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Author Topic: Cotswold Line redoubling: 2008 - 2011  (Read 383942 times)
stebbo
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« on: October 08, 2008, 08:33:28 PM »

Any thoughts on the chances of this being signed off in the light of the Government spending all its (ie yours and mine) money on bailing out the banks. Any chance of anything being spent on the railways for the next 5 years?
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2008, 08:48:38 PM »

Any thoughts on the chances of this being signed off in the light of the Government spending all its (ie yours and mine) money on bailing out the banks. Any chance of anything being spent on the railways for the next 5 years?

It's fingers crossed time. This crazy financial situation has no precedents, and so its impact is very difficult to predict - but it won't be good news!
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To view my cab run over the new Reading Viaduct as well as a relief line cab ride at Reading just after Platforms 12-15 opened and my 'before and after' video comparison of the Cotswold Line Redoubling scheme, see: http://www.dailymotion.com/user/IndustryInsider/1
willc
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« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2008, 02:02:21 AM »

Not sure whether it's because of orders from the Government as it eyes our empty piggy bank or because ORR and Network Rail are still arguing about what can be spent and where but the ORR announcement on spending in the 2009-14 control period was apparently due yesterday but has been put off until October 30th.

One bit of work that does appear to be going ahead, as it's in the 2008 NR budget, is the upgrade to passenger standards of the goods loops north of Oxford. New rails are being dropped and laid out ready for new sleepers, so looks like no more Cotswold trains sitting blocking platform 2 while waiting for the single line, or Bicester branch trains weaving across the main lines.
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willc
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« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2008, 01:51:14 AM »

Chris Bates, who is the FGW customer panel rep for the Cotswold Line and Cherwell Valley stations, as well as a leading light in the Cherwell Rail Users Group, has posted the followng on the Charlbury.info site,  which may be of interest.

"The line work is no longer split into individual phases, but will be completed as one, with an earliest completion date of May 2010. THe ORR decision is slated for 30th October, and a lot more definite information will hopefully be available within 10 days after that date.

"What I can say now is that there will be some disruption obviously, which is currently be planned to be as least disruptive as possible. However, there will be one longish block in Summer 2009, with two further, shorter blocks in 2010. FGw are intent on running trains wherever possible where lines will be open. There will be 3 new platforms, 2 new footbridges and 1 new underbridge in total.

"I now understand that the clearance of vegetation will commence in about 2 weeks time in preparation for the works along with a survey of Chipping Campden tunnel."
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2008, 02:43:54 PM »

That sounds like a much more realistic timescale for the considerable amount of work that will have to be done. Let's hope that the clearance of vegetation is not in vain!
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To view my cab run over the new Reading Viaduct as well as a relief line cab ride at Reading just after Platforms 12-15 opened and my 'before and after' video comparison of the Cotswold Line Redoubling scheme, see: http://www.dailymotion.com/user/IndustryInsider/1
stebbo
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« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2008, 08:26:18 PM »

The vegetation should be cleared whatever - last time I travelled the route there was the sound of the lineside vegetation smacking against the carriage windows - quaint.
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Lee
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« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2008, 11:23:10 PM »

Any thoughts on the chances of this being signed off in the light of the Government spending all its (ie yours and mine) money on bailing out the banks. Any chance of anything being spent on the railways for the next 5 years?

The way Boris Johnson's spokesman explained the decision to scrap the Docklands Light Railway extension to Dagenham Dock could be interpreted as a warning sign as to the prospects for expanded infrastructure schemes (link below) :
http://www.politics.co.uk/news//opinion-former-index/transport/boris-pulls-plug-on-dlr-extension-$1244307.htm

Quote from: Mayoral Spokesman
"The mayor finds claims that he is purposefully pulling the plug on schemes in poorer areas of London completely incredulous," 

"The mayor is aware of the concern that Londoners must be feeling at the constant stream of financial stories in the media. And he believes that it is completely wrong of assembly members to suggest that this is anything other than taking a responsible approach to the new economic reality."
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devon_metro
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« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2008, 01:27:40 PM »

I'm no economist, but for economy to prosper, an expanded infrastructure is needed!
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Lee
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« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2008, 01:56:07 PM »

I couldnt agree more, Liam.

However, I have a horrible feeling that the now doomed Docklands Light Railway extension to Dagenham Dock wont be the only rail-related expanded infrastructure scheme to be affected by the current economic climate.

I hope I'm wrong, though.
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willc
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« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2008, 02:14:40 PM »

Not sure the Dagenham extension is exactly the best example to pick on though. The area is already served by C2C trains, so the line would be of little value for travel into central London, and it's a distance out of Docklands proper anyway. It could be argued it's more a case of nice to have it, rather than need to have it, and with the drain the Olympics will be on London's finances, recession or not, it's probably not entirely surprising it's been put on ice.

In the case of the Cotswold Line, the problems its infrastructure causes won't go away unless they are tackled. Due to the pathing issues, these trains are the first that are written in when the timetable out of Paddington is planned - that's how big a problem it is.

As I said earlier, I think the ORR delay is more to do with wrangling than anything else - the Government has already said how much it expects to spend on rail in coming years. Rail magazine managed to fill two or three pages a couple of weeks ago with coverage of all the things Network Rail says should be funded that ORR knocked back in the spring, so some extra time was probably inevitable.
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Btline
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« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2008, 02:54:06 PM »

Hopefully the petition, which ends in December, will add a push as well. it is well over the minimum required for someone to read it. They will see it and cancel something else instead!

<ref>In the case of the Cotswold Line, the problems its infrastructure causes won't go away unless they are tackled. Due to the pathing issues, these trains are the first that are written in when the timetable out of Paddington is planned - that's how big a problem it is. </ref>

Don't forget knock on effects at the Reading and Worcester bottlenecks.
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Lee
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« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2008, 03:06:19 PM »

Not sure the Dagenham extension is exactly the best example to pick on though. The area is already served by C2C trains, so the line would be of little value for travel into central London, and it's a distance out of Docklands proper anyway. It could be argued it's more a case of nice to have it, rather than need to have it, and with the drain the Olympics will be on London's finances, recession or not, it's probably not entirely surprising it's been put on ice.

Its more the fact that Johnson's spokesman specifically used the current financial turmoil as an excuse to cancel the Dagenham extension that worries me :

Quote from: Mayoral Spokesman
"The mayor is aware of the concern that Londoners must be feeling at the constant stream of financial stories in the media. And he believes that it is completely wrong of assembly members to suggest that this is anything other than taking a responsible approach to the new economic reality."

I dont think we can rule out others finding this line a convenient one to take, regardless of the merits of the schemes involved.
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willc
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« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2008, 10:11:29 PM »

It's convenient, but I think it's more a handy peg to hang blame on, which has fallen into their lap. You don't make these sort of decisions off the cuff on the back of a couple of weeks' headlines, so they have probably being looking at this scheme ever since Boris got elected in the spring - and let's face it, Dagenham isn't exactly his natural constituencey, so no votes to lose out there, plus it saves them having to come up with any more substantial reasons.
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Lee
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« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2008, 10:44:51 PM »

It's convenient, but I think it's more a handy peg to hang blame on, which has fallen into their lap.

That was pretty much my point, and my worry is that others looking for an excuse to ditch schemes will act as Industry Insider describes in the link below.
http://canber.co.uk/?q=node/43

Quote from: Industry Insider
Now, it might be because a few loose strings are needed to be tied up still, but just supposing the ORR have been told to hold fire on the announcement because government want to claw back some of this ^50bn by hitting the planned expansion of the railway industry? All these worthy schemes, including ones close to my heart like the Cotswold Line re-doubling are once again in serious jeapordy. What's worse it that the fierce opposition you might expect from the Tories and other bodies will be much easier to bat away, given that the 'credit crunch' buzzword will be used as an excuse and that in these difficult times serious compromises will need to be made. I hope that is not the case.
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willc
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« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2008, 01:22:26 PM »

Given the prominence the Cotswold scheme was given in Network Rail's Strategic Business Plan in April, flagged up alongside upgrading the ECML's overhead power supply, I would be astonished if it were to be dropped now.

With Reading rebuilding coming up, the prospect of late-running Cotswold Line services continuing to foul things up when capacity on the GWML will be at an absolute premium doesn't bear thinking about.

And this is one project where the leader of the Conservative Party WILL put up a very strong fight if there is any suggestion of backtracking at this stage.

I'm sure the credit crunch will be used an excuse for not doing all manner of things, on the railways and elsewhere, but probably not this one.

And governments do tend to take a long-term view of paying back their borrowings - we only made the final repayment on a huge post-Second World War loan from the US two years ago.


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