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Lynton and Barnstaple - Operations and Development

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by 50044 Exeter, Dec 25, 2009.

  1. lynbarn

    lynbarn Well-Known Member

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    If we want to see the railway back in Barnstaple then we are are going to need to think outside of the box on that one
     
  2. ghost

    ghost Part of the furniture

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    Is there a physical reason why it couldn't happen? (Apart from finance/ownership issues)
     
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  3. brennan

    brennan Member

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    This saga has been grinding on for rather a long time. Just out of curiosity , how many miles of track have been reopened in the last ten years and over how many more miles of trackbed does the railway have permission on which to lay track ?
     
  4. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    The answer to the first part is probably measured in (just a few) yards :-(
     
  5. 5944

    5944 Resident of Nat Pres

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    961bf8dwe3i41.jpg
     
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  6. ghost

    ghost Part of the furniture

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    Sorry, but I fail to see the relevance of your comment to my question
     
  7. 21B

    21B Part of the furniture

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    I think the point is that the dream is very much alive, but the reality is falling a bit short at the moment. The inability to capitalise on the the planning permission the railway had achieved leaves a huge gap in the progress. Getting to Barnstaple seems so far off at the moment that things in the ground there might have changed a lot before it happens, so what’s the point of discussing it now.

    That can be changed, but it is not an unreasonable perception of the present situation.
     
  8. Meatman

    Meatman Member

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    when Hole Ground was being thought of as the starting point for the railway the Raleigh Meadow estate wasn't there, as i understand it the cost of a set of traffic lights/junction into HG from St Georges Road was the issue, whilst this issue was being dragged out planning was granted and Raleigh Meadow was built also at local Council elections different Councillors were elected and the offer of HG was withdrawn. St Georges Road is not an ideal approach road for extra traffic or buses but a specific route to SGR via Derby Road might be possible, the approach to HG is single track over the old railway bridge but there could be room to improve this at the expense of the Barnstaple social club's car park.
    From Raleigh weir EA own a stretch of trackbed and there is a significant area of council owned land next to this but the road alongside Raleigh Meadow is only about 1 and a half cars wide but there is room to widen it possibly but this would undoubtably raise many objections from locals
     
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  9. ikcdab

    ikcdab Member Friend

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    So... Looking at the talk of major diversions each end, at Blackmoor Gate, to service a wildlife park and everything else. About having electric locomotives, cable cars or redesigning the Manning Wardles.
    It seems to me that there is no prospect whatsoever of ever rebuilding the L&B.
    What you are talking about is building a new narrow gauge railway between the two towns that just happens to use a portion of the abandoned track bed. Building a new tourist attraction that might (or might not) be a park and ride for the national park. This will never be the old L&B which therefore seems to have gone for good. That being the case, what we have now with the three stations and odd sections of trackbed seems to satisfy the charity's aims and I can see why the trustees have not taken it further.
    Building whole new sections of railway on virgin land as a commercial tourist attraction is not in the charity objectives. If that is what is required, then a whole new body has to be created to do that.
    One single body to absorb all the existing ones and basically start over.
    If the L&B had survived another 10 or 15 years then it might have been saved like the north Wales lines, but it didn't and it is now gone for good. Building a cable car at lynton or new railway on virgin bits of land is not reopening the railway.
     
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  10. Meatman

    Meatman Member

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    There is always the prospect of rebuilding the L&B, talk of the cable car is merely to make Lynton access easier but not necessary, there are two deviations that might spring to mind, that's around Wistlandpound which is unavoidable and another further south which may or may not be necessary, in Barnstaple, Pilton yard is as far as is achievable, not only because the railway would have to cross two extremely buy roads but also because the track bed between PY and BTS has been built on, i have in my possession a 2021 appraisal suggesting the railway can squeeze its way back through to Pilton Yard, on the matter of locomotives i think all heritage lines run loco's that never ran those lines when originally open
     
  11. Miff

    Miff Part of the furniture Friend

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    To be fair to the Trust, they have never proposed any such things, which have been discussed merely as idle forum WIBN speculation during a period when the Trust has failed to deliver their own plans (which didn’t involve cable cars).

    I think there’s little chance of reviving the whole L&B in any form. However wouldn’t it be nice if a section rather longer than the existing operation could be achieved, perhaps linking 2 or 3 stations and as authentically as practicable within commercial realities? That appears to be something like what the Trust were trying to achieve before they failed but I’ll leave my own idle speculation there.
     
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  12. 21B

    21B Part of the furniture

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    I’m not really sure that the board has made a decision not to extend. If it had done so after due consideration and consultation there are many who, whilst being disappointed, would have accepted such a logic. The issue that @ikcdab rightly raises is that there is no obvious strategy, so as @Miff observes what fills the gap is idle speculation, which does no harm in the short term, but is unhelpful if carried too far.

    The big question is what does the railway need to be to attract the type of support it will need? It will need enthusiasm, more volunteers (non-operational to start with to design and fundraise), local support and more.

    Of course we need to work out what the railway is for. Eco tourism into the park? A trip back in time? Day trips to the sea side? Knowing what is likely to be attractive to visitors is important because in order to get support we will have to answer the questions about why this should be allowed to happen.

    These two questions might not result in the same answer. Funders might support a trip back in time full blown re-creation, but future passengers might want eco-tourism. The strategy will have to accommodate this apparent conflict and make it all tie together to be successful.

    The question of how long should it and can it be is not primarily about what is or isn’t in the way right now. Most things can be moved, altered or avoided. How long the railway should aim to be depends I think almost entirely on where the traffic is expected to come from and why people will want to travel. It is then about how much they would have to be charged and how likely it is that the operational volunteers can be found.

    At the moment we have a random collection of land and buildings. (That’s not a criticism). This has to be drawn together into something. I don’t think we’ve been putting enough thought into what that something is and how we get from here to that point. These are tough questions which need to be answered.

    I can see a lot of engineering and operational thought has happened btw. Where I think there is a big gap is on the commercial/fundraising/management of project aspects.
     
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  13. DaveE

    DaveE Member

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    The cable car idea is in addition and beyond the railway and addresses what many didn't like about the railway when it first ran and the distance between the station and the town itself and the associated steep hill.

    I think most of the original can be used apart from the southern end of WLP, the towns either end do have their problems but as @Meatman has indicated, there are possible solutions at the Barnstaple end and Lynton isn't impossible to solve.

    Pilton Yard isn't a bad place to have a terminus, infact that it's almost right at the end of Boutport St and a 2 min walk from the High St. I would say no difference to Barnstaple Town Station.

    Aim, rebuild as much as possible of the old, adapt where needed, new only if absolutely necessary.
     
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  14. Old Kent Biker

    Old Kent Biker Member

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  15. ghost

    ghost Part of the furniture

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    Thank you for the detailed explanation - much appreciated
     
  16. Michael B

    Michael B Member

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    There is so much of that I would take issue with, I dont where to start. As @Meatman points out there will have to be a solution at the Wistlandpound to get a practical gradient near where the dam is situated to prevent ingress of water. If there is no other practical way the plans for the 1884 Standard Gauge scheme between Lynton and Barnstaple suggested crossing Blackmoor Gate cross-roads and turning left, rejoining the L & B as built at North Thorne. These plans suggested it was possible on reasonable gradient. It is perfectly possible to rebuild the railway on the original trackbed apart from these inevitable deviations, just like the Festiniog did. And it doesn't have to be done with rolling stock bearing no relation to the original as has been done on the Welsh Highland, or the new station at historic Carnarvon which (to me) looks like something out of a shopping mall. (It will be interesting to see what design they come up with for the station at Beddgelert). As has been mentioned, a cable car is a suggestion to deal with the problem of climb/drop to the Lynton (or even Lynmouth). 60 years ago (when the original L & B Society folded) no-one could contemplate the cost of rebuilding the railway or buying the trackbed to do so. I was 20 then, and I remember what it was like. But attitudes change. We missed the big grants era, but there are ambitious projects, such as connecting the two parts of the Great Central. So, it is largely a case of enthusiasm for an attractive railway in a less visited part of the country, concentrating on a vision of what could be rather than dwelling overmuch on the problems that will be faced. We know it will not be an exact copy of what existed 90 to 125 years ago, but will people really be conscious of that travelling on it ? If we stick to rolling stock and buildings in sympathy with what ran originally and not be tempted to go down the Welsh Highland way. I refuse to take the view that the L & B has gone for good when the scenery and much of the infrastructure is still present. What the vision of an L & B replica train crossing Chelfham Viaduct and entering a restored station creates in the mind. All power to Nigel and his dedicated team with what they have done there.
     
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  17. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    Indeed. If only there was the scope to make so much more of that wonderful location in the immediate future....
     
  18. 62440

    62440 New Member

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    Yes. But realistically what is it all going to cost, where is the money going to come from and what timescale are we talking about? Is the vision realistic in today’s world? I ask these question as someone who wants to see the L&BR prosper.
     
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  19. 21B

    21B Part of the furniture

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    Well there might (be an opportunity to use Chelfham soon), but first we have to do the hard work of asking ourselves the difficult and fundamental questions and being sure we have some decent answers.

    @62440 how we find the money is a critical part of the questions I was asking. I don’t know the answer, I do know how to go and find it, and that we are currently going about solving this problem in too piecemeal a fashion for there to be success.
     
  20. pmh_74

    pmh_74 Well-Known Member

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    Success breeds success. The L&B 'vision' as I see it is a good one and captures the imagination, and in that sense it's similar to the GCR re-unification. However, I don't think the GCR could have raised the millions it needs in the 1980s (running 5.5 miles), 1990s (8 miles) or 2000s (8 miles plus double track)... it's taken years of steady consolidation to get to a point that those outside the Leicestershire preservation bubble could take the project sufficiently seriously to say "lets do this". Now imagine if they were still only running the two miles to Quorn that they had in 1973 - and the L&B doesn't even have that much!
    The L&B planning permission was ambitious, but it did at least prove that (a) it's technically feasible and (b) has a good chance of support from the local planners. The problem (aside from Grampian conditions & Covid) seems to be the funding, or lack of a plan for funding. You can talk about the end of the big grants era, EU money (Brexit), Lottery, and so on, but the GCR has had none of those - it's raised the money primarily from enthusiasts who believe the project is a good one and has a good chance of happening. And interestingly, they've raised a lot of money without having full planning approval (the planning for the bit between the canal bridge and MML bridge hasn't gone in yet), and despite some obvious management upheaval in the last couple of years.
    I don't see an equivalent confidence in the L&B's ability to deliver at the moment, and that will hold back the fundraising. What the L&B probably needs more than anything is a modest but sensible extension project as a springboard for the next step. And in that sense the trustees' strategy is probably the right one; I'm just not convinced that terminating at CFL (with all the obvious technical issues around the gradient) meets the 'sensible' test. If the plan was to reach Parracombe (inevitably needing to address 90% of the local concerns in the process) (and accepting little prospect of going further in the near future) (and either a shorter run-round loop or shunt release!) then I think that would be a much easier sell to your likely donors; it would maximise the use of the land you have, open another original station and avoid abortive work that would be needed at (another) temporary terminus. And if the planners won't contemplate that idea then, personally, I think you're stuck with trundling up and down the existing mile or so for a few more years, while quietly buying up more parcels of land, until you can either go further or go the other way.
    I do understand the frustration especially from those who have been involved in this project for a long time, but I also don't think starting multiple competing railways is helpful either... (That's effectively what the GCR did, but the fallout of trying to bring two disparate groups back together has not been great, and it has taken 35 years already.)
     
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