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Rother Valley Railway

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by nine elms fan, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. City of truro fan

    City of truro fan New Member

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    It is a shame they can’t invent level
    Crossing barriers that look like old gates as this will make them look better for photos and they could put in gates with lights that flash to warn the cars but also I always have thought that gates are safer as it stop the cars driving onto the track when the road is open. This is safety gone backwards. I don’t see what they are dangerous if people use them and have a go on them properly
     
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  2. H Cloutt

    H Cloutt Member

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    What an interesting idea. With the exception of the proposed North Bridge Street crossing - I would say that the photography at the new crossings would be too dangerous. It is difficult to see why drivers would mistake a railway track for a road - however this did happen at the crossing at Robertsbridge station on the main line. I would expect that there would be locked gates to prevent access the to the track at crossings which would only be opened on operating days.
     
  3. Miff

    Miff Well-Known Member Friend

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    Lifting barriers work much faster than any gates I’ve ever seen, which is important at this location to prevent unnecessary delay to traffic on the A21 Trunk Road.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2021
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  4. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Traditional gates might very well work on Northbridge St, and Junction RD, Where traffic levels will not be expected to be so high, But its a non starter at the A21 Crossing, we might get all dewy eyed at the thought of an Terrier and vintage coaches crossing in front of a waiting Austin A30, But we have to live in the modern world, If there were not any other practical way to cross this road, i doubt that a level crossing would even be allowed, but there is no other practical way, so it has to be a modern system, with modern safe guards, not to protect the train, but idiotic drivers who some how think they are more important than anyone else, because, if as most of us hope permission is granted to re open the section from Northbridge Street, to Junction Rd, that level crossing will be the most scrutinised crossing ever, because just one accident, no matter who caused it, and the anti's will be in full " We told you so" mode, even if it turns out to be an impatient driver trying to drive round the barriers.
     
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  5. H Cloutt

    H Cloutt Member

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    Exactly - although I think the original poster was suggesting that the barriers were made to 'look like crossing gates'. When the planning application was first submitted, there were a great many comments on social media about delays mostly from people who thought that the crossing was going to be manually operated gates - this despite videos provided by RVR of full barrier crossings on one of the Welsh narrow gauge heritage railways. The Dean Forest Railway crosses the Lydney dual-carriageway by-pass [A48] using a full-barrier crossing - this is near a roundabout - so there are similarities. Looking at the Inquiry documents, RVR's consultants have done a very good job of designing the A21 crossing - I think there are a few points still 'under discussion' with Highways England but it would seem most of these have been resolved.
    Looking at the Inquiry programme - Highways England are scheduled to make a statement on the first day [6th July] with further discussions on the next few days.
     
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  6. Dead Sheep

    Dead Sheep New Member

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    Does anyone know if the inquiry is going to be webcast?
     
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  7. H Cloutt

    H Cloutt Member

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    The Inquiry is using Microsoft Teams - if you have written in as a supporter you would have received an email advising you how to ask for access.
     
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  8. jnc

    jnc Part of the furniture

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    That's the problem with 'humourous' posts; not everyone will find them funny...

    Noel
     
  9. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    Some of us didn't understand them at all.
     
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  10. Miff

    Miff Well-Known Member Friend

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    With the inquiry now almost upon us I'd say the most interesting part of the website is now the 'Proofs of Evidence' section:
    https://gateleyhamer-pi.com/en-gb/rother-valley-railway/inquiry-documents/proofs-evidence/

    This section contains the most up to date positions available and is what each participant intends to present and concentrate upon at the inquiry. RVR have also submitted 'rebuttal proofs' to a number of matters raised by objectors for the first time in their own proofs of evidence. RVR's submissions make it clear final agreement with Highways England and ORR may be very close and that Highways England have no plans for a dual carriageway (can we finally scotch that myth?).

    In another section ‘Statements of Case’ RVR have an updated statement which also includes summary responses to all matters of objection.

    As a RVR supporter I hope they succeed but, as I've said before, I'm glad it's not too easy for the railway, the government or anybody else to take away someone else's land against their will. It's up to RVR to prove their case and the objectors have every right to resist them and have their case heard (and I hope rebutted) with respect. I guess the issue here, in order to justify compulsory purchase of their land, is whether providing a heritage or tourist facility is as much in “the public interest” today as providing a transport service was when the Rother Valley Railway was authorised in 1899. In our modern world I think perhaps it may be.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2021
  11. H Cloutt

    H Cloutt Member

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    I agree - I've been looking for new documents in this section on a regular basis. There is a lot to digest - I almost feel sorry for the Inspector and his team with so much to examine.
    I had looked at this before but have revisited it since your post - there is so much in there - particularly about the attempts to purchase the remaining trackbed over the years. The paragraph about the multiple objections is also interesting.
    If the Inquiry goes the way that RVR supporters hope, at least the landowners should feel that their case has been heard and taken into account in the inspector's report. Not long to go now - I intend to attend [virtually] some of the Inquiry - the opening statements will be interesting.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2021
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  12. jnc

    jnc Part of the furniture

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    On reviewing some of the new filings, I'm struck again by the work that the RVR's consultants and advisors (and of course the RVR itself) have put into this. The statement in the revised ‘Statements of Case’ that "more than £3.0m .. has already been spent to fund the employment of expert consultants and advisors" matches the massive amount of work seen in the filings, and their quality.
    Indeed. I'm not too concerned about the crossings (and it's good to hear that Highways England seem to be coming around on the A21 crossing; it's clear that given the location in a scenic flood-plain, an out-of-grade crossing just isn't viable), nor the flooding and environmental aspects, but forced sale of private land is to me on a different quantum level of concern, and I echo your call for them to be given every reasonable opportunity to resist that step.

    I've got my fingers crossed that the inspector will be satisfied with all the work that has been put in - and if it goes the RVR'S way, while I'll be pleased for them, I will be thinking of the land-owners, and hoping that they won't be too distressed. (I'm sure that the RVR will do all they can, in the way of accommodation crossings, etc, to minimize the practical impact on them.)

    Noel
     
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  13. Biermeister

    Biermeister New Member

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    I have been thinking at some length about the TWAO Inquiry. My aim was to make it easier for me (and perhaps others) to understand.
    How difficult must it be for the Inspector to adjudicate such a matter?

    In essence the issue is 'should RVR be permitted to obtain a ribbon of land from two groups of land owners'?
    If RVR is to be granted that permission it must surely be able to show ability to buy and redevelop the railway easement.
    In their 'Statement of Case' (SoC) I believe they have done so. See:
    https://gat04-live-1517c8a4486c4160...se_-_update_10_may_2021_submitted_version.pdf

    What is less clear is whether they should be permitted to override landowners' rights. However, RVR is not looking to purchase their homes or farms but rather to gain access and ownership of a narrow ribbon of their land away from their homes. This will not take away their livelihood or significantly reduce their farming income either. They would be more than adequately compensated for this and would retain access to bisected fields through occupation crossings (see the 'Statement of Case' for further details). What else would they lose? Well, contiguous ownership of land obviously, a nebulous loss of privacy and that nagging sense of loss of what is ours. This is where it must get tricky for the Inspector but this is the decision that will have to be made.

    Level crossing issues are another major issue of concern. Northbridge Street has a speed limit of 30mph and for Junction Road (B2244) it is proposed to install a 40mph speed limit approaching the LC. These will likely enable Highways England and the ORR to grant full-barrier crossings. The A21 crossing has been much discussed but it appears that a resolution is close.

    Issues concerning legal and governmental matters might just be box ticking requirements with RVR agreeing to abide by these.
    Environmental matters might be similarly agreed and indeed will be I believe. RVR is keenly aware of the necessity to abide by requirements for native wildlife and flora as evidenced in the SoC and has already undertaken careful provisions in the recent Junction Road to Austen's Bridge acquisition. This provides evidence of good intent.
    Rother Valley flood plain mitigation is primarily an engineering issue and if best practice is followed with a degree of 'over engineering', as is outlined in the SoC and elsewhere, this should satisfy the Inspector.

    Therefore it seems to me to come down to the question of how reasonable it is to take a portion of someone's private property for a common good...
    This is a relatively common occurrence and common sense for the common good might ultimately prevail.

    We RVR supporters hope for nothing less.

    In summary, RVR appears to have done all that it has been required to do and might reasonably be expected to do.
    If it succeeds I have no doubt but that it will work hard to be a good neighbour to the Hoads and Ainslies and work to put the difficulties of the present firmly into the past.
     
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  14. Dead Sheep

    Dead Sheep New Member

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    Biermeister, that is an excellent synopsis.
     
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  15. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    It is indeed, and comes across as being balanced, Whilst the Hoads have made good use of the land they acquired, on the face of it the Ainsties have left the section they acquired as it was when closed, no use has been made of it, other than letting it revert to nature,
    A railway running through a field of crops, will have an impact, even with occupational crossings, it may render that field uneconomic, where as putting back the railway on a bit of land that has seen no use, will not impact financially, nor ecologically, if every measure is taken to protect the wildlife and relocate them, where necessary, The Ainsties do have interests in selling another farm for housing, that they own, I do wonder if they do lose this battle they will sell the remainder of their land for redevelopment, of course, a housing estate is worth a lot less if there is a railway running through the middle of it,
     
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  16. Mark Thompson

    Mark Thompson Well-Known Member

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    Whilst I do not know the full extent of the Ainslie's landholding, the area is part of an AONB, whilst the land which the course of the railway runs through is flood plain. However sceptical, or even cynical, one may be about planning regulations for housing nowadays, any properties, even if by some mad planning fluke were to be built in the vicinity, would be completely uninsurable. After all, so much of the focus of objection to the RVRs proposal has been on the basis of increased flood risk.
    A railway embankment can be made permeable. A housing development cannot.
     
  17. H Cloutt

    H Cloutt Member

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    The other farm is in Bexhill On Sea - I have lost touch with the current state of this planning application but the number of local objections to the scheme was in the same order as the number of objections to RVR's TWAO.
    Salehurst and Robertsbridge PC does have an adopted Neighbourhood plan and none of the land belonging to either farmer is designated for housing. So developing any of the land for housing is a non-starter.
     
  18. jnc

    jnc Part of the furniture

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    Yes, the proposed acquisition is nowhere near as intrusive as e.g. taking homes to tear them down (e.g. for road widening).

    My take is that the overall positives outweigh the negatives, but I can see that others might not come to a similar assessment. So I think the RVR needs to make the strongest case they can for the positives, and I think their filings do a fair job of this (to the point that I think the objectors would have done better to focus on those projections, and not on the road traffic, flooding, etc).

    Noel
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2021
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  19. Mark Thompson

    Mark Thompson Well-Known Member

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    Good luck, RVR.
    May future benefits, meticulous planning, and a fair wind carry the day.
     
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  20. H Cloutt

    H Cloutt Member

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    The Public Inquiry has started. In the first session the Inspector outlined the procedures which would be followed - after a short break there were opening statements for RVR, Highways England and the Landowners. The text of these statements has been loaded onto the Inquiry website under the heading "Documents Submitted during the Inquiry".
     
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