A Conversation for British Trains

The best train journey

Post 21

Captain Kebab

Hi Compo - it certainly puts things in different light if the North Yorkshire Moors Railway are involved - I think the only way this sort of line would be reopened is if an enthusiastic preservation society takes it on. The bottom line is that there's no profit in commuter railways - they're massively subsidised (anyone who tells you the government is not investing in railways hasn't seen the size of the subsidies).

You won't get any interest from Arriva Trains Northern - the franchise is nearly up - and I am sure that whoever wins the Northern Trains franchise will have no interest in the line, nor will Network Rail. The only significant new build that I'm aware of that's being taken at all seriously is the Central Railways proposal to reopen Woodhead. And they're talking about long-distance passenger expresses and freight - that's where the money is. Certainly town councils and National Parks are keen to see this sort of thing go ahead, but the stumbling block is the funding.

That said, it's always possible that the line might be reopened as a preserved railway. I live in Bury, a couple of miles from the East Lancashire Railway. They run an hourly service during the day at weekends and Bank Holidays, and as well as being a tourist attraction it is a practical proposition for shopping. They have in the past run an emergency commuter service when the roads were blocked by heavy snow, but they're mostly staffed by volunteers, so a regular service is not on the agenda. I don't know anything about their funding (I'm not a preserved rail enthusiast, I just work in the industry), but they seem to be doing well, and have recently re-opened a new stretch of line to restore their link to the Network Rail, erm, network, which they lost when the Manchester-Bury railway was converted into a tramway (Metrolink).

The only mainland preserved railway that I know of that actually runs a regular weekday service is the Ffestiniog Railway, (there may be others, as I say I'm no expert) and they run a proper service all year round which connects into First North Western's Conway Valley Line and I think into Wales and Borders' Cambrian Coast Line, which is very cool.

So my view is that you may just get your line back as a preserved line. I hope you do - the railways are an important part of our industrial and social heritage as well as being great fun to ride on - I'm no gricer but I'm always stirred by the sight of a steam engine at full tilt. And if they remain just as tourist attractions rather than part of the commuter network - well okay - I'll still ride on them!

CK


The best train journey

Post 22

compo

Hi captain Kebab.

Thanks for your response.Nice to get an opinion from someone within the rail business who has a better insight to these things than someone like myself who only has an interest in railways.I was aware of the subsidies paid for commuter routes to a certain degree,especially those paid to companies like Connex,with what I've read in the railway press.(Rail/ Railway Magazine et al.)I thinkwhere the ordinary layman thinks the Government aren't investing in the railways is the reporting of the cost of the West Coast Main Line upgrade.

As you commented,it's highly unlikely arriva Trains would be prepared to stump up any cash towards the proposed project with their franchise coming up for renewal.The same could be said about two "new" commuter stations at Haxby and Strensall on the York-Scarborough line.York City Council seem keen on the idea with the park and ride system they have in the city but who pays for them to be built?

Would be nice to see the Woodhead route reopened.Just a pity it was closed in the first place along with the "London Extension" of the Great Central route.Would have proved invaluable today as it was built to the continental loading guage.I know Central Railway has tried to make a start on rebuilding the line but,apart from finding the finance,there are the usual protesters who would rather have a procession of lorries clogging up our already over crowded roads so they can moan about that as well!!

Anyway,time for me to get off my soapbox for now.Maybe we could "chew the fat"and put the world to rights again sometime,CK.

Compo.


The best train journey

Post 23

compo

Captain Kebab.
In the April issue of Rail Express magazine - as with quite a few other railway magazines - there's an article about it being the 40th anniversary of the Beeching Report on the railways.Makes interesting reading in places,especially wher some lines that were potentially economically viable were deliberately run down by the powers that be.One thing that was mentioned in the article,though,was that North Yorkshire County Council have "protected" the track bed from Pickering to Rillington Junction in the hope that the line may be reopened one day.In the same article,it also says that the trackbed between Harrogate and Ripon has also been protected by N.Y C.C for the same reason.Pity the line from Harrogate to Northallerton was closed as could possibly have served as a diversionary route for when parts of the E.C.M.L.are closed.


The best train journey

Post 24

Captain Kebab

Well if the track bed has been protected that's great news - it's a blooming site easier to reopen a railway if you don't have to knock down 3 primary schools and a Tescos to do it! smiley - cool

I spotted the 40th anniversary thing in Rail News today - I don't normally buy railway magazines, but I subscribe to Rail News (it's the best one for jobs - not that I'm looking, I'm happy where I am). Not sure why I subscribe as it's distributed free at the office, but there you go. It was quite an interesting article - made the point that a large part of the Beeching Report concerned freight - that's often forgotten. It's also forgotten that a fair bit of railway was decommissioned in the 70s - Beeching is the buzz-word, though.


The best train journey

Post 25

compo

Hi CK,
Also states that the M and GN Joint line in East Anglia was closed wholesale pre Beeching.The Ashby and Nuneaton Joint Railway was another early closure to passengers (1931) but remained open until 1970 for freight.The "Battlefield Line" have since preserved part of this line between Shackerstone and Shenton.

Changing topics,are you the same Captain Kebab who has an entry in the Which Beer Is Best section of the Guide? If so,I like your choice of real ales.

Compo.


The best train journey

Post 26

Captain Kebab

Hiya compo - that's me, there's only one of me here!

If you are into trains and beer you could combine your interests - I can definitely recommend Stalybridge Station Buffet, on the eastbound platform, which always has good ales on and has a really nice atmosphere. It's got loads of railway pictures and memorabilia too, if that sort of thing tickles your tackle!

I am told that the Head of Steam on Huddersfield Station (westbound platform) is similarly excellent, and the Maltings, just over the road from York Station, is another one I can personally recommend. Turn left out of the station, cross the road - you can't miss it. You can organise yourself a pub crawl on the Transpennine Express.

Tomorrow night you will probably find me in the Trackside - a brand new buffet/pub at Bury Bolton St station. Take the train to Manchester, ride the Metrolink to Bury, have a trip on a steamer, and retire to the buffet for a great range of ales - they had 9 on last time I was in, and the landlord really looks after his beers. If you like trains and beer it should be right up your street.

- I'm really not a gricer, but the Bury one is 5 minutes away in a cab, and I don't have to pay to go by train to Stalybridge. smiley - biggrinsmiley - drunk


The best train journey

Post 27

compo

CK.
There's a Head Of Steam at the station here in sunny Scarboroughso am familiar with the outlet but thanks for mentioning it anyway.Normally use The Cricketers in town as it is the CAMRA town pub of the year at the moment.Am already familiar with the Maltings in Tanners Moat in York as I invariably call in for a couple or few on my way back to York station.(Too bl**dy expensive drinking in the buffets there!!!)Normally try to find a good watering hole wherever I travel,prefferably with real ale,minus juke box.If ever I head in the Bury direction for a trip on the "East Lancs,"maybe we could meet up and chew the fat about our mutual interests.
Compo.
P.S.I'm NOT a gricer either,just a general interest in railways,past and present.


The best train journey

Post 28

Captain Kebab

Sounds good to me. smiley - smiley Glad to hear you're not a gricer - I'm surrounded by them at work. One bloke is a really serious crank - has photos of every loco in the country, travels all around Europe cranking and taking pictures - he's really got the bug big style! He's a nice chap, but he doesn't half go on! smiley - winkeye


The best train journey

Post 29

Captain Kebab

Hey compo - I've been meaning to mention this but I keep forgetting. I notice you haven't got anything in your personal space, which means nobody can leave you a message (except by following one of your conversations, of course).

If you go to your personal space and click on 'edit page', and write something (just 'hello' will do if you don't want to say anything) then pretty soon you'll get a visit from an ACE - you seem to have been here a while and maybe don't need any help in navigating the site, but at least people will be able to pop by and say hi! smiley - smiley


The best train journey

Post 30

Monaco Atari

I think it would be great to see some of the old lines reopening, though I do realise the amount of work involved.

I'd just like to mention the work of Wensleydale Railway PLC, who are getting closer to reopening the Wensleydale line for passenger services. Ok so the majority of the infrastructure, tracks, etc, was already there to begin with due to British Steel using it for transporting limestone from Redmire and the Army using it for transporting tanks and the like in the mid nineties. I believe they have been looking actually rebuilding the old track as well from Redmire up to the Settle - Carlisle line at Garsdale.

More info can be found at http://www.wensleydalerailway.com/


The best train journey

Post 31

compo

Monaco Atari,
Have you seen the article in the current issue of Rail about the Wensleydale Railway? Nice feature with route map (in diagram form) and fair selection of photos showing station buildings/line in use etc.Be a useful cross country link if it was (could be)revived,especially seeing as some of the infrastructure is still in situ.


The best train journey

Post 32

Adrian 222589

I travelled from Manchester to Blackpool in late september last year in the morning and it was crowded but I enjoyed my trip. The only thing I noticed was there was a man next to me occupying himself and his luggage, while others stood patiently for there stop.
I am an Australian on a visit and applauded the way the conductors are allowed to sell tickets on the train. Where I come from its an instant $100 fine if you don't obtain a ticket prior to boarding a train.


The best train journey

Post 33

The Admiral

There are certainly visible structures on a disused railway that I beleive goes to Pickering through Ampleforth and Helmsley. I do not thin that Ampleforth college would welcome the reopening of the line as it cuts straight through their playing fields.
I believe this line joins the East Coast line just north of York.


The best train journey

Post 34

compo

The former junction on the East Coast Main Line you refer to was at Pilmoor and was served by lines coming from Harrogate via Knaresborough and the lines from Pickering and Malton.You were correct in saying the line went past Ampleforth,Admiral,and the line via Helmsley did go to Pickering.However,Gilling served as a junction of sorts with another line going to Malton and then onto Driffield.There was no direct access to Malton station from this line,any trains requiring to call at Malton would have to use a connecting spur.All of these lines were closed by the mid 1960's.

There are some shots of the line,including the last pickup freight (steam hauled),on the Marsden Rail Video (No13) "Brakevan to Whitby."


The best train journey

Post 35

compo

Captain Kebab,

Further to our conversations last year about line reopenings/rebuilds,there's a small article in the July issue of Railway Magazine about the potential rebuilding/reopening of the line between Harrogate and Ripon.Evidently,a feasebility study was undertaken and the results showed that there was a potential market for up to 1200 passenger journeys per day between Ripon and Harrogate/Leeds.A cost of £40 million is cited as the cost of rebuilding the line,but would need a subsidy to run services thereafter.I think it also mentions that,should the plan come to fruition,it would be 2012 before the line opened.While it would be nice to see the line reopened,I personally don't think either the Government or the SRA will give the go ahead at the moment.

Compo.


The best train journey

Post 36

compo

Just read in the latest issue of Rail that the reopening of the Harrogate - Ripon line isn't being included in Harrogate's long term transport plans.Could be another twelve years at leats before ir comes up for consideration again.


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