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WCML upgrade

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AJS90

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When the WCML upgrade took place on the 2000’s, were there ever plans to four track Shugborough tunnel and grade separate Colwich junction? These seem like obvious anomalies and capacity constraints. Was this ever seriously considered?
 
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nlogax

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When the WCML upgrade took place on the 2000’s, were there ever plans to four track Shugborough tunnel and grade separate Colwich junction? These seem like obvious anomalies and capacity constraints. Was this ever seriously considered?

As far as I'm aware, only as a part of proposals published in 2013 to set out how existing rail links could meet the requirements for HS2. Lots of grade separation but nothing was proposed for Shugborough tunnels.

https://assets.publishing.service.g...ta/file/253456/hs2-strategic-alternatives.pdf

Building on previous work and consultations, this study considered the extent to which capacity and connectivity upgrades to the conventional rail network – representing strategic alternatives to constructing HS2 - could meet the strategic objectives set for HS2. Consideration of alternative investment options is standard practice as guided by HM Treasury Green Book, and embodied in the DfT’s guidance for assessing the case for investment in major transport projects.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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There were WCRM proposals for a "Stafford by-pass" which might have gone direct from Rugeley to Norton Bridge, eliminating Colwich/Shugborough/Stafford.
It eventually crystallized into the recent Norton Bridge grade separation and a few improvements at Stafford itself.
But the by-pass plan now runs under the name HS2a from Lichfield to Crewe, so is very likely to happen in that guise.
 

Whistler40145

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When the WCML upgrade took place on the 2000’s, were there ever plans to four track Shugborough tunnel and grade separate Colwich junction? These seem like obvious anomalies and capacity constraints. Was this ever seriously considered?
I don't think there's capacity through to Shugborough Tunnel to accommodate four tracks
 

Bald Rick

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There were initial studies to grade separate Colwich, but a little south. This was as much about journey time gain as removing the conflict.

There was never any study into doing Shugborough, and no real need to. If you can’t get 6 passenger and a couple of freights an hour on a short two track section we may as well give up!
 
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Dr Hoo

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The two-track section at Shugborough actually provides the vital opportunity to switch from a 'paired by direction' track layout in the Trent Valley to a 'paired by use' arrangement from Milford & Brockton/Whitehouse Junction without complicated flyovers and crossovers. (Compare with Slade Lane, south of Manchester, which has been a major headache ever since it was altered around 1960.)
 

LNW-GW Joint

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The two-track section at Shugborough actually provides the vital opportunity to switch from a 'paired by direction' track layout in the Trent Valley to a 'paired by use' arrangement from Milford & Brockton/Whitehouse Junction without complicated flyovers and crossovers. (Compare with Slade Lane, south of Manchester, which has been a major headache ever since it was altered around 1960.)

The SRA once said that, as part of WCRM planning for the Stafford area, consideration had been given to extending the paired by direction layout on the TV route to that between Stafford and Crewe (ie putting the fast lines in the middle, which is also the mode in use north of Crewe).
However, they said the consequences at Crewe would have been unacceptable, as at that time there was no plan to resignal/remodel Crewe (again).
 

Merle Haggard

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The SRA once said that, as part of WCRM planning for the Stafford area, consideration had been given to extending the paired by direction layout on the TV route to that between Stafford and Crewe (ie putting the fast lines in the middle, which is also the mode in use north of Crewe).
However, they said the consequences at Crewe would have been unacceptable, as at that time there was no plan to resignal/remodel Crewe (again).

I think I recollect (but not sure) that the pairing south of Crewe was changed around 1961-2, as part of the Euston to Manchester and Liverpool route electrification and modernisation/improvement, and assume, if that was so, it was from by direction to by use.

I also think that Shugborough tunnel is more of a covered way than a tunnel, provided to placate a local land owner who didn't want his view to be spoilt by trains, so it might not be that difficult to open and four track (if the current lordship concurs, presumably) - the shallow Stockport tunnels were similarly opened up as part of the previously mentioned route improvement
 

LNW-GW Joint

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I also think that Shugborough tunnel is more of a covered way than a tunnel, provided to placate a local land owner who didn't want his view to be spoilt by trains, so it might not be that difficult to open and four track (if the current lordship concurs, presumably) - the shallow Stockport tunnels were similarly opened up as part of the previously mentioned route improvement

Well, the landowner was/is the Earl of Lichfield, close relative of the Queen.
I think the present Earl (son of Patrick Lichfield the photographer) still lives there, though the house, if not the estate, now belongs to the National Trust.

I hadn't heard of the Stafford-Crewe route being reconfigured in the early 60s.
I think it's still pretty much as the LNWR left it after quadrupling, except for Norton Bridge (which was re-modelled at electrification I think).
 

Merle Haggard

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I hadn't heard of the Stafford-Crewe route being reconfigured in the early 60s.
I think it's still pretty much as the LNWR left it after quadrupling, except for Norton Bridge (which was re-modelled at electrification I think).

MY assertion was based on the flimsy evidence of a caption in a book of `photographs (by someone who worked on the Civils so had the opportunity for lineside photography).
The authority would undoubtedly be The Euston and Crewe Companion (D.S.M. Barrie) - published around 1948 and with a copy of a contemporary side-strip* included as an appendix.

Sorry, I can't find my copies of either at the moment.

* Well, this is what they seemed to be called at the time - they were the long strips of paper showing the track layout along a line of route, with the gradient profile below, used widely in operating and train planning.
 

edwin_m

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I also think that Shugborough tunnel is more of a covered way than a tunnel, provided to placate a local land owner who didn't want his view to be spoilt by trains, so it might not be that difficult to open and four track (if the current lordship concurs, presumably) - the shallow Stockport tunnels were similarly opened up as part of the previously mentioned route improvement
According to the OS map there is at least 35 metres of cover over the deepest part.
The tunnel was certainly unusually ornamental to placate the lordships, but it looks as if it would have been required for engineering reasons even if the estate hadn't been there.

Quadrupling it would require a second bore, which would have to be separated from the first to avoid destabilising it. So the approach tracks would also have to splay out. This would need a significant amount of land from the estate, and would be obtrusive unless covered over. There might also be problems at the other end where the line runs through a marshy-looking area alongside the Trent, which may be environmentally sensitive.
 

Merle Haggard

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According to the OS map there is at least 35 metres of cover over the deepest part.
The tunnel was certainly unusually ornamental to placate the lordships, but it looks as if it would have been required for engineering reasons even if the estate hadn't been there.

Quadrupling it would require a second bore, which would have to be separated from the first to avoid destabilising it. So the approach tracks would also have to splay out. This would need a significant amount of land from the estate, and would be obtrusive unless covered over. There might also be problems at the other end where the line runs through a marshy-looking area alongside the Trent, which may be environmentally sensitive.

Thank you for that, as you suggest, I must have been confused between the demand for cover and that for ornamentation.

On the subject of opening out tunnels when quadrupling, there was one on the ex-Midland route south of Birmingham - I think, in the process, there was a tunnel collapse (report, I think, on Railways Archive). I'm not sure what the depth of cover there was. Opening out the Stockport tunnels (which I think was to simplify the layout, rather than widening) must have involved some disruption as the land above was urban.
One of the interesting (at least to me!) aspects of the quadrupling of lines by the LMS is how it seemed to be mainly on ex Midland railway routes, rather than the LNWR ones - for instance the Armitage bottleneck, and for that matter the whole Rugby-Birmingham route weren't done. In quite a few cases, the widened ex Midland lines have been reduced back to double in B.R. days, while the Armitage bottleneck was only removed very recently, and the Rigby-Birmingham route remains congested. In fairness, perhaps the driver was coal traffic, which was heavier on the ex Midland main lines.
 

WesternLancer

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Well, the landowner was/is the Earl of Lichfield, close relative of the Queen.
I think the present Earl (son of Patrick Lichfield the photographer) still lives there, though the house, if not the estate, now belongs to the National Trust.

I hadn't heard of the Stafford-Crewe route being reconfigured in the early 60s.
I think it's still pretty much as the LNWR left it after quadrupling, except for Norton Bridge (which was re-modelled at electrification I think).
Belongs to NT I think - was leased to Council but looks like that is ended. Off topic obv...
.
 

edwin_m

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On the subject of opening out tunnels when quadrupling, there was one on the ex-Midland route south of Birmingham - I think, in the process, there was a tunnel collapse (report, I think, on Railways Archive).
This one: https://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/docsummary.php?docID=1910
The tunnel was too tight to gauge to permit the use of modern wide carriage stock, and as the height of the ground above rail level was only about 70 feet it was decided to open out the tunnel and accommodate both the new and existing lines in an open cutting.
 

Revaulx

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One of the interesting (at least to me!) aspects of the quadrupling of lines by the LMS is how it seemed to be mainly on ex Midland railway routes, rather than the LNWR ones - for instance the Armitage bottleneck, and for that matter the whole Rugby-Birmingham route weren't done. In quite a few cases, the widened ex Midland lines have been reduced back to double in B.R. days, while the Armitage bottleneck was only removed very recently, and the Rigby-Birmingham route remains congested. In fairness, perhaps the driver was coal traffic, which was heavier on the ex Midland main lines.
Weren’t most of the Midland widenings pre-grouping? The approaches to Manchester and Sheffield certainly were.
 

Dr Hoo

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Weren’t most of the Midland widenings pre-grouping? The approaches to Manchester and Sheffield certainly were.
From a purely local perspective the 1.5 miles south of Ambergate and 3.75 miles Chinley North-New Mills South quadrupling were both on 'Midland' lines around 1930. It wasn't feasible to quadruple (parts of) the line via Matlock in between but there were better loops and banking locomotive arrangements at Rowsley, Peak Forest, Gowhole and so forth and use of the massive Garratts on the Hope Valley. It was a busy era for coal traffic especially.
 

Merle Haggard

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Weren’t most of the Midland widenings pre-grouping? The approaches to Manchester and Sheffield certainly were.

I accept that that was probably the case, but there were some in LMS days - part of Birmingham - Gloucester, mentioned above and Dr Hoo's examples - but I don't know of any on the ex LNWR (or L&Y, for that matter) though. Never seems to get mentioned in railway histories, so hard to find out.
 

Revaulx

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From a purely local perspective the 1.5 miles south of Ambergate and 3.75 miles Chinley North-New Mills South quadrupling were both on 'Midland' lines around 1930. It wasn't feasible to quadruple (parts of) the line via Matlock in between but there were better loops and banking locomotive arrangements at Rowsley, Peak Forest, Gowhole and so forth and use of the massive Garratts on the Hope Valley. It was a busy era for coal traffic especially.
Gosh - I had no idea Chinley - New Mills was that late. I’d assumed it was all done at the same time as the Disley Tunnel - Cheadle Heath cut-off.
 
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