Road and rail

PUBLISHED: 11:12 06 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:39 27 January 2013

SIR - In his letter (Herts Advertiser, July 23), Ross Middleton supported the proposal to build the terminal at Radlett by arguing that the East Midland line is the most suitable one to reach the Midlands. I noted, however, that his letter contained phras

SIR - In his letter (Herts Advertiser, July 23), Ross Middleton supported the proposal to build the terminal at Radlett by arguing that the East Midland line is the most suitable one to reach the Midlands.

I noted, however, that his letter contained phrases like, "plans are being put in place" and "investigations are being made". In other words ifs, buts and maybes. Would it not be logical and sensible to wait until these plans and investigations have become realities before considering the Radlett proposal?

However, the main point that I wish to make is that at the end of his letter he states that direct access to the M25 is a "must". As the Highways Agency have completely ruled this out and, just as important, it is not in the developers' own proposals, his letter appears to conclude with a very powerful argument against the proposal.

R. F. Collins

Fiveacres Avenue

Bricket Wood

SIR - In the edition of the Herts Advertiser, July 23, a Ross Middleton has a letter published that appears to seek to prove there are available pathways and capacity on the Midland Main Line.

I suggest he has miscalculated the situation.

Even if you use his 15 trains each hour each way on the pair of tracks - i.e. 30 - you get now:

16 Thameslink/four fast, four stopping each hour, up and down, 8x2=16 - correct.

There are the five East Midlands Expresses - but each way so that's not five but 5x2=10.

16 + 10 = 26. 26 out of the 30 pathways is close to capacity. And this is off-peak. The rush hours are much more congested.

And you need to factor in existing freight trains like the stone trains to Radlett and the refuse trains to Cricklewood. Plus others. Say two each way, i.e. another plus four. That's 26+4=30 already. So full according to this figure.

Mr Middleton perhaps overlooks that these express, suburban and freight trains don't move along at the same speeds. Also, these pathways are for trains passing one would-be railfreight junction off the up and down slow lines. Even if the difference in speeds of all services is in the 15 each way, such pathing headways will be very tight.

It's estimated that one of Helioslough's freightliner trains reducing speeds to cross over from the down slow and over the up slow would be down to 16mph or so. This would consume up to three pathway spaces. Similarly, for an empty but still heavy freightliner exiting via the gradient onto the up slow, maybe to go into Cricklewood to only turn round to go north again! That's at least 3+3=6.

So you are now up to 36 out of the 30. And that's before Thameslink 2000 comes on line. Say another two each way. 2+2=4. I suspect East Midlands would like a sixth express to meet future growth. So another plus two.

You're now up to a potential 42 for his 30! His comment about Kettering-Wellingborough is a red herring. This enables freight to go via Corby easier. It's south of Bedford and Luton/St Albans where it's so tight. And who pays for all the works he suggests?

ERIC ROBERTS

Fishpool Street

St Albans

Sir - Ten trains to or from the Midlands must be better for the environment than 1,000 or more lorries trundling up and down the M1. Surely, everyone using the M1 would welcome this terminal. Planning permission for this project must be decided at a national level in the best interest of the nation as a whole.

We all want to get goods off the road and, if that is to happen, then rail freight terminals must be provided somewhere - and that will upset nimbys wherever a terminal is placed. There can't be many suitable sites and the Handley Page airfield seems to be an obvious choice for a site near to and north of London. Road traffic to and from the proposed terminal would produce less noise for residents than that from Victor bombers overhead when I lived in St Albans - and that shows how long ago that was!

David Stonebanks

Chequers Bridge Road

Stevenage

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