The Return Of The Branch Line – Can You Say E&N, RftV?
Most railway enthusiasts in the UK treat Beeching as a leper. In fact, Beeching predicted the end of local railways altogether, leaving the UK with just three or four trunk lines, connecting major cities by the 21st century.
This is not to argue that rationalization should not have taken place, but to tear up the UK’s newest Railway the Great Central, built to continental standards, is on par with Gordon Campbell’s selling of BC Rail.
BC has several rail lines that could support a service using cheaper rail-cars, such as the E&N; the former BCE interurban from Vancouver to Chilliwack and a few lines in the interior.
The problem is simply “blacktop” politics practiced by dishonest politico’s and enabled by equally dishonest planners and engineers – all to win votes from gullible voters.
What would Dr Beeching say? New generation of ‘no-frills trains’ will open up little-used lines that have been closed since his controversial 1960s review’
- Train lines closed in 1960s under Dr Beeching report could be reopened
- Plans drawn up for new lightweight vehicles in £4million railway project
- Said to cost around £500,000 each, half the price of standard diesel engines
Published: 12 February 2017
Train lines closed under the controversial ‘Dr Beeching’ cuts are set to be re-opened and serviced by ‘no-frills’ trains.
It is understood a £4milion trial will be launched within the next two years using cheap, low-speed trains built from ‘lightweight’ materials.
And the new vehicles could be trialled on the Northern Rail network between Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle.
Transport Design International have come up with plans for new lightweight trains that could cut costs and lead to railways closed by Dr Beeching in the 1960s being reopened
The new technology could see some of 5,000 miles of disused track opened again after it was originally closed in Dr Richard Beeching’s review in the 1960s, when he was chairman of British Railways.
According to The Times, rail bosses say the trains will be manufactured at ‘half the cost’ of an existing carriage and be smaller than a standard bus.
The project is set to be funded by both the Department for Transport and the Rail Safety and Standards Board, with the new trains also said to cause less damage to tracks.
It is believed the trains will be constructed out of a mixture of aluminium, steel and carbon fibre and be around 60ft long, although they could be reduced to just 30ft long.
They will weigh around 28tonnes compared to the 50tonne weight of a normal carriage when full.
The Times claims the trains will be powered by 3.8-litre diesel-hybrid engines and reach speeds of between 50mph-70mph. They will cost around £500,000 each, which is half the price of a regular diesel train.
One of the firms behind the plan is Transport Design International, which is believed to be working alongside the University of Warwick and Unipart Rail.+2
Dr Richard Beeching, right, recommended shutting thousands of miles of rural train lines in the 1960s, leading to much criticism
A statement on TDI’s website said: ‘The underlying concept is to be able to offer a bespoke design and supply service to customers in potentially ‘one-off’ or niche applications where conventional light rail is inappropriate.
‘It involves providing lighter weight, smaller capacity and consequently lower cost vehicles and infrastructure than would otherwise be affordable and allows rails be laid over existing services if necessary, without the need to relocate them.’
The statement added: ‘Sometimes called ‘ultra light or ‘very light’ rail, these unique trains can be built to narrow or ‘standard gauge’ as required, either as single, bi-directional vehicle (with an option to have a cab at both ends) or as multiple unit consists.
‘Internal layouts and aesthetics can be varied to suit individual needs and the ratio of seated and standing accommodation adjusted.’
A prototype version is expected to be ready within the next 18 months.
But the lightweight design will mean the trains can only operate on lines not used by heavy trains.
According to The Times, the news has been welcomed by passenger groups.
Stephen Joseph, of Campaign for Better Transport, said: ‘One of the things that bedevils plans to reopen old lines is cost so this has potential to really make a positive difference.’
Nick Mallinson, of Warwick Manufacturing Group, told the paper: ‘Lots of lines that Beeching closed could benefit from this. A lot of councils are saying they want to reopen them.’
MailOnline has contacted the Department for Transport for comment.DR BEECHING: HERO OR VILLAIN OF BRITAIN’S RAILWAYS?
Dr Beeching, pictured, has been branded a villain by many but others have claimed his recommended cuts were necessary
Dr Beeching is synonymous with the mass destruction of Britain’s rail network.
His famous report, Reshaping The British Railways, which led to a massive programme of track and station closures.
Dr Beeching’s report identified 2,363 stations — one-third of those in the network — and around 6,000 miles of track to be closed.
His proposal sparked outrage from commuters, local councils and the trade unions, who were appalled at the talk of 70,000 job losses.
But others have called Dr Beeching was a courageous man who forced the railways to face up to commercial realities.
By 1961, when Beeching launched his commission, the network was losing £140 million a year.
Battles between management and the unions were rife, and led to a rail strike in 1955 which lasted 17 days and so badly paralysed the country that the Government had to call a state of emergency.
For all the blame heaped on him, he did not take the actual decisions on line closures.
That was done by transport ministers in the Tory and Labour Governments of the Sixties.