Most effort/work spent on a railway project that ultimately never happened?

6Gman

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Small scale, but ...

Back in the early 1980s a chap suddenly appeared in our office (Freight Short Term Planning) to occupy a spare desk in one corner. Each morning we would nod as he came in, and nod again as he left. Never learnt his name; we called him "Man with a Suitcase", because he brought one to work each week.

Rumour was that he was a senior manager who had disgraced himself in some way and had been shifted from his role to "a special project" which - extraordinarily - was a scheme to speed up the Midland Main Line by using 2x Class 45 on each train ! o_O

He spent weeks and weeks on a project which - I suspect - was never, ever meant to work. (Just imagine fitting a rake of carriages plus FOUR Peaks in St Pancras!) I assume it was simply a way of getting him away from wherever/ whatever had gone awry. Today, presumably, gardening leave would have been employed.
 
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Bikeman78

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Redhill-Tonbridge was a particularly choice example: electrified for Channel Tunnel traffic (presumably to enable Class 92s to use it), yet not immunised so 92s couldn't actually use it.
At least it's useful for passenger trains. Had it not been done for the Channel Tunnel, I guess it would still be a diesel island to this day like the Uckfield line.
 

Gloster

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The Boddam Branch, associated Cruden Bay Hotel and the Electric Tramway between the two?
The line did open, as did the hotel and tramway. They may have been late arrivals on and early departures from the scene, but they still had a lifespan measured in decades, albeit a low number of them.
 

bramling

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At least it's useful for passenger trains. Had it not been done for the Channel Tunnel, I guess it would still be a diesel island to this day like the Uckfield line.

ISTR the electrification on that route is a little over-specified for what runs along there. There are certainly a lot of substations and TP huts compared to some other electrification schemes carried out around the same time.
 

317666

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I think there were various Victorian era schemes where work got started but then was never completed. sometimes it seems to prevent the incursion of a different competing railway into a certain geographical territory IIRC.

There is a tendency for us to recall schemes within living memory but I bet plenty have faded from common knowledge.

Whilst it's not a project which never happened at all, you've reminded me of the Newmarket & Chesterford Railway. It opened in 1848, and the section between Chesterford and Six Mile Bottom closed permanently in 1851, one of the first line closures in British history. To top it all off, one of the stations on the section in question had only been relocated the previous year!
 

zwk500

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Whereabouts was the Crewe lounge back then?

Post #6 suggests it's still in use as a lounge (or was in 2018 when that thread ran).
 

Journeyman

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I love this! It's extremely easy to sit on the outside and see what the easy solutions are. Delivering them is quite another thing!
True. It's only by asking brave questions and trying new things out that anything progresses. The APT may not have worked as intended, but a lot of the research on it went into designing the Class 91s and Mark 4s, and they were very successful. Also, the HST was a spin-off from the APT project. The rest is, as they say, history.

It's easy to mock the more out-there things like the Leader, but serious thought went into it, and how steam's limitations and problems could be resolved. Bulleid recognised that diesel was an expensive import, but Britain had plenty of cheap coal. It was just too many radical and untried ideas all at once, and the wrong approach to the issues of the day.
 

Ianno87

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ISTR the electrification on that route is a little over-specified for what runs along there. There are certainly a lot of substations and TP huts compared to some other electrification schemes carried out around the same time.

Can't be that highly specified - I think 4 car trains are the limit on it (limited by power supply)
 

CBlue

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I would have said the Channel Tunnel, over the last 219 years (first proposed in 1802) how many attempts and how many lives were lost with all the 'false starts' ?

Still a bit of a white elephant as far as I'm personally concerned though, I have used it both from Waterloo when it was first opened, and also taken the car through from Folkestone, but to get to Paris it's much cheaper & hours quicker to drive to Birmingham Airport & fly.
By that same logic, the Caledonian Sleeper and it's upgrade to Mk5 / Class 92 stock.

A heavily subsided operation that will never pay for itself, with plenty of faster and cheaper options available.

Admittedly a little off topic as it's a project that was completed.
 
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Snow1964

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The Channel Tunnel scheme in the early 1970s. Some tunnelling took place on the British side (which from memory was used to some extent for the 1990s scheme). The Wilson Government cancelled the scheme because of the cost of, and backlash to, the proposed new line from London to the tunnel.

The tunnel got reused, it gave the current project about mile head start on service tunnel. The access adit and beachside platform were also used. However the unused tunnel segments were dumped in the sea as service tunnel was built to slightly different diameter.
 

Horizon22

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The whole of the Northern Heights project (of which Bushey was a part) was written off.

Earthworks between Drayton Pk and Finsbury Pk, the extension of FP station, the start of electrification of the Alexandra Palace branch, Finchley HL station, the earthworks at Brockley Hill, the list goes on..

Was this not at least partly due to the sudden expansion of the Metropolitan Green Belt?
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Whereabouts was the Crewe lounge back then?

At Crewe, the "International Lounge" was on P5, roughly under the main bridge deck near the lifts.
The signage pointing to it on the south footbridge was there for maybe a decade before it was removed (as was the "Eurostar habite ici" sign on the Longsight depot).
I'm not sure the lounge was ever in public use, I think it was absorbed into the Virgin/Avanti staff/training centre facilities.
 
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A0wen

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Was this not at least partly due to the sudden expansion of the Metropolitan Green Belt?

That certainly killed the viability after the war of the extension beyond Edgware to Bushey. However, you could make a reasonable case that the rest of it south of Edgware - so Mill Hill East - Edgware electrification, Alexandra Palace - Finchley - Finsbury Park and onto the Northern City Line might have still been viable.

Another one which was stopped due the expansion of the Green Belt was Ruislip - Denham on the Central Line.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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A smaller abortive project was the GWR branch into Birmingham Curzon St at Deritend.
The LNWR forced them to build it in the original Act, but then relented when New St station was authorised, meaning Curzon St would close to passengers.
It was never fully completed or used, except for wagon storage.
Today, of course, Curzon St is once more a hive of activity for HS2.

Another abortive line was the Manchester & Milford branch south of Llanidloes, where it left the Cambrian.
The line was completed as far as Llangurig (about 5 miles), but after one goods train ran, the whole project was abandoned.
The track bed is still easily visible in places, and strategically it links the Severn and Wye valleys close to their source on Pumlumon/Plynlimon.
 

CEN60

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Where was it? There was a lounge at Crewe as well.
Just to the left of the escalators to the low level platforms - there is now a gateline there (it was removed when the gates went back up at Central). There were similar plans drawn up for Edinburgh Waverley but it was never constructed!
 

davetheguard

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Tram systems in Liverpool, South Hants, & Leeds. All cancelled by Darling Darling after, I believe, about £300 million spent.

Going back to the '30's, the Southern Railway started work to extend the then newly-opened Chessington South branch on to Leatherhead.
 

Stephen1001

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Southern Railway built a station at Lullingstone (between Swanley and Eynsford). Even appeared in summer 1939 timetable. Never opened and the housing never happened as it became green belt
Was about to mention this - it was planned as a four-platform junction station to serve a branch to a new airport, which was cancelled due to the war and never revived. The "main line" platforms were still visible when I last travelled over the line.
 

Taunton

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Small scale, but ...

Back in the early 1980s a chap suddenly appeared in our office (Freight Short Term Planning) to occupy a spare desk in one corner. Each morning we would nod as he came in, and nod again as he left. Never learnt his name; we called him "Man with a Suitcase", because he brought one to work each week.

Rumour was that he was a senior manager who had disgraced himself in some way and had been shifted from his role to "a special project"
For those far too young to recall, a play on the 1960s-70s ITV television series of past times "Man in a Suitcase", about a disgraced espionage agent trying to clear his name.

The very opening shot of the first episode is of a BR 4-car dmu at Denham Golf Club station, nearest to Pinewood studios. Here on YouTube?

Man in a Suitcase (Intro) S1 (1967) - YouTube
 
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Snow1964

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I have read in a book that as part of the agreement for dual gauge tracks from Dorchester to Weymouth, they had to add them same distance (about 7 miles) east from Dorchester.

So pointlessly had broad gauge to middle of some Dorset heathland.
 

zwk500

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I have read in a book that as part of the agreement for dual gauge tracks from Dorchester to Weymouth, they had to add them same distance (about 7 miles) east from Dorchester.

So pointlessly had broad gauge to middle of some Dorset heathland.
Did they actually lay them or just agree to do so if/when required?
 

Journeyman

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Was about to mention this - it was planned as a four-platform junction station to serve a branch to a new airport, which was cancelled due to the war and never revived. The "main line" platforms were still visible when I last travelled over the line.
Yep, still quite prominent in the middle of a field!
 

Highlandspring

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He spent weeks and weeks on a project which - I suspect - was never, ever meant to work. (Just imagine fitting a rake of carriages plus FOUR Peaks in St Pancras!) I assume it was simply a way of getting him away from wherever/ whatever had gone awry. Today, presumably, gardening leave would have been employed.
I had a wry smile at this because Network Rail still shunts naughty managers, typically after they’ve had a disastrous audit, off to invented ‘Program Manager’ roles to plan ill defined imaginary schemes that will never happen or be put in charge of the spreadsheet showing how many pairs of boots have been ordered.
 

WesternLancer

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One of the biggest I can think of was the Midland Railway's plans to reach the Settle Carlisle by going via Bradford instead of Leeds. Plans were fully drawn up for a line from Royston Jn, north of Barnsley via Dewsbury and the Spen Valley and the still yet to be realised through station at Bradford, purchasing the required land from around 1900, not an inexpensive act along much of the already developed route, and in Bradford especially. The Midland got as far as building the quite heavily engineered route, to full main line standards, including tunnels, viaducts and I think two flying junctions, to a goods station in Dewsbury (opened 1906) before the L&Y granted the MR running powers over it's various lines. I believe the line from the Middlestown flying junction to Dewsbury was mostly operated as a single line for much if it's short life (closed 1950) with the other (I think down line) relegated to being one very long siding. Gradually the land was sold back over the years and the grand plan via Bradford was gradually forgotten. Must have been an extraordinarily expensive way to build an unneeded branch to a goods station. The large warehouse, indicating the scale of the plans, at Dewsbury still exists though, opposite the Royal Mail depot.
Remarkable - I was never aware of this plan, although I can see their logic in drawing up the idea when looking at a map. That does go to show the scale and ambition of these companies pre c1914 - and of course the money they must have had at their disposal, as well as the potential profits they foresaw as being available during that era from such investments. I suppose UK was one of if not the wealthiest country in the world at the time (or saw itself as being).

Would that warehouse that be the large brick built (with modern cladding on roof) Bibby Turboflex brick built building on Cannon Way WF13 1FF that I can see on google streetview?
 

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