1920s Lymington to Freshwater proposed railway tunnel!?

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1920s Lymington to Freshwater proposed railway tunnel!?

Post by 6637 » Fri Oct 13, 2017 13:24

I just noticed this when browsing some old maps.
https://www.sabre-roads.org.uk/maps/ind ... 13&layer=2

I knew that a fixed link had been suggested before, but didn't know that a railway tunnel had been suggested in that location, that long ago!

One can only imagine how different the Isle of Wight would have been had that tunnel ever been built... makes one sad to think of what could have been.

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Re: 1920s Lymington to Freshwater proposed railway tunnel!?

Post by Ruperts Trooper » Fri Oct 13, 2017 13:32

6637 wrote:I just noticed this when browsing some old maps.
https://www.sabre-roads.org.uk/maps/ind ... 13&layer=2

I knew that a fixed link had been suggested before, but didn't know that a railway tunnel had been suggested in that location, that long ago!

One can only imagine how different the Isle of Wight would have been had that tunnel ever been built... makes one sad to think of what could have been.
Isle of Wight would just have become a suburb of Southampton, that's really sad!
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Re: 1920s Lymington to Freshwater proposed railway tunnel!?

Post by 6637 » Fri Oct 13, 2017 14:08

Ruperts Trooper wrote:
6637 wrote:I just noticed this when browsing some old maps.
https://www.sabre-roads.org.uk/maps/ind ... 13&layer=2

I knew that a fixed link had been suggested before, but didn't know that a railway tunnel had been suggested in that location, that long ago!

One can only imagine how different the Isle of Wight would have been had that tunnel ever been built... makes one sad to think of what could have been.
Isle of Wight would just have become a suburb of Southampton, that's really sad!
Hardly, the railway connection via Lymington isn't exactly direct. The catamaran services might still have been quicker for commuters to Southampton.

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Re: 1920s Lymington to Freshwater proposed railway tunnel!?

Post by KeithW » Fri Oct 13, 2017 18:12

Talk of such a tunnel started as early as 1874 and raised its head until 1930 when the IOW CC dismissed it as completely impracticable. Sentiment on the Island seems to have been in favour of a tunnel from Portsmouth to the Ryde area which seems to be subject of a current proposal for a road tunnel.

https://onthewight.com/proposed-solent- ... -revealed/

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Re: 1920s Lymington to Freshwater proposed railway tunnel!?

Post by 6637 » Fri Oct 13, 2017 19:22

KeithW wrote:Talk of such a tunnel started as early as 1874 and raised its head until 1930 when the IOW CC dismissed it as completely impracticable.
Interesting, the proposals back then must have been fairly serious given that a proposed railway route was marked on an official map in the 1920s!
Sentiment on the Island seems to have been in favour of a tunnel from Portsmouth to the Ryde area which seems to be subject of a current proposal for a road tunnel.
https://onthewight.com/proposed-solent- ... -revealed/
Yes, such a route is most popular and makes most sense nowadays. (a year or two ago I made a possible map of such a route)

However I imagine things would have been different in the 1920s, when railways were a more popular method of transport, and the easiest place to put a railway tunnel would have been the Freshwater–Lymington route.

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Re: 1920s Lymington to Freshwater proposed railway tunnel!?

Post by trickstat » Fri Oct 13, 2017 20:40

6637 wrote:
Ruperts Trooper wrote:
6637 wrote:I just noticed this when browsing some old maps.
https://www.sabre-roads.org.uk/maps/ind ... 13&layer=2

I knew that a fixed link had been suggested before, but didn't know that a railway tunnel had been suggested in that location, that long ago!

One can only imagine how different the Isle of Wight would have been had that tunnel ever been built... makes one sad to think of what could have been.
Isle of Wight would just have become a suburb of Southampton, that's really sad!
Hardly, the railway connection via Lymington isn't exactly direct. The catamaran services might still have been quicker for commuters to Southampton.
Perhaps more like a suburb of Bournemouth?

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Re: 1920s Lymington to Freshwater proposed railway tunnel!?

Post by KeithW » Sun Oct 15, 2017 00:05

6637 wrote:
However I imagine things would have been different in the 1920s, when railways were a more popular method of transport, and the easiest place to put a railway tunnel would have been the Freshwater–Lymington route.
Easier to be sure but with far poorer prospects of substantial traffic to pay for it. The proposal seems to have originated with a group of Lymington business men eager to help their town regain its previous prosperity. The London and South Western Railway company expressed no interest and the capital required for the scheme to proceed could not be raised.

At the time Lymington was little more than a large village with a population of around 4200 and poor connections to the major local centres such as Southampton and Portsmouth. More to the point politically was that in the 19th century a tunnel from Portsmouth to Ryde could have expected to win Royal patronage as Queen Victoria's favourite dwelling at Osborne House was close by.

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Re: 1920s Lymington to Freshwater proposed railway tunnel!?

Post by fras » Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:34

The Isle of Wight has a very high density of poor/disadantaged people mainly because the island has virtually no indigenous industry except tourism. With the high fares to get to the mainland this puts a lot of grit into any economic activity.

A fixed link really should not expect to make money. The Scottish government have the right idea on transport in and around their islands called the "road equivalent" fare.

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Re: 1920s Lymington to Freshwater proposed railway tunnel!?

Post by sydneynick » Mon Oct 23, 2017 06:28

I find it hard to believe that any railway company could seriously consider a Lymington-Freshwater tunnel in the 1920s. Why build a link to the western end of the island, when most of the population is in the eastern half? And the line from Freshwater to Newport was hardly suited to running long or frequent trains.
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Re: 1920s Lymington to Freshwater proposed railway tunnel!?

Post by RichardA626 » Mon Oct 23, 2017 13:55

sydneynick wrote:I find it hard to believe that any railway company could seriously consider a Lymington-Freshwater tunnel in the 1920s. Why build a link to the western end of the island, when most of the population is in the eastern half? And the line from Freshwater to Newport was hardly suited to running long or frequent trains.
The west side of the Solent is narrower, which means a smaller tunnel is needed.
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Re: 1920s Lymington to Freshwater proposed railway tunnel!?

Post by Ruperts Trooper » Mon Oct 23, 2017 14:16

RichardA626 wrote:
sydneynick wrote:I find it hard to believe that any railway company could seriously consider a Lymington-Freshwater tunnel in the 1920s. Why build a link to the western end of the island, when most of the population is in the eastern half? And the line from Freshwater to Newport was hardly suited to running long or frequent trains.
The west side of the Solent is narrower, which means a smaller tunnel is needed.
I believe it's shallower too.
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Re: 1920s Lymington to Freshwater proposed railway tunnel!?

Post by KeithW » Tue Oct 24, 2017 18:44

sydneynick wrote:I find it hard to believe that any railway company could seriously consider a Lymington-Freshwater tunnel in the 1920s. Why build a link to the western end of the island, when most of the population is in the eastern half? And the line from Freshwater to Newport was hardly suited to running long or frequent trains.
That is because no railway company did propose it. The promoters were local businessmen
http://www.historicrydesociety.co.uk/history/isle-of-wight-railway/railway-news-from-the-early-20th-century/the-solent-tunnel/ wrote: Isle of Wight Observer January 5 1901
THE ISLAND TUNNEL SCHEME
There has been on the mainland, as well as in the Isle of Wight, a good deal of specualtion as to who are the promoters of the proposed tunnel under the Solent. There are five promoters, and we are now able to give their names, which are as follows: The Right Hon the Earl of Egmont, Sir John Blundell Maple, MP, and Messrs Frank G Aman, Richard W Evelyn Middleton, and R Cunninghame Murray. These gentlemen will be the first directors of the new company, which will be known as the South Western and Isle of Wight Junction Railway Company. The new company will be floated with a capital of £600,000 in 60,000 shares of £10 each, and the estimated cost of the undertaking is put down at £530,000. In the Bill, which it is expected will come before Parliament in April. Power is sought to enable the London and South Western Railway Company to subscribe and to apply funds for the purpose, and facilities are also sought for the forwarding and interchange of traffic to and from the railway over the lines worked by the Isle of Wight Central Railway Company in the Island, as well as to enter into working agreements with this company and the London and South Western Company. The entire length of the new line will be seven miles, four furlongs, and 75 yards. The tunnel will be two miles, two furlongs, and 60 yards long, and about one mile and three furlongs will be under water.

Isle of Wight Observer January 19 1901
THE SOLENT TUNNEL – The Electrical Review says:”The length of the intended tunnel under the Solent will be about two miles 500 yards, and as the estimated expense of constructing this tunnel is exceptionally large it is proposed to ask for power to charge in respect of this tunnel as for a distance of twelve miles. The proposed railway throughout its entire length is intended to be worked by electrical power, and, with the consent of the London and South Western Railway Company and the Freshwater, Yarmouth and Newport Railway, the traffic from the proposed railway may continue to be worked by electrical power over those systems into Brockenhurst Station and into Freshwater and Newport Stations. Running powers are also sought over the Isle of Wight Central Railway and over the Newport, Godshill and St Lawrence Railway. The capital of the company is to be £600,000.
The London and South Western showed no interest whatever in the scheme and potential investors for the 'new company' were lacking which is why nothing much happened. The company was formed but seems never to have traded and continued applying for extensions to raise the capital until at least 1909. It was finally wound up in 1924 when the time allowed to commence construction under the enabling act expired.

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Re: 1920s Lymington to Freshwater proposed railway tunnel!?

Post by jonnyf90 » Mon Dec 04, 2017 22:41

6637 wrote: Yes, such a route is most popular and makes most sense nowadays. (a year or two ago I made a possible map of such a route)

However I imagine things would have been different in the 1920s, when railways were a more popular method of transport, and the easiest place to put a railway tunnel would have been the Freshwater–Lymington route.
The Isle of Wight's road infrastructure is barely capable of dealing with tourist traffic in the summer. Your proposal has free flowing motorway traffic slamming into the "Racecourse roundabout" which as any local knows, is already over capacity.

Any sort of fixed link to the Island would have to have more than one exit (much like the M1/M10/M45) to ensure gridlock isn't achieved.

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Re: 1920s Lymington to Freshwater proposed railway tunnel!?

Post by WHBM » Tue Dec 05, 2017 00:57

As with a few such proposals elsewhere (such as a tunnel from Alaska to Russia) they seem to have been attracted solely by the shortest underwater distance, notwithstanding that the main demand is between points elsewhere, which would still be quicker than going round to the tunnel.

Surprising that Lymington boosters were behind it. Lymington is right on the waterfront, but any tunnel would need to start down a considerable distance before you get to the town

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Re: 1920s Lymington to Freshwater proposed railway tunnel!?

Post by 6637 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 02:57

jonnyf90 wrote:
6637 wrote: Yes, such a route is most popular and makes most sense nowadays. (a year or two ago I made a possible map of such a route)

However I imagine things would have been different in the 1920s, when railways were a more popular method of transport, and the easiest place to put a railway tunnel would have been the Freshwater–Lymington route.
The Isle of Wight's road infrastructure is barely capable of dealing with tourist traffic in the summer. Your proposal has free flowing motorway traffic slamming into the "Racecourse roundabout" which as any local knows, is already over capacity.

Any sort of fixed link to the Island would have to have more than one exit (much like the M1/M10/M45) to ensure gridlock isn't achieved.

Cheers
My intention was that that new "Racecourse roundabout" would be more of a freeflow gyratory, with 3 or maybe 4 lanes. I deliberately made it big so that freeflow would be a possibility. Basically, it's designed with enough capacity to avoid congestion. The point being that if you can avoid congestion at that one roundabout, then the traffic from/to the mainland would split up there into four different directions (to Newport, to Ryde, to Cowes, and to Sandown Bay), avoiding a heavy increase in traffic on any part of the Island's existing road network.

I think this discussion has drifted away from the topic of the thread somewhat, though...

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Re: 1920s Lymington to Freshwater proposed railway tunnel!?

Post by KeithW » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:08

WHBM wrote:As with a few such proposals elsewhere (such as a tunnel from Alaska to Russia) they seem to have been attracted solely by the shortest underwater distance, notwithstanding that the main demand is between points elsewhere, which would still be quicker than going round to the tunnel.

Surprising that Lymington boosters were behind it. Lymington is right on the waterfront, but any tunnel would need to start down a considerable distance before you get to the town
Alaska to Russia is not going to work for many reasons. Apart from politics lets take 3

1) Its a major tectonic zone. The area is one of the most geologically active on the planet ringed by volcanoes and plagued by earthquakes. Any tunnel would have to go through the middle of all of that AND cope with the fact that sea floor spreading means the distance WILL change.

2) The local climate is atrocious in Winter. Southern Alaska in winter is OK , its no farther North than Newcastle or Edinburgh and most of the ports remain open that is definitely not true of the area around the Bering Sea

3) There is nobody there to use it and no roads in the regions. Alaska is the largest state in the USA and has a population of around 3/4 million. Most of them in the Anchorage to Fairbanks corridor or around the Inside passage from Valdez to Juneau

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Re: 1920s Lymington to Freshwater proposed railway tunnel!?

Post by owen b » Tue Dec 05, 2017 20:34

KeithW wrote:
WHBM wrote:As with a few such proposals elsewhere (such as a tunnel from Alaska to Russia) they seem to have been attracted solely by the shortest underwater distance, notwithstanding that the main demand is between points elsewhere, which would still be quicker than going round to the tunnel.
Alaska to Russia is not going to work for many reasons.
I agree that a tunnel between Alaska and Russia doesn't make sense for several reasons, but tectonics and earthquake activity isn't one of them. Alaska is on the same tectonic plate as the far north east of Russia. There is a tectonic plate boundary between the North American plate and the Pacific plate but that is 800 miles or more away (the Aleutian island arc / oceanic trench to the south) from the shortest underwater distance from Alaska to Russia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plate_tec ... ct2_en.svg
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Re: 1920s Lymington to Freshwater proposed railway tunnel!?

Post by hoagy_ytfc » Wed Dec 06, 2017 01:16

KeithW wrote:There is nobody there to use it and no roads in the regions.

I admit I'm guessing a lot, I have no numbers: But _if_ there's a demand, then it's probably based on getting freight from China to USA quicker than sailing it across the ocean.

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Re: 1920s Lymington to Freshwater proposed railway tunnel!?

Post by hoagy_ytfc » Wed Dec 06, 2017 01:17

hoagy_ytfc wrote:
KeithW wrote:There is nobody there to use it and no roads in the regions.

I admit I'm guessing a lot, I have no numbers: But _if_ there's a demand, then it's probably based on getting freight from China to USA quicker than sailing it across the ocean.
And/or cheaper? How would the costs of land trains compare to sea vessels? I've genuinely no idea, if anyone has some numbers I'd love to see them.

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Re: 1920s Lymington to Freshwater proposed railway tunnel!?

Post by Fenlander » Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:22

There were some numbers in a piece on the BBC a while back about the opening of a train route from China to Europe (or something like that) and the conclusion was that it was only really of use for time sensitive loads as although sea freight is very slow it is also very, very cheap.

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