Reversing Dr Beeching cuts

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by re-stilly, Nov 29, 2017.

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  1. Whilst he was a bit fly and a bandit I bet he had an enjoyable life.
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  2. Using the larger transport barges to move material and cables on waterways seems the better alternative for infrastructure, and doesn't affect the roads. Barge access for deliveries and repairs is still efficient. The navigation canals were one of the better ideas and hundreds of years later they're still useful. The challenge is keeping them topped up, but we've got rivers, reservoirs and streams as well as water company discharges and groundwater. Other than that they're legacies of industrial engineering and architecture, leading to urban regeneration.

    Many surviving old water and rail transport routes are in the hands of charities and trusts, cycling and leisure, and big community projects.

    As for the railways, last time I used them they were an expensive nightmare --personal opinion, could have been a bad day-- so improvements are long overdue. Maybe we'll see improvements and investments on routes into major centres of employment, not so much the semi-rural cross country services. Busier routes = more income; they'll probably say that rural lines and community rail partnerships pay for themselves. Just my tuppence.
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  3. Increase in rail demand has, to a significant extent been driven by the culture that says you can live 100 miles from where you work and commute there for a reasonable cost. Hence, when I lived down South, I was aware of one of my colleagues who lived in Bristol and commuted to London daily. In those days it was 3 hours, and there was a relatively small number of people who did this, now it's just over 2 hours and there are several train loads.

    Round here, we have people living in North Wales and commuting to Manchester by rail, including at least two I know living in Abegele. It's a 2 hour trip each way ffs, that's 20 hours a week travelling (minimum).

    Until we lose this culture, the rails and roads will remain clogged.
  4. Sometimes, people have no choice.
    I was made redundant in 2007 and the only job that I was offered was in NW London. The company rented two floors in a tower block and car parking was non-existent for newbies. You had to be with the company for 3 months before your name was put on the rota.
    The train was the only way I could get to work and involved a 90 minute journey door-to-door journey. Not a lot of fun but better than the dole.
  5. @Jack_Prior

    The canals have gone for good in terms of goods transport.

    They are only fit for recreation (walking, cycling, fishing, nature observation) and residential use.

    The last commercial traffic on the Grand Union ended in the seventies (IIRC) when Roses stopped carrying raw lime juice from London to Bedfordshire/Bucks.

    A few years ago I did read about some gypsum company in the West Country (Gloucestershire/Herefordshire?) that used a canal to carry gypsum to the Severn and then down to Bristol. I don’t know if they are still doing it.

    As I slide disgracefully into my befuddled twilight years i quite fancy selling up, buying a broadbeam barge (top specced one is £150K) and becoming a water pikey. They can’t do the narrow gauge canals, but they are mostly in Wales and who wants to go there anyway.
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  6. Ahem. Is the Manchester Ship Canal still used?
  7. It is (very sparingly) and is more or less the exception that proves the rule.

    It is a shadow of its former self, although I understand the current owners have plans to expand its use.

    It’s major problem is that it is too small for large boats so containers require transfer “downstream”.

    If you look at Google satellite images there are no boats on it between Salford Quays and Runcorn.

    I would have expected Salford Quays to be a hip water pikey paradise (like Brum and parts of the GUC in London) but it is clear water.
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  8. Agreed, the narrow waterways have mostly gone over to -- and were funded for-- leisure, restoration and conservation. They're certainly not used primarily for their old purpose, freight. But, there's been talk of using the commercial waterways for freight and trading, for a long time. Just talk and it's still niche in some ways but the potential for broad waterway freight is always there. Otherwise as you say the canals are more often routes for cables, pipes, fibre & Phone masts. Ten years ago the canals were considered as replacements for road freight, being cheaper and reliable and environment friendly. Even substituting barges for rubbish collection.

    The canals could be used for energy, road congestion solutions, and probably a lot more if there's thousands of navigable waterway miles in this country.

    I can think of a couple of waterway projects like Powerday and Peel, but I don't have that knowledge.
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  9. That’s the badger.

    Peel Ports.

    Owners of the MSC.
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  10. Well, it wouldn't be a delayed train and a past it's sell by date sandwich to where the rain never stops.
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  11. Only until the first drivers/signalman/lineman's strike.

    Could revive 'Thomas the Tank Engine', though. Job opportunity for Ring.
  12. Canals are ideal and still used for transport of bulk materials. Fair comment that that's only applicable to a small part of our inland waterways.

    It makes you proud to be British that, after 50 years, we're considering reversing one short sighted bit of transport policy just as it's on the verge of being made irrelevant by technology.
    Driverless cars can solve the city parking problems by not parking; will need no more, and probably fewer, paid staff than driverless trains; could come near to the same passenger density by forming "road trains". The only thing missing is blocked bog and overpriced catering.

    We'd be better off looking at what stations can be closed to speed up trains between main stations where the infrastructure can be improved to make hubs where you can get out of your driverless taxi and on to a faster and more efficient train where the length of your journey makes it worthwhile.
  13. Canals provided the route for a lot of the materials for the Olympic park by using the Lee river, I can't see why London could not be serviced by a water hub and electric delivery if we only had some wharves and wharehousing....
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