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Author Topic: FOSBR Rail Plan 2018 - hello from us and comments welcome  (Read 763 times)
Christina Biggs FOSBR
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« on: March 12, 2018, 10:22:01 pm »

Hi folks,

Graham has finally persuaded me to register on Coffeeshop and do my own posting!

I'm currently secretary of Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways (ww.fosbr.org.uk). We came over to Melksham a while back to walk in the carnival with Graham and his dogs - a memorable occasion - and have kept in touch with Grahame ever since.

Our current preoccupation is to engage with the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) as they gear up to consult on their Joint Local Transport Plan which they will launch in June 2018 for the statutory six weeks. I have drafted a FOSBR Rail Plan 2018 which you can find on the front page of the FOSBR website. This is the plain-language version of our FOSBR Rail Manifesto 2017. I would welcome your comments. I'm pondering how exactly to get the public on board before the consultation starts; one idea is to re-run our rail survey we did in 2016. I think I probably need to cost up each item on the rail plan, even as an internal document, and ask the public to vote on which elements of our plan they most want to see.

We are also re-starting our FOSBR Quarterly meetings; the first one is on Friday 20 April, at Alma Church Hall BS8 2ES, 7.15pm. We hope to launch the Rail Plan then and invite lots of local VIPs; members of Coffeshop would also be very welcome to offer their advice. The main challenge is to persuade WECA that a rail plan is workable and that Network Rail are perhaps being overly pessimistic when they tell WECA that there is no more capacity on the railways and that WECA are best off investing in roads and MetroBus.

Please browse the FOSBR website (revamped by Carol Durrant last year) and in particular have a look at our newsletters - Tony Lloyd does an amazing job with them! We have a good team at FOSBR and are very happy to meet all rail friends whether online or in person.

Tina Biggs
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Kempis
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« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2018, 10:30:35 pm »

Further to Christina's post above, the FOSBR Rail Plan 2018 may be found here: http://www.fosbr.org.uk/files//20180100_railplan.pdf
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grahame
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« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2018, 12:28:57 am »

that Network Rail are perhaps being overly pessimistic when they tell WECA that there is no more capacity on the railways and that WECA are best off investing in roads and MetroBus.

Hi, Tina ... and welcome to the forum.

My quote ... Network Rail may indeed be suggesting that there is limited further capacity on the railways, but I've not seen any evidence that "Network Rail are ... telling WECA that .... [they] are best off investing in roads and MetroBus".  Perhaps you could provide links to back that up and help us see the suggestion in context?   As a generality, it would be an extraordinary thing for NR to suggest, but as a local specific (Emerson Green to Pucklechurch perhaps?) it could make sense to extend the public transport system that's being built already to Emerson Green.
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Christina Biggs FOSBR
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« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2018, 09:33:26 am »

Ah, yes, I should be properly rebuked for implying that the MetroBus is Network Rail's suggested way forwards.

What I do know and can say is that in WECA's Joint Transport Study final report on September 2017, that there is specific reference to the limitations on capacity in the heavy rail network and the conclusion that WECA (and the West of England Joint Committee) should look elsewhere for the modes of transport and networks that would really get people off the roads. The source of the advice of limits to capacity to the rail network does seem to have come from Network Rail, as we know Chris Grayling is very keen on MetroWest.

We also know that Network Rail are very robust in resisting any rail improvements that they consider unnecessary (from our Pilning campaign) so I am pretty sure that word of caution to WECA would have come from Network Rail.

 I think that is what makes sense to me of why the JTS does devote so much proposed money to MetroBus and Park and Ride (rather than Park and Rail), when MetroBus is already over-running in costs. I can see it is far easier to build a concrete trough than to attempt to engage with the many-headed hydra that is the rail industry.  Also I think WECA have been rather burnt by the Portishead Line cost over-run and perhaps they feel they are out of their depth.

So the question is, do our proposals in the FOSBR Rail Plan 2018 of "robust infrastructure to unlock capacity" address adequately that concern that the rail network cannot expand its capacity further? And how can we reassure bodies like WECA that it is worthwhile to invest in such projects? And is there a way to help facilitate the process of upgrading the rail network (such as Bristol East Junction and Westerleigh Junction)? And can other factors like cost of rolling stock be addressed by persuading DfT or Transport Focus to break the ROSCO monopoly, for example?

Tina

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Christina Biggs FOSBR
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« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2018, 10:16:20 am »

https://www.jointplanningwofe.org.uk/consult.ti/JTSTransportVision

Here's the JTS report page. See p43 for comments on rail network.

Tina

From JTS p43:

"It is important to recognise the constraints in the capacity of the rail network and the needs of both local and
longer-distance train services in the area. The Great Western Electrification Programme will improve journey
times to London, Thames Valley and South Wales, but it is also important to recognise the importance of
effective rail connectivity to the Midlands, the South West Peninsula and the South Coast. There are
significant capacity constraints on the rail network and difficult decisions will be required about how limited
track space is used for rail freight and local and longer-distance passenger trains. It is therefore
recommended that a wider operational review is undertaken of the timetabling of local services, to improve
network efficiency and to assess the effectiveness of services in meeting future connectivity needs."

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grahame
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« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2018, 10:37:08 am »

We also know that Network Rail are very robust in resisting any rail improvements that they consider unnecessary (from our Pilning campaign) so ...

Let's look at that from Network Rail's viewpoint.  For rail improvements they will ask:
* Will it bring significant traffic?
* Will it be financially sustainable?
* Are there / will there be trains to stop there?
* Will it work operationally on the railway?
* Will it work with all the other services around?
* Will it work operationally on the road / paths / parking around?
* Will it be funded?
* Will our partners stick with us through the journey?
* Is it within our capabilities?
* Does it fit in with local, regional and central government policy?
* Will it be a significant risk - how sure are we of projections?
* Will it be a significant risk - is it technologically sound?
* Will it garner political and community support and show Network Rail in a good light?
* Is it going to bring so much more business that it will need further provision within a few years?

If they can be convinced there are no show-stoppers in the above, I believe that they can and will update their views to reflect changing cases and situations.  So it may be that something that was considered "unnecessary" at one time in the past (but I think you many have meant "unjustified") comes onto the radar again and gets done.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2018, 10:42:17 am by grahame » Logged

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