Down the line in July

Fishguard Trains’ irregular round-up of news and blogs, on and off the rails

lorry unloading concrete castings at Goodwick Station yard

work starts at Goodwick?

WIRE TO THE WEST #1

Heavy transport arriving on Goodwick Station yard. Cranes stacking concrete castings ready for use. Network Rail contractors parked up ready for action. What’s up at Goodwick today (July 26th)?

Well, be excited, but not too excited. Network Rail is laying 17 miles of signalling cable duct from Fishguard all the way back to Clarbeston Road signal box. It’s routine maintenance rather than infrastructure for a restored Goodwick Station. Still, at least the signals on the Fishguard branch should be green in time for September 12th.

WIRE TO THE WEST #2

A hint we should have spotted at the time: Here’s David Cameron speaking to Welsh Conservatives at Swansea’s Brangwyn Hall in April (before the Assembly Elections): ‘…we need to let people know that reductions in public spending in Wales are lower than the average in the rest of the UK and a lot lower than England. We’ve got to let them know that we’ve directed an extra £65 million of funding to the Welsh Assembly Government. We’ve got to let them know that we’re funding the electrification of the Great Western Main Line – and that we’re looking at extending that to Swansea… In 13 years, Labour did not electrify one single piece of track. We’ve got the money and we’re going ahead with it, and it’s going to help people in South Wales.… ‘

So full marks to Andy Coulson’s successor for briefing the PM on what his audience wanted to hear. The question is, does that amount to a promise, a hint or an election tease?

Commenting on Cameron in May, Roger Ford of Modern Railway magazine wrote: ‘… the 70 bi-modes in the 1 March announcement is the very minimum viable quantity.  Wire to Swansea and you need fewer bi-modes. My analysis suggests that the cost saving from replacing IEP bi-mode with a standard EMU platform would cover the return from funding Cardiff-Swansea electrification through the Network Rail Regulatory Asset Base ten times over.’

Fishguard Trains thinks that means that the cost of electrification to Swansea is ten times less than the saving from not having to buy hybrid electric/diesel locos. No doubt Swansea Jack and Rhydgaled will correct Spad if he’s wrong.

SIMPLES!

Modern Railway magazine (August) is following Fishguard Trains’ lead in pointing out the relevance of Workington North for Fishguard & Goodwick. Under the headline “Can we rise to the Workington challenge”, it writes: ‘There will never be a simpler opportunity to add a station to the National Rail network than at Fishguard & Goodwick, where the site is already in public ownership and boasts level access and room for car parking. A new platform surface would be needed to match the vertical and horizontal alignment of the line today. Three-car length will suffice. If the platform works are undertaken before the additional services commence in September, contractors will have green-zone possessions for an enviable 23 hours or so in every 24.

‘Workington North was treated by all concerned as a freak … But should it be? Are there not other locations, besides Fishguard, on secondary routes where temporary stations with a pre-defined lifespan could be installed to dip a toe in the water before decisions are taken on spending millions of pounds on a permanent facility?’

Yesterday –  Workington North; today – Goodwick; tomorrow – a new approach to rail reopenings? Remember, you read it here on Fishguard Trains first.

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