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

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1 hour ago, The Stationmaster said:

What I can't understand is why the cliff cutback option would require the railway to be 'closed for 6 -12 months'.  Sounds to me almost like something which didn't involve lots of fancy engineering but did require land take from private residents has been rejected because it was so straightfoward!

Possibly because that option would be far too simple and isnt as 'snazzy' as some of the other options.

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2 hours ago, The Stationmaster said:

What I can't understand is why the cliff cutback option would require the railway to be 'closed for 6 -12 months'.  Sounds to me almost like something which didn't involve lots of fancy engineering but did require land take from private residents has been rejected because it was so straightfoward!

 

The blurb says:

 

"The visual impact on the famous red Devon cliffs, the natural environment and the railway mean that this option is not being considered during this consultation."

 

Not sure what is considered to be "straightforward" about that option? I have dealt with chalk excavation and reinforcement, on a much smaller scale than this admittedly, but it is very unpredictable and there is scant room available at this site for protecting the railway during the works (you could not start at the bottom and create the space, without risking major falls above). But I would also surmise the expected protests both from the aesthetic heritage and environmental viewpoints would be far harder to overcome than the preferred option.

 

My view, FWIIW, as an ex-project manager, is that they have chosen the far simpler and less risk prone engineering option, keeping the line open for a far greater percentage of the construction period, as well as avoiding most of the probable protest (there will be still be some, obviously, as regards the beach and associated environmental disturbance).

 

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2 hours ago, Mike Storey said:

 

The blurb says-

 

"The visual impact on the famous red Devon cliffs, the natural environment and the railway mean that this option is not being considered during this consultation."

Would that include the steel mesh that has recently been added to certain locations, natural my derriere.

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2 hours ago, Mike Storey said:

 

The blurb says:

 

"The visual impact on the famous red Devon cliffs, the natural environment and the railway mean that this option is not being considered during this consultation."

 

Not sure what is considered to be "straightforward" about that option? I have dealt with chalk excavation and reinforcement, on a much smaller scale than this admittedly, but it is very unpredictable and there is scant room available at this site for protecting the railway during the works (you could not start at the bottom and create the space, without risking major falls above). But I would also surmise the expected protests both from the aesthetic heritage and environmental viewpoints would be far harder to overcome than the preferred option.

 

My view, FWIIW, as an ex-project manager, is that they have chosen the far simpler and less risk prone engineering option, keeping the line open for a far greater percentage of the construction period, as well as avoiding most of the probable protest (there will be still be some, obviously, as regards the beach and associated environmental disturbance).

 

It is straightforward in that they would have to start a long way back from the present cliff top in. order to get anywhere near a natural angle of repose - which means a lot of property purchases ( which won't be straightforward of course.  But then they are really tackling a job on the same sort of geology as the GWR dealt with when it removed the tunnels at Teignmouth and reprofiled cuttings plus profiling the newly created cuttings which replaced the tunnels and which work was apparently achieved without shutting the railway for weeks let alone months on end.

 

The biggest problem I suspect would come from any removal of vegetation leading to lack of stability but we shouldn't overlook the point that part of the distance was ay one time triple track formation and on other pafrts of the cliffs were in any case trimmed back to extend teh formation width and take account of past collapses of them.  Overall it seems to have been dismissed very much out of hand with little or no explanation of why it has been dismissed apart from mentioning a very long possession.  I remain to be convinced that what has become NR's preferred option would be carried out and completed with little more than a handful of weekend 48 or 56 hour possession (unless they intend to unload ballast, sleepers,  rails, cables, and signalling equipment from the sea side of the site although some of the latter could no doubt be done during NBS periods.  

 

They are only going to be able to on-track plant into the site for such work as tamping and lining (and unloading railborne material) by means of temporary connections to the existing line(s) which will inevitably require quite lengthy possessions to lay in, commission, and test the connections.  and then once the new route is open there'll be access required to the old part to make recoveries and possessions will eventually be required to remove the connections n between the new lines and the old.  But presumably the estimated costs have allowed for that work including design and possession costs?

 

I wouldn't deny for one minute that they have an absolutely spiffing plan and no doubt they have already assessed the ground conditions to form a clear estimate of the civil engineering works needed and their cost in order to carry a resited railway but they are still going to need quite a lot weekend long possessions in order to do what they intend.   A pertinent question might be to ask do they need any more, or fewer, weekend possessions than might be needed in connection with what amounts to a large bank trimming alternative scheme (and just how many weekend possessions they need in any event for the preferred option(?

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4 hours ago, royaloak said:

Would that include the steel mesh that has recently been added to certain locations, natural my derriere.

 

Don't apply common sense to any situation like this - have we forgotten Steventon bridge's "historic importance" cobblers already?? NR will want to avoid that at all costs.

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3 hours ago, The Stationmaster said:

It is straightforward in that they would have to start a long way back from the present cliff top in. order to get anywhere near a natural angle of repose - which means a lot of property purchases ( which won't be straightforward of course.  But then they are really tackling a job on the same sort of geology as the GWR dealt with when it removed the tunnels at Teignmouth and reprofiled cuttings plus profiling the newly created cuttings which replaced the tunnels and which work was apparently achieved without shutting the railway for weeks let alone months on end.

 

The biggest problem I suspect would come from any removal of vegetation leading to lack of stability but we shouldn't overlook the point that part of the distance was ay one time triple track formation and on other pafrts of the cliffs were in any case trimmed back to extend teh formation width and take account of past collapses of them.  Overall it seems to have been dismissed very much out of hand with little or no explanation of why it has been dismissed apart from mentioning a very long possession.  I remain to be convinced that what has become NR's preferred option would be carried out and completed with little more than a handful of weekend 48 or 56 hour possession (unless they intend to unload ballast, sleepers,  rails, cables, and signalling equipment from the sea side of the site although some of the latter could no doubt be done during NBS periods.  

 

They are only going to be able to on-track plant into the site for such work as tamping and lining (and unloading railborne material) by means of temporary connections to the existing line(s) which will inevitably require quite lengthy possessions to lay in, commission, and test the connections.  and then once the new route is open there'll be access required to the old part to make recoveries and possessions will eventually be required to remove the connections n between the new lines and the old.  But presumably the estimated costs have allowed for that work including design and possession costs?

 

I wouldn't deny for one minute that they have an absolutely spiffing plan and no doubt they have already assessed the ground conditions to form a clear estimate of the civil engineering works needed and their cost in order to carry a resited railway but they are still going to need quite a lot weekend long possessions in order to do what they intend.   A pertinent question might be to ask do they need any more, or fewer, weekend possessions than might be needed in connection with what amounts to a large bank trimming alternative scheme (and just how many weekend possessions they need in any event for the preferred option(?

 

Sorry Mike, but we will have to agree to disagree.

 

Previous triple track means nothing to the present situation - we had just the same issue when I did the Filton third platform, but we could not use the old third trackbed for the new loop, due to instability of the adjacent bank. The CCE gave us a remediation plan which would have been as much as the entire project. The new, later scheme, had to swallow a big chunk of that.

 

You are assuming that starting at the top and at the back of such a chalk formation would engender no risk to the rest of it, for some time. In my experience, very unlikely (due to the increased water access to the rear of the remaining formation via pressure, freeze-thaw and in summer, water reduction), although that was in Kent. Maybe the chalk is different in Devon?

 

NR have stated that most materials will arrive or be removed by sea. That leaves minor (in terms of bulk) rail items and of course the new connections and removal of the old route. None of that adds up to anywhere near a minimum 6 months of route closure. Temporary connections can easily be laid in over a weekend, for track laying, and then track etc removal, but do not need proving (other than continuation of the existing line circuits), as they will be unsignalled and lock and block outside possessions. They would be plain-lined after the project construction and removal works are complete. Proving of the new route would not involve such connections (other than for geometric compliance). I give that 6/8 x 48/72 hr jobbies for the temp points installations and then reversal, and then removal, and 1 x 96 hr for the new route changeover (maybe longer for the latter, as I am out of date with signal and route proving allowances now), maybe 10/12 in total to allow for cock-ups. I am assuming that access to the new route and then to the old, would be done under RotR.  We did much the same during " Leeds First" and during the upgrading of the NLL, although far more complex (and some lengthy closures were needed during those but not for the same reasons), and for new turnbacks I did in Scotland, but the principle is the same. You will be familiar with how it was done for the new but "temporary" connections at Waterloo International and then off HS1 on to classic lines, as it progressed. The works at St Pancras to move MML services to allow for Eurostar, followed much the same principle, although there were indeed several aspects of that which went not inconsiderably "wrong", but much of that was due to the parallel Thameslink work.

 

Even if I am 100% out, with modern requirements being what they are, it is not, at least, 6 months continuous. That clashes with your contention that the cliffs removal/regrading could be done without such a draconian closure. I am not a civil engineer, but neither are you (I believe?) so we cannot say for sure. NR's very expensive external engineers seem to be suggesting that is needed. So we must await comment on that from elsewhere.

 

"Simplest", as we are finding out over other matters, is not necessarily the obvious.

 

 

 

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Not too many properties involved in a potential compulsory purchase.

 

Screenshot_20190629-222443.png

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Is that a DMU on the up line?:)

      Brian.

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9 minutes ago, brianusa said:

Is that a DMU on the up line?:)

      Brian.

Hard to tell but it's on the down, Brian.

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28 minutes ago, brianusa said:

Is that a DMU on the up line?:)

      Brian.

 

Zooming in using the Google Earth app gives a continuous roof, so perhaps a 153?

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So, as a bystander with no direct knowledge, this comes across as a compromise to try and deal with a problem when the government (as the ultimate funding body) has said no to the best solution, that being a new inland route.  Alternately, be interesting from a curiosity point of view if anyone actually approached the government with the idea.

 

As for the proposed solution, based on the limited information available from the linked website I doubt it makes many people happy.

 

In addition to the obvious beach issues, and despite the claim about the importance of the look of the cliffs, there will still be netting applied to the cliffs, whether to the same extent or increased.  Further, as it obvious from the images, the look of the cliffs will be forever altered anyway as they intend to create an elevated base for a length of the cliffs, somewhat camouflaged by placing a walkway on top of it.

 

Which brings us to the current discussion, if you aren't maintaining the look of the cliffs then why not just remove the cliffs?

 

The somewhat cynical response would be it's not so much the number of properties involved, but who owns at least one of those said properties.

 

But I suspect NR is being truthful about the disruption issue.  It would be a very brave, and perhaps foolish, person to allow trains to continue to operate along the route when we already have one well documented example of the cliffs coming over the tracks.  Obviously the respective experts would know better, but it wouldn't surprise me if the risk of further landslips increases significantly once you start disturbing the cliffs both from the increased ability of water to play havoc as well as the risk of disturbing what "structural integrity" there is to the cliff material with removals and heavy equipment moving around.

 

To me the only real question, should this go ahead, is how many years of protection it provides given how climate change seems to be moving faster in many respects than the experts have predicted.

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13 hours ago, Mike Storey said:

 

Sorry Mike, but we will have to agree to disagree.

 

Previous triple track means nothing to the present situation - we had just the same issue when I did the Filton third platform, but we could not use the old third trackbed for the new loop, due to instability of the adjacent bank. The CCE gave us a remediation plan which would have been as much as the entire project. The new, later scheme, had to swallow a big chunk of that.

 

You are assuming that starting at the top and at the back of such a chalk formation would engender no risk to the rest of it, for some time. In my experience, very unlikely (due to the increased water access to the rear of the remaining formation via pressure, freeze-thaw and in summer, water reduction), although that was in Kent. Maybe the chalk is different in Devon?

 

NR have stated that most materials will arrive or be removed by sea. That leaves minor (in terms of bulk) rail items and of course the new connections and removal of the old route. None of that adds up to anywhere near a minimum 6 months of route closure. Temporary connections can easily be laid in over a weekend, for track laying, and then track etc removal, but do not need proving (other than continuation of the existing line circuits), as they will be unsignalled and lock and block outside possessions. They would be plain-lined after the project construction and removal works are complete. Proving of the new route would not involve such connections (other than for geometric compliance). I give that 6/8 x 48/72 hr jobbies for the temp points installations and then reversal, and then removal, and 1 x 96 hr for the new route changeover (maybe longer for the latter, as I am out of date with signal and route proving allowances now), maybe 10/12 in total to allow for cock-ups. I am assuming that access to the new route and then to the old, would be done under RotR.  We did much the same during " Leeds First" and during the upgrading of the NLL, although far more complex (and some lengthy closures were needed during those but not for the same reasons), and for new turnbacks I did in Scotland, but the principle is the same. You will be familiar with how it was done for the new but "temporary" connections at Waterloo International and then off HS1 on to classic lines, as it progressed. The works at St Pancras to move MML services to allow for Eurostar, followed much the same principle, although there were indeed several aspects of that which went not inconsiderably "wrong", but much of that was due to the parallel Thameslink work.

 

Even if I am 100% out, with modern requirements being what they are, it is not, at least, 6 months continuous. That clashes with your contention that the cliffs removal/regrading could be done without such a draconian closure. I am not a civil engineer, but neither are you (I believe?) so we cannot say for sure. NR's very expensive external engineers seem to be suggesting that is needed. So we must await comment on that from elsewhere.

 

"Simplest", as we are finding out over other matters, is not necessarily the obvious.

 

 

 

Mike it's not chalk at Dawlish. (slip of the typing finger perhaps?) but basically sandstone  with a distinct propensity to turn to sand (to soften actually, and as a result move).    Thus there are traces of small bits of movement behind the existing - comparatively recent - protecting fence on the land side.

 

True neither of us are civil engineers but I do wonder about the timescales.  If any temporary pointwork is going to be there for longer than 6 months it has to be powered and interlocked but maybe they can do the changeover stages more quickly than that and I know that on occasion in the past the 6 months requirement was sometimes overlooked (rather than deliberately avoided).  I doubt they are going to bring in long welded rail by sea although ballast would no doubt be feasible and probably easier than bringing it in by rail - at least for bottom ballast - much quicker by rail once the track is down.

 

And indeed we no doubt will continue to agree to disagree but what concerns me is the way the alternative of a cliff scrape back appears to have been dismissed so conclusively and with little explanation when the technique has been used in the past in that area without lengthy possessions amd without the benefit of scrapping back at the top.  I suppose it might always depend on which civil engineer you ask (as it did on Filton Bank where one of the contractors on part of the schemem was amazed by the way NR wanted things done  and said he could have got a far better result at much lower cost).

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I fear that one or two people on here are forgetting the maxim of ‘an Englishman’s home is his castle’ and all that goes with it. The properties which some are so keen to demolish are probably quite sought after with a high asking price given the views etc and I would imagine the residents would put up an almighty fight - not to mention acuse NR of ‘bullying’ them, etc.

 

Yes NR could present a compelling case for them to be CPOed to facilitate cliff trimming - but if there is an alternative available at much the same cost which delivers the same benifits then the planning process will look very dimly on NR for not going for it.

 

As has been highlighted, NR have been badly burned before for proposing radical solutions against the wishes of the local community / residents and I have no doubt the team behind the Dawlish proposal have sound reasons for the decisions they have made based on the way the UK planning process works.

Edited by phil-b259
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19 hours ago, lightengine said:

Hard to tell but it's on the down, Brian.

 

So it is, thanks!:banghead:There, now I can see!

      Brian.

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19 hours ago, phil-b259 said:

I fear that one or two people on here are forgetting the maxim of ‘an Englishman’s home is his castle’ and all that goes with it. The properties which some are so keen to demolish are probably quite sought after with a high asking price given the views etc and I would imagine the residents would put up an almighty fight - not to mention acuse NR of ‘bullying’ them, etc.

 

Yes NR could present a compelling case for them to be CPOed to facilitate cliff trimming - but if there is an alternative available at much the same cost which delivers the same benifits then the planning process will look very dimly on NR for not going for it.

 

As has been highlighted, NR have been badly burned before for proposing radical solutions against the wishes of the local community / residents and I have no doubt the team behind the Dawlish proposal have sound reasons for the decisions they have made based on the way the UK planning process works.

 

Lose a few houses and keep the beaches, or lose the beaches and then the tourists. If the local authority had those choices, which way would it go? And which would the non-CPO'd locals support?

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38 minutes ago, brushman47544 said:

 

Lose a few houses and keep the beaches, or lose the beaches and then the tourists. If the local authority had those choices, which way would it go? And which would the non-CPO'd locals support?

You have hit the nail squarely on the head, as far as I am concerned.

 

Overall, there is more risk to the tourism industry arising from the loss of the beach, thus affecting local people's livelihoods, together with the loss of the amenity to local people, who regularly visit the beach.

 

Comparatively few people would be affected by CPOs on the top of the cliffs. Sure, they'd be mighty annoyed, if they didn't want to sell, but this would have to be looked at as collateral damage. A fair price for their property, suitable support during the process to assist with moving house etc.

 

I am also not a civil engineer, but what I do have is a lot of experience in terms of operating the railway alongside these cliffs, going back 25 years. I am completely unpersuaded by NR's arguments that the removal of spoil would necessitate a lengthy, continuous closure.

 

There are already warning systems in place to alert engineers (and in two locations, the signallers in the panel), of significant rock or earth movements. This could be enhanced during the construction phase and such systems would operate as part of a comprehensively risk-assessed operating and engineering protocol.

 

Temporary/movable overhead conveyor systems could be installed to facilitate the removal of spoil from the landward side to the sea, for loading into marine transport. Some could be removed by road from the tops of the cliffs.

 

I also don't buy NR's comments about 'safeguarding' the appearance of the cliffs, if the 'out to sea' option is pursued. One cursory glance at their own graphics will tell us that the appearance is going to be changed permanently.

 

Also, none has either said whether the revised track geometry for putting the railway out to sea would lead to more restrictive speed restrictions, as the angle of exit from the west end of Parsons Tunnel is already somewhat unfavourable.

 

I've said it before, but when the sea is always going to be a major problem issue at this location, it just seems like asking for trouble to put it further out from the comparative safety of the land.

 

 

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On 29/06/2019 at 21:50, Mike Storey said:

Temporary connections can easily be laid in over a weekend, for track laying, and then track etc removal

During the recent Filton Bank 4-tracking possessions, tampers and engineering trains were admitted to the new lines by slewing during possessions, as I understand it, certainly during the earlier stages of the works.

 

Edited by Captain Kernow
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20 hours ago, phil-b259 said:

I fear that one or two people on here are forgetting the maxim of ‘an Englishman’s home is his castle’ and all that goes with it. The properties which some are so keen to demolish are probably quite sought after with a high asking price given the views etc and I would imagine the residents would put up an almighty fight - not to mention acuse NR of ‘bullying’ them, etc.

 

Yes NR could present a compelling case for them to be CPOed to facilitate cliff trimming - but if there is an alternative available at much the same cost which delivers the same benifits then the planning process will look very dimly on NR for not going for it.

 

As has been highlighted, NR have been badly burned before for proposing radical solutions against the wishes of the local community / residents and I have no doubt the team behind the Dawlish proposal have sound reasons for the decisions they have made based on the way the UK planning process works.

Probably no need for any properties to be demolished.

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1 hour ago, brushman47544 said:

 

Lose a few houses and keep the beaches, or lose the beaches and then the tourists. If the local authority had those choices, which way would it go? And which would the non-CPO'd locals support?

The beach in question is near Parsons tunnel which is quite a walk from Teignmouth, not exactly a 'tourist' beach but well used by the locals to get away from said tourists.

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Just caught up with this subject. It makes avbsolute sense to have an alternative to Dawlish in order to link Exeter & Plymouth/Cornwall. Luckily, the old SR route is mainly still there (much of it a cycle route) with only a few buildings on the trackbed.  I have heard it said that the roue would cost too much to build to modern high speed standards (ignoring the Atlantic Coast Express which ran for years), but I think that misses the point completely.  Having only a line around South Devon is very useful for those living & working down there, but there is much more to Devon than the South Coast.   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.

 

Interesting article: http://www.greengauge21.net/re-opening-tavistock-okehampton-why-when-and-how/

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3 minutes ago, Paul4256 said:

Just caught up with this subject. It makes absolute sense to have an alternative to Dawlish in order to link Exeter & Plymouth/Cornwall.

Indeed, but then we have to ask the question of who pays for it, while it is indeed a 'nice to have' it isnt essential and most relevant this isnt London or the South East. 

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5 hours ago, Paul4256 said:

Just caught up with this subject. It makes avbsolute sense to have an alternative to Dawlish in order to link Exeter & Plymouth/Cornwall. Luckily, the old SR route is mainly still there (much of it a cycle route) with only a few buildings on the trackbed.  I have heard it said that the roue would cost too much to build to modern high speed standards (ignoring the Atlantic Coast Express which ran for years), but I think that misses the point completely.  Having only a line around South Devon is very useful for those living & working down there, but there is much more to Devon than the South Coast.   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.

 

Interesting article: http://www.greengauge21.net/re-opening-tavistock-okehampton-why-when-and-how/

I think you need to have a good read through this thread.  I know there is a lot of it but you'll find the idea, and major difficulties, of reopening the route round the top end of Dartmoor have been fairly comprehensively examined.  Reopening to Tavistock has been doing the rounds, and around, and around, for the better part of 30 years - it's nearly that long since I was looking at some aspects of what was proposed for the signalling and operating methodology - and it is still being talked about with little being done.  

 

Even to reinstate a rail route as far as the outskirts of Tavistock will involve some land purchase where the route has gone and land has been sold off.  To get through Tavistock on the original alignment will involve residential demolitions plus the demolition of other buildings.  Between Tavistock and wherever the line happens to finish up going at the Okehampton end will also involve residential and agricultural land purchase plus the amount of route clearance and drainage work required would be considerable plus bridgeworks - and that is without addressing the Meldon problem.  In addition for regular traffic at anything like sensible line speeds considerable track renewal plus formation and drainage work would be needed on the Exeter side of Okehampton.  And as ever it's a lot easier to build a new railway than bring back to mainline standard one which was closed half a century ago.

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I think we also did reopening the line to death on the Dawlish washout thread a few years ago.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Siberian Snooper
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16 minutes ago, Siberian Snooper said:

I think we also did reopening the line to death on the Dawlish washout thread a few years ago.

 

Indeed we did.

 

It will take a major politically-led initiative, in order to spend tax-payers money on a scheme that has no viable business case. That can only be authorised and led by central government.

 

In any case, Devon CC has no money for projects like this at the moment.

 

7 hours ago, Paul4256 said:

there is much more to Devon than the South Coast.   

At the risk of being a bit controversial, that may well be the view of some, but the vast majority of actual people live in the southern part of the county.

 

7 hours ago, Paul4256 said:

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. 

Yes, there has been some housing, but it still isn't enough to make a new railway economically viable, without sufficient political will and support.

 

 

7 hours ago, Paul4256 said:

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).

 

Without wishing to sound harsh, an 'alternative to Dawlish' has been discussed at considerable length on this thread and others, as Stationmaster and others point out.

 

In terms of your four points:

 

a) in my 25 years experience of being responsible for operational matters along the Sea Wall, there were very few, if any storms in summer of sufficient ferocity, to cause disruption to the operational railway. Now that the NR programme of improvements is underway (which admittedly will take a few years to complete along the whole length), one could equally argue that the newly-constructed Sea Wall will provide an adequate and effective alternative to the previous incarnation, without needing a complete new route

 

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.

 

c) Not sure that we need another standard gauge heritage railway operation in Devon, to be brutally honest, especially if you include the heritage aspects of the existing Dartmoor Railway, the P&DSR, the SDR and the emerging lines at Torrington and Marsh Mills, to say nothing of heritage railways in Cornwall as well.

 

d) Halwill Junction to Launceston? Really? Sorry, but really? Can't see that ever happening myself, I'm afraid and it has never, ever been mentioned, even as a 'fantasy' by any of the railway and public transport stakeholders in the region.

 

 

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<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< Halwill Junction to Launceston? Really? Sorry, but really? Can't see that ever happening myself, I'm afraid and it has never, ever been mentioned, even as a 'fantasy' by any of the railway and public transport stakeholders in the region.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

It was a bit of a fantasy even when it was built!

       Brian. 

 

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