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Author Topic: More new investment - but is the Treasury looking for excuses to miss off OHL?  (Read 1135 times)
eightonedee
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« on: January 23, 2021, 10:29:28 am »

To start a discussion going - on the BBC Website this morning-

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-55770529

I am about to join an on-line lecture meeting - comments to follow later today!
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signalandtelegraph
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« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2021, 10:45:29 am »

The train looks a bit familiar!
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Bring back BR
rogerw
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« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2021, 12:32:35 pm »

The treasury are not looking for new excuses. Just resurrecting their old ones.
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broadgage
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« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2021, 12:39:55 pm »

Will this money be spent on actually building railway infrastructure and purchasing rolling stock ? Or is it in fact funding for another round of studies, reviews, and consultations ?
Any mention of hydrogen concerns me a bit, since it can mean feasability studies about hydrogen, rather than building anything.

Any new lines should in my view be electrified at 25 KV. Battery power is in my view more applicable to EXISTING lines that are problematic to electrify due to limited clearances to existing structures or for other reasons.
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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.
eightonedee
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« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2021, 01:37:33 pm »

Quote
Any new lines should in my view be electrified at 25 KV.

Absolutely Broadgauge!

Quote
Quote
Transport is 1/3 of the carbon.  And from where we are, we need to act fast
1. It's late ... if you're in a hole as we are, stop digging
e.g. Road schemes for more personal traffic are incompatible with needs
2. No time to rely on upcoming technology being researched and developed
So ... a need to reduce travel and especially by personal vehicles.

I prefer to listen to the experts in this case, especially as they do not muddy the waters around their position with words like "hope", "probably" and "potentially" which the government minister - who has a background which does not shout "transport" prior to the DfT (see ((here)) ) uses

Exactly!

This is a cause of growing concern. If on the one hand no private passenger cars powered by petrol and diesel will be sold by/after 2030, it is exasperating that the tried, tested and almost universally used OHL electric system is not being used here. If it's good enough for most of the rest of Europe, including many countries that are much poorer than us, why not here? The money being spent on hydrogen and battery development with no guarantee of a satisfactory outcome (I am just old enough to remember gas turbine trains!) would be better spent reviewing how most of the rest of Europe has electrified at (I assume) reasonable cost and learning from them. We are in danger of ending up with schemes being built without OHL, having to be run with diesel because the untried technologies either are not ready, are not reliable enough or simply don't work and then have to to expensively retrofit OHL at greater cost, and disrupting the recently established services too.

In the case of the Ashington/Blyth/North of Tyneside scheme, it screams out that this should be an extension of the Tyne Metro. If it could run with similar rolling stock, the savings of combining the maintenance and support overheads in the medium to long term alone will surely be substantial.

Don't scrap those Pacers yet - we may still need them!
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ChrisB
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« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2021, 01:59:06 pm »

Will this money be spent on actually building railway infrastructure and purchasing rolling stock ? Or is it in fact funding for another round of studies, reviews, and consultations ?
Any mention of hydrogen concerns me a bit, since it can mean feasability studies about hydrogen, rather than building anything.

If you read the article it says the East West funding is to reinstate services Bicester / Bletchley - so that'll be reinstating the line Bicester/Bletchley, not a study.

The Northumberland money is for a study - which may or may not result in it being part ogf the Metro.
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broadgage
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« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2021, 02:05:05 pm »

Yes I did read the article, but based on previous experience, a lot of "re opening schemes" seem to turn into "studies of the various formats that could be adopted rather than old fashioned heavy rail"
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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.
TonyN
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« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2021, 03:41:29 pm »

The part about Bicester Bletchley is just a re announcement. Network rail are already rebuilding the Bletchley flyover they would not have started the most expensive bit unless the funding was already in place.

Someone at the DFT was trying to add some substance to the announcement of a small amount of money for Northumberland. However it backfired because the question of electrification of the Oxford Bletchley line became the main subject of the Interview.
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broadgage
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« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2021, 06:04:51 pm »

Agree WRT keeping the pacers. Nasty things, but better a pacer than no train, and better a line re-opened with pacers than the line not being re-opened at all.
Being old, nasty and diesel, they are not a long term solution, but could be a useful and cheap stopgap.
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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.
TonyK
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« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2021, 07:35:59 pm »

Will this money be spent on actually building railway infrastructure and purchasing rolling stock ? Or is it in fact funding for another round of studies, reviews, and consultations ?
Any mention of hydrogen concerns me a bit, since it can mean feasability studies about hydrogen, rather than building anything.

Any new lines should in my view be electrified at 25 KV. Battery power is in my view more applicable to EXISTING lines that are problematic to electrify due to limited clearances to existing structures or for other reasons.

This is at least the third time this has been launched, plus it has been cancelled  a time or two. We can assume that it will happen, and as TonyN points out, big work is under way.

I agree entirely about electrification, although having wires over just the new bit would be ridiculous. At the very least, the gantry bases should be put in ready, with sites for substations made ready. I thought it crazy that Filton Bank wasn't prepared in that way, as it was being practically rebuilt. Hydrogen is a red herring - the minister only mentioned it to wrong-foot anyone who was going to complain about emissions. He can now say "We're looking at it. Now, do you want a railway or a new road?".
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Now, please!
broadgage
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« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2021, 08:02:47 pm »

Wires "only over the new bit" sounds a bit daft, but IMHO is still preferable to no wires.
Hybrid trains could run in the short term, either diesel/25Kv or battery/25Kv.
Wires over part of the route is an incentive to wire a larger part of the route.
It would avoid closing a newly built railway for electrification works, which are certain to be more costly and disruptive than expected.
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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.
CyclingSid
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« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2021, 08:53:27 am »

?760m or East-West and ?30m for Ashington? For people not knowledgeable about trains it doesn't look much like leveling up. I doubt if you will convince many people in Leeds or Teesside that Oxford/Cambridge is North.
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paul7755
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« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2021, 12:49:13 pm »

Electrification was formally removed from half of EWR (Bletchley to Bedford) in 2015, and the remainder (Oxford to WCML) in 2016. 

AIUI it has never been proposed for the Northumberland line (aka Blyth and Tyne).

So I don?t think they?re still looking for excuses to remove...

Paul
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paul7755
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« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2021, 12:58:49 pm »

Will this money be spent on actually building railway infrastructure and purchasing rolling stock ? Or is it in fact funding for another round of studies, reviews, and consultations ?

The Northumberland money is for a study - which may or may not result in it being part of the Metro.
Er, not at all.   From the DfT press release: 

The investment on the Northumberland line will fund preparatory works, including land acquisition, detailed design work and early site works.

It is already well known it is definitely NOT going to be part of the Metro, and IMHO it never was likely to be, as nearly all of the route being reopened is outside Tyne and Wear, and it is an existing operating freight line.

Paul


« Last Edit: January 24, 2021, 01:07:15 pm by paul7755 » Logged
eightonedee
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« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2021, 02:27:50 pm »

Thanks all for your contributions.

On the issue of what's being done at what cost see- https://www.nexus.org.uk/news/item/government-approves-funding-re-open-rail-line-between-ashington-and-newcastle

As to whether the fact that most of the route is outside Tyneside is material to whether the re-opened line will be formed part of the Metro, Nexus which runs it is run jointly by two "super authorities" - The North East Combined Authority (County Durham, South Tyneside, Sunderland and Gateshead), and North of Tyne Combined Authority whose website informs us-

"The North of Tyne Combined Authority is a partnership of three local authorities: Newcastle, North Tyneside, and Northumberland and a directly-elected Metro Mayor."

The news item in the link above does imply that it will be a "heavy rail" Network Rail project notwithstanding its joint promotion by the county, a member of Nexus, but personally for the reasons given before I am not sure that makes sense.

As to whether the OHL has been deleted before, the fact remains that OHL electrification is by far the most widespread non-fossil fuel means of traction power. There's a cost in initially providing it (cheaper and more efficient than retro fitting later) but there will be development costs for hydrogen or battery with no guarantee that either will be a satisfactory solution, the need to build relatively small production batches of more complicated rolling stock (while as a result of the inefficiencies of rolling stock procurement in the recent past we seem to have surplus electric stock sitting idle), so a saving of initial capital expenditure is likely to result in decades of increased operating costs. All this from a Government that proclaims that it is committed to low carbon transport and wants to implement it as soon as possible.

Here's a state of affairs I think collectively we should be campaigning against.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2021, 10:31:22 pm by eightonedee » Logged
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