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Wensleydale Railway - Northallerton West

Discussion in 'Heritage railways & Centres in the Uk' started by s1m0nad, Nov 10, 2014.

  1. s1m0nad

    s1m0nad New Member

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    I haven't seen anything on here about this, but the Wensleydale website and Facebook page are reporting that the the new temporary platform has been completed and the first trains run on November 22nd (http://www.wensleydalerail.com/service_updates/updated-july-27th-2014).

    This brings into use 5.25 miles of line that has seen few trains to date - an extension longer than many heritage railways - and gives a total 21.3 miles from Northallerton West to Redmire.

    I fully understand the reasons why the Wensleydale want to open the station (it is just 0.7 miles from Northallerton High Street and 0.9 from the railway station), but I am intrigued on what frequency of service is proposed. The timetables in the link above show that the end to end journey is over one hour twenty minutes - I can see that this will cause some timetabling difficulties - will be just one train? - or if a second train is out, the passing loop at Constable Burton isn't at the centre of the extended line - does anyone from Wensleydale have any information on what's planned?

    I did also notice that the planning permission is only temporary (http://documents.hambleton.gov.uk/AnitePublicDocs/01684639.pdf) and expires on 31 October 2015 - I'm not too familiar with the planning rules - will the Railway be able to get an extension to this, or does it all have to be removed again by that date?
     
  2. nanstallon

    nanstallon Part of the furniture

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    The link didn't work, so I can't see what the condition reads. Further temporary permissions can be given, but giving a succession of these is not good planning practice. I imagine that the temporary permission is so that if any adverse effects on the environment or neighbours etc become clear, then the railway extension can be stopped. That said,I'm really glad that the Wensleydale Railway has got to Northallerton at last. My visits are rare, but I try to visit as often as I can. Late September this year the J72 steam engine was in use for the mid-day working at least when I was there.

    I'll be watching this space!

    John
     
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  3. Pesmo

    Pesmo Active Member

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    When I last visited I was really impressed by the length of the line. I seem to remember being told when I was there that their long term plans for Northallerton couldn't be finalised until the route for HS2 was certain hence the temporary facilities, although there were also other reasons that I have forgotten.
     
  4. nanstallon

    nanstallon Part of the furniture

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    I think that a regular Northallerton to Redmire service would make this the longest preserved line in the country - by a whisker, and on the basis that the West Somerset only runs to Norton Fitzwarren on special occasions. Although there is a bus service from Northallerton to Leeming Bar (and beyond) that I've found perfectly adequate, having a rail connection into Northallerton should make the Wensleydale line more obviously accessible by public transport.

    John
     
  5. Christopher125

    Christopher125 Part of the furniture

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    That's surprising, I can't see why HS2 would delay it nor justify temporary facilities when the second phase isn't proposed to extend beyond Church Fenton over 40 miles away.

    Chris
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2014
  6. John Stewart

    John Stewart Part of the furniture

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    I've read the decision notice (The link doesn't work so just search for Hambleton District Council and follow the menu). The conditions are quite simple and there seems no reason that an application for extension of the period would not be granted if the operations of the railway prove reasonable in terms of local impact. Of course different conditions could be imposed if experience shows that such are needed. Having said that, I have to say that the application looks terribly amateurish and I think that the Local Planning Authority has been quite generous in dealing with it. If I were back in my previous life and in Northallerton I think that I would have been looking for something rather better.
     
  7. mickpop

    mickpop Part of the furniture

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    Great pity the formation beyond Redmire has been destroyed in several places . Hawes would have been a good terminus as it is the main tourist centre - Wensley dale cheese factory etc. Aisgarth would also have been good with the waterfalls. Leyburn is handy for Middleham Castle. A bus link to these places would be good and cater for those not entirely railway orientated.
     
  8. s1m0nad

    s1m0nad New Member

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    Don't know what happened to the link, but the condition that concerned me was :

    "1. The temporary permission hereby granted is valid only until 31st October 2015 and the
    temporary platform and resulting materials, and associated structures shall be removed from
    the site, and the land re-instated to its former condition on or before that date. "

    This implied that the railway only had just under 12 months to make the work on the platform pay - however if its normal practice to grant extensions (assuming no problems in terms of impact on the local residents), that's fine!

    Simon
     
  9. nanstallon

    nanstallon Part of the furniture

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    Take nothing for granted with planning! I believe that a permission usually states reasons for any conditions that have been imposed.

    An application for renewal, made before expiry of the present temporary permission, would be wise.

    John Stewart's comments are a little disturbing - I hope that the Railway is getting some advice on this at least from a 'tame' planning lawyer or planner among their numbers, as planning is no place for amateurs. It is a great project; I'd join if I weren't already a member of so many other preserved railway supporters' groups, and still lived in Yorkshire!

    John
     
  10. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Part of the furniture

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    The focus on running into Northallerton seems to be very much a part of the original Wensleydale focus to provide a public transport service, which seems to have changed, as with many of our heritage lines, into a more traditional heritage railway. For this, Leeming Bar, with the station 5 minutes off the A1 Motorway, is one of the best placed terminus stations in the movement! The roads of Wensleydale aren't brilliant but also aren't too bad and for those just wanting to get up or down the Dale, it is undoubtedly quicker by car than train (with what certainly was a reasonable bus service in between time wise). I do quite a bit of business mileage up and down the Dale and, as long as you avoid Tuesdays (Hawes Mart - I shall never forget a 25mph journey behind an ancient Ford Escort van driven, it seemed from the view through the back window, by 6 sheep, when I didn't avoid a Tuesday!), average speeds are reasonable and certainly higher than 25mph.

    The problem with the Station site in Northallerton is that it is up the end of an accommodation lane. It is a while since I have been up there and timing the walk from the town centre is one my "to do" list for my daily walk. I would estimate about 10 to 15 minutes, but the first few hundred yards is not a tarmaced road. There is no parking anyway near the site. Hence, I think it may see people use it to come down and visit Northallerton - which is a perfectly pleasant market town with plenty of cafes and pubs but which really could do to provide a bit more of a focus on tourism considering its location. I suspect that only hardened enthusiasts may use a link from Northallerton Station by foot (10 to 15 minutes is estimated and I would tend to agree), and the bus connection to Leeming Bar is certainly easier - from outside the mainline Station.

    The problem with getting back into the main Nporthallerton Station is that it would appear to involve moving the overhead wire supports of the ECML - there is a disused curved embankment which I believe the Wensleydale have cleared that used to take the branch round to a bay where part of the Station Car Park now is, but between that curve and the bay, the line ran parallel to the ECML on what appears to be a 3 track embankment. To me, the 2 lines of the ECML appear to have edged nearer the centre and then the OHLE supports are planted in what was the branch 4'. Hence, the considerable cost, much of it being Network Rail work, to reinstate to a site that may be available at the old dairy sidings, just north of the main station (assuming Netwrok Rail don't have other uses for it).

    Personally, I would consider an extension to the well known and popular beauty spot of Aysgarth Falls further up the Dale and trying to find a means of providing more car parking at Leeming Bar would be key priorities. Unfortunately, I can't think of anywhere on Leeming Bar to Northallerton West that would be suitable for extra parking or a "Park and Ride" Station - and visitor parking remains one of the greatest challenges and most serious limitations for any heritage railway.

    Steven
     
  11. John Stewart

    John Stewart Part of the furniture

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    Heritage Railways do their credibility with Local Authorities no good if they base their business on car-borne visitors. Those without rail connection also cause some disruption from stock exchanges, something that seems very regrettable when the missing connection is only a few panels. A service from, or very close to, Northallerton main line station (the proximity at Kidderminster is a good example) would bee seen by the non-enthusiast local resident as more beneficial to the community than prioritising an extension further up the Dale. I appreciate that the railway has to juggle its priorities but there is always a danger within any heritage organisation of preaching to the already converted.
     
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  12. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    I do wonder if the Wensleydale has got its priorities right? It is a great line and well worth the visit but it is a long line and I do wonder how sustainable it is. AIUI, the line is leased from Network Rail but I do not know who is responsible for the upkeep of the infrastructure. If it is the Wensleydale, they have a mammoth task in front of them, both to maintain this infrastructure and provide the resources necessary to run a train service. I cannot see the logic of extending services into Northallerton until they are on top of the job of operating the existing line, which I don't think they really are, yet. Locos, coaches and, above all, maintenance facilities need to come before extensions, even where the track already exists.
     
  13. Corbs

    Corbs Well-Known Member

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    Depending on what the overall aim is (Community railway/Heritage railway/Both) the Northallerton route would be worthwhile, as it would allow trains to run between two population centres (Northallerton and Bedale), which would make sense for a community railway, whereas for a heritage line, running out into the countryside at Redmire might make more sense as the aim would be to attract tourists who want scenery etc.
     
  14. spicer21

    spicer21 Well-Known Member

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    I don't entirely disagree with you here, but extensions usually bring in more passengers, which in turn increases income that can be spent on the things you mention. I'd like to think someone in the organisation has prepared some kind of business case around this and worked out the extension is worth the investment in the longer term.
     
  15. s1m0nad

    s1m0nad New Member

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    As an update to the comments above, the Hambleton District Council planning website (http://www.hambleton.gov.uk/public-access-for-planning - application no. 14/02402/MRC) shows that the railway has just (25/11/14) put in an application to vary the temporary planning permission from 31/10/2015 to 31/12/2017 - hopefully this will be successful.

    It was interesting to note that the Council themselves have stumped up £40k towards the cost of the platform.

    With regard to the long term connection to Northallerton, the plans originally submitted (application no. 13/0473/FUL) included a planning support statement that explains that although the preferred option was to get back into the main Northallerton station, Network Rail wouldn't agree to this. The next best option for the Wensleydale is to build a new low level station near Romanby Crossing - I assume that this makes use of the south curve and passes adjacent to the Network rail land - the document does also note that the estimate cost is £5.2m! (just a little more than Northallerton West).
     
  16. Corbs

    Corbs Well-Known Member

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    Goodness me, that's steep! Is NR's reasoning that the catenary takes up any spare trackbed there is and that to modify it would cause disruption?
     
  17. s1m0nad

    s1m0nad New Member

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    To quote the report -
    "However, after studying the plans, Network Rail were unable to support this option, at this time, because of the possible need to make the East Coast Main Line a 4 track line through Northallerton at some
    future date."

    I'm not sure how likely it is that the East Coast route would be quadrupled, but without Network Rail agreement, return to the main line station is impossible
     
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  18. Pesmo

    Pesmo Active Member

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    And I believe that is where HS2 will come in as it could well run beside the current main lines at Northallerton rather than have a green field route. They won't need to look at it for a while yet but it is likely a factor in long term planning for the area.
     
  19. steve45110

    steve45110 Member

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    If the branch line already exists, HS2 would be obliged to bridge it wouldn't they? Therefore, the link to the main line station will be safe.
     
  20. John Stewart

    John Stewart Part of the furniture

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    The branch line that exists is a northward-facing junction (although accessed by a headshunt) and would be safe. It is the Wensleydale Railway's proposed reinstatement of the southward-facing junction to the station that could be in conflict with any HS2 route were that to be parallel to the existing main line.
     

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