The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect those of the Editor, the Chairman or indeed any individual club member. On the other hand - they might. May also contain nuts.
Yet another “Huge Success” in the offing.
As we all know the Paddington to Bristol line is being electrified for more intensive and faster running (not before time). It was to cost £874 million when announced.
Network Rail has been called before the Public Accounts Committee, during which Mark Carne (NRs chief executive) advised that the bill was now estimated to be £2.8 billion, while the Dept. for Transport permanent secretary admitted there is no firm schedule for the completion of the work! This amounts to a 3-fold increase in cost in 2 years, with no indication of when the expenditure may cease.
This, however, is not the end of the matter. With costs escalating at the speed indicated, will government continue funding? It is difficult to see how they can abandon the project given the chaos which would ensue, but delaying funding could be an option, which in itself would be undesirable but would cause considerable problems elsewhere on the system. It should be remembered that our present railways rely heavily on the “cascading” of trains throughout the system.
1. Hitachi are due to deliver their new super express sets to the original electrification schedule and delay will mean that this brand new rolling stock will sit idly and rotting in sidings at the mercy of the elements for “as long as it takes”.
2. The HSTs presently operating are due to be “cascaded” to other lines, particularly to Scotland to accelerate their inter-city timings both ScotRail and the Scottish government are relying on this transfer to keep promises, a matter which could make relations between London and Edinburgh even more strained.
3. If construction costs keep rising at their present rate they will consume more and more of the available funds, which must mean that other lesser projects will be delayed if not cancelled, and this, against a background of a government seeking to slash some 25% across all departments.
You don’t have to be clairvoyant to see where this is going. The GW electrification has trebled its estimated cost in two years now that work has begun, High Speed 2
has gone from £17billion to over £85+billion, and reports suggest costing/expenditure are out of control. What will happen when they lay some track?
At a Loss
All who surf this site more than once will know that I am a dyed in the wool GWR/ Swindon/ hydraulic fan. Having said that, I find the growing habit of scratch building 12”: 1’ locos, rather odd. I can vaguely understand, enthusiasts wishing to recreate a Grange by effectively doing what the GWR did in the first place and I must say that this class is a gaping hole in the GWR pantheon, it being rated as “the best of the best” by the crews who drove them.
Having stated my love of all things hydraulic, I note that there are plans to rebuild or “kit-bash” an NBL “Type2” D63xx into existence ….WHY?
This class was a disaster and must rank with the Co-Bo type 2s and Clayton type1s and the “baby deltics” as being some the biggest “wastes of space” of the original “dieselisation” plan. Why on earth would anyone wish to recreate a loco with an array of known problems and an engine which will probably cause regular disappointment to travellers when in use.
One could make a case if it was a “rescued original”, but it is not. It has no value as a preserved loco and is nothing but potential grief for any operator if it follows its antecedents. Very, very odd!
Continued Hi There, glad you found me, I hope the trip was pleasant.
The sun is out, again (what a shock) so I am improving my vitamin D levels beside the railway. Now you have to admit that that is not an excuse you can hear too often, train-spotting on “medical” grounds.
The engine I saw was a Bluebird, which passed before I could reach a vantage point. For those who are uncertain, a Blue bird is a class 667xx in the GBRF deep blue and yellow / orange livery which certainly becomes them.
The day produced a number of others out soaking up the “summer” sun, quite a number of container trains which were interspersed with steel empties, cement, infrastructure and light engine movements, everything running to a background of Class 170 and Voyagers of both types (no HSTs today).
Here is a run down of the locos seen: 66005, 66122, 66747, 66590, 66735, 66070, 66181, while 70801 and 70808 double headed on a container train. This does seem
to be developing trend, could it be that while I think they may be improving in reliability someone at Colas Rail still feels that they should not be allowed out on their own?
Probably the most interesting and most photogenic of the services seen was the run-past of 66735. Not only was it in prime condition in Bluebird livery but it was hauling 55019 in blue, D9005 in traditional green livery and a Crompton in “all over” blue (poss. 33035, uncertain due to “visual interference”) all of which were in pristine condition and presumably due to go on show at an event. They were heading West and then potentially South but I do not know where their final port of call will be but given the time of year I wonder if the SVR is planning an extravaganza?
I might just have more sun worshiping on medical grounds.