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Author Topic: May says there will be Welsh improvements even without electrification  (Read 654 times)
grahame
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« on: October 02, 2017, 04:33:55 PM »

From BBC Wales on an interview with Theresa May taking about the government's decision to scrap electrification between Cardiff and Swansea.

Quote
Mrs May told BBC Wales: "I think what's important is that we deliver better services, we see better services being delivered for passengers coming from Swansea and of course along the Great Western mainline.

"And that can be done in a whole variety of ways. Our focus is on making sure we improve the service and with the new bi-mode technology for trains it's possible to do that without electrifying the whole of the line."

Asked whether she would apologise for breaking the manifesto promise, she added: "I think what I'm saying to people is that our focus is on ensuring that we're providing improved services for people.

"That's what people will see and I think that's what passengers want.

"They want to know that they're going to get those more reliable services which they will get, there'll be more capacity on the trains. I think this is what is important for people."

Arguments about how wonderful the HSTs are aside, I suspect that the coming of the new trains in diesel mode will make for somewhat better services, and indeed that people will appreciate that.   Of course, what's been scrapped is dramatically better services.    Or will those plans be brought back in again in the lead up to the 2022 election?
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2017, 04:50:45 PM »

Hard to say what will be promised in 2022 as we'll probably be living under rather different circumstances by then. But as an aside, it seems extremely common for politicians and other people as well to start a sentence with a phrase like, "I think what I'm saying is... " or "I think what we want to remember is... ". Is this a crisis of uncertainty in public life or is it perhaps (ha!) that certainty is now mistrusted?
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stuving
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« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2017, 05:19:55 PM »

Arguments about how wonderful the HSTs are aside, I suspect that the coming of the new trains in diesel mode will make for somewhat better services, and indeed that people will appreciate that.   Of course, what's been scrapped is dramatically better services.    Or will those plans be brought back in again in the lead up to the 2022 election?

Dramatically better? Just by being electric from Cardiff to Swansea? I can't see that, frankly.

On the politicians' presentation of it, I think the "handbook of sayable things" has a big influence. But I'd also start by questioning whether they have taken a decision to cancel all this electrification.

Imagine that they (and DfT specifically) would like to do more electrification. One thing that puts them off is that this are so very expensive, but then so is all infrastructure built these days. Say they press on anyway; the next step is to ask Network rail for costs and timescales (new or reviewed). But that leads to another problem, which is that whatever NR say obviously can't be trusted. So they can't commit to doing the work now. Maybe, after finishing what's underway (not just GW), and if that works then doing the bits deferred to CP6, NR's credibility might have risen enough to decide to do more.

But for now, the government can't say "we have decided not to be decisive" - it's not in the "handbook of sayable things". So they announce it will not happen, but put the emphasis on what will happen, and how wonderful bi-mode is. That's just standard marketing or spin. OK, they risk sounding foolish to anyone who knows a little bit about the subject, but that doesn't apply to most of the voting public nor to the journalists poised behind their heaps of brickats.
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bignosemac
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« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2017, 05:39:40 PM »

The balance of power doesn't lie in South Wales. Arguably, it's more important to the Conservatives to promise tasty jam tomorrow to the north. Hence the rehashing today of the 'Northern Powerhouse' rail investment. That's where votes are needed to stay in power.
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2017, 10:23:36 PM »

Arguments about how wonderful the HSTs are aside, I suspect that the coming of the new trains in diesel mode will make for somewhat better services, and indeed that people will appreciate that.   Of course, what's been scrapped is dramatically better services.    Or will those plans be brought back in again in the lead up to the 2022 election?

Dramatically better? Just by being electric from Cardiff to Swansea? I can't see that, frankly.

On the politicians' presentation of it, I think the "handbook of sayable things" has a big influence. But I'd also start by questioning whether they have taken a decision to cancel all this electrification.

Imagine that they (and DfT specifically) would like to do more electrification. One thing that puts them off is that this are so very expensive, but then so is all infrastructure built these days. Say they press on anyway; the next step is to ask Network rail for costs and timescales (new or reviewed). But that leads to another problem, which is that whatever NR say obviously can't be trusted. So they can't commit to doing the work now. Maybe, after finishing what's underway (not just GW), and if that works then doing the bits deferred to CP6, NR's credibility might have risen enough to decide to do more.

But for now, the government can't say "we have decided not to be decisive" - it's not in the "handbook of sayable things". So they announce it will not happen, but put the emphasis on what will happen, and how wonderful bi-mode is. That's just standard marketing or spin. OK, they risk sounding foolish to anyone who knows a little bit about the subject, but that doesn't apply to most of the voting public nor to the journalists poised behind their heaps of brickats.

May I thank stuving here for that rather brilliant summary of the political position - worthy of 'Sir Humphrey Appleby' himself.  Wink Cheesy Grin

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welshman
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« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2017, 07:46:03 PM »

It's a classic example of people at the far end - West Wales/Cornwall/Anglesey/the North etc being deprived in favour of the centre and the south east.

The Maybot's robotic repetition of her buzz phrases in response to awkward questions is tiresome.

NR don't help the rail cause because they seemingly can't control their costs or their timescales.

The new Wales franchise is supposed to be let soon but as yet Westminster haven't decided who's going to decide who has it.  The responsibility was supposed to be devolved by now but London is prevaricating.

Please will someone junk the Pacers as a condition of the new franchise.

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Noggin
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« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2017, 12:40:19 AM »

I think that to what extent you go for electrification depends on what you want to achieve.

Can you achieve a higher quality of service between Cardiff and Swansea (and elsewhere) without wires? Sure, resignalling, passing loops, removal of speed restrictions, new stations, higher frequency of service and higher quality trains etc. But beyond a certain point you need the performance (and economies) of electric traction to have sufficient capacity.

Will there be a public perception that the quality of service is improved if you don't have wires? Maybe not. People quickly forget what service levels were like in the "bad old days", but they do remember wiring - the ECML is a case in point.

If you are a political party, electrification of an area like south Wales does a number of things:
1) It makes an area feel like it has a "proper" rail service - the sparks effect essentially
2) It makes it easier for people in more remote locations to do well paid jobs in the cities, bringing down long-term structural unemployment and boosting economies
3) It brings wealthier newcomers into areas in search of cheaper housing, better schools and a higher quality of life

So sure, if you're a government that wants the most bang for your bucks, then electrifying big urban conurbations, or just making incremental improvements with EDMU's is probably the best use of resources. But if you are a Conservative government wanting to make political inroads, then it could be a very astute move to electrify the likes of the Welsh Valleys, North Wales, South Lancashire, West Yorkshire, the North East etc. Many constituencies only need a couple of thousand wealthy incomers to significantly change the complexion of their local politics (and local economies for that matter).

Whether you agree with the politics or not, it would appear that Osborne and Cameron "got" the above, whereas Grayling and Hammond do not.
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ellendune
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« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2017, 08:10:30 AM »

Can you achieve a higher quality of service between Cardiff and Swansea (and elsewhere) without wires? Sure, resignalling, passing loops, removal of speed restrictions, new stations, higher frequency of service and higher quality trains etc. But beyond a certain point you need the performance (and economies) of electric traction to have sufficient capacity.

If these are going to be done then perhaps they should be done before electrification to reduce costs.  Perhaps combining some of the structural works required from electrification (bridges etc) while doing it.  So that in the end electrification can be done at the minimum cost.
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anthony215
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« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2017, 06:45:11 AM »

Locally it seems the welsh government is looking to borrow the money to fun the Cardiff - Bridgend electrification including the Maesteg branch for the metro
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grahame
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« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2017, 08:38:11 AM »

Locally it seems the welsh government is looking to borrow the money to fun the Cardiff - Bridgend electrification including the Maesteg branch for the metro

Would that be via the main line, or via Rhoose, or both?    Main line could be a step towards Swansea too!
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