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Author Topic: Is there a case for reinstating the line to Clevedon?  (Read 1129 times)
johnneyw
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« on: December 04, 2019, 01:58:42 pm »

To avoid topic drift on the Advent Quiz thread, where this started, I thought it might be worth opening a fresh thread on the subject.  Discussed up to now, in brief:

Astounding to see what looks like a major line off towards Clevedon (one that should never have been lost, but will never come back?)...

Quite so.

It's interesting to compare Clevedon with Penarth; both are genteel Victorian seaside towns of around 20,000 people; both are on the Bristol channel and have attractive piers, and both are a short distance from a large city. But whilst Clevedon folk have to rely on an hourly, hour long bus ride to get to their local city centre, Penarth folk can do it in 12 mins on their quarter-hourly train service. To be fair Clevedon to Bristol is about three times the distance, but I think it is fair to assume that a train could make the journey in about 30 minutes.

Online maps/overhead photos show that all but a very short stretch of the formation at the Yatton end is still there (the built over part is a short bit of road) while the Clevedon end now stops at the towns southern limits, rather like the Thornbury branch now does. Perhaps a future candidate for a light rail/tram link?

I don't know how many Clevedon people currently opt to get to Bristol by train from Yatton but I recall that the bus service between the station and Clevedon is not all that frequent.

Edit: The M5 also provides a diagonal barrier halfway along which would be an additional challenge.

Something that came up in a documentary about CrossRail struck a chord for me: At some point during the construction, people started to realise that they weren't building a tunnel with a railway in it; what they were actually doing was building a railway which just happened to be in a tunnel.

According to this benchmark, you ought to be able to dig a 5.5m diameter tunnel for about £40 million/km.

Getting a railway across the M5 ought to be fairly straightforward. Getting through the dozens of streets of houses either side of Southern Way would be much more of a challenge... unless you had a tunnelling machine, in which case suddenly it looks almost trivial; 1km of tunnel would get you under the Kenn and far enough to pop out somewhere near the Rugby Club; before you knew it you'd be at Station Road. It's do-able, with a modicum of political will.

Additionally:
Just bear in mind that the tunnel would be in peat and under the high water mark.  A lot of pumping would be required.

A tunnel in peat near to buildings!  Might as well demolish the buildings to start with!

Edit: Applied more conventional quoting style - RS
« Last Edit: December 04, 2019, 03:15:28 pm by Red Squirrel » Logged
johnneyw
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« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2019, 02:04:42 pm »

Would the line really need to reconnect with the old station site though?  Wouldn't a station on the southern fringe of town be better? Aside from cost savings, there would be room for a substantial P&R which would otherwise not be possible. The catchment area is enough to make it viable, especially if there is a usable enough bus link provided (with Bus Plus?).
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Bob_Blakey
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« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2019, 05:01:03 pm »

I think a railway reinstatement between Yatton & Clevedon would only be viable if it could be made to serve the centre of Clevedon. Looking at the current maps use of the original route after the point at which it crossed the River Kenn seems to be an obvious non-starter. One solution might be a slight diversion onto the B3133 at that point and then a run into the town centre as some flavour of tram-train service - with the new terminus in the aforementioned Station Road!.
At the Yatton end a reconnection with the main Taunton<>Bristol line looks pretty easy.
However given the apparent lack of potential for intermediate heavy rail stops between Yatton and the River Kenn crossing I reckon such a reinstatement could only be justified as a self-contained light rail service which in the fullness of time could be expanded to use (some of) the old alignments towards Congresbury and beyond.
It would just need a bit of political will and ambition - so it will never happen.
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2019, 07:50:21 pm »

If you followed that route as far as the Tesco on Kenn Road and turned to the west, then at the cost of an industrial unit you could find your way back to the old alignment. I estimate 7 houses would need to come down to get you from there to the old station site... I concede that that would probably be cheaper than tunnelling through a peat bog.
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Celestial
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« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2019, 07:55:03 pm »

If you followed that route as far as the Tesco on Kenn Road and turned to the west, then at the cost of an industrial unit you could find your way back to the old alignment. I estimate 7 houses would need to come down to get you from there to the old station site... I concede that that would probably be cheaper than tunnelling through a peat bog.
7 houses wouldn't cost much, when you think how much the Portishead line is going to cost.  I'm not familiar with the area, but presumably there wouldn't need to be any of those nasty level crossings that aren't allowed on any new railways to get into the town centre?
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« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2019, 07:34:13 am »

I would prefer to see an Bristol Airport link to central Bristol,rather than a trains that would serve  approx 20,000 residents.

If Clevedon was to get its rail link back,maybe a better option is to go North and link up with Portishead train station
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2019, 10:40:09 am »

If Clevedon was to get its rail link back,maybe a better option is to go North and link up with Portishead train station

Where's Col. Stephens when you need him?

Wink
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Phantom
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« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2019, 11:05:33 am »

I would prefer to see an Bristol Airport link to central Bristol,rather than a trains that would serve  approx 20,000 residents.

If Clevedon was to get its rail link back,maybe a better option is to go North and link up with Portishead train station

Is there really the demand for any service there?
Area's North and South of Clevedon are having lots of regeneration and expansion but not so much in this area

Would imagine it would be a long way down the list of lines / stations to be reinstalled
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johnneyw
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« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2019, 11:26:00 am »

I would prefer to see an Bristol Airport link to central Bristol,rather than a trains that would serve  approx 20,000 residents.

If Clevedon was to get its rail link back,maybe a better option is to go North and link up with Portishead train station

I can't find any sign of the old PortZ to Clevedon line on the OS map, I'll have to "borrow back" the booklet I bought from said line's historical society to have a better look although it does look a bit too built up now at the extremities of the line.
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Richard Fairhurst
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« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2019, 12:49:53 pm »

You could probably fit something roughly along the alignment of the WC&P from Clevedon to Portishead, but yes, you wouldn't get far into Clevedon itself, and in Portishead you'd probably need a new alignment south of the town. But extending Portishead terminators would work better than trying to divert Weston trains.

(puts crayons away)
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2019, 02:01:15 pm »

I think this is an interesting debate.

If we were to decide that connection to the rail network should be a right, what would be the limits? A minimum of 8,000 people within a given perimeter? A certain distance from the nearest railhead?

This should not be a zero-sum game. There may or may not be a case for connecting Bristol Airport, or Thornbury, or Calne, but these aspirations should not be seen as competing with each other.
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johnneyw
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« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2019, 09:23:43 pm »

It is surely a question of priorities with limited funds to optimise benefits nationally but I will qualify that. On an, admittedly only locally held view that the Bristol region has been underfunded for rail improvements compared to the rest of the country, perhaps it's our turn for a it of preferred treatment. The recognised fact that the Bristol region (I include Clevedon here) is one of the few (only) places outside of London that is a net contributor to the exchequer to the national economy must surely make it a case of "don't kill the golden goose". Bristol's regional gain would be the capital's gain..... with a little enlightened foresight.
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ellendune
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« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2019, 11:56:28 pm »

It is surely a question of priorities with limited funds to optimise benefits nationally but I will qualify that. On an, admittedly only locally held view that the Bristol region has been underfunded for rail improvements compared to the rest of the country, perhaps it's our turn for a it of preferred treatment. The recognised fact that the Bristol region (I include Clevedon here) is one of the few (only) places outside of London that is a net contributor to the exchequer to the national economy must surely make it a case of "don't kill the golden goose". Bristol's regional gain would be the capital's gain..... with a little enlightened foresight.

This is dangerous talk! Don't you know that the great dragon called London must be allowed to continue to suck the blood from the rest of the English empire or it will throw a tantrum so powerful that it will lay waste to vast swathes of western Europe. No! London is the only place allowed to be 'special'.

We here in 'the provinces' must know our place or risk this great devastation. 
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CyclingSid
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« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2019, 07:29:56 am »

Could be worse, could oop North, definately have to know your place there.
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Phantom
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« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2019, 11:15:03 am »

I would prefer to see an Bristol Airport link to central Bristol,rather than a trains that would serve  approx 20,000 residents.

If Clevedon was to get its rail link back,maybe a better option is to go North and link up with Portishead train station

I can't find any sign of the old PortZ to Clevedon line on the OS map, I'll have to "borrow back" the booklet I bought from said line's historical society to have a better look although it does look a bit too built up now at the extremities of the line.

@johnneyw

I am not sure if you have seen these pages before (I'm guessing you have) but thought better to share anyway

https://www.wcpr.org.uk/

http://colonelstephenssociety.co.uk/the%20colonels%20railways/weston%20clevedon%20%26%20portishead%20light%20railway-2/index.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weston,_Clevedon_and_Portishead_Light_Railway

and a book on the topic https://www.middletonpress.co.uk/books/railways/branch-lines/branch-lines-to-clevedon-and-portishead.html

I live very near to the Ashcombe Road stop in Weston I can't imagine what it would have been like having a station there
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