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High Speed Rail - Thro' Amersham?

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Posted

I had assumed that the planned high speed link to the north would follow the Chiltern Line through Wycombe. However, today's Sunday Times has an article on it, which says that it has already been planned to within 25 yards and shows a map of the expected area through which it 'will slice'. The area starts just north of Wycombe and extend to just south of Berkhamsted, with Amersham right in the middle.

There is also expected to be a stop just north of the M4 for Heathrow.

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Posted

I think the problem is that there are several groups all lobbying for their preferred route.... and they're all issuing their plans to journalists who them publish them as "the" route...

The published routing report

http://www.greengauge21.net/assets/GG21_HS2.pdf

is based on a route that follows the Chiltern Main Line/M40 through High Wycombe to Princes Risborough and then up to Bicester etc...

No route has been decided and a route won't be decided for a long time... I'd treat all of these stories with a pinch of salt at this stage... I think that the story in the Sunday Times was actually to have a stab at the PM because it mentined Chequers several times... and personally I'd prefer to believe published reports rather than Murdoch journalists.

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Posted

The area starts just north of Wycombe and extend to just south of Berkhamsted, with Amersham right in the middle.

Until I looked at the Sunday Times, I misread that and imagined a bizarre route from Wycombe to Berkhamsted (all the hills!). For anyone else equally slow on the uptake, the "area" is a swathe, broadly East-West and Amersham is in the middle, though given the gradients, if that route was chosen, I presume it would be more likely to go along the valley, near the A413. Anyway, here's the article, unfortunately without the map: Sunday Times article (note that you have to click near the bottom to see the second page).

The published routing report

http://www.greengauge21.net/assets/GG21_HS2.pdf

is based on a route that follows the Chiltern Main Line/M40 through High Wycombe to Princes Risborough and then up to Bicester etc...

But that report is 2.5 years old; surely there is something more recent?

No route has been decided and a route won't be decided for a long time... I'd prefer to believe published reports rather than Murdoch journalists.

According to the BFP (not necessarily any more reliable than Murdoch's gang), the operating company will submit a preferred route in January 2010, though obviously a final decision would take much longer (lots of public enquiries). See BFP article.

According to Lord Adonis (and note the first word) " if the Government decide to pursue proposals for high-speed rail, we will publish a White Paper setting out plans by the end of March 2010. This would include route proposals, timescales and associated financial, economic, and environmental assessments. The White Paper would be followed by a full public consultation in the autumn of 2010, giving all interested parties an opportunity to comment before proposals are finalised". See House of Commons website article.

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Posted

All that is true... in terms of the published timelines... but it is going to end up being delayed and delayed and delayed.... especially as there is no money to pay for it any more...

And all the materials from HS2 (who are the company putting together the proposals) talks about the line following the Chiltern Line MAIN LINE and the M40... ie the Chiltern Line route that goes through High Wycombe....

I suspect people are confused by the Chiltern Line having two separate routes and have confused the line through HW with the line through Amersham.

Anyway, whatever plans are proposed or published... they WILL end up being delayed and bogged down in wrangles... because twas ever thus.

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Posted

And all the materials from HS2 (who are the company putting together the proposals) talks about the line following the Chiltern Line MAIN LINE and the M40... ie the Chiltern Line route that goes through High Wycombe....

That's plausible.

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Posted

And all the materials from HS2 (who are the company putting together the proposals) talks about the line following the Chiltern Line MAIN LINE and the M40... ie the Chiltern Line route that goes through High Wycombe.....

Unfortunately that's not what has been proposed. The plan is to go near our bit of the Chiltern line, but not alongside it.

In fact, the proposal would go between Old Amersham and the rest of the town, running behind Tesco, though with a tunnel for that stretch.

After the Tesco tunnel disaster in GX, I'm not sure if that's a good omen.

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Posted

You beat me to it.Could be quite an impact for the town.It could possibly benefit the town to.Cant open the maps as the site seems very slow.Maybe the idea was to keep quiet as long as possible so that the public wouldnt be able to obstruct the decisions.

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Posted

You beat me to it.Could be quite an impact for the town.It could possibly benefit the town to.Cant open the maps as the site seems very slow.Maybe the idea was to keep quiet as long as possible so that the public wouldnt be able to obstruct the decisions.

I've opened the maps several times without problems, so keep trying.

I can't see any benefit for the town because there won't be a station nearby.

Tunnelling should, in theory, cause less disruption in both the short and long term than making a cutting, though presumably there will be noise and support vehicles etc during construction.

I still can't get over the idea of building a high speed rail route that goes roughly west out of London, but doesn't go via Heathrow. Mad.

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Posted

Ooooh I take that back it looks like it cuts through some housing on London Road and I couldnt see any new station or link to the current. :o

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Posted

After the Tesco tunnel disaster in GX, I'm not sure if that's a good omen

From a quick look at the maps it looks like a really really long tunnel. The excavation work is going to be massive and make the GX work look tiny. I've not read all the material, but suspect they would have to use a different tunneling technique due to the tunnel length - maybe this would be more like the Channel Tunnel? However they choose to do it there are going to be vast amounts of material to dispose of somewhere. Whoever lives near where the tunnel excavations reach the surface is in for several years of massive disruption.

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Posted

Looking at the general map I can see they opted for the route that goes through the least developed areas,causing as little disruption as possible.

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Posted

From a quick look at the maps it looks like a really really long tunnel. The excavation work is going to be massive and make the GX work look tiny. I've not read all the material, but suspect they would have to use a different tunneling technique due to the tunnel length - maybe this would be more like the Channel Tunnel?

GX was an existing cutting roofed over though, wasn't it? It seems that much of the tunnel is over farmland, so 'cut and cover' (how the LU Circle Line was made) might be easiest, though with lots of local disruption. They may consider a tunnel boring machine not feasible in our clay.

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Posted

It seems that much of the tunnel is over farmland

I like the idea of tunnelling over; it sounds much easier and safer. ;)

Another link: Government consultation document (152 pages).

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Posted

If you squint enough at the map, you can see a UFO.

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Posted

If you squint enough at the map, you can see a UFO.

I noticed that and there's something waving out the windows! :D

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Posted

Just think of the effect if you are in the middle of buying or selling a house!!

Hello to everyone by the way

jeff

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Posted

Unfortunately that's not what has been proposed. The plan is to go near our bit of the Chiltern line, but not alongside it.

In fact, the proposal would go between Old Amersham and the rest of the town, running behind Tesco, though with a tunnel for that stretch.

After the Tesco tunnel disaster in GX, I'm not sure if that's a good omen.

This looks like a seriously long tunnel, from east of the M25 near Chalfont St Peter to just west of the old town, at which point it emerges into a deep cutting. I guess they might cut and fill for some of it, but it's pretty deep and some of it runs straight through residential areas (half of Chalfont St Giles and the bottom end of Station Road). It's marked on the map as "New M25 to Amersham Twin Bore 8.5Ø Tunnel 9600m", so maybe they will bore straight through.

Interestingly, the map key includes listed buildings, but none of the old town nor High and Over are marked.

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Posted

To be fair, it has to go somewhere and if it goes through Amersham, so be it. The trains will be electric, not diesel, so will be quieter than diesel trains. I also think that railway lines add a nice feature to the countryside. Rather than just fields and fields, what's wrong with a 30m stretch of gravel with a few metal slats and some wires above it?

HS2007_EurostarMedway.jpg

Hardly an eyesore, is it?

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Posted

I've downloaded and looked at the detailed maps.

The tunnel is a seriously long tunnel from the M25 which is planned to emerge into a cutting just outside Amersham old town behind the Church Street area (before the roundabout at the far end of the bypass). The line will then continue in quite a deep cutting for another mile and then run along the ridge above Great Missenden (some above ground, some in cuttings) before dropping down past Wendover and Aylesbury.

A few things then...

1. If you look at the detailed plans they show in detail the vertical relationship between the proposed line and the existing landscape (eg where the line will be in cuttings and how deep, where it will be above, bridges and viaducts, etc).

2. There will be no benefit at all to Amersham - forget that thought.

3. Even if the line did not cause noise and pollution when in operation (debated by many) there is no doubt that the construction work for the tunnel and the cuttings will be hugely disruptive. Because Amersham is at the end of the tunnel, the town will be the focus for the tunnel construction works. So the Old Town, bypass and A413 will be blighted by noise, dirt and construction traffic for years. And there is likely to be the need for a site to house the contruction workers too.

4. The area where the tunnel emerges and the cutting is slap in the middle of an area that I've always thought would be prime site for future housing development - behind church street on the way out of old town towards the far end of the bypass.

5. The tunnel is so long I don't understand why they didn't extend it half a mile futher to lesson the impact on Amersham. But I guess it is to do with the levels and its route beyond Amersham towards Great Missenden.

6. I cannot fathom how they could envisage a high speed line that does not have a station at Heathrow. This is totally barking mad. For us in Amersham, if they did have a station at Heathrow it would push the line further West and that would probably mean sending it up through High Wycombe area rather than Misbourne Valley.

7. If you think this is bad for Amersham then I think you should feel sorry for Wendover residents. The route is planned to pass within quarter of a mile of Wendover on a raised embankment (!!) and viaduct (passing 10m-15m above the level of the A413 and chiltern line). The noise will seriously damage Wendover.

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Posted

Five key points to make:

1. Public consultation, and "further work on mitigating impacts" begins in autumn 2010. Without serious campaigning, this will be a rubber-stamp exercise.

2. The proposed Amersham location for the mouth of the tunnel is just metres away from St Mary's School. This will be horribly disruptive to the children's learning. Perhaps the head (and parents?) could lobby to have it moved 500m further to the west?

3. Building is scheduled to begin in 2017, so plenty of time to kick up a fuss.

4. How odd to route the tunnel to the north of the A413, underneath Amersham, rather than to its south, which is much more thinly populated, and which does not have chalkstream (Misbourne) groundwater - an engineering headache, to say the least. Perhaps the noise and vibration would upset the Howe Estate more than we Amersham folk - after all, we only have schools, the fragile fabric of our coaching town, and houses for several thousand ordinary people to protect.

5. As any fule kno, the Metropolitan railway routed itself through Amersham-on-the-Hill because the Squire Tyrwhitt-Drake did not want to spoil the view from Shardeloes (see point 4). Perhaps the train men will power the line by placing a turbine on his grave? ;)

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Posted

If they are going to tunnel that far, they might as well tunnel all the way to beyond Wendover. From just east of Amersham, where the tunnel is approx 50m below ground level, the track rises approx 135m before dropping approx 50m back down to Stoke Mandeville. It would seem to be more sensible to simply keep the tunnel 50m below ground all the way to Wendover, rising gently and then levelling off, emerging at ground level to the west.

That's also a location with better traffic access - the A41 is very close.

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Posted

Five key points to make:

1. Public consultation, and "further work on mitigating impacts" begins in autumn 2010. Without serious campaigning, this will be a rubber-stamp exercise.

Is campaigning really going to have any effect.The plans were kept secret before so that they couldnt be objected to.It seems that once central goverment are behind a mass proposed infrastructure development its already on its coarse and that campaigning will if anything maybe have an effect on the fine details.Like Heathrow and crossrail for example.The people who are likely to suffer the most disruption are those who's homes will sitting in the way of the proposed tunnels in London Rd.Even those left near the tunnel site will have the worry of living near a the tunnel,noise,vibration,land movement etc.

On the Amersham map the tunnel proposed is to be a double bore.Is this a double tunnel for change over of trains?Im curious as to how wide this will make the proposed site through Amersham.

If the tunnel stops at Amersham, would there be a dedicated service/emegency hub in Chesham for the railway?

There are so many questions,its hard to know where to start on this one.I just hope it causes as little disruption as possible to residents and doenst spoil the old town.

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Posted

If they are going to tunnel that far, they might as well tunnel all the way to beyond Wendover. From just east of Amersham, where the tunnel is approx 50m below ground level, the track rises approx 135m before dropping approx 50m back down to Stoke Mandeville. It would seem to be more sensible to simply keep the tunnel 50m below ground all the way to Wendover, rising gently and then levelling off, emerging at ground level to the west.

That's also a location with better traffic access - the A41 is very close.

Maybe its due to funding or that the goelogy isnt suitable to tunnel all the way.If it comes nearer the A41 then its likely to cut through more villages than the going through the farm land proposed.I suppose running the tunnel near the A413 is more for the transport of tunneling workforce than for access of communters as there no station nearby.If its going to be 50m below ground that is one massive excavation,it would cause mass disruption to the old amersham area.

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Posted

I don't believe the Amersham and greater Chiltern community have been well represented on the Media today. Its difficult to avoid NIMBY-ism but all the voices from this area were distinctly underwhelming. Of course we need to progress transport in this country and need high speed rail between urban centres. But a MASSIVE engineering project through the best of the Chilterns! Amersham - a beautiful Domesday town will be forever ruined - the noise alone will see to that. The rail may be electric but the noise will only be worse than the High Speed 1 in Kent which can be heard for miles around. All this a few metres from the centre of the old town.

I cannot understand the arguements in the White paper against running the line alongside the existing track to Birmingham along the M40 corridor. I do not believe that a 10km tunnel is affordable and once these proposals are set in stone, the prospect of above ground rail along the Misbourne Valley is a real possibility to allow cost savings.

I understand that the conservatives are against these proposals (mainly due to cost and lack of Heathrow link) but our local MP must be more vocal. This is potentially the biggest change to the town and its atmosphere for many generations.

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Posted

but our local MP must be more vocal.

No doubt she'll jump in at some stage but as with the potholes it will be a few weeks down the line before she notices that there's a problem.

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