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Author Topic: East - West Rail update (Oxford to Bedford) - ongoing discussion  (Read 109381 times)
ellendune
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« Reply #255 on: April 02, 2021, 01:23:05 pm »

I doubt that you are ever going to find a set of people who would be happy about their homes being demolished.

Agreed, but it does highlight the problem of widening existing railway lines that go through towns.  Imagine what it would take to four track from Rugby to Birmingham (which was proposed previously before HS2 (The next High Speed line(s)) came along).
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« Reply #256 on: May 17, 2021, 10:27:55 am »

The BBC» (British Broadcasting Corporation - home page) have published what they call a "simple guide" - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-56988231.amp
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« Reply #257 on: May 17, 2021, 11:21:57 am »

I'm a big fan of this thread, as 13 years of posts are condensed into 18 pages.  Those 18 pages demonstrate perfectly the hurdles that have to be overcome, together with over ambition, setbacks and inevitable cost increases, in order for anything to actually happen on the ground.
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« Reply #258 on: May 17, 2021, 11:52:09 am »

Still more hurdles to overcome - check out these two pressure groups blogs -

Cambridge Approaches - https://cambridgeapproaches.org/

Bedford for a Reconsultation - https://bfare.org.uk

The route is far from settled. Neither group like the suggested routes in trhe EWR second consultation
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eightonedee
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« Reply #259 on: May 17, 2021, 02:09:37 pm »

The following sentence about the group objecting to the southern route from the BBC» (British Broadcasting Corporation - home page) summary says it all-

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The campaign states a northern route into Cambridge would, among other arguments, have at least seven times fewer residents living within 200m (656ft) of the line and less impact on the environment.

But surely we want a new rail link to run through areas with people who might be passengers? The southern route would connect Cambourne new town, a proposed further new settlement at Bourne aerodrome and the growth area at Great Kneighton/Addenbrookes growth area with each other and with the city centre.
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« Reply #260 on: May 17, 2021, 02:43:06 pm »


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The campaign states a northern route into Cambridge would, among other arguments, have at least seven times fewer residents living within 200m (656ft) of the line and less impact on the environment.

But surely we want a new rail link to run through areas with people who might be passengers? ....

Might get less objections for a line from Meldon to Marhamchurch, but would probably get fewer passengers too ...

Trick is getting the line close enough to people's homes for them to support it, but not too close that they turn into objectors!

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« Reply #261 on: June 02, 2021, 06:48:28 am »

Not sure if the closure of Fenny Stratford has come up here before and I have missed it, or it is just coming to attention courtesy of the MK (Milton Keynes) Citizen

Quote
Milton Keynes Council has asked rail bosses to think again about a string of controversial proposals in the plans to reopen the Oxford to Cambridge rail line.

The Labour/Lib Dem alliance strongly supports EWR's plans to re-open the line, which will link Oxford and Cambridge via at Bletchley and Bedford.

But to carry out the plan, EWR is proposing to completely close Fenny Stratford station, as well as level crossings in Fenny Stratford and Woburn Sands.

Personal recollection - recent years staying at a hotel near this station and commuting to work just one stop up the line (Bow Brickhill); no easy alternative available - significant walk in to Bletchley if I had caught the train from there, and the journey I took was short but crossed the M1 with no suitable alternative available.
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Lee
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« Reply #262 on: June 02, 2021, 07:48:34 am »

Not sure if the closure of Fenny Stratford has come up here before and I have missed it, or it is just coming to attention courtesy of the MK (Milton Keynes) Citizen

Quote
Milton Keynes Council has asked rail bosses to think again about a string of controversial proposals in the plans to reopen the Oxford to Cambridge rail line.

The Labour/Lib Dem alliance strongly supports EWR's plans to re-open the line, which will link Oxford and Cambridge via at Bletchley and Bedford.

But to carry out the plan, EWR is proposing to completely close Fenny Stratford station, as well as level crossings in Fenny Stratford and Woburn Sands.

Personal recollection - recent years staying at a hotel near this station and commuting to work just one stop up the line (Bow Brickhill); no easy alternative available - significant walk in to Bletchley if I had caught the train from there, and the journey I took was short but crossed the M1 with no suitable alternative available.

It refers to the controversial "Concept 2" option of the consultation. This would see the 10 Marston Vale stations reduced to 5, with Fenny Stratford, Bow Brickhill and Millbrook stations closed completely, and Aspley Guise/Ridgemont and Stewartby/Kempston Hardwick "merged" apparently having worked with "local stakeholders" to finalise the choices - although they say they are open to alternative proposals on the exact 5 stations mix, but that "Concept 2" must not exceed more than 5 stations in total.

https://eastwestrail-production.s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/public/EAS060_ConDoc_290321_Digital_SectionB_DIG.pdf

Quote from: East West Rail
We have identified two ways this part of the line could be upgraded:

Concept 1: The existing hourly stopping service would continue to serve all Marston Vale Line stations, with a new limited-stop EWR service calling at two stations – Woburn Sands and Ridgmont – four times an hour.  The hourly stopping service at intermediate stations would enable a change onto a faster EWR train at either Woburn Sands   or Ridgmont, for connections to Oxford   and Cambridge. The ability to change to the faster EWR services at Ridgmont will make journeys from some intermediate stations to either Bletchley or Bedford quicker. Two EWR Oxford - Cambridge trains and two EWR Bletchley - Cambridge each hour would   call at Woburn Sands and Ridgmont.   These trains would take 22 minutes to   travel from Bletchley to Bedford. The   hourly-stopping service would need to   wait in additional sections of track known as ‘passing loops’ to allow faster EWR trains to overtake so may need to run more slowly, and the timetable would be modified. Most of the stations would see minimal - if any – upgrades, but the station at Ridgmont would need to be relocated to enable passing loops to be built and Bedford St Johns station would also be relocated.

Concept 2: There would be five new merged stations on the Marston Vale Line – all five would benefit from at least two EWR services every hour, and some would have four. This would mean more communities have access to more frequent and faster services, direct to more locations.  Two EWR stopping trains would run every hour between Bletchley and Cambridge calling at all five stations. These trains would take 27 minutes to travel from Bletchley to Bedford instead of 42 minutes today. In addition, two EWR OxfordCambridge trains would call at Woburn Sands and Ridgmont. These trains would take 22 minutes to travel from Bletchley   to Bedford. These services would replace the current hourly stopping service and the ten existing intermediate stations would be merged, creating five new modern stations with better facilities in locations more suitable for existing needs and to ensure that the right transport infrastructure is in place for the growth that is already starting to happen in the local area. Some residents would need to travel a little further to their nearest station, but EWR are developing plans for improved pedestrian and cycle routes, as well as working with local stakeholders on better public   transport connections. Given the increased frequency and speed   of the service, even for those who do have   to travel further to the station, overall journey durations are likely to be shorter or at least the same as they are today. Upgraded and new stations would be designed from the start to ensure that onward transport – whether by bike, car, bus or on foot – is convenient and minimises disruption by reducing traffic in constrained  village centres.

Merged stations have been considered in the following locations:

•    Woburn Sands station relocated   a short distance to the west of   the current station

•    Ridgmont station relocated between the current Aspley   Guise and Ridgmont stations   (in a similar location to that required by Concept 1)

•  Lidlington station relocated a short distance to the east of the existing Lidlington station

•  Stewartby station relocated between  the current Stewartby  and  Kempston Hardwick stations

•  Bedford St Johns station relocated a short distance to the south   or west

All of these stations on the line would benefit from direct connections east between Bedford and Cambridge. Woburn Sands and Ridgmont would have direct services to stations   west – like Oxford or Bicester,   whilst for the others this would be   a short interchange. Whilst we have identified these five locations by working with local stakeholders, we are open to your suggestions for alternative merged station options, provided the overall number does not increase beyond five   in Concept 2. Both of these concepts are viable options. We recognise that despite its reliability challenges and low usage, the existing service is important for some members of the community. It would though be a missed opportunity if we were not to at least consider the alternative, given the potential benefits it offers to local residents both today and for the future.

Both of these concepts   would require:

•    Changes to the way vehicles and pedestrians cross the railway, replacing level crossings with safer alternatives to enable a faster, more frequent and more reliable train service 

•  Improvements to the track, including the reinstatement of   a second track between Bletchley and Fenny Stratford

•  A range of improvements to Bletchley station, which would become an important hub with the extension of East West Rail’s services to Bedford   and Cambridge

•    Consideration of how to carry out the required upgrades, which could involve the suspension of the existing train service between Bletchley and Bedford, during the construction period.

•  When we have reviewed responses in relation to these concepts, we will prepare designs in greater detail for each of them, along   with assessments of their effects. We will share these at our statutory consultation. 

•  Details about where to access more information and how to respond to this consultation can   be found in the final section of   this document.

When we have reviewed responses in relation to these concepts, we will prepare designs in greater detail for each of them, along with assessments of their effects.  We will share these at our statutory consultation.

My apologies for some shortcomings in the formatting - I have to rush as I have both Option 24/7 and day job work to complete today.
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« Reply #263 on: June 24, 2021, 09:00:40 pm »

From the BBC» (British Broadcasting Corporation - home page)

Quote
It is of "paramount importance" that a £5bn direct rail line between Oxford and Cambridge uses electric trains, an MP (Member of Parliament) has said.

The East West Rail project aims to connect the university cities by the end of the decade, but its electrification is yet to be confirmed.

MP Layla Moran said: "We're in a climate emergency. No rail line should be designed for diesel by default."

And noting

Quote
A DfT» (Department for Transport - about) spokesperson said: "The government is committed to decarbonising East West Rail by 2050, and a review is being undertaken to look at all long-term options for electrification."

It does 'feel' sensible with all the work being done that everything should be done at once - electrify the darned thing while you rebuild it must be cheaper in the long term than taking two major engineering bites?
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ChrisB
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« Reply #264 on: June 25, 2021, 11:23:48 am »

I think they’re hoping alternative fuels, like the hydrogen trials, might be suitable
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« Reply #265 on: June 26, 2021, 09:15:40 am »

From the BBC» (British Broadcasting Corporation - home page)

Quote
It is of "paramount importance" that a £5bn direct rail line between Oxford and Cambridge uses electric trains, an MP (Member of Parliament) has said.

The East West Rail project aims to connect the university cities by the end of the decade, but its electrification is yet to be confirmed.

MP Layla Moran said: "We're in a climate emergency. No rail line should be designed for diesel by default."

And noting

Quote
A DfT» (Department for Transport - about) spokesperson said: "The government is committed to decarbonising East West Rail by 2050, and a review is being undertaken to look at all long-term options for electrification."

It does 'feel' sensible with all the work being done that everything should be done at once - electrify the darned thing while you rebuild it must be cheaper in the long term than taking two major engineering bites?

Whilst electrification would have been more carbon neutral, even EastWest Rail using modern diesel powered units is more carbon neutral than the alternative which was a dual carriage way 'A' Road.

EastWest Rail lends its self to future electrification provided if new units are purchased they have an electrical traction system and not mechanical also the capability to have Pans and transformers fitted at a future date
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« Reply #266 on: June 26, 2021, 07:43:29 pm »

From the BBC» (British Broadcasting Corporation - home page)

Quote
It is of "paramount importance" that a £5bn direct rail line between Oxford and Cambridge uses electric trains, an MP (Member of Parliament) has said.

The East West Rail project aims to connect the university cities by the end of the decade, but its electrification is yet to be confirmed.

MP Layla Moran said: "We're in a climate emergency. No rail line should be designed for diesel by default."

And noting

Quote
A DfT» (Department for Transport - about) spokesperson said: "The government is committed to decarbonising East West Rail by 2050, and a review is being undertaken to look at all long-term options for electrification."

It does 'feel' sensible with all the work being done that everything should be done at once - electrify the darned thing while you rebuild it must be cheaper in the long term than taking two major engineering bites?
I'm not sure that the price difference between electrifying the line while it is under construction and electrifying it after completion is that great.

I understand that, as a rule of thumb, about half the cost of electrifying an existing line is the cost of getting it ready to be electrified, that is sorting out signal cabling runs, clearing the drains and relocating them where necessary, rebuilding bridges to permit wires, closing level crossings, realigning the track where necessary, signalling and so on and so forth.

All this work will have been done in order to reopen the railway and the position of the services will be known - this removes roughly half the cost of electrification. This means that when the time comes to electrify the remaining tasks that needs to be done on the plain line is installation of the feeder points and other electrical supply gubbins, the planting of the masts and the running of the wires. All these things can be done off-line or during nighttime possessions without needing a blockade.

Obviously electrification of the stations will be more complex but work at Oxford or Bedford can't really economically start until the track reorganisations have been completed.

In my book it makes perfect sense to delay the wiring - after all the initial train service will not be very intense nor will very long fuel-thirsty trains be running so the ecological argument is weak.

In the longer term electrification would be a sensible solution, but for it to make sense the Oxford end at least would have to be wired and if the cost of wiring Oxford station were to be added to the EWR budget it would break it. Far better to get Oxford wired on the GW (Great Western)'s budget or the 'Oxford Corridor' budget and then tack EWR onto it.
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« Reply #267 on: June 27, 2021, 08:00:40 am »

I'm not sure that the price difference between electrifying the line while it is under construction and electrifying it after completion is that great.

I understand that, as a rule of thumb, about half the cost of electrifying an existing line is the cost of getting it ready to be electrified, that is sorting out signal cabling runs, clearing the drains and relocating them where necessary, rebuilding bridges to permit wires, closing level crossings, realigning the track where necessary, signalling and so on and so forth.

All this work will have been done in order to reopen the railway and the position of the services will be known - this removes roughly half the cost of electrification. This means that when the time comes to electrify the remaining tasks that needs to be done on the plain line is installation of the feeder points and other electrical supply gubbins, the planting of the masts and the running of the wires. All these things can be done off-line or during nighttime possessions without needing a blockade.

Can someone confirm when all the clearance work is being done.  Obviously new structures will have electrification clearances, but are they upgrading existing structures for electrification?
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« Reply #268 on: June 27, 2021, 04:16:15 pm »

I'm not sure that the price difference between electrifying the line while it is under construction and electrifying it after completion is that great.

I understand that, as a rule of thumb, about half the cost of electrifying an existing line is the cost of getting it ready to be electrified, that is sorting out signal cabling runs, clearing the drains and relocating them where necessary, rebuilding bridges to permit wires, closing level crossings, realigning the track where necessary, signalling and so on and so forth.

All this work will have been done in order to reopen the railway and the position of the services will be known - this removes roughly half the cost of electrification. This means that when the time comes to electrify the remaining tasks that needs to be done on the plain line is installation of the feeder points and other electrical supply gubbins, the planting of the masts and the running of the wires. All these things can be done off-line or during nighttime possessions without needing a blockade.

Can someone confirm when all the clearance work is being done.  Obviously new structures will have electrification clearances, but are they upgrading existing structures for electrification?

According to the TWAO (Transport and Works Act Order ), and the inspector's report for that, existing structures are not to be altered specifically for electrification. All new structures will have the required clearances. As a result, some bridges originally planned for replacement would need some work, included raising parapets.

The inspector refers to NR» (Network Rail - home page)'s submission: "Document NR211: Replacing existing bridges between Bicester and Bletchley to enable electrification would cost approximately £34.5 million". (Elsewhere their number is given as five.) I can't see a similar figure for Bletchley to Bedford.

The inspector also made this explicit judgement: "However, I am satisfied that options are open to provide in the future electrification, increased platform lengths and improved capacity, if demand requires it and the funding is available."

The eastern section will be subject to National Infrastructure Planning, rather than the old TWA process, and its current status is listed as "pre-application".
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« Reply #269 on: June 27, 2021, 06:54:43 pm »

I'm not sure that the price difference between electrifying the line while it is under construction and electrifying it after completion is that great.

I understand that, as a rule of thumb, about half the cost of electrifying an existing line is the cost of getting it ready to be electrified, that is sorting out signal cabling runs, clearing the drains and relocating them where necessary, rebuilding bridges to permit wires, closing level crossings, realigning the track where necessary, signalling and so on and so forth.

All this work will have been done in order to reopen the railway and the position of the services will be known - this removes roughly half the cost of electrification. This means that when the time comes to electrify the remaining tasks that needs to be done on the plain line is installation of the feeder points and other electrical supply gubbins, the planting of the masts and the running of the wires. All these things can be done off-line or during nighttime possessions without needing a blockade.

Can someone confirm when all the clearance work is being done.  Obviously new structures will have electrification clearances, but are they upgrading existing structures for electrification?

Most of the clearance has been done, including demolition of the old Wimslow station building.  Bletchley flyover has had its old decks removed and replaced
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