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Holt extension

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by steamdream, Apr 5, 2017.

  1. ilvaporista

    ilvaporista Part of the furniture

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    I could not resist... But a very warm welcome to NatPres after your first posts in 8 years of watching! We don't (all..) bite!
     
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  2. Hicks19862

    Hicks19862 Member

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    Would it actually be easier to reconnect Holt to National Rail the other way? From the MNR via Fakenham and Melton Constable?
     
  3. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    I don't know what's happened to the other trackbeds, but I'm struggling to understand how that could be easier than finding a way to co-exist with the main road for a mile or so - or why you'd want to have two unconnected railways to a small town (however perfectly formed) in deepest rural Norfolk.
     
  4. M59137

    M59137 Well-Known Member

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    I think it would be sensible to give up on the idea of the Holt extension, at least for now. Neither the council or the North Norfolk Railway appear to be actively pushing the idea at present, which seems to have degenerated into the isolated dream of the Orbital Group.

    If the local authority were serious about the proposal then they would have made sure that this latest roundabout was put in 20 feet further Southeast than it currently is, there was plenty of room to do so. Indeed with all the disruption that this new roundabout is causing, now would have been the opportunity to "slew" the approach lanes of the existing bypass away from the proposed railway formation, but again this has not been done. If they were serious about a Holt extension then they would have built in contingencies before giving planning permission for the new housing estate that is currently under construction between this roundabout and the existing NNR Holt station. People drive along the bypass and think: "yes, there's 6 feet between the curb and that guy's back fence, you could squeeze a track through there". The harsh reality is that a proper railway formation needs more than 4ft 8 1/2" of land between obstacles so any Holt extension is going to require serious movement of roads and/or houses. I fail to see how even the first few 100 yards between the bypass and the NNR's bufferstops could be achieved in the current climate.

    If the North Norfolk Railway management were serious about backing the scheme then presumably they would not have invested a lot of money into facilities over the end of the site at High Kelling, when this whole area would have to be re-landscaped in order to get the NNR side of the track at the correct level to cross the road. You could even argue that it is in the NNR's interest NOT to extend into Holt "proper" as currently Holt is being developed as a destination station and a place to keep visitors inside the railway, rather than "losing them" to a town. The railway has worked extremely hard over the past 10 years to try and become "sustainable" and in my opinion has worked equally as hard to achieve this goal without unsympathetic commercialism completely taking over.

    In conclusion I think there just isn't a real case to go to Holt when the real cost of the infrastructure is considered. This puts the scheme firmly into the category of "it would be quite nice if £10 million were donated out of nowhere so that it could be done". Sometimes its better just to let this one go and support other people's (more achievable) extension projects.
     
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  5. threelinkdave

    threelinkdave Well-Known Member

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    The NNR management appear to neither support or condem this scheme. From what I have seen previously The Norfolk orbial is a stand alone WIBN schene
     
  6. Tim Light

    Tim Light Well-Known Member

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    I like the NNR. It's a decent length. It has nice scenery and stations. I don't feel that it particularly needs to go anywhere else. Maybe Holt town centre would provide a more interesting destination, but most passengers are just looking for a nostalgic ride. I'd like to see the NNR continue to invest in their current Holt terminus to make it more interesting and atmospheric.
     
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  7. eddyboy_90

    eddyboy_90 New Member

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    The other thing to remember about the NNR now is that the 'traditional' journey (Sheringham to Holt) is now only half the story. Many people holidaying in Norfolk now use the railway as a park and ride in the other direction (Holt to Sheringham), so for a large number of the passengers they are perhaps going from 'nowhere' to somewhere.
     
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  8. Hicks19862

    Hicks19862 Member

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    Can't blame the NNR management for not wanting to commit to backing the Holt extension until the NOR does a bit more than just clear the trees from across the road.
     
  9. Gav106

    Gav106 Well-Known Member

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    I'm just glad that the railway isn't just thinking extend, extend, extend. Some times (most of the time) we as Railway enthusiasts just want more more more etc. And don't really think with our heads, more our hearts. And some extensions are done just because they can with the destination not really doing anything for the railway. For me (and some may massively disagree here) but Corwen on the Llangollen railway is one of those. Extend was the plan to get to Corwen as it's a great idea... But is it really? As the old set up went Joe Public went for a ride from Llan to carrog and back. Spending money in the little cafe, and of course the loco group coaches when open. Now extending to Corwen means that people don't get off as much at Carrog and the fundraising for the locos has reduced, as has the cafes takings but the cost of running the railway has gone up. Once the rush of people wanting to do the extension has died down then what you end up with is a railway that spends millions on something that is detrimental in the long term. Hopefully Llan is not going to be like this and it will be a success but the point for me is that extensions should only be done if there is a real need etc. Hopefully Broadway on the GWR will be one of these success stories, but only time will tell i suppose.
     
  10. jimmyvonk

    jimmyvonk New Member

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    As I pass the area most days, the new roundabout on the Holt Bypass certainly looks to have eaten up the usable space for a track bed.
    More importantly I feel, unless the new housing going up which will back onto the alignment has something in the deeds along the lines of "please be aware they may build a steam railway behind your back garden" then any application for construction may meet huge protest from the new residents. Never mind the problems getting out of the current NNR site and through holt and under the A148.
    Development of the Holt site on adjacent land will give a bigger gain to the NNR in a much shorter term.
    It would be lovely to get the train to Sheringham for chips from my house in Melton Constable, but I can't see it'll happen in my life time unfortunately.
     
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  11. JMJR1000

    JMJR1000 Member

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    I can understand your oppinion on this matter, and I would agree there are some railways that do appear to do it just for the sake of it. I would however disagree that the Corwen extension is counted as one that has no reasoning behind it.

    For one it has been the Llangollen Railway's aim from it's earliest years to reach Corwen, it's been a core aim from them for a long time now, and to not persue it would always have looked like unfunished business to many I think. It would be like the Bluebell Railway aiming from the beginning to reach East Granstead, and then upon getting so far as Kinscote after so long, suddenly being told you should just stop now it's not nesccasary. I'm sure none of us would have wanted that, would we?

    For another, they've always considered the run to Corwen from Llangollen to be the railway's optimum length, and so purchased the trackbed as far that town as a result. To the railway Corwen is a distination, a clearly point to travel towards and end the journey, and it can draw people from the town and vice versa, hence why the town itself has been more then welcoming.

    Then of course there's the enhancement to the overall journey experience has been given too, for the scenery between Corrag and Corwen is quite a stand out feature, enhancing the kind of views the railway can offer to the passengers. Nothing bad can be said against giving more good scenery to folks.

    There are plenty of railways I would consider not needing anymore extensions just for the sake of it, but Llangollen is not one of them.

    (And just watch what you say Gav, or the folks in the Llangollen loco sheds will evict you and the Patriot! :Nailbiting:)
     
  12. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    And would you have taken any notice of people saying it's a waste of money to build a Patriot?
     
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  13. Martin Perry

    Martin Perry Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Rebuilding the railway from Llangollen to Corwen was always the plan
    Corwen was always the plan from the beginning. The regeneration of the town of Corwen was always central to the aims of the County Council (who, apart from being the planning authority, also own the land) and they considered the railways return to be central to that.
     
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  14. Matt78

    Matt78 Well-Known Member

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    There are two points worth considering here-

    Firstly extensions are becoming more difficult and less common. If you haven't got the necessary paperwork to start add a few noughts onto the cost without laying a single panel on the ground. Materials such as bullhead rail are not as easy to obtain as they were, or certainly more costly at least.

    Secondly we have two types of volunteer- operators and restorers. Many volunteers have an interest in both. For some however the attraction in volunteering is not operations but the bringing back of something to life which would otherwise be dormant. Therefore extensions will continue to be mooted (notwithstanding the first paragraph above).

    None of this considers the WIBN aspect of course.

    Regards

    Matt
     
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  15. threelinkdave

    threelinkdave Well-Known Member

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    Matt - simplest solution to rail is outside of stations use FB. And yes we do weld into long lengths at SVR. There is a trade off between purists and easier maintenance. Less dropped joints, less broken springs etc
     
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  16. Martin Perry

    Martin Perry Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    The whole tourist/heritage/preserved railway business is based on that in its entirety, so I wouldn't get too hung up on that one either.
     
  17. Gav106

    Gav106 Well-Known Member

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    Anything is a waste of money if it's not thought out and doesn't have a good business plan to keep it going, i would like to think that the patriot has this in place (and to be fair I think we have proved that with out ability to fundraise quite well), there are new build locos out there that i cannot ever see being finished, the same as there are restoration projects i cant ever see being completed.

    My comments about Corwen i will stick by. I completely understand that it's the original aim of the railway and i do quite like the extension etc. And I'm most definitely not having a pop at the railway or its volunteers. But what I'm saying is as a business case does the expense of getting there, and maintenance etc etc stack up? East grinstead on the bluebell is different as it gives them a mainline connection, and a larger number of people to try to tap into etc. Corwen doesn't do that as it's a small community. Its a bit like the GWSR who are doing the fantastic extension to Broadway but their management seem to downplay any possible mainline connection as they say it's not cost effective. Although maybe with the new town being built at Long Marston they may eventually change their minds?
     
  18. 61624

    61624 Part of the furniture

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    Time will tell with the Llangollen extension to Corwen, but I must admit that I have always thought of it mostly as an engineering works with a railway attached. It would be interesting to see whether the extension gives the passenger figures the same sort of boost the East Grinstead did for the Bluebell, and whether the railway or engineering works is the greater profit centre.
     
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  19. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    Regarding the subject of CWR or rail joints it is noticeable that a recent rail advert on tv does portray the 'clickety clack' sound psychologically associated with a railway. All of which might suggest - and I am sure the ad men researched held views before production - that many travellers on heritage/tourist railways do expect to hear a 'conventional/recognisable sound'
    The Paignton to Kingswear line does feature that most enjoyable sound. :D
     
  20. andrewshimmin

    andrewshimmin Well-Known Member

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    I'm a former Llangollen member - former only because I moved thousands of miles away, rather than any falling out with the policy. Nevertheless I think Gav's argument is sound: Carrog was a perfectly good destination in railway terms, extending to Corwen under very non-ideal circumstances seems more like "Corwen-or-bust" than a sensible business case. I agree the old Clwyd council wanted regeneration in Corwen (and I'm sure Denbighshire too - although why is Corwen in Denbighshire, it was old Merioneth!).
    East Grinsted is quite different. Mainline connections are often oversold, but bringing your tourist attraction within easy train ride of the metropolis makes business sense, simples.
     
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