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Next Stop Holt Central?

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Joe Petroni, Aug 18, 2010.

  1. TonyMay

    TonyMay New Member

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    extending the NNR into a station at Holt closer to the town centre isn't necessarily a bad idea. Holt's a nice place. it'd be worth getting off the train and having a look around. But I'm not convinved there is really the space to extend. Furthermore, the orbital railway scheme makes very little sense. If you were Norfolk County Council and you wanted to improve local transport links, for your local voters and council tax payers, then try running more buses. The only backers of the scheme are rail enthusiasts who start off with the answer "reopen railways" and ten try to manufacture a question that they think fits the answer.
     
  2. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    Cannot speak for this particular scheme but the comment is so spot on regarding such projects in general!

    P.H.
     
  3. ZBmer

    ZBmer New Member

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    Reopening/ building into Holt would make a lot of sense. As several others have stated, the route isn't ideal, but plausible, and it would bring the additional significant benefit of running from one town to another, thus putting a profit base at each end of the line.

    Neither should a Holt Central site cause too many operational problems. The creation of an additional section (assuming the run-round loop at the present Holt site were to become a passing loop) could allow an extra train on the metals during galas, for instance, keeping interval times similar to the present.

    It's harder to see how a concentration on the Cromer route could be so beneficial. Aside from the difficulties of sharing Bittern Line infrastructure, with all the training/ certification issues that implies, there'd inevitably be a sacrifice in the carefully-cultivated character of the NNR. And 10/ 11 coach incoming trains can't easily be coped with at Sheringham, even if the Cromer triangle came back.

    To venture beyond Holt Central might be where the operational and cost benefits start to work against the line: a great pipe dream but probably impractical. Though once in Holt, realistic contemplation of that next step might start to seem a better idea...

    Roger
     
  4. This is so true. Shortly followed by the old chestnut that "nothing can be achieved without positive thinking, where would railway preservation be now if all people had that attitude?" from the protagonists of the latest pipe dream to anyone who dares to go "Whoah, have you really thought this through?"
     
  5. ilvaporista

    ilvaporista Well-Known Member

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    Has much of a real engineering survey been done on the route? Building alongside an A road will require adhering to all sorts of regulations on access and minimum clearances. Some of those areas look quite tight and significant retaining walls may be necessary. It's not just a case of a bit of digging and laying the track. In fact there may even be less issues in going round to the North of Holt.
    Nothing is impossible but could the money be raised? I think it would need a few £million to become reality.
     
  6. steamdream

    steamdream New Member

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    agree!when we look at the cost of the excavation of the Bluebell ex 400 metres "Tip": we can anticipate a cost of some £ millions for the Holt "extension"
    regards
    Noel
     
  7. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    But surely this can be said about virtually every heritage railway project since Tom Rolt published his historic proposal for saving the Talyllyn in 1950.
     
  8. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    No.

    P.H.
     
  9. John Petley

    John Petley Well-Known Member

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    As this thread has been resurrected after several months in dormant mode, it's worth commenting that there are quite a few other lines that run ex-BR motive power that still keep an industrial or two, and treasure them. Take Baxter on the Bluebell, Charwelton on the K&ESR or Lambton tanks 5 and 29 on the NYMR. One feature about a modest extension to Holt is that the line would still not be too long for Ring Haw and Wissington to play an ongoing role. When lines get past 10 miles, some locos that were primarily designed for shunting tend to find themselves out of work, which is a bit sad if they have a long association with the line in question.
     
  10. TonyMay

    TonyMay New Member

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    No. Most preservation groups start off with the the answer "we want to run steam trains, give us something to do in retirement/at weekeneds, give rides to tourists, provide nostalgia for adults, learning for kids. " and then "OK, we'll start with a few hundred yards of track, couple of mk 1s and an industrial loco" and build from there "we want to run modern mainline passenger trains, which go round and round like my trainset, alongside heritage trains (no conflict there), by reopening through a sparsely populated rural area, with little or no freight potential, and we're going to do this with private investment" isn't sound thinking. One of the things the preservation movement needs to do is differentiate between sound thinking - which can be visionary or long-term, and ill thought out schemes.
     
  11. Meiriongwril

    Meiriongwril Member

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    Thank goodness that these recent comments have been posted on this Buses are Best forum, not on a forum devoted to heritage railways! Oh, wait ... ;)
     
  12. Joe Petroni

    Joe Petroni New Member

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    I don’t think an extension into Holt is beyond the bounds of possibility. It certainly wouldn’t be without its challenges, and the land available is a little ‘tight’ in places, particularly at the end of Meadow Close, (I estimate about 20’ between house boundaries and the A148).

    Looking at the NOR website (recently updated at last), the proposed new station would be further west than the original one, sited close to the site of, again proposed, new car park for Holt on Thornage Road, which would make a lot of sense.

    Beyond this I am not so sure. Although most of the formation is intact, it’s another five miles to Melton Constable and that’s an awful lot of land to acquire. If the mile into Holt is going to cost £250,000 then that would be £1.25m! I would love to see it happen though, I like Melton Constable in a funny kind of way, it just seems really sad that it doesn’t have some kind of railway presence anymore, apart from two spandrels from the old station holding the bus shelter roof up that is!

    Another seven and half miles (and another £1.75m) would get you to Great Ryburgh and the MNR’s proposed line to Fakenham. The last mile, west of the Fakenham Road, would have to be all new as the formation has been lost to the Pensthorpe Nature Reserve. I have walked a lot of the old route east from Langor Bridge Signal Box (Langor Bridge Signal Box:: OS grid TF9629 :: Geograph Britain and Ireland - photograph every grid square!), and it’s pretty much intact.

    What is difficult to see is how the MNR could get north of Great Ryburgh towards Fakenham. Apart from two bridge decking’s that are required to get that far, the Malting’s have now been built right across the old formation. I have stood on the site of the old station, and I couldn’t see a way through. See picture here: Webshots Rides offers thousands of the best car wallpapers.
     
  13. M59137

    M59137 Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure the business case is there for Melton Constable for the NNR, but I could be wrong. From an outsider (or regular holiday punter!) point of view, I can see the advantages to getting into Holt proper, but I can't see what Melton offers the railway that Holt already doesn't.

    I may be shot down for the next comment, but I think railways could possibly get away with extending to nowhere in the 80's & 90's for a longer ride, but today, any extensions have to have a concrete destination and tangible return to offset the rise in maintenance and running costs.

    I would have thought that the 5 mile potential of a Whitby style limited Cromer operation could potentially bring more bums on seats than reaching further inland, but I've probably said enough for now! :)
     
  14. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    Yes, as a public transport facility for people living in thinly populated areas without their own transport, buses are best. Those who believe otherwise are likely never to have been in this position themselves or to have had relatives that are. It is difficult enough to fund the most basic rural bus services yet alone the extra capital and revenue costs involved in indulging in gricer fantasies.

    I have been a railway enthusiast since my pre-school days and am actively involved in narrow gauge operation so I have no bias against railways as such but save us from the starry eyed!
     
  15. guard_jamie

    guard_jamie New Member

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    It's worth noting that a few heritage railways, particularly the earlier ones - the WSR and Bluebell occur - did start trying to provide a proper service, and realised very quickly that it just wasn't feasible.
     
  16. Lplus

    Lplus Member

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    Didn't the Weardale railway just give up running a daily commuter service?

    Anyway, I can't see any way the line could be extended through Holt beside the new road. The Highways authority would never allow two level crossings across the mouths of the two major junctions, one of which is the A148 itself as it turns north. At best a small terminus east of Station Road could be considered, provided the major fencing construction between the track and the A148 didn't intrude into the highway sight lines.
     
  17. damianrhysmoore

    damianrhysmoore Well-Known Member

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    It might all be pie in the sky but Melton has the allure, for enthusiasts (and I stress that) of being the engineering heart of the M&GN. There are significant structures there such as, I believe the water tower and carriage works. Cromer station has unfortunately been somewhat truncated meaning that I don't think it is possible to reinstate a runaround loop within the current boundaries, so even that is not an easy win. That said, the B12 has been overhauled to mainline standards, so who knows what'll happen. I love the idea of the whole Cromer branch being operated again but, then, I admit to being a dreamer. Whilst I see the possible feasibility of providing a commuter train service to Dereham and Fakenham and maybe Holt I am not sure what the benefit is of making the railway 'orbital', thus joining up between Holt and Fakenham. It could provide some great steam runs over the two preserved railways but it's not really required, is it?
     
  18. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    I think the Festiniog's deviation was considered "starry eyed" when first mooted but look at it now.
     
  19. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Depends on what you mean as a "proper service." Don't recall the Bluebell ever pitching for the commuter market as even now it goes from nowhere in particular to nowhere else in particular.
     
  20. guard_jamie

    guard_jamie New Member

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    I am 100% certain that in the very earliest guises of the society the intention was to provide a service rather than a heritage operation.
     

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