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  • Minehaed Rail Link Group: October 30, 2018
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Author Topic: Minehead Rail Link Group  (Read 36082 times)
broadgage
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« Reply #135 on: August 26, 2020, 05:48:49 pm »

Re post # 132, This I find rather depressing. This is NOT to be taken as a personal attack on the O/P who is clearly very knowledgeable.
I am well aware that running an all round service from Minehead to Taunton or beyond is a non trivial undertaking.
It does look as though the problems are even greater than I and others anticipated. Even meeting the PRESENT regulatory challenges might not work as such requirements tend to become steadily more onerous.

It is becoming to sound comparable to building a new railway, and nearly as costly.

I say again that this is not a criticism of the poster, who is obviously well informed.

 
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
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« Reply #136 on: August 26, 2020, 06:14:19 pm »

Re post # 132, This I find rather depressing.

I think I have worked out which post you mean. However, if like me you have changed the setting to show the most recent post at the top, they number from the most recent. 

Did you mean this one?

As one of those involved in the rescue of the WSR from oblivion from 1973 onwards, and active involvement in operation from early 1976 to late 1979, I'd like to say how heartening it is to see the branch again being thought of in the light of its ability to offer a proper public transport service

The GWR (Great Western Railway) (the real one) added greatly to the line's capacity in the 1930s by doubling the sections between Norton Fitzwarren and Bishops Lydeard and between Dunster and Minehead.  I'm not sure about the utility of the first of these sections as being doubled in the present day (it was widely rumoured that the only reason the GW (Great Western) did it, along with the section to Milverton on the Barnstaple line, was to avoid the need for token exchanges at the extremely busy Norton Fitzwarren Jcn box).  Also, "summer service only" basic crossing loops were provided at Leigh Woods and at Kentsford.  Remotely-controlled reinstatement of some/all of these (assuming the money could be found, which is a huge "if") would enable a timetable to be provided that would cater for commuter trains to/from Taunton and beyond and also heritage steam trains.  30 - 40 minute headways would become possible with shorter sections and recovery from late running would be easier with the double track at the Minehead end.  Something like this was my ideal, back in the 1970s

40mph running for DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) type trains was envisioned by the 1975 LRO - I don't know how amenable to this prospect are the present day powers-that-be.

The signal (E627) that gives access to the main line at Norton Fitzwarren, controlled by Exeter Panel, routes only to the present Down/Up Relief.  Which is handy, because of access to the existing bay platforms at the country end of the Down Relief platform at Taunton, but a pain regulation wise because a train on or off the branch is difficult to cross the main lines.

I suspect it's all do-able, but lack of will politically, a dog-in-the-manger attitude amongst preservationists of the present WSR, and biggest of all, a shortage of money, will keep all of this very much on the back burner
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Lee
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« Reply #137 on: August 26, 2020, 07:00:46 pm »

Re post # 132, This I find rather depressing.

I think I have worked out which post you mean. However, if like me you have changed the setting to show the most recent post at the top, they number from the most recent. 

Did you mean this one?

As one of those involved in the rescue of the WSR from oblivion from 1973 onwards, and active involvement in operation from early 1976 to late 1979, I'd like to say how heartening it is to see the branch again being thought of in the light of its ability to offer a proper public transport service

The GWR (Great Western Railway) (the real one) added greatly to the line's capacity in the 1930s by doubling the sections between Norton Fitzwarren and Bishops Lydeard and between Dunster and Minehead.  I'm not sure about the utility of the first of these sections as being doubled in the present day (it was widely rumoured that the only reason the GW (Great Western) did it, along with the section to Milverton on the Barnstaple line, was to avoid the need for token exchanges at the extremely busy Norton Fitzwarren Jcn box).  Also, "summer service only" basic crossing loops were provided at Leigh Woods and at Kentsford.  Remotely-controlled reinstatement of some/all of these (assuming the money could be found, which is a huge "if") would enable a timetable to be provided that would cater for commuter trains to/from Taunton and beyond and also heritage steam trains.  30 - 40 minute headways would become possible with shorter sections and recovery from late running would be easier with the double track at the Minehead end.  Something like this was my ideal, back in the 1970s

40mph running for DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) type trains was envisioned by the 1975 LRO - I don't know how amenable to this prospect are the present day powers-that-be.

The signal (E627) that gives access to the main line at Norton Fitzwarren, controlled by Exeter Panel, routes only to the present Down/Up Relief.  Which is handy, because of access to the existing bay platforms at the country end of the Down Relief platform at Taunton, but a pain regulation wise because a train on or off the branch is difficult to cross the main lines.

I suspect it's all do-able, but lack of will politically, a dog-in-the-manger attitude amongst preservationists of the present WSR, and biggest of all, a shortage of money, will keep all of this very much on the back burner

Im not sure I find it quite so depressing.

What I thought Witham Bobby was saying was that it was do-able, but if none of the current variables change, then it wont happen. And he's right.

What I believe is that enough of the variables could be made to change to make the proposal worth investigating.
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #138 on: August 26, 2020, 08:41:45 pm »

That's the trouble with times like these:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfnhmuZ27eQ
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« Reply #139 on: August 26, 2020, 11:26:43 pm »

Its not the despair that does it. Its the hope! Love clockwise and John Cleese
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« Reply #140 on: August 27, 2020, 05:03:35 am »

Drip, drip, drip ...

These are times of change, and there's a danger if parties don't change to match new times, they'll be left with little or nothing.  And perhaps that's a wonderful opportunity to say "what have we to loose - let's go all out and try this".  Writing that, I expect both the heritage and the National Network folks to have a feeling I'm looking at them.  And both groups are right.

People keep asking. People keep trying. In spite of all the issues raised, it would be "common sense" to use the already-engineered and currently-tracked corridor from Taunton into Minehead for both tourist trips out and the normal journeys of the population and economy of the area.  More likely than not it won't happen - but that is not to stop people trying.  If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.  For sure, "are we wasting our time even trying" is a good question, but perseverance over a number of years can pay off - just about every national network re-opening has grown from seeds of earlier schemes / thoughts / questions over the years which have been unsuccessful.

Edit - correcting a typo
« Last Edit: August 27, 2020, 02:28:05 pm by grahame » Logged

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grahame
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« Reply #141 on: August 29, 2020, 06:55:23 pm »


Footnote - a guess at what a National Rail service could look like

Year 1:
80 minute journeys ...
From Minehead at
05*45, 07#05, 09z00, 12w00, 15w00, 18:00 and 21:00
From Taunton at
07:05, 10w30, 13w30, 16z30, 18#00, 19:30 and 22*30



Don't like guessing ... wanted a bit of light relief from something else so had a play, and had a couple of nagging wonders if it would work.



* Crossing National Rail services at Williton ONLY
* Terminating at platform on Seaward Road directly beside / behind Butlins
* National Rail trains do not use Minehead heritage station which can be locked secure out of hours

Early train all year off Minehead handles connecting London and Bristol commuters
Second train is for Bristol / Cardiff ... school and commuters in to Taunton
Third train is hospital / shopping / leisure traffic
18:00 caters for commuters returning home from Minehead (pity about it being much earlier in summer?)
21:00 is final train for homebound people;  Bristol connection at Taunton M-F

First train off Taunton provides for commuters into Minehead
Next two in winter provide for daytime arrivals (time difference no great problem in summer?)
16:30, 17:55 and 19:30 are school / commuter returns (pity 16:30 is earlier in summer)
Late train inbound at 22:30 for the night owls

Norton Fitzwarren, Doniford, Crowcombe and Stogumber services possibly thinner than need be, pointing joerneys towards Taunton in the morning, back later in the day.

* Heritage trains cross at Crowcombe, Williton and Blue Anchor
* Heritage YELLOW timetable used - peak services only minor mods.
- Only mix of heritage and National is from 18:09 to 18:30 - cross at Crowcombe.
- Diesel heritage services call at Minehead (Seaward Road)
- Only first outbound / last inbound steam trains call at Seaward Road to avoid cutting into service time

Keeping an eye on both day trips out from Butlins and arrival / departures from there.

Some summer / through train concerns as might be a bit tight; want to avoid double change?  How about longer layover at Bishops Lydeard which allow for staff PNBs (Personal Needs Break)?    How important is through Bristol service during day in summer - are connection at Taunton for London ad the north more critical?   Changes at Bishops Lydeard - run National Rail terminators to bay so that it can be cross platform to / from heritage and National Rail will not get in way of steam run around.

Connections at Bishop's Lydeard quicker in one direction, slower in other for mechandising
All have some allowance for making up time
All services except 16:15 off Minehead have National Rail connections (no NR» (Network Rail - home page) train avaiable)
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Witham Bobby
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« Reply #142 on: August 29, 2020, 07:16:36 pm »

Well thought out, Grahame

Striking similarity to the timetable which was in mind back in 1978. Except for the late evening services. Back then, there didn’t seem to be much point.

The weakness is the lack opportunity to cope when things go wrong; there’s no spare capacity in terms of vacant paths in summer. I guess the same can be said of all the West Country branches, though
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« Reply #143 on: August 29, 2020, 07:31:14 pm »

Looking good - I personally would call the last trains from both Minehead and Taunton at all stations, given that you dont have to pass them anywhere.

Only time for a very quick glance at moment, so may be back with more later. Looks like a great effort though.
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broadgage
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« Reply #144 on: August 29, 2020, 09:47:29 pm »

I see relatively little risk in national network services running to/from the present Minehead station.
Whilst there might a slight increase in vandalism and theft risk, I doubt that this would be significant.
The existing station is far from secure at present, the gate can be locked but the low fence is easy to climb. Access is also easy by walking along the track for a short distance from the adjacent level crossing.

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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
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« Reply #145 on: August 30, 2020, 01:55:27 am »

Thank you, gentlemen, for those early comments - and from knowledgable strength too.  Lots of choices made in coming up with what is an example of what could be done - I have tried to be "middle of road" most of the way but may have put too much expense in with a new platform, and too little be stretching infrastructure - I am acutely aware of awkward signalling conflicts across Norton Fitzwarren and the limitations of where the branch can be entered and left from, and issues of interfacing with existing national rail requirements not [yet] fully addressed at a major operating point.    Inputs - expert / community / financial - would / will test the choices made.

Good to hear of "striking similarities" to the earlier days proposals; what I came up with looked from current first principles rather than reading back through old papers, so the similarities are an additional re-assurance - if I have come up, independently, with something along the same lines, it would suggest it may not be 100% a mad thought.
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« Reply #146 on: September 01, 2020, 12:01:52 pm »

From the West Somerset Railway Association

Quote
The trustees of the West Somerset Railway Association (WSRA), and the board of the West Somerset Railway PLC (PLC) are pleased to announce that they have reached an agreement which will financially support the railway during these challenging times. Today’s agreement means that:
• The WSRA has sold their promotions business (which operates a shop & café at Bishops Lydeard and a restoration workshop at Williton) to the PLC
• The PLC will pay the WSRA an agreed sum of £90,721 for the assets of that business
• The WSRA will loan £70,000 to support the PLC, which has been prevented from operating by the Covid-19 restrictions. The low-interest loan is secured by charges on two WSR PLC owned coaches.

Mike Sherwood, acting Chairman of the WSRA said “I am pleased that we have been able to conclude this matter to the satisfaction of both parties. The WSRA will now be able to give its full attention to fundraising on behalf of the railway, to further supplement the financial support we are already providing at Williton, Minehead and via the rail renewal campaign”

Jonathan Jones-Pratt Chairman of the PLC said “Both parties have worked hard to bring this matter to a successful conclusion. We can now move on to focus on the preparations and funding necessary to bring the railway back into operation”.
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broadgage
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« Reply #147 on: September 01, 2020, 01:25:00 pm »

Glad to hear of the cooperation between the two groups, but I still feel that a more unified structure would be preferable.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
grahame
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« Reply #148 on: September 06, 2020, 07:09:02 am »

Glad to hear of the cooperation between the two groups, but I still feel that a more unified structure would be preferable.

It seems that only some groups are at peace, other not so  ....



I fear that elements are fighting for what they believe, but terms like "fighting to the death" and "Pyrric victory" come to mind as I look at potential outcomes. I don't see how that sort of outcome is in the interests of a vibrant contribution to the local economy, be it in terms of tourist attraction and income, or in terms of national connectivity or (lest we cease to dream) ... both!   And if volunteers want to be able to volunteer in the future, staff want jobs in the future, shareholders want value in their shares and/or see a reward in their investment bearing positive fruit, this is not good for that prognosis.

While there is what looks like infighting going on between apparently significant (at least very noisy) parties, those who can or could help such as the land owner, the local MP (Member of Parliament), government agencies, local authorities, potential funders, respected elder statesmen, will be reluctant to put their time, name, or money towards helping to provide an asset for the West Somerset area. Should everyone close get behind a unified plan - rather in the same way that a coalition of views can come together with cabinet responsibility and compromises, these necessary wider helpers might well come on board.

Just my personal thought ... but not out of line with what's being said on social media ...



Images in this post may be enlarged to more readable size if you "view image in separate window"

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« Reply #149 on: September 06, 2020, 01:49:07 pm »

This is getting a bit People's Front of Judea vs. Judean People's Front (splitters!).
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