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May 01, 2017, 01:33:25 AM *
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Author Topic: Upcoming election - what may it bring for transport?  (Read 761 times)
chrisr_75
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« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2017, 01:05:48 AM »

However, rail travel is almost insignificant when compared to the number of road journeys undertaken in any given year.

The existing road system is crumbling and desperately needs funding for improvements (mostly basic maintenance such as resurfacing) which will have a positive impact on fuel economy, safety, traffic flow and reduce mechanical failures. Road investment does not necessarily mean building new roads.

This election is purely about a government cementing its position (probably for the next decade if the predicted landslide occurs) and seeking a mandate to continue negotiations to leave the EU, nothing of note will change, exiting the EU will still happen.
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Noggin
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« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2017, 11:32:05 AM »

However, rail travel is almost insignificant when compared to the number of road journeys undertaken in any given year.

The existing road system is crumbling and desperately needs funding for improvements (mostly basic maintenance such as resurfacing) which will have a positive impact on fuel economy, safety, traffic flow and reduce mechanical failures. Road investment does not necessarily mean building new roads.

This election is purely about a government cementing its position (probably for the next decade if the predicted landslide occurs) and seeking a mandate to continue negotiations to leave the EU, nothing of note will change, exiting the EU will still happen.

Sure, both rail and road have to be maintained to a reasonable standard. That should be built-in to budgets. In recent decades both the railways and local authorities have put-off all but essential maintenance of roads and railways to meet budgets, but in the long-term it ends up costing much more. It has been suggested that part of the reason the GWML upgrade has cost so much is that NR have found what a poor state the infrastructure was in, and have chosen to do things properly - reconstructing trackbeds so they will last for 20 years rather than bodging them for 5.

But when it comes to capital expenditure, I think that most of us agree that rail offers much greater value for money than expanding roads. Taking Portishead for example. The A369 between Portishead and the M5 could be turned into a dual carriageway, and the junction with the M5 beefed up, arguably a reasonable thing to do, it would be appreciated and would help at rush hour. But it would be massively expensive, dump extra traffic on the M5 and fill up in the long-term. But rail would be far cheaper, even at the current 100m+ cost and with an initial subsidy, and take a large number of cars off the road, leaving the existing roads much clearer and reducing wear and tear.

The other point about rail is its ability to be economically and socially transformational. Time and time again it has been shown that people will move house to take advantage of new rail links, companies will build offices to be next to railway stations, tourists will travel on trains more readily than the bus etc. New roads rarely have so great an impact. The Severn Beach line is already heavily used with minimal subsidy, but if it were redoubled, had a 15 minute frequency, and went through to Bedminster and beyond, then arguably it would transform much of Bristol and help considerably with reducing the traffic. 

The election will inevitably make a difference to Government policy, as faces will change in Parliament, the Cabinet will be reshuffled, priorities will change.

On a lighter note, if the Northern Powerhouse rail strategy does appears to have won the Conservatives a few new seats in the north of England, then I'd argue that Westminster should pay for electrification of the Welsh Valley Lines itself. What better way to reduce Labour's majorities than to flood them with commuters from Cardiff ;-)
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Gohither68
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« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2017, 04:37:45 PM »

I'm afraid that little will change until the next control period, unless the Consevitives commit to increased funding of Network Rail. This seems unlikely given the GWML electrification fiasco. Also the prospect of TOC's sending nearly new rolling stock and BR era EMU's off lease will do little to ease overcrowding.
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broadgage
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« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2017, 07:20:52 PM »

Taking into account the colossal overspend/overrun on GWR electrification and ongoing serious reliability problems on the rails, favouring roads is a pretty easy sell for Westcountry Conservative MPs.

Regretfully, I agree.
Money spent on roads is generally called investment, not subsidy, and also has the political merit of producing prompt and demonstrable benefit.
 "look I promised to widen the road between ABC and XYZ, I have now done this , observe the reduction in delays. Vote me in again, and I will push to widen the next section and further cut delays"

In contrast, spending on railways is invariably called subsidy, takes much longer to produce tangible benefits, and sometimes produces no tangible benefit at all.
The ongoing works in the GWR area are not exactly a vote winner at present despite the promises of jam tomorrow.
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #19 on: April 24, 2017, 11:40:10 PM »

Indeed: we seem to have lost sight of the previously universally acclaimed public transport benefits of reopening the Portishead Line to railway passengers, for example.  Roll Eyes

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William Huskisson MP 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.

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