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Bluebell WESTERN Extension - so what's occurring then?

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by domeyhead, Apr 1, 2013.

  1. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    And just to put a further dampener on electrification: doing so would not only require a 3rd rail, but suitable rolling stock; and as far as I can see there seems next to no interest, given the existing and planned workload in the C&W works, to restore a suitable EMU - for example, the 4-Cor. Yes, the 4VEP exists and is well looked after (off site), but that is only one unit. The "one in, one out" policy would also, I would have thought, severely curtail brining in any other unit to run the service on a permanent basis - the next phases of Operation Undercover are scoped to basically house the carriages we have (restored and unrestored): I can't see many members being very happy if we chucked the vintage 4 wheelers out into the rain so that we could house a more modern EMU under cover.

    Tom
     
  2. SG-Canada

    SG-Canada Member

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    I think you'd find that if any line, especially one that from an outsiders perspective does as good a job as the Bluebell does with its projects and works were to undertake something like a 3rd rail heritage branch, say between HK and HH along the Ardingly branch, that any line would need to be self sufficient in that the "new" rolling stock of the electric variety would need different maintenance and storage facilities than the existing wood vehicles and steam era stock.

    Based on what I've seen, I'd be stunned if some day an Ardingly Branch return that included electrification didn't include some sort of provision for providing separate appropriate maintenance and storage facilities for that line.

    That said, i suspect the Bluebell has earned a well deserved few years of rest and consolidation of the new operation before any major push or work is put into another extension or major project so that those who have paid the freight and done the work can enjoy the results of their exertions.

    -Stephen
     
  3. Man of Kent

    Man of Kent New Member

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    I think it is safe to say that overhead wiring for the southern region is a long way off. Some first moves are present in the government's electrification plan, but I think the 5BEL will have plenty of years use before its power source is taken away.
     
  4. david1984

    david1984 Resident of Nat Pres

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    That's what I was thinking, any Electric sorties on the Ardingly route could be funded and looked after by those with such interests and not at the expense of other facilities and workshops elsewhere on the Bluebell, with a suitable Electric workshop/depot somewhere along the route, it could operate as a self contained branch away from the core steam operation on SP - EG.

    Course a 3rd rail woulden't stop Steam operating over the route, could just turn off the power when no electric trains are in use.

    Regarding the point there are very few loco's and units capable of running on it, it's probably down to the fact there's nowhere to run them that there are so few as they are not much use otherwise unless you have a 33 or 73, apart from the 1960's EMU's, isn't there 1 or 2 still about from earlier periods ?.
     
  5. david1984

    david1984 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Only Overhead wiring of the Southern currently on the table is Reading - Basingstoke - Southampton, primarily to try and encourage Freightliner trains to/from Southampton to go over to Electric haulage, some say it will benefit Cross Country too, but unless it extends down to Bournemouth, I doubt this claim.
     
  6. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Very dangerous idea! You have to assume a third rail is always live. If it was sometimes live, and sometimes not, it would breed a certain complacency, possibly with fatal results. It's the same logic that means we won't put in a "dummy" third rail at HK for visual authenticity to the 1930s period.

    Tom
     
  7. Corbs

    Corbs Well-Known Member

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    Oh I see! Are they compatible in that the controls of the EMU tell the locomotive when to apply power etc?
     
  8. tamper

    tamper Member

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    Can't speak for other units but certainly 73210 'SELHURST' on the Mid Norfolk is used in push/pull mode and IS driven from the EMU cab on return journeys.

    Whilst a 73 is only nominaly 700 hp on diesel, once on the 3rd rail at FULL voltage it can produce it's rated 3,300 hp for up to half an hour.
     
  9. desperado

    desperado Member

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    Like this .... 4 CIG 1497 at Thuxton
     
  10. Shaggy

    Shaggy Part of the furniture

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    You'll be pleased to know that the plan I've seen is through to Poole!
     
  11. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Of course, all very interesting, but in my opinion the chances of seeing third rail electric at HK in my lifetime (I'm 43...) are about zero.

    If I had to make a prediction, I'd suggest that we can build a new "temporary" station on the edge of the Ardingly station site (so not encroaching on the land used by Hanson) quite easily. That would give a short (2 mile) branch line with, say, one platform and a run round loop, and probably limited road access rather similar to what the IoWSR have at Wooton. Ideal for small engines and vintage carriages. Phase 2 might then allow an end-on connection through the Ardingly site, giving a second mainline connection, this time to the south. Doing that would have essentially no extra infrastructure cost from phase 1, but would have signalling implications, which is why I think those two things would happen in phase 1 and phase 2, rather than all at once. (We have a protected rail route through the site, so Hanson have to do any development leaving a line of rails clear for our use).

    Beyond that (i.e. getting to Haywards Heath with Bluebell trains), it gets very problematic and I can't see it happening any time soon. Electrification? Not a chance - IMHO.

    Tom
     
  12. 2392

    2392 Well-Known Member

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    From what I can remember in the past when the question of not only restoring the Ardingly branch and in particular the 3rd rail is mentioned in any of the magazines, they ususally also have a "remark" or two from the HMRI [and the late Major Olver] as was or ORR/RAIB these days saying that in principal there was on "Officcal" objection to a "Heritage Railway" running a 3rd rail electric train/line per sa, as long as they met the requirements of the Light Railway Order [as was] or the current Transport and Works Order.........

    As it stands, as with many of these ideas/schemes I take the view of "Never say Never!" Just look what the A1 trust did and they were laughed at, now they're planning a seventh Gresley P2 based with modern improvements on the original engine 2001 Cock o' the North......... Granted there have been several grandios similar schemes announced to built this or that type of new replacement engines that have just as quickly dissappeared back into oblivion.
     
  13. Unlikely

    Unlikely New Member

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    I agree that 'never say never' is the right approach and I'd love to see an electrified preserved line and am sure Ardingly is an ideal candidate, BUT... the obstacles are huge and I'd be surprised if the benefits justify the outlay. jamessquared's suggestion for how things could unfold stage by stage sounds good though. With so many sublime small engines in its collection, having a short branch line for them is a great thought as I'm sure their use (except double-heading) on the full length line might not get limited. If the Terriers and Ps can one day be joined by a COR, EPB, CEP etc, even better.
     
  14. Steve B

    Steve B Well-Known Member

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    Or perhaps a replica Cravens Era train...

    I agree that "never say never" is the right way to look at it (as a Bluebell Volunteer in the early 70s I was categorically told that an extension to EG was out of the question because of the tip, and Ardingly was impossible because of the absence of a viaduct), and maybe there sufficient support for an electrified line. Without such dreams and ambitions nothing would ever get done. Personally , I'd like to see it, but the costs would be enormous. Not only is there the infrastructure to sort out (quite apart from safety cases and legislation - which I would imagine are solvable), but you'd also need suitable stock - and the problem with multiple unit stock is that you have to have the whole unit serviceable at the same time. If one of the Bluebell's Maunsell coaches has to be stopped then it doesn't stop the whole set - not so easy if you have to stop the driving coach or motor coach of an EMU. So if you wanted to have a guaranteed EMU service you'd have to have a spare unit. And then would there be the interest from the general public to get them to break their journey at HK and take a short trip on the EMU (and part with their cash)? Maybe in 20-30 years time there may be more of a hunger for such things, but I don't see it now. However, a short trip on a Cravens Era train (and did the Brighton line have open topped 3rds?) might be somewhat more attractive.

    I can but dream...

    Steve B
     
  15. Ploughman

    Ploughman Part of the furniture

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    Never say never.
    Didn't someone once say we will never have a diesel on the Bluebell.
     
  16. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Light ailway orders and their successors usually contain something along the lines of the following clause:

    "Nothing in this Order shall authorise the use of electrical power as motive power on the railway unless such power is obtained from storage batteries or from a source of generation entirely contained in, and carried along with, the engines and carriages."

    Installing third rail isn't necessarily a non-starter but a lot of influential people will need a lot of convincing.
     
  17. Christopher125

    Christopher125 Part of the furniture

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    I think it's almost certain Cross Country would benefit, 'dual voltage' EMU's would avoid any issue over the extent of the wires and there appears to be enthusiasm for electrifying more of the cross-country network beyond 2019.

    Chris
     
  18. goldfish

    goldfish Nat Pres stalwart

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    What interest would travel on a 3rd rail EMU have for Joe Public?

    Simon
     
  19. desperado

    desperado Member

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    The same question can be asked about vintage trams but there's just enough interest in travelling on vintage trams to keep the museum at Crich alive.
     
  20. Foxhunter

    Foxhunter Member

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    I don't know, I rather fancy a spin on a 5 BEL unit...... ;) Wouldn't the Bluebell be a great place for the restored Brighton Belle to be based?

    Foxy
     

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