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 fourth post in the “Five Years On” series.
This post reviews the progress of two railway line reopening schemes that were proposed in the South West of England.
This proposal was going to use ten miles of the former Brocknehurst – Wimborne –Poole line. It was costed as £70m with a BCR of 1.5. Only one station was going to be delivered at Ringwood and ATOC proposed that it was electrified so that it could be served by trains from London. Despite being mentioned in this report, the project has not been taken forward since its inclusion here and Hampshire County Council are not involved in any plans to reopen the line.
This proposal was going to use five miles of the former Bentley to Bordon line and the Longmoor Military Railway. Only one station was going to be provided at Bordon and ATOC proposed that it was electrified. It was costed at £50m with a BCR of 1.9.
Hampshire County Council have been progressing a number of transport reports as part of an EcoTown proposal for Whitehill and Bordon. A GRIP 2 study (published February 2010) found that although operationally a route to Alton was most desirable, it would be the most expensive because of the tunnelling required. The best performing option was the line to Bentley with a through service to London. This option was taken forward into the GRIP 3 report
The GRIP 3 (June 2012) report looked into the feasibility of direct services to London and found that a substantial part of the costs would be absorbed by a major recast of all train timetables operated by South West Trains. Work such as a shuttle service or portion operation were found to hasve BCR’s that would not pass the 2.0 BCR requirements. The BCR was also impacted by a reduction in size of the Eco Town from 5,300 dwellings to 4,000.
The local council investigated the opportunities to serve the corridor using Heavy Rail, Light Rail, Ultra Light Rail and a Guided Busway. These were all found to deliver poor value for money.
As a result of the GRIP 3, the transport strategy for the Eco Town have focused on existing transport modes and enhancing accessibility at nearby railway stations.