Wisbech-March line reopening cost increase to £200m

Meerkat

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I suppose my point is that as far as I'm concerned, the railway network isn't an optional extra, so as far as I'm concerned, any large town should have a station.
Why a station, rather than just “adequate public transport for the town’s circumstances”?
 
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DynamicSpirit

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Why a station, rather than just “adequate public transport for the town’s circumstances”?
Although I tend to think that a line to Wisbech would be too expensive for too little benefit at the moment, I would say that as a wider principle, there are huge advantages to a rail station. If you have a railway station then, provided it isn't at the far end of a complete backwater of a line, that gives people a strong a sense of being connected to the national transport network, in a way that doesn't happen from just having a couple of bus stops in the middle of the town. They will use the local line to get to the nearest main rail hub so that they can make journeys to destinations all over the country. That doesn't really happen with buses: Almost no-one is going to drag their suitcase onto a bus that takes them on an unreliable journey along congested roads to a main railway station 15 miles away so they can get a train to wherever it was that they really wanted to get to. Buses work very well when it's a 3-mile trip to work or to the shops. But for longer journeys, or for the starting/ending legs of long journeys, they don't work nearly as well. I'm sure you could get them to work better with some decent integrated transport planning but they are never going to work as well as trains for longer journeys.

Of course the problem then is, how much money is it worth spending to get that extra benefit of a railway station. And that's where you do need a dose of realism.
 

A0wen

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I suppose my point is that as far as I'm concerned, the railway network isn't an optional extra, so as far as I'm concerned, any large town should have a station.

I'll make an exception in cases where the large town adjoins a small village which has the railway station instead, so the town still has access, but that clearly isn't the case with Wisbech.

In terms of the Leigh guided busway, that absolutely should have been a rail reinstatement.
I fail to see why Leigh should have been reinstated - Atherton station is 3 miles away and if there was that much demand another station could be opened at Glazebury on the south side - that could all be achieved without laying a single metre of track.

The problem with somewhere like Leigh is it would be competing for paths into Manchester - either Victoria or Piccadilly which we already know are at a premium - so which already established and busy service loses out, just so Leigh could have benefitted? Makes precisely no sense.

In slightly different circumstances the "right" answer for Leigh would probably have been an extension of the Metrolink, but it hasn't really gone that side of Manchester.
 

Meerkat

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Although I tend to think that a line to Wisbech would be too expensive for too little benefit at the moment, I would say that as a wider principle, there are huge advantages to a rail station. If you have a railway station then, provided it isn't at the far end of a complete backwater of a line, that gives people a strong a sense of being connected to the national transport network, in a way that doesn't happen from just having a couple of bus stops in the middle of the town. They will use the local line to get to the nearest main rail hub so that they can make journeys to destinations all over the country. That doesn't really happen with buses: Almost no-one is going to drag their suitcase onto a bus that takes them on an unreliable journey along congested roads to a main railway station 15 miles away so they can get a train to wherever it was that they really wanted to get to. Buses work very well when it's a 3-mile trip to work or to the shops. But for longer journeys, or for the starting/ending legs of long journeys, they don't work nearly as well. I'm sure you could get them to work better with some decent integrated transport planning but they are never going to work as well as trains for longer journeys.

Of course the problem then is, how much money is it worth spending to get that extra benefit of a railway station. And that's where you do need a dose of realism.
Indeed. That much money could buy some really massive bus improvements, which would provide a much better service (frequency and bus stops being nearer the users than the station)
 

cle

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Good points re Leigh and Wisbech - new spurs either need to be shuttles (worthless) or have to take over an existing path on routes into London or Manchester - or in this case through Ely to get to Cambridge, which is the draw.

There might be other parts of the country with capacity to add a new spur route into the mix, but these places don't have it.
 

yorksrob

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Why a station, rather than just “adequate public transport for the town’s circumstances”?
Fundamentally, the railway is the key form of medium-longer distance public transport in the country. 'Adequate public transport for the town's circumstances' usually ends up meaning inadequate public transport because circumstances are too tight, so the public transport usually takes the form of slow buses on congested roads.

Although I tend to think that a line to Wisbech would be too expensive for too little benefit at the moment, I would say that as a wider principle, there are huge advantages to a rail station. If you have a railway station then, provided it isn't at the far end of a complete backwater of a line, that gives people a strong a sense of being connected to the national transport network, in a way that doesn't happen from just having a couple of bus stops in the middle of the town. They will use the local line to get to the nearest main rail hub so that they can make journeys to destinations all over the country. That doesn't really happen with buses: Almost no-one is going to drag their suitcase onto a bus that takes them on an unreliable journey along congested roads to a main railway station 15 miles away so they can get a train to wherever it was that they really wanted to get to. Buses work very well when it's a 3-mile trip to work or to the shops. But for longer journeys, or for the starting/ending legs of long journeys, they don't work nearly as well. I'm sure you could get them to work better with some decent integrated transport planning but they are never going to work as well as trains for longer journeys.

Of course the problem then is, how much money is it worth spending to get that extra benefit of a railway station. And that's where you do need a dose of realism.
I agree with your principle.

I fail to see why Leigh should have been reinstated - Atherton station is 3 miles away and if there was that much demand another station could be opened at Glazebury on the south side - that could all be achieved without laying a single metre of track.

The problem with somewhere like Leigh is it would be competing for paths into Manchester - either Victoria or Piccadilly which we already know are at a premium - so which already established and busy service loses out, just so Leigh could have benefitted? Makes precisely no sense.

In slightly different circumstances the "right" answer for Leigh would probably have been an extension of the Metrolink, but it hasn't really gone that side of Manchester.
Leigh is somewhere I travel to regularly by train, and it has undoubtedly been left behind a bit in comparison to its rail connected neighbours such as Wigan and Bolton. Atherton station may only be three miles away (it is my preferred route by public transport) but it is undoubtedly a bit of a rigmarole. You should also see the time the busway takes to get to the centre of Manchester as well. It's not a particularly speedy link.

Yes, the reduction in capacity in Manchester hasn't helped matters, but even with recent development in the area, there is still probably room for a west facing bay/s at Victoria where Exhange used to be.
 

yorksrob

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Good points re Leigh and Wisbech - new spurs either need to be shuttles (worthless) or have to take over an existing path on routes into London or Manchester - or in this case through Ely to get to Cambridge, which is the draw.

There might be other parts of the country with capacity to add a new spur route into the mix, but these places don't have it.
Coming back to Wisbech, it seems that the bottleneck has a lot to do with the ridiculous single track turn-out North of Ely. As so often, an unwillingness to sort out existing pinch points for the benefit of the wider network becomes an excuse not to serve new markets, which have to put up with an inadequate solution to their transport needs in perpituity.
 

Maltazer

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Coming back to Wisbech, it seems that the bottleneck has a lot to do with the ridiculous single track turn-out North of Ely.
That and all the gold plated rules around level crossings, which means no extra services until they get replaced too.
Ely could probably also do with some re-configuring south of the station to allow moves between platform 3 and the Soham line without touching the up main (for another thread).
 

yorksrob

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That and all the gold plated rules around level crossings, which means no extra services until they get replaced too.
Ely could probably also do with some re-configuring south of the station to allow moves between platform 3 and the Soham line without touching the up main (for another thread).
Yes, all good points.
 

DynamicSpirit

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Coming back to Wisbech, it seems that the bottleneck has a lot to do with the ridiculous single track turn-out North of Ely. As so often, an unwillingness to sort out existing pinch points for the benefit of the wider network becomes an excuse not to serve new markets, which have to put up with an inadequate solution to their transport needs in perpituity.
I don't think it's an excuse: Ely is a genuine problem, and one that is going to be very expensive to fix. And in terms of fixing it, I also don't think the single track is the real problem - by itself that wouldn't be that hard to put right - it's the fact that you have flat junctions and then three level crossings along the same stretch of road which would cause an absolute nightmare for the traffic on that road and the residents of that area if you tried to run many more trains over those level crossings. You want more trains through Ely... you have to sort out those level crossings, and any sensible solution could easily run into the £ hundreds of millions - possibly requiring a new road. And until you do that, fixing the bit of single track will gain you almost nothing (maybe a bit of extra flexibility in the timetable)
 
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Meerkat

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'Adequate public transport for the town's circumstances' usually ends up meaning inadequate public transport because circumstances are too tight, so the public transport usually takes the form of slow buses on congested roads.
The lack of spending, or the poor quality of the current bus services, is no reason to reach for the inappropriate railway solution. Fix the problem - the bus services.
 

Meerkat

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Even if Ely was sorted surely there would still be a queue of more worthy services to use the capacity than a shuttle from Cambridge to Wisbech?
 

yorksrob

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I don't think it's an excuse: Ely is a genuine problem, and one that is going to be very expensive to fix. And in terms of fixing it, I also don't think the single track is the real problem - by itself that wouldn't be that hard to put right - it's the fact that you have flat junctions and then three level crossings along the same stretch of road which would cause an absolute nightmare for the traffic on that road and the residents of that area if you tried to run many more trains over those level crossings. You want more trains through Ely... you have to sort out those level crossings, and any sensible solution could easily run into the £ hundreds of millions - possibly requiring a new road. And until you do that, fixing the bit of single track will gain you almost nothing (maybe a bit of extra flexibility in the timetable)
Fundamentally though, you're going to have to do that to enhance the whole service, so there's little point in using that as an excuse not to go ahead with the Wisbech reopening. You would be better off putting the benefits of potential rail services to Wisbech together with the benefits to other services in the area to make a case for using some of the budget towards enhancing the existing network to sorting it out.

It would be better if resources were concentrated on the genuine problem crossings such as the two mentioned, rather than being wasted on having to eliminate what would otherwise be low priority crossings that just happen to be on routes that have been closed for a period of time in the past.
 

yorksrob

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Even if Ely was sorted surely there would still be a queue of more worthy services to use the capacity than a shuttle from Cambridge to Wisbech?
Surely if one were able to get through to Ely, the logical thing to do would be to extend down at least to Cambridge, it being one of the main economic centres in the region.
 

yorksrob

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The lack of spending, or the poor quality of the current bus services, is no reason to reach for the inappropriate railway solution. Fix the problem - the bus services.
No, because buses are a mode of thransport suited to short intra-urban hops. The railway is the primary form of public transport for medium and longer distance transport. Trying to get buses to serve a railway market is an inappropriate solution.
 

Bald Rick

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No, because buses are a mode of thransport suited to short intra-urban hops. The railway is the primary form of public transport for medium and longer distance transport. Trying to get buses to serve a railway market is an inappropriate solution.
In your opinion.

As ever it does, I’m afraid, come down to cost and benefit. I’m now going to make some numbers up to illustrate the point.

Let’s imagine that we arrange a new a bus service to a poorly connected town that provides a certain level of benefit, and costs (say) £5million pounds up front and £1million a year to operate. An alternative is to provide a new railway service, which provides twice the benefit, but that costs £500m and £4m a year to operate. So although it the benefit of the rail service is twice as much, it also costs four times as much to operate, and 100 times more up front. There must be a point where the cost gets too high for a rail service, at which point the alternatives must be considered. In the case of Wisbech, that ‘cost too high’ point is way below £200m.

I hope you don’t mind me saying, but I think you judge the benefit of a rail service to be several orders of magnitude higher than it is actually deemed to be in the socio-economic assessments, when compared to public transport generally (eg buses). These socio economic assessments are built on decades of primary research, and whilst not perfect it is recognised worldwide as amongst the best there is. Nevertheless, I do agree wholeheartedly that a rail connection is usually better than a bus connection for journeys over around 5-10 miles; indeed the socio-economic assessments bear that out. However, this extra benefit can not, and indeed must not, come at any price.

On another point, I disagree that buses are not a reasonable choice for short-middle distance travel (up to, say, 20 miles), if the quality of the service and the vehicle is suitable. On these pages we tend to assume that a bus service alternative to a new line in middle England is going to be like bus services we see day in / day out in middle England: poor frequency, often poor vehicles, slow, dirty, often expensive. But it doesn’t have to be like that. A bus service could be specified (as it is in London), to be frequent, covering all hours, quick (ie not stopping at every wayside halt), with new and clean vehicles. With fares integrated to other forms of transport. Which brings me back to Wisbech.

Such a bus service from Wisbech - March could be specified in a long term concession, either as part of a rail concession or a bus provision concession, very easily. I agree it would not have the same level of benefit as a through rail service to Cambridge. But it would get most of the benefit, for a tiny fraction of the cost, and crucially it could be up and running in a matter of months rather than waiting (at least) 6 years for a train. (I’d also argue that a 4 per hour bus service would have broadly the same benefit as a 2 per hour train service if the latter was limited to March, which is the best bet at present).

A final point, not directed at you yorksrob, but level crossing rules are definitely not ‘gold plated’. It’s the law.
 

A0wen

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Leigh is somewhere I travel to regularly by train, and it has undoubtedly been left behind a bit in comparison to its rail connected neighbours such as Wigan and Bolton. Atherton station may only be three miles away (it is my preferred route by public transport) but it is undoubtedly a bit of a rigmarole. You should also see the time the busway takes to get to the centre of Manchester as well. It's not a particularly speedy link.

Yes, the reduction in capacity in Manchester hasn't helped matters, but even with recent development in the area, there is still probably room for a west facing bay/s at Victoria where Exhange used to be.
But you're comparing apples with bananas again. You can't meaningfully compare Leigh with Wigan or Bolton. Leigh has a population of circa 50,000 - Wigan is double that and Bolton is bigger again.

Wigan was always going to retain its rail links - by a quirk of history it's on the WCML. Bolton is on the main link between Manchester and Preston and Manchester and Blackburn. Leigh was on a by-pass line between Manchester and Liverpool - and you can argue until you're blue in the face that either the 'wrong' line was closed or that both should have been kept - but the reality was Leigh ended up on the 'wrong' line.

Where Leigh has perhaps been unlucky is, as I said earlier, the fact Metrolink hasn't headed out that way. In many respects it's like Bury or Oldham in that it has lost its 'heavy' rail connection but they gained the Metrolink.

But again, if there really is the demand for rail travel to / from Leigh which Atherton can't cope with then why isn't anyone pushing for a station at Glazebury ? It's on a now electrified main line between Liverpool and Manchester - for a fraction of the cost of reinstating the line through Leigh, without the impact on there would be a decent service close at hand and the impact on services through Manchester should be minimal i.e. 1 additional stop between Liverpool and Manchester.
 

A0wen

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In your opinion.

As ever it does, I’m afraid, come down to cost and benefit. I’m now going to make some numbers up to illustrate the point.

Let’s imagine that we arrange a new a bus service to a poorly connected town that provides a certain level of benefit, and costs (say) £5million pounds up front and £1million a year to operate. An alternative is to provide a new railway service, which provides twice the benefit, but that costs £500m and £4m a year to operate. So although it the benefit of the rail service is twice as much, it also costs four times as much to operate, and 100 times more up front. There must be a point where the cost gets too high for a rail service, at which point the alternatives must be considered. In the case of Wisbech, that ‘cost too high’ point is way below £200m.

I hope you don’t mind me saying, but I think you judge the benefit of a rail service to be several orders of magnitude higher than it is actually deemed to be in the socio-economic assessments, when compared to public transport generally (eg buses). These socio economic assessments are built on decades of primary research, and whilst not perfect it is recognised worldwide as amongst the best there is. Nevertheless, I do agree wholeheartedly that a rail connection is usually better than a bus connection for journeys over around 5-10 miles; indeed the socio-economic assessments bear that out. However, this extra benefit can not, and indeed must not, come at any price.

On another point, I disagree that buses are not a reasonable choice for short-middle distance travel (up to, say, 20 miles), if the quality of the service and the vehicle is suitable. On these pages we tend to assume that a bus service alternative to a new line in middle England is going to be like bus services we see day in / day out in middle England: poor frequency, often poor vehicles, slow, dirty, often expensive. But it doesn’t have to be like that. A bus service could be specified (as it is in London), to be frequent, covering all hours, quick (ie not stopping at every wayside halt), with new and clean vehicles. With fares integrated to other forms of transport. Which brings me back to Wisbech.

Such a bus service from Wisbech - March could be specified in a long term concession, either as part of a rail concession or a bus provision concession, very easily. I agree it would not have the same level of benefit as a through rail service to Cambridge. But it would get most of the benefit, for a tiny fraction of the cost, and crucially it could be up and running in a matter of months rather than waiting (at least) 6 years for a train. (I’d also argue that a 4 per hour bus service would have broadly the same benefit as a 2 per hour train service if the latter was limited to March, which is the best bet at present).

A final point, not directed at you yorksrob, but level crossing rules are definitely not ‘gold plated’. It’s the law.
Posts like this make me wish we had a 'like' facility on this forum........
 

yorksrob

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In your opinion.

As ever it does, I’m afraid, come down to cost and benefit. I’m now going to make some numbers up to illustrate the point.

Let’s imagine that we arrange a new a bus service to a poorly connected town that provides a certain level of benefit, and costs (say) £5million pounds up front and £1million a year to operate. An alternative is to provide a new railway service, which provides twice the benefit, but that costs £500m and £4m a year to operate. So although it the benefit of the rail service is twice as much, it also costs four times as much to operate, and 100 times more up front. There must be a point where the cost gets too high for a rail service, at which point the alternatives must be considered. In the case of Wisbech, that ‘cost too high’ point is way below £200m.

I hope you don’t mind me saying, but I think you judge the benefit of a rail service to be several orders of magnitude higher than it is actually deemed to be in the socio-economic assessments, when compared to public transport generally (eg buses). These socio economic assessments are built on decades of primary research, and whilst not perfect it is recognised worldwide as amongst the best there is. Nevertheless, I do agree wholeheartedly that a rail connection is usually better than a bus connection for journeys over around 5-10 miles; indeed the socio-economic assessments bear that out. However, this extra benefit can not, and indeed must not, come at any price.

On another point, I disagree that buses are not a reasonable choice for short-middle distance travel (up to, say, 20 miles), if the quality of the service and the vehicle is suitable. On these pages we tend to assume that a bus service alternative to a new line in middle England is going to be like bus services we see day in / day out in middle England: poor frequency, often poor vehicles, slow, dirty, often expensive. But it doesn’t have to be like that. A bus service could be specified (as it is in London), to be frequent, covering all hours, quick (ie not stopping at every wayside halt), with new and clean vehicles. With fares integrated to other forms of transport. Which brings me back to Wisbech.

Such a bus service from Wisbech - March could be specified in a long term concession, either as part of a rail concession or a bus provision concession, very easily. I agree it would not have the same level of benefit as a through rail service to Cambridge. But it would get most of the benefit, for a tiny fraction of the cost, and crucially it could be up and running in a matter of months rather than waiting (at least) 6 years for a train. (I’d also argue that a 4 per hour bus service would have broadly the same benefit as a 2 per hour train service if the latter was limited to March, which is the best bet at present).

A final point, not directed at you yorksrob, but level crossing rules are definitely not ‘gold plated’. It’s the law.
It's fair to point out that a re-built railway will cost orders of magnitude more than running a bus. But not more than the cost of other infrastructure projects such as building new roads, for example. And its infratructure that enables public transport to run unencombered by other traffic for example. Even if we could get past the mess of bus-deregulation and specify a bus connection tightly to connect at March for example, I think the product would be much less popular and sustainable than a regular train service to Cambridge.

As it happens, I do think that connecting a town to our railway network will provide a benefit several orders of magnitude greater than shaving five to ten minutes off of a theoretical journey which might well have been made anyway - which is how the benefits of transport projects are traditionally assessed. Think of all those benefits to people who otherwise wouldn't have a transport option, such as students and the elderly who suddenly have leisure and educational opportunities. Far more valuable than ten minutes off a car journey, yet its the latter that the assessments tend to prioritise.

But you're comparing apples with bananas again. You can't meaningfully compare Leigh with Wigan or Bolton. Leigh has a population of circa 50,000 - Wigan is double that and Bolton is bigger again.

Wigan was always going to retain its rail links - by a quirk of history it's on the WCML. Bolton is on the main link between Manchester and Preston and Manchester and Blackburn. Leigh was on a by-pass line between Manchester and Liverpool - and you can argue until you're blue in the face that either the 'wrong' line was closed or that both should have been kept - but the reality was Leigh ended up on the 'wrong' line.

Where Leigh has perhaps been unlucky is, as I said earlier, the fact Metrolink hasn't headed out that way. In many respects it's like Bury or Oldham in that it has lost its 'heavy' rail connection but they gained the Metrolink.

But again, if there really is the demand for rail travel to / from Leigh which Atherton can't cope with then why isn't anyone pushing for a station at Glazebury ? It's on a now electrified main line between Liverpool and Manchester - for a fraction of the cost of reinstating the line through Leigh, without the impact on there would be a decent service close at hand and the impact on services through Manchester should be minimal i.e. 1 additional stop between Liverpool and Manchester.
A station at Glazebury might be of use as a parkway, but it's hardly much better for local passengers who walk than getting the bus to Atherton.

You forget also that Leigh was previously on a loop off of the main line. Can you imagine if we had two electric trains an hour travelling directly via Leigh between Liverpool and Manchestew ? It would be far more speedy and useful than a tram trundling slowly to the end of a branch to Leigh.
 

Class 170101

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It's Cambridge and probably London that Wisbech is eyeing up for a rail connection. It's unlikely to get south of Cambridge because there are a finite number of paths heading south so a 2 car unit from Wisbech really isn't going to be a particularly good use of a path south of Cambridge when there are other services with far better claims to it.
London is probably still quicker via Peterborough and LNER. The Kings Cross to Ely / Kings Lynn is merely used to save finding a path between Cambridge and Kings Cross which you won't find but the train still needs to be 12 cars between Cambridge / Ely and Kings Cross so split and attach at Ely.

I agree. But there are other possibilities. For example, an 8-carriage train that runs London-Cambridge-Ely and then splits with 4 carriages going to Kings Lynn and 4 carriages going to Wisbech would seem to me like a pretty good use of paths - and, arguably, better then all 8 carriages going to Kings Lynn, which seems to be the current aspiration. (For clarity: None of that changes my view that there are much higher priority things to do in East Anglia than building a line to Wisbech).
See my previous post on the subject as well my comment above suggesting this already. Although it should be noted that at this rate Waterbeach will have to be lengthened to 12 carriages or the use of SDO permitted because a certain MP in Attleborough would like a direct train between Norwich and Kings Cross after his rant last year and there are only two trains per hour between Kings Cross and Ely and both would probably have to split at Ely so as not to cause track capacity problems between Ely and Cambridge by running another train over this section.
 

Nagora

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New automatic level crossings on highways cost around £4m+ each
133 person-years cost for a bit of track covering two lanes' worth of road and some flimsy barriers and a couple of motion sensors? I need to get into providing railway infrastructure; it rivals the price of printer ink. Who vets these costs? Or does the government just pay "market rates" no questions asked?

I know that one issue is that when someone gets killed on the roads there's basically next to nothing done about it while the railways are always required to do anything physically possible to prevent a repeat regardless of cost, but it's hard to shake the feeling that contractors are just charging whatever they feel like.

It's also hard to shake the feeling that some posters here accept and defend any costing as if it were unquestionable.
 

Bald Rick

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133 person-years cost for a bit of track covering two lanes' worth of road and some flimsy barriers and a couple of motion sensors? I need to get into providing railway infrastructure; it rivals the price of printer ink. Who vets these costs? Or does the government just pay "market rates" no questions asked?
I’m not sure how many level crossings you have worked, maintained or commissioned, but there is an awful lot more to a ‘new’ MCB-OD level crossing than what you describe. Signals protecting them for one, and a safety critical interlocking for another. Then power supplies, sometimes to places where there isn’t any. Telecoms. Redundancy and back up systems to make it all bulletproof.

On top of which, the guys and girls designing, installing and commissioning these are earning a LOT more than £30k.
 

Chester1

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I fail to see why Leigh should have been reinstated - Atherton station is 3 miles away and if there was that much demand another station could be opened at Glazebury on the south side - that could all be achieved without laying a single metre of track.

The problem with somewhere like Leigh is it would be competing for paths into Manchester - either Victoria or Piccadilly which we already know are at a premium - so which already established and busy service loses out, just so Leigh could have benefitted? Makes precisely no sense.

In slightly different circumstances the "right" answer for Leigh would probably have been an extension of the Metrolink, but it hasn't really gone that side of Manchester.
Its too far out on existing routes for Metrolink. Connecting it to Trafford Park or Eccles lines would probably have a longer journey time than by bus.

Leigh is somewhere I travel to regularly by train, and it has undoubtedly been left behind a bit in comparison to its rail connected neighbours such as Wigan and Bolton. Atherton station may only be three miles away (it is my preferred route by public transport) but it is undoubtedly a bit of a rigmarole. You should also see the time the busway takes to get to the centre of Manchester as well. It's not a particularly speedy link.

Yes, the reduction in capacity in Manchester hasn't helped matters, but even with recent development in the area, there is still probably room for a west facing bay/s at Victoria where Exhange used to be.
But you're comparing apples with bananas again. You can't meaningfully compare Leigh with Wigan or Bolton. Leigh has a population of circa 50,000 - Wigan is double that and Bolton is bigger again.

Wigan was always going to retain its rail links - by a quirk of history it's on the WCML. Bolton is on the main link between Manchester and Preston and Manchester and Blackburn. Leigh was on a by-pass line between Manchester and Liverpool - and you can argue until you're blue in the face that either the 'wrong' line was closed or that both should have been kept - but the reality was Leigh ended up on the 'wrong' line.

Where Leigh has perhaps been unlucky is, as I said earlier, the fact Metrolink hasn't headed out that way. In many respects it's like Bury or Oldham in that it has lost its 'heavy' rail connection but they gained the Metrolink.

But again, if there really is the demand for rail travel to / from Leigh which Atherton can't cope with then why isn't anyone pushing for a station at Glazebury ? It's on a now electrified main line between Liverpool and Manchester - for a fraction of the cost of reinstating the line through Leigh, without the impact on there would be a decent service close at hand and the impact on services through Manchester should be minimal i.e. 1 additional stop between Liverpool and Manchester.
There is some local authority support for a station at Glazebury. If the busway services were extended to a Leigh Parkway then it would provide an affordable solution to providing for local journeys and longer distance services. The Chat Moss line would benefit from a passing loop at such a station and that would more than compensate for adding a stop to some services.

Back onto topic. If you had a quick reliable bus service on a busway between March and Wisbech, with a priority system on shared roads then it would increase public transport usage at 37.5% of the upfront cost (£75m) and it would undoubtedly have lower operating costs. People would not move to Wisbech to commute long distances using it but it would serve local needs and residents long distance leisure travel. If 15 or 20 years later the busway proved inadequate then the business case for a railway line might have improved. A busway with a regular service is much better than a rusting, overgrown track with aspirations to reopen.
 

matacaster

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As a general observation, I think people thinking of going to a place which they are not familiar with using public transport will feel relatively confident if they are going to an airport or railway station as they are both reasonably reliable and have information displays. Many would expect to complete their journey by taxi. The problem with buses is even when they appear on an information display, they frequently dont turn up with no explanation (at least in West Yorkshire) and are rarely disability compliant. Railway stations tend to be well known in terms of location.
 

Clayton

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As a general observation, I think people thinking of going to a place which they are not familiar with using public transport will feel relatively confident if they are going to an airport or railway station as they are both reasonably reliable and have information displays. Many would expect to complete their journey by taxi. The problem with buses is even when they appear on an information display, they frequently dont turn up with no explanation (at least in West Yorkshire) and are rarely disability compliant. Railway stations tend to be well known in terms of location.
This is a very important point though it does sound a bit silly. Like a football team, a railway station puts a place on the map. It’s easy to find reliable current timetables and buy tickets, whereas finding bus timetables and even bus stops is a lot harder if you’re not local, and you don’t necessarily trust that information. If the bus was fitted in to the rail timetable and well publicised people might trust it, but how many bus services work this way?
 

yorksrob

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Its too far out on existing routes for Metrolink. Connecting it to Trafford Park or Eccles lines would probably have a longer journey time than by bus.





There is some local authority support for a station at Glazebury. If the busway services were extended to a Leigh Parkway then it would provide an affordable solution to providing for local journeys and longer distance services. The Chat Moss line would benefit from a passing loop at such a station and that would more than compensate for adding a stop to some services.

Back onto topic. If you had a quick reliable bus service on a busway between March and Wisbech, with a priority system on shared roads then it would increase public transport usage at 37.5% of the upfront cost (£75m) and it would undoubtedly have lower operating costs. People would not move to Wisbech to commute long distances using it but it would serve local needs and residents long distance leisure travel. If 15 or 20 years later the busway proved inadequate then the business case for a railway line might have improved. A busway with a regular service is much better than a rusting, overgrown track with aspirations to reopen.
It depends what the priority system on shared roads looks like. If it involves a lot of construction of busways, you might as well just get on with building the railway and linking the town with the rail network. If not, how are you going to avoid the congestion etc.
 

A0wen

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A station at Glazebury might be of use as a parkway, but it's hardly much better for local passengers who walk than getting the bus to Atherton.
There are no shortage of towns up and down this country where the main station is 2-3 miles away from other areas of the town - usually by virtue of history, places like Ipswich where a number of the areas of housing are over 2 miles from the main station, Northampton - same again, Yeovil, Stafford, the list goes on. They all manage and people travel that distance to the station - what makes Leigh such a special case that the good people of Leigh can't cope with a distance that many other towns can?
 

yorksrob

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There are no shortage of towns up and down this country where the main station is 2-3 miles away from other areas of the town - usually by virtue of history, places like Ipswich where a number of the areas of housing are over 2 miles from the main station, Northampton - same again, Yeovil, Stafford, the list goes on. They all manage and people travel that distance to the station - what makes Leigh such a special case that the good people of Leigh can't cope with a distance that many other towns can?
They aren't comparable.

It's the town centre of Leigh which is several miles from a railway station, which means that people from the suburbs of Leigh will in most cases have to make it to the town centre, then make it by bus to some other location to access the nations primary public transport network.
 

A0wen

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They aren't comparable.

It's the town centre of Leigh which is several miles from a railway station, which means that people from the suburbs of Leigh will in most cases have to make it to the town centre, then make it by bus to some other location to access the nations primary public transport network.
Same argument goes for Ipswich, Northampton, Yeovil, Stafford etc etc etc - so why is Leigh any different to those? The stations in those towns aren't in the town centre - they are on the edge of at best.
 

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