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Rother Valley Railway

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

  1. Miff

    Miff Well-Known Member Friend

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    A document uploaded today lists four objectors who have withdrawn. The most significant is the Environment Agency, presumably agreement has been reached satisfying their concerns about flooding etc. - their statement of case said their objection could be withdrawn if certain modifications were made to the draft Order.
     
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  2. H Cloutt

    H Cloutt Member

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    I connected to the Inquiry for part of Friday morning. RVR and Highways England are preparing a "statement of Common Ground". Highways England will be working on this over the weekend. It will be made available to the Landowners' legal team by lunchtime on Monday.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2021
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  3. Platform 3

    Platform 3 Well-Known Member

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    When cost rules are drafted in this way then you often don't ask for costs. This is different to the rules which apply in general civil litigation, and similar to the rules in my particular area of work. In 10 years I have never asked for costs and have never had costs awarded against my client.

    Sent from my SM-G770F using Tapatalk
     
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  4. jnc

    jnc Part of the furniture

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    Bureaucrats working over the weekend? I hear the sound of ponderous machinery moving, off-stage, and somewhat out of sight! I wonder if the Inspector (or someone else, higher up the 'food chain') has had a quiet word in someone's ear?

    It sounds rather as if HE wants to get the SCG done so they can withdraw their objection (which will of course be a huge step). As I noted, there is already a draft 'Statement of Common Ground between Rother Valley Railway & Highways England', so at this point HE and RVR know where all the remaining bodies are buried, so they've just got to work down the list.

    I rather think that at this point, with most of the local government on-side for the project (for a variety of reasons, such as local traffic and economic impact), there's a good chance that the Inspector will conclude that the upsides for the region outweigh the limited (in the universe of compulsory purchases) impact on the land-owners.

    Thanks for the report; I'm sure we've all got our fingers crossed!

    Noel
     
  5. Hirn

    Hirn Member

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    At Robertsbridge there is a large school and apparently thriving.

    A school train - as run for quite a period by the Romney Hythe & Dymchurch - would not be ridiculous but it would naturally be over the A21 level crossing at about 8 am

    This is obviously precluded from the nothing across in rush hours provision in the TWO
    but on the balance of advantage there is a surprisingly good case for a school train exemption. The one lowering of the barriers would remove appreciable traffic from the local lanes - blind corners, concealed drive exits, the school rush nearly late - and in particular it would be traffic in vehicles crossing the A21 or adding to congestion along it. If the roundabout is choking at that sort of time it might even reduce journey time on the road. There would be the carbon saving.

    Pupils going further afield and starting later could make a connection at Robertsbridge and indeed people with medical appointments. The railway with its own right of way would be reliably punctual.

    Unless this is already in some submission it may be impossible to raise this with the current enquiry. What is needed is some way of making some limited and common sense change - say the local rush hour became an hour later - without the huge overhead that the full Transport and Works Order procedure is currently consuming: time we are talking like half a decade, intellectual energy and yes seriously big expense.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2021
  6. Vulcan Works

    Vulcan Works Member

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    I regularly deal with Highways England as part of my job in relation to capital projects (albeit in a different region). The draft Statement of Common Ground is an interesting document. It seems to me that HE has not much changed its original position i.e. it objects in principle to the A21 level crossing on the basis that having a level crossing is inherently more risky than not having a level crossing, irrespective of the context or any other risks that exist.

    What is encouraging is the steady work done by the RVR to address the many individual issues raised by HE.

    It is one of the joys of dealing with large statutory organisations; an applicant has to be tenacious because the consenting organisation (as a strategy) will often set a very high bar and rarely explain from day one all of the legislation and standards that an applicant has to comply with…

    Lets hope that HE & RVR can reach a satisfactory agreement.
     
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  7. jnc

    jnc Part of the furniture

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    I think the important thing is to get the LC in; at that point it might be possible to run an experiment to see empirically what the effect of a limited number of movements at peak road travel times would be. The local population might then look at the results and say 'OK, so it produces X change in road congestion; that's reasonable if we get Y as well'.

    You have a good point about the TWAO; if the restriction in times is embedded in the TWWAO so concretely that no process less-full-blown than the whole formal TWAO can change it; that would be unfortunate. One would hope that if the local authority and HE (the timetable shouldn't matter to the Environmental Agency, ORR, etc) agree that a modification to the restriction would be desirable, and have undertaken an experiment to see what the traffic impact would be, that that would be all that's needed, but who knows?

    The key step is to get the LC actually in; in part so that people can see what the actuality is. Once it's there, any change will be much less of a big deal...

    Noel
     
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  8. Breva

    Breva Part of the furniture

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    That is a terribly way to go about it. There is no risk assessment, no balance. What about the benefits?

    If I lead my life like that, I will never get in my car, as I'm clearly safer by not using it. Yet I do, millions of people do. I might not even ever get out of bed, as that is clearly safer then getting up and walking about.
     
  9. Sidmouth4me

    Sidmouth4me Member

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    I note the ORR has issued new guidance on level crossings (June 2021) and trust all parties have taken due note of its contents, and moving from a position that a new level crossing is inherently more risky to a more pragmatic view of also considering the costs and benefits to the wider society of the alternative solutions (eg benefit of the railway itself, cost and environment impact of a bridged solution etc).
    https://www.orr.gov.uk/guidance-compliance/rail/health-safety/level-crossings
     
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  10. Ploughman

    Ploughman Well-Known Member

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    Looks very North Eastern to me.
    Could even say Goathlandish.
     
  11. Hirn

    Hirn Member

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  12. Hirn

    Hirn Member

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    Do quite agree on getting the level crossing; rather concerned that looking ahead - on the basis of the principle being established of weighing the upside against the downside - should not predudice that.
     
  13. Vulcan Works

    Vulcan Works Member

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    The ORR’s guidance update is timely for the RVR. It is a welcome change although as a policy any new or reinstated level crossing is still some way down the ORR’s order of preference.

    Securing a positive response from the ORR strengthens a railway’s case but Highways England and other highway authorities (typically the county councils) have a primary duty to consider public highway risks. As with most things any ‘evidence’ can be used for and against! The ideal is to have a highways dept. advocate who is pragmatic and open to ideas, otherwise imaginative solutions like Porthmadog Britannia Bridge or Preston Docks Bridge would never happen.

    The RVR’s case shows other heritage lines that a comprehensive and professional submission is the minimum that is required for any proposed level crossing.
     
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  14. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Part of the furniture

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    I'm not sure about that, I think many more people have died in bed than in cars and when walking about!
     
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  15. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    People who's job it is to assess risk, will i would imagine by nature be risk adverse , rather than ignoring risk, be a bit ironic wouldn't it, if someone who carry's out an risk assessment of road hazards were to get hurt by a car, :eek:
    I get the impression that things are quite evenly balanced at the moment, and the inspectors verdict can not be as yet fully decided, it can go either way,
    I actually think it will be the road safety question that will decide it, more than the land ownership , the purchase, either by agreement, or by compulsory purchase, actually will only impact on very few people, where as the level crossings have the potential to impact on a lot more people , and this probably will be the main sticking point as far as a decision can be made,
     
  16. Enterprise

    Enterprise Part of the furniture

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    For many years I had senior management responsibility for H&S. I often had to draw attention to absurd, unworkable mitigations for highly improbable, trivial risks.
     
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  17. jnc

    jnc Part of the furniture

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    I dunno, I'm trying to put that together with the reported desire of HE to get the SCG done by by today. I think that push only makes sense if they are heading towards an agreement with the RVR (and they will be able to withdraw their objection); if they won't be able to agree, HE's objection is already in. And then...
    Good point (although if the compulsory sale was more consequential, e.g. someone's house, that might tip the balance the other way).

    But if HE decides the LC can be done in a way that's acceptably safe, and withdraws their objection, then if your read is correct, that should enable it.

    Noel
     
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  18. H Cloutt

    H Cloutt Member

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    There are lots of new documents on the Inquiry website. Buried in one of the documents is detail of the 4 RTAs which occurred by the roundabout. The serious one involved a driver who had been drinking - he came off the roundabout and hit a lampost.
     
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  19. jnc

    jnc Part of the furniture

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    A considerable number of new documents have been loaded onto the Inquiry Web-site in the "Documents Submitted during the Inquiry" section. Of particular interest were the draft of the "HE Protective Provisions", and the draft "Application for Departure from Standards". Both strongly reinforce the impression that the RVR and HE are closing in on an agreement.

    Of particular interest, towards the end of the latter, one finds "the scheme would deliver considerable wider economic benefits which substantially outweigh the likely increased safety risk monetised as a valuation of accident prevention. The BCR for the level crossing demonstrates that the wider benefits substantially outweigh the costs associated with the construction and operation of the scheme. It is noted that the BCR of the level crossing is broadly double that of the lowest cost alternative arrangement. ... There are considerable environmental benefits from the proposed departure which would not require unacceptable flooding and landscape impacts unlike the alternatives." Sounds good!

    Noel
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2021
  20. Dead Sheep

    Dead Sheep New Member

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    Thanks for all the updates. They are greatly appreciated.
     
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