Oxford to Cambridge expressway

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owen b
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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by owen b » Sat Jul 31, 2021 19:56

JohnnyMo wrote:
Sat Jul 31, 2021 19:40
owen b wrote:
Sat Jul 31, 2021 17:33
JohnnyMo wrote:
Sat Jul 31, 2021 17:16
1 Square Mile could have 125,000 properties, somewhere approaching 750,000 people. A town 2 miles in diameter, so everyone is within a mile of the centre, even if half the land isn't housing but shops, offices ... schools could a have over 1 Million people. I don't agree with 20 dwellings / acre but that is the current guidelines.
:shock: Let's hope not. Luton is a fairly densely populated large town. According to data here : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luton it has a population of 213k (2019) in 16.7 square miles, that's 12,800 per square mile. 750,000 in one square mile doesn't bear thinking about, that's 59 times as dense as Luton. Quite apart from anything else, average household occupancy is nowhere near 6 (ie. the 750,000 people in 125,000 properties per your suggestion).
:oops: I was thinking do I allow 2 or 3 people per property so somehow did both :oops: 2 people would be 250,000/ sq mile. as I said I don't think 20 dwellings / acre is desirable

Part of the Isle of Dogs is 90,000 people per km2 which is approaching 250,000/ sq mile.
I still think that is far too dense. According to this site : https://www.statista.com/statistics/123 ... n-density/ Dhaka (the capital of Bangladesh) is the most densely populated city in the world, at 36,941 per square km (95,677 per square mile). I wouldn't fancy it myself. Maybe in a relatively small, high rise area built to high standards with good infrastructure, but not as the template for a city of hundreds of thousands or more, with reasonable provision of green space, transport, industry, education, healthcare, retail etc.
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JohnnyMo
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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by JohnnyMo » Sun Aug 01, 2021 10:04

We are agreed 20 dwellings/acre is too dense, that said it is the current guide lines. The point I was making there are much agri-industrial farmland in the SW quarter of England which could be used for housing or other developments without touching SSI, AONB etc. given the politic will.
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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by Micro The Maniac » Sun Aug 01, 2021 10:16

JohnnyMo wrote:
Sat Jul 31, 2021 19:40
Part of the Isle of Dogs is 90,000 people per km2 which is approaching 250,000/ sq mile.
Yeah... but how many people (especially with families) really want to live 50 stories up?

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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by Phil » Sun Aug 01, 2021 11:28

JohnnyMo wrote:
Sun Aug 01, 2021 10:04
We are agreed 20 dwellings/acre is too dense, that said it is the current guide lines. The point I was making there are much agri-industrial farmland in the SW quarter of England which could be used for housing or other developments without touching SSI, AONB etc. given the politic will.
So you want to offshore even more stuff and make us even more dependent on food imports then?

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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by JohnnyMo » Sun Aug 01, 2021 11:46

Phil wrote:
Sun Aug 01, 2021 11:28
JohnnyMo wrote:
Sun Aug 01, 2021 10:04
We are agreed 20 dwellings/acre is too dense, that said it is the current guide lines. The point I was making there are much agri-industrial farmland in the SW quarter of England which could be used for housing or other developments without touching SSI, AONB etc. given the politic will.
So you want to offshore even more stuff and make us even more dependent on food imports then?
The argument if we loose farmland then we need to import food is false and a strawman argument used by those who oppose development. Under the CAP upto 25% of cereal land could be set aside and not used under the post EU BPS land is still removed from farming for eco-friendly purposes.

The sub-urban environment is far more bio-diverse then farming.
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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by Phil » Sun Aug 01, 2021 12:05

KeithW wrote:
Tue Jul 27, 2021 15:43


The one part of the Oxford Cambridge arc that is going forward is EastWest rail which actually has the potential to take a lot of freight off roads such as the A14, A428/ A421 and A43.
Actually it doesn't

If you look at Rail freight flows these days they basically are confined to flows between port / centralised distribution centres or bulky stuff like Aggregates.

In both case we are talking about trainloads of freight not a few wagons to be scattered far and wide.

Freight stuff in the west / south-west is dominated by containers from Southampton to Daventry and stone from the Mendip Hills to London / SE neither of which have any need of East west Rail to reach their destinations.

Similarly Freight on the Anglia side is dominated by Containers from Felixstowe which already has no trouble reaching the likes of Daventry.

Transhipment of freight between modes massively increases costs (it works with containers because (1) they have to be taken off ships and sorted in the first place and (2) many of the containers are heading in the same direction). I bet 99% of the HGVs on the roads you mention have their origin or destination a considerable distance away from a railhead and transhipment is uneconomic. If you want to push such vehicles off the road it will only happen with a punitive tax regime that redress the balance (but will make the price of stuff go up considerably)

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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by KeithW » Sun Aug 01, 2021 14:20

Phil wrote:
Sun Aug 01, 2021 12:05
KeithW wrote:
Tue Jul 27, 2021 15:43


The one part of the Oxford Cambridge arc that is going forward is EastWest rail which actually has the potential to take a lot of freight off roads such as the A14, A428/ A421 and A43.
Actually it doesn't

If you look at Rail freight flows these days they basically are confined to flows between port / centralised distribution centres or bulky stuff like Aggregates.

In both case we are talking about trainloads of freight not a few wagons to be scattered far and wide.

Freight stuff in the west / south-west is dominated by containers from Southampton to Daventry and stone from the Mendip Hills to London / SE neither of which have any need of East west Rail to reach their destinations.

Similarly Freight on the Anglia side is dominated by Containers from Felixstowe which already has no trouble reaching the likes of Daventry.

Transhipment of freight between modes massively increases costs (it works with containers because (1) they have to be taken off ships and sorted in the first place and (2) many of the containers are heading in the same direction). I bet 99% of the HGVs on the roads you mention have their origin or destination a considerable distance away from a railhead and transhipment is uneconomic. If you want to push such vehicles off the road it will only happen with a punitive tax regime that redress the balance (but will make the price of stuff go up considerably)

Well East/West rail disagree as this is one of their major justifications for building the line. In fact the Bedfordshire branch of the CPRE are complaining about the expected increase of rail freight. At the moment a great number of container lorries drive from Felixstowe to the A14 to Thrapston where a good percentage take the A45 to the M1 and A43 or use the A421> as someone who used to regularly drive between Cambridge and Oxford I saw it frequently. Additionally intermodal depots are being expanded in the Midlands, indeed al least one new one has been built at near Daventry on the site of a major distribution centre used by many of the major supermarkets.

https://eastwestrail-production.s3.eu-w ... reight.pdf
https://www.cprebeds.org.uk/news/freigh ... f-bedford/
https://www.railadvent.co.uk/2020/09/ma ... shire.html
https://mcrma.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/ ... ntry-1.pdf

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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by Phil » Sun Aug 01, 2021 17:03

KeithW wrote:
Sun Aug 01, 2021 14:20

Well East/West rail disagree as this is one of their major justifications for building the line. In fact the Bedfordshire branch of the CPRE are complaining about the expected increase of rail freight.
Well they would say that wouldn't they! Its in their interest to talk up usage as it improves the business case - remember at the request of HM Treasury they are supposed be exist as a separate entirety to Network Rail (thus proving how wasteful and inefficient NR are)

It still doesn't mean that Freight will use it!

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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by Phil » Sun Aug 01, 2021 17:22

KeithW wrote:
Sun Aug 01, 2021 14:20
t. At the moment a great number of container lorries drive from Felixstowe to the A14 to Thrapston where a good percentage take the A45 to the M1 and A43 or use the A421> as someone who used to regularly drive between Cambridge and Oxford I saw it frequently. Additionally intermodal depots are being expanded in the Midlands, indeed al least one new one has been built at near Daventry on the site of a major distribution centre used by many of the major supermarkets.

https://eastwestrail-production.s3.eu-w ... reight.pdf
https://www.cprebeds.org.uk/news/freigh ... f-bedford/
https://www.railadvent.co.uk/2020/09/ma ... shire.html
https://mcrma.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/ ... ntry-1.pdf
The point is where exactly are all those lorries going after they leave the A14?

Daventry is ALREADY well served by Rail from Felixstowe as are other places further up the M6 / M1, its not reliant on EastWest Rail to achieve modal shift!

Similarly there are plenty of rail services between Southampton, Daventry and places further north which parallel the A34, A43 / M40, etc.

Yes there are some supermarket flows on rail - but these are England to Scotland long distance flows where entire train loads can be carried not a couple of wagons to random places over the UK.

Furthermore, more terminals doesn't magically mean less HGVs - the economics of rail freight don't change in that you still need to drum up a trainload of business to make it worthwhile serving. In fact all having more terminals does is effectively shift existing rail freight around - i.e. rather than have to truck items from Daventry a company can do so from Donnington instead.

I fear you simply don't grasp the economics of rail freight in the UK. Anything which requires lost of marshalling on route or runs in less than trainload quantities is hopeless uneconomic and as such is going to say on the roads however many new railways are built. If you anaylise the origin and destination of ,most of the HGVs on the likes of the A14 you will find their destination / origin and payload are incompatible with a profitable railfreight system.

Modal shift has effectively gone as far as it can possibly do in a free market, low regulation economy - if you want it to change then building more railways and freight terminals simply won't do it. Instead you have to go down the Swiss route of crippling taxation / restrictions to force the use of rail (even though its more costly than HGV distribution methods).

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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by SteveA30 » Mon Aug 02, 2021 09:55

The increasingly green agenda may tip it in favour of rail, overriding economical considerations, which shouldn't be the only criteria.
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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by KeithW » Mon Aug 02, 2021 10:37

SteveA30 wrote:
Mon Aug 02, 2021 09:55
The increasingly green agenda may tip it in favour of rail, overriding economical considerations, which shouldn't be the only criteria.
Given the current plans to phase out the sale of fossil fuelled cars in the UK by 2030 it seems inevitable to me that the same pressures will be applied to fleets of diesel powered HGV's. I seem to recall that a date of 2040 is planned for a ban on diesel powered HGV's. The disappointing aspect of the East West rail plan is that it doesn't include electrification of the line.

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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by KeithW » Mon Aug 02, 2021 11:02

Phil wrote:
Sun Aug 01, 2021 17:22
The point is where exactly are all those lorries going after they leave the A14?

Daventry is ALREADY well served by Rail from Felixstowe as are other places further up the M6 / M1, its not reliant on EastWest Rail to achieve modal shift!

Similarly there are plenty of rail services between Southampton, Daventry and places further north which parallel the A34, A43 / M40, etc.

Yes there are some supermarket flows on rail - but these are England to Scotland long distance flows where entire train loads can be carried not a couple of wagons to random places over the UK.
What this shows is that where rail access is available its being used, the problem is that when you are moving between East Anglia and the Thames Valley most rail routes take you round the congested rails of North London and of course the ECML has a number of bottlenecks such as the section of twin track at Welwyn North over the Digswell Viaduct and through the Welwyn tunnels.

This Network Rail paper is an interesting read.

https://www.networkrail.co.uk/wp-conten ... Report.pdf

There seem to be problems already accommodating rail freight bound for London let alone increased traffic to Oxford, the Thames Valley and West Country.
page 8 wrote: The major ‘deep sea’ ports, those receiving the largest container ships and serving as
the gateways to global trade for the entire island, are all located on the South East
fringes of Great Britain, close to shipping routes. As a result, a large proportion of the
country’s imported goods arrive through Felixstowe or London Gateway but need to
be moved to distribution centres in central England or terminals nationwide to reach
The availability of suitable terminals for rail freight is a challenge in the London area.

Construction railheads need to be safeguarded and protected
from inappropriate adjacent housing development,
which can threaten the imposition of restrictions to
their operations. London and the South East also
their intended destination (see map above right).

The geography of intermodal supply chains therefore means that some trains from Felixstowe and all of those from London
Gateway have to use routes via London, in the former case because the ‘cross-country’ route via Peterborough is currently at capacity and in the latter because no alternative route exists.
East West Rail will provide another cross country route via Cambridge and Bedford which Network Rail seem to think is needed as does the East West Rail consortium. My concern is that the scheme does not include electrification of the line which I suspect will in the longer term come to be seen as a mistake.

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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by Phil » Mon Aug 02, 2021 21:17

KeithW wrote:
Mon Aug 02, 2021 11:02
Phil wrote:
Sun Aug 01, 2021 17:22
The point is where exactly are all those lorries going after they leave the A14?

Daventry is ALREADY well served by Rail from Felixstowe as are other places further up the M6 / M1, its not reliant on EastWest Rail to achieve modal shift!

Similarly there are plenty of rail services between Southampton, Daventry and places further north which parallel the A34, A43 / M40, etc.

Yes there are some supermarket flows on rail - but these are England to Scotland long distance flows where entire train loads can be carried not a couple of wagons to random places over the UK.
What this shows is that where rail access is available its being used, the problem is that when you are moving between East Anglia and the Thames Valley most rail routes take you round the congested rails of North London and of course the ECML has a number of bottlenecks such as the section of twin track at Welwyn North over the Digswell Viaduct and through the Welwyn tunnels.

This Network Rail paper is an interesting read.

https://www.networkrail.co.uk/wp-conten ... Report.pdf

There seem to be problems already accommodating rail freight bound for London let alone increased traffic to Oxford, the Thames Valley and West Country.
page 8 wrote: The major ‘deep sea’ ports, those receiving the largest container ships and serving as
the gateways to global trade for the entire island, are all located on the South East
fringes of Great Britain, close to shipping routes. As a result, a large proportion of the
country’s imported goods arrive through Felixstowe or London Gateway but need to
be moved to distribution centres in central England or terminals nationwide to reach
The availability of suitable terminals for rail freight is a challenge in the London area.

Construction railheads need to be safeguarded and protected
from inappropriate adjacent housing development,
which can threaten the imposition of restrictions to
their operations. London and the South East also
their intended destination (see map above right).

The geography of intermodal supply chains therefore means that some trains from Felixstowe and all of those from London
Gateway have to use routes via London, in the former case because the ‘cross-country’ route via Peterborough is currently at capacity and in the latter because no alternative route exists.
East West Rail will provide another cross country route via Cambridge and Bedford which Network Rail seem to think is needed as does the East West Rail consortium. My concern is that the scheme does not include electrification of the line which I suspect will in the longer term come to be seen as a mistake.
Firstly the distance between East Anglia and the Thames Valley is far too short to be economical for rail freight!

Freight in the Thames valley consists almost entirely of stone from the Mendips to serve building projects in London, Kent, Sussex and Surrey. None of it goes to East Anglia as far as I know. Freight in Anglia is dominated by containers - which when it comes to rail head across to the Midalnds and the north and not the Thames valley (the same is true of Southampton by the way - the Thames Valley / London / the South East is totally uneconomical to serve by rail freight)

Secondly, Network Rail are an infrastructure provider not a the transporter of goods so its only natural that they would welcome additional infrastructure (particularly if its owned by a 3rd party as it saves them having to do anything about their own routes).

Also if capacity is so short on the current freight routes from Felixstowe why is it taking so long to deal with things like the Ely area and double the Soham line? Why is the line into the Thames Gateway port not electrified requiring the use of diesels with poor acceleration?

Answer the cost is deemed 'too much' by the bean counters in Whitehall to fund as rail freight is deemed to be a matter for the Private sector.

Government (and their subsidiary bodies) love putting together these reports waxing lyrical about building capacity for modal transfer but they completely fail to understand the limitations of rail freight when competing against a low regulation, low tax road haulage industry. You can build all the terminals and rail infrastructure you like - it will make sod all difference and the growth will not be anything like they claim.

Oh and as regards electrification there is very little point in worrying about the lack of it on EastWest Rail when the UK can't even bring itself to do the MML north of Kettering, The key Trans-Penine routes or even fill in bits like Didcot and Oxford - all of which would have a far grater positive impact!

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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by KeithW » Tue Aug 03, 2021 01:17

Phil wrote:
Mon Aug 02, 2021 21:17


Firstly the distance between East Anglia and the Thames Valley is far too short to be economical for rail freight!

Freight in the Thames valley consists almost entirely of stone from the Mendips to serve building projects in London, Kent, Sussex and Surrey. None of it goes to East Anglia as far as I know. Freight in Anglia is dominated by containers - which when it comes to rail head across to the Midalnds and the north and not the Thames valley (the same is true of Southampton by the way - the Thames Valley / London / the South East is totally uneconomical to serve by rail freight)

Secondly, Network Rail are an infrastructure provider not a the transporter of goods so its only natural that they would welcome additional infrastructure (particularly if its owned by a 3rd party as it saves them having to do anything about their own routes).

Also if capacity is so short on the current freight routes from Felixstowe why is it taking so long to deal with things like the Ely area and double the Soham line? Why is the line into the Thames Gateway port not electrified requiring the use of diesels with poor acceleration?

Answer the cost is deemed 'too much' by the bean counters in Whitehall to fund as rail freight is deemed to be a matter for the Private sector.

Government (and their subsidiary bodies) love putting together these reports waxing lyrical about building capacity for modal transfer but they completely fail to understand the limitations of rail freight when competing against a low regulation, low tax road haulage industry. You can build all the terminals and rail infrastructure you like - it will make sod all difference and the growth will not be anything like they claim.

Oh and as regards electrification there is very little point in worrying about the lack of it on EastWest Rail when the UK can't even bring itself to do the MML north of Kettering, The key Trans-Penine routes or even fill in bits like Didcot and Oxford - all of which would have a far grater positive impact!
Felixstowe to Oxford is 152 miles, not that short in my book. Ely and Soham are a different issue as far as I recall neither are going to generate rail freight. I tend to agree that electrifying the line to London Gateway would be a positive move but it will not in itself improve capacity. Network Rail who would ultimately have tio implement East West Rail is of course ultimately responsible to the DfT.

https://www.networkrail.co.uk/running-t ... west-rail/

I have already made it clear that I would prefer it to be electrified from the start as retrofitting it to a live line is going to be harder and more expensive. Governments seem to have got cold feet on electrification after the cost overruns on the GWR lines into South Wales.

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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by Big L » Tue Aug 03, 2021 12:33

Mod note:
There is an East-West Rail thread.
Can we try to keep posts in the relevant place please!
Some recent posts will magically wing their way over there a bit later today...
Make poetry history.

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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by Phil » Tue Aug 03, 2021 18:34

KeithW wrote:
Tue Aug 03, 2021 01:17

Felixstowe to Oxford is 152 miles, not that short in my book.....
Response to this posted in viewtopic.php?f=8&t=42204&p=1200095#p1200095 as requested by the Mods

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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by Scratchwood » Tue Aug 03, 2021 18:47

In reality what we've lost is an Oxford to Milton Keynes expressway, which to me is still too important a road corridor to leave as it currently is, and improvements will still need to be made, even without all the proposed housebuilding.

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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by Phil » Tue Aug 03, 2021 19:04

Scratchwood wrote:
Tue Aug 03, 2021 18:47
In reality what we've lost is an Oxford to Milton Keynes expressway, which to me is still too important a road corridor to leave as it currently is, and improvements will still need to be made, even without all the proposed housebuilding.
But without the housebuilding to justify it such a project has a woefully poor BCR so won't happen.

You needed to remember that the UK Treasury has long stopped investing in strategic infrastructure as that is seen as a drain on the nations purse. A new road without development doesn't generate any tax receipts....

Infrastructure to allow their housebuilder / developer mates on the other hand supposedly increases tax revenue so must be facilitated at all costs

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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by Scratchwood » Tue Aug 03, 2021 19:14

Phil wrote:
Tue Aug 03, 2021 19:04
Scratchwood wrote:
Tue Aug 03, 2021 18:47
In reality what we've lost is an Oxford to Milton Keynes expressway, which to me is still too important a road corridor to leave as it currently is, and improvements will still need to be made, even without all the proposed housebuilding.
But without the housebuilding to justify it such a project has a woefully poor BCR so won't happen.

You needed to remember that the UK Treasury has long stopped investing in strategic infrastructure as that is seen as a drain on the nations purse. A new road without development doesn't generate any tax receipts....

Infrastructure to allow their housebuilder / developer mates on the other hand supposedly increases tax revenue so must be facilitated at all costs
It doesn't stop road improvements being needed or indeed electorally popular in the area if it wasn't connected with lots of housebuilding...

I suspect the pressure for some sort of improvement will eventually return

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Re: Oxford to Cambridge expressway

Post by Phil » Tue Aug 03, 2021 19:29

Scratchwood wrote:
Tue Aug 03, 2021 18:47

It doesn't stop road improvements being needed or indeed electorally popular in the area if it wasn't connected with lots of housebuilding...

I suspect the pressure for some sort of improvement will eventually return
Indeed so - but that option isn't on the table and would need a reversal of two decades of Government policy that all development is essential for the country economic well-being. While it would be nice to think that such policies will eventually come to an end, the reality is in a low tax, low regulation, free market economy parties are not going to do that - too many vested interests to protect....

Given the choice of no housing but no road or new roads plus thousands of houses most residents of the Chilterns / Vale of Aylesbury are going to pick the latter.

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