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Anglesey Central re-opening proposal


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3 hours ago, Zomboid said:

There's not been much outside Scotland (you've forgotten Airdrie - Bathgate), but that doesn't mean that nothing will ever happen. Reopening the Chandler's Ford line to passengers comes to mind as a reopening in England since privatisation - admittedly that didn't need massive rebuilding, but shows that it can happen if it makes enough financial and/or political sense. Reopening the line to Llangefni seems unlikely to be a financial slam-dunk as a train service alone, but with the politics and wider economic considerations surrounding it and the apparent relative simplicity of doing it it's worth having a closer look at least.

 

Weren’t there a few reopenings in South Wales as well?

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I certainly don't see a shared TfW/Community operation working, because once the adults are in charge, they'll soon realise it's rather more complicated than a DMU in a different colour on a train set.  It's never been done before on a preserved railway; occasional excursion trains from NR isn't the same as providing reliable infrastructure every single day.

 

If you are operating a line which is about to accept a train from (or offer a train to) the National network, you have to be ready NOW.  Delay it and you are potentially very quickly causing delays elsewhere on the network.  Preserved railways, even the best run ones, have punctuality records which would see questions in Parliament if they ran a TOC.  Absolutely nothing must delay a TfW train on this branch; if it happens more than a couple of times, then TfW are going to withdraw services very quickly, terminate them at Bangor, or NR will be claiming delay compensation from the Community Railway which will quickly wipe out any income from TfW.

 

If you have level crossings that aren't getting modernised (which to be affordable, they probably won't be), they have to be manned so unless you are going to guarantee that the (trained) volunteers will always be there without fail, you will be employing signalmen.  These cost money to employ if they are to NR standards.

 

Re-opening a service to Amlwch through Llangefni might meet some sort of CBA threshold, but it looks like a long railway to serve nowhere especially big at the end.  You also need to serve the places people want to travel to; it's said above that stations like Bangor don't really serve the town well.  This scheme sounds like some locals want to run their own railway, but get huge external funding to pay for it by pretending it's part of the national network.  In terms of priority for funding, it wouldn't even be high on my list of station/line openings in Wales, let alone the rest of the UK. 

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I think what was actually said was that Bangor's railway and bus stations were rather far apart, making rail-bus transfers difficult. Bangor railway station itself is no worse situated with respect to the rest of the town than many other stations in the UK. Mind you, my experience of it was 30+ years ago, when I was young and thought nothing of walking, with luggage, along to Menai Bridge and halfway to Beaumaris, let alone into Bangor town centre.

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On 03/09/2020 at 20:12, Northmoor said:

I certainly don't see a shared TfW/Community operation working, because once the adults are in charge, they'll soon realise it's rather more complicated than a DMU in a different colour on a train set.  It's never been done before on a preserved railway; occasional excursion trains from NR isn't the same as providing reliable infrastructure every single day.

 

If you are operating a line which is about to accept a train from (or offer a train to) the National network, you have to be ready NOW.  Delay it and you are potentially very quickly causing delays elsewhere on the network.  Preserved railways, even the best run ones, have punctuality records which would see questions in Parliament if they ran a TOC.  Absolutely nothing must delay a TfW train on this branch; if it happens more than a couple of times, then TfW are going to withdraw services very quickly, terminate them at Bangor, or NR will be claiming delay compensation from the Community Railway which will quickly wipe out any income from TfW.

 

If you have level crossings that aren't getting modernised (which to be affordable, they probably won't be), they have to be manned so unless you are going to guarantee that the (trained) volunteers will always be there without fail, you will be employing signalmen.  These cost money to employ if they are to NR standards.

 

Re-opening a service to Amlwch through Llangefni might meet some sort of CBA threshold, but it looks like a long railway to serve nowhere especially big at the end.  You also need to serve the places people want to travel to; it's said above that stations like Bangor don't really serve the town well.  This scheme sounds like some locals want to run their own railway, but get huge external funding to pay for it by pretending it's part of the national network.  In terms of priority for funding, it wouldn't even be high on my list of station/line openings in Wales, let alone the rest of the UK. 

 

The NYMR run regular trains to Whitby. But in any case, I don’t think a track-sharing TfW/community or heritage operation has been suggested. A TfW service to Llangefni and a separately-operated line between Llangefni and Amlwch doesn’t imply any shared track. What is confusing is how they expect to get both a cycle/footpath and railway on the trackbed. On the Dartmoor Railway and elsewhere this works because it’s a double track formation. I know some railways had room for a second track even where it was never built but I don’t think the Amlwch line is one of them.

 

As an aside, couldn’t traincrew-operated level crossings be used?

Edited by 009 micro modeller
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I thought they were looking at those new units that Merseyrail are getting.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Rail_Class_777

 

 

I believe that TFW are taking a keen interest in a version of them as hybrid diesel/electric units for lines around NE Wales. Lines such as Bidston to Wrexham and Liverpool to Wrexham via Frodsham.

 

They'll probably be ideal for this line if it happens.

 

 

 

Jason

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  • 7 months later...

A big step forwards for Anglesey Central Railway today as they announce that they have finally, after 6 years of negotiations with Network Rail, obtained a lease on the Gaerwen to Amlwch line.


"The board of directors of Anglesey Central Railway Ltd. are pleased to announce, after 6 years of detailed discussions and lengthy negotiations with Network Rail Infrastructure Limited, we formally completed the legal due process on the 29 April 2021, and now are in a position to convey to you and state, Anglesey Central Railway Limited have a legally mandated and contracted lease for the rail corridor, designated The GLA Line north of Gaerwen, Anglesey, between Gaerwen Junction and Amlwch, for the period up to and including the 29 April 2120.
We wish to express our sincere appreciation and gratitude to all members of Lein Amlwch and also to those members of the community of Ynys Môn who have given their unstinting support during this extended period of negotiation.
We would also wish to place on record, and acknowledge, the support received from various elements of the commercial and industrial sectors of the community and couple with these the efforts of the Island’s political representative in the Senedd, who has been assiduous in advancing the case for the reinstatement of the operational railway."

(statement from their Facebook page)

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As a local (live in Bangor, work in Llangefni) I'm really pleased on one hand - it's great that the future of the line seems to be secure. 

 

However I cannot see how services to Bangor (or beyond) could ever be viable unless they were a minimum of hourly (which would be pretty unlikely on a branch such as this). 

 

As sad as it makes me to say, anyone who needs to travel from either Amlwch or Llangefni to work, will always go by car if they have the option as its far quicker. 

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4 hours ago, Enfys_Rainbow said:

As a local (live in Bangor, work in Llangefni) I'm really pleased on one hand - it's great that the future of the line seems to be secure. 

 

However I cannot see how services to Bangor (or beyond) could ever be viable unless they were a minimum of hourly (which would be pretty unlikely on a branch such as this). 

 

As sad as it makes me to say, anyone who needs to travel from either Amlwch or Llangefni to work, will always go by car if they have the option as its far quicker. 

My recollection of the non-tourist aspects of North Wales was that it was quite an impoverished area, with quite a sizeable cohort of the population unable to afford a car. Mind you, they might not be able to afford typical UK train fares either. 

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8 hours ago, Enfys_Rainbow said:

As a local (live in Bangor, work in Llangefni) I'm really pleased on one hand - it's great that the future of the line seems to be secure. 

 

However I cannot see how services to Bangor (or beyond) could ever be viable unless they were a minimum of hourly (which would be pretty unlikely on a branch such as this). 

 

As sad as it makes me to say, anyone who needs to travel from either Amlwch or Llangefni to work, will always go by car if they have the option as its far quicker. 

 

It sounds from the statement above as though the plan now is for the whole thing to be a heritage line, rather than with National Rail services to Llangefni and heritage beyond there (as was vaguely looked at previously). However, I thought there was a plan to convert to a cycleway so has that now been cancelled again, or are they hoping to fit both side by side?

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From what I understand from a statement from Rhun ap Iorwerth(the local Plaid Cymru AM) is that the Welsh Government among others are developing plans for a multi-use path to run alongside(not necessarily parallel the entire way) the line which will cater for walkers, cyclists etc.

 

The railway itself could in theory cater for commuters and tourists. It makes sense to have a heritage railway on an island that relies heavily on the tourism industry, but nothing says a commuter service couldn't run along side the heritage.

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38 minutes ago, CazRail said:

From what I understand from a statement from Rhun ap Iorwerth(the local Plaid Cymru AM) is that the Welsh Government among others are developing plans for a multi-use path to run alongside(not necessarily parallel the entire way) the line which will cater for walkers, cyclists etc.

 

Is it one of those lines that was built (at least partially) with room for a second track, even if it never had it?

 

Having walked some sections I know there is at least one stretch on which a surfaced cycle/bridleway route is already in place, though I think in this case it’s sufficiently close to the remaining track that it would need to be moved if the line reopened again.

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38 minutes ago, 009 micro modeller said:

 

Is it one of those lines that was built (at least partially) with room for a second track, even if it never had it?

 

Having walked some sections I know there is at least one stretch on which a surfaced cycle/bridleway route is already in place, though I think in this case it’s sufficiently close to the remaining track that it would need to be moved if the line reopened again.

The line was just built purely as a single line, so any pathway would probably need to be built on adjacent land I would think. 

A lot of the lineside is drainage ditches, as well the bridges(over and under) are all single track structures. This obviously means there are locations where the pathway will have to deviate away from the line, which is an 'is what it is' situation, and to be fair isn't a bad thing.

 

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2 hours ago, CazRail said:

The railway itself could in theory cater for commuters and tourists. It makes sense to have a heritage railway on an island that relies heavily on the tourism industry, but nothing says a commuter service couldn't run along side the heritage.

 

Running onto NR, eg to Bangor, would of course require trains to be maintained and operated to national standards, ie with TPWS, OTMR, GSMR etc, and staff trained appropriately. Would there be enough traffic from Amlwch, and the other towns on the route, to justify that ? 

 

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15 minutes ago, caradoc said:

 

Running onto NR, eg to Bangor, would of course require trains to be maintained and operated to national standards, ie with TPWS, OTMR, GSMR etc, and staff trained appropriately. Would there be enough traffic from Amlwch, and the other towns on the route, to justify that ? 

 

 

My understanding of it, based on the previous reopening research/proposals, is that it would be trains running off NR as far as Llangefni, which seems to be seen to be a more likely source of sufficient traffic for ‘proper’ (non-tourist) use than areas further along the line. I’m not sure what would be done at Gaerwen, as there is currently no station and the old one was on the main line, so will a new one up the branch away from the junction be needed for any heritage services to terminate, and will it be able to connect to the Holyhead line?

 

A few years ago, the concept for reopening seemed to be an NR line from Gaerwen to Llangefni (I don’t think this included a new station at the junction but I could be wrong), and then a separately-operated heritage line between Llangefni and Amlwch (i.e. no shared track).

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