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Traws Link Cymru - threat to the Gwili?

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Felix Holt, Mar 12, 2014.

  1. Matt78

    Matt78 Well-Known Member

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    double track between Abergwili and Llanpumsaint would be ridiculously expensive, and as for track sharing we would have more localised arrangements (eg rescue loco parked a couple of miles away). What happens if the mainline train breaks down? The reality is that if track access is shared both operators work to the same standard. What we would have here are two TOC's, both with equal rights. It wouldn't be a "David and Goliath" situation. The whole point is that we are currently set up as a light railway and track sharing to mainline standards is going to be a massive change of culture IF it happened. All very theoretical for a Sunday afternoon though....

    Regards

    Matt
     
  2. John Stewart

    John Stewart Well-Known Member

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    It rather pains me to see a railway reopening scheme described as "crackpot" by a railway enthusiast. It may have a poor conventional business case but if the politicians wish to re-create the much-missed link it is legitimate for them to do so.
     
  3. John Stewart

    John Stewart Well-Known Member

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    They manage it at Whitby.
     
  4. jamesd

    jamesd New Member

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    The report sums it up pretty well, there is no business case and little desire to rebuild this line. I've driven that route many times with work, especially when I lived in Aber and it is a slow route but the train won't be much quicker and will only get you to Carmarthen (who on Earth wants to end up there?!). If you then want to travel on to Swansea for example you'll more than likely have to change making any potential time savings almost non existent.

    There are far more deserving transport schemes that the Welsh Government should spend their money on and hopefully this report will be the end of this silly idea.
     
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  5. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    Are you going to contribute towards the cost personally? If not, it becomes yet another "wouldn't it be nice" scheme.

    If railway enthusiasts are going to have any influence at all there are going to have to be more who are prepared, like jma 1009, to say that a scheme is a crackpot scheme when a crackpot scheme it is.

    Like so many routes, this one survived as long as it did because of World War II.

    PH
     
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  6. LesterBrown

    LesterBrown Member

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    Although even more ambitious and still not commercially viable I think Merthyr to Moat Lane would make more sense.
     
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  7. nanstallon

    nanstallon Well-Known Member

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    From the point of view of Wales as an independent nation, the issue is not the typically British obsession with every detail of infrastructure making a profit for somebody. It is whether the cost of rebuilding (and subsidising its operation afterwards) a railway link within Wales is a sensible use of public money, because it may help to assert the unity of the country and it may assist the development of mid Wales, and encourage tourism. That is worth at least a debate.

    John
     
  8. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    I am afraid that particular obsession is eclipsed by the obsession of some gricers to restore railway lines that began to lose their utility after W.W.1. There are plenty of things, flood defences for a start, which are a more pressing call upon funds.

    PH
     
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  9. Matt78

    Matt78 Well-Known Member

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    The route did enjoy a renaissance in the 50's, through Butlins trips to Pwllelli from Swansea, and the opening of Milk factories at Newcastle Emlyn, Pont Llanio and Felinfach certainly helped. Indeed the line remained open for freight until 1973. There was a serious glance from the Local Authority about retaining the line in the mid 1970's, but a feasibility study concluded it would be uneconomic to do so.....
     
  10. Reading General

    Reading General Well-Known Member

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    a parallel exists in the re-opening (for political reasons imo) of the Ennis to Athenry line in Ireland which provided a through route from Limerick to Galway. Unfortunately the traffic on the line is well below expectations and falling, the line costs several million a year to cover losses and cost €103 million to rebuild. Hopefully the Welsh will realise that this delightful area is better served by buses which almost certainly are cheaper and quicker than a train would be. I drove this route this summer and it is very rural with delightful small towns and villages and I was struck by the number of buses I saw, even double deckers. It ain't broke, don't need fixing imo.
     
  11. JWKB

    JWKB New Member

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    With the greatest will in the world the population numbers just don't stack up. If you read the report is describes Lampeter as the biggest town on the route with a population of 3k. It would be more cost effective to give everyone of the 30k people in that part of Wales 10k to buy a car rather than rebuild the line.
     
  12. TonyMay

    TonyMay New Member

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    Yeah but the NYMR is a completely different beast to the Little Gwilli. They can do running to Whitby because there's a business case there to cover the extra costs required. Will there be a similar business case just to run a mile or so into Caermarthan station (assuming that the big railway line is there anyway)?
     
  13. TonyMay

    TonyMay New Member

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    Nobody said *ANYTHING* about double track along the Gwili's existing line. Indeed, the report would suggest that a tunnel bypassing the Gwilli's section of track would be desirable as it cuts 3km off the total route, significantly straightens it and avoids having to buy out the steam railway.

    What would then be required would be a double track from Abergwili Jct into Caermaearthan station, as running the two along the same track is, for a mile or so, I'm sure you'll agree, an entirely stupid suggestion.
     
  14. John Stewart

    John Stewart Well-Known Member

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    No. and I don't expect anyone else to. My view is that this is a scheme that could go ahead if the politicians so wish. Critics of the idea need to differentiate between potential publicly funded projects and those that compete for capital finance from the enthusiast sector and then for running finance from the travelling leisure public. Restoration of some of the big holes left in the network by the Beeching cuts would make it far easier for the general public to recognise the value of railways other than for the inter-city or local commute journeys.

    We have had on this forum members who either oppose or can't see the point of restoring Honeybourne to Stratford, a scheme involving just six miles of new railway, increasing network resilience, requiring no property demolition, not displacing any heritage line but indeed offering a potential boost to a nearby heritage line. The bigger the national network the more train travel becomes once again part of the normal way of transport. The more restored links the greater the flexibility to cover both scheduled blockades and sudden failures.

    I dislike dead-end branches. Obviously they are always going to exist on the coast and at the real extremities of the network but cutbacks have left us with so many that must have reduced economics because traffic is only available in one direction. Think of the current termini that were once on through routes: Uckfield; Sudbury; East Grinstead (NR); Alton (NR); all the Heads of the Valleys routes; Redditch; Matlock; Hayfield; Colne. These were all examples of truncated through lines; many other lines have become dead-end branches because of the closure of complete routes that led to them. Wales is particularly badly hit with the routes west of Llanelli, Shrewsbury and Chester becoming huge culs-de-sac, but nothing is worse than that same situation being created west of Exeter as we all saw in last year's breach at Dawlish. There is much to be said for building strategic resilience back into the network even where individual cases have a poor benefit to cost ratio.
     
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  15. jma1009

    jma1009 Well-Known Member

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    some very interesting points.

    i will have to read the report again but i dont think it dealt with any suggestion that the Gwilli extend back into Carmarthen station. the report makes it clear that it might just be possible to squeeze a single track line under the A40 ring road, but did not deal with the considerable expense and rebuilding of a busy stretch of the A40 to accomodate a double track line.

    the river bridge costings were also for a single track bridge at Carmarthen.

    there are significant calls on Welsh Assembly funds and matters of much greater priority than re-building a line that never did and never will serve any great need.

    consider - you live in Swansea or Cardiff and want to get to Aberystwyth or Lampeter for a University course. you go by car. the idea that you would be prepared to travel all the way to Carmarthen and change trains is completely daft! when the South Wales main line eventually gets electrified as far as Cardiff or Swansea, passengers from Cardiff to Aberystwyth will have 3 changes of train plus a reversal in Swansea, and much of the journey on a 30 year old 2 car 150!

    so far as transport improvements are concerned the M4 is restricted to 2 lanes through Brynglas tunnel at Newport and is a significant bottleneck widely recognised as substantially affecting the South Wales economy. the southern relief motorway still has to be constructed!

    cheers,
    julian
     
  16. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    I am sorry but this is all romantic whim-wham. The Manchester and Milford, for example, lived a hand to mouth existence even before WW1 when there was no competition apart from the horse and coastal shipping. It subsided gratefully into the arms of the G.W.R. in, I think, 1906.

    Had it not been for W.W.2, the private companies would have forced to have carried out the same sort of exercise undertaken by the much maligned Dr. Beeching by about 1945. It was put back a few years by the combined efforts of A. Hitler and railway nationalisation.

    It is all too easy to have "bright" ideas with other peoples' money.

    PH
     
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  17. Forestpines

    Forestpines Part of the furniture

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    As someone who used to commute daily through the Brynglas tunnels: it's not really a bottleneck. The delays on the M4 round there are largely caused by people queuing to turn off towards Newport or Cwmbrân, not to go through the tunnels - they flow pretty freely. The lane drop at the Coldra and eastbound the layout of the High Cross exit (a tightly-curved on-slip on a steep upward hill) cause bigger problems. The variable speed limit installed in 2011 has helped a lot.

    Moreover the southern relief road *was* built - just not as a motorway!
     
  18. Meiriongwril

    Meiriongwril Member

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  19. b.oldford

    b.oldford New Member

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  20. jma1009

    jma1009 Well-Known Member

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    there is carefully NO suggestion in the report that the Gwilli Railway will be affected in anyway by the proposals. the Carmarthen Local Authority support the Gwilli, and have made no noises in support of the Aberystwyth-Carmarthen rail link so far as i am aware.

    that may be rather telling! they see the Gwilli as more important locally than a reconnection with Aberystwyth by rail!

    make of this what you will.

    cheers,
    julian
     

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