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Author Campaign to improve Conwy Valley Line
SimonRL

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Joined: 27/11/2005
Location: North Wales

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Posted: 13/11/2008 16:16:57
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From the Beeb [web link]

Upgrading a railway link could inject an estimated £43m into a Gwynedd town's economy, according to a council.

Gwynedd council says there is a market for slate waste in Europe and wants to exploit it the product from the Blaenau Ffestiniog area.


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Before you judge someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you judge them, you're a mile away, and you have their shoes.
IP: 83.148.135.213 Edited: 13/11/2008 16:22:09 by SimonRL
DylanW

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Joined: 24/05/2007
Location: Blaenau Ffestiniog

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Posted: 13/11/2008 17:39:20
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And most important keep my means of getting to Betws y coed for a pint open! Thumbs Up

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SimonRL

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Posted: 13/11/2008 17:47:59
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Fair play Smile As a justification for spending £13M I can't think of one better Thumbs Up

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Before you judge someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you judge them, you're a mile away, and you have their shoes.
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DylanW

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Joined: 24/05/2007
Location: Blaenau Ffestiniog

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Posted: 13/11/2008 18:38:29
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however being serious, the "Rheilffordd Dyffryn Conwy" is a valuable, and much under-used asset for Ffestiniog, and other villages and towns within it's operating boundries.

I think much more could ne done to strengthen it, and one would be to get the bus & train to operate at DIFFERENT times! As things are now, i think Express motors are runing a bus service to llandudno which leves Blaenau 5-10mins before the train, just in order to poach the railways buisness - which, for me anyways is of no use, and serves only as another nail in the railways coffin - as i think*(cant remember where i read about this) this line is one of the most highly subsidised in the UK.

Using it for freight can only be beneficial.

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JohnnearCfon

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Joined: 22/12/2005
Location: Sir Caernarfon

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Posted: 13/11/2008 19:03:27
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If Beeching had had his way, it would have gone long ago. Good job he didn't, pity more lines weren't as successful. You only had to watch the various Railway Walks programmes where she interviewed various villagers on the effect the railway had on the community (Penmaenpool being a good example) to realise what a crime he committed. Guns Guns

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hymac580c

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Location: Blaenau Ffestiniog

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Posted: 13/11/2008 19:23:27
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I'm told many railway enthusiasts go on the train so that they can go thru the 3 mile tunnel under the Crimea pass.
Most of the bus routes in Gwynedd are subsidised by the goverment othewise the bus companies would be running at a total loss. It seems daft to run a large bus to llandudno when a train allready does the route so the bus must be getting a sustity.
It would be a good idea to upgrage the railway line if you could carry perhaps around 500 tons of slate waste on one train all the way to it's destination. And if it creates new work and jobs then I would say it would be a money well spent.

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By the time you realise your father was right, you will have a son or daughter that will tell you that you are wrong.
IP: 92.18.168.2 Edited: 13/11/2008 19:30:50 by hymac580c
ChrisJC

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Posted: 13/11/2008 19:28:11
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Why not save the money and put the freight in lorries?

Road transport is unsubsidised - whereas using the rail network will only be cost effective when it is heavily subsidised.

Chris.
IP: 62.49.24.183
JohnnearCfon

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Posted: 13/11/2008 19:30:35
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Ah, so the lorry companies build thre own roads for them to run on do they? I think not!

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hymac580c

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Posted: 13/11/2008 19:39:04
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A large tipper lorry will carry about 20 to 25 tons and does about 8 mpg. But if they are thinking of exporting to Europe the train might carry say 500 tons.
Then to carry 500 tons to the docks with lorries in comparison to taking a train to perhaps France or Belgium would be more cost effective.


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merddinemrys

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Joined: 13/03/2006
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Posted: 13/11/2008 21:33:44
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JohnnearCfon wrote:

Ah, so the lorry companies build thre own roads for them to run on do they? I think not!


Perhaps ChrisJC thinks the minute amount of road tax that hauliers pay funds the motorway and road network.

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JohnnearCfon

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Posted: 13/11/2008 21:37:57
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Even Beeching (spit three times) said that moving bulk loads was one of the things the railways does best. To say nothing of the extra congestion on the A470/A55 the lorries would bring.

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ChrisJC

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Posted: 14/11/2008 08:20:48
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merddinemrys wrote:

JohnnearCfon wrote:

Ah, so the lorry companies build thre own roads for them to run on do they? I think not!


Perhaps ChrisJC thinks the minute amount of road tax that hauliers pay funds the motorway and road network.


Indeed it does, and funds the railway network too!

http://www.transport-watch.co.uk/transport-pdfs/transport-fact-sheet-13.pdf

Chris.
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SimonRL

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Posted: 14/11/2008 10:27:14
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But there just seems something wrong about taking slate away from Blaenau by anything other than rail? Innocent

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Before you judge someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you judge them, you're a mile away, and you have their shoes.
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JohnnearCfon

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Joined: 22/12/2005
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Posted: 14/11/2008 11:15:59
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ChrisJC wrote:



Indeed it does, and funds the railway network too!

http://www.transport-watch.co.uk/transport-pdfs/transport-fact-sheet-13.pdf

Chris.


Not that that website is biased towards road against rail of course. Some of the figures (looking quickly at that and a couple of other pages) seem slightly out of context, proving ,as usual, that you can make statistics say anything you want them to say, depending on how you use them.

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Gwyn

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Joined: 23/10/2007
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Posted: 14/11/2008 13:29:31
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A reasonable overview may be found at:-
www.penmorfa.com/Conwy/waste.html
Putting "waste slate" or "slate waste" into a search engine will bring up more pertinent information.
This is about economies of scale that cannot be achieved by road freight, with or without subsidy.
It is interesting to note that a small coaster with an engine of between 700-1000BHP can take/deliver >1000tonnes in one lift. Compare this with a lorry that can lift 20-30tonnes and has an engine of between 350-400BHP.
IP: 92.20.48.115
ChrisJC

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Posted: 14/11/2008 18:30:23
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I'm not sure how relevant the power outputs of the engines are.

At the end of the day, it comes down to cost. It is cheaper to use road, but it is more 'romantic' to use rail.

As regards Beeching, it would be better to think of him as saving the railways. If we had left the network as pre-Beeching, it would have bankrupted the country, taking the entire rail network with it.

If he had been truly smart, then once the rail tracks had been lifted, then tarmac should have been laid.

Chris.
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robnorthwales

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Location: Denbighshire, North wales

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Posted: 14/11/2008 19:00:19
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ChrisJC wrote:



If he had been truly smart, then once the rail tracks had been lifted, then tarmac should have been laid.

Chris.


That statement is probably not going to make you hugely popular with some people ... Laugh

As for myself, I'm somewhat happy that the old lines were left, as we have a wonderful historical record of what was, and if they'd been tarmaced over, then all the bridges, etc would have been torn down and replaced with new (bigger) ones to take the additional road demands by now - but thats just me, and I like history

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JohnnearCfon

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Joined: 22/12/2005
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Posted: 14/11/2008 19:13:44
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ChrisJC wrote:


At the end of the day, it comes down to cost. It is cheaper to use road, but it is more 'romantic' to use rail.

As regards Beeching, it would be better to think of him as saving the railways. If we had left the network as pre-Beeching, it would have bankrupted the country, taking the entire rail network with it.

If he had been truly smart, then once the rail tracks had been lifted, then tarmac should have been laid.

Chris.


Perhaps you should have watched the recent railway walks series where local people were interviewed about how railway closures destroyed local businesses and communities. For instance Penmaenpool where soon after the railway closed the woollen mills closed, followed by the local shop, all that is there now is the pub, the RSPB centre and half a dozen houses. That was by no means an exceptional case.

Yes, Beeching was right to close some railways due to duplication of routes as a result of the opening of routes parallel to each other. He totally ignored the social service factor (as he freely admitted when interviewed) as he was instructed to by Ernest Marples. He also forgot to allow for "killing the twigs kills the branches, kills the trunk" effect.

Are the old "lets build a road on the old tracked" story. Have you sen the bypass in East Grinstead? barely wide enough for two lorries to pass and where the cuttings were made steeper sided to accommodate the extra width required for that minimum width there are now continuing chalk falls!

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IP: 89.241.176.153 Edited: 14/11/2008 19:14:55 by JohnnearCfon
tiger99

Joined: 07/03/2008
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Posted: 15/11/2008 13:32:32
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Just to add a little bit about why the line was kept open. despite Beeching. It was needed for the Trawsfynydd nuclear power station, now life expired and being decommissioned. But the original GWR line from Bala, which passed Trawsfynydd, terminated at a station towards the south of Blaenau Ffestiniog, while the LMS line from Llandudno Junction terminated at the north of the town. Amazingly, the gap was bridged only by the narrow gauge Ffestiniog, and while the upper parts of that remained closed in the 1960s, its track was lifted to make way for a through link, so that trains from the north could get to Trawsfynydd. That was a lot more practicable than routing trains from Sellafield through Bala, but what really forced the issue was the construction of the Llyn Celyn reservoir. A diversion round that would have been possible, but expensive and with fairly severe gradients, while the way through central Blaenau Ffestiniog was simple.

I remember visiting Blaenau Ffestiniog around 1962 and being quite amazed by the two unconnected BR stations, and the notice on the Ffestiniog station, complete with steam loco on display outside, proclaiming that train services were "temporarily suspended". They really did mean temporarily, although it took many years for them to get back to the new combined station.

I also walked across the somewhat derelict bridge over the river Glaslyn south of Beddgelert, and imagined trains running there, and through the streets of Porthmadog, again. Happily, that will be happening very soon now. But in those days Caernarfon had a main line station, now gone.

I think that tourism will prevent any further closures. Whether anything else, such as Caernarfon to Bangor, will be re-opened (not easy, but there are plans for redeveloping the old Firestone factory adjacent to the line, which may influence the outcome), remains to be seen, but it may well be that the nuclear industry is responsible for keeping at least one line open, for long enough for the influence of Beeching to be no longer relevant.

As the line between Blaenau Ffestiniog and Llandudno Junction has had severe problems in recent years, parts having been washed away several times due to floods, extensive usage by heavy freight trains carrying slate waste may be just the thing to make properly repairing and upgrading it financially viable. The passenger service alone could never justify major investment, so it may well be saved again by an industrial user. I certainly hope so.
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JohnnearCfon

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Posted: 15/11/2008 13:44:07
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I have in my possession an OS 25 inch map which shows part of the line that was flooded at the western end of the lake (lake not marked). This came from railway offices and has had the proposed route of the deviation marked in red. In the end it was easier to close the whole line and build the link through Blaenau.

It is a shame the preservation scheme for part of that line got crushed a few years back. It would have made a spectacular ride up Cwm Prysor from Trawsfynydd to near Arenig.

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