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Author Topic: Train lines closed in 1960s under Dr Beeching report could be reopened  (Read 22236 times)
grahame
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« on: February 11, 2017, 11:39:30 pm »

From The Daily Mail

Quote
Train lines closed under the controversial 'Dr Beeching' cuts are set to be re-opened and serviced by 'no-frills' trains.

It is understood a £4milion trial will be launched within the next two years using cheap, low-speed trains built from 'lightweight' materials.

The new technology could see some of 5,000 miles of disused track opened again after it was originally closed in Dr Richard Beeching's review in the 1960s, when he was chairman of British Railways.

I have started a list:

Afon Wen to Bangor
Appledore to New Romney
Barnstaple to Bideford
Bedford to Cambridge via Sandy
Bere Alston to Okehampton
Bicester to Bletchley
Bodmin to Padstow
Boston to Spalding
Bourne End to High Wycombe
Brockenhurst to Ringwood
Cambridge to Huntingdon via St Ives
Carlisle to Tweedbank
Carmarthen to Aberystwyth
Chippenham to Calne
Cleethorpes to Firsby junction via Louth
Colne to Skipton
Craven Arms to Bishop's Castle
Devizes to Bradford-on-Avon via Holt
Eridge to Tunbridge Wells Central
Fleetwood to Poulton-le-Fylde
Gobowen to Oswestry
Guildford to Christ's Hospital West Horsham
Harrogate to Northallerton vid Ripon
Havant to Hayline Island
Hull to York via Market Weighton
Keswick to Cockermouth
Kidderminster to Ironbridge
LlanfairPG to Amwlch
Lowestoft to Great Yarmouth
Maesteg to Treherbert
March to Wisbech
Matlock to Buxton
Newcastle to Ashington
Portishead to Parson Street
Radstock to Frome
Redcar to Whitby
Robertsbridge to Bodiam
Rochdale to Bolton
Ruabon to Llangollen
Scarborough to Whitby
Seaton Junction to Seaton
Shanklin to Ventnor
Southport to Preston
Spalding to March
Stoke on Trent to Leek
Totton to Fawley
Uckfield to Lewes
Wareham to Swanage
Wymondham to Wells-next-the-Sea via Dereham
Yatton to Clevedon

But that's only 50 lines ... and if 5,000 miles are to re-open there will need to be a lot more - for they're much less than 100 miles long each.  Have I forgotten any obvious lines?  Can you spot the one or two sillies I have put in there to make reading it a bit of fun?
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2017, 11:52:23 pm »

Portishead to Parson Street ... isn't that already being (albeit very slowly) reopened?  Roll Eyes

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William Huskisson MP (Member of Parliament) was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
TonyK
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« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2017, 12:04:58 am »

Portishead to Parson Street ... isn't that already being (albeit very slowly) reopened?  Roll Eyes


Indeed so. The "no frills" trains referred to are the Very Light Trains being developed by Warwick University - see their website for the project.

The trains could be smaller than a bus, with a maximum speed of 50 to 70 mph, and are intended for threatened or reopened branch lines. I am surprised to see Portishead in the list - not only will demand be very high, but the MetroWest Rail project envisages services from Portishead to Severn Beach and Bath. Both involve substantial mainline running, especially Bath.
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Now, please!
Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2017, 12:32:33 am »

In which case, I really do look forward to seeing some of those Very Light Trains running along the branch line between Yatton and Clevedon.  Lips sealed

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William Huskisson MP (Member of Parliament) was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
eightf48544
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« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2017, 01:20:19 am »

Craven Arms to Bishop's Castle was a basket case from opening and closed long before the Good Doctor came along.

My suggestions Longer restorations from your list

Brockenhurst to Ringwood onto Hamworthy and Poole also serves Wimbourne
Gobowen  to Oswestry onto Welshpool
Keswick to Cockermouth onto Whitehaven
Kidderminster to Ironbridge onto Shrewsbury
Stoke on Trent to Leek onto Uttoxeter/Macclesfield

Further Lines to Restore

Aberbeeg to Brynmawr
Arlesford to Winchester
Bishops Auckland to Penrith via Stainmoor
Brownhills to Walsall
Chepstow to Hereford via Monmouth and Ross on Wye
Christs Hospital to Shoreham via Steyning
Corwen to Barmouth
Dumfries to Stranra
Gloucester to Hereford via Ross on Wye
High Marnham to Lincoln
Kings Sutton to Cheltenham
Kings Norton to Washwood Heath in connection with a new Moor Street off this line.
Macclesfield to Rose Hill
M&GN
MSWJ
Newquay to Truro
Pickering to Malton
Pontypool Road Neath with connections to the valley lines.
Pontypool Road to Neath with connections to the Valley Lines
Penarth to Cadaxton
S&D (Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway)
Stratford  to Cheltenham

Freight to passenger

Burton on Trent to Leicester
Shirebrook to High Marnham Lincoln
Shireoaks to Doncaster
Whichnor Junction to Brownhills

Restoration of through route

Ormskirk
Kirby?

New Line

Abergavenny to Brecon via the Usk Valley possibly onto Neath over existing alignment.

With the exception of Brynmawr and possibly Brecon all the proposals connect with existing lines at both ends. Thus providing an alternative route and allowing trains to originate and  terminate on other lines.

There is also the possibility of putting in spurs to connect to lines which meet but don't have a junction. Like the rationalisation  of Leeds and Lincoln.




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grahame
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« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2017, 05:11:41 am »

Craven Arms to Bishop's Castle was a basket case from opening and closed long before the Good Doctor came along.

That was the one that was added to see if someone would spot it.  Except that if Bishop's Castle has developed into or might into a major urban area (Archbishop's City?) the case could be there.  We should learn from history but not be governed totally by it!

Quote
My suggestions Longer restorations from your list

All make common sense

Quote
Further Lines to Restore

There are some there which I really wonder about - restoring lines though sparsely inhabited areas which may provider shorter routes for what are quote obscure journeys, or duplicating existing provision.  Some duplication is desirable - one rail route to Plymouth is a very thin and shaky connection, for example, and in my view the strengthening of that into a second connection is more important that reducing journey time to Paddington to 180 minutes.

Quote
Freight to passenger

Some very good cases there.   Also one or to more "preserved" to "daily including commuters"

Quote
Restoration of through route

Yes and no.  You have routes which have a midpoint at which the traffic switches from being a major flow into something far less, and I really wonder if you want 'very light rail' sharing with frequent 6 car plus electrics.

Quote
New Line

Don't know it enough to comment

Quote
With the exception of Brynmawr and possibly Brecon all the proposals connect with existing lines at both ends. Thus providing an alternative route and allowing trains to originate and  terminate on other lines.

A common sense element, whilst at the same time being careful to avoid providing a line that's really healthy at one end, and a basket case at the other which pulled the whole thing down.

Quote
There is also the possibility of putting in spurs to connect to lines which meet but don't have a junction. Like the rationalisation  of Leeds and Lincoln.

Provided you have services and flows, yes.

The trains could be smaller than a bus, with a maximum speed of 50 to 70 mph, and are intended for threatened or reopened branch lines. I am surprised to see Portishead in the list - not only will demand be very high, but the MetroWest Rail project envisages services from Portishead to Severn Beach and Bath. Both involve substantial mainline running, especially Bath.

It was my list to start looking at what "5000 miles" could mean, and recent experience suggests to me that even the most unlikely cases has the distinct possibility of generating rather more traffic for something that's "smaller than a bus"  and runs - I presume - not very often using a single line.   In fact a huge concern must be the capital cost of setting up even very light rail and of maintaining it ... to some extent the concern is the cost per passenger, and to some extent the concern is a desire to over engineer and over complicate to the extent that something ceases to be viable.

Others I had, tongue in cheek in some cases, not yet mentioned included

Acton Town to South Acton
Alnmouth to Alnwick
Bristol to Radstock via Pensford
Bury to Backup
Dunton Green to Westerham
Fareham to Gosport
Halwill to Bude
Holborn Kingsway to Aldwych
Hull to Hornsea
Hull to Withernsea
Leuchars Junction to St Andrews
Lostwithiel to Fowey
Markinch to Leven
Merthyr Tydvyl to Brecon
Quainton Road to Leicester via Rugby
Skelmersdale to Somewhere
St Austell to Goonbarrow
Stanley to Forfar
Swindon to Cricklade (actually part of M&SWJ)
Thornbury to Yate
Walsall to Stourbridge via Dudley Port

And we're probably between us approaching the 5,000 miles - that's 100 lines of 50 miles average. And, yes, some of my latter list could also be extended to the junction at the far end.

My posts are "blue sky thinking" ... not what I expect to see, not a campaign base, but looking to work out what 5,000 more miles might mean.  I wasn't clear from the article if it was looking at re-opened route miles or track mies on re-opened routes, but as most would be single track, there's only going to be 10% difference.
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grahame
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« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2017, 10:12:15 am »

From The Times

Quote
A new generation of “no-frills” trains is being manufactured under plans to open up little-used branch lines closed by Dr Beeching in the 1960s.

Ultra-cheap trains powered by truck engines, built using lightweight materials and running at low speeds, may be introduced within the next two years as part of a £4 million trial.

The trains, which could be shorter than a conventional bus, will be manufactured at half the cost of an existing carriage and cause less damage to tracks.

Rail chiefs insisted that reducing overheads would make it easier to maintain loss-making branch lines on which passenger numbers were low.

It is believed that the technology could also lead to the reopening of some of the 5,000 miles of track ripped up under …

Pictured with the article - a streamline (not gangwayed) single carriage train marked "University" with a traditional wayside signal box in the background, gas lights on the platform, and a beautiful flowers cape of daffodils. Not sure that's a scene I would expect to see except perhaps where such trains are running on heritage lines outside heritage hours.

I can't disagree that reducing overheads would make it easier to maintain low passenger number lines, but reading the article carefully it does not suggest that rail chiefs are suggesting it could lead to re-openings; the paragraphs are separated.

Map with the article suggests:
Thornton to Leven
Newcastle to Ashington
Burton to Leicester
Portishead to Bristol
Bere Alston to Tavistock
Carmarthen to Aberystwyth
March to Wisbech
and "Lightweight trains may be tested by Northern Rail"

Unless running at a tram-like frequency of every 8 minutes or so, I don't see single carriage trains providing the capacity from Portishead into Bristol that could be anticipated on that flow ...

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grahame
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« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2017, 01:39:17 pm »

Pictured with the article - a streamline (not gangwayed) single carriage train marked "University" with a traditional wayside signal box in the background, gas lights on the platform, and a beautiful flowers cape of daffodils. Not sure that's a scene I would expect to see except perhaps where such trains are running on heritage lines outside heritage hours.

Picture turns out to be Crowcombe Heathfield, which would be logical for a lightweight train operation - say 07:15, 09:15, 16:45 and 18:45 from Minehaed and and 08:05, 15:35, 17:35 and 19:35 from Taunton, with additional late morning and early afternoon round trips on days when the line's not in use for heritage train rides (the lightweight unit providing a shuttle from Taunton to Bishop's Lydeard on those days).
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patch38
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« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2017, 03:26:45 pm »

You've missed Kemble to Cirencester. Although very short, it is local and has been discussed here in the past.
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johnneyw
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« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2017, 03:49:01 pm »

Newton Abbot to Heathfield/Bovey Tracey?
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Richard Fairhurst
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« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2017, 04:29:55 pm »

Carmarthen to Aberystwyth
I suspect the problem there, and with many other proposed reopenings, is that the cost of recovering the trackbed and reinstating the rails is so vast that issues of rolling stock are pretty minor in comparison. It would cost millions to rebuild Carmarthen to Aber as a cycle track, never mind as a light railway.

But I can see this idea working on short lines, particularly if they can be operated as "one engine in steam" or with some form of in-cab signalling. As soon as a reopened line requires interface with the national network then the costs will spiral. But something like Kemble to Cirencester, or Caernarfon to Bangor, could be run as a self-contained operation with lightweight trains.
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grahame
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« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2017, 04:38:13 pm »

Newton Abbot to Heathfield/Bovey Tracey?

You've missed Kemble to Cirencester. Although very short, it is local and has been discussed here in the past.

There's probably still room to add them within the 5,000 miles.  But overall the whole thing should be planned as a network in the very unlikely event of a plan to actually go ahead and add 5,000 miles (with all the infrastructure and ongoing maintenance costs) rather than just talk about it.

I suspect Heathfield would be a branch to nowhere and ending up close to the A38 would be at a disadvantage with regard to its traffic to and from Exeter and Plymouth.  Of course, it might work wonders if ...
a) extended to Mortonhampstead or round the back to Exeter
b) Providing a park and ride with a through service to Kingswear (for Dartmouth)
c) A place on the line became one a new town / city / village under Andrew Adonis's plans

Cirencester a good call - except that there's also a M&SWJ call in and I don't think Cirencester would justify two lines.   If a Swindon, Blunsdon, Cricklade, Cirencester shuttle was running - much more expensive to set up but a lot more people / places served, then the line from Kemble would be hard to justify.
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paul7575
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« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2017, 05:13:45 pm »


I have started a list:

Newcastle to Ashington


An open freight route, AIUI (as I understand it) services will be fairly regular once the present conversion of Lynemouth power station to biomass is complete.  In fact Ashington's platforms are just about still in place.   

Hence the continuing local reopening demands even before this latest suggestion.  The difficulty for me is that the section from Benton Jn to Newcastle Central just gets busier and busier with ECML (East Coast Main Line), XC and planned TPE (Trans Pennine Express) and First open access, seems to me normal mainline standard trains and speeds would undoubtedly be required.

Paul
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grahame
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« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2017, 05:39:46 pm »


I have started a list:

Newcastle to Ashington


An open freight route, AIUI (as I understand it) services will be fairly regular once the present conversion of Lynemouth power station to biomass is complete.  In fact Ashington's platforms are just about still in place.   

Hence the continuing local reopening demands even before this latest suggestion.  The difficulty for me is that the section from Benton Jn to Newcastle Central just gets busier and busier with ECML (East Coast Main Line), XC and planned TPE (Trans Pennine Express) and First open access, seems to me normal mainline standard trains and speeds would undoubtedly be required.

Paul

Not only on my list but on the article's very much shorter list too.    There's a lot of high level thinking going on without individual detail;  I suppose the light rail system from Ashington could turf out and turn around at Backworth of Benton - on indeed be a continuation of the Tyne and Wear Metro which to some extent is light rail (not my area of the UK (United Kingdom), so making educated guesses!)
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« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2017, 10:33:11 am »

Allowing for the accumulated knowledge of this group, there are a few on Grahame's original list that would be more difficult than others. Havant to Hayling where I mis-spent my youth, would no doubt have the same issue that closed it. The bridge which was too expensive to replace and no only exists as row of stumps. In other cases it would no doubt to be dependent on the current state of the old track-bed, Guildford to Horsham (Christ's Hospital) where a tunnel has been fill with council waste, with the other half of the line (to Shoreham) it could be useful but it would need to be capable of running through whereas the previous layout was two separate lines that would have required reversing at Christ's Hospital. I presume the difficulty in a lot of cases would be where the track-bed has been sold off.
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