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New Railways in Wales?

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by MartinBall, Nov 7, 2009.

  1. MartinBall

    MartinBall Member

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    Reported on the BBC site:
    Passenger lines axed from the rail network under the Beeching reforms in the 1960s could once again see trains.
    The Welsh Assembly Government has asked Network Rail to conduct feasibility studies on two former track stretches.
    The lines are on old sections between Llangefni on Anglesey and Bangor, and between Aberdare and Hirwaun in the Cynon valley in south Wales.
    In both cases, while the routes were closed, the disused rail tracks still remain in place.
    "This could provide an economic stimulus for Anglesey and further proposals to extend passenger traffic between Llangefni and Amlwch," responded the leader of Anglesey council, Coun Clive McGregor.
    "We support the concept and would be prepare to play our part in facilitating the process.
    "I have personally received a number of positive comments from members of the public who visit the Island that a steam heritage railway would be a major tourist attraction for Anglesey."
    The decision to commission a feasibility study was revealed by the Deputy First Minister, Ieuan Wyn Jones, as he addressed the assembly's enterprise and learning committee in October.
    Exisiting tracks
    He said the two sections of line were of particular interest, because the tracks had not been ripped up when original passenger services closed.
    "What we are doing here is, rather than thinking - at present, anyway - about areas where the track has been removed, we are looking at areas where the track is still in place and it is easier to introduce new services," the minister said.
    "There may be other areas in Wales where we might feel, at some point, that it is worth looking at such services, where a track is in existence but where there are no services."
    The original Llangefni rail station was part of the Anglesey central line running from Gaerwen to Amlwch on the island, dating back to the 1860s.
    It was closed to passenger services in 1964 as part of the massive cuts imposed by the Beeching review of rail transport, though continued to operate as a freight stop until the 1990s.
    Like Llangefni, Hirwaun also fell victim to the Beeching axe. But it too maintained a freight role, carrying coal from Tower Colliery.
    Network Rail has already began work on gathering evidence for its study, beginning with cutting away vegetation on track sections to examine the condition of rails and track bedding.
    Its report is expected to be published next year, before any business cases to reopen the lines are then developed.
     
  2. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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  3. Stu in Torbay

    Stu in Torbay New Member

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    Good news. I did notice though that it says "Network Rail said a study of the natural environment aimed to identify any rare plants and species that would need to be protected if line was reopened"

    Why? The land's status is still a railway. Why not just cut back and weed-kill, after all, this is what would be happening if the line was still in use. Seems like more money to be wasted on a study to keep the bunny huggers happy.....
     
  4. Christopher125

    Christopher125 Member

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    There are some stretches of the operating network where NR are tasked with looking after especially rare species growing lineside - its hardly a big deal when you look at the overall cost of reinstating these lines. So long as its done in a sensible and proportinate way, i see nothing wrong with looking after the environment.

    Chris
     
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  5. richards

    richards Well-Known Member

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  6. Coboman

    Coboman New Member

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    In my opinion it would be much better spending the money earmarked on the HS2 project reopening local lines like these and plenty of others around the country. We had a perfectly good berne gauge high speed railway running up the spine of the country with no level crossings, but a bunch of blithering idiots shut it in the 60s, and the councils couldn't wait to get their hands on its remains and destroy them. Maybe THEY should pay for its replacment with HS2, not the taxpayer. Its not like they asked us is it?
     
  7. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Except the GC wasn't Berne Gauge even if it was more generous that other UK railways.
     
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  8. TonyMay

    TonyMay New Member

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    are they heritage railways?
     
  9. guard_jamie

    guard_jamie New Member

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    I believe that the London extension was built so that the majority of it could be adjusted to a larger, Continental gauge without too much difficulty, with a bit of slewing here and there. There were bits where more wholesale redevelopment would have been necessary. It wasn't to Berne gauge, as you say.
     
  10. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest


    If it had not been for World War Two, most of these lines would have closed earlier anyway, beaten by the bus and the heavy lorry, never mind the private car. Some of the trackbeds may be of use again to serve newly developed areas. However Beeching was basically right and the abuse hurled at him seems often little more than militant sentimentality.

    (At the time I was as anti-Beeching as anybody but sometimes people do think a little more clearly as the years go by!! My own sentimentality is now catered for by helping to operate a narrow gauge steam locomotive.)

    My concern about new projects is that there are signs already that they may be prejudiced by self-serving arguments dressed up as the "public interest". In the nineteenth century, routes were made less logical and station sitings less convenient as a result of such pressures. This led directly to their uncompetetiveness against motor vehicles.

    In short let's have a proper high speed network with judicious construction of new, less elaborate, feeder lines where needed.
     
  11. Coboman

    Coboman New Member

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    Well thats very interesting. I always believed it was. Just done a little reasearch and the Berne guage didn't even exist till 1912! The reasearch I did said it was built to an "expanded continental loading gauge".
     
  12. Felix Holt

    Felix Holt Guest

    Rhun ap Iorwerth (Senedd Member for Anglesey) has been tweeting today support for the Llangefni line to be re-opened as a heritage railway (see hashtag #leinamlwch).

    I'm not sure what the situation is with the group behind that plan, but hopefully the support of the local representative might make a difference.
     

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