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The end of the Lavender Line?

Discussion in 'Heritage railways & Centres in the Uk' started by Bramblewick, Mar 18, 2015.

  1. Bramblewick

    Bramblewick Active Member

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    Mr Osborne today announced funding for a study into the reopening of the Uckfield to Lewes line. If reopening does get the go-ahead, could the Lavender Line coexist with the new railway - perhaps using one platform while main line services use the other - or would it have to move? If so, where would it go?
     
  2. Charles Parry

    Charles Parry New Member

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    I believe I read a long time ago that the Lavender Line actually owned the trackbed (not leased like a lot of preserved line), so they can call the shots to a certain extent. I also believe that they have known this is a possibility for a long time, and have an alternative site in mind, though I can't remember for the life of me where it is.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 18, 2015
  3. Dan Hill

    Dan Hill Well-Known Member

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    From what I recall there was a study conducted a few years ago which said there wasn't sufficient demand for traffic for the amount of money the line would cost to build. It seems to keep coming up then being rejected.

    I do remember the Rother Valley and Spa Valley being sites that were rumoured as potential future homes for the line's stock but hopefully it won't come to that but sure if it did the stock would find a good home and one of those would suit.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2015
  4. Hurricane

    Hurricane Active Member

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    Nothing that could prevent a compulsory purchase if the government want to push ahead....
     
  5. Christopher125

    Christopher125 Part of the furniture

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    It's a political stunt, the study won't tell us anything we don't already know - there's no business case for simply extending the existing Uckfield services to Lewes, and there's insufficient capacity at the London end for an increase in frequency.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2015
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  6. Dan Hill

    Dan Hill Well-Known Member

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    That's what I saw from the 2008 study into the reopening and 2 or 3 others have been turned down. Wasn't the Lavender Line looking into a possible extension towards Uckfield?
     
  7. Bramblewick

    Bramblewick Active Member

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    Nimbyism put a stop to that.
     
  8. domeyhead

    domeyhead Member

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    I am amazed that anyone who considers themselves a railway enthusiast would actually hope that an important reinstatement of a strategic rail link would NOT go ahead! The "Big railway" works best as a network, and joining up what is in effect a long spur and creating what could be a new diversionary route to London. Railways have been reinstated in the Scottish borders and the Welsh Valleys with longer distances and smaller populations than Lewes-Uckfield. People are fed up with rail replacement buses whenever a line needs work so this route has value beyond the passengers who want to travel between the two towns. It might be too much to hope that the line from Eridge to Tunbridge Wells is also reinstated but if it was on the cards I would regard it as a great day for our railways. Perhaps Swanage will show us how these two worlds can coexist but if a priority call is made, the big railway wins every time.
     
  9. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres

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    The value of a re opened Lewes to Uckfield link is in the extra capacity that it could bring, not in the people who wish to travel between the two towns, ok it would need to be electrified and double track, but for every path between lewes and london that it would create , you also save another path on the brighton main line, for instance, services from Hastings and Eastbourne that go via lewes and Haywards heath, to Victoria could be routed via the uckfield line if reopened, that creates a further 2 pathes each way pre hour on the main Brighton route, and of course it would give a second route between london and Brighton by changing, or reversing at Lewes.
    OK, the lavender line would have to close, but the stock and engines would find a new home elsewhere,
     
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  10. Bramblewick

    Bramblewick Active Member

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    Pity though, because although its fleet isn't terribly interesting the Lavender Line has done a lovely job on Isfield station, and it's a very nice place to spend a couple of hours.
     
  11. burmister

    burmister New Member

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    That ignores the fact a good proportion passengers on the current London services from Hastings, Bexhill and Eastbpourne services actually want to go to Gatwick with large volumes of luggage and are in the more senior age group. Enforcing a change at Lewes/Brighton by diverting the current 2TPH via Oxted is not exactly passenger friendly or revenue earner and get cars off the A22, A27 A23 or
    Also the majority of people going South from Uckfield want Brighton as their destination not Eastbourne and points East.

    The line must serve Brighton with through trains via the Hamsey cord and a new loop after Lewes alongside the A27 or its a non starter. Trains need to go where people want to go.

    Brian
     
  12. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres

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    there will still be plenty of services that go to Brighton, from Hastings, the Ashford service for example, plus others from Eastbourne, not to mension possible additional services from Brighton to Gatwick. As gatwick express is a Southern operated service, it isnt beyond planners to extend the service to a non stop Brighton- Gatwick- Victoria service
     
  13. Christopher125

    Christopher125 Part of the furniture

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    Whether trains go via Uckfield or Gatwick they both have to use the congested tracks through East Croydon and on into London, and that's really the fundamental constraint on capacity. Though some short/medium term enhancements should ease this, by rebuilding Windmill Bridge Junction for example, the extra services allowed can be accommodated on the existing mainline.

    An upgraded and extended Uckfield Line may be justified in the longer term, but realistically that would need a major capacity increase at the London end - Crossrail 3 perhaps.

    (for anyone interested Network Rail's Sussex Route Study looking at the next 30 years is out for consultation)
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2015
  14. burmister

    burmister New Member

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    I have lost count of the number of 'studies' into the reopening that have been done, but until the value of an alternative route for the two track sections south of Three Bridges is given more value then it will not happen. ( Rather like Okehampton as an alternative to Dawlish)

    Regarding capacity, very few trains today are to maximum length , todays TOCs and DafT seem to favour short trains every 15mins and then bitch about congestion both of passengers and route capacity.

    As regards alternative routes if Balcombe tunnel or viaduct is blocked, even the short Arundel curve which would not cross any public right of way, require demolition of any building and is far from any housing, cannot get approval. So like this weekend when the main line is shut passengers to the West Coastway conurbations as well as Brighton are treated to 30mins unnecessary extra journey time going in and out of Littlehampton's station to reverse. Quite possible to get to Brighton in 90mins if the curve was built.

    Brian
     
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  15. Meiriongwril

    Meiriongwril Member

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    Ideal solution: the Lavender Line relocates to Lewes (Culver Jnct) and rebuilds the southern part of the Bluebell! :D
    (Of course, the Govt buys them the entire trackbed as recompense for taking their current land)
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2015
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  16. Christopher125

    Christopher125 Part of the furniture

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    The 'value' of an alternative route is what it is - the significant sums needed to upgrade and/or reopen a route will often be hard to justify which would see limited use for diverted services (and would themselves be of limited value to most passengers on the affected route) is often very hard to justify.

    Incidentally the conclusions of the study on reopening Lewes-Uckfield on both diversionary and capacity grounds can be found on pages 134 and 144/145.

    That certainly was an issue for Cross Country in the past but higher frequencies no doubt helped contribute to the surge in passenger growth, and besides this isn't of much relevance to the situation in the South East and the BML in particular.

    The Arundel Chord is addressed on page 131 - with only three West Coastway platforms at Brighton, and just one long enough for 12-car services, it's limited usefulness would struggle to justify the cost.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2015
  17. nanstallon

    nanstallon Part of the furniture

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    ... just as nimbyism will put a stop to reopening the line as a through route. It is very hard to get anything done in England, as far as railway reopening is concerned.

    John
     
  18. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres

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    does the electric supply allow 12 car turbo stars, after all they are more juice hungry than the veps & cigs that preceded them , might this be why southern dont just add more units ? i have wondered when the new units arrived with all the electronic gubbings was the supply uprated for 8 car or 12 car formations?
     
  19. Christopher125

    Christopher125 Part of the furniture

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    Southern routinely operate 12-car Electrostars and the power supply has been upgraded to cope (Turbostars are their diesel cousins). The new Thameslink fleet will also extend many of it's services (described in the Route Study as "the last set of main line peak services not already operating at maximum practical length") while freeing up units to increase capacity elsewhere.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2015
  20. domeyhead

    domeyhead Member

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    Regarding the lack of train paths closer to LOndon - surely any reopened link would siimply be optimising both the stock and the use of the paths already in existence for trains starting/terminating at Uckfield? It sounds like a non issue being used as obfuscation. And again how is it possible to open a line of 35 miles to a population of around 15,000 in Scotland while in England we can't reopen a line of less than 10 miles between populations of over 100,000?
     

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