Oxford to Cambridge expressway

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mikehindsonevans
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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by mikehindsonevans » Fri Mar 26, 2021 23:00

Peter Freeman wrote:
Fri Mar 26, 2021 13:59
Micro The Maniac wrote:
Mon Mar 22, 2021 11:24
KeithW wrote:
Sun Mar 21, 2021 10:51
That it is now is in no small measure down to the wave of protest that followed the decision to build a monstrous cutting for the M3 across Twyford Down.
I think we should add the equally monstrous M40 Aston Rowant cutting (J5-J6) to that, although that was 20 years earlier
Am I the only one who can't see what's so bad about these two road cuttings? Monstrous? They seem perfectly sensible and acceptable to me. Quite interesting engineering features.
I am with "Peter Freeman". Living in Winchester throughout the time of the entire M3 saga, I agree. The M3 Twyford Down cutting applied lessons from the earlier M40 cutting. It rapidly faded back into the landscape.

More importantly, the outdated, inadequate and downright bloody dangerous 1933 Winchester bypass needed to be replaced for a whole host of reasons. The M3 was needed.

Tunnel? Maybe, but the cutting works.
Shame that traffic has grown in the intervening 25 years so that it now needs widening! Cheaper than widening a tunnel! :wink:
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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by Vierwielen » Fri Mar 26, 2021 23:13

mikehindsonevans wrote:
Fri Mar 26, 2021 23:00
Living in Winchester throughout the time of the entire M3 saga, I agree. The M3 Twyford Down cutting applied lessons from the earlier M40 cutting. It rapidly faded back into the landscape.

More importantly, the outdated, inadequate and downright bloody dangerous 1933 Winchester bypass needed to be replaced for a whole host of reasons. The M3 was needed.

Tunnel? Maybe, but the cutting works.
Shame that traffic has grown in the intervening 25 years so that it now needs widening! Cheaper than widening a tunnel! :wink:
If we assume that the tunnel had two bores - one for north-bound traffic and one for south-bound traffic, then one way is to dig a third tunnel and to employ a tidal system on the middle tunnel: two southbound tunnels in the morning and two northbound tunnels in the afternoon (possible different during weekends).

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EpicChef
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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by EpicChef » Fri Mar 26, 2021 23:48

Well now they’re doing a Managed Motorway.
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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by Phil » Sat Mar 27, 2021 09:06

Patrick Harper wrote:
Fri Mar 26, 2021 21:37
Phil wrote:
Fri Mar 26, 2021 20:34
Patrick Harper wrote:
Fri Mar 26, 2021 15:54
Pretty sure they wanted nothing at all, as in maintain the 1992 traffic situation around Winchester.
Not so!

The residents of Winchester (and the surrounding area) definitely wanted an end to queues on the A33 by-pass and were not 'anti-road' per say - indeed many had never been involved in protest action before and from a demographic aspect were from the middle income, car owning, conservative supporting demographic typical of Hampshire.

What they did object to was a stonking great cutting damaging the landscape and were not afraid to protest to make their feelings known. Fatally for road building the Government opted to rough it out and force through their plans , an action which single handedly changed the way road building was seen by the public.
Didn't many of the protestors move on to camping on the future Newbury Bypass and A12 link alignments, et. al? I didn't think the Winchester residents were particularly involved in the Twyford Down squatting.
You miss the point.

While many, how can I put it 'professional protesters' did indeed move on to other projects the issue is that at Twyford Down they were in the minority!

Most of the protesting at Twyford Down was actually done by people who had never protested about anything before in their lives - and that was the Governments undoing! Its quite easy to dismiss a small bunch of environmental activists as 'unrepresentative of ordinary people' but its a bit harder when you get hundreds of ordinary families protesting.

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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by Scratchwood » Sat Mar 27, 2021 10:52

marconaf wrote:
Fri Mar 26, 2021 19:27
Patrick Harper wrote:
Fri Mar 26, 2021 15:54
jackal wrote:
Fri Mar 26, 2021 15:02

Didn't the protesters prefer a tunnel in the case of Twyford, which presumably would have higher emissions than a cutting given the volumes of concrete required?
Pretty sure they wanted nothing at all, as in maintain the 1992 traffic situation around Winchester.
Quite, if they’d tried to put a railway line in through a tunnel instead of the M3 in a cutting, swampy et al would still have done what they did.

The M40 cutting is quite stunning in terms of the views it gives drivers of the area as the summit it, as are the M62 sections. The M3 one never really gets close and a Hindhead style tunnel does feel it would have been a much better choice long term.
ALL roads through attractive areas give drivers stunning views, but that's not the issue. It's about whether the road unreasonably impacts beauty spots or causes excessive environmental damage.

After all if you stuck a Motorway across Lake Windermere, motorists would get amazing views, but it wouldn't exactly improve the area!

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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by marconaf » Sat Mar 27, 2021 12:57

Scratchwood wrote:
Sat Mar 27, 2021 10:52
marconaf wrote:
Fri Mar 26, 2021 19:27
Patrick Harper wrote:
Fri Mar 26, 2021 15:54
Pretty sure they wanted nothing at all, as in maintain the 1992 traffic situation around Winchester.
Quite, if they’d tried to put a railway line in through a tunnel instead of the M3 in a cutting, swampy et al would still have done what they did.

The M40 cutting is quite stunning in terms of the views it gives drivers of the area as the summit it, as are the M62 sections. The M3 one never really gets close and a Hindhead style tunnel does feel it would have been a much better choice long term.
ALL roads through attractive areas give drivers stunning views, but that's not the issue. It's about whether the road unreasonably impacts beauty spots or causes excessive environmental damage.

After all if you stuck a Motorway across Lake Windermere, motorists would get amazing views, but it wouldn't exactly improve the area!
Who is proposing a motorway across the lake district? Would that be useful? Vs say the connectivity the M3 and M40 brought?

Although people do go out of their way to drive say Honister, Wrynose and Hardknott passes because they are stunning. Indeed the Parcelforce advert using the latter sticks in my mond even today, what 20? years later!

Whilst the M6 up the side of the lakes is also often regarded as a stunning drive, combined with being a massive arterial route.

That I think was the OPs point with the french bridge - valuable connectivity done in a way that brings stunning views, just as the M40 cutting achieves (albeit to a lesser degree!) when you summit it and have that sense (unusual on a motorway) of the scale of the landscape you are in. Twyford much less so as I commented, but then again that was hardly the Lake District to start with.

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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by Big L » Thu Apr 01, 2021 15:34

Mod note:
I've moved more posts about East-West Rail to the East-West Rail thread.
Can we try to keep posts in the relevant place please!
Carry on...
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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by roadtester » Fri Jul 23, 2021 11:50

marconaf wrote:
Sat Mar 20, 2021 11:16
jedikiah wrote:
Sat Mar 20, 2021 10:56
The additional services on E-W Phase 2, over the existing Marston Vale services are Oxford-MK twice an hour, Oxford-Bedford hourly, and Aylesbury-MK hourly. Some of the Oxford services may possibly start from Didcot and maybe further afield. This is a down scope on the earlier plans which for one envisaged an hourly Oxford-Birmingham NS via this route, when it was going to be electric.
Not sure about that - I frequent a rail forum and havent seen a Birm NS route mentioned, that would be a long way round and offer nothing that either the Oxford or MK ends dont already have in terms of Birm access. Indeed other than running the Aylesbury to MK no further WCML options are AIUI viable due to paths on that plus the EWR drops trains on the slows side of the WCML and so beyond MK would need a flat crossing to the fasts, the exact opposite of what the EWR Bletchley flyover was intended to avoid. Indeed even to get to MK a 5th dedicated bidirectional line was being considered to avoid interfering with the WCML at all.

There were plans for more Chiltern services, those have been descoped (and even the Aylesbury to MK may already have been also), plus ideas of additional or switched South Coast to North East (Cross Country) services. Ideally they can still be added in, but the EWR will only be 100mph on the Bicester-Bletchley section and they arent upgrading the slow Bletchley to Bedford one.

In reality, the area needs all of this, but that goes hand in hand with massive new town construction. Politically too difficult, which is a tragedy as, as referenced above, the housebuilding will still go ahead, just without a plan or supporting infra and the locals will suffer more.
As marconaf prophesied, it looks like the Oxford Cambridge arc is still a thing - it's just that they are doing it without the new, in particular, road infrastructure that's needed to make it work.

https://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/l ... h-21117738
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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by 6637 » Sat Jul 24, 2021 02:03

Highly disappointing to see how slowly things progress nowadays- a target of only 1 million homes by 2050 scrapped, motorway scrapped... people in the postwar era would be so disappointed to see how little gets done now.

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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by EpicChef » Sat Jul 24, 2021 06:21

6637 wrote:
Sat Jul 24, 2021 02:03
Highly disappointing to see how slowly things progress nowadays- a target of only 1 million homes by 2050 scrapped, motorway scrapped... people in the postwar era would be so disappointed to see how little gets done now.
True. Very true.
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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by KeithW » Sat Jul 24, 2021 13:01

EpicChef wrote:
Sat Jul 24, 2021 06:21
6637 wrote:
Sat Jul 24, 2021 02:03
Highly disappointing to see how slowly things progress nowadays- a target of only 1 million homes by 2050 scrapped, motorway scrapped... people in the postwar era would be so disappointed to see how little gets done now.
True. Very true.
Here is a reality check regarding the post war era.

Under the terms of the British Transport Act 1947 the British Transport Commission was formed to oversee railways, canals and road freight transport in Great Britain. Its general duty under the Transport Act 1947 was to provide an efficient, adequate, economical and properly integrated system of public inland transport and port facilities within Great Britain for passengers and goods, excluding transport by air.

Essentially everything that moved was nationalised including all the bus companies, road haulage companies, the trams, railways and canals were nationalised including the small companies with one or two ex army trucks that had been set up by demobbed ex army drivers. Road construction that had been paused in 1939 was for the most part NOT continued. A classic example was the first Dartford Tunnel the pilot bore for which had been bored in 1939. Works did not resume until 1959 meaning the tunnel did not open until 1963.

Consider also the M20. Work on the Maidstone and Ashford bypass had started pre-war but the first section then designated A20(M) didn't open until 1960. The reality is that to all intents and purposes most road construction halted in 1939 and did not resume until the mid 1950's. Indeed by 1951 after more than 20 years most of the companies who had built the 1930's roads had folded and the machinery required simply did not exist. Much of the heavy machinery used to build the early motorways had been imported by the USAF to build cold war air bases such as Alconbury. In 1948 a plan for a major road network was finally produced but it was the mid to late 1950's until near motorway standard roads started to open and they were were mostly bypasses of the worst bottlenecks such Preston, Stamford and Grantham.

In the UK in the 1930's the Ministry of Transport had begun to plan a national trunk road network. It was the mid 1950's before any farther serious planning resumed, this map shows the reality when it comes to comes to high quality roads in 1960.
https://www.roads.org.uk/motorway/chronology/1960

Driving up the A1 still took you through almost every settlement north of Barnett including Hatfield, Stevenage, Baldock, Stamford, Grantham, Newark, Retford, Doncaster, Wetherby, Darlington and Durham. The reality is that serious post war road development didnt get properly started before 1959. In 1969 I drove from the North East through France Belgium and Germany to Lake Constance and Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

The UK roads were not great, the A19 from Teesside still took you down S2 roads through Thirsk, Topcliffe etc to the A1. From there via the A1(M), M18 and M1 was OK but then you had to fight your way through London before getting to the M2 /A2 and getting to Dover was a royal pain as you also had to get through Canterbury and Dover.
https://www.roads.org.uk/motorway/chronology/1969.

The German Autobahn system was a revelation, we sped through from the Belgian border to Friedrichshafen in no time at all before taking a side trip to Bavaria and heading back through the Netherlands to the Hook of Holland and the overnight ferry to Hull.

The post 1960 road building boom came to a crashing halt in the 1970's economic crisis. As late as 1984 my journey back from Kent to the North East was scarcely better than it had been in 1968. From Ashford to Maidstone was the old S2 A20. With no M25 getting to the start of the A1/M1 required a good knowledge of back dodges around London and of course the A1 was still enough of a mess that realistically you aimed for the M1. The entire 320 mile journey would typically take at least 8 hours. The quickest route on Friday afternoon before the M11 and M25 opened fully was typically A20/M20 to the Blackwall Tunnel, through the City of London to the Angel before picking up the A41 to the M1. On summer weekends the queue for the Dartford crossing could start on the M20 at Swanley.

In short even with modern traffic levels I can drive almost anywhere in the UK far more quickly and safely than was possible in the 1970's when RTC's were still killing over 6000 people per annum.

Getting back to the topic the whole Oxford to Cambridge expressway scheme was a massive own goal. It would have been far better to continue the low visibility improvements that had vastly improved the road journey between 1990 and 2010, specifically the A421/A428 from Cambridge to the M1 at Brogborough and the A43 from Juniper Hill to the M40. All that was needed to get a decent route was to solve the problem of the trek through the hellish number of roundabouts of Milton Keynes.

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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by JammyDodge » Sat Jul 24, 2021 14:43

KeithW wrote:
Sat Jul 24, 2021 13:01
Getting back to the topic the whole Oxford to Cambridge expressway scheme was a massive own goal. It would have been far better to continue the low visibility improvements that had vastly improved the road journey between 1990 and 2010, specifically the A421/A428 from Cambridge to the M1 at Brogborough and the A43 from Juniper Hill to the M40. All that was needed to get a decent route was to solve the problem of the trek through the hellish number of roundabouts of Milton Keynes.
It certainly would have been an easier sell, splitting it all up into something like:
Milton Keynes Western Bypass
Bletchley Southern Bypass
Buckingham Bypass
A421 M40 Link
M40 J9 Improvement Scheme
Oxford New Bypass
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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by thatapanydude » Sat Jul 24, 2021 17:12

JammyDodge wrote:
Sat Jul 24, 2021 14:43

It certainly would have been an easier sell, splitting it all up into something like:
Milton Keynes Western Bypass
Bletchley Southern Bypass
Buckingham Bypass
A421 M40 Link
M40 J9 Improvement Scheme
Oxford New Bypass
Arguably you only really need a D2 (even at grade) online on the A421 from Bletchley to Buckingham East and Buckingham West to the A43.

This would be a strong solution for the next 30 years.
A1/A1(M) >>> M1

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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by roadtester » Sat Jul 24, 2021 17:26

I suspect it was a particular mistake to talk about anything looking like a grand solution involving unpalatable options for big new construction near Oxford.

I think it might have been more sellable to take the A421 around MK to the south before heading south west, picking up the A43 corridor near RAF Croughton and thence to M40 J10 and leave Oxford on the "too difficult for now" pile to be dealt with later.
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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by Patrick Harper » Sat Jul 24, 2021 18:28

KeithW wrote:
Sat Jul 24, 2021 13:01
Getting back to the topic the whole Oxford to Cambridge expressway scheme was a massive own goal. It would have been far better to continue the low visibility improvements that had vastly improved the road journey between 1990 and 2010, specifically the A421/A428 from Cambridge to the M1 at Brogborough and the A43 from Juniper Hill to the M40. All that was needed to get a decent route was to solve the problem of the trek through the hellish number of roundabouts of Milton Keynes.
I imagine that will keep happening, but the golden goose of the expressway plan would have been a new direct route between Oxford and Ridgmont, superseding the A34/M40/A43/A421 route. A project on that sort of scale would never happen under a strategy of addressing pinch points.
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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by Vierwielen » Sat Jul 24, 2021 22:58

Patrick Harper wrote:
Sat Jul 24, 2021 18:28
KeithW wrote:
Sat Jul 24, 2021 13:01
Getting back to the topic the whole Oxford to Cambridge expressway scheme was a massive own goal. It would have been far better to continue the low visibility improvements that had vastly improved the road journey between 1990 and 2010, specifically the A421/A428 from Cambridge to the M1 at Brogborough and the A43 from Juniper Hill to the M40. All that was needed to get a decent route was to solve the problem of the trek through the hellish number of roundabouts of Milton Keynes.
I imagine that will keep happening, but the golden goose of the expressway plan would have been a new direct route between Oxford and Ridgmont, superseding the A34/M40/A43/A421 route. A project on that sort of scale would never happen under a strategy of addressing pinch points.
They A303 was built that way. The Stonehenge problem was kicked into the long grass by one transport minister after another and is now rearing its ugly head again. BTW, can anybody remember which transport minister (of two jags fame) promised to double up the entire A303? (Here is a clue - he retired from Parliament 11 years ago and as Transport Secretary in 2001). Since he took office in 1997, the length of A303 that has been dualled is 0 km (which for those who prefer miles, is zero miles). Once the easy bits were done, the rest of the route becomes a series of pinch points.

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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by roadtester » Sat Jul 24, 2021 23:23

Vierwielen wrote:
Sat Jul 24, 2021 22:58
Patrick Harper wrote:
Sat Jul 24, 2021 18:28
KeithW wrote:
Sat Jul 24, 2021 13:01
Getting back to the topic the whole Oxford to Cambridge expressway scheme was a massive own goal. It would have been far better to continue the low visibility improvements that had vastly improved the road journey between 1990 and 2010, specifically the A421/A428 from Cambridge to the M1 at Brogborough and the A43 from Juniper Hill to the M40. All that was needed to get a decent route was to solve the problem of the trek through the hellish number of roundabouts of Milton Keynes.
I imagine that will keep happening, but the golden goose of the expressway plan would have been a new direct route between Oxford and Ridgmont, superseding the A34/M40/A43/A421 route. A project on that sort of scale would never happen under a strategy of addressing pinch points.
They A303 was built that way. The Stonehenge problem was kicked into the long grass by one transport minister after another and is now rearing its ugly head again. BTW, can anybody remember which transport minister (of two jags fame) promised to double up the entire A303? (Here is a clue - he retired from Parliament 11 years ago and as Transport Secretary in 2001). Since he took office in 1997, the length of A303 that has been dualled is 0 km (which for those who prefer miles, is zero miles). Once the easy bits were done, the rest of the route becomes a series of pinch points.
Prescott's plans, if they were his rather than inherited from the previous administration, must have been very short-lived, because he cancelled plans to dual the A303 in 1998, according to this.

https://www.chardandilminsternews.co.uk ... dual-them/
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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by Bryn666 » Mon Jul 26, 2021 13:23

roadtester wrote:
Sat Jul 24, 2021 23:23
Vierwielen wrote:
Sat Jul 24, 2021 22:58
Patrick Harper wrote:
Sat Jul 24, 2021 18:28
I imagine that will keep happening, but the golden goose of the expressway plan would have been a new direct route between Oxford and Ridgmont, superseding the A34/M40/A43/A421 route. A project on that sort of scale would never happen under a strategy of addressing pinch points.
They A303 was built that way. The Stonehenge problem was kicked into the long grass by one transport minister after another and is now rearing its ugly head again. BTW, can anybody remember which transport minister (of two jags fame) promised to double up the entire A303? (Here is a clue - he retired from Parliament 11 years ago and as Transport Secretary in 2001). Since he took office in 1997, the length of A303 that has been dualled is 0 km (which for those who prefer miles, is zero miles). Once the easy bits were done, the rest of the route becomes a series of pinch points.
Prescott's plans, if they were his rather than inherited from the previous administration, must have been very short-lived, because he cancelled plans to dual the A303 in 1998, according to this.

https://www.chardandilminsternews.co.uk ... dual-them/
Yes, the New Deal for Transport famously shredded all road plans except for the A1033 Hedon Road which had nothing to do with John Prescott being the local MP at all.
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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by Stevie D » Tue Jul 27, 2021 12:21

JammyDodge wrote:
Sat Jul 24, 2021 14:43
KeithW wrote:
Sat Jul 24, 2021 13:01
Getting back to the topic the whole Oxford to Cambridge expressway scheme was a massive own goal. It would have been far better to continue the low visibility improvements that had vastly improved the road journey between 1990 and 2010, specifically the A421/A428 from Cambridge to the M1 at Brogborough and the A43 from Juniper Hill to the M40. All that was needed to get a decent route was to solve the problem of the trek through the hellish number of roundabouts of Milton Keynes.
It certainly would have been an easier sell, splitting it all up into something like:
Milton Keynes Western Bypass
Bletchley Southern Bypass
Buckingham Bypass
A421 M40 Link
M40 J9 Improvement Scheme
Oxford New Bypass
The downside to doing that is that is fundamentally dishonest, and leads to further problems:
1️⃣ when it becomes apparent that it is intended to be part of a bigger project and not just a local bypass, that feeds the argument that people pushing for new roads are trying to tarmac over the country and are not to be trusted, making it harder to get any new roads approved, and
2️⃣ what you will get is a series of local relief roads that are totally unsuitable for use as an end-to-end expressway.

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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by jackal » Tue Jul 27, 2021 12:39

Stevie D wrote:
Tue Jul 27, 2021 12:21
JammyDodge wrote:
Sat Jul 24, 2021 14:43
KeithW wrote:
Sat Jul 24, 2021 13:01
Getting back to the topic the whole Oxford to Cambridge expressway scheme was a massive own goal. It would have been far better to continue the low visibility improvements that had vastly improved the road journey between 1990 and 2010, specifically the A421/A428 from Cambridge to the M1 at Brogborough and the A43 from Juniper Hill to the M40. All that was needed to get a decent route was to solve the problem of the trek through the hellish number of roundabouts of Milton Keynes.
It certainly would have been an easier sell, splitting it all up into something like:
Milton Keynes Western Bypass
Bletchley Southern Bypass
Buckingham Bypass
A421 M40 Link
M40 J9 Improvement Scheme
Oxford New Bypass
The downside to doing that is that is fundamentally dishonest, and leads to further problems:
1️⃣ when it becomes apparent that it is intended to be part of a bigger project and not just a local bypass, that feeds the argument that people pushing for new roads are trying to tarmac over the country and are not to be trusted, making it harder to get any new roads approved, and
2️⃣ what you will get is a series of local relief roads that are totally unsuitable for use as an end-to-end expressway.
But as Keith says, many improvements have actually been delivered in this piecemeal fashion, whereas precisely nothing has been, or ever will be, delivered by the grand idea of an expressway.

Nor is it dishonest. You want to improve the Buckingham bypass, you say you're going to improve it, and you improve it. Does exactly what it says on the tin. That's how upgrades usually work in this country - the A66 or A303 style whole route improvement is very much the exception.

In fact piecemeal improvement is continuing, most notably with the current investigation into improving A34 capacity. Are you saying that shouldn't be allowed?

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