Train Graphic
Great Western Passengers' Forum Great Western Coffee Shop - [home] and [about]
Read about the forum [here].
Register and contribute [here] - it's free.
article index - [here]
 24/07/2019 - Melksham Rail User Group
24/07/2019 - Station dwell inputs, last day
03/08/2019 - West Somerset Rlwy Steam Fayre
05/08/2019 - Meet the Managing Director
13/08/2019 - Pewsey Vale Railway Society
17/08/2019 - Imber bus
Random Image
Train Running @GWR Twitter Acronyms/Abbreviations Station Comparator Rail news GWR co. site Site Style 1 2 3 4 Chat on off
Next departures • Bristol Temple MeadsBath SpaChippenhamSwindonDidcot ParkwayReadingLondon PaddingtonMelksham
Exeter St DavidsTauntonWestburyTrowbridgeBristol ParkwayCardiff CentralOxfordCheltenham SpaBirmingham New Street
July 22, 2019, 01:21:01 pm *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Forgotten your username or password? - get a reminder
Most liked recent subjects
[139] "Help how do i get train tickets"
[130] Calne branch - past, present, future
[49] Michigan Central station and its place in the history and futu...
[46] Weymouth Wizard - annual outing Westbury to Weymouth, 20th Jul...
[35] Red Squirrel on and off the rails
[32] Melksham Rail User Group (and meetings for 2019)
News: A forum for passengers ... with input from rail professionals welcomed too
 
   Home   Help Search Calendar Login Register  
Pages: [1]
  Print  
Author Topic: Great Western Powerhouse - waiting to happen?  (Read 786 times)
grahame
Administrator
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 25798



View Profile WWW Email
« on: July 11, 2019, 10:51:50 am »

From Transport Network

Quote
The ‘missing piece of the jigsaw’ in the West of Britain is a Great Western Powerhouse waiting to happen, according to a landmark report.

The economic map of Britain is being reshaped by devolution and the emergence of regional powerhouses that can drive inclusive growth at scale through regional collaboration, said the report commissioned by Bristol, Cardiff and Newport City Councils.

But it highlighted ‘a missing piece of the jigsaw in the West of Britain along the M4 from Swindon across the Welsh Border to Swansea, and the intersecting M5 axis, through Bristol, north to Tewkesbury’.

Its conclusion is ‘that the Great Western cross border area is a powerhouse waiting to happen’.

Launching A Powerhouse to the West, the former head of the civil service and chair of the independent UK2070 commission, Lord Bob Kerslake, said the UK was one of the most geographically unequal countries in the developed world.

My highlighting ... ( http://www.sewweb.info is perhaps ahead of its time? )
Logged

Coffee Shop Admin, Vice Chair of Melksham Rail User Group, on the board of TravelWatch SouthWest and of RailFuture
martyjon
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 1631


View Profile
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2019, 11:27:39 am »

THEY, whoever they are, want to sort the administrative area of Greater Bristol as a single body FIRST.

Avon failed.

WECA failed before it even was born cos only 3 of the 4 LA's which were proposed to make up WECA agreed to WECA, the 4th now successfully holding their hands out for dosh from WECA, AND GETTING IT, like todays announcement of £1.3 million for a study into a further study for an underground to the airport. The leader of WECA has had to be told that WECA's responsibility is transport and infrastructure not investing in research with universities hence the recent flurry of activities by DfT officials including the Minister himself in the Bristol area to steer WECA onto what they should be doing.

What the area needs is someone to take the bull by the horns and draw up a boundary for Greater Bristol and deduct 'this' from BANES.'that' from NS and 'tother' from SG and bring the enlarged area into being as a Greater Bristol Authority. Maybe if Boris is elected leader of a political party he will instigate some such radical changes to boundaries, keep his promise to lay down in front of the bulldozers for Heathrow's 3rd runway unless he scraps the planned addition first.
Logged
Robin Summerhill
Transport Scholar
Sr. Member
******
Posts: 279


View Profile WWW Email
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2019, 11:57:34 am »

So let me get this straight.

Mop Head Johnson, who appears not to want the UK to club together and co-operate with its near neighbours, might (access on "might") force local authorities in the Greater Bristol area to come together and co-operate with their near neighbours. I can see a teensy weensy contradiction here...

On a 50+ year old album that I have here, Adge Cutler and the Wurzels recorded a song called "When the Common Market Comes to Stanton Drew." In his introduction (it was recorded live before an audience in Nailsea) he said "We don't know about this Common Market around here. We haven't really got used to being part of England yet"

Bearing in mind that the local MP is known as the Honourable Member for the 18th Century, I'm not sure that that much has changed...
Logged
Bmblbzzz
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 2093


View Profile
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2019, 12:44:18 pm »

Stanton Drew was actually a sort of proto-Brussels. The most up to date archaeological theory states that the stone circle is the fossilised remains of a Neolithic regional council who were turned to stone because they couldn't reach a decision.
Logged

Day return to Infinity, please.
Noggin
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 317


View Profile
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2019, 12:41:51 pm »

I sort of agree with it, but it seems a bit wonk-ish rather than the concrete steps that are required. 

I think to a certain extent, the 'problem' with the UK, and certainly England, is that London's mega-economy is massively distorting and indeed drives inequality - it's the goose that lays golden eggs, but it also takes up an inordinate amount of public investment and political time. The preoccupations of the London-based professional classes set the national conversation in the media and politics, the super-rich drive a 'them and us' culture of avarice and despair. etc etc

It's not all a bad thing - the South West would be much poorer without the businesses and long-distance commuters that owe their existence to the London market. The ideas, opportunities and capital that come out of London (and indeed from our proximity to the rest of Europe) make the rest of the UK a much richer, tolerant and diverse place than if we were, say, an island in the south Pacific.

But if you take away that overlay, the fast trains to London and the M4 and Heathrow, much of the regional infrastructure is arguably a bit 'meh'. The biggest conurbation is an aggregation of 4 disparate local authorities, none of which really see eye-to-eye, or has that much power either. Bristol seems to spend it's time talking about pollution, slavery and social injustice rather than running public services competently and tackling the mediocracy of many of its secondary schools.

In terms of transport, there's nothing that really compares to a continental S-Bahn or RER, little rail electrification and no light-rail. Much of the commuter rail traffic is handled by 30 year-old 3-car DMU's or crammed onto Intercity services, with slow and horriby expensive services to Birmingham and the north of England. The principal airport is in an absurd location, reached by a single-carriageway roads, with no heavy or even light rail access, despite a catchment area of 7m people and 25% of its passengers coming from/to the city of Bristol. Rail is expensive by most European standards, many towns had their railway stations demolished in the 1960s, and even their lines lifted, with sprawling suburbs built with little or no alternative to car use.

As social trends see migration and economic activity focused on big cities, many smaller towns and less skilled workers are simply left behind, with little training to help them upskill, pushing them into dead-end minimum wage jobs and not able to keep up with those in higher paid jobs. And so it goes on... 

WECA is just too small to deal with travel and the broader issues properly, and actually what we need is something covering Dorset, Somerset, Wilts, Gloucestershire, and possibly even Devon and Cornwall. Whilst I like the idea of the cross-estuary economy, it just adds too much complexity - both politically and practically, and it would be better that there were two strong bodies that could coperate - like Copenhagen and Malmo across the Oresund straight.

In terms of transport, I think that they would do well to adopt the TfN / TfWM approach (as well as take inspiration from German Lander), building the quality and frequency of local rail services towards something that is more like an S-Bahn for Greater Bristol, and a respectable regional service for everyone else, removing dependency on intercity services for local trips.
Logged
jamestheredengine
Transport Scholar
Sr. Member
******
Posts: 138


View Profile
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2019, 01:08:31 pm »

In terms of transport, there's nothing that really compares to a continental S-Bahn or RER, little rail electrification and no light-rail. Much of the commuter rail traffic is handled by 30 year-old 3-car DMU's or crammed onto Intercity services, with slow and horriby expensive services to Birmingham and the north of England. The principal airport is in an absurd location, reached by a single-carriageway roads, with no heavy or even light rail access, despite a catchment area of 7m people and 25% of its passengers coming from/to the city of Bristol. Rail is expensive by most European standards, many towns had their railway stations demolished in the 1960s, and even their lines lifted, with sprawling suburbs built with little or no alternative to car use.

The shape of the city centre doesn't help. Maybe it needs a City Loop like Melbourne...
Logged

TonyK
Global Moderator
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 4393


The artist formerly known as Four Track, Now!


View Profile
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2019, 03:11:53 pm »

If WECA were given responsibilty for a manned space mission to Mars, it would end up with a vastly overpriced road widening scheme, thinly disguised as a new MetroBust route. Any Western Powerhouse is likely to be coal-fired at best.
Logged

Now, please!
grahame
Administrator
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 25798



View Profile WWW Email
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2019, 06:06:40 pm »

[snip]

WECA is just too small to deal with travel and the broader issues properly, and actually what we need is something covering Dorset, Somerset, Wilts, Gloucestershire, and possibly even Devon and Cornwall. Whilst I like the idea of the cross-estuary economy, it just adds too much complexity - both politically and practically, and it would be better that there were two strong bodies that could coperate - like Copenhagen and Malmo across the Oresund straight.

In terms of transport, I think that they would do well to adopt the TfN / TfWM approach (as well as take inspiration from German Lander), building the quality and frequency of local rail services towards something that is more like an S-Bahn for Greater Bristol, and a respectable regional service for everyone else, removing dependency on intercity services for local trips.

Hi, Noggin ... I fear your careful crafted post - which makes huge sense - has happened to be drowned out during the day here with other subject.   But I had to come back on your final sections.

SubNational Transport Bodies are said to intended to be the future approach and indeed TfN / TfW / TfWM and England's Economic Heartland (Swindon, Oxfordshire and northern Home Counties right across to Cambridge) and the government's way forward.    Here in the "South West" after a bit of wrangling, we have the Western Gateway (Bristol, BaNES, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset, Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Dorset) and Peninsular (Somerset, Devon and Cornwall).  Goodness - they align with your thoughts!

The division into two rather than one is - in my personal view - unfortunate, especially as the boundary beween them doesn't feel a natural one.    Frome's strategy is going to be lumped in with Falmouths, 178 miles away rather than with Trowbridge which is 9 miles away.  Yeovil's with Exeter and Plymouth rather than Dorchester and Weymouth.

TravelWatch SouthWest covers ... Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole, Dorset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Bristol, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall (for "Bristol read all the WECA bits too) and that's virtually identical (only difference is TWSW includes Swindon) to the two SubNational bodies together.  Wouldn't it make for an excellent geography for TfSW - travel for the South West?

I am being very careful to say it's an excellent geography, as sadly I see the Western Gateway rushing out a very curious "strategic route" document in its early days looking almost totally at roads and with little consideration for any public transport.   See ((here)).   I understand they've done this (heresay) to allow them to put a funding bid in this month, and their strategy may be based not really on what strategic roads are, but which roads need to be know as strategic in order to ask for the money.   I further understand they intent to do a rail strategy later ...
Logged

Coffee Shop Admin, Vice Chair of Melksham Rail User Group, on the board of TravelWatch SouthWest and of RailFuture
Bmblbzzz
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 2093


View Profile
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2019, 07:00:46 pm »

Without large empty areas, wherever you put borders will produce unfortunate divisions. Perhaps the most sensible thing would be to use travel-to-work areas, but bearing in mind those reflect what is, not what will be in a few years, let alone what could be if things were altered.
Logged

Day return to Infinity, please.
eightonedee
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 396


View Profile
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2019, 08:47:15 pm »

Quote
SubNational Transport Bodies are said to intended to be the future approach and indeed TfN / TfW / TfWM and England's Economic Heartland (Swindon, Oxfordshire and northern Home Counties right across to Cambridge) and the government's way forward. 

I am not sure that this agglomeration is well thought out. Indeed, we do have a habit of using old shire county boundaries or the botched local government boundaries that 40 years of piecemeal reform driven by political expediency has left us with rather than the much more well-thought out system that produced the postcode areas. These reflect much better the communication networks, economic and travel to work areas. For example, a strategic planning area for the Thames Valley area comprising postcode areas RG, OX and SL, another for the Solent area comprising SO, PO, BH and SP, another for greater Severnside comprising BS, BA, SN and GR all make a lot of sense. There's hours of fun to be had with a postcode map dividing up the country in this way.......

These area divisions do seem have stood the test of time since they were first drawn up in the late 1960s
Logged
grahame
Administrator
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 25798



View Profile WWW Email
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2019, 11:15:46 pm »

Without large empty areas, wherever you put borders will produce unfortunate divisions. Perhaps the most sensible thing would be to use travel-to-work areas, but bearing in mind those reflect what is, not what will be in a few years, let alone what could be if things were altered.

Quote
SubNational Transport Bodies are said to intended to be the future approach and indeed TfN / TfW / TfWM and England's Economic Heartland (Swindon, Oxfordshire and northern Home Counties right across to Cambridge) and the government's way forward. 

I am not sure that this agglomeration is well thought out. Indeed, we do have a habit of using old shire county boundaries or the botched local government boundaries that 40 years of piecemeal reform driven by political expediency has left us with rather than the much more well-thought out system that produced the postcode areas. These reflect much better the communication networks, economic and travel to work areas. For example, a strategic planning area for the Thames Valley area comprising postcode areas RG, OX and SL, another for the Solent area comprising SO, PO, BH and SP, another for greater Severnside comprising BS, BA, SN and GR all make a lot of sense. There's hours of fun to be had with a postcode map dividing up the country in this way.......

These area divisions do seem have stood the test of time since they were first drawn up in the late 1960s

I can't see (m)any logical combinations that work.   Division of the (West?) Midlands from the north gets messy around Stoke on Trent, division of the South West from the South East gets messy between Salisbury and Southampton. "Transport for Scotland" does work north of Carlisle, but even then where do you put Berwick upon Tweed?

A very interesting post from Andrew Adonis describes the observed population transformation of rail closures under "Beeching" and one can't help wondering whether the Subnational Transport Bodies and their geography could have such an effect in the future.

Quote
The long-run effect of Beeching, it suggests, is nothing short of a population transformation of the UK. Had the Beeching cuts not taken place, population in London and the South East might have been at least 5% lower, with population higher elsewhere in England. The population of London is projected as 8.9% lower without Beeching, to the benefit of England more widely.
Logged

Coffee Shop Admin, Vice Chair of Melksham Rail User Group, on the board of TravelWatch SouthWest and of RailFuture
jamestheredengine
Transport Scholar
Sr. Member
******
Posts: 138


View Profile
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2019, 01:13:11 pm »

I can't see (m)any logical combinations that work.   Division of the (West?) Midlands from the north gets messy around Stoke on Trent, division of the South West from the South East gets messy between Salisbury and Southampton. "Transport for Scotland" does work north of Carlisle, but even then where do you put Berwick upon Tweed?

Actually, if one looks at the Travel to Work data by method of train, the high-level logical divisions are there. If one disregards the noise on the map where there are very few railways (Mid and West Wales, North Devon and Cornwall, Central East Wiltshire, Lincolnshire, the Highlands of Scotland), then:
1) Wales makes sense as an entity in itself, with surprisingly little success in re-annexing Herefordshire and the Forest of Dean
2) Bristol, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, and Somerset form a unit with broadly sensible boundaries -- the South Somerset/North Dorset area is a mess, but that's hardly news (Somerset should clearly have annexed the Blackmore Valley back when eoldormen marched around with men with pointy sticks, but it's too late now)
3) Devon and Cornwall form their own unit -- one of the silliest bits of the Western Gateway carve up is that it disregards the one county boundary that is absolutely bang on, that between Somerset and Devon
4) Dorset, at least the bit where most of the population is, really belongs with Southampton, the South East, and the Great Wen

Quote
A very interesting post from Andrew Adonis describes the observed population transformation of rail closures under "Beeching" and one can't help wondering whether the Subnational Transport Bodies and their geography could have such an effect in the future.

Quote
The long-run effect of Beeching, it suggests, is nothing short of a population transformation of the UK. Had the Beeching cuts not taken place, population in London and the South East might have been at least 5% lower, with population higher elsewhere in England. The population of London is projected as 8.9% lower without Beeching, to the benefit of England more widely.

The issue is probably deeper than Beeching. On a regional scale, many sensible lines never got built in the first place. Just look at the stubby little Calne branch: yes, Beeching put it out of its misery, but from a regional perspective it's bizarre that it never got extended on to Marlborough (where the GWR station was perversely oriented the wrong way round) and consequently was doomed to languish as a not particularly useful little stub, rather than forming part of a secondary through route.

And looking a little further south, why were the railway pioneers quite so averse to building a line from Salisbury to Amesbury (and then keep going and aim for Devizes, perhaps...)?
Logged

grahame
Administrator
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 25798



View Profile WWW Email
« Reply #12 on: Yesterday at 03:07:54 pm »

Just look at the stubby little Calne branch ...

That little acorn of a comment has grown into a great oak tree of a conversation which I have split off to a separate topic:
http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=21932.0
Logged

Coffee Shop Admin, Vice Chair of Melksham Rail User Group, on the board of TravelWatch SouthWest and of RailFuture
Do you have something you would like to add to this thread, or would you like to raise a new question at the Coffee Shop? Please [register] (it is free) if you have not done so before, or login (at the top of this page) if you already have an account - we would love to read what you have to say!

You can find out more about how this forum works [here] - that will link you to a copy of the forum agreement that you can read before you join, and tell you very much more about how we operate. We are an independent forum, provided and run by customers of Great Western Railway, for customers of Great Western Railway and we welcome railway professionals as members too, in either a personal or official capacity. Views expressed in posts are not necessarily the views of the operators of the forum.

As well as posting messages onto existing threads, and starting new subjects, members can communicate with each other through personal messages if they wish. And once members have made a certain number of posts, they will automatically be admitted to the "frequent posters club", where subjects not-for-public-domain are discussed; anything from the occasional rant to meetups we may be having ...

 
Pages: [1]
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.2 | SMF © 2006-2007, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
This forum is provided by a customer of Great Western Railway (formerly First Great Western), and the views expressed are those of the individual posters concerned. Visit www.gwr.com for the official Great Western Railway website. Please contact the administrators of this site if you feel that the content provided by one of our posters contravenes our posting rules (email link). Forum hosted by Well House Consultants

Jump to top of pageJump to Forum Home Page