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East West rail, Bletchley to oxford line


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14 minutes ago, Northmoor said:

To be fair they don't claim to.  They don't want the level crossing closed because they'll have to drive slightly further if it is.  It is difficult to see how EWR can achieve its aims if there's an all-stations DMU in the way every hour.

 

On the Bicester - Bletchley section bridges have replaced a number of level crossings, but I imagine that on this Bletchley - Bedford section that will be harder to achieve - and particularly in Woburn Sands where there is no room to build an incline up to a new bridge.

Edited by Tony Teague
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Posted (edited)

I do get the point about the LC, unless it was replaced by a bridge on the same alignment, which would create howls about visual intrusion (it would probably have to be a long flyover from near the garden centre to near the Weathercock - imagine that!!), but once the line is busier, by golly will there be a lot of moaning about the traffic tail-backs caused by the barriers being down “all the time”.

 

 

Edited by Nearholmer
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The  job of EWR is to provide a local service between Oxford and Bletchley and then more stops to Bedford and finnishing in Cambridge.All this talk of fast trains being held up by stoppers is ridiculous  its a cross country local service and thats what passengers want  with an hourly service a faster train can be fitted in.so lets talk about the facts of brief that EWR is working to.

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It's job is to facilitate the journeys that people in the area want to make. Some of those will be local, most will probably be between the big urban centres, and to be attractive those need to be pretty fast.

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27 minutes ago, Nearholmer said:

I do get the point about the LC, unless it was replaced by a bridge on the same alignment, which would create howls about visual intrusion (it would probably have to be a long flyover from near the garden centre to near the Weathercock - imagine that!!), but once the line is busier, by golly will there be a lot of moaning about the traffic tail-backs caused by the barriers being down “all the time”.

 

 

The protesters have picked up on that.

 

It's not clear what they do want though, rather than what they don't, other than a bridge on the existing LC location, which is totally impractical.

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2 minutes ago, Zomboid said:

It's not clear what they do want though, rather than what they don't


Ah, typical of any public consultation exercise about anything then.

 

All such exercises need an option something like:

 

“Leave everything exactly the same, forever, except the one tiny bit that conveniences me personally, which must be changed, now!”

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8 hours ago, Zomboid said:

According to the local press on Google, closing the Woburn Sands level crossing and replacing it with a bypass and a footbridge will "effectively destroy" the town.

 

I don't know Woburn Sands at all, but that seems a little melodramatic

 

The main road through the town links the A5 Watling Street, Woburn (where the abbey is and not to be confused with Woburn Sands), a junction for the road to Cranfield with its colleege, two major garden centres, the old village of Wavendon (which is the other side of the crossing) and major new developments that are part of Milton Keynes.  In addition the main road through Woburn Sands links to the A421 and the new road to the M1 at Junction 13.

 

The current station is about 7 minutes walk from the town centre. 

 

I don't live there but a visit yesterday resulted in the viewing of several posters in shop and other windows.

 

 

3 hours ago, Tony Teague said:

Indeed it does; one wonders how many of them use the railway - the line is grossly under-used (by passengers)

 

Not helped by Covid which has resulted in bus replacement services due to train crew shortages (a similar situation exists on the Watford to St. Albans Abbey line). Replacement buses are still in operation at certain times of the day.

 

School traffic to Bedford and commuting from certain stations to either Bletchley or Bedford for onward connections generated the most traffic particularly at peak times, Bedford in  particular is slow going at peak times.

 

The Bedford - Bletchley Rail Users Association and the Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership had worked tirelessly to incease passenger numbers and promote the line since the second round of closure attempts in the early 1970s.  Much of this traffic may have been lost since lockdown.

 

There is no easy answer to these issues. A lot of development has taken place at the Milton Keynes end. Why the opportunity was not taken years ago to bridge the line at Bow Brickhill before Caldecotte was constructed is not easy to understand. When the barriers are down, traffic backs up to the A5 at certain times of the day.

 

I suspect there is going to be a lot of objections to the plans to close stations, relocate them and close level crossings.

 

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1 hour ago, Northmoor said:

It is difficult to see how EWR can achieve its aims if there's an all-stations DMU in the way every hour.

 

Although the journey time Bletchley  to Bedford is currently around 40 Minutes, they are proposing to add a Loop so that the faster EWR Service can overtake the stopper! What's going to happen if one or the other is late?

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4 hours ago, Tony Teague said:

 

Indeed it does; one wonders how many of them use the railway - the line is grossly under-used (by passengers).

 

This is a catch 22.

The service on the line right now is dreadful, which puts people off from using it.

Once Oxford becomes a possible destination, this will attract more passengers. Even more once Cambridge becomes accessible.

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It is all a bit of a nightmare, because the marston vale line has functioned more like a bus service than most railways for all the time I can remember, then there are the level crossings, several stations that are “nowhere”, and all the different developments going on in the area. It almost needs two lines: a tramway for local transit, and a ‘few stations’ railway for regional transit.
 

But, we won’t get that, so a solid feeder bus service in parallel is probably the best bet.

 

Personally, I’d leave Woburn sands station where it is, make a cheap platform extension westwards, and leave the LC, but put the money in the building society for ten years, by which time the locals will be screaming to get rid of the LC and have a new station, having become plagued by the road congestion caused by the LC.

 

Wherever it’s all going, you wouldn’t want to start from here!

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And no-one has mentioned freight.

At present there are only 5 - 8 freight paths in the WTT along the line and half of them are in the middle of the night, but one can imagine that once the Bicester - Bletchley section is complete, and then again, when the whole line through to Cambridge is complete, there could well be considerably more demand for freight usage - especially when one considers the circuitous routes that freight often takes at present.

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2 hours ago, Tony Teague said:

And no-one has mentioned freight.

At present there are only 5 - 8 freight paths in the WTT along the line and half of them are in the middle of the night, but one can imagine that once the Bicester - Bletchley section is complete, and then again, when the whole line through to Cambridge is complete, there could well be considerably more demand for freight usage - especially when one considers the circuitous routes that freight often takes at present.

Given that the route Didcot-Oxford-Bletchley-Bedford-St Neots-Cambridge links the GWML with the OWW, WCML, MML and ECML as well as routes to Harwich, it seems pretty clear that freight traffic might multiply dramatically.  The twelve or so LCs between Bletchley and Bedford coupled with the high water table along that route does suggest that some serious engineering will be required before it becomes viable as an orbital  avoiding route from South Coast / West Coast to North or East Coast.

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There is a large crane at the Duncombe Street site in readiness for the next section of beams to be installed.

 

The closure of Buckingham Road has been extended to 31st July as they are unable to complete the work due to late delivery of materials. The road was due to reopen on the 19th.

20210710_154627.jpg

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On 06/07/2021 at 22:00, Arun Sharma said:

Given that the route Didcot-Oxford-Bletchley-Bedford-St Neots-Cambridge links the GWML with the OWW, WCML, MML and ECML as well as routes to Harwich, it seems pretty clear that freight traffic might multiply dramatically.  The twelve or so LCs between Bletchley and Bedford coupled with the high water table along that route does suggest that some serious engineering will be required before it becomes viable as an orbital  avoiding route from South Coast / West Coast to North or East Coast.

There is unlikely to be a rail connection with the ECML, just a two-level station like Tamworth.  Felixstowe is the obvious freight destination to the east, but any freight going via Cambridge would have to negotiate the single line between there and beyond Newmarket, including a tunnel that's never been double.  Also the destination for Felixstowe rail freight is in the Midlands and North, with the South East being too close to be served by rail and even if it was there would be much shorter routes available, but the relevant junctions at Bedford and Bletchley face towards London.  The same would apply to Harwich if that became a rail freight destination. 

 

So the potential for freight east of Bedford is actually very limited, despite what various protest groups are claiming.  

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On 06/07/2021 at 17:05, Tony Teague said:

 

On the Bicester - Bletchley section bridges have replaced a number of level crossings, but I imagine that on this Bletchley - Bedford section that will be harder to achieve - and particularly in Woburn Sands where there is no room to build an incline up to a new bridge.

 

There is plenty of space to create road bridges over the railway. But they won't be that near the existing crossings. It will need a lot of rebuilding of the local road network. But that is probably OK in the context of a desire to build a lot of new developments around that part of the world.

 

I wonder if anyone has examined whether the current stations are actually in the right place for the new communities that they are serving? It could also be difficult to provide adequate car parks and bus interchanges at the current locations. 

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41 minutes ago, Edwin_m said:

There is unlikely to be a rail connection with the ECML, just a two-level station like Tamworth.  Felixstowe is the obvious freight destination to the east, but any freight going via Cambridge would have to negotiate the single line between there and beyond Newmarket, including a tunnel that's never been double.  Also the destination for Felixstowe rail freight is in the Midlands and North, with the South East being too close to be served by rail and even if it was there would be much shorter routes available, but the relevant junctions at Bedford and Bletchley face towards London.  The same would apply to Harwich if that became a rail freight destination. 

 

So the potential for freight east of Bedford is actually very limited, despite what various protest groups are claiming.  

 

Might it not open up a route for rail freight from Felixstowe towards South Wales and the South West avoiding London, though?   Originally Cambridge-Chippenham Jn. was all double track apart from Newmarket Tunnel itself, so the double track solum probably still exists.

 

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1 hour ago, 31A said:

 

Might it not open up a route for rail freight from Felixstowe towards South Wales and the South West avoiding London, though?   Originally Cambridge-Chippenham Jn. was all double track apart from Newmarket Tunnel itself, so the double track solum probably still exists.

 

That's about the only route it might be useful for.  

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Section 5 was installed yesterday (Wednesday 14th), section 4 connecting to the Buckingham Road section is currently missing as is section 6 on the other side. I was told that section 4 is due for installation late next week.

 

The big yellow crane could be seen in action during the day with the crane being lowered around 1730 when the pictures were taken. 

20210714_174632.jpg

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Edited by 1E BoY
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So a couple more delivery pics, that's the last edge beam for span 26, on Wednesday morning,, now back to the other side for the arrival of the 750t crane for the delivery  install of span 18 under possession over the weekend, then if that goes to plan, the 750 will move back to Buckingham Road compound on Monday to install the big beam in span 28...Best go and check that again, it was snug getting the small beams in! 

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IMG_20210715_095559.jpg

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There has been more developments over the last few days.

 

A new section to the south west of the box over the WCML has now been installed. This leaves a one section gap to join to the original structures over Water Eaton Road and beyond.

 

20210719_201703.jpg

Edited by 1E BoY
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This view shows the section adjacent to the box. At the moment the two are not joined,

 

Taken from the former car rental premises in Duncombe Street. Work is continuing on the box to bring it up to the required height.

 

All pictures taken last night (19th).

 

Buckingham Road remains closed until the beginning of August.

20210719_200551.jpg

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Large beams were stored on their lorries last night on the currently closed eastbound carriageway  on Buckingham Road.

 

Cranes lifting this morning will investigate later.

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