Monday, 16 July 2012

Railway infrastructure boost

The government has announced major rail infrastructure improvements at a time when more passengers are being carried by rail than at any time since the 1920s.

The links take you to the detail:

It is a pity that HS2 has not been scrapped and the funding used instead to improve the existing network even further and re-open closed lines.

A number of points:

1. The Midland Mainline electrification ends at Sheffield.  Why not extend to Wakefield and Doncaster and also Derby to Birmingham?  This would enable through electric running between Southampton and  Newcastle by freight and passenger trains.

2.  The Midland route is not to be electrified through the Erewash Valley or between Chesterfield and Rotherham via Beighton, both of which are major freight routes.  Failure to electrify the Erewash Valley line (between Trowell and Trent) means that no fast Sheffield-London trains missing out Derby can be run.

3. The Uckfield line station platforms are to be lengthened to enable 10 carriage trains to be operated.  Sadly no mention of re-opening the Uckfield-Lewes line.  When this line was open more passengers travelled towards Lewes than towards London.

4. The Basingstoke-Southampton line already is electrified on the third-rail system.  The plan is to use overhead electrification and for this to be a guinea pig to determine the potential for dispensing with the third rail across the south-east!

5.  Sadly no mention of re-opening the Bedford-Northampton line, nor adding platforms to the Bakerloo and Chiltern lines at West Hampstead.

But let us not be unduly critical.  This is a massive injection of resources.  Let's hope it does happen!!

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