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East West rail, Bletchley to oxford line


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  • RMweb Gold

The disturbance caused by the reinstatement of what was an existing railway line is nothing compared to the havoc and destruction being caused just to the north and west by HS2 - it is truly mind-blowing (& awful) to see.

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2 hours ago, Tony Teague said:

nothing compared to the havoc and destruction being caused just to the north and west by HS2 - it is truly mind-blowing (& awful) to see.

nonsense

not a single spade has been dug in the north west yet.

maybe in the future but......

mike james

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41 minutes ago, mikejames said:

nonsense

not a single spade has been dug in the north west yet.

maybe in the future but......

mike james

 

Read it again - North and West; not northwest.

 

John Isherwood.

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  • RMweb Gold

For the sake of clarity, I was referring mainly to the area immedaitely north of the E-W line as far up as around the Coventry / Birmingham borders in which there are multiple HS2 compounds up and running, many road closures and very significant works are in hand. I believe the same is true south of the E-W line back down towards Old Oak Common, however a larger proportion in that area is being tunnelled. Nevertheless, I appreciate that this thread is not focussed on HS2.

Tony

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  • RMweb Gold

We get a local 'Bulletin' through the door and these 2 items were in the latest copy.

 

IMG_1613.JPG.4bd516f1e5ca7c0b5b66a66bd4fed7df.JPG

 

It's a typical local rag piece written around a Beds Borough Press release. I noted the comment about the Southern routes being a blow to the economy of Bedford and threatening the RSPB 'reserve' at Sandy. (It isn't a 'reserve' but cheap office space for the RSPB in a former Country house, and Heathland restoration on the greensand ridge and never on any proposed route)  

I also note the claim that with the proposed route there is no greater noise impact than the alternatives......really!   The route goes through a densely populated area of Bedford with terraced housing right to the railway boundary. The approach to Bedford Midland from the West is currently a severe 90 degree curve with little to no room for easing, so any passenger and freight will be braking and accelerating in the midst of this housing. 

 

There was also this letter.

IMG_1612.JPG.85822eda1429b2848313f94abcd00906.JPG

 

I get the impression that the writer is not a fan of the Mayor "Call me Dave' Hodgson. And having met him on many occasions I can say that he would fit very nicely within the North Korean party political structure....but only at the top...:rolleyes:

 

From an engineering point of view I would think that for this project crossing the ECML and WCML will be childsplay in comparison to negotiating the approach and exit at Bedford.  For those unfamiliar with Bedford I've marked out the proposed route in red, but what it doesn't show is the topography which puts Bedford in the Ouse valley and much lower than the hills to the North. 

839472163_BedfordRoute2.JPG.b41b564b661940a19f8962d67d114b3d.JPG

 

386832673_BedfordRoute1.JPG.e98399ea51dc79b0ccc308d6b8c69bf8.JPG

A Southern route would be much quicker and still pick up the Midland main line with an interchange at the Wixams. (just off screen)

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On 17/03/2021 at 13:06, chris p bacon said:

We get a local 'Bulletin' through the door and these 2 items were in the latest copy.

 

IMG_1613.JPG.4bd516f1e5ca7c0b5b66a66bd4fed7df.JPG

 

It's a typical local rag piece written around a Beds Borough Press release. I noted the comment about the Southern routes being a blow to the economy of Bedford and threatening the RSPB 'reserve' at Sandy. (It isn't a 'reserve' but cheap office space for the RSPB in a former Country house, and Heathland restoration on the greensand ridge and never on any proposed route)  

I also note the claim that with the proposed route there is no greater noise impact than the alternatives......really!   The route goes through a densely populated area of Bedford with terraced housing right to the railway boundary. The approach to Bedford Midland from the West is currently a severe 90 degree curve with little to no room for easing, so any passenger and freight will be braking and accelerating in the midst of this housing. 

 

There was also this letter.

IMG_1612.JPG.85822eda1429b2848313f94abcd00906.JPG

 

I get the impression that the writer is not a fan of the Mayor "Call me Dave' Hodgson. And having met him on many occasions I can say that he would fit very nicely within the North Korean party political structure....but only at the top...:rolleyes:

 

From an engineering point of view I would think that for this project crossing the ECML and WCML will be childsplay in comparison to negotiating the approach and exit at Bedford.  For those unfamiliar with Bedford I've marked out the proposed route in red, but what it doesn't show is the topography which puts Bedford in the Ouse valley and much lower than the hills to the North. 

839472163_BedfordRoute2.JPG.b41b564b661940a19f8962d67d114b3d.JPG

 

386832673_BedfordRoute1.JPG.e98399ea51dc79b0ccc308d6b8c69bf8.JPG

A Southern route would be much quicker and still pick up the Midland main line with an interchange at the Wixams. (just off screen)

 

There are some tough choices.

I understand the desire for an alternative route, but I also expect that using Bedford Midland is quite a high priority. Making MML services stop at both Wixams & Bedford Midland would cause a huge number of complaints with passengers & those who have to write the timetables. Stopping them at Wixams instead of Bedford would be a horrible solution too

I had not realised the curve near St Johns was so tight either, even though I've been around it.

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On 17/03/2021 at 13:06, chris p bacon said:

 

From an engineering point of view I would think that for this project crossing the ECML and WCML will be childsplay in comparison to negotiating the approach and exit at Bedford.  For those unfamiliar with Bedford I've marked out the proposed route in red, but what it doesn't show is the topography which puts Bedford in the Ouse valley and much lower than the hills to the North. 

 

 

 

Please remember we are talking about a line designed for high powered electric  / hydrogen fuelled trains, not a steam loco that is going to struggle with steep gradients!

 

If you have a look at the French TGV lines they go up and down like rollercoasters because of this principle - its curvature which is the limiting factor these days when it comes to line speeds.

 

Thus the presence of hilly terrain north of Bedford is not the problem you think it is....

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17 minutes ago, phil-b259 said:

Thus the presence of hilly terrain north of Bedford is not the problem you think it is....

 

I realise it isn't a problem for modern day route planning, it was more of an observation of the topography for those unfamiliar with the area. There are still people that think Bedfordshire is flat......ish....

 

The real problem would be the wealthy who live to the North of Bedford and the West/South West of Cambridge who are actively pursuing route re-alignment to move it to an approach into Cambridge from the North..

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1 hour ago, Mike Buckner said:

is it also a freight route?

The intention is to make it an east-west route for freight as well as passengers.

1 example is providing an alternative for container traffic from East Anglia to Daventry, which currently had to use the Anglia main line, NLL & WCML which are all congested, but it will also provide access to further west too.

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10 hours ago, Pete the Elaner said:

The intention is to make it an east-west route for freight as well as passengers.

1 example is providing an alternative for container traffic from East Anglia to Daventry, which currently had to use the Anglia main line, NLL & WCML which are all congested, but it will also provide access to further west too.

 

Wouldn't that require a reversal at Bletchley?

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1 hour ago, Pannier Tank said:

 

Wouldn't that require a reversal at Bletchley?

 

I am unaware of any plans for curves, so yes.

There are sidings & a Network Rail depot immediately south of Bletchley station so it would be possible to add reversing facilities here.

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For the crane spotters - a new arrival was this afternoon dominating the Bletchley skyline. It was being assembled yesterday.

 

The wall for the box over the WCML is now taking shape and can be seen by the base of the crane jib.

20210319_150733.jpg

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On 17/03/2021 at 14:06, chris p bacon said:

We get a local 'Bulletin' through the door and these 2 items were in the latest copy.

 

IMG_1613.JPG.4bd516f1e5ca7c0b5b66a66bd4fed7df.JPG

 

It's a typical local rag piece written around a Beds Borough Press release. I noted the comment about the Southern routes being a blow to the economy of Bedford and threatening the RSPB 'reserve' at Sandy. (It isn't a 'reserve' but cheap office space for the RSPB in a former Country house, and Heathland restoration on the greensand ridge and never on any proposed route)  

I also note the claim that with the proposed route there is no greater noise impact than the alternatives......really!   The route goes through a densely populated area of Bedford with terraced housing right to the railway boundary. The approach to Bedford Midland from the West is currently a severe 90 degree curve with little to no room for easing, so any passenger and freight will be braking and accelerating in the midst of this housing. 

 

There was also this letter.

IMG_1612.JPG.85822eda1429b2848313f94abcd00906.JPG

 

I get the impression that the writer is not a fan of the Mayor "Call me Dave' Hodgson. And having met him on many occasions I can say that he would fit very nicely within the North Korean party political structure....but only at the top...:rolleyes:

 

From an engineering point of view I would think that for this project crossing the ECML and WCML will be childsplay in comparison to negotiating the approach and exit at Bedford.  For those unfamiliar with Bedford I've marked out the proposed route in red, but what it doesn't show is the topography which puts Bedford in the Ouse valley and much lower than the hills to the North. 

839472163_BedfordRoute2.JPG.b41b564b661940a19f8962d67d114b3d.JPG

 

386832673_BedfordRoute1.JPG.e98399ea51dc79b0ccc308d6b8c69bf8.JPG

A Southern route would be much quicker and still pick up the Midland main line with an interchange at the Wixams. (just off screen)

 

All of that is very thought-provoking - thanks.

 

However, I should just point out one error - there is indeed an RSPB HQ but also a vast Nature Reserve at Sandy, covering about 550 acres of heathland - about 1 mile SE of the station, also called The Lodge, which has been there since the 1960's.  Route A would have almost certainly affected this, as might Routes C and D.

 

I leave others to dispute whether this is an important site, or otherwise.

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21 hours ago, Pete the Elaner said:

The intention is to make it an east-west route for freight as well as passengers.

1 example is providing an alternative for container traffic from East Anglia to Daventry, which currently had to use the Anglia main line, NLL & WCML which are all congested, but it will also provide access to further west too.

In this blog https://bedfordrail.wordpress.com/2021/03/01/the-case-against-east-west-rail-route-e-is-there-anything-in-it/

the author quotes :

 

-East West Rail will be used for regular diesel freight trains, which wasn’t made clear before the consultation

This is perhaps the most widely-circulated argument on social media and elsewhere. It is almost entirely untrue – the only correct element is that East West Rail will be, at first, a diesel railway. The rest of the argument has no basis in fact.

and

An East West Rail spokesperson confirmed to the Cambridge Independent on February 1st that any freight on the line is only ‘potential’: “We are aware that freight is a topic of great interest to the local communities we will serve, and we are currently undertaking a study to understand potential freight use.”

Maggie Simpson of the Rail Freight Group gave similar confirmation in this recent Q+A with Tangent Rail: “It’s an open question at the moment. We don’t have a definitive position on whether or not the East West Rail Company is building freight capacity in the central section. Rob Brighouse [Chairman at East West Rail Company] was vocally clear that this line was not for freight.”-

 

So there may eventually be freight, but this would probably involve more spend than currently planned.

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6 hours ago, Mike Storey said:

 

All of that is very thought-provoking - thanks.

 

However, I should just point out one error - there is indeed an RSPB HQ but also a vast Nature Reserve at Sandy, covering about 550 acres of heathland - about 1 mile SE of the station, also called The Lodge, which has been there since the 1960's.  Route A would have almost certainly affected this, as might Routes C and D.

 

I leave others to dispute whether this is an important site, or otherwise.

 

 I know Mike, I live half a mile from it.

 

Part of It is Heathland restoration but it has only been in RSPB ownership for about 10 years as it was commercial forestry  until then. The RSPB does steward other parts of the former heath, but a large part of it is currently an active quarry.  The Lodge itself was purchased in the 1960's for £26,500, after the RSPB sold their London offices for £33,000 recognising that London prices would always be too expensive to expand (a wise move).  Since the 60's it has expanded and is now the original house, 2 large office blocks and some very large car parks. When the local authority was Mid Beds district council the RSPB was the biggest employer in the district (Beds is now 3 unitary authorities)

 

Routes A, C & D were all around the escarpment to the South of Sandy and partly followed the alignment of the original Varsity line.  They are quite some way from the Heathland and it would be the 2 iron age hill forts on the edge of the escarpment that could have been considered at risk.

I did read somewhere that it might be easier to just go in a straight line from Sandy to Cambridge, but the writer obviously had no idea about the Fuel dump at Deepdale, built in WW2 it is part of the aviation fuel supply network for the UK.

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20160513-the-uks-network-of-secret-fuel-pipes-that-helped-win-wwii

After the exposion and fire at Buncefield some actually took note of what is on our doorstep and asked questions, it was eventually acknowledged that if the same were to happen at Deepdale it would 10X the magnitude and take out a large part of the greensand ridge.

Another pretty pic....with even more colours..:D

138143172_RoutesACD.JPG.9439d937b471a23cfcba9d26c7cc8a37.JPG

 

 

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