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Author Topic: Cambridge Guided Busway - ongoing discussion and updates (merged topic)  (Read 75246 times)
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« Reply #225 on: July 19, 2020, 04:47:12 pm »

A further update on the Gosport - Fareham Busway, yesterday(18/7/20).

The starting section from the existing busway appears to have been dugout to full depth for the preparation of the pavement. In the middle section (to where the existing cycle path crosses it) all the former rails appear to have been removed and excavation to partial depth. The last section surveyed and marked out to the junction with the Rowner Road (which I still can't visualise).
I think the original Rowner Road plan was to drop that road to the old track level by removing the existing bridge.   Sort of opposite to what they did at Newgate Lane and Wych Lane, where they brought the busway down to road level.    But now the bus lane will just rise to a T junction at existing level.

Id have thought it best to keep Rowner Road Bridge and eventually run the busway under it?
« Last Edit: July 19, 2020, 04:59:25 pm by paul7755 » Logged
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« Reply #226 on: July 20, 2020, 06:03:29 am »

Firstly, I was told some years ago that the crucial factor behind this being promoted as a guided busway rather than reopening the St Ives to Cambridge branch as a railway was the cost of repairing the bridge over the Great Ouse at St Ives and upgrading it to current railway standards. My source was involved with the project for a government agency, and someone I would regard as reliable. Do those costs now stack up? Too late to do anything about it now!

I heard ...
(1) able to get a lot more central / eurpoean grant for a busway than for a railway
(2) flexibility off ends to run into Cambridge centre and round lots of road-branches at the outer end to give direct services from lots of places away from the old rail line into the city
... but there were probably many more positives for the busway; I was only taking an interest quite late in the game, and then only from a potential knowledgable occasional users viewpoint and not as a campaigner.  The Cast Iron campaign had by that point just lost the decision.

Secondly, (admitting that this might be nonsense coming from a non-engineer), my limited knowledge of railway infrastructure and formations is that embankments are not entirely stable structures,

Very good question about the ability of what is essentially slab track versus sleeper track to withstand limited movements of the underlying land and earthworks.   I don't have a very good answer, but highlighting the question again in case anyone else does.   May have been asked before, but I can't remember it and I have been here for 12 years!

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« Reply #227 on: July 20, 2020, 10:56:03 am »

Update on Cambridge guided busway saga with the Council suing BAM Nuttall

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« Reply #228 on: July 20, 2020, 11:16:44 am »

I've had this month's freebie from NCE. Here is the BBC's report on the matter.

Cambridgeshire busway: Bid to reclaim 80m repair bill
17 July 2020

A second round of legal action has been launched against the company which built Cambridgeshire's busway, in a bid to reclaim more than half of the 150m construction costs.

The county council settled a 36m dispute against BAM Nuttall in 2014 and is now looking to claim a further 80m.

The busway, which links St Ives to Cambridge, opened in 2011 after delays and financial rows.

BAM Nuttall said it was "disappointing" the matter was in the High Court.

Cambridgeshire County Council's legal claim includes the correction of all the identified defects and the cost of the repairs already made.

In a High Court document, the council claims it has received "no adequate justification" from the contractors for the foundation depths it has constructed.
It said BAM Nuttall had not factored in "the expected movements of the foundation" and there were "errors" in its calculations.

On the balance of probabilities, it said, the foundations would not meet the required lifespan of 40 years.

The council also cited "inappropriate infiltration drainage design", missing and incorrect information in maintenance manuals and the provision of dirty and contaminated concrete beam moulds.

The council said it had used third parties to try to correct the defects and "claims a sum to be assessed by the court as the cost to correct the defects... or alternatively as damages for breach of contract".

BAM Nuttall said: "Anything wrong with the busway design, for which BAM Nuttall is responsible, we'll put it right.

"In the six years since the council's consultants alleged that the busway would need hundreds of interventions each month, this has not come to pass. The engineering evidence shows that it will not come to pass in the future.

"BAM is confident that we'll demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the court that the design of the busway is not fundamentally defective and doesn't require the remedial works, which the council claims."

Part of this report seems to contradict the reports of what happened in the earlier case. Cambridgeshire agreed a settlement of 800,000 for the 36 million claim, with a legal bill to make the eyes water. It looks as though BAM are not going to be so nice this time. The busway is, according to them, still in good working order. The truth will be out there somewhere, and it will be interesting to see what it is.

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« Reply #229 on: July 20, 2020, 12:15:47 pm »

Of course, they weren't always at eachothers throats.

Cast Iron were a key member of CANBER in the mid-2000s, so I spent quite a lot of time helping them to try and stop the busway, and get a rail solution built instead. As a result, I well remember some of the "interesting" publicity material that the promoters came out with.

Here is one such example from October 2007. With apologies in advance to Sade, I give you "Smooth Operator" :

Quote from: Smooth Operator
Construction of the world's longest guided busway has just started in Cambridgeshire, with precast concrete the key.

Presumably, residents of Cambridgeshire where the local university is home to some of the world's best academics - get used to leading the way on matters of research and innovation. But it may still come as a surprise that the East Anglian county is leading the world in matters of transportation.

A guided busway is currently under construction between Cambridge and St Ives that , when completed, will be the longest in the world. It will run almost 26km, linking commuters north of the city with its railway station, science park and Addenbrookes Hospital. Importantly, it will also pass the 9,500 homes in the Northstowe development set to be built between the two areas.

The idea of building a guided busway came out of the Cambridge to Huntingdon Multi Modal Study (CHUMMS). The areas are currently linked by the A14, a very heavily used road that is notorious for accidents and breakdowns, in part due to its high volume of HGVs en route to Felixstowe. Journey times are highly unpredictable, and incidents on the A14 can gridlock all surrounding roads.

The busway scheme makes use of a disused rail corridor, and was one of a number of options considered during the study. We looked at both heavy and light rail, as well as building a bus lane on the A14," explains Bob Menzies, Cambridgeshire County Council head of delivery for the busway scheme. Surprisingly, not only was the bus solution cheaper than either light or heavy rail (at just one fifth the price), but it also proved capable of carrying more passengers.

The guided bus network will allow standard buses to run within a concrete "guideway", which consists of a running surface and a low upstand. Small guide wheels on the side of the buses run along the inside of the upstand to keep them within the guideway.

It is a simple system that allows any bus to join the network, provided it has been fitted with the necessary steering modifications and guide wheels, which can be done for as little as 2,000 although the operators on the Cambridgeshire route are investing in completely new fleets. The main advantages over rail are in the cost of construction, operation and maintenance, and the system scores over normal buses in many ways, including land take, drainage and ride quality.

Because the buses run within the designated guideway (or busway), they require far less space than traditional road running. They also require less hard surfacing just enough for the bus wheels so surface run off is less of an issue than it would be with road construction.


Whilst hindsight is indeed a wonderful thing, it is well worth reading the whole piece, given the way things have turned out.

Currently muddling along the Guingamp-Carhaix line
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« Reply #230 on: July 20, 2020, 09:19:01 pm »

Whilst hindsight is indeed a wonderful thing, it is well worth reading the whole piece, given the way things have turned out.

A fifth of the price of a railway. Who'd be a prophet, eh?

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