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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. pmh_74

    pmh_74 Member

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    The other problem with relocating an established heritage railway (no I am not seriously suggesting it either) is that the new line would need to have at least an equivalent level of infrastructure, scenery, adjacent attractions and population/visitors within an equivalent catchment area to make the new line equally as viable. Apart from the South Devon/Dart Valley (where the old line didn’t actually close, and the new one was a ready-made money spinner) has a heritage railway ever successfully re-located in its entirety?


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  2. Matt78

    Matt78 Well-Known Member

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    I can think of a few-

    Southport Railway Centre (Preston) to Ribble Valley

    North Downs to Spa Valley

    Didn’t Bo’ness have an alternative base in the early years as well?
     
  3. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    As so much housebuilding is taking place in a great number of places throughout the country, the consequent road congestion (most suburban roads seem to be car parks these days it seems) I feel this is a topic that is going to increase in scope. The Gwili line, the WSR commuter discussions, Swanage already in trials, so I believe it is only a matter of time that other lines become the focus of TOC type operations or re-opening of closed sections which politicians feel is worth debate and votes. Whilst the tourist value of many heritage/tourist lines is not discounted I believe the value to the wider community will become part of the financial considerations.
    So the debates will roll on, governments will change or change policies, but I am unlikely to see the results. Old Moore's Almanac may tell you more!
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2018
  4. jsm8b

    jsm8b Part of the furniture

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    You are correct, the SRPS were previously located at the former goods yard at Grahamston in Falkirk prior to the move to Bo'ness, although it was the society's aim to have a site to operate with the collection.
    The other relocation that comes to mind is the Bahamas loco society who relocated to Ingrow after the closure of the Dinting Railway Centre.

    @Greenway sums up my views on this, that it was inevitable that sooner or later one or possibly more heritage lines would come under the spotlight to be reopened as part of the network in response to the changes in political objectives and social conditions.
     
  5. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    OTOH, the Lavender line at Isfield have been vaguely under the spotlight of displacement as a result of the BML2 proposal for years it seems, without its coming to pass. I can’t help thinking that if there is no appetite from the powers that be to re-open a parallel London - Brighton route in the prosperous south east with road gridlock and so much demand that trains on the existing four track mainline are invariably packed, then it’s hard to see a business case stacking up in rural West Wales (or West Somerset, for that matter) any time soon. For better or worse, transport planning in this country doesn’t seem to take in many factors beyond the purely financial.

    Tom
     
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  6. Matt78

    Matt78 Well-Known Member

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  7. Leafent

    Leafent New Member

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    Relocation would be an ordeal - you could easily be unable to run trains for a few years, and at the end of it you could end up replacing a lovely GWR line with a new line which is quite literally up to Network rail standards but lacks any character. Or you get thrown to the wolves with £15 Million.
     
  8. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    There were branches to Newcastle Emlyn & Aberaeron, perhaps if the line were to be reinstated, reinstatement could include relaying 4 or so miles of track on one f these for the Gwili to move to?
     
  9. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    Why would they wish to, and what would that do for public accessibility?


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  10. Matt78

    Matt78 Well-Known Member

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    Personally speaking if the worst came to the worst then the only realistic option for the Gwili is to transfer support to an established site such as the P & B. This would leave South Wales as a region fairly bereft of any heritage railways, but at least we can be safe in the knowledge that the 12.30 to Aberystwyth has 15 passenger travelling....

    Regards

    Matt
     
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  11. gwilialan

    gwilialan Part of the furniture

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    Interesting little piece in this months 'Grapevine' (Lampeter free news sheet). The spokesperson for TLC was pleased to point out that that the study had found that the reinstatement was "feasible" and then looked forward to seeing the full report. I know the editorial cut-off for articles in that paper is about halfway through the previous month (so about mid October in this case). The report publication date was 19th September so I assume they hadn't seen a full copy of the report when they wrote that article

    Or perhaps they had and were just trying to look on the bright side? :Depressed:
     
  12. Matt78

    Matt78 Well-Known Member

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    As TLC were one of only three stakeholders consulted by Mott McDonald they were probably privy to the main findings before the report was published I’d suggest.
     
  13. HY_4273

    HY_4273 New Member

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    I have to say I abhor the naive belief that the Gwili Railway can relocate with the utmost ease for a 'main line' to be reopened. It's not a case of moving a 3ft by 2ft railway from the study into the spare bedroom, where the only permission required may be 'domestic authorities' (if applicable). As anyone who has recent experience of obtaining a Transport & Works Act will confirm, the hoops to jump through are immense and hence the process is extremely costly and time-consuming. It's enough to say that the objectors (I won't say 'N*MBY as everyone is entitled to an opinion) hold the cards. Did you know it would appear to be easier to open a licensed premises in the heart of a residential area (that system works on the assumption of granting the application) - with all the nuisance that could bring - than it is a small length of railway in a rural area?

    Developing the Gwili into the charming line it is has taken years of hard work and fundraising by a dedicated team, resulting in a valuable attraction for the area, so why should it be bumped out of the way for a 'main line' that is unlikely to ever be economically viable? Or put another way, is likely to haemorrhage precious resources?

    The notion that the 'main line' could ever vaguely pay its way is pie in the sky in my opinion - the 'chimney pots' just aren't there and as far as I'm aware, there are no plans for substantial residential development along the corridor. On the other side of Offa's Dyke, if the East-West Oxford-Cambridge link is being scaled back, with costs spiralling, despite being identified as a corridor for significant development & strategic national importance, what hope is there for a scheme in rural West Wales? Closer to home, the rail capacity enhancement scheme in the Wrexham area in more recent times was also slashed on the orders of a Cardiff-based politician – IRRC on cost grounds. Rather than wasting further funds on the TLC scheme, wouldn't it be better to improve what we have and where demand is already firmly established? What is so fundamentally wrong with developing lower-cost bus and coach-based services on the TLC corridor?

    Unfortunately, it would appear that reality is lost among a kind of romanticism (even among some 'normals'), train spotters and the desire for some stakeholders to create a political monument in the TLC.

    'Back home' in my native Powys, roads are crumbling as there's no budget – a budget that the government in Cardiff has cut continually (I’m saying that in a non-partisan manner). Whatever we all think about rail, we all use local roads to reach a railhead, be it by bicycle, bus or car - their upkeep should not be forgotten at the expense of 'grand' schemes in my opinion.

    Hwyl :)
     
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  14. gwilialan

    gwilialan Part of the furniture

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    I fully agree. The cost of relocation and all the paperwork for a 'new' line and compensation to the railway for loss of income while the politicians ponder and the public enquiries dither would be horrendous, and would be on top of any rebuilding costs. I wonder what sort of formula they would use if they just decided to give financial compensation instead? (That's it! We'll start that rumour, everyone will rush to buy shares and we'll have enough money to build the new carriage shed in no time at all :D)

    Far better to use, say, £100 million to upgrade the road links (This would be obviously be aimed directly for the benefit to the busses, so fewer cars would be needed on the road, wouldn't they ...? :Angelic:) Then whoever is in power can say they have saved £650 million (so aren't we clever and please vote for us...) and the odd £24.85 million in loose change left over? Well, I'm sure we could find a use for that somewhere. :)

    An interesting point that some may not be aware of is that when the idea of reinstating the Carmarthen - Aberystwyth was first raised the original proposal also suggested that a new road should also be built alongside the railway to ease traffic congestion! :Woot:
     
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  15. Martin Adalar

    Martin Adalar New Member

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    There is an awful lot of rubbish spoken on this site: There must be loads of people that need to travel from South Wales to Mid Wales or even to the north so the demand is obviously there and can be proven yet more by looking at the amount of road traffic. People often site rising costs for not going ahead with any rail schemes but surely it is up to the government to limit the costs and restrict compensation payments to just a few thousand pounds and not the full market value for the land which is railway land anyway and was just given away when the line shut. This is what our Chinese competitors do and the system appears to get results in China. If some little hobby railway project has to be displaced then surely that is a small price to pay for making progress and improving the environment. I am quite sure the Gwlli people can find something else to do on a sunday afternoon.
     
  16. GWR Man.

    GWR Man. Well-Known Member

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    Can you come up with any sections of old trackbed which was given away when the line shut. Yes even the councils had to pay for the track bed when they wanted it for road improvements etc, even if it was a token amount as the council were taking over maintenance of the bridges when they took on the old trackbed.
     
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  17. Matt78

    Matt78 Well-Known Member

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    From the recent report Land aquisition costs and compensation are 38m out of a total cost of 770m. So even if this was reduced it doesn’t really make the economics any better.

    As for demand, it is quite possible that more people may use the line than predicted but the major issue is the lack of centres of population en route.

    This is one thing that does mystify me a little about those advocating the scheme, the economic case is being “bigged up” when the only real arguments are political/social.

    As for describing the Gwili as a “little hobby railway project” maybe you should pay the line a visit. Rubbishing the Gwili isn’t going to get the line built is it?

    Regards

    Matt
     
  18. MarkinDurham

    MarkinDurham Member

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    Fortunately we are not China...

    As for it being railway land - not any more, it's not. Again, like it or not, there are laws which prevent confiscation of land, which is effectively what is being proposed...

    As for a 'little hobby railway project' - how incredibly patronising that sounds.
     
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  19. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    You get a similar kind of sentiment towards the WSR from the Minehead Rail Link Group - “grown men playing trains” getting in the way of a real transport function being the typical sentiment, ignoring the very real benefits to society and the local economy that “hobby” railways provide.

    Tom
     
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  20. Martin Adalar

    Martin Adalar New Member

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    When BR closed a line the land was transferred to the local authorities, the railways never benefited from the land disposal. But if land acquisition is not the cause of the cost increases then it is surely up to the government to stop imposing all these rising costs in the first place as they are always ultimately responsible for all money wasted. Start by scrapping the ORR who are the main obstacle to any reopening and taking an axe to Health and Safety.
    Somebody also suggested that an improved bus service could do the job instead, but how does that take traffic off the roads and where has it been successfully done anywhere else?
     

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