Railways in the News

the green mile
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Joined: Tue Sep 24, 2019 10:00 am

Railways in the News

Post by the green mile » Thu Jan 23, 2020 8:43 am

It's gone very quiet on here again lately despite there being a host of railway related news in the press, if not all directly related to our region.

HS2 is very prominent at the moment around the government review. Will it or won't it or will it just go as far as Brum ignoring the benefits which we are told the north will enjoy? Or would the increasingly deep pot of money be better spent improving the existing Victorian infrastructure.

South Western Railway appears to be in financial trouble. A new MD has been parachuted in from FGW. Is it largely down to the ongoing industrial action over the role of guards? The possibility of the 'unsustainable' franchise being taken back into public ownership maybe.

Northern rail appears to be in a perpetual mess. Is it all down to infrastructure problems? Could be subject to the same fate but will it make any difference? Transport for Wales seems to get negative press from time to time as well.

I also read something about making the route along the sea wall towards Teignmouth a bit more robust but maybe at the expense of some of the beach.

What about the Portishead branch. What's happening there?

And while there may be plans to simplify ticketing there seems to be an increasing number of discount railcards for various groups - students, senior citizens, armed forces veterans etc. Wouldn't it be handy if they could all be used cumulatively. For example, if I was a 65 year old ex-soldier who was attending college as a mature student perhaps I could add up all the available discounts and be paid for travelling by train. :D

Plenty to discuss and comment upon!

Roy

Devonian
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Re: Railways in the News

Post by Devonian » Sat Jan 25, 2020 9:11 pm

Slightly (very!) off piste but picking up on the mention of the Portishead Branch I gather there used to be a sprung point at the eastern end of the loop at Pill. Does anybody know under what circumstances it was moved by the passage of trains and when it would have been swung by the signalman?

This topic occupied a good few minutes of the HMRS meeting at Saltford this afternoon. I don't pretend to have any signalling knowledge so I hope my question makes sense!

the green mile
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Joined: Tue Sep 24, 2019 10:00 am

Re: Railways in the News

Post by the green mile » Sun Jan 26, 2020 8:17 am

Re Portishead, I was browsing through last Thursday's Bristol Post when I came across a full page announcement regarding a Development Consent Order in respect of the proposed reopening of the branch for passenger services. Even if I had the time and patience to wade through the 185 page document I found on the North Somerset Council website, I'm sure I wouldn't understand a lot of the gobbledygook. It looks like a consultation which was started back in 2015 so the fact that it appeared in the media last week does that mean that wheels are slowly starting to turn? Any planning experts out there?

Roy

the green mile
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Re: Railways in the News

Post by the green mile » Sun Jan 26, 2020 8:23 am

Interesting report on HS2 this morning saying that cancellation of the project would cost around £12bn and create lots of problems for major construction companies. You have to admit that construction is going to keep a lot of people employed for the next decade and more. Or will the proposed post-Brexit immigration arrangements mean that we won't be able to recruit enough workers to actually build it?

Roy

railwest
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Re: Railways in the News

Post by railwest » Sun Jan 26, 2020 11:58 am

With regard to Pill (where it was the western end), having now done some research the answer to the query is as follows:-

Originally it was the case that lever 1 (the Up Home) locked 7 (the slot on the point), thereby forcing the point to act as a trailing spring catch point for passing Up trains. Conversely, pulling 7 for whatever reason locked 1 (and various others). In mid-1951 the locking was altered to enforce the use of lever 7 for Up trains. It was now necessary to pull 7 in order to clear 1, conversely lever 7 had to be put back to normal in order to shunt the siding. That would explain why the point was shut for the main line in the photo of the engine approaching. The lever leads list shown at the meeting pre-dated that change, which is why it had no mention of the ‘pull’.

Pulling 7 also locked 12, the facing points at the Portishead end, for the Up Main, so conversely 7 had to be normal in order to reverse 12 to allow a Down train to depart or when switching-out the box. That would explain why 7 was later “worked to maintain locking” after it became a spare, as you still had to pull it to signal an Up train, but put it back to signal a Down train – obviously WR decided that was less work than doing all the locking alterations.

Chris

railwest
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Re: Railways in the News

Post by railwest » Sun Jan 26, 2020 1:17 pm

Someone suggested recently in the media that, if HS2 were to be cancelled, the OOC-Euston section could be 're-purposed' to provide a direct link from Heathrow and the West of England to Euston for those wanting onward connections to the North. I don't know about the feasibility of that, but it sounds like a good idea - and when did 'good ideas' ever come to fruition ??? :-)

the green mile
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Re: Railways in the News

Post by the green mile » Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:19 am

Probably half a century ago when we weren't encumbered by so much regulation, bureaucracy, consultations and risk assessments!!! :cry:

the green mile
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Re: Railways in the News

Post by the green mile » Wed Jan 29, 2020 8:11 am

More news this week regarding a £500m fund to look at reversing some of the Beeching cuts of the 1960's. Looking at the cost of the Portishead branch upgrade from freight only to passenger that sum of money won't go far. Unless it just goes into feasibility studies as a catalyst for putting together financial cases for going further.

Needless to say our totally negative opposition points out that it is just a gimmick and won't reinstate all of the routes previously closed.


Allegedly a major announcement on Northern Rail expected today.


Lots happening in our part of the world re the Joint Local Transport Plan. Although a few railway stations and a far in the future mass transit system get a mention it seems to be all focused on roads. Anybody think it will make a difference?

Roy
Last edited by the green mile on Fri Jan 31, 2020 5:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Robin Summerhill
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Re: Railways in the News

Post by Robin Summerhill » Thu Jan 30, 2020 2:31 pm

As Roy has been doing his best keeping this thread going as almost a one-man show, perhaps I ought to pipe up :mrgreen:

It appears that this £500m is for feasibility studies, so no-one should be holding their breath waiting for their old local station to reopen.

There is always a perceptual problem with these sorts of figures. Whilst £500m sounds like a lot of money if it were to suddeny land in yours or my bank account, it really is loose change down the back of the sofa as far as the government's finances are concerned. And building railways is expensive.

The Chippenham Rail User Group of which I am a member was recently told that to orovide a lift on the north side of the station is going to cost over £1m. So on that basis this money wouldn't cover the cost of 500 lift shafts and the lifts to go in them.

Based on current estimates, £500m might buy you a mile or so of HS2.

If anyone in their wildest dreams thinks that this money will do anything to help reopen the S&D, or Yatton to Witham, or Kemble to Tetbury (which there was mention of recently on another forum I contribute to) then they really have got another think coming.

the green mile
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Re: Railways in the News

Post by the green mile » Fri Jan 31, 2020 8:48 am

Totally agree Robin. A reality check which puts the headline into context.

Regarding Railwest's comments on HS2, the idea of a link into London to connect with Heathrow surely lacks vision and is planning for failure. The key word is 'connect'. If HS2 is going to be the major route to the core of the country then why can it not go directly via Heathrow. Why have to go into central London then have to struggle back out again to our principal transport hub adding how long to the journey? Heathrow Express is a halfway house but that goes from Paddington although it might be possible to divert towards Euston. If we can find the will to build Crossrail and the M25 through already populated areas, why not HS2?

Roy

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