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£15m GCR reunification plan announced

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by railway, Oct 16, 2010.

  1. class8mikado

    class8mikado Member

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    Indeed, the Speed limit applies to Locomotives and rolling stock, not neccessarily the line itself if the line is suitable for higher speeds.
    So given the suitable signalling/ warning infrastructure a compliant train could work at.... whatever, a non compliant limited to 25mph
     
  2. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Resident of Nat Pres

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    Not sure it is as simple as "compliant/non-compliant". Such legal requirements as secondary door locks are written on the basis that a "train" is a self propelled rail vehicle with a maximum top speed in excess of 25mph. Elsewhere, the exemptions that enable Mark 1s to run on heritage lines when their use on Network Rail infrastructure is "illegal" without exemptions grants with specific conditions include consideration of speed. Liekwise, TPWS is a legal requirement from which non-Network Rail infrastructure is exempt subject to conditions including speed.

    The real issue about using "non-compliant" trains on a double track mainline is that this means they will be passing faster services. Some issues may not be affected but I suspect crash-worthiness and door locks could be seen as relevant issues of greater risk - indeed, having a double track could be seen to increase the speed of a collision in event of derailment (on single track, any such collision would be be static or slow moving vehicles in sidings or at a passing place where one train is likely to be stationery).

    Steven
     
  3. ADB968008

    ADB968008 Member Account Suspended

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    Doesnt the NYMR operate at 40mph beyond Grosmont to Whitby ? Wouldnt that be a precedence ?
     
  4. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    NYMR trains to Whitby generally operate at 25mph. I bet that's a surprise to most of you! They can run up to line speed (30mph to Whitby, 45mph to Battersby) if various conditions are met, such as full stewarding of the mk1 coaches. No doubt Bean Counter can give more detail. What goes on with the coaches is more his territory!
    Like I said earlier, there's nothing to stop a heritage railway from running at higher speeds provided that they comply with the legislation and have stock, track and infrastructure in a condition to suit. It doesn't take a wizz-kid to work out whether it is worth doing, or not, though.
     
  5. Tomnick

    Tomnick New Member

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    From a signalling point of view, working AWS as a requirement makes sense - not sure why full track circuiting would be required though (assuming 'full' is intended to mean the full length of any block section!). Absolute Block continues to work just fine at speeds far in excess of 40mph on the national network, and is pretty difficult to 'break' with the addition of controls such as Welwyn Control. Continuous track circuiting and moves towards Track Circuit Block would, I think, be an unnecessary detraction from what we're trying to achieve.
     
  6. 61624

    61624 Well-Known Member

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    I've said it before and will say it again: the Heritage railway movement does not sell speed! Too fast a journey is perceived as poor value by the travelling public.
     
  7. Black Jim

    Black Jim New Member

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    Then why , when we've sometimes had a faster than average trip at galas, & even on normal operating days (depends on the driver!) loads of people come up & say ' good trip driver! we really enjoyed that'!
     
  8. 61624

    61624 Well-Known Member

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    That may be so, but there is a difference between people enjoying such a ride on an occasional basis and looking at the timetable and realising that their trip out will only last half an hour each way.
     
  9. Christopher125

    Christopher125 Member

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    Of course Jim, but i suspect most of those people could be described as enthusiasts instead of the people who make up the majority of visitor numbers. Im afraid its highly unlikely any line will operate in excess of 25mph on a regular basis given the higher costs.

    Chris
     
  10. Tomnick

    Tomnick New Member

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    Whether or not the general public would appreciate higher speed running, I think there'd be a benefit to having the facility to run at higher speeds for certain special events (particularly diesel galas where 'mileage' is more important than anything else!) - that'd have the added benefit of allowing loco crews to 'do more' with the loco before reaching linespeed, as well as allowing more intensive use of stock, crews and locos (= more intensive service) and, on a normal weekend where things might continue to be timed for 25mph, further opportunity to recover from delays. I'm not saying that the benefits outweigh the increased costs and the rest of it, but I can certainly see benefits.
     
  11. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    I've already said it once. The ability for railways to run at speeds in excess of 26mph already exists. All they have to do is comply with the legal requirements to do so. And sensibly, do a cost benefit study first. I bet that there aren't any takers.
     
  12. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Resident of Nat Pres

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    In order to run on Network Rail infrastructure, traction units (with a few exemptions - shunters, on track equipment etc.) must have TPWS by law. Similarly, for trains running at over 25 mph must, by law, have a scheme of central door lockiong or an approved alternative. This later rule is not limited to Network Rail and hence going over 25 mph on a heritage railway would need the door locks and each set of doors stewarding as would be the case on a mainline tour. I would be surpirsed if TPWS were not a requirement, but probably under specific conditions for the service, not the main legal requirement.

    As for "speed sells", I think this may be the case for limited events but everyday heritage railway traffic, 25 mph is about right to make the journey last and enable passengers to enjoy the view.

    At each Special Event, the NYMR runs services to Battersby at up to 45 mph on the Sundays. Although they are growing in popularity, they are not packed out. They do make a very worthwhile contribution to the overall event as they encourage passengers to come back for an extra day and taking 200 to 300 people off the Grosmont to Pickering service greatly eases over-crowding, but even the enthusiast market do not appear to be by any means universally interested in a near doubling of speed.

    Howver, for any communter services, I am sure that the GCR would need th capacity to travel at over 25 mph to make them worthwhile.

    Steven
     
  13. Orion

    Orion New Member

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    Personally, and I'm sorry if this causes offence, I think that the GCR would be better off if it concentrated its efforts on the railway it has rather than dreaming its pipe dreams. The double track project hasn't been completed - at least in the sense that the railway isn't double track end to end, the Swithland signalling project doesn't seem to be making much progress, and the crying need to take the engine shed out of a residential area is stalled.

    There is more than enough in that paragraph to keep the railway busy for the next ten to fifteen years. All this effort going into this 'extension' is simply diverting attention away from what really needs to be done.

    Regards
     
  14. chrishallam

    chrishallam New Member

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    Of the projects you mention, the doubling down to Leicester North is a lot more complicated than simply laying an extra couple of miles of track (As I'm sure you'll appreciate). Linked into it would have to be a second platform at Leicester with all the associated signalling for it to make any sense in terms of extra capacity and safety. Also a complete remodel of the southern end of Rothley would be required. (A lot of jobs for an already busy S&T dept).

    The Swithland resignalling is progressing steadily. Annual work weeks are helping a lot and I believe I'm right in saying that all the posts are now in situ. However it may still be a couple of years before it is all finished, but rest assured, there is plenty of unspectacular, but essential and time consuming work going on.

    The relocation of the shed is linked into the Gap I believe and was something looked into in the Atkins report.
     
  15. Mike Delamar

    Mike Delamar New Member

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    Hi Guys

    this is my first post, long time lurker.

    this is a project that has fascinated me for a long time.

    what has puzzled me though is the engine shed situation, where it will go etc. I thought the original plan of it being moved to a nearby site to the link a little odd.


    could they not have the engine shed at Ruddington? as that seems the place with the most space for a shed area

    cheers

    Mike
     
  16. Tomnick

    Tomnick New Member

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    Based on knowledge or speculation? There's a lot more to installing signalling than putting posts in the ground and then putting arms on signals - the former's completed, and now the less visible connections (i.e. wire runs, rodding runs and various cable runs) back to the 'box and relay room are in various stages of progression. At the same time, the extensive work inside the 'box and relay room - structural, mechanical and electrical - is progressing remarkably rapidly, considering of course the vast amount of work required in each case. There is, of course, the existing signalling to maintain too, and just about everyone has to do the odd bit of work elsewhere to earn a living...
    I don't think our hard-working S&T installers and testers will take offence at uninformed criticism, but they really don't do much to maintain the image of the enthusiast community in general!
     
  17. Orion

    Orion New Member

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    Perhaps 'our hard-working S&T installers and testers' won't take offence when the apology has already been offered in advance, but I wonder if the enthusiast community might take offence at the patronising character of your reply.

    I'm pleased that the Swithland signalling work is moving on, perhaps the railway could take a little time out to inform the wider world of progress?

    As to the continuation of the double track project, I'm sure that there are any number of dependancies for its completion, but, if the project isn't started because the railway gets diverted elsewhere then it will never be started. That that isn't started cannot be finished. If the railway started an annual project to lay a certain amount of track each year, say 250-500 yards, then it could safely be said that it will finish pretty well on a predicted date. Yes, the station at Leicester North will need to be finished too and the new track will need to be connected to the rest of the railway at Rothley and there will need to be enhancements to the Rothley-Leicester North signalling, but the primary issue will always be the track and the will of the railway to finish what it has started.

    The diversion into the Atkins Report and the £15m extension north to Nottingham is just an expensive dream. The railway is very good at dreaming as was Edwin Watkin before it. What it really needs is the same as the GCR needed after Watkin's death; a sensible, practical manager who will acheive much with limited means. Stand up a successor to Sir Sam Fay!

    Regards
     
  18. Tomnick

    Tomnick New Member

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    Hopefully the enthusiast community (without whom, of course, we wouldn't have a railway to run) will observe that the post to which I was responding seemed - intentionally or otherwise - unconstructively critical of what the S&T (formed entirely of volunteers) are achieving at Swith. I think most recognise that it's a huge undertaking, and I'm sure plenty have seen the long, long hours that a healthy number of volunteers spend on the site.

    A fair point; I'm not sure to what extent progress reports make their way out into the public domain (through 'Main Line' and the website would presumably be the main channels). The S&T certainly put together very detailed reports on the volunteers' website, so there's no excuse really for the railway not putting an edited version of that information 'out there' (minus any bits that aren't for public consumption, of course!)
     
  19. daveb

    daveb Member

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    How about an occasional paragraph or two in GCR-Announce? David Mathews from Loughborough MPD puts a piece in on MPD activities most weeks, and that's always very informative.

    I assume that the volunteer's website isn't publicly accessible?
     
  20. pmh_74

    pmh_74 Member

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    I started typing a long list of recent progress on the Swithland signalling scheme, but then I decided that it wasn't really my place to do so. There are quarterly reports of progress in "Main Line" which can be bought in the shop at Loughborough if you're a non-member (personally I always buy the latest house magazine when I visit another line), but even a simple ride past on the train is enough to tell you that progress is being made, much of the progress is quite visible on a weekly basis, so I can only assume that you either don't know much about signalling or haven't actually been there recently. It's true that some of the progress is 'steady' rather than 'spectacular' (like laying concrete troughing), and some of it is 'hidden' (like fitting out the relay room), but nevertheless it is happening, and to a high standard, and like all of these things it will be ready when it is done, and done properly. (And in the meantime, if you have any GWR signal fittings in your garden, let us know, as we're still short of a few bits & pieces.)

    As for double track to Leicester, I'm sure that if there was either a business case for it or someone offering to pump money into it, it would move up the priority list. At the moment there isn't, so it hasn't. The reason the 'gap' is being talked about seriously now is that there is a belief (based on the Atkins report) that there is a business case for it. If there is, then funding can be sought. It obviously isn't going to be funded by donation-tin-rattling alone so we need to reach out to corporate sponsors and grant-giving bodies (and we all know that money is tight, everywhere, so this isn't going to be easy either). Those sort of organisations want to see some sort of return for their investment - not necessarily financial, it could be measured in other ways. But if they believe the project is worth funding, they might fund it - and if they don't, they won't. It's as simple as that. We certainly can't do 'the gap' and the Rothley-Leicester scheme at the same time, so the priority will be where the money is.

    And as for the loco shed - I completely agree with you.

    Phil
    (GCR S&T installer, amongst several other hats)
    (Views expressed are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of the GCR or other volunteers, etc. etc.)
     

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