Jump to content

DavidB-AU

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

Recommended Posts

2 hours ago, brushman47544 said:

 

If the Oakhampton route was to be resurrected and the intention was to provide services from London, why does everyone assume that the current service pattern would remain? Let's pretend the WR and SR never existed, so no rivalry. Presumably only some London services would go via Okehampton, so why not also widen the benefits by running them via Castle Cary and Yeovil, thereby avoiding a reversal at Exeter. These trains could also be Plymouth terminators so no need to reverse there either. Line capacity west of Yeovil could be solved by infrastructure improvements (doubling and/or shortened headways). Some Waterloo trains already reverse at Yeovil Junction to Pen Mill. These could connect with the Okehampton trains.

But why increase operating costs (='some services via Okehampton') for a loss in revenue?  If there were to be a diversionary route via Okehampton it will inevitably increase operating costs even when it isn't being used for diversions so providing the present service to Plymouth and Cornwall will become more expensive which would affect the business plan of any franchise or indeed any other sort of operation, even a wholly state owned & operated one.

 

The financial balances to be drawn from any scheme would almost certainly rule out via Okehampton considered on whole life costs and operating costs.  The balance really  lies in my view between the fast inland route - which will reduce journey times to everywhere west of Teignmouth and so have a positive revenue impact despite high initial costs and a major spend on the existing coastal route (which is unlikely to deliver anything but minor journey time benefits but will improve reliability if it achieves what is claimed for it).

 

As for Phil's. comment about reinstatement to Tavistock it is now over a quarter of a century since I was looking at signalling scheme plans for such a reinstatement and considering their operational impact.  Putting that another way, a lot of work on the Tavistock reinstatement was done in the early 1990s and the costs were identified down to a relatively fine tolerance level for such works.  Yet here we are nearly 30 years down the line and there still isn't a reinstated railway to Tavistock - notwithstanding even more road congestion on that side of Plymouth.

  • Agree 2
  • Friendly/supportive 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The value of a diversionary route is surely obvious... Whatever that route is would have to be, if not highly profitable, then at least not a financial basket case at all times. Okehampton or an inland high speed route would be subject to the same.

 

The every day benefits of the LSWR line (or something similar, since the land has been sold there's no reason to stick to what the Victorians built) would be serving new markets. And the Dawlish bypass would be to serve some existing markets quicker. Neither would be cheap, but I'd imagine that a new secondary route round the top of Dartmoor would bring in more new custom than a realigned main line to the south. Whether it would be enough to justify building it is a different question.

 

On the other hand, given that Cowley Bridge is often under water and Dartmoor can suffer awful weather just as much as the coast, the value of the LSWR route from Exeter to Plymouth is perhaps not as useful for diversions as the Yeovil to Exeter part.

  • Like 1
  • Agree 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, The Stationmaster said:

But why increase operating costs (='some services via Okehampton') for a loss in revenue?  If there were to be a diversionary route via Okehampton it will inevitably increase operating costs even when it isn't being used for diversions so providing the present service to Plymouth and Cornwall will become more expensive which would affect the business plan of any franchise or indeed any other sort of operation, even a wholly state owned & operated one.

 

The financial balances to be drawn from any scheme would almost certainly rule out via Okehampton considered on whole life costs and operating costs.  The balance really  lies in my view between the fast inland route - which will reduce journey times to everywhere west of Teignmouth and so have a positive revenue impact despite high initial costs and a major spend on the existing coastal route (which is unlikely to deliver anything but minor journey time benefits but will improve reliability if it achieves what is claimed for it).

 

As for Phil's. comment about reinstatement to Tavistock it is now over a quarter of a century since I was looking at signalling scheme plans for such a reinstatement and considering their operational impact.  Putting that another way, a lot of work on the Tavistock reinstatement was done in the early 1990s and the costs were identified down to a relatively fine tolerance level for such works.  Yet here we are nearly 30 years down the line and there still isn't a reinstated railway to Tavistock - notwithstanding even more road congestion on that side of Plymouth.

 

 

The Tavistock extension from Bere Alston, is supposed to be financed, at least in part by the developer of the new estate off the Gunnislake road adjacent to the old railway,  but so far work has not yet started on that project and so no money for the railway and there's not even rumours of a start date.

 

 

 

 

  • Informative/Useful 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Even if the railway gets re routed via Okehampton the sea wall still has to be maintained. I am not up on rail financial facts but paying two costs when combining them into one does seem unlikely.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/06/2019 at 14:13, Phil Parker said:

There is, of course, a solution from further along the coast. You just need different rolling stock.

 

Daddylonglegs6.jpg

 

And a qualified sea captain (with current Master's Certificate) in charge of the "vessel" as it was  considered to be sea-going.

 

The sea-wall section is probably in the best place it can be having regard to cost-effective operations.  A lot of work, time and money has gone into stabilising the most critical cliff sections.  And a lot more has gone into repairs and increased resilience after the Big Breach.  Network Rail would retain a liability to safeguard the coastline and the rights of way beside the railway even if the line were to be relocated in the same way as they are required to maintain abandoned infrastructure elsewhere.

 

Going around Dartmoor ignores the fact that the major intermediate towns would potentially be unserved.  That option has effectively been ruled out.  It is not going to be viable purely as an alternative for use when needed and is not going to provide enough local traffic to justify a full double-track main-line standard reopening.  Tavistock remains unserved despite years of encouraging noises.  Okehampton, the smaller town but the one which never quite lost its railway, might yet get the better deal.  But not as a through route.

 

Option One, in my book, remains to spend resources safeguarding the current route and on trains which are able to use it in rougher weather.  It was always prone to occasional disruption and will continue to suffer in severe weather.  Just as do other exposed but less publicised routes such as the Largs line in Scotland, the Cumbrian Coast in England and the Cambrian Coast and Conwy Valley (which remains medium-term temporarily closed currently due to storm damage) in Wales.

  • Like 1
  • Agree 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Okehampton route won't do what the operators want because it leaves the populous Newton Abbot/Torbay/South Hams area out in the cold. Reviving the old LSWR route might well have scope to serve areas denied rail access since the 1960s but that's a separate issue and it's at least a couple of decades off IMHO.

 

Any idea of getting an all-new line across any part of Dartmoor approved is pure pie-in-the-sky. There seems to be zero chance of getting 15 miles of the A303 dualled through the Blackdown Hills which aren't in a National Park.

 

All the existing ideas for inland diversions (from the 1930s onward) involve routes (historic and potential) which have been heavily built on over the past fifty years so just acquiring the land needed would be time consuming, litigious and extremely expensive. AND that couldn't begin until a route is finally chosen.

 

Me, I'd leave the railway where it is and build the entire coastal section into reinforced concrete tubes to keep the sea off the front and the cliff falls off the back and top.

 

It could, no doubt, be made tidy though probably not decorative, but we're looking at a vital transport link, not a sculpture park. It would work operationally and continue to provide (equally vital) protection for the vulnerable towns along the route.

 

John

Edited by Dunsignalling
  • Like 1
  • Friendly/supportive 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This week the dualling of 5 sections of the A303 were cut back to 3 and postponed until 2021, So Far!

 

So I can't see the powers that be spending more than absolutely possible to keep the railway open.

 

We be the  poor relations down 'ere.

 

 

Edited by Siberian Snooper
predictive text
  • Agree 1
  • Informative/Useful 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, Dunsignalling said:

Me, I'd leave the railway where it is and build the entire coastal section into reinforced concrete tubes to keep the sea off the front and the cliff falls off the back and top.

That would be popular with the residents of Dawlish.

  • Agree 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, royaloak said:

That would be popular with the residents of Dawlish.

 

Only slightly more popular than moving the railway inland and abandoning the seawall altogether.

 

 

  • Agree 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Siberian Snooper said:

 

Only slightly more popular than moving the railway inland and abandoning the seawall altogether.

 

 

How many times does it have to be posted, Network Rail have a legal obligation to maintain the seawall so they cant simply abandon it and building an inland route wont change that position.

  • Agree 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It WOZ said in jest as I assume the previous post about covering it in!  I think you need to get a sense of humour.

 

 

 

 

  • Agree 2
  • Friendly/supportive 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Siberian Snooper said:

It WOZ said in jest as I assume the previous post about covering it in!  I think you need to get a sense of humour.

 

 

 

 

Stick a smillie on the end of it then, I am not a mind reader! ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Siberian Snooper said:

This week the dualling of 5 sections of the A303 were cut back to 3 and postponed until 2021, So Far!

 

So I can't see the powers that be spending more than absolutely possible to keep the railway open.

 

We be the  poor relations down 'ere.

 

 

So there's not only a North-South divide but an East-West one as well. 

 

As far as timescale pushback are concerned we are still waiting for the new road link between Manchester and Sheffield that was on the cards before the Woodhead line closed. 

  • Informative/Useful 2
  • Friendly/supportive 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Its always interesting to read the pros and cons that this discussion originates.  Certainly no expert and living miles away now, it is from an interest in the area that I offer my ten cents worth, for what that's worth!  South west railways in general and their progression over the years is my interest which probably doesn't add up to the aforementioned ten cents in real money.  So just put it down to wishful thinking perhaps, but my thanks for all the really useful information I glean from these pages.:dontknow:

        Brian.

  • Friendly/supportive 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, royaloak said:

How many times does it have to be posted, Network Rail have a legal obligation to maintain the seawall so they cant simply abandon it and building an inland route wont change that position.

But what prevents that obligation being transferred to others, or abandoned by the act that would be needed to authorise building a diverted railway. Legal obligations are not immutable.

  • Like 3
  • Agree 4
  • Informative/Useful 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, TheSignalEngineer said:

So there's not only a North-South divide but an East-West one as well. 

 

As far as timescale pushback are concerned we are still waiting for the new road link between Manchester and Sheffield that was on the cards before the Woodhead line closed. 

But you do have a nice quick route to the back of the Mottram/Tintwhistle queue.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Dunsignalling said:

Me, I'd leave the railway where it is and build the entire coastal section into reinforced concrete tubes to keep the sea off the front and the cliff falls off the back and top.

John

If the Swiss can build avalanche covers and the Turks can build an in the water metro across the Bosphorus I am sure NR can make some plan. Even if the people of Dawlish are unhappy.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, royaloak said:

How many times does it have to be posted, Network Rail have a legal obligation to maintain the seawall so they cant simply abandon it and building an inland route wont change that position.

And that will mean doing whatever is necessary to safeguard the railway and the structures behind it for as long as possible. Whether that's an ever-growing wall or encasing the railway in  tubes probably wouldn't make much difference to the eventual height. However, everything has its limits.

 

Infinite protection from the sea is infinitely expensive and, realistically, if current predictions of rising sea-levels are proved correct (and there are suggestions that they may even be over-optimistic), neither the railway route or the seaward parts of Dawlish itself are likely to exist, if at all, in anything resembling their current form a century hence.  

 

With London facing similar threats, the fate of little Dawlish won't make a blip on the radar.

 

John

 

 

Edited by Dunsignalling
  • Like 1
  • Agree 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Grovenor said:

But you do have a nice quick route to the back of the Mottram/Tintwhistle queue.

Not this morning, accident on Mottram Moor, traffic blocking back to Hyde eastbound and Dinting Arches westbound. (No 'h' in Tintwistle by the way)

  • Informative/Useful 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Dunsignalling said:

And that will mean doing whatever is necessary to safeguard the railway and the structures behind it for as long as possible. Whether that's an ever-growing wall or encasing the railway in  tubes probably wouldn't make much difference to the eventual height. However, everything has its limits.

 

Infinite protection from the sea is infinitely expensive and, realistically, if current predictions of rising sea-levels are proved correct (and there are suggestions that they may even be over-optimistic), neither the railway route or the seaward parts of Dawlish itself are likely to exist, if at all, in anything resembling their current form a century hence.  

 

With London facing similar threats, the fate of little Dawlish won't make a blip on the radar.

 

John

 

 

Is it at all possible to have a tunnel made out of a tough see through material - a form of glass? These days it's not uncommon for glass to be used on skywalk type of tourist attraction.

 

Just an idea of something radically different, for which there are probably good reasons, why it will be shot down in flames. Not least, it would probably be hideously expensive.

  • Friendly/supportive 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, lightengine said:

If the Swiss can build avalanche covers and the Turks can build an in the water metro across the Bosphorus I am sure NR can make some plan. Even if the people of Dawlish are unhappy.

Yes but the Swiss being Swiss, they would probably have a referendum to decide. Of course it would need to be a local one, for those living in the vicinity.

  • Like 1
  • Informative/Useful 1
  • Funny 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 14/06/2019 at 20:04, kevinlms said:

Is it at all possible to have a tunnel made out of a tough see through material - a form of glass? These days it's not uncommon for glass to be used on skywalk type of tourist attraction.

 

Just an idea of something radically different, for which there are probably good reasons, why it will be shot down in flames. Not least, it would probably be hideously expensive.

 

Only problem with a clear tunnel, whether glass or polycarbonate, would be how long it would remain clear for. Salt water and sand are rather abrasive and the initially clear tunnel could become opaque in time.

 

Another thought would be withstanding any debris that might be carried by the sea, particularly in wild weather when the water may be washing up and over the rail tunnel.

 

Not knocking the idea, just something that came to mind when I read it.

 

And what loading gauge would you build it to? Do you leave room for future OHLE, etc. Nothing insurmountable of course, but things to consider.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, dvdlcs said:

 

Only problem with a clear tunnel, whether glass or polycarbonate, would be how long it would remain clear for. Salt water and sand are rather abrasive and the initially clear tunnel could become opaque in time.

 

Another thought would be withstanding any debris that might be carried by the sea, particularly in wild weather when the water may be washing up and over the rail tunnel.

 

Not knocking the idea, just something that came to mind when I read it.

 

And what loading gauge would you build it to? Do you leave room for future OHLE, etc. Nothing insurmountable of course, but things to consider.

All valid points of course and thank you for your comments. I wrote about the clear tunnel, after reading about the suggestions of reinstating the Okehampton line for the area, which sounds like a non starter for several reasons, not least a line that goes nowhere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, kevinlms said:

a line that goes nowhere.

 

So Plymouth and Exeter are nowhere...

 

Isn't an inland route more likely to see the seawall route via Dawlish closed at some time in the future if maintenance costs become excessive due to climate change? Or even abandoned earlier because of the proximity of an inland route? So aren't the long term interests of Dawlish and Teignmouth residents best served by supporting the Okehampton line reinstatement as it can't replace the line via Dawlish?

  • Funny 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.