors to JFDI (not a railway acronym...!). Usually because I have a large retention until the end. The prove with FM clauses is that once they start work, it allows them to walk way, not to finish the job. Which they would have to do. Presumably. Either way, I really hope the MHR doesn't suffer too much - dealing with development and contractors tends to be a lot less straightforward and 'honest' than what they do day to day. So I really hope they haven't got stiffed by a wily developer.
     
  22. Ploughman

    Ploughman Established Member

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    A translation would be good.
    I assume FM = Force Majeur.
     
  23. Merle Haggard

    Merle Haggard Member

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    On the contrary, it WAS a railway acronym - at least at one RHQ I worked at.
    However, unlike the other the other short words at the and of a STRAD (REDE, WALNUT, etc.) it wasn't to be found in the Telegraphs Codes booklet...
     
  24. packermac

    packermac Member

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    I would assume that the contract is not probably actually not directly with the MHR as it appears to include roadwork's as well. Without knowing the probably commercially sensitive details difficult to know who if anybody they would be claiming from.
     

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