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Old January 4th, 2018, 01:36 PM   #461
ill tonkso
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At the moment, the tactic seems to be 'tack several thousand homes onto the existing towns', with little thought for local infrastructure.

I'm going to use St Neots as an example, mostly because I live here now and am quite aware of what's going on.

They are effectively doubling the size of the town, I'm not against this, I moved here recently and am part of the cause myself. It's great for the town centre as it effectively boosts the customer base, the restaurants are doing well and more people can only mean more demand.

However, the infrastructure investment is a problem. Our 'region' is doing well, as the A14 is being upgraded at the cost of billions and the ECML is getting new trains, but that doesn't do anything for local traffic. Where are the new roads? Local traffic is getting worse and worse and local buses just get stuck in it, they ARE building new Schools as they go, and new local medical centres so I can't argue about that, but where's the investment in the local proper Hospital at Huntingdon? Where is the local public transport infrastructure? The ECML upgrades are all about getting people into London and EWR doesn't seem to be going anywhere fast. I'm concerned that the roads into the town centre will just get choked up, there is no real room for a bus lane in the town centre and no alternative route through the town asides from the bypass which really needs to be (and has room to be) dualed. In fact, the town only has three road bridges, one of which is an old Mill bridge in Little Paxton, the second one is right off the Market Square which immediately kills any prospect of pedestrianisation through the high street, the third is on the bypass which gets choked with traffic as it's essentially a continuation and connection between the Cross Beds Expressway and the Expressway out of Cambridge on a local-ish road. These things need to be upgraded and readied before development happens, otherwise the town will suffer.

I'm very pro-development, but not until the necessary upgrades are made. Unfortunately, we have it the wrong way round in this country and only make the upgrades when it's too late.

Edit: Getting the Crayons out for a moment... any Metro scheme for Cambridge if it ever happens really should extend to St Neots (via the ever-growing Cambourne). St Neots and Cambourne are huge commuter draws for Cambridge and any metro aiming to get traffic off of the roads really should be aware of that. Park and Ride schemes are great and all, but don't actually get people out of their cars. Ultimately, I'd rather get the traffic OFF of that road before dualing it.
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Old January 4th, 2018, 07:50 PM   #462
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ill tonkso View Post
At the moment, the tactic seems to be 'tack several thousand homes onto the existing towns', with little thought for local infrastructure.

I'm going to use St Neots as an example, mostly because I live here now and am quite aware of what's going on.

They are effectively doubling the size of the town, I'm not against this, I moved here recently and am part of the cause myself. It's great for the town centre as it effectively boosts the customer base, the restaurants are doing well and more people can only mean more demand.

However, the infrastructure investment is a problem. Our 'region' is doing well, as the A14 is being upgraded at the cost of billions and the ECML is getting new trains, but that doesn't do anything for local traffic. Where are the new roads? Local traffic is getting worse and worse and local buses just get stuck in it, they ARE building new Schools as they go, and new local medical centres so I can't argue about that, but where's the investment in the local proper Hospital at Huntingdon? Where is the local public transport infrastructure? The ECML upgrades are all about getting people into London and EWR doesn't seem to be going anywhere fast. I'm concerned that the roads into the town centre will just get choked up, there is no real room for a bus lane in the town centre and no alternative route through the town asides from the bypass which really needs to be (and has room to be) dualed. In fact, the town only has three road bridges, one of which is an old Mill bridge in Little Paxton, the second one is right off the Market Square which immediately kills any prospect of pedestrianisation through the high street, the third is on the bypass which gets choked with traffic as it's essentially a continuation and connection between the Cross Beds Expressway and the Expressway out of Cambridge on a local-ish road. These things need to be upgraded and readied before development happens, otherwise the town will suffer.

I'm very pro-development, but not until the necessary upgrades are made. Unfortunately, we have it the wrong way round in this country and only make the upgrades when it's too late.

Edit: Getting the Crayons out for a moment... any Metro scheme for Cambridge if it ever happens really should extend to St Neots (via the ever-growing Cambourne). St Neots and Cambourne are huge commuter draws for Cambridge and any metro aiming to get traffic off of the roads really should be aware of that. Park and Ride schemes are great and all, but don't actually get people out of their cars. Ultimately, I'd rather get the traffic OFF of that road before dualing it.
Hold onto your for St Neots/ Sandy. If they do commit to it, this area is in for major expansion. New East coast station at Sandy with flying junctions to the South of town. A New A1M with the old road becoming the spine of new development. Lots of proposed BRT's or trams. Baedford to Sandy and Biggleswade. St Neots to Cambridge.



The problem as you say will be nimby opposition. Will it be easier to push through 50 or so 4,000 house mini towns and urban expansions or to just have three of four major bunfights for bigger new towns and more normal expansion in existing towns.

The problem with new towns is big up front capital cost. easier to do piecmeal work on existing towns, even if it prooves to difficult to expand existing urban roads.
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Old January 4th, 2018, 07:57 PM   #463
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Isn't the current thinking that the ECML will be intersected south of St Neots now? Towards Little Barford Power Station? If this does happen, forget dualing the St Neots bypass, they would be better off with a new road connecting directly to Black Cat. The bypass would still have all the new traffic from the new housing, but the through traffic would be eliminated.
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Old January 5th, 2018, 01:12 PM   #464
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ill tonkso View Post
At the moment, the tactic seems to be 'tack several thousand homes onto the existing towns', with little thought for local infrastructure.

I'm going to use St Neots as an example, mostly because I live here now and am quite aware of what's going on.

They are effectively doubling the size of the town, I'm not against this, I moved here recently and am part of the cause myself. It's great for the town centre as it effectively boosts the customer base, the restaurants are doing well and more people can only mean more demand.

However, the infrastructure investment is a problem. Our 'region' is doing well, as the A14 is being upgraded at the cost of billions and the ECML is getting new trains, but that doesn't do anything for local traffic. Where are the new roads? Local traffic is getting worse and worse and local buses just get stuck in it, they ARE building new Schools as they go, and new local medical centres so I can't argue about that, but where's the investment in the local proper Hospital at Huntingdon? Where is the local public transport infrastructure? The ECML upgrades are all about getting people into London and EWR doesn't seem to be going anywhere fast. I'm concerned that the roads into the town centre will just get choked up, there is no real room for a bus lane in the town centre and no alternative route through the town asides from the bypass which really needs to be (and has room to be) dualed. In fact, the town only has three road bridges, one of which is an old Mill bridge in Little Paxton, the second one is right off the Market Square which immediately kills any prospect of pedestrianisation through the high street, the third is on the bypass which gets choked with traffic as it's essentially a continuation and connection between the Cross Beds Expressway and the Expressway out of Cambridge on a local-ish road. These things need to be upgraded and readied before development happens, otherwise the town will suffer.

I'm very pro-development, but not until the necessary upgrades are made. Unfortunately, we have it the wrong way round in this country and only make the upgrades when it's too late.

Edit: Getting the Crayons out for a moment... any Metro scheme for Cambridge if it ever happens really should extend to St Neots (via the ever-growing Cambourne). St Neots and Cambourne are huge commuter draws for Cambridge and any metro aiming to get traffic off of the roads really should be aware of that. Park and Ride schemes are great and all, but don't actually get people out of their cars. Ultimately, I'd rather get the traffic OFF of that road before dualing it.
Similar situation in Blyth, Northumberland. New houses built on an old caravan park by the beach and now new houses being built on farmland on the South West fringes. By some happy coincidence these houses are next to the railway line but there seems to be no speeding up of plans to reintroduce passenger services for our inhabitants. I have no problem with Blyth becoming one of those commuter towns if we get the infrastructure to go with it. But so far it seems like more of a challenge to see how much more people they can throw at existing roads and services.
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Old January 8th, 2018, 02:26 AM   #465
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ill tonkso View Post
Edit: Getting the Crayons out for a moment... any Metro scheme for Cambridge if it ever happens really should extend to St Neots (via the ever-growing Cambourne). St Neots and Cambourne are huge commuter draws for Cambridge and any metro aiming to get traffic off of the roads really should be aware of that. Park and Ride schemes are great and all, but don't actually get people out of their cars. Ultimately, I'd rather get the traffic OFF of that road before dualing it.
Could not agree more with this. Iíve recently relocated here to Cambridge from Melbourne for a few months, and am currently based in Cambourne. While the bus service here is ok (horrible weekend frequencies notwithstanding), a metro would be amazing at least between Cambridge and Cambourne and would certainly help stimulate growth in the smaller villages in between.

The only issue I would anticipate is that virtually the whole of Cambridge town is owned by the University and from my understanding under a heritage order so would be ridiculously expensive to build any stations. I may be wrong though...
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Old January 9th, 2018, 06:38 PM   #466
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Could not agree more with this. Iíve recently relocated here to Cambridge from Melbourne for a few months, and am currently based in Cambourne. While the bus service here is ok (horrible weekend frequencies notwithstanding), a metro would be amazing at least between Cambridge and Cambourne and would certainly help stimulate growth in the smaller villages in between.

The only issue I would anticipate is that virtually the whole of Cambridge town is owned by the University and from my understanding under a heritage order so would be ridiculously expensive to build any stations. I may be wrong though...
I was at Uni there for a short while back in the day, you are correct, the University own pretty much the entire town centre. The Junction was built outside of the city limits for that reason - Cambridge needed a venue and so they had to think outside the box.

A station in Cambourne wouldn't be an issue as I think the uni's influence is only limited to the centre of town
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Old January 10th, 2018, 02:23 PM   #467
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It's not so much who owns the central properties it's the age of them. You can't smash them down to make way for a train line.
the East west line, coming into Cambridge, via Cambourne, at Foxton has to be the best idea.
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Old January 10th, 2018, 04:11 PM   #468
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Is it easier threading a new line into Cambridge from the south or north?

The Foxton route is going up in frequency, and I think the West Anglia one was talked about too (a fast train per hour) - plus works to build a Cambridge South. Whereas Cambridge North is in place already.

I imagine there will be some through running (rather than the concern of platforming at Cambridge - both north and south have bays, but all are used) - and so the issue of wires and Ely and Stansted tunnel capacity will come into play too.
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Old January 10th, 2018, 05:42 PM   #469
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Is it easier threading a new line into Cambridge from the south or north?

The Foxton route is going up in frequency, and I think the West Anglia one was talked about too (a fast train per hour) - plus works to build a Cambridge South. Whereas Cambridge North is in place already.

I imagine there will be some through running (rather than the concern of platforming at Cambridge - both north and south have bays, but all are used) - and so the issue of wires and Ely and Stansted tunnel capacity will come into play too.
Personally, I think north. My proposal was to go up the ECML to St Neots, then turn off before Huntingdon and share the guided busway into Cambridge North.

Doubt that will happen as Sandy has been selected so I suppose it has to be south. They can then run on to Ely/Norwich without reverse
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Old January 10th, 2018, 08:39 PM   #470
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I believe a southerly Cambridge approach was chosen as the lines to Ipswich and Norwich are the 'East' section of E-W Rail.

They did a study on enhancements last summer: http://www.eastwestrail.org.uk/wp-co...COS-v1.4-3.pdf

Option E-5 (Route Option 1) adds 2tph fast on the following routes (keeping existing stoppers): Cambridge-Cambridge North (possibly)-Ely-Thetford-Norwich, Cambridge-Newmarket-Bury St Edmunds-Ipswich.

Option E-6 (Route Option 2) adds 2tph fast on the following routes (keeping existing stoppers): Cambridge-Bury St Edmunds-Diss-Norwich, Cambridge-Bury St Edmunds-Stowmarket-Ipswich, as well as a second stopper running Cambridge-Ely-Norwich.

Option E-7 (Route Option 3) has E-6 frequencies, but uses a new 125mph line between Cambridge and the GEML, serving Bury St Edmunds via a parkway station.

The service spec assumed for further west is:
1tph Bournemouth ... Reading - Oxford - Milton Keynes Central ... Manchester
1tp2h Bristol ... Oxford - Bletchley - Bedford - Cambridge ... Norwich
1tp2h Bristol ... Oxford - Bletchley - Bedford - Cambridge ... Ipswich
1tph Reading - Didcot Parkway - Radley - Oxford - Oxford Parkway - Bicester - Winslow - Bletchley - Milton Keynes Central
1tph Reading - Didcot Parkway - Radley - Oxford - Oxford Parkway - Bicester - Winslow - Bletchley - Woburn Sands - Ridgmont - Bedford - Sandy - Cambridge
1tph Bletchley - Woburn Sands - Ridgmont - Bedford - Sandy - Cambridge
1tph London Marylebone ... Aylesbury - Winslow - Bletchley - Milton Keynes Central

The Cambridge-terminating semi-fast trains would head further east with the eastern section improvements.
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Old January 10th, 2018, 09:33 PM   #471
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Isn't the current thinking that the ECML will be intersected south of St Neots now? Towards Little Barford Power Station? If this does happen, forget dualing the St Neots bypass, they would be better off with a new road connecting directly to Black Cat. The bypass would still have all the new traffic from the new housing, but the through traffic would be eliminated.

I am wondering if civil servants have been looking at the impressive growth of Milton Keynes and have concluded that starting another new town at a similar distance from London (47-49 miles) on the ECML / A1(M) would be a good idea. If it was also served appropriately by the east -west railway it would actually have better rail links overall than MK.


Perhaps Tempsford could again have a railway station?
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Old January 11th, 2018, 01:11 AM   #472
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I am wondering if civil servants have been looking at the impressive growth of Milton Keynes and have concluded that starting another new town at a similar distance from London (47-49 miles) on the ECML / A1(M) would be a good idea
Wonder no more and look up-thread to see a report full of such things. One of proposals had a 950k(!) population city there (and another where HS2 crosses E-W rail).
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Old January 12th, 2018, 07:17 PM   #473
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Wonder no more and look up-thread to see a report full of such things. One of proposals had a 950k(!) population city there (and another where HS2 crosses E-W rail).

Sorry, I should have made it clear I was thinking about civil servants in the DFT making plans for rail (ECML) and road A1(M) capacity in relation to traffic flows to/from London, rather than the East-West corridor.

That report up-thread was created by consultants on behalf of the supposedly independent National Infrastructure Commission - not sure which government department it is linked to, possibly the Treasury?
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Old January 12th, 2018, 09:40 PM   #474
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Sorry, I should have made it clear I was thinking about civil servants in the DFT making plans for rail (ECML) and road A1(M) capacity in relation to traffic flows to/from London, rather than the East-West corridor.
Certainly the lack of ECML capacity over Welwyn viaduct is a problem. Move Stevenage stops to Sandy?

The A1(M) in Herts is similarly a problem - they've spent a decade-plus trying to divert long-distance traffic away from it so as to avoid having to upgrade the bottlenecks, but the new town will drag long distance traffic back on to it, create a load more regional traffic, etc and will mean serious and costly upgrades to the existing motorway.

Milton Keynes used what was, at the time, spare capacity (though like all new towns of the day it was meant to be self-sufficient rather than a satellite dormitory town). It's ECML equivalent won't as there is so little on the London-Stevenage-Peterborough axis. If it is to have a large amount of commuters, said commutes need to be E-W or it will exacerbate existing problems.

I'd imagine that the DfT would much rather there wasn't a big new town there because of the lack of capacity.
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That report up-thread was created by consultants on behalf of the supposedly independent National Infrastructure Commission - not sure which government department it is linked to, possibly the Treasury?
Given how gleeful Gideon was at more-Andrew-than-Adonis' temper tantrum, I believe it is the Treasury. Pretty sure he basically said "ha ha ha my quango with my mate Andrew at the top booby-trap in case the Government goes in a direction I don't like worked" in response to the news.
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Old January 12th, 2018, 11:35 PM   #475
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Certainly the lack of ECML capacity over Welwyn viaduct is a problem. Move Stevenage stops to Sandy?

The A1(M) in Herts is similarly a problem - they've spent a decade-plus trying to divert long-distance traffic away from it so as to avoid having to upgrade the bottlenecks, but the new town will drag long distance traffic back on to it, create a load more regional traffic, etc and will mean serious and costly upgrades to the existing motorway.

Milton Keynes used what was, at the time, spare capacity (though like all new towns of the day it was meant to be self-sufficient rather than a satellite dormitory town). It's ECML equivalent won't as there is so little on the London-Stevenage-Peterborough axis. If it is to have a large amount of commuters, said commutes need to be E-W or it will exacerbate existing problems.

I'd imagine that the DfT would much rather there wasn't a big new town there because of the lack of capacity.

The 2-track Welwyn (Digswell) viaduct and the North tunnel bottlenecks are always going to be problematic, and the huge cost of 4-tracking is always an issue. In theory however in just 15 years time HS2 removes a fair number of long-distance passengers from the line, so you could see a situation where there might be (say) six 125mph paths south of Peterborough - all of which could potentially serve either Huntingdon / Stevenage or the new town near Sandy. Indeed it (or St Neots) might make a more sensible terminating point for the 2 TPH Thameslink services, rather than Peterborough. I don't agree that there will be zero spare capacity in the future.

I do agree it would need the A1(M) turned into a 3-lane motorway all the way to the M25 - but IMHO that is likely to happen anyway.

I'm not personally advocating the idea of an eastern version of Milton Keynes, but thinking as a developer would, you can see that most of the area between Sandy and the south part of St Neots is level farmland with few buildings, so ideal for the purpose. There is the Great Ouse to provide a western waterfront and Wyboston lakes nearby for a 'nature park', plus various isolated bits of woodland dotted around that could be designated 'the green lungs' of a new urban development.
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Old January 13th, 2018, 01:47 AM   #476
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The thing with Welwyn I have never understood is that it shouldn't be a huge expense, in a national context. It needs a one-mile tunnel, new station and a 500m viaduct. Surely somewhere in the £1-2bn range? The viaduct could be built to match the existing one, even clad in pre-made brick panels like at London Bridge, if that is the issue. Presumably doing it in separate stages (tunnel then bridge, or vice versa) would accrue significant benefits as long as Welwyn North is removed from the fast lines?
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Old January 13th, 2018, 03:03 AM   #477
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Thing is, the distances involved are so short that doing the tunnel without the bridge would only have a marginal impact. ...and that's ignoring the fact you'd have to do the station at the same time, and there probably wouldn't be room for both the junction and the station between the tunnel and the viaduct, so you'd probably have to close the station anyway, which could be done without touching the tunnel and would probably give a large proportion of the benefits.

I suspect the most likely solution for the viaduct, should one ever come to pass, would be to build another alongside, effectively widening it on one side. Thus one side would remain untouched, and the other would be a replica. It's a tall old structure though, so it'll be a very, very expensive project.
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Old January 13th, 2018, 03:51 PM   #478
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I agree that one way is to build another viaduct and more tunnels. Having looked into this I suspect it would be better located on the western side - and no homes would have to be demolished in the process. It would however reduce the width of the station carpark by about 8 metres and require a new down platform. One benefit would be to extend 125mph running by some 5 miles, starting about a mile north of Hatfield.

Another option is to put the fast lines into twin bore tunnels. I calculate these need only be 3 miles / 5 kilometres long if gradients of 1 in 60 are used. They would of course have to dip under the river valley that is crossed by Digswell viaduct. The cost of boring twin tunnels should be under £600 million, but total costs might be 50% more.

The formation width just north of Welwyn Garden City is sufficient to create a ramp to launch the TBMs, with existing tracks slewed over.They would emerge in a slightly widened cutting at Woolmer Green. This would give the ECML four tracks for the first 65 miles from Kings Cross.
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Old January 13th, 2018, 05:48 PM   #479
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NR say there's not a lot of point in quad-tracking through Welwyn North. While it is the primary bottleneck on the southern ECML, it isn't the only one. After relieving Welwyn you're then limited to the next bottleneck, and that's the whole suburban section of the ECML between Alexandra Palace and Biggleswade. Therefore, when considering alternatives to HS2, NR actually came up with the idea of a brand new 140mph railway to bypass this section in its entirety.
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Old January 13th, 2018, 07:57 PM   #480
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NR say there's not a lot of point in quad-tracking through Welwyn North. While it is the primary bottleneck on the southern ECML, it isn't the only one. After relieving Welwyn you're then limited to the next bottleneck, and that's the whole suburban section of the ECML between Alexandra Palace and Biggleswade. Therefore, when considering alternatives to HS2, NR actually came up with the idea of a brand new 140mph railway to bypass this section in its entirety.
Indeed, and even with an MK-sized city north of there, the issue of HS2 removing the high-value services off there massively reduces the case for doubling.

Currently there's 6 paths for intercity trains (2 Leeds, 1 Newcastle, 1 Edinburgh, 1 Newark, 1 open-access), 4 Peterborough (2 future TL, 2 peak-only KX) and 8 Cambridge (4 future TL, 2 peak-only KX, 1 Kings Lynn, 1 Ely). That's 18tph. HS2 won't reduce the paths for ICEC trains much, just that the trains will be of lower value. The intermediate markets would still need to be served, and the open-access services might increase. This new city would also be competing with Peterborough and (to a lesser extent) Stevenage for call creating an issue. I guess 8tph calling might be possible (so only 2tph skipping), but more likely it would be 6tph (2 fast, 4 semi-fast) and that is fine - provided that the new town isn't a London dormitory.


As for the A1(M), 3-lanes minimum is needed anyway with long distance traffic signed via the M11 or M1 and no large new town between junctions 11 and 12, so adding more traffic will mean 4 lanes near Stevenage and the southern end.

I'd imagine the DfT saw the proposals for quarter-million cities at Calvert and Sandy and had a little panic about links that aren't East-West.
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