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Author Topic: IRJ: £1.2bn rail upgrade proposed for southwest Britain  (Read 2910 times)
lj3
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« on: July 20, 2020, 02:50:24 pm »

"£1.2bn rail upgrade proposed for southwest Britain
Jul 20, 2020
Written by
David Briginshaw

RAIL expert Lord Tony Berkeley and Mr Michael Byng, a chartered quantity surveyor and construction cost consultant, have published a £1.2bn plan to reopen lines and double-track existing lines in southwest Britain."
https://www.railjournal.com/infrastructure/1-2bn-rail-upgrade-proposed-for-southwest-britain/

Wowser! Yes please! Lets be having some of this!
Does anyone have a link to the actual publication? I can't find it.
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Lee
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« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2020, 03:40:03 pm »

One of the proposals is reopening from Bodmin all the way through to Padstow - Is that feasible?
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2020, 03:55:00 pm »

One of the proposals is reopening from Bodmin all the way through to Padstow - Is that feasible?

No - or at least not cheaply because the line went straight through the centre of Wadebridge over a level crossing. Given the local terrain (ie flat, only a few feet above sea level and heavily developed), how you'd get a bridge over the railway there without knocking half of central Wadebridge down is beyond me.

And I suspect that Sustrans and sundry local Camel Trail supporters will be sharpening their blades as we speak...
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Lee
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« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2020, 04:35:25 pm »

Does anyone have a link to the actual publication? I can't find it.

There is a more detailed discussion paper here.

The Bodmin-Padstow proposal is costed at £31.8m. Like Robin though, I'm still not really convinced you could come up with a solution just to get through Wadebridge with change from that.
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onthecushions
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« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2020, 11:53:55 pm »


The IRJ abstract gives the following:

"The schemes in the plan comprise:

reinstatement of double track between Exeter, Yeovil and Salisbury (£382.3m)

reopening the railway between Okehampton, Tavistock and Bere Alston and  upgrading existing sections to create an alternative to the storm-damage-prone Exeter – Plymouth main line (£426.5m)

upgrading the Exeter – Barnstable line (£17.25m)

reopening the Bodmin – Padstow line (£31.8m)

reopening the Lostwithiel – Fowey freight line to passenger trains (£5.25m)

reopening the direct link between Newquay and St Austell (£181.5m), and

upgrading the Taunton – Minehead West Somerset Railway heritage line    (£11.8m)."

OTC




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broadgage
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« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2020, 12:11:53 am »

Does anyone know what is proposed regarding "upgrading the Taunton – Minehead West Somerset Railway heritage line    (£11.8m)."

Do they mean upgrading the existing heritage line, perhaps to national network standards ?
Or improving facilities for through running between the WSR and Taunton ?
Or subsidising the running costs of a regular through service ?

Or something else.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
stuving
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« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2020, 12:35:12 am »

Does anyone know what is proposed regarding "upgrading the Taunton – Minehead West Somerset Railway heritage line    (£11.8m)."

Do they mean upgrading the existing heritage line, perhaps to national network standards ?
Or improving facilities for through running between the WSR and Taunton ?
Or subsidising the running costs of a regular through service ?

Or something else.

No, I don't know - but I can look it up using the link Lee provided:
Quote
West Somerset Railway – provision of community rail services; estimated project cost
£11,800,000.00

This popular heritage line is in need of major track and structures upgrade if it is to continue to operate. Expert track engineers will need to finalise the exact needs, but they can provide this service as part of the heritage sector support. The works themselves, however, should include upgrading the line to higher line speeds and enabling scheduled passenger services from the large town of Minehead and intermediate stations to Taunton and possible beyond on the GW Network. It has the potential of removing the need for many journeys on the currently congested and slow road network.
a. Taunton Station (NR) – alterations to Platform 2
b. Taunton to Norton Fitzwarren (NR) – enhance bi-directional loop
c. Norton Fitzwarren to Minehead (WSR) – track renewals and capacity enhancement
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broadgage
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« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2020, 12:49:04 am »

Thanks for the information. It all sounds very impressive. Higher speeds and greater capacity Smiley
I wonder if it will ever happen ?
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
grahame
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« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2020, 05:47:31 am »

One of the proposals is reopening from Bodmin all the way through to Padstow - Is that feasible?

No - or at least not cheaply because the line went straight through the centre of Wadebridge over a level crossing. Given the local terrain (ie flat, only a few feet above sea level and heavily developed), how you'd get a bridge over the railway there without knocking half of central Wadebridge down is beyond me.

And I suspect that Sustrans and sundry local Camel Trail supporters will be sharpening their blades as we speak...

From the more detailed report that Lee has linked us to, following up those posts. My bolding:

Quote
Bodmin to Padstow; estimated project cost £31,800,000.00
This scheme, alongside the link to Fowey below, would enable regular scheduled services between Padstow, Wadebridge, Bodmin and Bodmin Parkway alongside heritage steam services on this heritage line. It has already been largely designed, and can be built without detriment to the Camel Trail cycle network. It has the potential to attract both local commuters and holiday traffic off the congested roads in the area and bring much needed economic benefit. It can of course be developed in several phases.
a. Bodmin Parkway to Bodmin General (passenger upgrade)
b. Bodmin General to Boscarne Junction (passenger upgrade)
c. Boscarne Junction to Wadebridge (passenger reinstatement)
d. Wadebridge to Padstow (passenger reinstatement); N.B. this section is NOT included
in the scheme already submitted to DfT under "ideas" fund.
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grahame
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« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2020, 06:21:50 am »

"£1.2bn rail upgrade proposed for southwest Britain
Jul 20, 2020
Written by
David Briginshaw

RAIL expert Lord Tony Berkeley and Mr Michael Byng, a chartered quantity surveyor and construction cost consultant, have published a £1.2bn plan to reopen lines and double-track existing lines in southwest Britain."

Follow up at http://www.passenger.chat/23820 in the Transport Scholars area. 

The Transport Scholars area goes much deeper into technical issues than many readers want on the main forum, and is somewhere established member can be a little more open with views - rather like a committee meeting area than a general meeting forum.

85 of our members are already in "Transport Scholars". If you are not one of them, but would like to read and perhaps contribute, please "like" this post - which I will monitor for 7 days for the purpose - or send me a personal message, and I will be able to do the necessary within 8 hours.
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2020, 10:42:52 am »

One of the proposals is reopening from Bodmin all the way through to Padstow - Is that feasible?

No - or at least not cheaply because the line went straight through the centre of Wadebridge over a level crossing. Given the local terrain (ie flat, only a few feet above sea level and heavily developed), how you'd get a bridge over the railway there without knocking half of central Wadebridge down is beyond me.

And I suspect that Sustrans and sundry local Camel Trail supporters will be sharpening their blades as we speak...

From the more detailed report that Lee has linked us to, following up those posts. My bolding:

Bodmin to Padstow; estimated project cost £31,800,000.00
This scheme, alongside the link to Fowey below, would enable regular scheduled services between Padstow, Wadebridge, Bodmin and Bodmin Parkway alongside heritage steam services on this heritage line. It has already been largely designed, and can be built without detriment to the Camel Trail cycle network.

To describe that fuller report as being a bit vague on detail would probably be doing a disservice to reports that are a bit vague on detail...

The more one thinks about it, the less credible the costings quoted become. Whilst this probably applies to the whole of the report I will confine my comments to Bodmin Road to Padstow (yes Bodmin Road – like the Cardiff General I wrote about a few days ago – I’m in an old-fashioned mood!).

I very much doubt that I am alone on this forum in having ridden the entire Camel Trail on a number of occasions. Firstly, whilst we know that it is possible to have a cycle track and a railway using the same railway formation, such as on the Avon Valley, I can’t think of anywhere that it has been done with a railway that was originally singl track. Bodmin to Padstow was entirely single track except at its major stations. Given that there are minimum width standards for surfaced cycle tracks these days (I think its 2m but quite happy to be corrected), this means land purchase along the way.

Kerching...

Then we have Wadebridge as mentioned above. There is that level crossing that can’t be avoided without mega-bucks being spent, either by diverting that railway or the road, or by closing the only road that links the two halves of Wadebridge without using the bypass. I can’t see that option going down well with the locals.

Kerching...

Then, midway between Wadebridge and Padstow we have the bridge – a bridge designed for a single track railway – over Little Petherick Creek. What do they propose to do there, especially bearing in mind if it isn’t already an AONB it damn well should be?

Kerching again...

Of course in theory the reopening of the Bodmin to Padstow railway is do-able. Everything is do-able if the will and the money is there. But to do all that lot highlighted above and also lay track, build new stations, install signalling and provide the trains, and still have change out of £32 million?

As a Cockney might say: “You’re ‘avin a larf, aintcha?”





« Last Edit: July 21, 2020, 12:03:39 pm by Robin Summerhill » Logged
Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2020, 02:49:08 pm »

From another source:

Quote
Padstow?   With Network Rail heavy rail standards, probably a severe problem.  But is that necessary?  I'm seeing pictures of new tram tracks in Blackpool and a new service starting in the street from the front up to the main station once Wilko is demolished.   I'm seeing tram trains in Sheffield.  And I do wonder if tram trains from Bodmin Parkway to Padstow (able to stop in visible distance like a bus can), together with heritage rail services which don't go west of Wadebridge, might not be the pragmatic answer.

I agree that a light rail system might be an option worth thinking about, so I did

I understand that this report is recommending heavy rail, not a light rail/tram system. At first glance, however, it would seem to raise as many problems as it solves, albeit perhaps cheaper ones to put right.

With a tram system being allowed to run on-street, the problems at Wadebridge and beyond partially fade away. It solves the issue of the level crossing; it solves a yet-to-be-raised issue about where to put a station at Padstow, and it might solve the issue at Little Petherick Creek where, perhaps, a form of signalling could be evolved to close the Camel Trail to cyclists and walkers when trams actually pass by. Just because something hasn’t been done before doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not possible.

What it wouldn’t solve is the width required to provide both for a heavy rail system between Boscarne and Wadebridge, which would still be needed if the steam railway was extended.

Even if the steam railway was not extended, I cannot see any way on this earth that H&S regulations would allow joint use of the trackbed by both Camel Trail users and trams between Boscarne and Wadebridge, especially when you consider the gradient (echos of Fishponds Bank all over again!). There would be little economic or social sense in limiting tram speeds on what would otherwise be a faster open section of the route because, if for no other reason, that would ensure that the journey time was no better than by road. A cyclist going downhill would probably overtake such a speed-limited tram, and one going uphill could easily be faced by a very fast-moving cyclists coming downhill, especially on one of the many curves, and spot it too late to avoid a collision.

So we appear to be left only with the option of a tram between Wadebridge and Padstow. I can’t see that returning its capital costs during the summer peaks only, because its patronage on a wet Wednesday in November would be minimal, if indeed any existed at all.
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Lee
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« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2020, 03:11:05 pm »

I have to say the cynic in me does rather wonder whether those putting together the report looked at the optimistic end of the potential costs of upgrading and extending the heritage line to Wadebridge Guineaport - which could plausibly be around the £30m mark - and thought to themselves "That's not very impressive, it will just look like an extended heritage line"

"Let's chuck in Padstow and see if anyone notices"

Bear in mind, the proposal isnt actually aimed at the likes of us. As the discussion paper notes, it has been submitted to "ministers, local authorities, and the Great South West project as a contribution to their campaign for recognition and funding – to balance what Government is planning for the North and Midlands"

In other words, its purpose is not necessarily to be implemented, but to sound impressive enough to prove a wider point to those who may not question the technicalities so closely.
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PhilWakely
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« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2020, 03:25:02 pm »

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reinstatement of double track between Exeter, Yeovil and Salisbury (£382.3m)

A very welcome plan, but have they included the huge disruption caused by having to demolish and rebuild the M5 bridge to the east of Pinhoe?
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« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2020, 08:02:06 pm »

Quote
reinstatement of double track between Exeter, Yeovil and Salisbury (£382.3m)

A very welcome plan, but have they included the huge disruption caused by having to demolish and rebuild the M5 bridge to the east of Pinhoe?
Can they not just move a future track south of the existing track? Does not have to be a double track tunnel here.
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