Author Topic: Busway report by IEA  (Read 4116 times)

Offline TCD813

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • ******
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 1649
  • -Receive: 219
  • Posts: 2375
  • Regards, Richard.
    • All 'manor' of stuff on my Twitter A/c
Busway report by IEA
« on: February 04, 2015, 01:12:40 PM »
Story posted 03/02/15 in the Cambridge News

Busway report by Institute of Economic Affairs says more UK railway lines should be converted, although the Cambridge - St Ives model was a "missed opportunity"

This 'missed opportunity' turns out to be that...

Quote from: Dr Richard Wellings, Deputy Editorial Director at the IEA
Ordinary busways are flexible as they can be used by all sorts of vehicles if required.

[...] there could be periods of time when busways are open to cars as well as buses.

Inevitably for the CN, the busway is still 'controversial', so a quote from CAST.IRON is required...

Quote from: CAST.IRON Leader, Tim Phillips
We still do not believe there is any tangible evidence of the ‘success’ of the Cambridgeshire guided busway scheme in terms of it being a proven, better alternative than co-ordinated train and bus appropriate to any given area.

“The problem with the Cambridgeshire scheme is that it obliterated a viable rail route on an alignment that makes geographical sense as a railway, not as a bus route.

Hmm, methinks. I don't remember the disused rail route giving easy access to Cambridge city centre, but it would have been good for commuters to London.

Note the Cambridge News tone...

Quote from: Nick Willoughby, CN
Despite fierce opposition, Cambridgeshire County Council claims that the scheme has been a resounding triumph.

Quote from: Bob Menzies, service director at Cambridgeshire County Council
The guided bus route has been very successful. It has already achieved its forecast passenger numbers, and it is continuing to grow and be popular.

Its aim was to give an alternative to the A14, and it was also built with Northstowe in mind.

The IEA reports which gave rise to the CN article are:

Paving over the tracks: a better use of Britain’s railways? Paul Withrington and Richard Wellings, 3 Feb 2015, subtitled: 'Liberalising the transport sector will offer huge benefits'

How railway conversion could end the commuter squeeze Richard Wellings, 3 February 2015

The IEA is a 'free market' (i.e. right-wing) think-tank. I usually refer to it as (something-else-which-rhymes-with-tank-and begins-with-a-W)-tank, myself.

The IEA seems to have picked up the crumbs from the assorted fruitcakes who proposed turning the Chiltern Line into a coachway, back in the 1980s.

Perhaps the authors of Almost Terminal: Marylebone's Brush With Destruction are a little too optimistic when they say...

Quote from: Almost Terminal: Marylebone's Brush With Destruction
Today this proposal [to convert the Chiltern Line into a dedicated bus route, with the site of Marylebone station being converted into a bus station] and others like it – such as a plan to convert much of what now forms London Overground north of the river into roads – are mostly forgotten.

TCD813? The reg of a Southdown Motor Services, Northern Counties bodied, Leyland Titan PD3/4 FH39/30F (popularly dubbed 'Queen Mary') from the late 50s.
There's all 'manor' of stuff on my Twitter A/c.

Offline Palatine One

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • ******
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 133
  • -Receive: 105
  • Posts: 443
    • My Flickr
Re: Busway report by IEA
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2015, 05:01:38 PM »
Reopening the railway would have been a waste of time - the existing bus services would have still had an edge in that they terminate in central Cambridge instead of a mile distant, and the same would apply at St Ives! I also doubt a railway would have sustained a every 20 min service as provided by H&D and Stagecoach, especially if capacity was also required for freight workings......oh and the fares would probably be higher. (Based on the cost of a open return on the Royston to Cambridge Gt Northern service vs a Dayrider+ on the Stagecoach 26, the bus works out about £1.10 cheaper.) No free concessionary trips either!

Offline TCD813

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • ******
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 1649
  • -Receive: 219
  • Posts: 2375
  • Regards, Richard.
    • All 'manor' of stuff on my Twitter A/c
Re: Busway report by IEA
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2015, 05:54:51 PM »
As one might guess, The Grauniad is no fan of the Institute of Economic Affairs w-tank...

Express busways: the ultimate rail replacement service

The Institute of Economic Affairs thinktank has floated a plan to concrete over Britain’s railways and replace them with bus lanes. But where would that get us?


Quote from: Gwyn Topham, the Guardian and Observer's transport correspondent
The role of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to propose the logical free-market solution to each facet of civilised life, so that by the time the vision passes and the world shimmers back into normal, everyday dystopia, even George Osborne’s face looks mildly reassuring. Certainly, only a brave politician would endorse the thinktank’s latest call to pave over the railways to create express busways – effectively putting millions of voting commuters on a rail replacement bus, for ever.
TCD813? The reg of a Southdown Motor Services, Northern Counties bodied, Leyland Titan PD3/4 FH39/30F (popularly dubbed 'Queen Mary') from the late 50s.
There's all 'manor' of stuff on my Twitter A/c.

Offline TCD813

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • ******
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 1649
  • -Receive: 219
  • Posts: 2375
  • Regards, Richard.
    • All 'manor' of stuff on my Twitter A/c
Re: Busway report by IEA
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2015, 06:23:23 PM »
Reopening the railway would have been a waste of time - the existing bus services would have still had an edge in that they terminate in central Cambridge instead of a mile distant, and the same would apply at St Ives! I also doubt a railway would have sustained a every 20 min service as provided by H&D and Stagecoach, especially if capacity was also required for freight workings......oh and the fares would probably be higher. (Based on the cost of a open return on the Royston to Cambridge Gt Northern service vs a Dayrider+ on the Stagecoach 26, the bus works out about £1.10 cheaper.) No free concessionary trips either!

Absolutely. Currently, at peak times there are about 10 buses per hour, in each direction, on the 'spine' of the northern section of the busway. I make that around 600+ seats per hour, plus some standing capacity.

I could no more imagine operators providing that same capacity with three, three-car DMUs per hour (or four two-car) speeding to and from St Ives, as I could imagine passengers using a combination of bus to St Ives, train to Cambridge, then bus to the city centre.

We'd have had a single-car DMU hourly, at best. And very few folks tempted out of their private cars.
TCD813? The reg of a Southdown Motor Services, Northern Counties bodied, Leyland Titan PD3/4 FH39/30F (popularly dubbed 'Queen Mary') from the late 50s.
There's all 'manor' of stuff on my Twitter A/c.

Offline Palatine One

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • ******
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 133
  • -Receive: 105
  • Posts: 443
    • My Flickr
Re: Busway report by IEA
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2015, 07:05:19 PM »
Absolutely. Currently, at peak times there are about 10 buses per hour, in each direction, on the 'spine' of the northern section of the busway. I make that around 600+ seats per hour, plus some standing capacity.

I could no more imagine operators providing that same capacity with three, three-car DMUs per hour (or four two-car) speeding to and from St Ives, as I could imagine passengers using a combination of bus to St Ives, train to Cambridge, then bus to the city centre.

We'd have had a single-car DMU hourly, at best. And very few folks tempted out of their private cars.

And that is exactly the reason why I can't imagine a Haverhill-Cambridge railway service being feasible. A busway combined with a P&R near the A11/A1307 junction would work rather well, I feel.....although the ability to bypass traffic by using the existing Southern busway would be hampered by Hills Rd bridge preventing 'deckers being used. :(

Offline TCD813

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • ******
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 1649
  • -Receive: 219
  • Posts: 2375
  • Regards, Richard.
    • All 'manor' of stuff on my Twitter A/c
Re: Busway report by IEA
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2015, 05:29:01 PM »
And that is exactly the reason why I can't imagine a Haverhill-Cambridge railway service being feasible. A busway combined with a P&R near the A11/A1307 junction would work rather well, I feel.....although the ability to bypass traffic by using the existing Southern busway would be hampered by Hills Rd bridge preventing 'deckers being used. :(

I agree, Adam.

The one advantage which a restored Cambridge-Haverhill railway would have, would be avoiding road congestion by joining the Great Eastern line south of Gt Shelford and accessing the new Addenbrooke's railway station if/when it's built, especially if it were part of a through Cambridge-Braintree route. However, the option of a through route via the Colne Valley looks a non-starter in terms of the amount of the former trackbed lost to the south of Haverhill. Nor is it clear that there would be sufficient demand for such through traffic.

The main commuter flow is Haverhill-Cambridge and a busway using some of the former trackbed looks eminently do-able, given that buses can cope with steeper gradients and tighter curves.

One would suspect that it would start at the A1307/A1017 roundabout NW of Haverhill. It could follow much of the old trackbed via Bartlow, or run parallel to the A1307 to Linton and pick up the old trackbed there. Buses wouldn't encounter the problems faced by a railway in crossing the A11 & A505. A bus service could serve the south of Granta Park and use the existing road-link to/from the A11/A505. A further short busway section, on an entirely new alignment could serve the Babraham Institute. Both would give further public transport benefits to commuters. Neither of these would be achievable with a restored railway.

Similarly, I think that the only way the northern busway could have worked as a re-opened railway would've been as a through route project to the ECML at Huntingdon. But I think CAST.IRON were rather naïve in proposing this.

I couldn't imagine the traffic demand given that (especially with the work being done to correct the historic mistake at Ely north junction) there's plenty of capacity on the existing Cambridge-ECML link via March. Moreover, so much of the former line from St Ives to Huntingdon has been lost that it would have been a massive civil engineering project – to build, in effect, a new railway – for dubious benefit, financial or otherwise.

And that would have done little too help give an attractive commuting alternative to the private car from St Ives and Huntingdon/villages around into central Cambridge, and also put in public transport infrastructure ahead of the Northstowe development.
TCD813? The reg of a Southdown Motor Services, Northern Counties bodied, Leyland Titan PD3/4 FH39/30F (popularly dubbed 'Queen Mary') from the late 50s.
There's all 'manor' of stuff on my Twitter A/c.

Offline AE55DKN

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 8
  • -Receive: 33
  • Posts: 306
Re: Busway report by IEA
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2015, 11:54:26 PM »
But why do u need to start the busway at a1017/1307, it would be complete waste of funds.
Considering a fair amount of passenger's board and alight from horse-heath, you couldnt run it via bartlow.

eitherway, its still going to get stuck against traffic, crossing the a1307


Offline barryb

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 148
  • -Receive: 138
  • Posts: 1350
Re: Busway report by IEA
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2015, 06:39:09 PM »
If it had been opened as a light railway then I think it would have had more potential; it could have supported a high frequency service that could have gone very close to the city centre if people had really wanted it to (which they wouldn't have; they'd have screamed about electricity poles and losing road space).  However, as in places like Alloa and Ebbw Vale where re-opened railways have been much more popular than expected, I have no doubt at all the the private sector would have missed that potential and that the public sector would have let them.

I have no idea why people apparently like it the busway. I don't think it's logical that people like it, and I think the inadequate and seriously unreliable service provision is a scandalous waste of a valuable resource.

But they do, and they use it.  That being the case, and the busway having been genuinely successful beyond people like me's dreams, I would support more of them; not just to Haverhill but also to Newmarket & Cambourne.  The last route I would support would be the one that reinforces the problems with our trains; Ely.  If the good people of Ely are destined to never receive a civilised train service we should let them have a civilised bus service instead.

I am curious to see the full effect of the attractiveness of the busway when the expansion of the park and ride sites gets underway.  I don't know of any park and ride sites as far away from their destinations as the ones on the busway anywhere else in the UK, and the plans are to provide more the same but on routes that don't have busways.  I can't wait to see if/how they work.

Offline Palatine One

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • ******
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 133
  • -Receive: 105
  • Posts: 443
    • My Flickr
Re: Busway report by IEA
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2015, 06:47:34 PM »
Barry, in terms of light rail I think something along the lines of the Karlsruhe Tram-trains would have been ideal....though I would question how easily a system would fit around some parts of Cambridge. I think the advantage the Busway has also offered is introducing services to places like Somersham that previously didn't have a direct bus to Cambridge. If it was a railway then a subsidised shuttle service would have had to be operated, much like the short-lived flop that was service 20 from Fenstanton to the P&R at St Ives.

I'm not a die-hard fan of the busway, I think that rail would have been a better alternative in some ways. I just think that the advantage a bus service using a dedicated road has is a lot more flexibility than a railway.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2015, 06:49:47 PM by ONLXB »

Offline barryb

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 148
  • -Receive: 138
  • Posts: 1350
Re: Busway report by IEA
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2015, 08:17:44 PM »
I'm certain a tram could have got from the railway station to a loop somewhere round the edge of Parker's Piece, if people had wanted it to.

Yes - buses have been far more flexible, in the traditional sense as well as the fact that you can more of them quickly.  However my perspective from the point of view of someone living at the Cambridge end of of the guideway is that they're regularly arriving here surprisingly late.  I presume they're not losing time on the guideway, so I think that flexibility might be damaging advantage of reliability that the guideway is supposed to offer. 

Other countries seem to able to organise transport interchanges, but we don't.  Services connecting to a very high frequency guideway service would never work, not least because everyone would assume they wouldn't :-(

On a genuinely sour note... I think that this report highlights the thing that I suspect might be the fate of the CGB.  What happens when all the concrete falls apart?  Someone is going to want to lay tarmac, because nobody is going to fall for incurring the cost of replacing it...

Offline Steves

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 586
  • -Receive: 108
  • Posts: 645
Re: Busway report by IEA
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2015, 11:04:20 PM »
Guided busways have two advantages:

They are self policing (mostly) and they take up less space than a conventional road because vehicles are constrained by the guideway.  That gives a guided busway an advantage when using old railway routes which are generally too narrow for normal tarmac roads.

The unreliability of the busway is disappointing.  To really catch on, it has to be reliable and the sections in Cambridge are a liability.  From other comments, the sections beyond the guideway in St Ives are also prone to congestion.  Maybe it is popular because the alternative of using the A14 is even more unreliable.

One possibility that the CGB does not use at present is the ability to use short guided sections to avoid bottlenecks using transponder activated traffic lights to allow buses to progress faster than the normal traffic.  This would be useful on longer routes to Haverhill, Cambourne and Ely where a dedicated route all the way would be very expensive and not really needed.  It also makes the out of town park and rides more feasible.