Should transport infrastructure be more weather resistant ?

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adam2
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Should transport infrastructure be more weather resistant ?

Post by adam2 »

As has been widely reported, roads and public transport have been seriously affected by the recent heavy rain and high winds.

Complete protection against such events is unlikely to be affordable, but I feel that more could be done relatively affordably, especialy when railway lines and stations are being repaired, upgraded, replaced or otherwise worked on.

Here are a few relatively affordable ideas that if implemented should help a bit.

When a rail platform is being rebuilt, it should be increased in height relative to the track, by the maximum permitted.
A step DOWN into the train should be regarded as no less acceptable than a step up.
Then when the track requires work, it may be raised without altering the platform at the same time.

Raised railway embankments can present a barrier to flood waters, it is usuall to provide culverts or drains in order that the water may pass from one side to the other without washing away the embankment.
Whenever these these culverts require repair or replacement, they should be made larger or more numerous to permit of greater flood water flows without damage.

Whenever a new or replacement bridge over a rail line is required, this should be built with an extra 1M clearance between the underside of the bridge and the top of the trains. This will allow the track to be raised without bridge alterations.

When stations are being refurbished, all electrical and IT equipment should be placed as high up as possible, so that after a flood, only drying out the structure is needed, not rewiring and replacement of electronics.

Railway cuttings are very prone to flooding, and in particularly problematic locations, where drainage cant be improved, it may be worth filling them in and accepting the extra fuel used/reduced train performance as a result of the worse gradients.

Trees are a problem when they blow down in high winds, all over mature or dangerously leaning specimens should be felled forthwith, and if desired new trees planted (and remember to fell these before they present a hazard.

Especialy important equipment such as portable buildings housing signalling equipment should be located away from trees, or if not possible be protected by a substantial steel frame to protect against a falling tree.

Consider more resilient power supplies for signalling and other important loads.
Last edited by adam2 on Fri Nov 23, 2012 8:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by ujoni08 »

All good points, Adam2. I would add that the drains and sewers need to be made bigger and cleaned out regularly.
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Post by vtsnowedin »

All well and good but who will pay for all this over building? Rail beds are designed to provide economical service for decades and the drainage pipes are usually sized to handle the flow of a hundred year flood without failure. Having a cut submerged for a few days in a flood event is cheap compared to the cost of pushing 100 ton rail cars up substandard grades year in year out.
As the price of fuel increases the math and the decision points on when to dig a tunnel or to build around etc. will change somewhat but as railroad design engineers have always been a cost conscious lot I doubt you will see any great change in how they build and maintain rail lines in the future.
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Post by RenewableCandy »

It is possible that the best way to adapt is to just not expect to be able to travel 100% of the time, and accept 98% or something instead.
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Post by adam2 »

Rail infrastructure is probably designed for the 100 year flood, by historical standards.
Unfortunatly flood events that used to be considered once in a 100 year events are occuring much more often.
Therefore consideration should be given to improving flood resistance when this can be done affordably as part of other works.
I have no doubt that drains and culverts have been washed out in the recent floods, and would hope that the replacements will be larger or more numerous, rather than like for like.

I suspect that the railway only operates about 98% of the time now ! any more degradation will put people off public transport and encourage them to drive instead.

One of the main reasons people drive rather than use the train is because they "have" to have a car in case the railway is closed by engineering works, rain, high winds, snow, bob crow, security alerts and the like.

Having purchased a car and paid the fixed costs, then daily use rather than rail fares becomes more attractive.

As an example I have to give my employers several weeks notice of proposed holiday dates, If I intend visiting relatives in the West country I wont be very pleased if there are no trains due to bad weather between me booking the holiday and the date of travel.
It would be worse to leave London and be unable to return to work on time due to bad weather.
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Post by JavaScriptDonkey »

People have cars because they provide door-to-door transport.

If I want to go the shops I can be there in 1/2hr if I drive or nearer 3hrs if I want to try to wait for buses/trains and then work out how to get where I want to go rather than where the bus/train actually goes.

London's public transport only works because there is so much of it.
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Post by adam2 »

I dont have a car, and an now wondering if my proposed journey to Taunton this friday will be OK.
And whether or not I can return on the following teusday as planned, or not.
Although some trains are running between London and Taunton there is considerable delay and disruption.
I dont mind a delay/diversion, but wont be so pleased if I dont get a seat, preferably in the restaurant.
I shall book first class, in order to get priority in the use of the lifeboats.
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Post by PS_RalphW »

JavaScriptDonkey wrote:People have cars because they provide door-to-door transport.

If I want to go the shops I can be there in 1/2hr if I drive or nearer 3hrs if I want to try to wait for buses/trains and then work out how to get where I want to go rather than where the bus/train actually goes.

London's public transport only works because there is so much of it.
If I want to go to a given door in Cambridge (or most other city centres) my last transport choice is the car. Apart from the cost of parking often exceeding the cost of fuel it is very unlikely I will find a parking space within easy walking distance of the door anyway. On a recent visit to Oxford, I spent one night at the Youth Hostel. The cost to park my car within half a mile of the hostel exceeded the cost of the hostel. I ended up in the park and ride and walking the mile and a half to the hostel - which was quicker (and £3 cheaper) than taking the bus, which was stationary in the traffic.

I can usually park my bike within 10 metres of my destination.
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Post by RenewableCandy »

Good point: the days of urban car-driving providing "door-to-door transport" are long gone, unless either both "door"s are people's houses (complete with drives) or you have a chauffeur :)
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Post by JavaScriptDonkey »

Urban?

That'll be where the car is so popular that councils can charge for parking then.

It'll also be where there are enough customers/tax payers to fund a comprehensive public transport system.

When I to go up to London these days I take the train and use the tube but I used to drive regularly and it wasn't that bad. Walking from a car park rarely added up to more than walking from a tube station and the journey times and costs were comparable.
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Post by RenewableCandy »

JavaScriptDonkey wrote:Urban?

That'll be where the car is so popular that councils can charge for parking then.
Quite. Otherwise, as far as councils are concerned, car-parking would be a catastrophic waste of space. I find it almost comical that people have simply got used to parking anything up to a mile away from their destination, but then say "Oh the bus doesn't go anywhere near where we want to go"...
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Post by JavaScriptDonkey »

RenewableCandy wrote:
JavaScriptDonkey wrote:Urban?

That'll be where the car is so popular that councils can charge for parking then.
Quite. Otherwise, as far as councils are concerned, car-parking would be a catastrophic waste of space. I find it almost comical that people have simply got used to parking anything up to a mile away from their destination, but then say "Oh the bus doesn't go anywhere near where we want to go"...
Businesses and residents need either extensive parking or massively subsidised public transport in order to function.

Councils know this which is why they can get away with charging for parking. Even with the extra taxes and charges involved driving is still more convenient in a hub based transport infrastructure than trying to go somewhere other than the centre of the hub.

For those of us that live outside of towns long circuitous and wandering bus routes are the norm.

On Sundays we get 4 buses a day which is a improvement on the none we used have.
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Post by adam2 »

Thought it worth re-visiting this thread in view of the recent and ongoing disruption to transport in many parts of the UK.
Rail travel to/from the West country remains disrupted.

The flooding of about 12/14 months ago was said to be exceptional and arguably not worth spending too much on precautions as it was unlikely to happen again for decades.
But now that it has happened again after only about a year ?
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Post by fuzzy »

I have never understood why more use isn't made of 2 pack epoxy for repairs. I would guess that a bucket of gravel and epoxy could fill a pothole a hell of a lot better [since it is prone to repeat failure] than tarmac
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Post by vtsnowedin »

fuzzy wrote:I have never understood why more use isn't made of 2 pack epoxy for repairs. I would guess that a bucket of gravel and epoxy could fill a pothole a hell of a lot better [since it is prone to repeat failure] than tarmac
You need only cost out a five gallon container (containers actually)of epoxy and compare it to the cost of a truck load of hot bituminous pavement to find your answer.
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