Announcements vs. Reality

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Established Member
17 Nov 2010
I'm a bit of a cynic, but I think we'll all agree that the Government like to announce projects and reconfirm them about a million times before spade touches earth.

So I'd quite like to know:

- When will the work start on redoubling the Swindon - Kemble line?

- When will GW electrification start?
- And TPE?

- How about the Colwich project? Stafford bypass?

The North West scheme seemed to get going so quickly, but other things seem to be announced and then forgotten. I'm thinking specifically the Kemble project.

The North Cotswolds line took ages, as did Axminster. And are either of them actually completed?
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RailUK Forums


Veteran Member
7 Apr 2010
Announcements are made when funding becomes available to start the overall project. Detailed design work for any project needs funds - therefore detailed design does not commence until a project is formally agreed to go ahead. Site surveys are needed to come up with detailed installation drawings - it might, and usually does take a number of years to come up with the detailed designs. Once all that's done a contract has to be tendered - minor jobs will be done by what are called 'framework contractors' but anything major will have to go out to a full industry competition.

If a project requires planning permission, the application to the local authority won't be made until funding is guaranteed, if not later when detailed design is complete.

Lack of movement on site does not mean a project hasn't started, I'd suggest there are many people who have been working on GW electrification since the announcement, mainly in design and drawing offices.

Lastly, the railway works in 5 year financial control periods, (eg CP4, CP5 etc). At the start of each control period a work package will be agreed with DfT - but it will by necessity include projects that are not going to start for up to 5 years.

As an example Swindon Kemble only appeared as a late addition to the CP4 plan in October 2011, with an intended construction phase of Jan 2013 - Apr 2014.

Edit: Did some digging into Stafford/Colwich, and it is now decided that the additional train paths the DfT want can be achieved with the Norton Bridge scheme - so over the last few years of design work the basic project first mentioned has completely changed. The proposed dates for the Norton Bridge and Stafford Station area construction work now run from Feb 2014 to Dec 2017. The scheme requires compulsory purchase of land, the planning application isn't due to go in until Dec 2012.
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Tiny Tim

6 Jan 2012
Devizes, Wiltshire.
I think that cle's cynicism is not entirely misplaced, politicians do like to announce shiny new projects, often in the very early design stages. They're not beyond taking the glory for schemes such as the Portishead line which has actually been turned down for funding.
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