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The men who stare at waves

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Patrick McLoughlin in 'The men who stare at waves'

Network Rail Media Centre “has appealed for help from the public to stay away” from the site of the severance of the Great Western at Dawlish, “as the combination of heavy machinery, concrete spraying, and the waves means it is not safe to be around”. However, it was apparently safe enough for lumbering transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin to be pointlessly shown around the site on 7 February. A makeshift line of containers has been placed along the seafront in a bid to prevent the breach from worsening.

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Written by beleben

February 9, 2014 at 7:07 pm

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  1. Three other items of news from Network Rail have received little publicity in the current maelstrom of events.
    1. 08 February 2014 Chancellor at Manchester Airport station where “Construction has started on a fourth platform at Manchester Airport station, the first phase of the £600m Northern Hub project which spans the north of England”.
    “The Northern Hub is a programme of targeted upgrades to the railway in the North of England. Scheduled to complete in 2019, it will allow up to 700 more trains to run each day and provide space for 44 million more passengers a year”.
    Meanwhile HS2 spend will be £42bn (70x) for 110 million more (2.5x) passengers a year. The Northern Hub shows far better CBR but is still of limited ambition, lacking such as electrification from Manchester to Bradford and Manchester Airport(?) among others.
    2. Monday 10 Feb 2014 “Network Rail today announced that it was accepting the Office of Rail Regulation’s conclusion for funding to maintain and improve Britain’s railway over the next five years”.
    In negative territory from the start and struggling to stay above water, NR has little hope of meeting funding targets set by ORR though it claims it will try to do so by efficiency savings. NR will, as a result of ORR “Determination”, have debts of £50bn by 2019. Can the country afford another £50bn on top over the following 10 years?
    3. Wednesday 5 Feb 2014 “Network Rail has laid out its proposals, as tasked by the Government in summer 2012, for a new rail link from the Great Western main line to London Heathrow airport”.
    This demonstrates the piecemeal nature of government planning, there being no consideration of how it might impact on HS2 (Midlands to Heathrow) or in linking with Crossrail, the latter appearing only to link Heathrow to central London and not the west. As beleben has pointed out, Heathrow Express gets in the way of improving paths currently but this is still planned at 4tph alongside Crossrail. With a western main line link to Heathrow by 2021, will this service still be necessary?

    McMichael

    February 10, 2014 at 1:06 pm


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