Cambridgeshire Guided Busway (pics)

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Derek
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Re: Cambridgeshire Guided Busway (pics)

Post by Derek » Mon Oct 19, 2009 07:39

Guided busways were a very trendy idea back in the early 90's, I seem to remember them being proposed all over the place, including here in Norwich. They all but died a death apart, it seems, from a few small schemes and this one Cambridge which went ahead rather than re-opening the railway, despite a large amount of support for that.

To be honest for reasons already stated, it seems a daft idea to me. A tram would have been so much better. I bet it closes within a few years.

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Re: Cambridgeshire Guided Busway (pics)

Post by t1(M) » Mon Oct 19, 2009 09:41

wrinkly wrote:
t1(M) wrote:There are very few examples of guided busways in the world, and most of them are in the UK

[snip]

Leeds (about 800m: like the A64(M), it's much longer in one direction than the other)
According to Wikipedia the total (one-way) length in Leeds is 3.5km.
My mistake - I misunderstood the article: there are several sections each of a few hundred metres.

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Re: Cambridgeshire Guided Busway (pics)

Post by MJN » Mon Oct 19, 2009 10:54

They exist on two separate corridors as well-York/Selby Roads and Scott Hall Road.

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Re: Cambridgeshire Guided Busway (pics)

Post by Stevie D » Mon Oct 19, 2009 11:14

CJ wrote:The justification given is that the busway is following the old railway alignment, which is too narrow for a standard S2 road. If they had just put down standard tarmac in the available footprint, it wouldn't be wide enough for two buses to safely pass each other without slowing right down -- therefore the only way to fit buses into the railway's width was to build a busway so that they can pass close together at high speed safely.
So have the buses slow down when they pass each other then!
Alternatively, make the road slightly wider than the railway line was. The land taken by a twin-track railway is generally a lot more than just the width needed for the tracks, and I would have thought that would be wide enough for an S2 road that is only being used by a maximum of 6 buses per hour. Which could all have been done at a tiny fraction of the cost of this crazy white elephant scheme.

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Re: Cambridgeshire Guided Busway (pics)

Post by t1(M) » Mon Oct 19, 2009 11:22

Stevie D wrote:
CJ wrote:The justification given is that the busway is following the old railway alignment, which is too narrow for a standard S2 road. If they had just put down standard tarmac in the available footprint, it wouldn't be wide enough for two buses to safely pass each other without slowing right down -- therefore the only way to fit buses into the railway's width was to build a busway so that they can pass close together at high speed safely.
So have the buses slow down when they pass each other then!
Alternatively, make the road slightly wider than the railway line was. The land taken by a twin-track railway is generally a lot more than just the width needed for the tracks, and I would have thought that would be wide enough for an S2 road that is only being used by a maximum of 6 buses per hour. Which could all have been done at a tiny fraction of the cost of this crazy white elephant scheme.
The buses need to be specially built, for the guidance system. So they don't have to have standard width bodies.

How much would it have cost to re-lay the railway line? And to fit tramlines onto a road between it and the City Centre?

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Re: Cambridgeshire Guided Busway (pics)

Post by Mark Hewitt » Mon Oct 19, 2009 11:31

They did something similar in Gateshead for buses going towards the MetroCentre, they were getting stuck in A1 traffic and the back routes weren't much better.

So they partially rebuilt a new road running along the quayside, which is S2 but buses only and it works really well.

If Cambridge were to be built as a normal road it would have the advantage that if a bus breaks down, those following can simply overtake. Plus you can send out a man in a van to go fix it.

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Re: Cambridgeshire Guided Busway (pics)

Post by Helvellyn » Mon Oct 19, 2009 14:31

Plenty of perfectly decent S2 roads have been built on top of old railway alignments. I don't buy that defence for a guided busway for a second.

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Re: Cambridgeshire Guided Busway (pics)

Post by GrahamP » Mon Oct 19, 2009 15:14

Big Nick wrote:Entrance to bus park compound. Questionable signage.
Image
AIUI a guided busway is technically a railway, so the use of any road-style signage must be questionable!

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Re: Cambridgeshire Guided Busway (pics)

Post by t1(M) » Mon Oct 19, 2009 16:17

Helvellyn wrote:Plenty of perfectly decent S2 roads have been built on top of old railway alignments. I don't buy that defence for a guided busway for a second.
The busway's site claims they couldn't widen the original formation because of drainage issues in the flood plain. However, the problem was only at a few locations. Givern the expected frequencies I think single alternate line working could have solved that one.

Maybe the desire to put a cycle/bridle path beside it has more to do with it?

Good point about breakdowns: how will they deal with them? Will there be a guidewheel-fitted tow-truck?

I'm not sure it is technically a railway though: surely it's a private road? Either way, it can do as it pleases for signage: after all, LU and National Rail have different standards.

Trams are railway vehicles, trolleybuses are road vehicles: that's why the latter need number plates and the former do not.

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Re: Cambridgeshire Guided Busway (pics)

Post by Chris5156 » Mon Oct 19, 2009 16:28

Helvellyn wrote:
murphaph wrote:I must say, I've never really gotten the guided bus thing.
Me neither. Looks to me like all the disadvantages of a railway combined with none of the advantages (other than that the same vehicles can use the rest of the road network).
I interviewed a bloke from Metro, the West Yorkshire PTE. I asked him what had been the reason behind building guided busways in the middle of the road instead of normal bus lanes at the side. He could offer no practical reason - it was all, as far as he was concerned, about marketing, so the buses seemed a little bit more like trams and might attract people who wouldn't normally use a bus. The guided busways in Leeds actually introduce additional operational problems where they continually cross the flow of traffic in and out of the central reserve.

This scheme looks to me like a complete waste of time - but then I'm by no means the first person to have said that :D I sincerely hope that it is sorely underused and that the people responsible are hauled over the coals, but sadly I think only one of those two things is actually likely to happen.

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Re: Cambridgeshire Guided Busway (pics)

Post by NewportMonmouthshire » Mon Oct 19, 2009 18:05

Big Nick wrote:A recent drive out found me at St Ives, the pretty little Cambridgeshire (not Cornwall!) town which was home to Oliver Cromwell and had John Major as MP. Better known to me as where the worlds first pocket calculator and the amazing Sinclair Spectrum came from!
Not Cornwall, nor Cambridgeshire, but HUNTINGDONSHIRE! :bang:

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Re: Cambridgeshire Guided Busway (pics)

Post by bob@romiley1 » Mon Oct 19, 2009 18:42

NewportMonmouthshire wrote:
Big Nick wrote:A recent drive out found me at St Ives, the pretty little Cambridgeshire (not Cornwall!) town which was home to Oliver Cromwell and had John Major as MP. Better known to me as where the worlds first pocket calculator and the amazing Sinclair Spectrum came from!
Not Cornwall, nor Cambridgeshire, but HUNTINGDONSHIRE! :bang:
Used to be. :P
Hunts is now part of Cambridgeshire.
Bob

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Re: Cambridgeshire Guided Busway (pics)

Post by RichardA35 » Mon Oct 19, 2009 18:57

To try to wrest this topic away from another embryonic pointless counties debate, my hazy recollection of assisting on our company's (losing) tender for this scheme is that the overall requirement was for a high specification and design speed. (Railway-like tolerances for alignment, cant & cyclic top! were included in the documents which were obviously for steel wheel and rail)
However what the Client wanted to pay for was a seriously low budget road since rubber tyred vehicles could obviously overcome any bumpiness in the ride.
We could never square the circle and get (in our view) a fairly ignorant local government Client to understand and state whether what he actually wanted was what was written in his specifications. I don't think he ever did understand what he asked for and he now has neither a railway nor a road and the tolerances of one type with the vehicles of another. As others have stated the impression is that the parts don't really fit together as an overall package.

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Re: Cambridgeshire Guided Busway (pics)

Post by owen b » Mon Oct 19, 2009 21:34

Guided busways were a very trendy idea back in the early 90's, I seem to remember them being proposed all over the place, including here in Norwich. They all but died a death apart, it seems, from a few small schemes and this one Cambridge which went ahead rather than re-opening the railway, despite a large amount of support for that
I wish someone important would let Luton and Dunstable know that. Our scheme is due to start construction within the next few months I believe. Would be better off transporting people from Luton to Dunstable courtesy of some rare white elephants from Whipsnade Zoo.
Owen

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Re: Cambridgeshire Guided Busway (pics)

Post by Stevie D » Mon Oct 19, 2009 23:15

t1(M) wrote:The buses need to be specially built, for the guidance system. So they don't have to have standard width bodies.
Is that so? I was pretty sure the buses using the guideways in Leeds are standard off-the-shelf buses that have guidewheels fitted to the front corners. Getting buses custom made must be ridiculously expensive, even by the standards of a stupid money-wasting scheme like this one!

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Re: Cambridgeshire Guided Busway (pics)

Post by Burwellian » Mon Oct 19, 2009 23:31

Huntingdonshire is a district of Cambridgeshire and has been since the 1970's.

With regards to the railway, there was a campaign to try and reopen the railway instead, Cast Iron I think it was called. Most of the tracks were still in place until the busway works started. My understanding is that the Government refused to fund it though; similar story to the Manchester Congestion Charge. Basically, the Council weren't given a choice and forced to go with it if they wanted funding for other transport schemes locally. Similar story also with Cambs City Council and their congestion charge scheme that refuses to die, dangit!


Oh, and this is safe Conservative territory. I guess Labour probably resents that. Also might explain the Conservatives allowing the D4M A1(M) Alconbury - Peterborough through what used to be John Majors constituency ;)
Last edited by Burwellian on Mon Oct 19, 2009 23:33, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Cambridgeshire Guided Busway (pics)

Post by GrahamP » Mon Oct 19, 2009 23:32

The ones in Edinburgh certainly seem to be standard buses with guide wheels fitted.

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Re: Cambridgeshire Guided Busway (pics)

Post by Dave908 » Tue Oct 20, 2009 00:02

The buses for the CGB are indeed standard buses, with guide wheels fitted.

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Re: Cambridgeshire Guided Busway (pics)

Post by Big Nick » Tue Oct 20, 2009 00:10

From what I've read the CGB buses are standard Eclipse single-deckers and Scania/Alexander double-deckers, additionally fitted with guide wheels. These vehicles will run on biofuel.
The DDs can only be used on the northern part of the route due to a low bridge in Cambridge.

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Re: Cambridgeshire Guided Busway (pics)

Post by True Yorkie » Tue Oct 20, 2009 00:28

Mark Hewitt wrote:They did something similar in Gateshead for buses going towards the MetroCentre, they were getting stuck in A1 traffic and the back routes weren't much better.

So they partially rebuilt a new road running along the quayside, which is S2 but buses only and it works really well.
Yes I noticed not long after it was finished. Remarkeable time savings that makes now... before some journeys were taking between 30-60 minutes to do what the local train does in 10. That flyover by the metrocentre bus station was also part of the work I believe.
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