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From: Graeme Phillips (personal opinion) Subject: £81m WCML upgrade around Watford

I am pleased that the decision has been taken to do the work in a small number of closures [five between May 2014 and Easter 2015], rather than 54 weekend closures.

be able to enjoy the benefits sooner rather than later (54 weekend closures delays the date by which they will enjoy the benefits).

From: David Pearson Subject: Campden Tunnel cutting landslip works

Following the Network Rail press release, I visited the site yesterday (Sat, August 17). There was no activity, but evidence of the wholesale timber clearance and of an access road for the removal of the spoil.

It appears as if the unstable material is part of an old spoil heap, tipped on the hillside adjacent to the railway during the building of the tunnel by Brunel and others.

Running a railway is not about having a perfect system, but an optimised system.

The perfect

solution is often the enemy of the practical solution. Running a railway is about examining what passengers want from their railway and using one’s knowledge of engineering to see how to succeed in delivering as many of these things as possible to the greatest extent possible, rather than blindly trying to cater for whatever the most vocal passengers say they want.

Yes, railways are ultimately run for the benefit of the passengers, but if you put burdens on the people who run the railways, passengers will ultimately suffer. For this reason, it is necessary to be practical and hard-headed about what the best engineering solution is.

Yes, passengers want railways to be open during peak hours, but they and the Government want the costs of the system to be low (54 weekend closures is an inefficient way of working) and they want to

The temporary access seems to suggest that the vast ‘80,000 tonnes’ of earth, as quoted by Network Rail, will be simply moved to the next field, away from the railway, where it will not present a danger.

So, basically, the preliminary

works have been carried out and it seems as if Network Rail have put out the statement while waiting for the green light. Checking my photo library, it was August 2009 when the tunnel was cleaned of old ballast, new drainage installed and the second line reinstated, after singling in the early 1970s. Has the new efficient drainage in the tunnel and cutting, together with last year’s wet summer, helped to cause the slip?

From: Graham Nalty Subject: HS2 seminars to share best practice

The conference is an excellent idea. From what I have learned about high speed rail from 10

rail technology magazine Aug/Sep 13 | 13

years’ study, best practice in high speed rail includes: through stations in the major city centres, rather than terminals; high speed platforms within the main city centre station, not about quarter of a mile away as proposed for Leeds and Birmingham; stations in city centres to provide fast local distribution of the benefits of high speed, not out of town ‘parkway’ stations such as the three between London and Leeds; high speed trains to access city centre stations of as many cities as possible, including those off the high speed line, so that people visit those cities to do business (that is how high speed rail becomes a catalyst for economic growth outside London); route designed to follow existing transport corridors


minimise environmental damage and opposition.

My impression of the plans for HS2 is that it fails to meet any of the objectives of achieving best practice in any of these criteria. I hope the delegates to this conference will appreciate these points. (More on page 23)

From: Andy Coles Subject: Green initiative for c2c rolling stock

This equipment was supplied and installed by Garrandale Below: Shrewsbury station

and, whilst the technology is not groundbreaking, the ability to retrofit this to existing train washes and provide an ROI of two years is. (For further information see page 38)

From: David Subject: Direct Blackpool and Shrewsbury to London services

Once the line to Blackpool is electrified then there is no problem with running out of Euston, as the current 16.33, 20.30 and 21.10 could go forward from Preston direct to Blackpool. Also the 17.57 Lancaster service could divert to Blackpool. As for running in the opposite direction, well, deeper research is required! But at least we are halfway to having a service.

From Preston the 10.36 (FO) could become daily starting at Blackpool and the 09.23 Glasgow (Relief) 11.59 from Preston could be diverted to start from Blackpool; so looking at the current services, paths are available now.

Plus the stock would not need to go to Edge Hill or Longsight for servicing, as that role could also be undertaken at Blackpool – another problem solved?


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