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Should East West Rail (EWR) plans be more rational and proportional?

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21C101

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The service would be essentially the same as now.
It seems to me to be fairly obvious from the consultation that they want to get rid of the stopping trains.

I suspect though, given the BBRUAs history and the widespread community support the line has that, they have chosen the wrong people to pick such a fight with.

It would be worse I some respects. Anyone travelling across Ridgmont would either get a slower journey or need to change trains.
No, the stopping trains would stay under that option but would be looped and overtaken at Ridgmont with cross platform interchange.

I'm sure you've got all the demand numbers to 2050, pedestrian flow modelling and FRUIN
/fire evacuation analysis to back that claim up?

"They'll probably be fine" doesn't cut
Demand numbers are speculative, as to fire, they are outdoor without buildings, just about as low risk as you get for a station.

I'm all for passive provision but rebuilding far from life expired stations wholesale just in case they get too busy in 20-30 years time dosen't seem value for money to me.
 
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The Planner

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They are nowhere as decrepit as you think. Many of them were rebuilt just over a decade ago when the line was completely resignalled just over a decade ago (with no additional singling and headways quite close given the hourly service level. This I undersuand was intentional to allow for future use by a rather less grand East West Rail planned at the time) .

All the level crossings were modernised and signalling concentrated on a new signalling centre at Ridgmont.

It was nearly 17 years ago now, time flies. Will have to agree to disagree about its use though as it could have been so much better than what was put in.
 

Ianno87

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No, the stopping trains would stay under that option but would be looped and overtaken at Ridgmont with cross platform interchange.

Which means that they have to sit to allow for a headway before the overtaking train, plus the dwell time over the overtaking train, and a headway behind. 7 minutes at least for passengers remaining on the stopping train.


Demand numbers are speculative, as to fire, they are outdoor without buildings, just about as low risk as you get for a station.

No, no, no, no, no.

Firstly, the train could be on fire and not the station, and you need to consider where passengers evacuate to, secondary means of escapes that sort of thing. Longer trains = more passengers = more risk.

I'm all for passive provision but rebuilding far from life expired stations wholesale just in case they get too busy in 20-30 years time dosen't seem value for money to me.

They will be busy on Day one, if the housing is there and supplying demand.
 

21C101

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Which means that they have to sit to allow for a headway before the overtaking train, plus the dwell time over the overtaking train, and a headway behind. 7 minutes at least for passengers remaining on the stopping train.




No, no, no, no, no.

Firstly, the train could be on fire and not the station, and you need to consider where passengers evacuate to, secondary means of escapes that sort of thing. Longer trains = more passengers = more risk.



They will be busy on Day one, if the housing is there and supplying demand.
It is not exactly subsurface is it and the platforms are not a substandard width, plusnthey mostly have direct street access without having to cross a footbridge or go through a building.

Two or three car trains are used on the line on occasion (or were until quite recently). The new lines trains will likely be 3 car DMUs. I rather doubt the change will be significant enough to have to go through major hoops. A new station, yes, of course would have to meet current standards

As is the way now, a risk assessment will no doubt be done, but I would be very surprised indeed if it came to the conclusion that the existing stations were too dangerous to use or required anything more than minor modification (if that).

To be fair risk assessments were always done, either in someones head or subsumed in minutes or in narrative form in design documentation. What has changed in recent decades is that the process has been formslised.
 
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Bletchleyite

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No, no, no, no, no.

Firstly, the train could be on fire and not the station, and you need to consider where passengers evacuate to, secondary means of escapes that sort of thing. Longer trains = more passengers = more risk.

Why do you keep arguing this when it is objectively false because the second option proposed by EWR is retention of the existing train service and stations, thus it must be OK or they wouldn't have proposed that?
 

Ianno87

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Why do you keep arguing this when it is objectively false because the second option proposed by EWR is retention of the existing train service and stations, thus it must be OK or they wouldn't have proposed that?

I thought we didn't want little short trains clogging up the network? There must be a bit more ambition than that to get the most out of EWR?

My reading of the consultation is that "if you want to keep all the current stations open then the best we can offer for the local stations is nothing more than the present train service". Which strikes me as the worst possible outcome for the local stations, especially as they'll have put up with all the disruption involved with closing level crossings.

Why do you keep arguing this when it is objectively false because the second option proposed by EWR is retention of the existing train service and stations, thus it must be OK or they wouldn't have proposed that?

I thought we didn't want little short trains clogging up the network? There must be a bit more ambition than that to get the most out of EWR?

My reading of the consultation is that "if you want to keep all the current stations open then the best we can offer for the local stations is nothing more than the present train service". Which strikes me as the worst possible outcome for the local stations, especially as they'll have put up with all the disruption involved with closing level crossings.
 

Railwaysceptic

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The A12 was a scaled down extension of the M11 which was to be built as part of the ringways to connect it to the Ringway 1 North Cross Route which wasn't built and Ringway 1 East Cross Route (A102(M)) which had been.

All the other London Trunk Road improvement proposals of the 80s and earlier (WEIR, completion of grade separated North Circular, A40 Gypsy Lane etc), had been canned by in Major administration or incoming Labour government in 1997 before the GLA was set up, Livingstone actually revived one in modified form, the A23 Coulsdon Bypass.
Although you obviously don't realise it, you've pretty much confirmed what I said. However, as this is a railway forum, it's inappropriate to go into the details of abandoned road schemes.
 

mwmbwls

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Sounds like awfully joined up transport planning - planning development and transport infrastructure at the same time to complement each other. I think I need a lie down...
Whilst recumbent can I suggest a little light reading in the form of the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government's February 2021 Document "Planning for Sustainable Growth in the Oxford Cambridge Arc - An introduction to the Oxford Cambridge Arc Spatial Framework" This indicates that there will be more than just joined up transport planning but co-ordination on a range of topics including housing across the arc. Early players in this game have been the National Infrastructure Commission who have argued for transport led precursor programmes in the Arc - such as the new road and rail links to facilitate housing and industrial development The major problems are getting all of the local planning authorities to develop a unified framework and the need for the other Government Departments, in particular the Department for Transport and the Treasury, to play ball. Now if this sounds like trying to" Teach elephants line dancing" aka joined up thinking- it is because it is. At this point I usually need to lie down too. At the moment, Bedford is a flash point with local politicians taking the heat for decisions that they get advised are being made but that they themselves do not actually make. This process is known in the major project management trade as "Shooting the monkey - rather than the organ grinder". Organ grinders often favour this choice. Property owners along the corridor are about the learn the same lessons that have arisen from HS2 - You cannot pick your neighbours and you do not own the view from the window.
 

Aictos

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I think in principle that would be ideal, but I suspect the issue is the amount of infrastructure that would drive (solely for those two trains to extend the short distance to MKC) would be pretty hefty.
What's so difficult about providing decent connections at Bletchley for anyone wishing to access Milton Keynes because having a Oxford to Cambridge service call at Milton Keynes is akin to the tail wagging the dog especially if decent connections can be provided between LNR and EWR at Bletchley especially as infrastructure to provide a service would be a lot and surely would mean a Oxford to Cambridge service via Milton Keynes even longer time wise.

If Milton Keynes should be catered for then run it as a extension of the Marylebone to Aylesbury service as 2tph.
 

BrianW

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A laudable aim:

Should East West Rail (EWR) plans be more rational and proportional?​

Disappointing then to see attempts of some rubbished, if not unsurprising as people support what others see as their 'hobbyhorse', and with passion.
So, at risk of being shot down I offer these thoughts:
- This is a great opportunity to think quite widely, although the Covid context gives a substantial degree of uncertainty.
- The future is always uncertain anyway; and some mistakes will be made (helped by hindsight)
- the balance of priorities will differ (including who shouts loudest and has more 'influence')
- 'Planners' and politicians are not all evil-minded despots playing at trains
There must be 'systems' which will forecast travel wants and needs for say 2040 between eg Oxford and MK, Apsley Guise (or wherever) and Bedford, etc etc
There are 'plans' which may or may not happen for 'developments' esp housing
'Existing' is a constraining consideration, but only that; blank sheets/ blue skies offer 'crazy' opportunities which may have merit.
It may be worth breaking some eggs- easy for me to say not living under threat of demolition or losing my garden's greenhouse in Bedford. Many more have been sacrificed for 'road improvements'.
It's hard to see EWR as a new Thameslink or Crossrail but why not? Britain not good at 'thinking big'?
The Expressway is 'dead' (for now?).

What is EWR FOR?
Option 1: Oxford- Bicester (Parkway?)- Bletchley for MK- Bedford- Cambridge ONLY?
Option 2: All stations; all options, eg Islip- MK; 'my new house' somewhere in the Marston Vale to Sandy or Aylesbury?
Option 3: a bit of this; a bit of that, but not that ...
Option 4: individual personal electric 'starships' queuing at Bletchley Station to wherever you want in MK

Sorry if it has all been said before- now thousands of posts to track back on ;)
 

Bletchleyite

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What's so difficult about providing decent connections at Bletchley for anyone wishing to access Milton Keynes because having a Oxford to Cambridge service call at Milton Keynes is akin to the tail wagging the dog

No, it wouldn't. MK is the primary traffic objective (both source and sink) on the route, being the largest place by some margin and still growing.

If Milton Keynes should be catered for then run it as a extension of the Marylebone to Aylesbury service as 2tph.

Completely and utterly missing the point.
 

Metrolink

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If Milton Keynes should be catered for then run it as a extension of the Marylebone to Aylesbury service as 2tph.

Completely and utterly missing the point.

I agree with @Bletchleyite. I think that MK doesn’t need yet another service to central London. That’s 7tph from MK to London if I’m right, and although I’m unsure on that figure, the principle is that it’s unnecessary - don’t get me wrong that’s great for any rail user - but it’s a waste of paths, time, and money. MK’s connection to Oxford and Aylesbury is important, but not to London, and therefore it doesn’t make sense as a service.
 

Ianno87

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I agree with @Bletchleyite. I think that MK doesn’t need yet another service to central London. That’s 7tph from MK to London if I’m right, and although I’m unsure on that figure, the principle is that it’s unnecessary - don’t get me wrong that’s great for any rail user - but it’s a waste of paths, time, and money. MK’s connection to Oxford and Aylesbury is important, but not to London, and therefore it doesn’t make sense as a service.

But the 7tph southwards from MK aren't just about London. Some of them are slower trains that mainly (at this end of their journey) serve travel to MK from Leighton Buzzard, Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamstead, Watford and Harrow.
 

Metrolink

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But the 7tph southwards from MK aren't just about London. They also serve travel to MK from Leighton Buzzard, Hemel Hempstead, Berkhampstead, Watford and Harrow.
Your right, and I probably should of mentioned that, so apologies. However, all in all, that’s still 7tph to London, 3tph (I think) serving the stations in between.
 

tspaul26

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What's so difficult about providing decent connections at Bletchley for anyone wishing to access Milton Keynes because having a Oxford to Cambridge service call at Milton Keynes is akin to the tail wagging the dog especially if decent connections can be provided between LNR and EWR at Bletchley especially as infrastructure to provide a service would be a lot and surely would mean a Oxford to Cambridge service via Milton Keynes even longer time wise.

If Milton Keynes should be catered for then run it as a extension of the Marylebone to Aylesbury service as 2tph.
As I understand it, I’m not sure that @Bletchleyite was suggesting that every Oxford to Cambridge train call at Milton Keynes Central, but that the Cambridge to Bletchley services be extended?

If so, this would give 2tph to Oxford and 2tph to Cambridge, on top of the 2tph Oxford to Cambridge (not via Milton Keynes).

I suppose the question then is whether there is sufficient line and platform capacity to run 4tph between Bletchley and Milton Keynes Central instead of just the 2tph currently proposed.

Does anyone on the forum know maybe?
 

Ianno87

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As I understand it, I’m not sure that @Bletchleyite was suggesting that every Oxford to Cambridge train call at Milton Keynes Central, but that the Cambridge to Bletchley services be extended?

If so, this would give 2tph to Oxford and 2tph to Cambridge, on top of the 2tph Oxford to Cambridge (not via Milton Keynes).

I suppose the question then is whether there is sufficient line and platform capacity to run 4tph between Bletchley and Milton Keynes Central instead of just the 2tph currently proposed.

Does anyone on the forum know maybe?

So that would be (on the Slows between Bletchley and MK):

2tph from Oxford
2tph from Cambridge
At least 4tph from Euston (2tph fast, 2tph Slow)
1-2tph Southern service
And probably allowing for up to 4 freight paths per hour

So coming up on 14 paths per direction per hour...which is one busy bit of railway.... (before considering platform capacity to deal with all of this at MK)
 

Bletchleyite

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As I understand it, I’m not sure that @Bletchleyite was suggesting that every Oxford to Cambridge train call at Milton Keynes Central, but that the Cambridge to Bletchley services be extended?

Yep.

If so, this would give 2tph to Oxford and 2tph to Cambridge, on top of the 2tph Oxford to Cambridge (not via Milton Keynes).

I suppose the question then is whether there is sufficient line and platform capacity to run 4tph between Bletchley and Milton Keynes Central instead of just the 2tph currently proposed.

Does anyone on the forum know maybe?

There isn't pre HS2, but post HS2 the answer is just to make the space by making it part of the plan.
 

Ianno87

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There isn't pre HS2, but post HS2 the answer is just to make the space by making it part of the plan.

Although much harder to de-clutter this section of the Slows than you might first think:

-Anything East West Rail must be on the Slows
-Anything "stopping" (ish) to London must be on the Slows
-Freight must be on the Slows

The only thing that might on paper be transferable to the fasts might be ex-Northampton fasts. But they still want to call MK, Bletchley, Leighton Buzzard at least, so you want to keep them on the Slows out of the way of stuff calling at MK from the likes of Coventry and the Trent Valley, which will still be there.
 

tspaul26

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There isn't pre HS2, but post HS2 the answer is just to make the space by making it part of the plan.
Hmm.

The aspiration is for the Bedford to Cambridge bit to be operational by the end of the decade which is also (in theory) roughly when HS2 phase 1 would open so it could work I suppose.

Presumably you would shift some of the faster Euston services onto the fast lines which then frees up paths on the slows.

And even if the route openings aren’t perfectly aligned, the EWR services could operate to Bletchley as an interim measure which should also help them to bed in.
 

Ianno87

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And even if the route openings aren’t perfectly aligned, the EWR services could operate to Bletchley as an interim measure which should also help them to bed in.

That's probably a good approach. Bletchley for the purposes of the business case at this stage, but an opportunity to enhance this to MK should it be possible in practice, once post-HS2 timetables are settled.
 

Bletchleyite

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The only thing that might on paper be transferable to the fasts might be ex-Northampton fasts. But they still want to call MK, Bletchley, Leighton Buzzard at least, so you want to keep them on the Slows out of the way of stuff calling at MK from the likes of Coventry and the Trent Valley, which will still be there.

True, but likely in vastly reduced numbers.
 

Ianno87

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True, but likely in vastly reduced numbers.

I've shown above that, even with only 2tph doing this (basically the frequency of the current off peak Northampton fasts) you still end up with as much as 14tph on the Slows between Bletchley and MK quite easily.
 

Bletchleyite

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I've shown above that, even with only 2tph doing this (basically the frequency of the current off peak Northampton fasts) you still end up with as much as 14tph on the Slows between Bletchley and MK quite easily.

You don't, because with potentially only 3-4tph of ICs left (down from 9) you can have far more LNR services on the fast lines, even some with stops. For example if there is still a service that goes Euston-Leighton-MKC-wherever still, I'd expect it to remain on the fasts until MKC P5 then cross over there.
 

Ianno87

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You don't, because with potentially only 3-4tph of ICs left (down from 9) you can have far more LNR services on the fast lines, even some with stops. For example if there is still a service that goes Euston-Leighton-MKC-wherever still, I'd expect it to remain on the fasts until MKC P5 then cross over there.

For ICs you'd probably need:

-2tph to serve Coventry
-2tph serving Trent Valley stations
-At least 1-2tph still reasonably fast to the "North West" (e.g. keeping a direct North Wales train, MK connected to Stoke/Manchester etc)

Probably leaves space for about 4-6tph LNR on the fasts out of Euston, and at least a couple of those are going to need to dive out of the way at Ledburn to serve Leighton and Bletchley (with 2-4 possibly becoming the net extra services to benefit Northampton, maybe calling MK only, Fasts south of there)
 

Ianno87

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I would be pretty sure that the fast LNRs won't turn right at Ledburn any more.

If they were making Fast Line calls at Leighton Buzzard and Bletchley, you'd need at least a 10 minute or so gap behind them leaving Euston, which is still going to be a big ask even with (say) 12tph on the Fasts in total. I think crossing at Ledburn is going to be inevitable for at least a couple of trains per hour (given that you're going to want to spread fast MK services around the hour a little bit, both for platform occupancy, and so that you don't get 5 trains in 15 minutes then a 15 minute gap!)
 

Starmill

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I don't get why people are so confidently predicting that particular service frequency or capacity is necessary on this route. Cambridge and Milton Keynes, ignoring Bedford for a moment and Oxford / Ipswich etc etc, are large regional population centres and significant commercial and industrial hubs which are less than 50 miles apart. In the region of an hour by car and of note the new A428 link between Black Cat and Caxton Gibbet will provide upgraded roads all the way.

Now at the moment rail essentially doesn't offer a service at all between the two. Of course, one technically exists and a few people will use it, but because it is priced via London and takes such a long time it's essentially irrelevant to most people, unless they especially like trains, or get a discount that's only good for them.

When we consider the novel market from Cambourne, and also consider that the current Marston Vale service isn't much use to anyone because its so infrequent and slow, and does not go to Milton Keynes Central, there's an awful lot of rail demand there that's been modelled that simply doesn't exist currently. So unless you've seen the model how do you know there's no demand for 4tph?

I agree that the Bletchley question will present uncomfortable trade-offs.
 

21C101

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As I understand it, I’m not sure that @Bletchleyite was suggesting that every Oxford to Cambridge train call at Milton Keynes Central, but that the Cambridge to Bletchley services be extended?

If so, this would give 2tph to Oxford and 2tph to Cambridge, on top of the 2tph Oxford to Cambridge (not via Milton Keynes).

I suppose the question then is whether there is sufficient line and platform capacity to run 4tph between Bletchley and Milton Keynes Central instead of just the 2tph currently proposed.

Does anyone on the forum know maybe?
The other possibility is to greatly increase the frequency of other services between MK and Bletchley giving a turn up and go connection with just a few minutes wait.

This is obviously not practicable now but post HS2 the remaining "intercities" will be things like semifast services to Coventry and Birmingham and I would expect the fast line paths freed up by HS2 to be partly filled by an increase in Northampton fast outer suburbans, for example one every 15 minutes clockface heading south from Northampton calling at MK and Watford.

If all such trains called at both Bletchley and MK as well as stopping servuces to London, then job done.

It would also stop people heading from say
Cambridge to Coventry or Bedford to Birmingham having to change at both Bletchley AND Milton Keynes which is a mode killer, especially if the train north from MK is only hourly.

Bletchley might even be suitably renamed as Milton Keynes Junction, but that is getting into wild speculation.......
 
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