Treasury Blocking electrification plans

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A0wen

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To my knowledge, they were never de-bunked or proven to be unsafe,

You could make that case on just about any safety standard which was updated.

Take domestic wiring standards, they've been updated several times in the last 30 years, but there's nothing there which say's a properly completed installation to 1990's standards was unsafe.

Your attitude seems to be standards don't need to be updated - with that logic most cars on the roads would still be using cross ply tyres with leaf springs and drum brakes - they were all perfectly safe back in 1959 and you can still drive an unmodified 1959 car on the roads today, so why update ?
 
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LNW-GW Joint

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so does this mean the midland main line won’t be getting electrified christ this government is shockingly bad.
No, the planning presumption is that the MML (and TRU as NPR phase 1) will be electrified, but Network Rail has to come up with cost-effective staged plans to do the work.
ie no blank cheque.
It's small steps at a time.
No taps have been turned off (except for HS2b to Leeds), just conditions applied before funds are released for new work.
 
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A0wen

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Surely if it were more cost effective to buy OHLE to a less generous international clearance standard, that would come out in procurement anyway, without the need to change our own standard ? Infact wouldn't that be a better way of balancing off the potentially cheaper cost of foreign equipment against the increased cost of raising structures etc ?

But if you haven't adopted that standard (which is what you're saying should have happened) then you're not going to be able to, legally, use that for your procurement.

The procurement process will follow the agreed engineering standard, not the other way around. And if the engineering department says it must comply to BS 1234 then that's what must be met, not ISO 9876.

You've clearly never worked with or in procurement.
 

yorksrob

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You could make that case on just about any safety standard which was updated.

Take domestic wiring standards, they've been updated several times in the last 30 years, but there's nothing there which say's a properly completed installation to 1990's standards was unsafe.

Your attitude seems to be standards don't need to be updated - with that logic most cars on the roads would still be using cross ply tyres with leaf springs and drum brakes - they were all perfectly safe back in 1959 and you can still drive an unmodified 1959 car on the roads today, so why update ?

Not without good reason. Just because someone else does it doesn't strike me as a good enough reason.

But if you haven't adopted that standard (which is what you're saying should have happened) then you're not going to be able to, legally, use that for your procurement.

The procurement process will follow the agreed engineering standard, not the other way around. And if the engineering department says it must comply to BS 1234 then that's what must be met, not ISO 9876.

You've clearly never worked with or in procurement.

If you have a minimum clearance standard and your product is designed to a greater clearance than that in the standard, it will meet it.
 

WelshBluebird

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Not sure about taxis but, if we could replace certain lightly-used branches with regular bus services 19 hours a day, 7 days per week AND get people to use said buses rather than switch to private cars then maybe closing the odd branch wouldn't be a bad idea.
And provide a guarantee that those bus routes won't just be axed or severally cut back in a year! That is my personal issue with buses that you don't see often with the railway. If I live near a rail route, I can be pretty confident that rail route is still going to exist in a useful form in 5 years time. If I live near a bus route, it could be axed within a month or two!
 

HSTEd

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Except having international standards actually reduces cost - because the equipment being produced for OHLE for example will only need to comply to a single standard, rather than having to get accreditation for each different standard - that much I'd have thought was obvious.
Ultimately accreditation costs a negligible sum compared to the costs of schemes.

We have a set of electrification work that will cost £30bn or so according to the estimates, and knowing the railway they are likely lowballing it.
As demonstrated by the 750V/25kV convertible electrification system, design, development and accreditation of that was around ~£75m or less.

We could accredit a dozen systems and it would barely register compared to our other costs.
We are chasing tiny marginal gains.

I'm not sure the National Rail network actually needs another contact rail electrification solution. Given the progress of battery / hybrid technology increasingly the areas which are not suited to 25kv OHLE (due to clearances or other factors) will be more than covered by these alternatives.
Forgive me if I am skeptical that this isn't just desperate accountants seizing on anything that might let them escape the need for electrification.
The bionic duckweed of our time, as it were.
 

Nicholas Lewis

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I have faith that the railway engineers will be able to drive down costs. They have done so in the past.
I was a railway engineer that drove down electrification costs in the 80's because we were backed into a corner with limited budgets so we came up with solutions that delivered for what was required at the time to keep the railway going. However, the criticism levelled at us for the likes of ECML and Southern Region 3rd rail schemes for being inadequate resulted in a swing of the pendulum in the opposite way to over engineered solutions that cost big bucks. The railway needs leadership determined to drive out costs and find more cost effective solutions os good to see the likes of PWI (of all institutions) out in the lead to holding a debate as to how to do this.
 

yorksrob

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I was a railway engineer that drove down electrification costs in the 80's because we were backed into a corner with limited budgets so we came up with solutions that delivered for what was required at the time to keep the railway going. However, the criticism levelled at us for the likes of ECML and Southern Region 3rd rail schemes for being inadequate resulted in a swing of the pendulum in the opposite way to over engineered solutions that cost big bucks. The railway needs leadership determined to drive out costs and find more cost effective solutions os good to see the likes of PWI (of all institutions) out in the lead to holding a debate as to how to do this.

I know the ECML has come in for a bit of stick in later years, however the SR extensions seem to do the job required of them.

I'm sure there's a workable middle way to be found.
 

JamesT

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I know the ECML has come in for a bit of stick in later years, however the SR extensions seem to do the job required of them.

I'm sure there's a workable middle way to be found.

Aren't the limitations of the third rail in many SR areas restricting the performance of rolling stock, especially the newer models? It might be adequate in that the trains are running, but if it's preventing service improvement then that seems shortsighted.
 

paul1609

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And all along we've been told that HS2 wouldn't affect investment in the bread and butter railway !



But it should be full of net zero carbon enthusiasts.
Surely if its full of zero carbon enthusiasts they would be focusing their spending on where their money makes the biggest carbon reductions. I'd suggest that's nowhere in the rail industry at present and certainly not in the electrification of what's largely secondary and duplicated lines.
 

Glenn1969

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Surely if its full of zero carbon enthusiasts they would be focusing their spending on where their money makes the biggest carbon reductions. I'd suggest that's nowhere in the rail industry at present and certainly not in the electrification of what's largely secondary and duplicated lines.
Is this still linked to the fact that 85% plus of all journeys are made by road if that figure is still accurate ?
 

yorksrob

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Aren't the limitations of the third rail in many SR areas restricting the performance of rolling stock, especially the newer models? It might be adequate in that the trains are running, but if it's preventing service improvement then that seems shortsighted.

If you look at the Weymouth line for example, it seems unlikely that the route will need more than the half hourly service that the electrification facilitates.
 

Nicholas Lewis

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Aren't the limitations of the third rail in many SR areas restricting the performance of rolling stock, especially the newer models? It might be adequate in that the trains are running, but if it's preventing service improvement then that seems shortsighted.
There are certain routes where power is limited as the traction system was designed to deliver EE507 based stock current demands which had no air con not todays higher powered units with high hotel loads so many have software fixes that keep power curves similar to old 507 based stock. However, NR has invested heavily in boosting power availability on all main line routes out of London so these could support the installed traction power in new uits but that would need a software change to allow them to take more power. This would no doubt invoke safety case work and be unlikely that timetables would be changed anyhow so the status quo remains.
 

HSTEd

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Surely if its full of zero carbon enthusiasts they would be focusing their spending on where their money makes the biggest carbon reductions. I'd suggest that's nowhere in the rail industry at present and certainly not in the electrification of what's largely secondary and duplicated lines.

Ultimately, if we put our resources where it made the most difference to carbon emissions - it would be eHighway.

You would then have a diesel railway trying to compete against electric coach services - good luck with that one in the court of public opinion
 

alistairlees

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No, there's a finite amount of money. Tax revenues are down, costs for things like the NHS are up thanks to the pandemic.

So, once again, how do you propose tgis should be paid for? Who should foot the bill? You putting your hand into your pocket?
Please point me to the finite pile of money, and state what amount it is.
 

Bald Rick

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Oh dear this thread has turned into quite a shouting match, based on a leak to the Telegrpah that will almost certainly have been misreported (as the IRP was before the announcement). It may be worth waiting for official announcements before commenting further.



The complete route between Leeds and York via Church Fenton will be electrified, at some point around 2035.

At least 7-8 years before that.

like what? Church Fenton has been remodelled as part of that scheme and little you can do at the Leeds end.

Lots of track reconfiguration around Neville Hill.



Im not surprised the effort is slowing, the dirty secret is the push to make all vehicles electric requires the electricity to come from somewhere, and we arent building enough power generation to support it all particularly with all the cancelled nuclear projects.

There’s more nuclear on the way. Sizewell is happening and word on the street is that another big one is to follow plus the small reactor programme too. Plus a doubling of wind power in the next decade.

I’m not sure I fully understand what is going on here, but as always in government (and in any major private organisation, IMO), isn’t it just a negotiation? As in, “X asks for 150%, knowing it will be lucky to get 90%; Y rejects that and offers 50%, but in reality being willing to go to 70%; and in the end they compromise on 80%”. That is a negotiation and the art of a compromise - you don’t get everything you want, but you are still (in this case) 80x better off than before (on the one hand) and (on the other hand) 70x saved compared to the original demand.

It would seem you haven’t negotiated with the treasury!



so does this mean the midland main line won’t be getting electrified christ this government is shockingly bad.

It is getting electrified. As is the Transpennine route.

Whilst, personally, I would love to see more electrification committed, those two schemes alone already represent a substantial investment for the next 8 years, which is the current limit of rail Budgeting (except for HS2 and NPR).
 

Starmill

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At least 7-8 years before that.
That may well be more accurate, but the Integrated Rail Plan offers "potential delivery timescales" between 2030 and 2035. I'm unaware of further information in the public domain as yet.
 

Bald Rick

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That may well be more accurate, but the Integrated Rail Plan offers "potential delivery timescales" between 2030 and 2035. I'm unaware of further information in the public domain as yet.

Well, on the assumption that Huddersfield - Ravensthorpe is the most difficult part of TRU, and is therefore being progressed through the early stages now so that it will finish at the same time as the rest....
 

Starmill

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Well, on the assumption that Huddersfield - Ravensthorpe is the most difficult part of TRU, and is therefore being progressed through the early stages now so that it will finish at the same time as the rest....
As I said your assessment may well be the more accurate of the two, but the earliest part of the range in the Phasing chapter and your most pessimistic assessment of 2028 is still a two year divergence.
 

Nicholas Lewis

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There’s more nuclear on the way. Sizewell is happening and word on the street is that another big one is to follow plus the small reactor programme too. Plus a doubling of wind power in the next decade.
There's also alot of Nuclear coming off the system before Hinkley Pt C is commissioned and another ten years plus before Sizewell C is commissioned and its not been formerly committed for construction yet so the B station may have closed before it opens. Anyhow im all for nuclear so if there is another station planned thats eminently sensible. More wind is great but it would be irresponsible not to leave the CCGTs to fall back on windless days.
Whilst, personally, I would love to see more electrification committed, those two schemes alone already represent a substantial investment for the next 8 years, which is the current limit of rail Budgeting (except for HS2 and NPR).
No hope of achieving the TDNS plan then so Times article isn't too wide of the mark.
 

WatcherZero

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Yes my understanding was there wasnt enough programmed generation capacity to supply a fully electrified rail network even before the ban on fossil fuel cars was announced.
 

Greybeard33

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As I said your assessment may well be the more accurate of the two, but the earliest part of the range in the Phasing chapter and your most pessimistic assessment of 2028 is still a two year divergence.
The Fig.9 bar chart on p135 of the IRP, which shows a range of 2030-33 for delivery of Leeds - York electrification, does not seem to be entirely consistent with the follow up text on p.136, which states:
By around 2030 (at the end of Control Periods 7 and 8), passengers could see:
• The introduction of NPR services on the Transpennine Route from Leeds and York to Manchester, with improvements to journey time, capacity and full electrification of the existing line via Huddersfield will be delivered by 2030-32. Further elements of scope designed to facilitate future NPR phases will be completed subsequently.
The bar chart does not have a bar for electrification of Stalybridge - Huddersfield and so implies, contrary to the text, that it is out of scope for "NPR Phase 1" (aka TRU).

It appears to me that the IRP carries the fingerprints of last minute editing of the scope, both here (no time to alter the bar chart) and in other sections.
 

BrianW

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The railway's not exactly done a great job of proving it can deliver large projects within the promised budget, has it...
Replying to this one to get back to the gist of this.
Controversially but though I don' like or agree with a lot of its decisions, I'm pleased we have a Treasury. Someone needs to assess ht value for this or that proposal, and as stated here, the rail industry has not delivered reliably- it has shot itself in the foot. GW electrification; Crossrail; Jubilee line extension going back ... etc.
Forumites keen for expenditure- unfortunately the Great British electorate voted in the present government. Beeching reversals are what they want- a return to the good old days pre-Beeching;)
If you want more expenditure, you can pay for it.
The government has also undertaken through the COP process to cut emissions. Best chance for rail is to convince government how rail is critical to achieving that. Boris 'arranged' the Union Connectivity review 'process' to get him off the hook of an Irish Sea Garden Bridge. Maybe something similar can be made to happen regarding reducing internal flights to make way for more international flights for Global Britain while removing the need for him to lay down before the Heathrow bulldozers driven by his Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituents.
Surely a rolling programme of pre-electionlow-key electrification with British technology Birtish made (blue wall NorthEast/ Midlands) battery or hydrogen local/regional links can be promoted pre-election.

Two points, which argue each way on this:
a. Other European railways have found ways to borrow funds on their own account, without them scoring against central government's budget deficits. The UK has taken a much more formal line on this, a stance which goes back to MacMillan and mid-50s (I remember him, but not them!) when capital funds in the markets were very scarce (hint: post-war recovery!)
b. Please understand that, within government, it does seem that the cost overruns on Crossrail, GWEP and HS2 have set back the cause of rail investment very considerably. These have been hugely damaging, however good the rationalisation that TfL/NR/HS2 can provide about them. The Decarbonisation Strategy is just one of a number of things affected by this.
I guess I might give credibility to someone who had at least tried to run a railway ;)
 
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Ken H

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Depending on the existing signalling system design, it may not be practical or cost effective to modify it to make it compatible with electrification.

For example, on the GWML a lot of the existing signalling was never designed to be compatible with electrification, because when it was installed in the 1970s, BR had no money for electrification of this route and there was no likelihood of funding for electrification to be forthcoming in the near or medium term.

When the government did announce the GWML electrification programme, Network Rail engineering staff had to consider how to sort out the problem of the existing signalling being totally incompatible with electrification. One reason that they decided to renew most of the signalling was because the existing signalling was considered either to be life expired, or near the end of its design life. Also the enormous cost of trying to extensively modify the existing signalling was a consideration. It was considered to be better to renew most of the signalling instead.

Even with the knowledge of the electrification scheme, the positions of some new and existing signal structures were found to be outside the acceptable limits once the OHL wires had been erected. Hence more money was needed to replace these signal structures and the signal heads and other equipment on them.

Only if the existing signalling was designed originally to be compatible with electrification is it ‘easy’ to ‘tweak’ it.
Yes. I understand that. But as you say, much was life expired so would have to be replaced anyway. So it's not an electrification cost.
 

Ken H

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And provide a guarantee that those bus routes won't just be axed or severally cut back in a year! That is my personal issue with buses that you don't see often with the railway. If I live near a rail route, I can be pretty confident that rail route is still going to exist in a useful form in 5 years time. If I live near a bus route, it could be axed within a month or two!
If we close lines, or even decide (say) Sunday services will be buses from now on, the bus must be part of the railway, subject to closure procedures and with through ticketing. But if we take settle jct- carnforth as an example, the bus could be Settle stn, Clapham village, bentham, Wennington then straight to Lancaster stn. Perhaps with a stop by the bus station. Other places would be served by the existing bus service. Not that I am sure closing that route is a good idea, just how it could work.
 

Bald Rick

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Yes my understanding was there wasnt enough programmed generation capacity to supply a fully electrified rail network even before the ban on fossil fuel cars was announced.

A fully electrified rail network needs only about 50% more electricity than the current electrified network. I’ve seen the maths somewhere - it’s the equivalent of about a third of the annual output of a new offshore wind farm, of which there’s 3 under construction and another 10 or so in planning. So it’s not an issue.
 

dk1

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A fully electrified rail network needs only about 50% more electricity than the current electrified network. I’ve seen the maths somewhere - it’s the equivalent of about a third of the annual output of a new offshore wind farm, of which there’s 3 under construction and another 10 or so in planning. So it’s not an issue.
Time to get piling those stanchions into the ground again :)
 
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