Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Bedford-Olney-Northampton trackbed inspection using Google Earth as to scope of overcoming blockages and deviation spaces 14-03-2018

Bedford-Olney-Northampton trackbed inspection using Google Earth as to scope of overcoming blockages and deviation spaces 14-03-2018

Preamble: The desire to record at this stage what blockages of significance there are and use as a basis for potential interests wishing to reopen for whatever reason and support these in studies and going forward to overcome blockages and make reopening happen.

a.      Slow tracks take a single bi-directional flyover onto and fanning out into a twin track railway spec for substantial lengths as space and opportunity allow. Key issue north of River Great Ouse, is there space for a flyover between MML slows and A6 Bypass?
b.      MML – Stevington Road – reclaim ploughed fields. Bromham/Oakley and Stevington Roads need bridging.
c.       Relay over Stevington Walk which occupies trackbed with walk and cycle route slewed alongside and maybe this per-functory of leisure off road could go as far as Northampton with deviations where rail priority in engineering or operational terms must take a priority.
d.      New bridge over Stevington Road and relay to Turvey not withstanding any blockage on private land.
e.      Reclaim Turvey Station area and realign going west to avoid new housing close to the railway with a sound barrier. Relay track to Clifton Reynes/near as.
f.        New deviation greater or lesser needed going north of old alignment to cross the Great Ouse with deep piling around across Lavendon Road and A509 to north or south of Sewage Works and associated fields between it and River to swing via a new bridge over Yardley Road to re-join former railway course. Could a new park and ride station be located west of Yardley Road? Calls for a new A509 Olney road bypass would slice the railway trajectory in half, so a bridge over or under the railway and Over Head Line Clearances would be required.
g.      Reclaim trackbed or slew from Yardley Road to Castle Ashby Estate. Open country to Denton Road and a new deviation is required to avoid Piddington Station site.
h.      New road bridge over Denton Road and Brafield Road and a deviation slightly to the south of Northampton International Raceway Brafield Motor Sports.
i.        Renew bridges through Great Houghton which lends itself to a halt, ditto Brackmills Industrial Estate and University of Northampton Riverside Campus.
j.        New access over or under railway between Salthouse and A428
k.       New access over or under London Road, must duck to go under Towcester Road Bridge and new crossing over Bury Port Road or under or bridge the railway.
l.        Rebuild the railway between Pomfret Close and St Leonards Court to Castle Station.
m.    Reconfigure Northampton southern approach tracks to enable cross over into Platforms 1, 2 and 3 from Brackmills and London directions and merger.
n.      Could a platform 4 be installed west of Platform 3? This would enable more operational flexibility. Maybe another under pass under the A4500 road bridge could be inserted to enable more tracks?
Conclusion: The problems are not insurmountable and as with Olney we face as per any other reopening or rebuilding or new build railway or road way, the choice of compulsory purchase and demolition/relocation or avoidance by modest deviations. The greatest (Olney) is about 1 mile east to west arcing, the least is utilising what is still open countryside. The aggregate benefits of the railway lend itself to leisure, recreation as well as a handy public transport choice and mode which speeds end to end commute timings attracting more users to choose public transport than the lowest common denominator if you can’t afford a car and have to take what is on offer of a 1.5-hour durational end to end journey of just 21.5 miles. It is hoped future studies will bear these pointers in mind and look at solutions wanting the railway reopened than problems to oppose the railway not facing the default consequences of congestion, queues, parking access issues and costs spiralling which affects everyone.

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