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Storm-hit Dawlish railway line 'may be moved out to sea'

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14 hours ago, Captain Kernow said:

 

 

b) Freight speeds tend to almost equate to line speeds west of Newton Abbot and, in my experience, the low volume of freight in the SW is insufficient to interfere with the general flow of passenger traffic. It's generally harder (if 'hard' is the right description, which I'm not sure it is) to path an out-of-course stopping passenger train with non-stop passenger trains, than it is to path an out-of-course non-stop freight train with non-stop passenger trains.

 

 

 

Having had charge of freight train planning and timetabling over that route for 5 years from the late 1980s,  when there was more freight traffic than unfortunately remains today,  I wholeheartedly agree.  Simple fact was that we never had any problems pathing freights between Plymouth and Exeter at the required times of day - even during the summer passenger peak periods.

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Just dropping some number into the debate (source: DCC 2033 population projections - does not include unitary authorites of Plymouth & Torbay) 

A little over 38% of the Devon population lives outside the districts of South Hams, Teignbridge, East Devon & Exeter and are poorly (if at all) served by public transport.  The biggest population centres, Plymouth, Torbay & Exeter would also be served by the inland route. East Devon already has two routes to London (GWR & SR).   If we take these areas out, in effect the whole argument about serving the population of Devon is really focussed on South Hams & Teignbridge, less than 43% of the actual population we should be considering when planning public transport for the future.  Not forgetting the whole of Cornwall (half a million+) who suffer when the current line is impacted by weather events.

 

Yes, I agree most freight moves by road now, but we should be planning for a future without internal combustion vehicles and I don't see viable electric trucks yet that can work outside urban areas.  As for viability of an inland route, it is well documented in many publications how passenger numbers were 'manipulated' prior to the closure of most of the SR route, but that's a different debate for elsewhere.  I have just returned from Europe, travelling on their railways which seem to be regarded as a public service, rather than (as we seem to) simply a profit centre. Whether governments like it or not, there are some things that provide a national infrastructure for the benefit of as many as possible - never an issue with roads but railways, rural bus routes, broadband and dare I say it, the mobile phone network get the 'spreadsheet' treatment. As many have said before, sea level rise and servere weather events are continuing to grow in the UK. Every time the weather is bad, or the wind is on the wrong direction, we get a reduced service on the Exeter - Plymouth line.  To quote the head of the Environment Agency who recently said “The coastline has never stayed in the same place and there have always been floods, but climate change is increasing and accelerating these threats. We can’t win a war against water by building away climate change with infinitely high flood defences."

 

 

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22 minutes ago, Paul4256 said:

Just dropping some number into the debate (source: DCC 2033 population projections - does not include unitary authorites of Plymouth & Torbay) 

A little over 38% of the Devon population lives outside the districts of South Hams, Teignbridge, East Devon & Exeter and are poorly (if at all) served by public transport.  The biggest population centres, Plymouth, Torbay & Exeter would also be served by the inland route. East Devon already has two routes to London (GWR & SR).   If we take these areas out, in effect the whole argument about serving the population of Devon is really focussed on South Hams & Teignbridge, less than 43% of the actual population we should be considering when planning public transport for the future.  Not forgetting the whole of Cornwall (half a million+) who suffer when the current line is impacted by weather events.

 

Yes, I agree most freight moves by road now, but we should be planning for a future without internal combustion vehicles and I don't see viable electric trucks yet that can work outside urban areas.  As for viability of an inland route, it is well documented in many publications how passenger numbers were 'manipulated' prior to the closure of most of the SR route, but that's a different debate for elsewhere.  I have just returned from Europe, travelling on their railways which seem to be regarded as a public service, rather than (as we seem to) simply a profit centre. Whether governments like it or not, there are some things that provide a national infrastructure for the benefit of as many as possible - never an issue with roads but railways, rural bus routes, broadband and dare I say it, the mobile phone network get the 'spreadsheet' treatment. As many have said before, sea level rise and servere weather events are continuing to grow in the UK. Every time the weather is bad, or the wind is on the wrong direction, we get a reduced service on the Exeter - Plymouth line.  To quote the head of the Environment Agency who recently said “The coastline has never stayed in the same place and there have always been floods, but climate change is increasing and accelerating these threats. We can’t win a war against water by building away climate change with infinitely high flood defences."

 

 

I would suggest that you read Captain Kernow's post of 5 February on this thread.

 

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/81949-washout-at-dawlish/page/215/

 

 

As far as population is concerned you appear to miss the point that most of Devon is served by existing rail routes or readily accessible stations with really only Torridge and West Devon lacking reasonable access to regular train services relatively close at hand.  and their combined population is less than that of Torbay.  And Torbay could not be served by the route north of Dartmoor unless its inhabitants drive to Exeter or take train to Plymouth with a doubling back at Newton Abbot (which they aren't going to do!).  However a new line skirting inland of Dawlish and Teignmouth would continue to serve those large populations. centres, reopening the route north of Dartmoor wouldn't.

 

You also talk at one minute of a relatively simple (single line ) route north of Dartmoor and then of it taking all existing rail traffic plus a developing new freight flows.  that effectively means a double line railway throughout round the north of Dartmoor with relatively high linespeeds - so you start talking megabucks (plus the money for the snow ploughs remembering teh route was regularly blocked by snow in bad winters).

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2 hours ago, Paul4256 said:

Just dropping some number into the debate (source: DCC 2033 population projections - does not include unitary authorites of Plymouth & Torbay) 

A little over 38% of the Devon population lives outside the districts of South Hams, Teignbridge, East Devon & Exeter and are poorly (if at all) served by public transport.  The biggest population centres, Plymouth, Torbay & Exeter would also be served by the inland route.

 

This is false, Torbay and Teignbridge (and arguably the South Hams) would not be served by the Inland/SR route you are proposing.

 

Paignton to Newton Abbot is 16 minutes, call it 20 minutes to allow for change in direction.

 

Newton Abbot to Plymouth is 40 minutes.

 

Forcing the populations of Torbay and Newton Abbot to take a 40 to 60 minute "detour" to get to the rest of the country by rail will not work, practically, politically, or financially(*).  As for what happens to the populations Teignmouth and Dawlish, do they just get forgotten?

 

2 hours ago, Paul4256 said:

East Devon already has two routes to London (GWR & SR).   If we take these areas out, in effect the whole argument about serving the population of Devon is really focussed on South Hams & Teignbridge, less than 43% of the actual population we should be considering when planning public transport for the future.  Not forgetting the whole of Cornwall (half a million+) who suffer when the current line is impacted by weather events.

 

Chopping up the population statistics so that you can remove all of the population centres that work against your argument doesn't change the reality on the ground.

 

There is only enough government subsidy to operate one line through Devon, and regardless of the charms of the former SR route that money by necessity has to be spent on a line that provides service to where most of the people in Devon live, which is the southern portion.

 

 

 

* - property prices are in part driven by access to public transit, aka trains, and removing said access will result in many lawsuits are property prices plummet.

 

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And heaven help any developer with a high wall, even the wave turning variety.  Also many environmental aspects will have to be left to the future as all we do now is only scratching the initial impacts without a lot of what's to come information, not speculation.

      Brian.

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On 29/07/2019 at 13:33, Paul4256 said:

Having a viable railway at Okehampton would bring services within range of so many communities which have seen proportionately large increases in housing, either under way or planned with little employment in the surrounding areas and a poor road network.  Re-opening the missing 19 miles of the old SR line (even if only single track)  would provide .....

 

a) An alternative to Dawlish during harsh winter, and now just as likely Summer, storms.  Just as it was in BR days when ex-GWR drivers regularly ran on the Southern route to maintian route knowledge for just this purpose. 

b) Ideal freight route getting slow traffic off the congested main line.

c) Be a great summer attraction with the opportunity of running heritage trains.

d) Provide the branch-off point for any future reinstatement of a line to Launceston (via Halwill).

 

Remember, the line still exists as far as Bere Alston at one end, and Meldon at the other. Charter HST trains have recently run from Okehampton to London and sold out way before the trips happened. Sunday trains from Okehampton to Exeter are popular and cut out many car journeys. 

 

This line doesn't need to be high speed or twin trakc, it simply needs to exist.

The last line is the only one I agree with your pretext for - an emergency diversionary route doesn't need to be high speed, a low speed commuter route with long signal sections could be operated in a "tidal flow" in a repeat of the Dawlish breach.  But apart from that:

(a) It's not that common to need a permanent diversion route.

(b) It's a terrible option for a freight route, because to go from North of Exeter to West of Plymouth, it would have to reverse twice.  Reversing a Voyager twice would be a ten-minute time penalty, what would a double-reversal of a freight train be?

(c) Nobody in their right mind would expect public money to be used for a railway reopening for pleasure travel.  Preserved railways fund this sort of reopening using effectively donations, build and operate them using volunteer labour and few do much better than cover their operating costs, let alone any Capex.

(d) Ahem.... that's in a queue of projects awaiting funding.  Just behind reopening the branch from Utopia Junction to Narnia (join the train departing from the wardrobe on Platform 3).

 

Selling out two special trains on a route not normally open to passenger traffic proves absolutely nothing.  If it meant anything, there would a business case for an hourly service from London to Fiddlers Ferry Power Station.  I'm afraid I struggle with your description of North Devon having seen, "proportionately large increases in housing, either under way or planned with little employment in the surrounding areas and a poor road network".  If these people don't have jobs, how are they buying these houses (and buying them away from possible employment in the larger towns)?  Sorry, but a couple of hundred extra houses in Okehampton does not justify a regular, frequent train service.  One person each from two hundred houses, if they all want to commute the same way, doesn't quite fill a 3-car DMU for one journey.  What does the train do for the rest of the day?

 

I know it is hard to accept but the 1950s/60s rural railway closures were a final acceptance that rural railways are heavily loss-making and would always be so. Traffic has increased significantly on many of them in the last decade or so, but often from VERY low levels.  Operating costs have dropped to a degree, but - whisper it - running a car costs a fraction of what it did, in real terms, in the 60s.

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On 02/08/2019 at 14:37, woodenhead said:

Therein lies the problem; a route with a view like that in fine weather is going to have problems in bad weather. You pays yer money and you takes yer choice, scenic and susceptible, safe and boring. I know which I'd rather have 

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Posted (edited)

Just spotted this chap on the sea wall 

image.png.fcb377a352c23e0690a5f661afb5df26.png

Thought he was a seal at first, but it was a bloke leaning over the wall, he later continued his walk away from the camera.  I don't know why people choose to walk so close to the sea whilst it is rough, he is going to get completely soaked a little further up (I watched him get to it) where the waves are coming up high over the wall.

 

image.png.f332b0044e532bef3dcddd0403823265.png

 

And then a family going the other way

image.png.2de936b0bdc6709744b4283ac3a81c3c.png

Edited by woodenhead
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<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< I don't know why people choose to walk so close to the sea whilst it is rough, he is going to get completely soaked a little further up>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

'Cause they're on holiday!:scratch_one-s_head_mini:

      Brian.

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12 hours ago, brianusa said:

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< I don't know why people choose to walk so close to the sea whilst it is rough, he is going to get completely soaked a little further up>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

'Cause they're on holiday!https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/emoticons/default_scratch_one-s_head_mini.gif

      Brian.

 

Some of them just don't understand the danger they may be putting themselves in and then those that have to go and sort out the mess.

 

 

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12 hours ago, brianusa said:

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< I don't know why people choose to walk so close to the sea whilst it is rough, he is going to get completely soaked a little further up>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

'Cause they're on holiday!https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/emoticons/default_scratch_one-s_head_mini.gif

      Brian.

Or they are brainless idiots,  or seekers after a Darwin Award

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On 02/08/2019 at 14:37, woodenhead said:

If the sea wall was abandoned at Dawlish and the sea encroached up Dawlish Lawn and further, the inland route might well look similar. 

:D

 

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The work has resumed today on strengthening the seawall at Dawlish along by Marine Parade.  This was briefly mentioned on the lunchtime news.

 

 

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Maybe someone is trying to make it an election issue as it does seem strange that it would suddenly become "news" again about 6 months later.

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If the railway wasn't there, they'd have a lot more to worry about than losing a bit of beach. Contrary to what one interviewed objector implied, this project isn't about protecting the railway from the sea, it's to stop it getting buried under cliff falls.

 

AIUI, the planned relocation is quite limited - just a matter of the down line becoming the up line with a new down line added on the seaboard side. So, probably only about five metres. Whether or not you lose "half the beach" will obviously depend on whether the tide is in or out, though I think I can guess which measurement the complainers will be quoting.  

 

I think/hope NR's intention is to create a trench where the up line is at present so that anything that falls from the cliffs won't go any further and can presumably then be removed to make room for the next lot....

 

The better plan IMHO would be compulsory purchase the cliff top properties, knock them down and grade the cliffs back to stable angle.

 

John

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1 hour ago, Dunsignalling said:

If the railway wasn't there, they'd have a lot more to worry about than losing a bit of beach. Contrary to what one interviewed objector implied, this project isn't about protecting the railway from the sea, it's to stop it getting buried under cliff falls.

 

AIUI, the planned relocation is quite limited - just a matter of the down line becoming the up line with a new down line added on the seaboard side. So, probably only about five metres. Whether or not you lose "half the beach" will obviously depend on whether the tide is in or out, though I think I can guess which measurement the complainers will be quoting.  

 

I think/hope NR's intention is to create a trench where the up line is at present so that anything that falls from the cliffs won't go any further and can presumably then be removed to make room for the next lot....

 

The better plan IMHO would be compulsory purchase the cliff top properties, knock them down and grade the cliffs back to stable angle.

 

John

Which is what I believe happened before the cliff top was built upon.

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1 hour ago, Dunsignalling said:

AIUI, the planned relocation is quite limited - just a matter of the down line becoming the up line with a new down line added on the seaboard side. So, probably only about five metres. Whether or not you lose "half the beach" will obviously depend on whether the tide is in or out, though I think I can guess which measurement the complainers will be quoting.

 

Maybe look at the Network Rail provided stuff (1)(2), while they don't provide any measurements the page and video all suggest it is far more than a 5m shift.

 

If you squint at the small graphic showing alignment on (1) it looks like Sprey Point entirely disappears, and using Google Maps Sprey Point is 40m.

 

So it would certainly appear that the beach will be history for much of the length of this work if it goes ahead.

 

1 hour ago, Dunsignalling said:

I think/hope NR's intention is to create a trench where the up line is at present so that anything that falls from the cliffs won't go any further and can presumably then be removed to make room for the next lot....

 

Nope, far more ambitious than this - they intend to create buttresses (aka a new sloped cliff face) to "support" the existing cliff face.

 

(1) - https://consultations.networkrail.co.uk/communications/swrrp/

 

(2) - https://www.networkrail.co.uk/running-the-railway/our-routes/western/south-west-rail-resilience-programme/parsons-tunnel-to-teignmouth-resilience-project/

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Saw the piece on the beeb could not understand the protestors attitude NR did a great deal of publicity so did he have his head in the sand? Typical stirring by the BBC in their usual way not worth watching.

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3 hours ago, lmsforever said:

Saw the piece on the beeb could not understand the protestors attitude NR did a great deal of publicity so did he have his head in the sand? Typical stirring by the BBC in their usual way not worth watching.

If he did have his head in the sand I hope he gets it out

before it gets buried under the new trackbed.

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