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Severn (rail) Tunnel Closure September/October 2016

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Envoy

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The Severn Tunnel is going to be closed for 6 weeks during September & October, 2016. Now, it so happens, that the section of M4 around Newport often gets jammed up. Yesterday, a lorry broke down on the east side of Newport (M4) and this led to tailbacks all the way to Cardiff. At busy times, the 2 lane each way tunnel at Newport cannot cope with the flow of traffic. Often, tailbacks of westbound traffic nearly reach the Severn Bridge tollbooths. Meanwhile, the Welsh Government dilly & dally and simply do not get on and build a south of Newport M4 with 3 lanes each way. (Some politicians even want a 2 lane new M4 built through south Newport even though it is the 2 lane tunnel that is unable to cope)!

I just hope that the alternative bus service drivers will be aware that they should not use J25a during busy periods in order to reach Newport station. They would surely be better off using J24 and the B4237.

This link should show a map of the Newport area and the colours will indicate the traffic flows (at the time you actually click the link):> https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.5850954,-2.8938647,13z/data=!5m1!1e1
 
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sammyg901

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Flybe are operating a three times daily flight from Cardiff to London City for the duration - prices suggest at least the morning flights from Cardiff are loading OK!
 

mr_moo

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Long distance trains are still running though, albeit via a longer route. This is (partly) why the line between Swindon and Gloucester was re-doubled a while back.
London - Wales trains will turn right at Swindon and left at Gloucester and then carry on into Wales as normal and vice-versa.
There will be some buses for the local trains though.
 

HowardGWR

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Some politicians even want a 2 lane new M4 built through south Newport even though it is the 2 lane tunnel that is unable to cope!

So that's a four lane motorway around Newport! I like the Prof's southern scheme as it does the job and saves most of the nature areas. The Inquiry will sort that out I am sure.
 

61653 HTAFC

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I assume the works on the M48 (old Severn bridge) will be finished by then? Not that that will help with the M4 tunnels of course.
 

Envoy

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So that's a four lane motorway around Newport! I like the Prof's southern scheme as it does the job and saves most of the nature areas. The Inquiry will sort that out I am sure.

By “Prof” I presume you mean Professor Stuart Cole who is in favour of the cheapskate scheme of ‘doing up’ the Newport southern distributor road. The trouble with that is that this route is already overloaded with local traffic and runs very near to people’s homes. The Black Route = a 3 lanes each way motorway > is the one to go for in my opinion. Anything else and it will be millions spent to not solve the problem.

Regarding the so called ‘nature areas’; this is not a natural habitat area but drained farmlands with reens . Furthermore, a good proportion of the Black Route would run through brownfield land in south Newport’s docklands.

Should the new motorway be built, it has been suggested that the present M4 around Newport would be downgraded to an ‘A’ road. I don’t think that that would be a good idea as this route would be an alternative should a new M4 get blocked. Furthermore, the present route is also the shortest route between Cardiff & the Midlands (& points north) as it links with the A449/A40 & M50. Therefore, it will always be a strategic long distance highway as well as catering the shorter, local hops.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I assume the works on the M48 (old Severn bridge) will be finished by then? Not that that will help with the M4 tunnels of course.

Goodness knows if work on the M48 bridge will be finished by the time of the Severn Tunnel closure. What is certain is that the Welsh Government have authorised night time work to take place on the Newport tunnel at the same time as the Severn Tunnel is closed. (It will mean that only one bore of the tunnel is open at night).
 

Flamingo

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The Severn Tunnel is going to be closed for 6 weeks during September & October, 2016. Now, it so happens, that the section of M4 around Newport often gets jammed up. Yesterday, a lorry broke down on the east side of Newport (M4) and this led to tailbacks all the way to Cardiff. At busy times, the 2 lane each way tunnel at Newport cannot cope with the flow of traffic. Often, tailbacks of westbound traffic nearly reach the Severn Bridge tollbooths. Meanwhile, the Welsh Government dilly & dally and simply do not get on and build a south of Newport M4 with 3 lanes each way. (Some politicians even want a 2 lane new M4 built through south Newport even though it is the 2 lane tunnel that is unable to cope)!

I just hope that the alternative bus service drivers will be aware that they should not use J25a during busy periods in order to reach Newport station. They would surely be better off using J24 and the B4237.

This link should show a map of the Newport area and the colours will indicate the traffic flows:> https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.5850954,-2.8938647,13z/data=!5m1!1e1
E-mail in to Network Rail / GWR and suggest it. It may not have been thought of.
 

anthony263

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National Express running additional services between Swansea/Cardiff - London Victoria as well as many coaches shuttling between Cardiff & Bristol.

The 508 Haverfordwest - London Victoria service I suspect will continue to be very popular most days now all 56 seats available onboard are sold.
 

Envoy

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I have just heard of someone who is going from Conwy to Bath via Newport during the Severn Tunnel closure. Of course, they could go via Birmingham & avoid the Severn Tunnel disruption. The trouble is that XC have their rip-off fares on that route making it considerably more expensive than The Marches route - hence, they have to use the bus link over the Severn.
 

Greenback

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Engineering works of this nature are bound to be disruptive and irritating. But they do need to be doen, otherwise the route won't get electrified at all.

There are alternatives, even though they may not palatable for one reason or another.
 

D1009

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IThe trouble is that XC have their rip-off fares on that route making it considerably more expensive than The Marches route - hence, they have to use the bus link over the Severn.
Split ticketing at Cheltenham could save them a bit on that journey.
 

mr_moo

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I have just heard of someone who is going from Conwy to Bath via Newport during the Severn Tunnel closure. Of course, they could go via Birmingham & avoid the Severn Tunnel disruption. The trouble is that XC have their rip-off fares on that route making it considerably more expensive than The Marches route - hence, they have to use the bus link over the Severn.

Surely Newport to Swindon (with the diversion via Gloucester) then back to Bath? GWR only. No XC required! Advance fares available for less than £20 at present. I checked for a Friday off-peak admittedly as you didn't say when they are travelling so the fare may be a bit more but that seems the best way to me!

I really don't get why you are mentioning Birmingham at all, unless you mean Matlock Bath instead of Bath Spa?
 
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randyrippley

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nice route for a ferry, or a hovercraft. Bristol docks to Cardiff by sea could cut a lot of the traffic
 

edwin_m

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nice route for a ferry, or a hovercraft. Bristol docks to Cardiff by sea could cut a lot of the traffic

My parents recently took a boat trip from Bristol to Avonmouth and back, and report that it takes absolutely ages to get through the locks. Starting downstream of the locks wouldn't be convenient for central Bristol.
 

mr_moo

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nice route for a ferry, or a hovercraft. Bristol docks to Cardiff by sea could cut a lot of the traffic

It would be easier to send the trains to Weston Super Mare and then put people on a ferry there. They could then go across to Newport. Much shorter and easier. It would probably need a bus at each end too to link the ferry docking areas to the stations but not too far and not too difficult.
 

Envoy

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It would be easier to send the trains to Weston Super Mare and then put people on a ferry there. They could then go across to Newport. Much shorter and easier. It would probably need a bus at each end too to link the ferry docking areas to the stations but not too far and not too difficult.

It is more likely that people would be heading for Cardiff rather than Newport. Cardiff Bay can be reached at all states of the tide via the barrage locks - a least for smaller vessels. Penarth pier is not accessible for vessels at lower tides.

I presume that whilst the Severn tunnel is closed, that Network Rail will also be working on the electrification of the line between Newport and Bristol Parkway? (Diverted trains via Gloucester as well as ‘normal’ services to the Midlands could be on the relief’s)?
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
nice route for a ferry, or a hovercraft. Bristol docks to Cardiff by sea could cut a lot of the traffic

A company did look at running scheduled services across the Bristol Channel but nothing came of it. Minehead to Cardiff would have been useful for tourist traffic both ways. Ilfracombe to Swansea would also have been useful as would a link to Cardiff. However, they would not be able to charge too much as people could always drive - even though it is a long way.

I wonder if arrangements have been made for the shuttle buses to have a dedicated gate at the toll booth through which they could just shoot through? (It is a pity that these tolls still exist. It is just a tax on entering Wales which hits the locals and discourages inward investment/tourists. I wonder how much wasted fuel happens by everyone having to queue and then accelerate? Mind you, they won’t get very far before hitting the next even longer queue to get through the Newport tunnel)!
 
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EbbwJunction1

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It would be easier to send the trains to Weston Super Mare and then put people on a ferry there. They could then go across to Newport. Much shorter and easier. It would probably need a bus at each end too to link the ferry docking areas to the stations but not too far and not too difficult.

There are no landing stages at either end of this journey.

The PS Waverley used to call into Newport, but the place that they used can't be used now. There is talk of somewhere else being used in the future, but this is not likely any time soon. Ferries also used to use Birnbeck Pier just outside Weston, but this is now derelict and can't be used.
 

PHILIPE

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There are a handful of DMU worked GWR trains, morning and night, between Cardiff Cen and Bristol TM via Chepstow and Gloucester. One does an ECS from Cardiff to Swansea returning with a passenger train in the morning. Don't ask me what will be working them, apart from an odd 158 timed one, the rest are timed at 75mph.
I haven't extracted a list but reference to RTT (SX) would provide their identity.
 

Jonfun

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I really don't get why you are mentioning Birmingham at all, unless you mean Matlock Bath instead of Bath Spa?

...Conway (North Wales Coast) to Matlock Bath (Derbyshire) via Newport (South Wales)?

Conway to Bath via Birmingham is a perfectly sensible route, though as has been noted it's probably cheaper going via Hereford. I couldn't say without looking.
 

BestWestern

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It would be easier to send the trains to Weston Super Mare and then put people on a ferry there. They could then go across to Newport. Much shorter and easier. It would probably need a bus at each end too to link the ferry docking areas to the stations but not too far and not too difficult.

These ideas never seem to work, which is a shame. Mr Suiter borrowed a hovercraft to trial acorss the Firth of Forth, a route which you might expect to have some success, and the project was abandoned. I imagine the same would happen here. You'd be looking presumably at charging somewhere around a tenner if you intended to turn a profit, and people would rather spend £7 for their car and all it's occupants, or buy a train ticket for a similar fare as the crossing and have the options of simple onward travel.
 

mr_moo

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...Conway (North Wales Coast) to Matlock Bath (Derbyshire) via Newport (South Wales)?

Conway to Bath via Birmingham is a perfectly sensible route, though as has been noted it's probably cheaper going via Hereford. I couldn't say without looking.

Sorry - I only really thought about the Newport bit! I forget that the journey started in North Wales!
 

backontrack

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It would be easier to send the trains to Weston Super Mare and then put people on a ferry there. They could then go across to Newport. Much shorter and easier. It would probably need a bus at each end too to link the ferry docking areas to the stations but not too far and not too difficult.

If you're going to go that far then you may as well go to Cardiff.

I want all the trains to terminate at Pilning. :D
 

WelshBluebird

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What is the reason why the Cardiff - Bristol TM services can't be sent via Gloucester as well as the HST's? Is it due to the lack of paths meaning they physically cannot, or is it more a judgement call that the diversion adds too much time to the journey so they may as well just do a replacement bus?
 

PHILIPE

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What is the reason why the Cardiff - Bristol TM services can't be sent via Gloucester as well as the HST's? Is it due to the lack of paths meaning they physically cannot, or is it more a judgement call that the diversion adds too much time to the journey so they may as well just do a replacement bus?

See Post #21. There are a few peak time ones.
 

ooo

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What is the reason why the Cardiff - Bristol TM services can't be sent via Gloucester as well as the HST's? Is it due to the lack of paths meaning they physically cannot, or is it more a judgement call that the diversion adds too much time to the journey so they may as well just do a replacement bus?

It would have to be sent via Gloucester so the journey time would be uncompetitive compared to jumping on a direct coach..
 
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PHILIPE

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No. No need to go to Swindon. From Gloucester via Yate and Bristol Parkway.
Still that takes nearly 2 hours.
 

WelshBluebird

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Pretty sure it would be upto Gloucester and then back down the other side, not need for Swindom surely?

I get the journey time would be longer, but it wouldn't be much longer than the replacement bus option and would be a hell of a lot less of a pain in the backside for passengers.

I suspect the paths issue is probably one of the main things, I doubt there is room on either side of the Severn to send along another say 1 train per hour throughout the day, or if there is room it would need pretty careful planning which they can avoid by just using buses instead.

See Post #21. There are a few peak time ones.

I did actually have a look at RTT before making my post. My question was more about operation in general (rather than just a couple of exceptions).
 
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