Proposal to convert the Abbey Line to a busway

Discussion in 'Infrastructure & Stations' started by jopsuk, 3 Dec 2018.

  1. jopsuk

    jopsuk Veteran Member

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    Buried deep within the A414 Corridor Strategy Document, which can be found here

    Having made it clear that by "Mass Rapid Transit" they mean "Bus Rapid Transit" (via buslanes and possibly bus guideways), page 126 has this bit
    (bold emphasis mine)

    This isn't exactly a firm commitment to rip up the rails, but is certainly interesting to see in an official County Council transport strategy.

    Is it worth it for higher frequencies and through connectivity?
     
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  3. pdeaves

    pdeaves Established Member

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    This idea seems to pop up more often than a jack-in-a-box.
     
  4. Meole

    Meole Member

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    45 min frequency in a heavily urbanised area, low demand, busway may well be a better and more flexible use of the linear route attracting more traffic and reducing car use.
     
  5. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    I think HCC just cuts and pastes this every few years. The idea will die as soon as the council is asked to put any money down!
     
  6. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    This idea was previously a tram of some description.

    Interesting to see that its now been downgraded to a crummy guided busway.

    Just pay for a passing loop and have done with it.
     
  7. A0wen

    A0wen Established Member

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    Problem is the Abbey Line doesn't really serve a useful purpose. At each end the stations are away from their respective centres. St Albans to London commuter traffic is far better served from St Albans City and people travelling from further afield ie Hatfield, Welwyn or Hertford don't want or need to go via St Albans to get to Watford and beyond.
     
  8. DPWH

    DPWH Member

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    So why not close it?
     
  9. Xenophon PCDGS

    Xenophon PCDGS Veteran Member

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    Have you ever used the Leigh Guided Busway in Greater Manchester that has modern double-deck buses? The passenger usage on there since inception has lived well up to expectations.
     
  10. Antman

    Antman Established Member

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    Why on earth would you want to close it?

    Clearly an extension to the respective town centres at each end would be beneficial and this can only be achieved by conversion to light rail or a busway.
     
  11. jopsuk

    jopsuk Veteran Member

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    Anyway, now is the time to break out the crayons to scrawl my plan for a light rail based mass rapid transit from Rickmansworth to Broxbourne incorporating the Metropolitan's Watford Branch, the Abbey Line, the route of the Hatfield & St Albans Railway, the route of the Hertford & Welwyn Junction Railway and the Hertford East branch, with oh so many deeply expensive tunnels and branches to Hemel Hempsted and Harlow.
     
  12. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    So how much will clearing existing infrastructure and laying 6 miles of concrete cost compared to a Penryn style passing loop at Bricket Wood cost?
     
  13. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    Any undermining of the Alban Way's current status would get very stiff resistance. Far more cost effective to improve the routes 300/1, 320, 724, 341/641, 610 etc., with appropriate priority established at junctions. Maybe make some more services (additional to the 724), express.
     
  14. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    Not surprising that Leigh residents, (from the largest town without a railyway at all) took to an improved bus service, - probably most of them transferring from a degraded street bus service. There wasn't of course a working railway to dismantle there.
     
  15. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    I did consider using it due to the never ending disruption on the railway this year, but given that it seemed to take an hour to get from Atherton to Manchester, I ended up getting a taxi to Wigan and getting the train from there instead.
     
  16. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    The fundamental issue with that busway is that it only goes half way to Manchester. The Cambridge one (much as it has a lovely rural branchline feel about it, and it offers a far superior service than the hourly Class 153 it'd have been as a railway) has a similar issue.
     
  17. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    HS2 cost savings by using buses instead anyone?
     
  18. Xenophon PCDGS

    Xenophon PCDGS Veteran Member

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    The Leigh Guided Busway as such was built on the line of the railway from Leigh to Ellenbrook (both station areas on the now-defunct Tyldesley loop line) but from Ellenbrook it uses the major East Lancashire Road (where a large Park and Ride facility was installed at the M60 link) and from there, long road stretches now have special bus lanes to aid the service provision. Now that the Manchester terminus is extended to the very large multi-million pound Manchester Royal Infirmary complex, these buses serve both the large university campus sites of both Salford University and Manchester University as well as city core areas of Manchester.
     
  19. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    They do, but they are still too slow because they still don't have fully dedicated infrastructure all the way in.

    They are certainly better than a conventional bus (or indeed "nothing") but not better than a railway.
     
  20. Xenophon PCDGS

    Xenophon PCDGS Veteran Member

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    Years and years had elapsed since the closure of that railway line which I had used in my early youthful days and nothing whatsoever had been done to reinstate it. Being in the "Land of the TfGM Empire" (as I choose to call it, living as I do outside the area clutches of that body) one might well have seen another arm of the Manchester Metrolink system, but the powers-that-be made the decision to install the Guided Busway at that time.
     
  21. Mutant Lemming

    Mutant Lemming Established Member

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    The advantage of any bus over the branch would be in taking you to and from the respective town centres. All that would happen with the busway is that the bus would be taken away from areas (like Chiswell Green) not served by the train only for the bus to still end up being stuck in congested traffic in Watford and St.Peter's Street, St.Albans

    The original passing loop at Bricket Wood featured at the closing scenes of Night of the Demon


     
  22. trebor79

    trebor79 Established Member

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    I don't understand what the attraction of a guided busway is. Taking the Cambridgeshire one as an example, there were massive cost and time over runs due to problems with the construction.
    Why not just build it as a conventional road, access controlled so only buses can use it (the busway has "car catchers" installed in any case).
    What real benefit does a guideway provide over a dedicated road, which must surely be cheaper and quicker to construct?
     
  23. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    It can be narrower than a conventional road. Other than that, not really any advantage. You can control car access by putting cameras at the access points so everyone who drives a private vehicle onto it gets fined - far less disruption than them going into "car traps" and needing recovery, and at say £100 a time it's a nice source of income if people still do it even having been warned.
     
  24. XDM

    XDM Member

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    Another option for the St Albans Abbey line would be to use it as a test bed for really modern railway operation.
    Convert it to Docklands light railway type operation ( high quality fencing required.)
    Turnround at at each end could be reduced as per DLR to less than a minute & you could operate a 30 min service.
    The technology is there & well proven over 35 years in east London so there is no risk.
    Probably cheaper than even a simple loop at Bricketts Wood & far less costly than a busway with those ridiculous concrete foundations.

    Either use the DLR units which will soon be replaced or, bette, convert three existing EMUs to DLR control & get a decent ride at good speeds.

    Plenty of space to keep the running unit & the spares at Watford.
     
  25. TheGrew

    TheGrew Member

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    How about building a bridge over the WCML from Watford High Street over to Watford North (I think their is sufficient space to build a flyover) and extending some of the Watford DC services up to St Albans Abbey to get the frequency right the passing loop should be reinstated.
     
  26. Railwaysceptic

    Railwaysceptic Member

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    Very, very expensive . . . and how many people would use it?
     
  27. PeterC

    PeterC Established Member

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    The busway idea is tempting as it will take travellers into the town centres at both ends. The down side is that it is the last mile at each end is where there is serious congestion.
     
  28. gallafent

    gallafent Member

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    I for one welcome our sentient 400km/h autonomous bus overlords.
     
  29. gallafent

    gallafent Member

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    … better in some ways, in my (very limited) experience (of the Luton–Dunstable one), namely that they don't get stuck in traffic, on the guided bit. Clearly the fact that the bus's direction is controlled mechanically rather than by a human in “free space” (and that the busway doesn't have any other traffic, including pedestrians or cyclists, on it) is a safety improvement too, but I can't think of many other advantages.

    Mine did then get stuck in traffic as soon as it went back on to “normal” roads, to the extent that I missed the train I was planning to change on to. Furthermore, the ride quality on the guided busway bit was absolutely abysmal, far worse than in the same bus on the normal road sections. If I find myself living back in that part of the world in future I won't be using it again, instead driving or cycling. It's a real shame that the Thameslink extension (along the then still-extant railway) to Dunstable never happened.
     
  30. furnessvale

    furnessvale Established Member

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    Shades of the proposal to convert Marylebone into a coach station years ago.

    Unguided coaches passing through the tunnels at a closing speed of 140mph with 18 inches between them!
     
  31. cle

    cle Established Member

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    A lot of the major employment centres in Watford are closer to the Junction. Not everything revolves around the Harlequin...

    Not to mention the connections both north and south - which with HS2 will bounce back to the WCML railhead it used to be. Shame about the Met - but even still, it's a future hub. Usage has increased massively.
     

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