Thursday, 6 February 2014

Something else that LVT would sort out..

The sea has taken a nibble at the main line west of Exeter and now people are thinking of re-routing the railway.

However,the Daily Mail informs us, as we have come to expect,

Both options would be hugely expensive and controversial for those areas which would lose services.

But ministers faced cross-party calls in the Commons for radical action and investment to solve the problem.

Andrew George, Lib Dem MP for St Ives in the far south of Cornwall, said: If we are to put proper investment into a resilient service down to Penzance we need to make sure that there is a comparable funding in terms of the kind of money which is being spent on HS2 and other services.’

In other words, everyone who stands to lose by the re-routing is shouting that the government should spend millions restoring the status quo without them contributing anything whereas no doubt those who stand to gain are hoping for the government to spend millions changing the route, with them making a similar contribution as the other lot. Now what if there was some sort of mechanism for charging the second lot and compensating the first lot....


Mark Wadsworth said...

As sad as it is to see that bit of line washed away (was the EA in charge of maintenance?) that photo is gloriously Turner-esque.

DBC Reed said...

Spot on!(Pity MW had to spoil it by a reflex dig at the EA).
The talk of reviving"alternative" old lines from Exeter to Newton Abbott or Plymouth focuses on the Beeching era mania for closing lines which did not consider the LVT mechanism for people repaying some of the uplift in their land values from the presence of convenient lines.
BTW global warming is an elephant in the room in this discussion.

Bayard said...

"BTW global warming is an elephant in the room in this discussion."

Well, near me there was similar damage to a sea wall and road (although not involving a railway line as well). The road is built on top of a wide shingle bank and in an adjacent village there were, until the late C19th (I think, see, houses on both sides of the road. The ones on the seaward side are no longer there because they were demolished by a storm.

Bayard said...

Mark, in this case it wasn't lack of maintenance, NR had just spent a huge amount on this stretch.

DBCR, You wonder whether the railway companies of old ever capitalised on that uplift (apart from the well-known example of the Metropolitan).

Dan said...

What is going on here is a symptom of how railway lines used to get built: the companies building them sold shares in the company then chose the cheapest route for the railway line.

Most of the time, this was a sensible idea. However, the route down to Cornwall was problematic because the land is so hilly; trains cannot ascend steep inclines particularly well, and must slow for even quite modest bends in the track.

So, rather than build a long, slow and winding inland route, the builders chose the coastal route working on the idea that they needed to recoup their costs quickly, and that the line could be later re-engineered as needed. Unfortunately freight moved from rail to truck, the steady profit failed to materialise and the original crap route planning was left as an engineering problem for us to sort out.

Bayard said...

Also, Dan, whilst the route of main lines lay between two major cities (e.g. London - Bristol, London - Plymouth) the railway companies tried to connect as many centres of population en route as they could, obviously, as this was where they could drum up most potential shareholders and business. Another problem with the route to Plymouth, an important destination to pick up passengers from trans-Atlantic steamers, was that Dartmoor is in the way and Dartmoor is very sparsely populated. All the major settlments are either along the coast (the GWR main line) or to the north (the Southern main line). You only have to look at the number of towns and villages along the section of line past Dawlish compared with the number on the proposed alternative, the Teign Valley line, to see why the GWR went for the coastal route.