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> Thatcham Railway Crossing, £83k wasted!
motormad
post Jul 17 2013, 08:49 AM
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http://www.newburytoday.co.uk/2013/road-la...g-will-go-ahead

I agree with Mr Woodhams (surprisingly).

QUOTE
Mr Woodhams said that he believed the road changes would have little impact on congestion.

He said: “From the outset the Thatcham Conservative councillors have been wracking their brains to come up with a new idea to impress motorists and residents, to reduce queueing times at the Thatcham level crossing.

“They have wasted £83,000, and the provision for a right-hand turn lane into the Thatcham sorting office … will have little to no effect on reducing these queues.


This will not reduce congestion. If people want to go into the sorting office they either go around the one-way system and out infront of everyone or just drive down the wrong side of the road. (there's nothing coming anyway).

I used to live 2 minute walk from Thatcham train station. Infact I grew up there and would go into town on the train regularly before I had a car.

A bridge is the only solution and unless they do that, anything will be a waste of money.
The sheer amount of disruption during the roadworks will cause havoc as well.


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Biker1
post Jul 17 2013, 09:30 AM
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QUOTE (motormad @ Jul 17 2013, 09:49 AM) *
I agree with Mr Woodhams (surprisingly).

This will not reduce congestion. If people want to go into the sorting office they either go around the one-way system and out infront of everyone or just drive down the wrong side of the road. (there's nothing coming anyway).

I used to live 2 minute walk from Thatcham train station. Infact I grew up there and would go into town on the train regularly before I had a car.

A bridge is the only solution and unless they do that, anything will be a waste of money.
The sheer amount of disruption during the roadworks will cause havoc as well.

Absolutely agree MM - it will not reduce congestion which, as you say, only a bridge or alternative route will do.
Total waste of time, resources and money.
I thought things were tight at the moment?? angry.gif
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MontyPython
post Jul 17 2013, 10:32 AM
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QUOTE (Biker1 @ Jul 17 2013, 10:30 AM) *
Absolutely agree MM - it will not reduce congestion which, as you say, only a bridge or alternative route will do.
Total waste of time, resources and money.
I thought things were tight at the moment?? angry.gif



A bridge is not really feasible at this location. Unfortunately it's another case of poor planning by allowing more construction without the proper infrastructure.

The ideal alternatives would have been a spur and bridge either round via the Colthrop estate or where the new housing estate is near the Sorting Office. Both of these opportunities are probably not viable either now.
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Biker1
post Jul 17 2013, 11:10 AM
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QUOTE (MontyPython @ Jul 17 2013, 11:32 AM) *
A bridge is not really feasible at this location.

Yes you're right of course.
If the bridge solution were to be undertaken, from what I can see it would also need a new bridge over the canal, together with large earthworks either side.
A similar arrangement exists at Theale station but this bridges the railway only.
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Andy Capp
post Jul 17 2013, 12:50 PM
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QUOTE (Biker1 @ Jul 17 2013, 10:30 AM) *
Absolutely agree MM - it will not reduce congestion which, as you say, only a bridge or alternative route will do. Total waste of time, resources and money. I thought things were tight at the moment?? angry.gif

I think having a right-turn box is a good idea, but is not a solution, but the solution will not happen any time soon. Who ever endorsed the idea of an entrance to the industrial site next to the level crossing was mad. A right turn box would help stop some hold-ups when they occur. What you have at the moment is on-coming traffic sometimes letting people turn right and following traffic stopping on the crossing, which is not good either.

At the end of the day the only option available is the one proposed and not to do it will mean nothing will be done to help. The situation is only going to get worse and I don't see the proposals as a waste. It was an electoral promise.
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motormad
post Jul 17 2013, 01:00 PM
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So you think that £83k is a good use ("not a waste") of public money?
The promise, if I remember, was to allieviate traffic. Which this will not do. The amount of cars going into and/or out of the Postal office is tiny in the grand scheme of things. As said this will not provide any relief of traffic.


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Andy Capp
post Jul 17 2013, 01:36 PM
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QUOTE (motormad @ Jul 17 2013, 02:00 PM) *
So you think that £83k is a good use ("not a waste") of public money?
The promise, if I remember, was to allieviate traffic. Which this will not do. The amount of cars going into and/or out of the Postal office is tiny in the grand scheme of things. As said this will not provide any relief of traffic.

IIRC, the promise was to 'do all that they could to find a solution'; if it is a choice of £83k for something, or £0 for nothing, I'd go for the £83k. No it will not stop hold ups, but at the moment when the hold-ups are large (and they will only get bigger), there will almost certainly be one car wanting to turn right. Not only does that hold up the south bound traffic, it can mean cars stopping on the level crossing. I know they shouldn't, but they do. You also get cars wanting to exit the sorting office and turn right, which also can cause a bit of panic! There should be steps to move the industrial estate entrance and exit. While that isn't the main problem, it is a black spot.

Perhaps that is it. Perhaps we 'need' a fatal on the level crossing before they will do something effective.
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On the edge
post Jul 17 2013, 01:49 PM
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QUOTE (motormad @ Jul 17 2013, 09:49 AM) *
http://www.newburytoday.co.uk/2013/road-la...g-will-go-ahead

I agree with Mr Woodhams (surprisingly).

So do I - so much so that I needed to lie down and take two of the red pills!
What's gone wrong!!!


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motormad
post Jul 17 2013, 01:49 PM
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So basically what you are saying is that anything is better than nothing.

I disagree. I'd rather not waste nearly one hundred thousand quid on a crap solution. Something is not always better than nothing...

A left-turn only could be applied coming out of the post office. Would cost £60 for a sign and a bit of paint.
There is a roundabout literally 50 yards up the road.

I don't recall there being any serious accidents there in the last 10 years so I don't know how it can be called a black spot huh.gif


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Andy Capp
post Jul 17 2013, 03:37 PM
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QUOTE (motormad @ Jul 17 2013, 02:49 PM) *
So basically what you are saying is that anything is better than nothing.

I prefer £83k for improvements, than £0 for nothing.

QUOTE (motormad @ Jul 17 2013, 02:49 PM) *
I disagree. I'd rather not waste nearly one hundred thousand quid on a crap solution. Something is not always better than nothing...

That's your view, just in this case I don't share it.

QUOTE (motormad @ Jul 17 2013, 02:49 PM) *
A left-turn only could be applied coming out of the post office. Would cost £60 for a sign and a bit of paint. There is a roundabout literally 50 yards up the road.

Of course, but I doubt it would be as cheap as you propose, besides, that doesn't deal with southbound people turning right. It's infuriating sat behind a person waiting to turn right after you have already been waiting, for the barriers to then go down again.

QUOTE (motormad @ Jul 17 2013, 02:49 PM) *
I don't recall there being any serious accidents there in the last 10 years so I don't know how it can be called a black spot huh.gif

That was my word for it and not necessarily meant to be taken as gospel, but I've seen close run things. Put it this way, I'd rather they spent £83k on this than the same on some more bloody speed humps, chicanes, cycle lanes, etc..
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MontyPython
post Jul 17 2013, 05:31 PM
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As I am not over familiar with the area so have looked at Google.

How about No Right Turn from Sorting office. Cost Sign & markings £500- £1k

No Right Turn into Post office traffic to circulate via Chamberhouse Mill Lane
Cost work to improve round the island in Chamber house lane and widen the "Throat" of Chamerhouse lane if required to allow lorries to turn. Guess £50k maybe £100k.

This would surely give a major reduction in delays when the barriers are up, and not too much inconvenience to those diverted by this plan.

Views please as I may have misunderstood the geography.
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On the edge
post Jul 17 2013, 06:50 PM
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How about working up a sensible long term real solution? This should not be considered in isolation. The size of the conurbation means the existing major routes are time expired and overloaded. A bridge, in civil engineering and cost terms is actually quite feasible. That is, if the scheme was designed and planned by civil engineers.

It would be pretty dumb as MM says to spend such a large sum on what is no more than a quick political fix with no gaurentee of success. Shades of Parkway bridge!


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Andy Capp
post Jul 17 2013, 07:00 PM
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QUOTE (On the edge @ Jul 17 2013, 07:50 PM) *
It would be pretty dumb as MM says to spend such a large sum on what is no more than a quick political fix with no gaurentee of success. Shades of Parkway bridge!

I don't believe the approved plan is to 'fix' the problem. I believe the idea is to make the junction work better with the limited resources available. Another one would be to have better synchronised barriers. When a fast through-train is approaching, one is only held up for a couple of minutes, but the slow train and the 'gravel train' really do test your patience. The trouble is signalling is out of bounds to the council.

At the end of the day, it is the result of a ridiculous planning decision made many years ago. I remember seeing an ambulance with flashing blue lights stopped at that crossing, and I found myself wondering what poor sod's day was being spoiled by that barrier to A & E (of course in this case, it is the decision of the driver was at fault as much as the crossing being down).

Anecdotes shouldn't on their won determine policy, but that junction is only going to get worse as the south of Newbury gets more and more populated.
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Simon Kirby
post Jul 17 2013, 07:31 PM
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QUOTE (MontyPython @ Jul 17 2013, 11:32 AM) *
A bridge is not really feasible at this location. Unfortunately it's another case of poor planning by allowing more construction without the proper infrastructure.

The ideal alternatives would have been a spur and bridge either round via the Colthrop estate or where the new housing estate is near the Sorting Office. Both of these opportunities are probably not viable either now.

I Agree.


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On the edge
post Jul 17 2013, 09:09 PM
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Like it or not Newbury/Thatcham is already a large urban area - in effect a new town has been developed by stealth. Its also rapidly expanding further. The existing infrastructure is no longer viable and we can't get away with the mudge and fudge solutions anymore. We DO have the money to invest in infrastructure projects right now and it's also the sensible time to do that - low interest rates etc. Throwing what is a big chunk of what is really revenue spend on a quick fix as irresponsible as it is wasteful.


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motormad
post Jul 17 2013, 09:25 PM
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QUOTE (Andy Capp @ Jul 17 2013, 08:00 PM) *
I don't believe the approved plan is to 'fix' the problem. I believe the idea is to make the junction work better with the limited resources available. Another one would be to have better synchronised barriers. When a fast through-train is approaching, one is only held up for a couple of minutes, but the slow train and the 'gravel train' really do test your patience. The trouble is signalling is out of bounds to the council.

At the end of the day, it is the result of a ridiculous planning decision made many years ago. I remember seeing an ambulance with flashing blue lights stopped at that crossing, and I found myself wondering what poor sod's day was being spoiled by that barrier to A & E (of course in this case, it is the decision of the driver was at fault as much as the crossing being down).

Anecdotes shouldn't on their won determine policy, but that junction is only going to get worse as the south of Newbury gets more and more populated.


The approved plan won't even make the junction work better. I used to go over that junction every day for 3 years. And the traffic just flowed, if a car was turning into the Post Office, people just let them turn. Those coming out had to wait (which is fine and does not disrupt traffic going across the train tracks).
I agree it is going to get worse but I can't believe you of all people would approve £86k being spent on a "solution" (in whatever way you want to class that as) when it's not going to help


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spartacus
post Jul 18 2013, 12:15 AM
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QUOTE (On the edge @ Jul 17 2013, 07:50 PM) *
How about working up a sensible long term real solution? This should not be considered in isolation. The size of the conurbation means the existing major routes are time expired and overloaded. A bridge, in civil engineering and cost terms is actually quite feasible. That is, if the scheme was designed and planned by civil engineers.


ah yes... The old chestnut of Thatcham level crossing... It's a problem, I accept that.....

But it's not even a B Class road...
It has a 7.5t weight limit on it....
It has relatively restricted width....

.....Yet some people still think that the £30m it would take to build a bridge is just lying around under some WBC mattress and should be released to relieve the burden on commuters sitting in their cars getting frustrated..


As this letter dated 14 May 2013 from WBC pointed out:

"Whilst a bridge would completely remove the current queueing issue there are a number of practical, financial, environmental and aesthetic reasons why a bridge would be very difficult to accommodate.

Given the impending electrification, the current minimum clearance over a rail line is 5.2m. Along with the bridge construction this would mean the total structure height would be 7.2m (over 23.5ft). This would have a significant visual impact on the surrounding environment.

The ramps on the approach to the bridge would be substantial and, given the current highway design standards, in order to achieve the required gradient on the approach, the Pipers Lane/Station Road roundabout would have to be raised by approximately 2.9m (almost 10ft). This in turn would have a knock on effect on the surrounding roads and accesses onto them.

The provision of a bridge would inevitably improve the attractiveness of this route to many road users that currently travel through Newbury or Aldermaston. It is considered that this increase could be significant compared to the number of vehicles currently using the route. This gives rise to concerns about additional air and noise pollution through the residential areas of south Thatcham. It also raises the issue of road safety concerns on Thornford Road and Crookham Hill. It is possible that the provision of a bridge would require a complete upgrade of this route to accommodate the additional traffic at further significant expense.

Any bridge at this location would need to span both the River Kennet and the Canal in addition to the rail line. A study undertaken in 2004 estimated the cost of such a structure at £20 miilion. To raise this level of funding the Council would have to apply to the Department for Transport for Major Scheme funding. Given that this road is not on the strategic road network, and although the local benefits are plain to see, the benefits to the strategic network will be minimal. Indeed the environmental issues associated with the increase in traffic along this route may well cancel out the traffic flow benefits. The proposal would therefore be given low priority against other improvements on the strategic network.

It is for the above reasons that we feel a bridge is not a viable option"



£20m in 2004 perhaps equates to £30m in 2013/14 or beyond...
Consider the practicalities of raising the roundabout by 10ft. You'd also have approach ramps either side reaching to 20ft+, several hundred feet in length.. The Swan pub would have to go, as would some of the business units on Pipers Lane. And as for the residents on Station Road, I think they would have an opinion on that idea...

It would be more feasible to build a tunnel...!


This latest idea is just someone playing around with their road marking design software and seeing what happens. It will have no material impact on the general peak period flow across the level crossing.


The answer lies with, and always has been with, Network Rail and their intractable position with regard the 'trigger mechanism' for the activation of the barriers. But what incentive is there for Network Rail to change the control to something more intelligent that can identify whether the train crossing the trigger point is a slow gravel train that takes 15 minutes to crawl to Thatcham or a 125 that will whistle through in 3 minutes? None. No incentive at all. In fact while more motorists get frustrated behind the wheel, perhaps more will prefer to jump on the train.

So it's a Win, Win for Network Rail.........
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On the edge
post Jul 18 2013, 05:18 AM
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Wow and there it is! Nowt will replace the 'orses, not round these parts. The Council response is one of the most limited and parochial I've seen. Of course, the present weight limits on the crossing are low and it isn't presently a major route. That's just the point - it should be. As for the practicalities, there are many other similar crossings, most installed years ago. Again, excuses, excuses. As for the money; huge sums have been paid over by developers even quite recently. What do we want to do, squitter it away on unworkable fixes or do the job properly. Oh, shock horror, installing a bridge might just divert a massive number of unnecessary lorry miles coming down the A4 through Newbury to Basingstoke., Must stop that, after all, who wants jobs and thriving commerce in the area?


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BMR
post Jul 18 2013, 07:32 AM
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I got bored with all the talk about a bridge while I lived in Thatcham, and that was 20 years ago. At the time, I commented that the problem which needs to be addressed is why the level crossing barriers spend so much time down. The excuse at the time was that the barrier MUST come down when the train is two miles way. I can't believe that this is really the case. This means that the barrier comes down when a slow train is parked at Newbury Racecourse Station. Have a look at what they do in other countries. The one I usually quote is Holland, but Germany and France are also good examples. Rail safety in those countries does not seem to be compromised by having level crossing barriers down for much much shorter times. If Network Rail can't get their act together to sort this out, maybe thy should pay for a tunnel.
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motormad
post Jul 18 2013, 07:58 AM
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QUOTE (spartacus @ Jul 18 2013, 01:15 AM) *
ah yes... The old chestnut of Thatcham level crossing... It's a problem, I accept that.....

But it's not even a B Class road...
It has a 7.5t weight limit on it....
It has relatively restricted width....

.....Yet some people still think that the £30m it would take to build a bridge is just lying around under some WBC mattress and should be released to relieve the burden on commuters sitting in their cars getting frustrated..


Is it though?
I've seen plenty of lorries go across there.

I would LIKE a bridge built.
Will a bridge be built however in reality? 99.9% not.
Does that mean that this pathetic lane-addition is a good use of money? No it is not.



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