Re-coupling - article in The Economist

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IanXC

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The Economist said:
Devolution has played a role in recent re-connections. Many of the new lines are in Scotland, Wales or the big cities, which have control over local transport and can push and finance them. In the English shires no single body oversees the process, says Chris Austin, a rail expert. Greg Clark, the secretary of state for local government, visited Wisbech in March and insisted that money for the line was not dependent on East Anglia accepting devolution. Some locals, wary of having foisted upon them the regional mayor that was a condition of other devolution deals, still worry.

With government money tight, other areas are tapping different sources for the cash to re-open lines. In the south-west, Kilbride, a developer, is putting £11.5m towards a rail link into Plymouth as part of a deal to build 750 new homes at Tavistock.

Britain is not expecting another Dickensian railway boom. Perhaps 700-800 miles of lines closed by Beeching will be restored in total, says Mr Austin. But sometimes small amounts of investment can make a big difference.

http://www.economist.com/news/brita...-were-closed-1960s-are-re-opening-re-coupling

Interesting to see such an article in a publication such as The Economist. Plus they come to a distinctly positive conclusion (as above), what do people think 700-800 miles worth of projects potentially look like?
 
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Xenophon PCDGS

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Is that the same Kilbride who had proposals for that number of houses in the Tavistock area quite some years ago now, with finance for new rail infrastructure for the town as part of the package agreement should approval for the housing scheme be granted.

There was a long-running thread on that matter on this website with many contributors, but I assume it was locked a very long time ago now.
 
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CarltonA

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"Dickensian railway boom"? I suppose they mean Victorian or some such. Dickens was not too keen on the iron road, especially after nearly getting killed in a train crash.
 

yorksrob

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Well,it will be about time if it happens.

Don't count against the dead hand of Westminster Government though.
 

deltic08

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http://www.economist.com/news/brita...-were-closed-1960s-are-re-opening-re-coupling

Interesting to see such an article in a publication such as The Economist. Plus they come to a distinctly positive conclusion (as above), what do people think 700-800 miles worth of projects potentially look like?

If only. 700-800 miles of reinstatement is a huge amount. The 2009 TOC Report Connecting Communities wasn't anywhere near 700 miles. I just hope the 24 miles Harrogate-Ripon-Northallerton reinstatement is near the top of the pile and it happens in my life time.
 

Joseph_Locke

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http://www.economist.com/news/brita...-were-closed-1960s-are-re-opening-re-coupling

Interesting to see such an article in a publication such as The Economist. Plus they come to a distinctly positive conclusion (as above), what do people think 700-800 miles worth of projects potentially look like?

Based on recent schemes, between £4.2bn and £13bn at today's prices, without land and CPO costs :lol:

The big issue with such a proposal is that you can't just put the track back, as the routes have been built on. So you need a new Act / Order for the diversion, and someone will object, and for every year the project sits mired in planning that's another 2.5% on the cost; 10 years is an extra 28%, ...
 

Bald Rick

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Based on recent schemes, between £4.2bn and £13bn at today's prices, without land and CPO costs :lol:

The big issue with such a proposal is that you can't just put the track back, as the routes have been built on. So you need a new Act / Order for the diversion, and someone will object, and for every year the project sits mired in planning that's another 2.5% on the cost; 10 years is an extra 28%, ...

You need an act / order for reopening any line where it is no longer officially a railway, even if it is entirely on railway land.
 

455driver

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Is that the same Kibride who had proposals for that number of houses in the Tavistock area quite some years ago now, with finance for new rail infrastructure for the town as part of the package agreement should approval for the housing scheme be granted.

There was a long-running thread on that matter on this website with many contributors, but I assume it was locked a very long time ago now.

Yes, the amount of work which has taken place on the reinstatement is blindingly slow, I think the houses will be built but as for the railway line, dont hold your breath.
 

Shaw S Hunter

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It's worth remembering even with the current boom in passenger numbers that the national network as a whole loses money and would not exist to its current extent without public financial support. Since some lines are full to bursting it's fair to assume that the lesser used lines are where the significant losses are incurred. There is of course a wider social benefit to retaining such lines which is difficult to quantify. Suffice to say that when considering the possibility of a re-opening these factors must be taken into account. I rather suspect that even with the most optimistic of financial outlooks the re-opening brigade will find that their wish-list will remain largely that, just wishes.
 

yorksrob

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It's worth remembering even with the current boom in passenger numbers that the national network as a whole loses money and would not exist to its current extent without public financial support. Since some lines are full to bursting it's fair to assume that the lesser used lines are where the significant losses are incurred. There is of course a wider social benefit to retaining such lines which is difficult to quantify. Suffice to say that when considering the possibility of a re-opening these factors must be taken into account. I rather suspect that even with the most optimistic of financial outlooks the re-opening brigade will find that their wish-list will remain largely that, just wishes.

Actually, it's worth remembering that some of the lines that are full to bursting are the loss makers due to comparatively short average journey lengths, whereas a rural line with costs properly controlled can perform reasonably well.

Also, where subsidy effectively pays for a greater social benefit, there's no reason to assume that this wouldn't be the case with a reopened line any less than an existing one.

Unfortunately England seems to have more than it's fair share of the "anything but reopening" brigade, and Westminster only seems interested in billion pound projects rather than million pound ones.
 

70014IronDuke

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http://www.economist.com/news/brita...-were-closed-1960s-are-re-opening-re-coupling

Interesting to see such an article in a publication such as The Economist. Plus they come to a distinctly positive conclusion (as above), what do people think 700-800 miles worth of projects potentially look like?

Indeed, it is "interesting".
Well, I assume that's the green light for the Waverley extension to Carlisle, Dumfries to Stranrear, Calvert to Guide Bridge via new bores through Woodhead and there might even be some left over for the S&D to boot.

Louth, anyone?

I suspect the journalist has been reading too many enthusiast forums when relaxing with a beer or two at night.

(Note, no Carmarthen - Aberystwyth is on the list, not even in the fairy land of the Economist.)
 

Shaw S Hunter

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Actually, it's worth remembering that some of the lines that are full to bursting are the loss makers due to comparatively short average journey lengths, whereas a rural line with costs properly controlled can perform reasonably well.

That is almost certainly due to fares being too low. And if low fares are necessary to attract passengers it would probably be cheaper to provide a bus service. Not realistic of course as long as buses are deregulated.

Also, where subsidy effectively pays for a greater social benefit, there's no reason to assume that this wouldn't be the case with a reopened line any less than an existing one.

Very true. As I said, a factor that has to be considered. And also why re-openings sometimes appear to be done "on the cheap"; by minimising capital expenditure it makes on-going operational subsidy easier to justify. It all depends on the existence of a reasonably sized market for rail to tap into. The unknown factor is how much such a market can be stimulated by restoring a rail service: if it proves to be a success the scheme will appear to have been overly unambitious. The joys of hindsight!

Unfortunately England seems to have more than it's fair share of the "anything but reopening" brigade, and Westminster only seems interested in billion pound projects rather than million pound ones.

Not helped by parochial thinking among far too many local authorities.
 

deltic08

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Indeed, it is "interesting".
Well, I assume that's the green light for the Waverley extension to Carlisle, Dumfries to Stranrear, Calvert to Guide Bridge via new bores through Woodhead and there might even be some left over for the S&D to boot.

Louth, anyone?

I suspect the journalist has been reading too many enthusiast forums when relaxing with a beer or two at night.

(Note, no Carmarthen - Aberystwyth is on the list, not even in the fairy land of the Economist.)

As I can't open the link to the Economist article, can I ask if there is a list printed of suggested reinstatements?
 

yorksrob

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That is almost certainly due to fares being too low. And if low fares are necessary to attract passengers it would probably be cheaper to provide a bus service. Not realistic of course as long as buses are deregulated.

I think that in most of these cases, the cheap fares are required to suit the spending power of the clientele. To take West Yorkshire as an example, buses aren't a decent alternative because the roads are already over congested.

I don't have a problem with reopening's being done "on the cheap" so long as they get done.
 

Shaw S Hunter

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Surely the council could still fund a service?

If a rail service is full of passengers travelling at low fares then the lower cost of providing an equivalent bus service should render that bus service profitable. But in a deregulated market councils are in any case somewhat constrained in their ability to fund services if similar services already exist. In this type of situation it would be highly likely that such a service would in fact exist, if not exactly mirroring the rail journey.

I think that in most of these cases, the cheap fares are required to suit the spending power of the clientele. To take West Yorkshire as an example, buses aren't a decent alternative because the roads are already over congested.

Not really; the choice would then be pay the higher fare for the quick journey or the lower fare and travel more slowly. Just like VT vs LM.

I don't have a problem with reopening's being done "on the cheap" so long as they get done.

Agreed! But make sure they'll be well used. Rail economics are much healthier with large volumes.
 
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yorksrob

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Not really; the choice would then be pay the higher fare for the quick journey or the lower fare and travel more slowly. Just like VT vs LM.



Agreed! But make sure they'll be well used. Rail economics are much healthier with large volumes.

Not at all. Reducing congestion is a necessity for cities and their economies which goes beyond what individual motorists are prepared to choose.

Supposing we remove subsidies in an area such as Leeds and put up fares to compensate, resulting in massively increased road congestion. The individual travellers may have made a rational choice to go for the cheaper option, but that still leaves a massive problem for the city and its economy.

Such a choice can't be left to travellers alone, which is why government incentivises them to travel by train.
 

tbtc

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Westminster only seems interested in billion pound projects rather than million pound ones

Funny you should say that, because I think that this is true of the “reinstatement” crowd.

The much hyped Alloa and Ebbw Vale reopening work as straightforward branches, hourly services terminate there – nothing fancy.

But if someone suggests a simple extension from Bere Alston to Tavistock, to provide a shuttle to Plymouth they get the response that “no, we need a double tracked line from Exeter to Plymouth via Okehampton, with direct trains from Waterloo, to act as a diversionary route when Dawlish is closed".

If someone suggests a simple extension from Harrogate to Whitby, to provide a shuttle to Leeds they get the response that “no, we need a double tracked line through to Northallerton to allow 125mph services from Liverpool to Edinburgh to avoid the busy city of York”.

If someone suggests a simple extension from Matlock to Bakewell, to provide a shuttle to Derby/ Nottingham they get the response that “no, we need a double tracked line through Millers Dale to act as a diversionary route between London and Manchester”.

If someone suggests a simple extension from Alloa to Kincardine, to extend the existing Glasgow service they get the response that “no, we need to reinstate the line through Fife to provide a direct service from Glasgow to Levenmouth via Stirling”.

I wouldn’t mind some of these ideas if they could stick to the realms of reality, but some enthusiasts seem obsessed with adding grandiose layers to proposals (e.g. “Skipton to Colne would allow a vital transpennine line from Hull to Liverpool”, apparently), so what could be a “quick win” (60mph, single track, lightweight vehicles like Class 230s) ends up weighed down with requirements to be a double track line capable of taking InterCity services, needing to spend an extra few hundred million to add “resilience” as diversionary capacity instead of putting passengers on coaches for a couple of weekends a year...

If you want to reopen old lines, stick to something simple, like Bristol to Portishead, Morpeth to Blyth, Thornton Junction to Methil (short distance, relatively slow, mainly single track)... forget about these overblown schemes like BML2... stick to the basics.

As a rule of thumb, if your pet scheme needs phrases like “inter-regional-connectivity” and “strategic resilience” then it has a relatively weak case on its own. Alloa and Ebbw Vale should be the benchmark for Keep It Simple, Stupid.

(also worth pointing out that the cost difference between “Tavistock as a simple branch” and “Tavistock as part of a double tracked line with through services from Waterloo to Okehampton” would probably pay for a simple line to Portishead and one to Blyth)
 

70014IronDuke

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As I can't open the link to the Economist article, can I ask if there is a list printed of suggested reinstatements?

I have not seen The Economist piece either. I was just trying to show that 700-800 miles of restored line (and,presumably, it mean route miles, not track miles) is an awful lot of re-opened railway.

Apologies if I misled you.

I think we can safely assume that the piece did not mention the name(s) of any routes it thought likely to succeed, because the OP would have noted those, and it would have led to a long discussion here about the pros and cons of any such named routes versus others left out.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Stafford to Wellington please.

Is that high up on many people's wish list? Is there a lot of potential traffic - or do you mention it because of diversionary value?
 

HarleyDavidson

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Guildford - Cranleigh - Horsham is another that needs to be "revisited" because property developers want to build nearly 4000 homes in the Dunsfold & Cranleigh area over the next few years.

Everyone has said that's ridiculous because the roads can't take the strain now, let alone with an extra 4000 (potentially 2 car households) in the area, so it was said to put the line back, but the Bramley (Surrey) mafioso objected and with a certain SCC councillor (Furey) being anti rail, it's not likely to happen either.

Cranleigh residents want the line back, Bramley don't because they think it will devalue their homes.

The simple fact is that you can't just add 4000 homes to an area and do nothing about the transport infrastructure, the line could be reinstated using a levy against the property developers it was suggested 10-15% on profits which being Surrey would be substantial (estimated to be over £1bn!) which would easily pay for the line at minimal or no cost to the taxpayer and bring back much needed links to London, Crawley, Gatwick Airport & South Coast.

However SCC and a local council have put a rather inane & downright stupid idea to build a guided busway between Shalford & Cranleigh using the formation for (wait for it!) around £25m!

The idea needless to say was laughed out of sight at and several people made the point that they should look at the costs of construction of such stupid things at locations like Luton - Dunstable, Cambridge & Crawley amongst others which have suffered badly from high initial construction charges, cost overruns & high maintenance charges.

So what will happen? Who knows, but unless they bring back the railway into Cranleigh I think they may have serious problems with traffic in the future.
 

Bald Rick

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Typical rule of thumb is that a Section 106 contribution of £1000 - £2000 per new property can go to transport schemes, you can push it further in specific circumstances. But the local authority have to be very pushy. There's a lot of other infrastructure to build as well; water, sewage, electricity, health, education, leisure etc.

The best way to get it is to persuade the developer that his (or her) new development would be worth £xmillion more with a rail link than without, and get them to develop and pay for it up front. They will want guarantees about train service though, and I think that is unlikely in this instance.
 

Shaw S Hunter

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Not at all. Reducing congestion is a necessity for cities and their economies which goes beyond what individual motorists are prepared to choose.

But congestion doesn't stop people using their cars, they just complain more about the costs. Central London congestion was only eased by introducing the Congestion Charge, Greater Manchester voters rejected the chance to have a similar scheme. Leeds is widely recognised to have the worst traffic congestion of any provincial city in spite of the current fares regime.

Supposing we remove subsidies in an area such as Leeds and put up fares to compensate, resulting in massively increased road congestion. The individual travellers may have made a rational choice to go for the cheaper option, but that still leaves a massive problem for the city and its economy.

The real issue is therefore one of capacity or the lack of it. This forum once had postings from a member called Old Timer who regularly reminded us that over the long term our railways received far more investment from Conservative governments than Labour ones. And no-one was able to argue this point because, however surprising, it's true. Unfortunately the view of Labour run PTEs has generally been to keep fares low; this may generate volume of passengers but doesn't produce the revenue for investment needed for improvements. Hence northern cities have been over-reliant on central funding for transport. And such funding is not often targeted at purely local schemes. In the end this whole discussion serves to highlight the difference in spending priorities either side of the political divide. One prefers investment in large schemes maximising the social benefit, the other takes a populist view of rewarding voters with cheap fares.

Such a choice can't be left to travellers alone, which is why government incentivises them to travel by train.

But central government doesn't, the policy is to increase the proportion of railway costs to be met from the farebox. Again, the difference in ideology.
 

deltic08

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(Note, no Carmarthen - Aberystwyth is on the list, not even in the fairy land of the Economist.)

This bit confused me as you seemed to know something positive about a list.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
If someone suggests a simple extension from Harrogate to Whitby, to provide a shuttle to Leeds they get the response that “no, we need a double tracked line through to Northallerton to allow 125mph services from Liverpool to Edinburgh to avoid the busy city of York”.

Rumour, misquotations and absolute bo***cks again to confuse the issue.

Nobody, just nobody connected with reinstating the Harrogate-Northallerton line has mentioned Whitby as an ultimate destination as that has never been an aim. Where did that one come from?

In the draft TPEx post electrification timetable two trains an hour are planned from Liverpool to Newcastle. It was suggested that one could travel via Harrogate as the planned East Leeds Parkway shuttle will mop up any spare paths between Leeds and Micklefield for two according to Network Rail.

The original trackbed north of Ripon has been returned to agriculture. A new route will need building and it could be an almost straight route for 13 miles as the land is flat with very few buildings. As it would be a diversion route for York-Northallerton in an emergency or planned engineering, it would be prudent to build as a 125mph railway for class 800/220 trains and now possible 125mph TPEx units running via Harrogate.

Diverting one TPEx train per hour via Harrogate makes reinstatement more viable as a train is already rostered to run between Liverpool and Newcastle, now extended to Edinburgh, so provision of stock is not an added cost for the introduction of a service with similar journey times. This raises the BCR for the project making it more feasible.

By reinstating Harrogate-Wetherby-Church Fenton also, much freight can divert between Northallerton and Doncaster. In 2010, Network rail wanted to remove 25 daytime freight trains from the ECML through York post 2016 to allow more passenger paths. This would reduce congestion from all three junctions around York and the congested twin track York-Doncaster line particularly south of Hambleton Junction.

I hope this has clarified the situation for the open minded on here.
 
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In 2010, Network rail wanted to remove 25 daytime freight trains from the ECML through York post 2016 to allow more passenger paths. This would reduce congestion from all three junctions around York and the congested twin track York-Doncaster line particularly south of Hambleton Junction.

How many of those freights were coal trains?
 

AndrewE

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Not at all. Reducing congestion is a necessity for cities and their economies which goes beyond what individual motorists are prepared to choose.

Supposing we remove subsidies... and put up fares to compensate, resulting in massively increased road congestion. The individual travellers may have made a rational choice to go for the cheaper option, but that still leaves a massive problem for the city and its economy.
And a respiratory/circulatory system health problem for the people who suffer the pollution from the road traffic (not usually those using the cars, note.)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-36139049:
The report from the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee said emissions had been declining significantly but there were 40-50,000 early deaths each year in the UK because of cardiac, respiratory and other diseases linked to air pollution.
Local authorities, in whatever form. now have a public health remit... I wonder how long it will be before they recognise the link between the two and do anything about it (if ever?)
Bring back the trolleybus (seeing as how we in the UK are too inept to install trams nowadays!)
 

absolutelymilk

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As I can't open the link to the Economist article, can I ask if there is a list printed of suggested reinstatements?

Wisbech is the only place mentioned where a connection back to the rail network is suggested. (apart from the ongoing East-West rail link)

There isn't a list of suggested reinstatements as such.
 
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