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

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2 minutes ago, brianusa said:

There's another way. :good_mini:  Extend the Moretonhampstead branch over to Princetown, rebuild the branch and join it on the Tavistock line below Yelverton for direct access to Tavvy Junction. :crazy_mini:  Bob's yer uncle!:clapping:

       Brian.

At least the passengers are unlikely to be subjected to Pacers. They wouldn't get round the 1st radius curves on the Princetown Branch. 

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6 hours ago, Jack Benson said:

 

 

 That is simple, Okehampton isn't in South Devon. Try Google maps, if you don't believe me.

 

Cheers

 

Jack

 

 

No its not..

I have been there a few times.

BUT

Railways tend to need potential passengers and there really are not many of them in Mid Devon.

However along the south Devon Coast one can find the majority of the population of the County...

 

So a railway line that works is one that serves all of the stations from from EXT to Totnes - Not just Okehampton

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9 hours ago, TheSignalEngineer said:

At least the passengers are unlikely to be subjected to Pacers. They wouldn't get round the 1st radius curves on the Princetown Branch. 

 

I dunno, some of the curves between Bere Alston and Gunnislake a pretty tight. and they ran up there for a while.

 

 

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That list of counties without motorways is a bit parochial.Take a look at Wales. Powys has none and hardly any dual carriageways - but also not many voters.

But don't lose hope. It only took 40 years for the Newtown bypass to be built.

Back on topic, a major problem in recent years has been the Voyagers and high waves. Get rid of them and one, admittedly only occasional, problem disappears.

I have felt for some time that the only was do deal with the cliff problem was to cut it back but had assumed that those who owned properties at the cliff top might have something to say about it. I assume that they are not all local politicians or Russian oligarchs!

But the sea is a different matter, and as has been said any solution which works now may not still be effective in 50 years as sea levels rise, the foreshore is changed by tidal action etc.

So is there a viable long term solution other than a different route? I don't pretend to know.

Jonathan

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10 hours ago, TheSignalEngineer said:

At least the passengers are unlikely to be subjected to Pacers. They wouldn't get round the 1st radius curves on the Princetown Branch. 

It couldn't be rebuilt in the time remaining before the Pacers are turned into razor blades, in any case.:huh:

 

John

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19 minutes ago, corneliuslundie said:

That list of counties without motorways is a bit parochial.Take a look at Wales. Powys has none and hardly any dual carriageways - but also not many voters.

But don't lose hope. It only took 40 years for the Newtown bypass to be built.

Back on topic, a major problem in recent years has been the Voyagers and high waves. Get rid of them and one, admittedly only occasional, problem disappears.

I have felt for some time that the only was do deal with the cliff problem was to cut it back but had assumed that those who owned properties at the cliff top might have something to say about it. I assume that they are not all local politicians or Russian oligarchs!

But the sea is a different matter, and as has been said any solution which works now may not still be effective in 50 years as sea levels rise, the foreshore is changed by tidal action etc.

So is there a viable long term solution other than a different route? I don't pretend to know.

Jonathan

Easy solution to the Voyager issue. There will be plenty of HSTs remaining unallocated after the current round of cascading/shortening.

 

Move enough of them to Cross Country to allow all West Country services to use them. Transfer the Voyagers thus displaced to their other routes to allow much-needed strengthening to those services that currently have overcrowding issues.

 

Too simple, perhaps?

 

John 

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I believe this to be somebodies thoughts on NR's plans, as I don't think NR would put the legend "no beach."

FB_IMG_1561196575869.jpg

FB_IMG_1561196580395.jpg

Edited by lightengine
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17 hours ago, Jack Benson said:

Hi,

 

Apart from deeply ingrained prejudice, what exactly is the actual cause of the push-back against re-instating inland Okehampton route or indeed any route that avoids the marine environment?

 

Just asking

 

Jack

Read my post on Page 4 about where the inhabitants of Devon live - that's just the starting point.  then look at mine and other posts about the costs of what would be required and the resultant v business case (there isn't one for the route north of Dartmoor).

 

In my view the inland route (i.e Powderham or Exminster to a point between Teignmouth and Newton) would be the best answer but it would be extremely expensive and as others have pointed out it raises questions about the continued presence of the existing railway as a critical coastal defence

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Odd sort of discussion or rather lack of.

 

The oft quoted comment about railwaymen seems to ignore the fact that the 'greatest' railway engineer was responsible for the continued haemorrhage of costs in choosing this route. 

 

Any inland route, not just Okehampton, should be a preferred route to the current debacle and the issue of coastal defence being coupled to railway should be separated, two related issues that are being used to support each other. Abandoning the railway's responsibility for sea defences would be an immediate cost saving for NR. 

 

Cheers

 

Jack

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19 minutes ago, Jack Benson said:

Odd sort of discussion or rather lack of.

 

The oft quoted comment about railwaymen seems to ignore the fact that the 'greatest' railway engineer was responsible for the continued haemorrhage of costs in choosing this route. 

 

Any inland route, not just Okehampton, should be a preferred route to the current debacle and the issue of coastal defence being coupled to railway should be separated, two related issues that are being used to support each other. Abandoning the railway's responsibility for sea defences would be an immediate cost saving for NR. 

 

Cheers

 

Jack

Hmm.  Which ignores why the coastal route was chosen on the first place (because it cost less than going inland) like many other railway routes where their course was as much decided by initial cost as anything else and which in a number of cases, especially where they lay on on the coast. have resulted in extra costs to keep them open over subsequent years.

 

We are of course are where we are although I agree absolutely with your point about an inland route and also about NR shedding financial responsibility for coastal defence - but in reality those are political decisions dependent on far more things than. simply protecting a railway route from the ravages of the sea and collapsing cliff faces.  Perhaps we should blame the GWR for first abandoning work on the inland route due to other priorities for using the allocated funds and secondly a certain Mr Hitler for creating a situation which ensured that work could not restart for a period of six years and finally the long defunct British Transport Commission for later flogging off the land the GWR had purchased for the route?  All of which left BR and its successors with the route that is still there today.

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Mike the Stationmaster,

 

Thank you for a most reasonable response, there was no intention on my part to ignore the reasons for the initial poor choice of route, instead it was merely to point out that we are in this situation because a railwayman chose the route and any subsequent comments quotes* from 'railwaymen' should/must be questioned rather accepted at face value.

 

It may be over simplification but any solution needs to move the route away from the cause of the inherited problem, then the issue of sea defences becomes a separate and unrelated issue which will become the sole responsibility of DEFRA  

 

Hopefully, then and only then, the railway in South Devon will be no longer a problem or at least a manageable problem.

 

Cheers

 

Jack

 

 

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49 minutes ago, Jack Benson said:

Thank you for a most reasonable response, there was no intention on my part to ignore the reasons for the initial poor choice of route,

 

Regardless of what we may now know/consider, the route in question has functioned as a railway successfully for over 150 years now.

 

49 minutes ago, Jack Benson said:

instead it was merely to point out that we are in this situation because a railwayman chose the route and any subsequent comments quotes* from 'railwaymen' should/must be questioned rather accepted at face value.

 

The fact is that the experts have provided a lot of valuable feedback on this issue and it isn't a question of accepting their input at face value - it is obvious to anyone willing to look at the issue objectively that:

 

1) any solution *must* continue to serve the population of Devon, which in this case means it must serve the south coast of Devon and the population centres of Torbay / Newton Abbot / South Hams

 

2) there will only be money for 1 rail line through Devon given the population of Devon, which means given 1) that the Okehampton route is not viable.

 

The issue, and the reason why the "experts" on here get so frustrated, is that people continue to pretend that the money issue is not relevant, and while you can certainly design a model railway on that basis in the real world money matters.

 

49 minutes ago, Jack Benson said:

It may be over simplification but any solution needs to move the route away from the cause of the inherited problem, then the issue of sea defences becomes a separate and unrelated issue which will become the sole responsibility of DEFRA 

 

I believe the issue is that the railway simply cannot walk away from the rail line, and thus will remain responsible for the infrastructure whether it is used or not.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Jack Benson said:

any subsequent comments quotes* from 'railwaymen' should/must be questioned rather accepted at face value.

 

Not quite sure what you mean by that statement.

 

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3 hours ago, The Stationmaster said:

We are of course are where we are although I agree absolutely with your point about an inland route and also about NR shedding financial responsibility for coastal defence - but in reality those are political decisions dependent on far more things than. simply protecting a railway route from the ravages of the sea and collapsing cliff faces.  Perhaps we should blame the GWR for first abandoning work on the inland route due to other priorities for using the allocated funds and secondly a certain Mr Hitler for creating a situation which ensured that work could not restart for a period of six years and finally the long defunct British Transport Commission for later flogging off the land the GWR had purchased for the route?  All of which left BR and its successors with the route that is still there today.

The parliamentary powers for the GWR inland route apparently only expired in the 1990s.

 

I understand that one key reason that the GWR proposed the two-track inland route in the 1930s was to alleviate congestion on the existing two-track route via Dawlish and Teignmouth, not necessarily solely because of concerns about the sea causing problems.

 

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3 hours ago, Jack Benson said:

 

The oft quoted comment about railwaymen seems to ignore the fact that the 'greatest' railway engineer was responsible for the continued haemorrhage of costs in choosing this route. 

 

The precise degree of 'greatness' accorded to Mr Brunel will always be a subject for debate. Amongst his many projects, I don't think that the atmospheric railway was his most glorious. Great in theory but too 'before it's time' in practice.

 

The coastal stretch is also, with hindsight, an error of judgement (in my view as well). In fact, that hindsight started almost on opening day, because there was a fairly bad washout almost on day 1.

 

The thinking behind the current round of projects on that 4 mile stretch is to put an end to the continued hemorrhaging of costs for a long time to come.

 

Whilst I agree with your view that an inland route would be preferable, I would only support an inland route approximately along the line of the aborted GWR 1930s project, in order to continue to serve South Devon. That was considered (together with other options, including Okehampton) by NR and the DfT, but they have evidently decided that the reinforcement of the existing coastal route will (a) meet the need and (b) offer better value for money.

 

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2 hours ago, Jack Benson said:

 

It may be over simplification but any solution needs to move the route away from the cause of the inherited problem, then the issue of sea defences becomes a separate and unrelated issue which will become the sole responsibility of DEFRA  

 

Are we sure that it would be DEFRA that would take up the mantle?

 

I expect that they would find a way of wriggling out of that and handing the whole responsibility to the various local authorities. The latter definitely won't to be saddled with another significant financial burden.

 

Whilst some sections of the four mile route could possibly be left to nature's own devices, some sections would have to be defended, if we are to prevent the sea from taking too much, namely the sea front in Dawlish and quite possibly much of the Teignmouth cliffs section, where there are houses and gardens along the top of the cliffs (unless we plan to remove those in a planned and controlled manner, in order to grade the cliffs back, as per my earlier post).

 

What is interesting, in terms of organisations 'walking away' from responsibilities for sea defences, is that there are already two areas in that area, where existing holders of responsibility have sought to 'walk away' from their current responsibilities. I'm not sure what the current status of either location is at the moment, but when I was working, there was definitely much discussion about the bit of land at Dawlish Warren, that sticks out into the end of the Exe Estuary, being progressively abandoned and left to nature. A few tourist facilities would eventually be lost, if that were to happen.

 

Also, I recall discussions that the body that has responsibility for maintaining the estuary defences between Dawlish Warren and Exminster (possibly the EA?) wanted to 'walk away' from that. This would effectively have left Network Rail responsible for ensuring that the railway did not (eventually) get washed away. This proposal was vigourously opposed by NR engineers at the time and I subsequently heard no more discussion on the subject.

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52 minutes ago, Captain Kernow said:

The parliamentary powers for the GWR inland route apparently only expired in the 1990s.

 

I understand that one key reason that the GWR proposed the two-track inland route in the 1930s was to alleviate congestion on the existing two-track route via Dawlish and Teignmouth, not necessarily solely because of concerns about the sea causing problems.

 

 

Might that have been for financial reasons? As capacity expansion, it would, like many other GW projects of that era, have been eligible for Govt funding. A repair would not have qualified.

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I was looking at this on Google Earth the other day.

 

I don't recall the exact route of the 1930s proposal but by moving Teignmouth station westwards (just east of the roadbridge across the Teign), it should be possible to route the line further inland with quite short tunnels. Surely a better option that a continuing battle with the sea.

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12 minutes ago, Joseph_Pestell said:

I was looking at this on Google Earth the other day.

 

I don't recall the exact route of the 1930s proposal but by moving Teignmouth station westwards (just east of the roadbridge across the Teign), it should be possible to route the line further inland with quite short tunnels. Surely a better option that a continuing battle with the sea.

..... and the Dawlish solution?

 

Apart from compulsory purchases and the associated fairly huge engineering works plus realigning the Newton Abbot road there is hardly a place for a station much before Bishopsteignton.

Edited by lightengine

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2 minutes ago, lightengine said:

..... and the Dawlish solution?

 

If I understand your question correctly, the line would still be inland and run north-west of Dawlish.

 

Then the question might be whether to build a station on the new line or keep the old line just for local trains.

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1 minute ago, Joseph_Pestell said:

Then the question might be whether to build a station on the new line or keep the old line just for local trains.

In that instance the sea wall still has to be retained and maintained (as is the case anyway) to run the local trains.

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The locals are already forming lynch mobs because of the impending loss of the Holcombe beach.  None of them explain where the present beach sand will migrate to and as the long shore drift is west to east there should always be a build up of sand.

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1 hour ago, Captain Kernow said:

Are we sure that it would be DEFRA that would take up the mantle?

 

The provided link to DEFRA does not lead to a forum or any other opinion-led site, it is a GOV.UK website and the first statement is;-

 

Defra has overall national responsibility for policy on flood and coastal erosion risk management (FCERM) in England.  

 

Therefore whilst 'we' may not be sure, it seems the GOV.UK  knows what it is about.

 

However, having witnessed first hand past DEFRA responsibilities (Winter 2014 Somerset Levels) I can understand why the local communities may not be too happy to have to rely on them for flood protection. 

 

Cheers

 

Jack 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Captain Kernow said:

Not quite sure what you mean by that statement.

 

Hi,

 

All statements and opinions are open to question, irrespective of source.

 

A shame that nobody questioned IKB?

 

Cheers

 

Jack

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Jack Benson said:

The provided link to DEFRA does not lead to a forum or any other opinion-led site

Actually, Jack, I never for one moment considered that you referring to any other forum or anyone's opinion.

 

 

3 hours ago, Jack Benson said:

Defra has overall national responsibility for policy on flood and coastal erosion risk management (FCERM) in England.  

 

Your quotation (in bold) from the Defra website is interesting.

 

In the case of the Exe Estuary issue, which I described in a post earlier this afternoon, I now recall that the organisation that wanted to give up responsibility for the west bank of the Exe Estuary was Natural England, which is described as a 'non-departmental public body sponsored by Defra'.

 

As such, it seems that Defra (or the non-departmental public bodies that they sponsor) can walk away (or attempt to walk away) from such responsibilities.

 

 

3 hours ago, Jack Benson said:

Therefore whilst 'we' may not be sure, it seems the GOV.UK  knows what it is about.

It would be nice to think so, wouldn't it?

 

 

3 hours ago, Jack Benson said:

having witnessed first hand past DEFRA responsibilities (Winter 2014 Somerset Levels) I can understand why the local communities may not be too happy to have to rely on them for flood protection. 

Yes, I agree. I also witnessed it first-hand.

 

I also witnessed staff from a major national railway infrastructure provider doing work to assist one of those local communities, work which certainly wasn't on the job description of those staff that morning!

 

What also isn't widely known, I suspect, is that that same governmental organisation thought the best way to protect Bridgwater from the flood waters would be to build a large earth bund right across the railway line.

 

I've also (subsequently) witnessed the actions and ideas of another governmental organisation, also with a responsibility to prevent flooding, acting in isolation, not talking to Network Rail and potentially importing safety risks to the operational railway. At the time I thought, 'you couldn't make this up'.

 

Edited by Captain Kernow
Additional information.
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