Monthly Archives: June 2014


Five Years On – Ashington and Washington

June 2014 marks five years since the publication of the Connecting Communities report into potential opportunities to expand the rail network. This blog will be publishing a set of posts during June to review the progress that has been made to date. This is the ninth post in the “Five Years On” series.

This post reviews the progress of two of the railway reopening schemes in the North East.

Ashington and Blyth

The restoration of passenger services to Ashington would use the Ashington, Blyth and Tyne route. The line is currently open to freight services. It had indicative costs of £34m and the BCR was 1.1 and stations were planned Seaton Delaval, Bedlington, Newsham (for Blyth) and Ashington.

The reopening of the route is supported by the South East Northumberland Rail User Group.  Since 2009, a number of reports have been produced and the GRIP 1 report has just been completed.

The council has allocated £750,000 to commission the reports required to reopen the route and services on the line to Ashington were recently included in the Draft Northern and Transpennine Franchise Consultation

Washington

The report proposed the reopening of the entire Leamside line with a dynamic loop. The proposal was costed at £86m and the BCR was 1.4.

There have been two options for restoring a rail connection to Washington.

Heavy Rail services along the whole Leamside route. It would act as a diversionary route for freight from the ECML through Durham as well as access to communities along the route.

Tyne and Wear Metro services approaching from the north and the east. The most recent draft consultation document from Nexus has suggested that the preferred option to serve Washington would be by running railway services into the centre of Washington, with services from Pelaw and South Hylton.


NET Phase 2 Opening Delayed

The opening of new lines as part of the Nottingham Express Transit Phase 2 is to be delayed into early 2015. The contractor Taylor Woodrow Alstom has experienced delays mainly due to the movement of utilities. The majority of construction works that affects local residents should be completed by the end of Summer.

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NET Phase Two contractor Taylor Woodrow Alstom has today (Friday) confirmed that major construction works on Nottingham’s tram expansion project will be completed by the end of the summer.

Programme Director, Paul Harris explained: “There has been speculation recently that construction works might be unduly delayed until next year. Yes, the project has presented some challenges, but we are on target to substantially complete all key infrastructure works over the next two to three months and we are working towards handing the new lines over for passenger services in the first part of 2015.”

The Phase 2 extensions will see trams operating to Chilwell and Clifton on two separate routes.


Council Leader proposes Grove Tram Scheme

Oxfordshire County Council leader Ian Hudspeth, who held a public meeting in Wantage, has suggested that he might turn the former station into a tram hub if Network Rail doesn’t re-open it for trains.

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Update

Over 100 people attended a meeting where the Council was accused of not providing enough support for reopening a railway station at Grove. However, the council advised that Network Rail would not support a railway station because of timetable constraints.

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Five Years On – Clay Cross and Ilkeston 2

June 2014 marks five years since the publication of the Connecting Communities report into potential opportunities to expand the rail network. This blog will be publishing a set of posts during June to review the progress that has been made to date. This is the eighth post in the “Five Years On” series.

This post reviews the progress of two of the railway stations in the East Midlands.

Clay Cross

The report advised that this would sit on the Erewash line and would achieve a BCR of 1.9.

Clay Cross does not appear to have progressed with the proposed station having a less strong case than the proposal at Ilkeston. North East Derbyshire Council have the following comments about the proposal.

The Council has no plans in the short or medium term to actually construct a station for Clay Cross; however we do hold the following information. The Council agreed with the original owners of the former Biwater site that part of that site would be reserved for a station building. The site has now been acquired by St Modwens, so the Council intends to seek the same agreed reservations with St Modwens. It is unlikely that any construction of a station would happen before the majority of the Biwater site is developed out – which could take up to 20 years.

Ilkeston Railway Station

Ilkeston Railway Station is one of the projects suggested in the Connecting Communities report that has been funded for delivery and is on course to be opened during December 2014. The report advised that it would achieve a BCR of 4.3.

Ilkeston Railway Station has had issues with sourcing the necessary funding. It failed to gain funding from Round 2 of the Regional Growth Fund and the Network Rail Station Commercial Facility Fund.

In late 2012 it received funding from Derbyshire CC and Greater Nottingham Joint Planning Advisory Board. This was then followed by a successful bid to the New Stations Fund, which was announced in May 2013.

The planning process has been lengthened by the railway station sitting on a border between two borough councils. As a result, the plans have had to be authorised by both councils before proceeding.

Work is getting underway and the station is expected to be opened in December 2014.


Five Years On – Skelmersdale, Rawtenstall and Fleetwood

June 2014 marks five years since the publication of the Connecting Communities report into potential opportunities to expand the rail network. This blog will be publishing a set of posts during June to review the progress that has been made to date. This is the seventh post in the “Five Years On” series.

This post reviews the progress of three of the railway schemes in the North West of England.

Skelmersdale

A new branch is proposed to connect Skelmersdale with the National Rail network. There have been a number of proposals raised but all involve extending the Merseyrail Electrics Network to a location at or near Skelmersdale. ATOC proposed a branch off the Ormskirk line to a site to the North West of town.

ATOC advised that expenditure would be £31m and the BCR would be 1.1 (2.73 with capital expenditure).

A feasibility study was approved and funded in December 2012, by Merseytravel and Lancashire County Council. Merseytravel advised that this work is still ongoing. A substantial issue has been the location of Skelmersdale which sits close to the border between Merseyside and Lancashire. Discussions have been undertaken to agree the scope of the report and it should be published during Summer 2014.

Rawtenstall

This was the second proposal to use a heritage railway (in this case, the East Lancashire Railway) to connect a settlement to the rail network. The plan was to upgrade run a service from Manchester Victoria to Rawtenstall via Heywood, with permission from the East Lancashire Railway to run trains over its line. With indicative capital expenditure of £50m, the BCR was expected to be 1.8.

In July 2010, a report produced for Transport for Greater Manchester indicated that restoring a commuter service would require subsidy and favoured developing existing bus services.

The local MP, Jake Berry has supported the restoration of services on this line and the government planned to hold talks to restore services in March 2012. During Autumn 2013, Lancashire County Council undertook a consultation into transport through the draft East Lancashire Highway’s and Transport Masterplan. The results were published in February 2014, with the following comments.

There was a significant response calling for the East Lancashire Railway to be utilised as a commuter link and incorporated into the proposals within the draft East Lancashire Highways and Transport Masterplan. We have therefore moved consideration of a potential commuter link from the rail connectivity study to the M66 corridor gateway study to ensure that the corridor is treated holistically and that a long term solution to congestion in the corridor is found.

The results of the updated A56/M66 Haslingden/Rawtenstall to Manchester Gateway Study is currently awaited.

Fleetwood

Lying north of Blackpool on a branch from Poulton, the ATOC Connecting Communities proposed restoring the 5.5 mile branch line and installing railway stations at Fleetwood and Thornton. ATOC advised that the railway line could be restored for £14m, with a BCR of 1.8.

Whilst the case for reopening the line was described as compelling by a draft report into Rail Improvement Schemes by Lancashire County Council.

The Poulton and Wyre Railway Society are currently restoring parts of the line in order to run a heritage operation on the route.


Efforts to reopen Cranleigh line

Two campaigns are being launched to reopen the railway line between Guildford and Cranleigh.

Liberal Democrat candidate for Guildford has launched a petition for a feasibility study to look into reopening the line with a particular focus on Light Rail.

Meanwhile, local rail enthusiasts are looking at reopening the railway line as a heritage railway.

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