Level crossings

Network Rail doesn’t like level crossings. They are difficult to manage, and present a danger to travellers if they are abused. They are a weak link onto the railway line, where the rest of the line is usually fortified or protected to prevent casual access.
Local communities often do not like level crossings either. In busy locations like Wokingham Station main roads are blocked for more than half the time at peaks, as the barriers come down to let a train in or out of the station, or remain down because a train is at a platform. Our roads are completely inadequate for the peaks to start with, without losing their capacity altogether every time a train arrives or departs.
As a result, there is a programme to replace level crossings with bridges. I have been one of its supporters, and have wanted to see more money spent on bringing about these changes. If you observe the morning peak from the air in much of our country, you see completely congested main roads, relatively empty railway lines given the restraints on train use of track, and maximum congestion at points on the road network where traffic is trying to get across the railway. There are too few bridges.
yesterday I talked to representatives of Network Rail about our local plight in Wokingham. The much sought after new road bridge still has not got off the drawing board, though it is now on the planning map and there is agreement by both Council and Network Rail that it is needed. The temporary footbridge over the railway is an ugly and poor structure which we would all like to see replaced as soon as possible with the promised smarter new permanent bridge.
I want to see the government’s investment plans this Autumn include local transport improvements. We could have a safer railway and a less congested road system if more is done to speed the removal of level crossings and their replacement with bridges and tunnels.

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63 Comments

  1. Mark B
    Posted October 19, 2016 at 5:11 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    I cannot for the life of me see a road bridge being any less ugly than a foot bridge. But this is Wokingham đŸ˜‰

    As I have said before. Solving the percieved problem at one end only pushes it further down . You need to look at the root cause.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 19, 2016 at 5:27 am | Permalink

      The root cause being too many people for too few roads. With I think only about 1/3 of the motoring taxes actually spent on road provision. Much of this spend very inefficiently too.

      • Chris
        Posted October 19, 2016 at 7:56 am | Permalink

        Yes, and there is a huge housebuilding programme in Wokingham of thousands of houses on many sites around the town, as indeed in neighbouring villages. In the meantime, such inspired schemes as reducing the A329M (main motorway link between Bracknell and Reading) to one lane in places beggars belief.

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted October 19, 2016 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        Or perhaps also too many roads for too little land mass.

        • APL
          Posted October 19, 2016 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

          Sir Joe Soap: “Or perhaps” ,

          Too many people. We could start by restricting the number of people entering the country and increase the quality of life of those already here.

          Of course, as we’ve seen with the lies of the government and civil service just yesterday, they’ll let any Tom Dick or Harry come into the country and will lie through their teeth to do it.

  2. Richard1
    Posted October 19, 2016 at 5:15 am | Permalink

    Is Theresa May really going to dither over Heathrow / Gatwick for another 18 months? Does she not realise that the UK economy is in urgent need of confidence boosting measures? There must be a majority in Parliament for this now so if petulant Mr Goldsmith wants to flounce out and cause a By-election let him do so. (You’d have thought he might have acquired some humility after his dreadful let down of the Conservative Party in the London mayoral election). Or maybe a free vote will allow him and others to save face. Same with shale gas. We can’t have the Country held to ransom by posturing green and other agitators.

    • English Pensioner
      Posted October 19, 2016 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      I’m strongly opposed to the idea simply because it does not include any real provisions for road improvements in the surrounding areas. Any form of hold up at Heathrow, from an accident on the slip road or aircraft hold-ups due to weather causes massive congestion on all the local roads for miles around the airport affecting thousands of people and vehicles who have nothing to do with the airport. Delays in traffic getting off the M25 cause hold-ups to through traffic from the north to our southern ports, and the delays spill over onto the M40 and M3. A high speed rail line linking Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted would be far more use than the HS2, and probably remove the need for extra runways.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted October 19, 2016 at 5:16 am | Permalink

    Indeed, and lots of other bridges and underpasses are needed all over the place too. Many traffic light in the UK give better traffic flows when the are off than when working. They seem to be designed to cause a congestion, either that or the designers are clearly incompetent.

    Why exactly do we hugely over tax cars hugely (spending very little of this on provision of roads) and yet subsidised rail to such a degree and give it VAT and fuel tax advantages too. Yet despite this bias it is still almost always cheaper, more convenient and quicker by car (door to door).

    If trains are so efficient why does it cost £85 for a single from London to Birmingham. You could rent a car for the day and take 7 people there and back that sum. So about 14 times the cost per person by train.

    • James Morgan
      Posted October 19, 2016 at 6:26 am | Permalink

      Yes I have noticed often that when a set of traffic lights is not working there is actually less congestion than when they are working.

    • Anonymous
      Posted October 19, 2016 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      People more often choose the former over the latter.

      Dr Redwood is right. More bridges are needed.

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted October 19, 2016 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps also more walls needed.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 19, 2016 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      Or indeed a coach or mini bus with 15. Plus you have the cost and hassle of the taxis or buses at each end and lugging you luggage about.

      With driverless car on the way trains make even less sense. Why on earth do they want to waste billions on HS2, how can they be so misguided.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted October 19, 2016 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      Dear Lifelogic–We want trains so that they can continue to take what can be off the roads. End of. Driving to Scotland I thank God for trains. Be careful or some bean counter will decide another Beeching is necessary. Instead lines should be re-opened all over the place, given that often the trackways are still largely in place.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted October 19, 2016 at 8:42 am | Permalink

        What are rail tracks but inefficient roads anyway?

        • Lifelogic
          Posted October 19, 2016 at 9:29 am | Permalink

          Inefficient, under used, expensive to maintain, inflexible and can be brought to a standstill by unions, leaves on the line, a fallen tree, heavy rain, incompetence derailment and many other things.

          People may like trains but they are not prepared to pay the real cost of them. They expect car users to subsidise them. Why should they, trains are not even more energy efficient.

          • Anonymous
            Posted October 19, 2016 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

            And roads are often brought to a stand simply by other cars (and incompentence, crashes, fallen trees, ice), which is why people prefer trains.

            Drivers may or may not wish to use trains but see how far a politician gets in an election in which his campaign ticket includes closing down the local station. It wouldn’t be popular even with non rail users. (Think of the house price slump and extra traffic)

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted October 19, 2016 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

            Dear Lifelogic–Trains free up the roads, especially re freight. I imagine they are safer per passenger mile. No ghastly diesel fumes and particulates. Trains don’t get punctures. City centres wholly better without traffic. Not even all that sure that “efficiency” comes in to it (think lots of other stuff the Government pumps money in to ad lib) which is perhaps why some of us don’t think much of privatisation of the railways–how efficient is for instance state education? Lots of people do like trains, indeed rely on them absolutely for commuting.

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted October 19, 2016 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    More pathetic dithering over runways. Just get on with it dear be decisive. Start with Gatwick and follow up with Heathrow and a quick shuttle link too. Ignore Zak and the rest of the green blob they are wrong.

    Nearly everything Osborne did was bonkers, but one thing that was sensible was the proposal to allow people to sell their annuities. This makes a lot of sense for a few people in certain situations.

    Why on earth should the government prevent it by law, it is the persons asset after all not the governments?

    So the May government has gone back on this one sensible proposal from Osborne. Almost everything else the man did was bonkers why pick on this sensible one?

  5. Neil Harman
    Posted October 19, 2016 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    Hallelujah for small elements of progress. I have just dropped my daughter off at Wokingham station and the barrier remained down for fully five minutes with no trains passing either way. This is the most frustrating element for most drivers and this was at 6.20 in the morning, when there was very little traffic, all of which could easily have passed through. I think the entire working of the crossing needs to be modified.

    • Chris
      Posted October 19, 2016 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      This delay was frequently a feature at Rances Lane crossing too.

  6. alan jutson
    Posted October 19, 2016 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    Whilst I would certainly agree in general with your statement, the site you suggest at Wokingham level crossing, is surrounded by shops, houses, short front gardens and narrow roads and pavements, and has recently had a lot of modernisation completed.

    The new traffic flow is certainly an improvement over the old system, but why on earth did they not incorporate a right turn into the Station from Shute End Road to ease the flow even further.

    If a bridge was to be built in this location then existing housing would need to be taken down and a complete new layout designed, certainly worth investigation, but given Wokinghams dire road planning of the past I would not hold out much hope.

    Wokingham Council had the opportunity decades ago to remove traffic from entering the town with a ring road scheme, they gave up on that when the space was present, and instead built another 10,000 houses around the town with inadequate narrow roads, now we are in yet another new house building phase they are going to use housing estate roads (single lane) as a so called relief road, which to the south exits onto the congested A321 between two narrow, low bridges.

    I agree they need to think outside the box, but they have allowed too many boxes to be built in strategic areas.

    Reply A bridge is planned for another location, and of course the level crossing near the station has to remain

  7. Nig l
    Posted October 19, 2016 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    And the bridges should be sufficiently high or the track lowered to cope with double deckers because surely they have to be part of the solution. In fact network rail should mandate all such improvements in the future. You are a financial man, what would be the ROI on investing the HS2 money across the network as you suggest rather than the one line as currently planned.

    Journey times on my line, Alton to Waterloo are no quicker or not noticeingly quicker than in the 1960s. It is pathetic considering how much the fares have increased. Agree with life logic, rail v car, car wins mainly. It needs a visionary, bold, strategic plan, not fiddling around the edges with both the rail and road networks. The government’s record to date on airport expansion, does not bode well. It

  8. Mick
    Posted October 19, 2016 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/10/18/parliament-will-get-a-vote-on-brexit-deal-treaty-theresa-may-con/
    So Mrs May is going to give in to the remoaners, well I think it’s about time the leavers started making there voices heard more with demo’s and rallies, what’s good for the goose !
    I also cannot get my head round the fact that the remoaners are shouting it’s all about sovereignty of the house, sorry that was given away long ago, so until we actually leave the dreaded eu you carn’t call us sovereign, so this is about what the people want and is OUT and no fancy slight of underhand dealings, invoke article 50 now and shut the remoaners up, there are only 650 MPs but 17.5 million against you so just do it before it’s to late

    • MickN
      Posted October 19, 2016 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      Little demos are no good. I am the wrong side of 60 but when the call comes to take to the streets if democracy is ignored I will be there.
      These people really are playing with fire
      “for we are the people of England who never have spoken yet “

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted October 19, 2016 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

        MickN We too are the wrong side of 60 but we have said we will take part in a demo if our democratic rights are not upheld. We are not the type to demonstrate normally but we feel this is the limit. If we don’t get Brexit then our democratic rights and everything this country is supposed to stand for has been destroyed.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 19, 2016 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      Yes, when do we start to fight back against the tide of Remain propaganda?

      As for this report, I’ve always assumed it will probably be necessary for our Parliament, and other national parliaments, to approve the new EU-UK treaty (or treaties) before our government, and other governments, can finally ratify it.

      That isn’t the same as what the Remain fanatics want, they want judges to declare that the government has no power to serve the Article 50 notice without further authorisation by an Act of Parliament.

      And note that they are demanding an Act, not just a motion passed by MPs but a full Act passed by both Houses. Of course there would be little chance of getting the Bill for that Act through the Lords with its present membership.

    • Mark
      Posted October 19, 2016 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      However, she is not (yet) giving them a vote on invoking Article 50. That means Parliament will have to choose between the negotiated settlement and no agreement at all if they strike it down, since once Article 50 is invoked we leave the EU automatically whatever the state of agreements after two years. There are only two ways around that: either all 28 agree to us staying on (how likely is that?) before the two year deadline (we would presumably want some clarity on the terms for that, especially as there are so many “punishment” noises coming from the EU institutions, and they have already taken off the table even Cameron’s negotiation) – or reapplying after we have left under the disadvantageous Article 49, which would mean starting with no opt-outs, no rebate, commitments to join the Euro and Schengen etc.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 19, 2016 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      Reading transcripts of the High Court proceedings I’m amused by the recurring polite fiction that parliamentarians “intended” this, or didn’t “intend” that, when legislating, that with sufficient care it should be possible for the court to divine the “intentions” of Parliament when passing this or that provision.

      There may be some cases where this will at least slightly reflect the reality of what goes on in our Parliament, but having watched most of the Commons debates on the Lisbon Treaty I can say for sure that for most MPs their only “intention” was to keep in with their party whips and advance their careers by trooping through the right lobby when required to do so.

      The government agreed to open negotiations on a new amending treaty to replace the failed EU Constitutional Treaty, which was an exercise of Royal Prerogative without any prior approval by Parliament let alone at Parliament’s initiative, and it negotiated, again under Royal Prerogative, and it signed the newly agreed treaty, once again just an exercise of Royal Prerogative – Brown slunk off to Lisbon to sign it in a back room without any direction, or even permission, from Parliament to do that – and then it was dumped down on Parliament as a fait accompli for parliamentarians to make necessary adaptations to domestic law, without being able to change so much of a comma in the text which the government had agreed and signed under Royal Prerogative.

      Even when it was before a “Committee of the Whole House” – another polite fiction – only a small minority of MPs took any interest in the Bill, let alone an intelligent and inquiring interest rather than a servile party political interest, and those who did were mocked as “the usual suspects”; the Minister for Europe openly admitted that even she had not read all of the treaty:

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/5084584/Caroline-Flint-Europe-minister-hasnt-read-Lisbon-Treaty.html

      but that didn’t lead to MPs rejecting her advice and refusing to vote for it until they had had a chance to go through it in detail themselves and decide whether or not it was an acceptable treaty which the government could proceed to ratify, once again under Royal Prerogative.

    • David Lister
      Posted October 19, 2016 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      Mick,

      I don’t think there is any concession here from May. It would surely be remarkable if every other Parliament in the 27 remaining EU nations could vote on the outcome, but not the UK!

      The vote that May is proposing would be a done deal in any case. Whatever deal is negotiated will almost certainly be better than withdrawing without any bilateral deal which is the alternative. Without any bilateral deal, or FTA, trade would effectively grind to a halt with the EU.

      The reason why May has reiterated this today is because it was used as a defense by the Government’s barristers in yesterdays A50 challenge. The Government was arguing that there does not need to be a debate on triggering A50 because there will be a vote at the end of the process (a weak argument in my non-legal view!).

    • Richard Butler
      Posted October 19, 2016 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      The Remoaners add nothing to debate as they start off with the assumption Britain is a weak petitioner and that changes to trade relationship are disastrous as to opposed a great opportunity (whole world sells to Europe, no problems).

  9. Jerry
    Posted October 19, 2016 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    “If you observe the morning peak from the air in much of our country, you see completely congested main roads, relatively empty railway lines given the restraints on train use of track,”

    Not a helpful comparison, you do realise that with average peak-periods car occupancy being one person, where in that one 12 coach train (1,000ft) there might be upwards to a 1000 passengers, the same number of people in their own car [1] and quite literally bumper-to-bumper needs something like 15,000ft of highway.

    [1] allowing for 15ft par car

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 19, 2016 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      Not the right way to analyse it. The trains have low occupancy too for most of the day and when going in the reverse commute direction. Also they do not go From A to B they need connections (often a taxi or car doing a double journey at both ends). They need staff too, stations, fencing and large safety gaps between trains. They make little sense outside peak hours.

      Overall their land use is less efficient than roads in general.

      The cars and vans are also often carrying tools, equipment, children, we’ve, dropped off or collected on route and many other things.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted October 19, 2016 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

        Dear Lifelogic–En route please–Do you not live on the Continent?

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted October 19, 2016 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      Sorry Jerry but average peak period car occupancy can’t be one person as simple GCSE maths will show you. Must try harder.

      • Jerry
        Posted October 19, 2016 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

        @Roy Grainger; Care to explain, backed up by some facts, or are you just going to make snide assertions?…

      • David L
        Posted October 19, 2016 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

        I recall a conversation with a chap doing traffic surveys who told me that a taxi driver counts as part of the taxi. Consequently a vacant taxi has an occupancy of zero. A few taxis in a traffic queue could therefore bring average vehicle occupancy to 1 or even less!

  10. graham1946
    Posted October 19, 2016 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Long overdue.

    Level crossings are a nineteenth century solution to a problem when there were slow steam chuffers and the traffic was mostly horse and cart.

    I never understood why we took on the ludicrous half barriers from the Continent when full gates are obviously much safer. These barriers rely on people being grown up and not trying to beat the train just to save a few minutes, but unfortunately there are many lunatics around.
    What about pedestrian gates – how does a bridge cope with that, will people of limited mobility be required to climb stairs or will pedestrian gates be maintained? Seems like the people of Wokingham are all able bodied or don’t need to cross the rails. Out here in the sticks, things are not always as simple as in urban areas.

    I can’t see this happening on any great scale, as we don’t want to spend money on our infrastructure and prefer to carry on subsidising the motorways etc of eastern bloc countries. The British come a long way down the list after the other EU countries. Will the EU contribute?

  11. agricola
    Posted October 19, 2016 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Level crossings are everything you say. They are one of the tweaks to infrastructure where benefit can exceed cost, given time. There is also a point at which islands become choke points and need to be replaced with underpasses and flyovers.

    Unfortunately we are often blessed with planners of limited perception, or is it local politicians who control them. Worcester is a case in point. They have just spent millions to create dual carriageways and an enhanced island all to funnel traffic into a single carriageway bridge and road over the river Severn. Why do they not have the wit to deal with the choke points first, before making it easier to get to them.

    The classic was building the M1 before the M25 and a similar motorway around Birmingham. Will they ever learn.

    Further to my unpublished contribution of yesterday, it would appear from photographic evidence that they are not checking the age of so called children or for that matter their DNA before letting them into the UK from Calais. The whole exercise has become a smoke and mirrors fudge to avert a political embarrassment.

  12. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted October 19, 2016 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    One should try to come to a decision of whether one wishes road or rail to be the form of transport. Then stick to it. Whether to have enclosed vehicles such as cars and trucks affording passenger and driver protection or, bicycles which have not any protection at all and stick to it.
    It was noticed in Roman Britain and before, that bridges can be crucial. Take the town of Pontefract …which means broken ( fractured ) bridge in the language of the French and German mercenaries who invaded Yorkshire and the rest of Britain. No-ones fools!

  13. Bob
    Posted October 19, 2016 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    o/t the BBC news app pixelated the faces of the incoming “vulnerable children” who Amber Rudd agreed to take from war torn France.

    BBC obscuring the truth.

  14. JM
    Posted October 19, 2016 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    The problem is compounded by the fact that barriers are brought down a long time before the train passes through. On the continent the barrier descends only very shortly before the train arrives. Drivers and pedestrians know that they will not have to wait long and so there is no temptation to jump the barrier. Also, they appear to have a health Darwinistic approach to railway lines with minimal fencing in of the assets. Why can we not try the same thing here? If you are stupid enough to go onto a railway line, then that is your look out.

  15. Prigger
    Posted October 19, 2016 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    It may save vast amounts of the depleting Pound if car manufacturers were encouraged to design and produce cars which look like Choo-choo trains, for the Great British Mind.

  16. The Prangwizard
    Posted October 19, 2016 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Why is there a mindset about bridges? Why are not underpasses given equal attention? We know how to do it and it’s standard in London, why not elsewhere? Always sticking to old thinking and abysmally slow at that. Shall I mention the sick joke with is Mrs May and runways, and Brexit which probably not happen if ditherer May has anything to do with it.

  17. Dusty
    Posted October 19, 2016 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Off topic

    Interesting the EU has not managed to make a law which compels vacuum-cleaner manufacturers to make accessory tools and bags which are universal: can be used in connection ( forgive the pun ) with other brands and models. But they do not.
    Not to mention given Man has been to the moon, that surely he has also the wit to produce a cleaner which actually…no really..is convenient to use.
    It could be MEPs and the EU High Command all have maids, butlers and cleaners, and of course personal trainers which, means they do not necessarily lack hands-on-experience They take us all for suckers.

  18. Chris
    Posted October 19, 2016 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    O/T, but it seems so serious. The Government should never have allowed such a vacuum to develop:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3849882/Lord-Mandelson-Straw-s-son-lead-bid-halt-Brexit.html

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 19, 2016 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      Yes, we need to get organised to defeat them – AGAIN.

  19. bigneil
    Posted October 19, 2016 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    “We could have a safer railway and a less congested road system if more is done to speed the removal of level crossings and their replacement with bridges and tunnels.”
    If it is a cash problem can I sarcastically suggest we ask the EU for the money – after all, we must have given them many times whatever the cost of the solution is, by now – AND STILL ARE DOING FOR SOME REASON.

  20. Over the River Kwai
    Posted October 19, 2016 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    There was a case recently of a mechanical digger being transported on a motorway and it hit just one overhead bridge. Obviously, the height of the bridge, its construction had been carefully planned, by a committee, and everything was operating wonderfully for years. But that is what an accident is by definition: something unplanned. But happens so frequently that a whole hospital department is named after it “Accident and Emergency ( accompanied with chanting jigging doctors )
    Of course that ONE bridge with a relatively minor accident ( a motor bicyclist with no vehicular external security to protect this body ), caused massive disproportionate loss of earnings, loss of profit, loss of production throughout 100 square miles and more of its happening to multiple firms and individuals like ripples in a pond.

    Human beings, only as an after-thought ( so adverse they are ideologically to what they term “negative” thinking and “conspiracy theories”) do not really plan for normal “un”-expected accidents which regularly thwart their plans. They have blind spots to such things. So it is with bridges and tunnels and intersecting mutual exclusive modes of transport.
    A terrorist , educated within formal education would never spot strategically important targets. Luckily, most terrorists are part and parcel of the British, French, German and American school systems. Damp squibs of people.

  21. Anonymous
    Posted October 19, 2016 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Off topic if I may please.

    Piers Morgan has asked of David Davies “Who on earth do you think you are demanding teeth examinations of children”

    Sorry. But I’m sure David Davies speaks for 99% of our population.

    We want the teeth examinations because the public confidence in our own government has been completely knocked by this. Our good nature is being abused.

    Worse.

    Some of these ‘children’ will end up in schools with REAL children and the likes of Diane Abbott and Shami Chakrabarti’s children will not be among them.

    This would be a good opportunity for Ms May to demonstrate what she is (or isn’t) prepared to do about immigration and to stand up for the feelings of people who might actually vote for her rather than of those who never will.

    Because everyone I know – including Remainers – is saying that this situation is an utter piss take. Frankly I think it’s a deliberate punishment for us voting Brexit.

    The British Dental Association may say that teeth testing is unethical but so is putting grown men (who have already broken the law at least once) in among our own children so the professional class (including the CofE) can signal their virtue.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted October 19, 2016 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      I would ask, Who on earth does Piers Morgan think he is? Just another TV luvvie

  22. Peter D Gardner
    Posted October 19, 2016 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    You’d think it was a case of BGO, blinding glimpse of the obvious. Perhaps the greatest achievement of government is obfuscation by which the main objective like Gulliver is tied down by Lilliputian threads.

  23. Richard Butler
    Posted October 19, 2016 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Off topic;

    John has anyone considered a cargo only runway for Felixstowe, the UK’s largest port? I see no disadvantage for road hauliers going from there instead of the highly congested Heathrow area (particularly for goods to the north, midlands, east and Wales.

    The point being this would free-up masses of capacity for non-freight at Heathrow, whilst maintaining some cargo capacity there to.

    • CdB
      Posted October 20, 2016 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      Heathrow has next to no cargo only flights, it’s almost all carried in the holds of passenger aircraft, so your idea would not really make a difference.

  24. behindthefrogs
    Posted October 19, 2016 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    The problem with bridges is that they are often unusable by the elderly and disabled. For example at Wokingham Station I have to wait for the gates to open or take the much longer route, for me, using the bridge between the platforms. For the elderly and disabled this takes much longer than waiting for the gates

  25. Shieldsman
    Posted October 19, 2016 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Having procrastinated for decades, spent £millions on another Commission, then ignored it, with further prevarication, will we ever have a Government that makes a decision on additional Runways in the South East.

    There was a simple answer – let all three Airports build an extra runway at their expense, but, the politicos are too thick to understand the need and go for that.

    If it is going to a Parliamentary vote, why put it off for a year? Allowing a debate at Westminster it could go on forever. Will another runway get built this Century, I know it won’t in my lifetime.

    • CdB
      Posted October 20, 2016 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Quite. Heathrow seems to be the best solution, but has a lot of downsides which make it politically very difficult to deliver. Gatwick, whilst not being in the right place, has much less of these

  26. agricola
    Posted October 19, 2016 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    The Home Office are fast becoming a joke department, were their actions not so serious. They are letting in adult migrants from Calais who claim to be children without recourse to medical age checks or DNA checks to ensure their claimed family connections within the UK. You could not make it up if you were writing a script for “Yes Minister”. Meanwhile numerous real children languish unaccompanied in Calais. Angela Rudd deserves a verbal kicking and removal.

    • Yudansha
      Posted October 19, 2016 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      Have you not heard of Shave the Children collections ?

      Definitely Orwellian. We are being told to disbelieve our own eyes and that we are wrong.

      The country is insane and getting worse under the Tories.

  27. CdB
    Posted October 19, 2016 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    A side effect of such bridges is also to enable an increase in the capacity of the rail line as, of course, the number of trains no longer needs to be constrained by having to limit the time the level crossings are closed

  28. lojolondon
    Posted October 19, 2016 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    John, 10 years ago, the barriers would come down about a minute before the train came past and they would raise once again as soon as the train departed. Now they seem to come down several minutes before the train arrives and there is a long delay before they rise again. I would estimate that barriers down time has just about doubled. At the time we were told that this was due to EU / health n safety. This has had a massive impact on traffic, and the long delay makes people more likely to try to get through under the red light before the barrier comes down. I guess road bridges are better in high traffic areas, but clearly not in every situation, where we need a more adult solution.

  29. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted October 19, 2016 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    No mention of Mosul in PM Question Time today, not even from the SNP who concentrated on Yemen in which Britain and the RAF are not playing a direct role.
    It seems Sunni militias are going to “try for” an invasion of Mosul-proper with opposition from the attacking force of which they are a member. Concerns by the Iraqi force that Turkey intends to intervene on Iraqi territory too.. Kurds also fighting from the east who have already stolen Iraqi territory to the north in Iraq with cover from US/French and the RAF then stole Iraqi oilfields with military backing from the same. And the Kurdish Islamicists..yes they are Muslim, are going to “liberate” the Christian areas of Mosul” And Chinese pigs have been seen on USS warships in the lakes of Shangri-La.
    Turkey of course is sore at Britain forcing out its forces from Mosul in 1918 and occupying it on her own part.
    The Jihadists cannot lose, long term, can they, really?. The Liberators of Mosul are displacing one and a half million people and the UN says it has ample supplies of tents, 200,000. Wow, what a comfort, you lose your school, place of worship , job, house , money ,possessions and kids killed with very clever bombs and you get a UN tent courtesy of the Liberators of Mosul.
    No wonder Parliament is silent. The House of the Dead.

  30. Margaret
    Posted October 19, 2016 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    How many level crossings are there ?. We celebrate in Ramsbottom our heritage .We have steam trains which pass through the village and crossover the road at a level crossing .History is kept alive .The station and the gate operator in the tower is traditional in design .It attracts many visitors. This is only one though . We are prepared to wait whilst the gates are opened and enjoy the children becoming excited as a train goes through.

  31. acorn
    Posted October 19, 2016 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    Good to see you are concentrating on the really important things at this time, with our nation in suspended animation, Brexit style.

    Did you know there are about 8,000 level crossings in the UK; 6,500 operated by Network Rail (NR). That outfit isn’t planning to replace any more than about 1% of those crossings, with ROB/RUB bridges, any time in the next couple of decades. Your chances are greatest if your crossing is in a marginal constituency.

    Down here on the south coast, we are lacking in marginal constituencies; hence, we have been waiting since 1983, for the M27 motorway to be finished, and to be connected to the also not yet finished M23. The chances of the M27 ever getting connected to the M20??? We gave up on a connection to the M5, down Exeter way, two decades back!

    Anyway, those in the know say Gatwick is shovel ready for an additional runway. Mrs May’s government seems to have no idea how to use the resources available to it in the private sector, to create public goods. This, entirely because it has no idea how to use its own ability, as the currency issuer, to get things funded and moving, at no cost to itself.

    Alas, all laissez faire, neo-liberal, Conservative governments are made this way. They depend on the simplistic, animalist “market system”, which has no interest whatsoever in supplying public goods and services. They are only ever short term profit orientated. A knowledgable government would make the private sector deliver what the government wants by the surgical use of taxation. Not exactly the sort of management the UK currently has.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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