Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

The study of British and Irish roads - their construction, numbering, history, mapping, past and future official roads proposals and general roads musings.

There is a separate forum for Street Furniture (traffic lights, street lights, road signs etc).

Registered users get access to other forums including discussions about other forms of transport, driving, fantasy roads and wishlists, and roads quizzes.

Moderator: Site Management Team

Post Reply
WHBM
Member
Posts: 7951
Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 18:01
Location: London

Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by WHBM » Tue Sep 10, 2019 21:24

Chris5156 wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 20:09
Trains carrying fuel or other hazardous loads don't carry remotely the same risks as fuel tankers in road tunnels, for all sorts of obvious reasons.
I disagree. There was a fuel train which caught fire in a Pennine tunnel in 1984 and a huge fire developed that burned for days.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summit_Tunnel_fire

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=summi ... 8146998184

In contrast I believe not one tanker has caught fire in a road tunnel.

User avatar
c2R
SABRE Wiki admin
Posts: 9549
Joined: Fri Jul 05, 2002 11:01

Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by c2R » Tue Sep 10, 2019 21:27

Chris5156 wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 20:09
fras wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 19:13
Why not just bar all bulk DGs, and make the trucks go round the other way, the M25 is a circle, after all. Heath and Safety fascists strike again ! Network Rail don't insist on all trains being stopped to allow freight trains with DGs to pass through tunnels, it would cause complete chaos. This includes the Severn Tunnel that is four miles long under the Bristol Channel
Making fuel tankers travel an extra 100 miles around the most congested side of the M25 could just as easily be described as "health and safety fascists strike again". The current solution of escorting loads at least allows the tankers to use the tunnel, rather than making the most easterly usable crossing of the Thames the one at Staines.
Indeed, a terrible idea. And given many of them will be making use of the M2-M11 stretch only, and these would re-route probably onto the M1 if going round the long way, it would add to congestion and journey times elsewhere.
Is there a road improvement project going on near you? Help us to document it on the SABRE Wiki - help is availabile in the Digest forum.

User avatar
RichardA35
Elected Committee Member
Posts: 4496
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2002 18:58
Location: Dorset

Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by RichardA35 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 21:41

c2R wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 21:27
Chris5156 wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 20:09
fras wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 19:13
Why not just bar all bulk DGs, and make the trucks go round the other way, the M25 is a circle, after all. Heath and Safety fascists strike again ! Network Rail don't insist on all trains being stopped to allow freight trains with DGs to pass through tunnels, it would cause complete chaos. This includes the Severn Tunnel that is four miles long under the Bristol Channel
Making fuel tankers travel an extra 100 miles around the most congested side of the M25 could just as easily be described as "health and safety fascists strike again". The current solution of escorting loads at least allows the tankers to use the tunnel, rather than making the most easterly usable crossing of the Thames the one at Staines.
Indeed, a terrible idea. And given many of them will be making use of the M2-M11 stretch only, and these would re-route probably onto the M1 if going round the long way, it would add to congestion and journey times elsewhere.
Agreed this is the most concentrated stretch. Most of the tankers I see are travelling to/from just north of the river in Thurrock where the petroleum products terminals are.

User avatar
Bryn666
Member
Posts: 30121
Joined: Thu Jun 20, 2002 20:54

Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by Bryn666 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 22:49

WHBM wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 21:24
Chris5156 wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 20:09
Trains carrying fuel or other hazardous loads don't carry remotely the same risks as fuel tankers in road tunnels, for all sorts of obvious reasons.
I disagree. There was a fuel train which caught fire in a Pennine tunnel in 1984 and a huge fire developed that burned for days.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summit_Tunnel_fire

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=summi ... 8146998184

In contrast I believe not one tanker has caught fire in a road tunnel.
There's the disputed death toll from the Salang Road Tunnel fire in Afghanistan where a tanker exploded in it. At least several hundred died in that one.

You don't need a fuel tanker to cause a major tunnel disaster. The Mont Blanc disaster was started by a fire in a truck carrying margarine.
Bryn
Traffic/Road Safety Dogsbody and General Grumpy Now-a-Thirtysomething Man
She said life was like a motorway; dull, grey, and long.

Blog - https://showmeasign.online/

User avatar
Berk
Member
Posts: 8905
Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2010 02:36
Location: somewhere in zone 1

Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by Berk » Tue Sep 10, 2019 22:59

Has a second bridge at Dartford been ruled out at this point?? I’m not set against the Gateway Crossing, but it is considerably to the east, so must be anticipating Channel-M1(1)/M6 flows.

Would a second bridge still make sense at that point?? If I was in government, I’d be looking to see if the tunnels can be detrunked or retired.

Jeni
Banned
Posts: 7313
Joined: Sun Nov 28, 2004 22:28

Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by Jeni » Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:00

fras wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 19:13
Heath and Safety fascists strike again !
Ah yes, that old chestnut... easiest way to lose an argument!

I quite like being healthy and safe thank you :-)

fras
Member
Posts: 2384
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2012 18:34

Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by fras » Wed Sep 11, 2019 14:25

Jeni wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:00
fras wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 19:13
Heath and Safety fascists strike again !
Ah yes, that old chestnut... easiest way to lose an argument!

I quite like being healthy and safe thank you :-)
Yes, so do I
I would like to read the risk assessment that imposed the current process. Is this in the public domain ?

Jeni
Banned
Posts: 7313
Joined: Sun Nov 28, 2004 22:28

Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by Jeni » Wed Sep 11, 2019 15:43

fras wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 14:25
Yes, so do I
I would like to read the risk assessment that imposed the current process. Is this in the public domain ?
I'm sure if you made the right enquiries you could get your hands on something relevant, yes.

User avatar
A303Chris
Elected Committee Member
Posts: 3080
Joined: Mon Sep 20, 2004 14:01
Location: Reading

Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by A303Chris » Fri Jan 22, 2021 10:19

Latest accounts for the crossing published by the HE.

Unless I misread it for the year to March 2020, the income was £209 million up from £195.7 million and the expenditure was £102 million down from £104.3 million.

So a nicer little earner for the Tax Man.

I don't mind paying a toll if it goes towards the upkeep of the infrastructure I am using, but am annoyed with profiteering from them. Unless the profit is going to the Severn Crossings given they are now free!!!!!
The M25 - The road to nowhere

User avatar
RichardA35
Elected Committee Member
Posts: 4496
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2002 18:58
Location: Dorset

Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by RichardA35 » Fri Jan 22, 2021 11:16

A303Chris wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 10:19
Latest accounts for the crossing published by the HE.

Unless I misread it for the year to March 2020, the income was £209 million up from £195.7 million and the expenditure was £102 million down from £104.3 million.

So a nicer little earner for the Tax Man.

I don't mind paying a toll if it goes towards the upkeep of the infrastructure I am using, but am annoyed with profiteering from them. Unless the profit is going to the Severn Crossings given they are now free!!!!!
But it's not a toll - it's a road user charging scheme.

User avatar
A303Chris
Elected Committee Member
Posts: 3080
Joined: Mon Sep 20, 2004 14:01
Location: Reading

Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by A303Chris » Fri Jan 22, 2021 12:36

RichardA35 wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 11:16
But it's not a toll - it's a road user charging scheme.
Good point I forget that, the tolls ended when the bridge was paid off
The M25 - The road to nowhere

fras
Member
Posts: 2384
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2012 18:34

Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by fras » Fri Jan 22, 2021 12:57

RichardA35 wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 11:16
A303Chris wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 10:19
Latest accounts for the crossing published by the HE.

Unless I misread it for the year to March 2020, the income was £209 million up from £195.7 million and the expenditure was £102 million down from £104.3 million.

So a nicer little earner for the Tax Man.

I don't mind paying a toll if it goes towards the upkeep of the infrastructure I am using, but am annoyed with profiteering from them. Unless the profit is going to the Severn Crossings given they are now free!!!!!
But it's not a toll - it's a road user charging scheme.
Yeah, right !
A toll in all but name. I wonder how they'll collect the charge from all the foreign-registered vehicles now.

User avatar
JammyDodge
Member
Posts: 101
Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2018 13:17

Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by JammyDodge » Fri Jan 22, 2021 15:52

fras wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 12:57
RichardA35 wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 11:16
A303Chris wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 10:19
Latest accounts for the crossing published by the HE.

Unless I misread it for the year to March 2020, the income was £209 million up from £195.7 million and the expenditure was £102 million down from £104.3 million.

So a nicer little earner for the Tax Man.

I don't mind paying a toll if it goes towards the upkeep of the infrastructure I am using, but am annoyed with profiteering from them. Unless the profit is going to the Severn Crossings given they are now free!!!!!
But it's not a toll - it's a road user charging scheme.
Yeah, right !
A toll in all but name. I wonder how they'll collect the charge from all the foreign-registered vehicles now.
It is still a toll. If it in surplus, that is if anything a good thing. At some point the tunnels and bridge will need hefty retrofits or even replacement.
Designing Tomorrow, Around the Past

Phil
Member
Posts: 1703
Joined: Sun Dec 15, 2002 18:03
Location: Burgess Hill,W Sussex, UK

Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by Phil » Sun Jan 24, 2021 10:38

JammyDodge wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 15:52

It is still a toll. If it in surplus, that is if anything a good thing. At some point the tunnels and bridge will need hefty retrofits or even replacement.
No its NOT

You need to pay attention to what the LAW says.

Basically the authorising acts for construction of the tunnels and subsequently the QE2 bridge were crystal clear that the tolls MUST end once the construction costs were paid off. NOTHING was said about future maintenance costs in the original authorising acts - that was assumed to be paid for out of general taxation as per the rest of the road network.

NEW legislation was passed in parliament which converted said Toll to a 'Congestion Charge' which allowed a the fees to remain and HM Treasury to keep a handy revenue stream with only the vaguest of hints that it might be reinvested in transport. The fact that no charge is lea vied overnight (in contrast to all other regular tolls) is another hint that the legislation covering Dartford is the same as that covering the Central London Congestion Charge....

SteveA30
Member
Posts: 5211
Joined: Fri May 06, 2005 12:52
Location: Dorset
Contact:

Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by SteveA30 » Sun Jan 24, 2021 10:52

...and if that crossing was in Scotland or Wales, no such deviousness would have taken place. It would be free now. They have much to teach us.
Roads and holidays in the west, before motorways.
https://roadhog.shutterfly.com
http://holidayroads.webs.com/

KeithW
Member
Posts: 10304
Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2014 13:25
Location: Marton-In-Cleveland North Yorks

Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by KeithW » Sun Jan 24, 2021 12:57

WHBM wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 21:24
Chris5156 wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 20:09
Trains carrying fuel or other hazardous loads don't carry remotely the same risks as fuel tankers in road tunnels, for all sorts of obvious reasons.
I disagree. There was a fuel train which caught fire in a Pennine tunnel in 1984 and a huge fire developed that burned for days.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summit_Tunnel_fire

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=summi ... 8146998184

In contrast I believe not one tanker has caught fire in a road tunnel.
They did a test fire in the Hatfield Tunnel as I recall. Its not just tankers that are a risk of course , food stuffs such as edible oils and fats are just as dangerous and there have been fires fed by that. Even if the load is inert an HGV carries a pretty fair load of diesel. In the case of the Mont Blanc tunnel fire the load of edible fats in the truck that caught fire was equivalent to 23,000-litres of oil. The Gotthard Tunnel disaster was fed by diesel on a damaged HGV while the 1949 Holland Tunnel fire was fuelled by carbon disulphide in drums. If you get 40 vehicles in a narrow road tunnel and there is a fire, the flammable materials are not just the fuel but all the plastics now increasingly used in their construction.

Then there was the Los Alfaques disaster where an LPG truck going past the Los Alfaques campsite in Spain crashed releasing 23 tons of highly flammable liquefied propylene. 217 people (including the driver) were killed and 200 more severely burned.

Trains carrying fuel in bulk rarely carry passengers as well and of course trains will be more widely separated than trucks will be and rarely collide. That said there was a major fire on a freight shuttle in the Channel Tunnel. Thankfully passengers and train crew were able to escape into the safety tunnel but there was enough damage to close that bore for a prolonged period.

User avatar
Stevie D
Member
Posts: 7664
Joined: Wed Dec 20, 2006 17:19
Location: Yorkshire

Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by Stevie D » Sun Jan 24, 2021 18:24

Phil wrote:
Sun Jan 24, 2021 10:38
Basically the authorising acts for construction of the tunnels and subsequently the QE2 bridge were crystal clear that the tolls MUST end once the construction costs were paid off. NOTHING was said about future maintenance costs in the original authorising acts - that was assumed to be paid for out of general taxation as per the rest of the road network.

NEW legislation was passed in parliament which converted said Toll to a 'Congestion Charge' which allowed a the fees to remain and HM Treasury to keep a handy revenue stream with only the vaguest of hints that it might be reinvested in transport. The fact that no charge is lea vied overnight (in contrast to all other regular tolls) is another hint that the legislation covering Dartford is the same as that covering the Central London Congestion Charge....
As far as the public is concerned, a toll is a charge and a charge is a toll. The fact that there is a different legal mechanism behind them makes no meaningful difference to the fact that as well as general taxation, you have to make a specific payment to use that road/bridge/tunnel. The fact that the crossing was built on the understanding that tolls would cease when the costs were paid off (in 2003) but that was effectively overridden by having a new charging system introduced in its place strokes most people as a pretty egregious deceit, and the fact that they had to fudge things by changing the charging system shows it up for what it is.

Interestingly, the overnight charge was only dropped in 2008 (I had thought it was much earlier than that but turns out that my memory was wrong!), several years after the toll ceased and the new charge imposed.

John McAdam
Member
Posts: 18
Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2018 15:57

Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by John McAdam » Mon Jan 25, 2021 01:16

Stevie D wrote:
Sun Jan 24, 2021 18:24
...
Interestingly, the overnight charge was only dropped in 2008 (I had thought it was much earlier than that but turns out that my memory was wrong!), several years after the toll ceased and the new charge imposed.
In 2003, up until 2008, a flat fee of £1 was introduced overnight (between 10pm and 6am) for all vehicle classes, resulting in a saving for non-car drivers using the crossing at night. Plus from 2003 motorcycles got free passage at all times - they paid 40p prior to this.

KeithW
Member
Posts: 10304
Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2014 13:25
Location: Marton-In-Cleveland North Yorks

Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by KeithW » Mon Jan 25, 2021 07:31

Stevie D wrote:
Sun Jan 24, 2021 18:24

As far as the public is concerned, a toll is a charge and a charge is a toll. The fact that there is a different legal mechanism behind them makes no meaningful difference to the fact that as well as general taxation, you have to make a specific payment to use that road/bridge/tunnel. The fact that the crossing was built on the understanding that tolls would cease when the costs were paid off (in 2003) but that was effectively overridden by having a new charging system introduced in its place strokes most people as a pretty egregious deceit, and the fact that they had to fudge things by changing the charging system shows it up for what it is.

Interestingly, the overnight charge was only dropped in 2008 (I had thought it was much earlier than that but turns out that my memory was wrong!), several years after the toll ceased and the new charge imposed.
It should be pointed out that there are a number of toll bridges which have been around for a very long time and which charge tolls to provide funds for maintenance, there is nothing that prevents a bridge company continuing to charge tolls indefinitely. As they were established by an act of parliament, the problems is that the toll charge was usually specified in the act. The Clifton Suspension Bridge is a good example. The initial act of Parliament was passed in 1830 with a number of new acts varying the conditions until a new act of Parliament was passed in 1952 which authorises the trustees to vary the conditions and amount of the toll.
See.
http://www.notolls.org.uk/pdfs/clifton1 ... istory.pdf

There is nothing inherently wrong with introducing a charge to provide funds for maintenance but clearly that should be proportionate to establishing a fund for maintaining the structure rather than becoming a nice little earner. Its also reasonable to charge for services such as vehicle escort through the tunnels.

BigBazz
Member
Posts: 50
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2013 17:02

Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by BigBazz » Mon Jan 25, 2021 07:51

If memory serves, the official reason (rightly or wrongly) for retaining the tolls at Dartford was to try and manage demand. The fact that there's no alternative crossing point between Dartford and Blackwall/Woolwich, however, makes for a significant diversion to avoid using it in most cases.

Needless to say, the switch to "Free Flow" has done very little to improve traffic flow heading South to North, given the proximity of the on-slip at Junction 1a to the former toll plaza area, which is around half the distance (if not less) of that from Junction 31 to a similar point on the North side.

Post Reply