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Why is East Lancs Railway not doubled?

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by charterplan, Oct 20, 2014.

  1. charterplan

    charterplan New Member

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    At certain events at the ELR, I notice that you end up waiting for trains to come in,and that timetables are not kept,especially at steam events like yesterdays.
    I spoke to 2 gents and they said the same, that why is it still single,when in BR days it was double track,yes we know about cost to do this, but in my view they should progress to reinstate it,and allow more trains onto the line,as it could be done in stages, as proved at Great central.
    With the extension to Castleton back on again, this should be a priority,as is a turntable at Rawtenstall.
     
  2. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

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    The fund raising campaign starts here then or if you win the Euros will you write them a cheque?
     
  3. rhf19

    rhf19 New Member

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    Apart from the fact that several of the underbridges around Irwell Vale are single track and clearance issues in Brooksbottom and Nuttall Tunnels, double tracking dramatically increases maintenance costs. To cover this increase in costs you have to be able to say that the increase in track mileage will result in a similar increase in passenger numbers. The GC have the luxury of being the only double tracked Heritage Line so it gives them a unique selling point. If another railway were to do this it may detract from both railways as neither then has a USP.

    As for a turntable at Rawtenstall, one simple question, where? There isn't enough land to put in a second platform on what is currently the run round loop.
     
  4. charterplan

    charterplan New Member

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    What about the land they was flogging to Riley and sons at Rawtenstall for the turntable? as they have one in store from Germany so am told, but If it was double track before, then how can bridges ect have clearance issues.
    I am sure that keeping it single track will always cause problems to the railway at any event,as as the railway wishes to gain more passengers/revenue, then they wont as no one wishes to wait 30 -40 mins for a delayed train,especially in the wet at irwell vale,cause only one train can be on the block. I will be honest and say that ELR should be double as it used to be,and cannot understand why it was singled,cause it is not a branch,and once had trains to Accrington.
     
  5. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    It was singled when it was just serving the coal depot at Rawtenstall.
     
  6. charterplan

    charterplan New Member

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    Thought it was still double, but guess they will keep it single now, which is a real shame,as I would have liked to see it in original state again,but having such engines on the line such as 7,9,l&Y 1300, brings more visitors to the line too, and do hope that they return again,as to us northerners rarely see these on ELR lines,and I did enjoy seeing the 2 A4s,as well as the crab.
     
  7. rhf19

    rhf19 New Member

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    There isn't any land being sold to Riley and Sons at Rawtenstall. You may be thinking of Ramsbottom....
    As I stated before, many of the bridges around Irwell Vale area are only single track. Brooksbottom and Nuttall Tunnels may have been double track previously, but now clearances would be too tight, unless you want bars on windows.
    North of Stubbins it was a branch line to Bacup. The Accrington route went to Haslingden and Helmshore and is long gone.
     
  8. andrewtoplis

    andrewtoplis Member

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    If timetables are not kept, surely investigating the reasons for that would be a more prudent place to start?
    If you were there Charterplan, what were the reasons for delay?
     
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  9. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    IMO I think double track is only a "nice to have" to be done, if at all, when there really is not a lot else to do. E.g. GWSR ("Oh no, not that railway again" I hear you groan :)) Our chairman did mention the possibility of double track at some stage, but only after things like extension to broadway, honeybourne, redevelopment of Winchcombe yard, facilities at stations, developing Toddington yard, restoring all the bits and pieces sat in the yard etc. etc. I agree with andrewtoplis in that looking at how a timetable ca be better adhered to is a better place to start. most other heritage railways manage fine in galas on a one train per section basis, again, the GWSR managed it fine in their steam gala this year, in fact it was praised highly for its punctuality (as well as everything else :D)
     
  10. ADB968008

    ADB968008 Member Account Suspended

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    There used to be... but I think there's a supermarket or something like on that land now.

    Double track ELR.. Personally I think it would be great for signalling at Rawtenstall / Heywood and another platform at each ...certainly a much cheaper way to increase capacity than double track that would probably only ever be used at a gala...

    Double tracking Ramsbottom to Stubbins could make sense.. that way trains could pass in 1 level crossing open move, than 2 as current and reduce traffic congestion on whats a really busy road... but then yet another box would be needed at Stubbins...

    but as a pipe dream.. well I and am sure many others could dream big dreams for the ELR.. tons of potential and ideas just no chance of ever becoming reality... don't ever stop dreaming though... there's plenty of broken ones there already.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2014
  11. charterplan

    charterplan New Member

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    Yes I was there, and saw that trains between Ramsbottom and Bury was being delayed,you had 2 A4s later in the day at Bury,cause no 9 had come back from Rammy,and 7 had been up the single section and back from Heywood,but a large gap had opened at Ramsbottom. I saw 9 pass about 30 minutes late at burrs to Bury,and 7 whistling like mad cause it was so late but held up.
    There is places that doubling may help,as if it was better system,then can you imagine N/R doing it too
     
  12. charterplan

    charterplan New Member

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    There seems always congestion at Bury,but I just think either doubling some sections to allow more trains to pass,with maybe single under the tunnels as andrewtoplis says.then double would possibly be better.
     
  13. Q1

    Q1 New Member

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    As rhf19 has mentioned, the costs to redouble the line are substantial. Also, there are other priorities to address before blowing money on extra trackwork. The level crossing and signalling at Rawtenstall is the number one priority in my book. When it is completed (hopefully before I am wearing a wooden overcoat) it will remove many risks and therefore improve operational efficiency. Money also needs to be spent on improving our fleet of steam locomotives and the facilities at Bury, Bolton Street station first.

    As previously mentioned, none of the current sections of line lend themselves to re-doubling easily. The Irwell Vale section (Ramsbottom – Rawtenstall) has bridges replaced with ones only capable of carrying a single line. The Summerseat section (Bury – Ramsbottom) has the Tunnels rhf19 mentioned and the Broadfield section (Heywood – Bury) again has bridges replaced with ones only capable of carrying a single line, including the underbridge for the M66.

    So, ‘Charterplan,’ bearing in mind the additional civil engineering work involved, if you have the winning ticket for tomorrow night’s Euromillions draw and give the ELR at least £40M, I am sure something can be organised. Even splitting the signalling sections with Passing Loops would be a very expensive project. I think we all better keep dreaming until a railway ‘Sugar Daddy’ comes along with the money to fulfil our/your desires.
     
  14. John R

    John R New Member

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    Bottom line is that it would be very expensive both to build, and then to subsequently maintain. Have a think why only one preserved railway has seen fit to operate a section of double track. Ultimately, whilst run by enthusiasts, railways have to have a commercial basis for their operation, else they would soon fold without the benefit of a money fairy. Unless the additional infrastructure offered a clear benefit in terms of enabling an improved service to run, (for which stock is available, volunteers to operate, and farepaying passengers to fill), and for which the additional revenue from those services more than covers the cost of both running those services and maintaining the additional line, then it won't be installed.
     
  15. charterplan

    charterplan New Member

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    So what we have is a branch line with no chance of expanding, well I am being honest but this should have been thought of when bridges was removed/reinstated, but see a lot of negative thoughts. I once was at the transport museum in Manchester but they only thought of themselves,and not about expanding/getting a bigger place,instead they decreased the society vehicles and sold a few of them off and not the private ones,cause they was on the board
    The only place I can see double track steam is on mainline in this area,but anyway you have all said what I needed to know and thanks
     
  16. std tank

    std tank Member

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    I don't see how you can criticise the ELR. The signalling of Rawtenstall is ongoing, and the extension to Castleton, all be it to a temporary station, looks to be on the cards.
     
  17. ADB968008

    ADB968008 Member Account Suspended

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    In the 1980's preserved railways operated March-October, then Santa's at Christmas crept in popularity.
    Even being open year round wasn't mooted until the railway was nearly open in 1987... Indeed ELR was probably the first railway to have a winter gala... It didn't do week day service until after a few years operation... so why think of two tracks ?

    ELR has never been exactly over flowing with cash so consider a different scenario..

    Had the railway waited to earn the money from Bury Transport Musuem admission fees, to build double track bridges all the way to Rawtenstall, the opening to Ramsbottom may not have happened until 1991 ... instead of 1987, (ok I know it got grants.. but convincing the need for 2 tracks ??), then the railway would have had an extremely hard time proving it's reputation, value and hence the support from the local authorities that was earned in those first years operating from 1987-91. That support was crucial to getting the funding to go over the hump to Heywood and securing Bury depot that the line suddenly found itself that year...

    Had anyone in 1972 suggested the ELR going to Heywood and running BR's Bury depot you'd have been dismissed as mad.. indeed even into the 1980's there was the possibility for Heywood to Bolton being reopened by BR, and BQ depot.. no one ever thought that would go.. It simply wasn't foreseen on any business plan going back to 1972... the ELR was never going there, yet within a year the ELR had to mobilise to secure it's future and needed all the help it could get.. relying on the good will it had generated since opening.

    Had that scenario have happened instead of what did..the ELR then could have been without a mainline connection permanently, whilst still not having Rawtenstall open for many more years, Heywood would be nigh impossible... it would be a very different railway today.

    Be grateful there's a 12 mile line at all...

    finally, it was BR that placed a single track bridge over the motorway at Bury.. and the single track flat crossing over the Bury -Manchester line @knowsley st, plus sold the land north of Bolton St (1/4 mile) for re-development and all that was back in the 1970s... all back when the ELR only had 2x 0-6-0's, 2x 0-4-0s, a 2x 4wh unbraked diesels, 2 coaches, a few wagons, 1 brake van and a home signal... hardly a mass influence on BR or the local authority...indeed they couldn't even run trains on the 1/4 mile at that time.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2014
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  18. John R

    John R New Member

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    You seem to have a very simplistic view that only double track will improve a railway, and also appear quick to jump to conclusions that are wrong (as in the bridges point). As you have said, you can see double track steam, but on the main line and you will pay a lot more for your ticket to travel. Preserved railways offer an affordable steam experience for the general public and it would be somewhat less affordable (and thus less successful in my opinion) if the infrastructure cost more.
     
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  19. M59137

    M59137 Well-Known Member

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    I'm not making any argument here as such, I'm just curious over this comment. Could you elaborate when you say clearances are now too tight for doubling? Has the trackbed been raised or have regulations changed? Just wondering as presumably both the tunnel and rolling stock have not changed in size in the 50 years since BR were operating on double track there...
     
  20. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

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    Im not sure for certain but I guess it'd be somthing to do with limited clearances? Im sure 1st generation units on the Cumbrian coast had bars fitted to their droplights for the same reason.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2014

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