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Author Topic: Dawlish Avoiding Line - ongoing discussion, merged topic  (Read 150296 times)
ellendune
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« Reply #315 on: July 07, 2014, 10:26:43 pm »

Thank you for putting to bed some of the more absurd claims by some on here re journey times (you know who you are!) and the sum to bring Meldon viaduct back into the fold is a pittance when compared to other rail or road projects.

It does however cast real doubt on the estimated costs quoted of ^700m plus. If Meldon viaduct is ^20m, and reaching Tavistock less, what is the additional ^300-^400m being spent on?

My guess us that rolling stock has been factored in, despite the forthcoming post-electrification cascade. Would be typical smoke-and-mirrors. Anyone?

You only have to look at the costs of the Waverley route reinstatement to see that relaying track on an old trackbed is not as simple as it seems.  Meldon is not the only structure. All will require checking, most will require some repair and a few will require replacement. The earthworks have not been touched for many years and will probably require some repairs before they can take trains again.  The old ballast will need to be cleared out, the drainage rebuilt, new fences. Some land owners will require accommodation works. Then there is new ballast and track to lay and provision of signalling. 

Then there is Tavistock itself. West Devon may be happy to move offices, but the old offices will still have to be purchased and demolished and aren't there some houses in the way as well?

A proper double track route via Okehampton adds capacity, adds resilience, adds only a little time from Cornwall and none from Plymouth and if done properly, for maybe ^550million.

Then there is double tracking the existing single line sections the work between Swindon and Kemble shows that that is not trivial.  Some of those curves were probably eased when the track was made single and the line was probably slewed into the centre to avoid earthworks repairs.

Until a detailed deaign work has been done I would not rule out ^700m.

And on a day to day basis this would be used for a local train running through a very sparsely populated area that would have to be heavily subsidised. The true provision only being used when the Dawlish route was closed. 
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onthecushions
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« Reply #316 on: July 07, 2014, 11:37:20 pm »


The cost (and viability) of the Oakhampton route depends on the extent of the re-instatement and hence how much need be spent.

Plymouth - Exeter via Oakhampton is about 59 miles, although the existing gap from Oakhampton to Bere Alston is only 23 miles; if the extension to Tavistock is factored in the gap is only 17 miles. Allowing ^5M/track mile gives a range of ^85M to ^600M, depending on how much is rebuilt from scratch and whether double track for close headways or electrification is needed. Incidentally, the gradients are c1/75 all the way!

A rational way to decide this would be to assess its worth as an insurance against Devon coastal bad weather, combined with the value of two extra railheads. Probably full rebuilding to 100mph, double track with full multiple aspect signalling and 25kV overhead wiring is not viable or necessary but a lesser scale link probably is. Whether NR» (Network Rail - home page) has the skills to build an "appropriate" railway, I doubt. I'd ask the Bluebell to quote for project management.

My figures are from "Gradient Profiles", Ian Allan, 1966 - 1997.

OTC
 
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grahame
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« Reply #317 on: July 08, 2014, 07:54:41 am »

I'd ask the Bluebell to quote for project management.

The Bluebell Railway re-opened the long-closed section from Horsted Keynes to East Grinstead last year, including viaduct and tunnel work and digging out a cutting that had been filled with waste.  As a light railway, it's certainly not a fast or high capacity line,  but it is able to take quite a variety of mainline type trains. For comparison purposes, I recon that the length of their northern extension is between 7 and 8 miles.

http://www.bluebell-railway.co.uk/bluebell/extend.html

Quote
Our Northern Extension Project which has taken 39 years and cost about ^11 Million, almost all raised by and from the Bluebell's membership and the public.

Many a silly idea has proven not to be so silly over time and indeed there has been a growing trend, but very gradual, to mesh heritage and main line services, with examples in the South West already in the through running to Kingswear and Minehead from the national network, and indeed national network trains over a non-national-network line to Okehampton itself.  Also looking to Swanage ...

The preserved stock / operation at Okehampton hasn't had / got the huge support and vigour of the Bluebell, and I've expressed a view in the past (still held) that we may have too many preserved lines / too little expertise and stock that can keep going and wannabe tourists to use them for them all to thrive, so for me to suggest extending in stages to Halwill, then Lydford, then Tavistock North would be surprising.

I took a look at the traffic through Dawlish yesterday on Real Time Trains, and it's up to around 12 trains an hour (6 each way).  An emergency route to Bluebell standards would take nothing like that - but it would allow Plymouth to remain connected to the national network when there's an incident at Totnes, a tunnel to be rebuilt or other issues on the Newton Abbot to Plymouth route.  So not a solution for Torbay, no 3 hour Plymouth to London services, but also a route that's perhaps not going to require quite the operating subsidy that was envisaged for a second high grade daily operation ... indeed, it leaves the field open (and any/most funding that's available) for a southern route.

I'm just picking up on "OnTheCushion"'s idea here ... working out some of the metrics in my own mind as to the sort of direction he could be suggesting.  Personally, I don't know how and if this stacks up in any way.
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bignosemac
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« Reply #318 on: July 14, 2014, 05:05:34 pm »

From Railnews:

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Dawlish report 'due this week'

UNCONFIRMED reports suggest that the DfT» (Department for Transport - about) is about to publish a report which examines an alternative route to the far south west avoiding the vulnerable sea wall at Dawlish in south Devon.

Two fierce storms closed the route in early February after a stretch of the coastal line was demolished by high seas. It was not the first time that the stretch along the front at Dawlish had been damaged in this way, but on this occasion the damage was particularly bad.

Heroic efforts by Network Rail teams meant that the route could reopen in early April, but in the meantime there was grave concern that the economies of Plymouth and Cornwall were being damaged by a lack of train services to the rest of Britain. The economic damage would probably have been even worse had the link been cut at the height of the holiday season.

In the wake of the storms, Ministers and Network Rail promised to examine a relief route avoiding the sea wall, and their report is said to be imminent.

It is thought that a reopening of the former Southern main line between Okehampton and Bere Alston is unlikely, and making use of a former inland branch line via the Exe Valley has also apparently been ruled out.

Instead, it is understood that five alternative new inland routes have been sketched out between Exeter and Newton Abbot, but the cost of such a new line could be as much as ^3 billion.

A line avoiding the sea wall was planned by the Great Western Railway in the 1930s, more as a means of increasing capacity than providing greater resilience, but the project was interrupted by the outbreak of war in 1939 and never resumed.

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« Reply #319 on: July 14, 2014, 08:09:15 pm »

No surprise.

The sensible, cheaper option of reopening a former main line, two-thirds of which is still in use, is rejected in favour of a ^3bn new build that will never, ever get off of the ground.

Meanwhile in Wales and Scotland...
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trainbuff
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« Reply #320 on: July 15, 2014, 03:23:11 pm »

These 'unconfirmed' reports are a little different to what I have heard. Uncomfirmed is NOT official. I think we should all wait and see what the report says. I have heard it recommends costing all options and going on from there. After all. It is NOT Network Rail that make the decision. It will be a political decision made in Parliament. Whichever is chosen Network Rail will build as requested.

I think wait and see. Then when the report is out will be the time to mull over the options.

The cynic in me would say that in actual fact it will be decided that a storm like that wont happen again for 50 years and NOTHING will be done. I believe we all think this should not be the case but we know how fickle Politicians can be
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #321 on: July 15, 2014, 04:42:39 pm »

From the BBC» (British Broadcasting Corporation - home page):

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Network Rail: Dawlish rail alternatives 'poor value'

Alternative rail lines to the storm-hit coastal route through Dawlish in Devon offer "poor value for money", according to a new Network Rail report.

The government commissioned the report after fierce winter weather caused the line to collapse, cutting off mainline services to Devon and Cornwall.

Seven alternatives were considered, as well as the continuing maintenance and strengthening of the existing route.

Network Rail said the new route options were "unpromising".

The report estimates a continuing maintenance regime on the current line could cost between ^398m and ^659m over 20 years.

Alternative options were:
- Route A - the former London and South Western Railway route from Exeter to Plymouth via Okehampton;
- Route B - constructing a modern double track railway on the alignment of the former Teign Valley branch line from Exeter to Newton Abbot;
- Five alternative route Cs (C1 ((on coaches) National route restriction) - C5) - providing a new line between Exeter and Newton Abbot.

National Rail appraised each route in line with Department for Transport guidelines, where the project benefits and costs ratio (BCR (Benefit Cost Ratio)) measures the net economic benefits per pound.

Schemes with a BCR of greater than 4.0 - ^4 of benefit for every ^1 spent - are deemed to be of very high value for money, while schemes with BCR of less than 1.0 are considered poor value.

It found Route A offered a BCR of 0.14, with route B at 0.29 and the C1-C5 alternatives between 0.08 and 0.17.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: "This study is an important step towards achieving that goal and providing the region with a rail network that helps it thrive. I will now consider its contents before making an announcement on next steps later this year."

South West Devon MP (Member of Parliament) Gary Streeter told the BBC he remained confident the government would settle on one of the various alternative new routes, rather than simply relying on shoring up the existing line at Dawlish.

Mr Streeter said the report was "only a step".
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paul7575
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« Reply #322 on: July 15, 2014, 04:46:59 pm »

Here's the actual report, I think:

http://www.networkrail.co.uk/WestofExeterRouteResilienceStudy.pdf

...found in another forum, no idea how you'd find it via NR» (Network Rail - home page)'s own website.

Paul
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #323 on: July 15, 2014, 04:48:53 pm »

Thanks, Paul: no, I couldn't find it anywhere on Network Rail's own website just now.  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #324 on: July 15, 2014, 05:23:01 pm »

This is a really, really good study into the various options - from a railway point of view. The possibilities and limitations are highlighted, the myth of 15-minute journey time savings for new routes well and truly busted, and a comprehensive plan to make the existing railway more robust outlined. Make no mistake, Network Rail has done a VERY good job here.

But you have to look beyond the headline figures. Every cost stated includes a 66% contingency for the unexpected. For Okehampton-Tavistock-Bere Alston and improvements to the existing railways at either end that brings the figure down to something like ^300m - in line with the ^350m or so informed experts and I came up with on the back of an envelope when I wrote the piece for RAIL a while ago. None of the options are likely to cost nearly as much as the headline figures in the report.

The crucial thing to bear in mind though is that by Network Rail's own admission, its analysis can't take into account the wider socio-economic benefits, or the benefit to the region had an alternative been in place earlier this year. Neither does it look at future population changes, or future travel patterns. That's fair enough - it isn't, I would suggest, Network Rail's remit to do so.

So, in pure railway terms and on current traffic patterns, none of the alternatives stack up. But - and this is really, really important - the picture could change radically if those socio-economic benefits and the gain to the region had a given option been in place this year are considered. It's now up to the South West to make a compelling case that looks at plans for the expansion of towns such as Tavistock, and the benefits of opening rail travel to a wider market. This, as is being acknowledged, isn't the end of the debate about a backup route to the main line: it's an informed starting point in my view...

Andy
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bignosemac
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« Reply #325 on: July 15, 2014, 06:50:19 pm »

Here's the actual report, I think:

http://www.networkrail.co.uk/WestofExeterRouteResilienceStudy.pdf

...found in another forum, no idea how you'd find it via NR» (Network Rail - home page)'s own website.

Paul

Network Rail have changed the url and that link appears no longer to work. Now the report can be downloaded via the following page:

http://www.networkrail.co.uk/publications/west-of-exeter-route-resilience-study/

Or direct link to the .pdf:

http://www.networkrail.co.uk/West-of-Exeter-Route-Resilience-Study.pdf
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TonyK
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« Reply #326 on: July 15, 2014, 07:38:17 pm »

Good point, trainbuff, good work in finding the hidden agenda to everyone else. It's all down to Parliament. The local MP (Member of Parliament), Anne Marie Morris, doesn't have any sort of ministerial post, however humble. She is Jenny-come-lately, having only been an MP since 2010. Her website says she is "lobbying hard to see a more resilient line put in place that will future proof the existing railway running through Dawlish and Teignmouth", which doesn't say she is after a new line. Ultimately, unless our new junior transport minister, Claire Perry from Devizes, thinks it a national priority, I think it will be down to the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership's Local Transport Board to keep eyes open. They will need to work up any scheme, do the maths, and put a reasonable business case before whichever transport secretary and chancellor is in situ next May.

My guess is that there'll be a long queue at the door of number 11...
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« Reply #327 on: July 15, 2014, 09:47:47 pm »

I don't know if Network Rail would of said the something different if either Wales or Scotland was effect the same way, each with there own Governments.

 Only if we can get all our MP (Member of Parliament) signing from the same Hymn sheet and we maybe able to have a Great Railway in the South West something that Isambard Kingdom Brunel would be please with

Guy
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bignosemac
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« Reply #328 on: July 15, 2014, 09:56:32 pm »

something that Isambard Kingdom Brunel would be please with

Arguably, and despite my admiration for IKB (Isambard Kingdom Brunel), it's partly because of him that we face the problems we do today with the line through Dawlish.

That said, if he were around today, I'd like to think he'd be advocating one of the C1 ((on coaches) National route restriction)-C5 route options.
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« Reply #329 on: July 16, 2014, 11:32:06 am »

I see the report contends that electrification of the LSWR (London South Western Railway) line would require additional work to raise clearances under bridges and tunnels, and presents this as a negative.

I don't however recall any mention of the prospect of waves crashing over high voltage electrical cables adjacent to residential housing..?

Bias?
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