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Author Topic: Reshaping Britain’s Railways for the 21st Century: A Speech by Lord Andrew Adonis  (Read 2352 times)
grahame
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« on: June 07, 2019, 08:03:09 am »

From The Times

Quote
Billions of pounds earmarked for road-building schemes should be diverted to reopen almost 100 railway stations that were shut as part of the Beeching cuts, ministers are to be told.

Lord Adonis, the former head of the government’s National Infrastructure Commission, will today call for a national programme designed to “reverse Beeching” and reinstate hundreds of miles of passenger lines closed during the 1960s and 1970s.

Richard Beeching, the former chairman of British Railways, advocated the closure of huge swathes of the network deemed to be loss-making, including more than 2,300 stations, in 1963.

In a speech to the Institute for Public Policy Research, Lord Adonis will say that the systemic reopening of mothballed lines is needed to reinvigorate towns and villages across the country…
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2019, 10:17:41 am »

A bit late to register now, but:

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The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) is delighted to invite you to a speech by Lord Andrew Adonis on reversing the Beeching rail closures for large towns which lost their rail services fifty or more years ago. This will take place on Friday 7th June, 09.15-11.00am at IPPR, 14 Buckingham Street, London, WC2N 6DF. Please arrive at 09.15am for a 09.30am start.

In this speech, Andrew Adonis will argue that a key feature of future transport policy should be to ensure that all large towns are reconnected to the railway system, reversing the Beeching closures which left dozens of major populations centres without rail services.

Major towns from Washington in the North-East to Gosport on the south coast were severed from the railway system by post-war rail closures. These towns have suffered increasing isolation as rail has returned as a principal means of transport. Reversing these closures would benefit socially and economically vital activities such as young people getting to and from college and work, older people keeping occupied and in touch with friends relatives, tourism, and workers being able to travel easily to and from large cities without getting stuck in growing congestion. It is also a green policy for a green Britain.

Lord Adonis, a former Transport Secretary and architect of HS2 (The next High Speed line(s)), will propose a policy of systematically connecting these large towns to the railway system over the next 25 years. He will set out the key elements of a ‘Reverse Beeching’ plan, including practicalities, timescales, and finances.

His title ‘Reshaping Britain’s Railways for the 21st Century’ echoes Beeching’s infamous 1963 report ‘Reshaping Britain’s Railways.’

Over one million people across Britain live in the 27 biggest towns without a railway station, including Gosport, Dudley, Newcastle under Lyme, Washington, Waterlooville, Halesowen, Leigh, West Bridgford, Skelmersdale, Blyth, Dunstable, Woodley, Coalville, Abingdon, Swadlincote, Wisbech, Rushden, Darlastan, Ashington, Witney, Haverhill, Aldridge, Ferndown, Kingswinford and Daventry.

‘Reversing Beeching’ would be transformational for the communities concerned and make a major contribution to building ‘One Nation’ and a green Britain in the next generation.
Source: IPPR (https://www.ippr.org/event/reshaping-britain-s-railways-for-the-21st-century-a-speech-by-lord-adonis)

The title of this talk has set me up for the day, or possibly the week, with a large smile on my face Smiley
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martyjon
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« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2019, 10:36:05 am »

I see Portishead is NOT amongst the towns listed to be re-connected to the rail network.
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2019, 10:57:54 am »

I see Portishead is NOT amongst the towns listed to be re-connected to the rail network.

Portishead is already in the pipeline, so I'm not surprised it's not there.

I don't know whether his list was supposed to have been exhaustive - hopefully the IPPR will publish the full text of his speech later. Personally I would have liked to have seen Thornbury, and maybe Radstock on the list...

I was a bit quizzical about the use of the word 'mothballed' in grahame's OP (Original Poster / topic starter), but checking through the places I see that most (though not all) of them are on existing freight lines - which makes it all seem that much more plausible.
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Reading General
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« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2019, 12:30:56 pm »

"Over one million people across Britain live in the 27 biggest towns without a railway station, including Gosport, Dudley, Newcastle under Lyme, Washington, Waterlooville, Halesowen, Leigh, West Bridgford, Skelmersdale, Blyth, Dunstable, Woodley, Coalville, Abingdon, Swadlincote, Wisbech, Rushden, Darlastan, Ashington, Witney, Haverhill, Aldridge, Ferndown, Kingswinford and Daventry. "

Woodley? Woodley is only a town for political reasons, it is clearly a Reading suburb. If it was within the borough boundary it wouldn't be on this list. It has railways on two sides of it and Earley station is close enough to it's 'town centre' (shopping precinct) to count it being on the rail network. It's a bit like suggesting Bradley Stoke or west Swindon are large towns without a railway. Political boundaries create confusion with stats like this.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2019, 12:40:31 pm by Reading General » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2019, 12:54:07 pm »

I guess that I'd need to read the speech, but it sounds a little simplistic a methodology.

Whilst it might be a nice idea to reconnect say, Witney or Abingdon to the rail network, in reality that means ire-instating fairly lengthy branch lines through rural areas, which in many cases the trackbed will have been built on, and finding paths for trains through stations like Oxford that are already congested. Not to mention that the likes of Witney and Abingdon already have frequent express bus services - the problem is that they don't necessarily take people to the suburban hospitals/schools/offices/industrial parks where their jobs are.

By all means divert the money, but surely it would be better to focus on the 'low hanging fruit' of reopening stations like Wootton Bassett, Corsham, Saltford and parkways like Devizes and Wantage where there are established or potential commuter flows, not to mention resignalling and electrification. Oh yes, and whilst we're at it, how about updating planning policy to mandate that FE colleges, hospitals and other public buildings are in city centre locations where they can be reached by rail?
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grahame
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« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2019, 01:05:19 pm »

"Over one million people across Britain live in the 27 biggest towns without a railway station, including Gosport, Dudley, Newcastle under Lyme, Washington, Waterlooville, Halesowen, Leigh, West Bridgford, Skelmersdale, Blyth, Dunstable, Woodley, Coalville, Abingdon, Swadlincote, Wisbech, Rushden, Darlastan, Ashington, Witney, Haverhill, Aldridge, Ferndown, Kingswinford and Daventry. "

Woodley? Woodley is only a town for political reasons, it is clearly a Reading suburb. If it was within the borough boundary it wouldn't be on this list. It has railways on two sides of it and Earley station is close enough to it's 'town centre' (shopping precinct) to count it being on the rail network. It's a bit like suggesting Bradley Stoke or west Swindon are large towns without a railway. Political boundaries create confusion with stats like this.

Each a case to look at outwith their immediate borders.   Gosport bus station to the nearest railway station in about 500 metres ... happens to be in Portsmouth across a frequent ferry. Hard to know where Luton ends and Dunstable begins.   Station at Stoke-on-Trent just outwith Newcastle-under-Lyme.  West Bridgford - err, isn't that Nottingham?   There are some excellent cases in that list ... and others where the practical solution to rail access isn't their own station, and may well be in place already!!
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Richard Fairhurst
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« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2019, 02:16:51 pm »

I guess that I'd need to read the speech, but it sounds a little simplistic a methodology.

Whilst it might be a nice idea to reconnect say, Witney or Abingdon to the rail network, in reality that means ire-instating fairly lengthy branch lines through rural areas, which in many cases the trackbed will have been built on, and finding paths for trains through stations like Oxford that are already congested. Not to mention that the likes of Witney and Abingdon already have frequent express bus services - the problem is that they don't necessarily take people to the suburban hospitals/schools/offices/industrial parks where their jobs are.

Witney has frequent bus services that get clogged up in the same jams on the A40 as everyone else. It takes over an hour in the morning peak for the bus to get to Oxford. A train would do it in 15-20 minutes.

The trackbed has only been built on in two locations: Eynsham (where alternative routes are doable) and the A40 Witney Bypass (so just stay south of the bypass).

Paths through Oxford aren't an issue given that there are already lots of Oxford terminators - you just extend them to Witney rather than the Oxford sidings. You'd want to dual the short length of Cotswold Line from Wolvercote Junction to Yarnton Junction.

It's not a complex reopening by any means. A country that isn't serious about reopening Oxford-Witney isn't serious about reopening railways at all.
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DidcotPunter
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« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2019, 04:08:41 pm »

And reinstating the 2.5km Abingdon branch between the town and main line shouldn't be impossible either. The trackbed is still there, currently used as a cycle path. Put the station on the car park just off Thames View.

You could run a Witney to Abingdon service as part of an Oxford RER  Grin
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TonyK
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« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2019, 09:49:33 am »

I see Portishead is NOT amongst the towns listed to be re-connected to the rail network.

It's in the annex to the lecture, between Portisbury and Round Oak.
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TonyK
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« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2019, 09:52:05 am »

I guess that I'd need to read the speech, but it sounds a little simplistic a methodology.

I would recommend that you do. It is a fascinating history of Andrew Adonis and transport, apart from anything else, but only has one side-swipe at Chris Grayling. If the other links don't work, try here.
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« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2019, 10:27:12 am »

I have time for Lord Adonis ever since he did his fact finding tour of the railways as SoS and found Southampton Central loos and buffet closed at 8pm one night. Since then main line stations do seem to be more open in the evenings since they used to be. Now that he has not been elected to Europe, he has more time to devote to this, obviously his latest pet project. It would be wonderful if any of what he proposes could come to fruition. Being a resident of Portishead, I was amused by his slip of the tongue, which mentioned Portisbury. In this a new town, built in the style of Poundbury, built between Portbury and Portishead that I don't know about??. Love to see the effect of that on J19 M5 which was even gridlocked at 2pm on Friday 7th June !
« Last Edit: June 08, 2019, 11:00:58 am by chuffed » Logged
CyclingSid
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« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2019, 05:57:18 pm »

Talking of Gosport, the bulk of the rail track has been replaced by what appears to be an efficient bus link. It is also a question of what the transport flows are. A significant number of Gosport residents work in Portsmouth, or commute to London, neither of which would probably be benefited by a railway line via Fareham. A vehicle ferry between Gosport and Portsmouth would possibly get more votes, and might reduce the climate effects of driving via Fareham.

How do you make a balanced judgement as to what form of transport is suitable, I assume most forum members would tend to lean towards rail. But should other forms of active and sustainable transport be considered? I believe it is sometimes said that there is less freight on rail because it doesn't go directly from point to point, and tends to require transhipment. Is it similar to people being less than enthusiastic about having to change on their journey; train to train, or car to train etc?

Addition: Which Windsor does he mean in his full list, or has somebody sold him the Windsor tunnel canard?
« Last Edit: June 08, 2019, 06:31:51 pm by CyclingSid » Logged
eightonedee
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« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2019, 06:16:19 pm »

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Woodley? Woodley is only a town for political reasons, it is clearly a Reading suburb. If it was within the borough boundary it wouldn't be on this list. It has railways on two sides of it and Earley station is close enough to it's 'town centre' (shopping precinct) to count it being on the rail network.

Indeed - I think that Earley Station actually lies in the civil parish of Woodley!
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bradbrka
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« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2019, 06:42:50 pm »

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Woodley? Woodley is only a town for political reasons, it is clearly a Reading suburb. If it was within the borough boundary it wouldn't be on this list. It has railways on two sides of it and Earley station is close enough to it's 'town centre' (shopping precinct) to count it being on the rail network.

Indeed - I think that Earley Station actually lies in the civil parish of Woodley!

I believe that the boundary between Woodley and Earley runs between the A3290 and the railway from Church Road and Loddon Bridge Road, which will put the station in Earley.
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