Monday, 7 July 2014

Ten Million Pound Thanet Parkway Station at Manston to be built and other Monday morning ramblings.

The government has announced today that the parkway station at Manston that many have called the white elephant will be built. Modification here in view of the comments may be built what they have said is that the funding will be available in a couple of years time, I think.

It’s certainly all been happening at Manston recently. With the airport closure and this announcement one wonders, could there be some sort of Manson plan I don’t know about? If there is well I don’t know about it.

I will ramble on here during the odd quiet moment. 
The pictures are from the book I publish about the Ramsgate railways, see http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/catalogue/ramsgate_all_change.htm with some sample pages here http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/rac/ I can see that it is going to need revising.


The bumpy history of our local railways goes on, although I do wonder if this one make sense. At the moment if I want to get a train I walk to Ramsgate Station, is the idea that in the future I drive to Manston. 
Loads of money I know and I guess a bit of it will find its way into the local economy, but we did get loads of money spent on the port access road which leads to a port which is basically inactive. I guess with government you can’t really choose where the money will be spent and if it will be beneficial. I just wonder if a passenger station next to a closed airport where there is a small chance of an airfreight only hub make all that much sense.
There are loads of picts and vids of the Pleasurama Royal Sands protest yesterday on the Friends of Ramsgate Seafront FaceBook page see https://www.facebook.com/groups/516220578418850/

Sorry I didn’t make it to this event, the commitments of having a shop and children often mean that I can’t get to things, particularly as I work on Saturday which means my weekend consists of Sunday.  

54 comments:

  1. love the photos of the Sands station Michael!!

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  2. Michael,
    the Government havnt announced that anything will be built, they have just said that money has been allocated. the decision to build will be taken by TDC, KCC, Network Rail, Train Operating company among others.

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    1. I’ve changed the post a bit Mike, thanks for the info, to those of us outside of government all of these things are a bit of a fog.

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  3. A Manston Parkway station must surely imply closure of some (or perhaps all) of the other stations in Thanet.

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    1. Rubbish. Might effect some of the trains that currently terminate in Ramsgate, but that's all. Trains coming from Herne Bay (etc) will still need to go via Birchington, Westgate, Margate, Broadstairs, Dumpton Park and Ramsgate.

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    2. The only station of the 7 currently in Thanet that may be surplus to requirements is Minster, though I doubt if even that will close (only 1 train per hour in either direction stops there anyway).

      Thanet is extremely well served by train stations, with one no further than around 3 miles from almost anywhere on the isle. I certainly can't think of anywhere else in East Kent that has so many stations in such a relatively small area.

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    3. Ever thought Peter with the need to encourage passengers to use the new parkway station that the whole line from Herne Bay to Margate could be closed let alone the stations. Network rail and the train operator will include all possibilities when they do their research.

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    4. Of course it won't. Indeed, Margate has just had nearly a million pound spent on refurbishments, and Birchington now has a (limited) high speed service.

      Many stations (and lines) closed during the 50s and 60s, but nowadays with so much road congestion things have gone in the opposite direction, with new lines opened and even old closed lines reopened (I wish they'd reopen the Elham Valley line though).

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    5. Hi Peter, there was an interesting exchange on twitter yesterday with Southeastern regarding upgrades to Margate and Ramsgate stations. I am not entirely sure what to make of it, but it does not appear that there is an ongoing expenditure on stations in Thanet.

      I agree with you that it seems rather strange to imagine closing stations in Thanet, but I invite you to imagine a large new parkway station at Manston with connections from both the Minster and Sandwich lines. Trains could then arrive via Canterbury and Dover, trains could bypass Thanet altogether and travel from Dover via Herne Bay to Victoria - and so on. It seems to me that this would be an attractive idea to Southeastern given the problems and delays that have been caused by the maintenance of the line in Thanet in recent years, and the relatively low number of passengers.

      Of course, the costs of building a station at Manston would be rather enormous and I don't really believe that this announcement approaches the cost of doing so, but I think we all have to face the fact that there is no reason to build a parkway station for a Manston Green community which does not yet exist and which is only planned to be a few thousand (I think from memory) houses at most.

      Thanet has a historic oversupply of rail stations which are totally out of proportion to the modern population of the isle. This is just a fact. It would be mighty odd to add to those stations without a corresponding reduction in the historic stations, and the most logical thing to do would be to replace 7 rather small and underused stations with one well-connected hub/parkway station.

      I think it would make sense to keep one station on the north of the Isle, but I am not sure how that would link with the line from Minster, but it isn't really hard to imagine a scenario where improvements in rail services necessitated closing the Thanet loop of line - obviously at some point in the future when there was enough money and political will etc.

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  4. The money has been allocated not for this year, not for next year but possible 2016/17. Who knows what coalition will be in power by then. At least TDC has had an offer of the land for this station in the Manston Green development proposal by Cogent LLP.

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  5. Parkway St will be used by all the people living in Gloagsville and Labour will be in power by then :)

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  6. Surely the plan must be to close all Thanet railway stations once the Parkway is open. There are currently seven mainline stations in Thanet if you include Minster and Dumpton Park. London has ten major mainline stations and many smaller ones, Maidstone has two/three, Canterbury has two. Why does Thanet need seven? You can drive from anywhere to anywhere in Thanet, traffic permitting, in ten to fifteen minutes. What will happen is that the Parkway will have a massive car park, a regular bus service (Stagecoach of course), and a fleet of taxis, to take the weary traveller wherever they want to go. Then all the other stations will shut. Manston will become a shunting yard to replace the facilities at Ramsgate and also take the overflow from Ashford.

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  7. Whilst I too am a supporter of Sir Roger Gale Peter, I fear it is not within his remit to deny permission should such a project be proposed. It is after all a long term economic plan.

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  8. If you lot seriously believe that trains are going to terminate in Herne Bay and all other Thanet stations closed, then I really do give up debating on forums. There's about as much chance as the Thanet Way being closed to cars and turned into a cycle track! As for the Parkway station, it will NEVER happen unless the airport is revived. Even if the whole site is crammed with houses, they're not going to build an a railway extension when other stations are just a couple of miles away in Ramsgate, Minster and Birchington.

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    1. Why would they need to terminate in Herne Bay? Trains could all terminate at the new Manston Parkway, could they not?

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    2. And I don't agree that there is only a reason to have a Manston Parkway with an airport. As I suggest above, a business case might be made if it replaced the existing old and underused stations.

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    3. Indeed John. The potential route could be via Herne Bay, Manston/Thanet Parkway, Dover or Canterbury and back to London, making one continuous loop, much as the current service does to all the Thanet towns. The Parkway Station would become the transport hub into and out of Thanet, with improved transport links to the Thanet towns, and making the journey time to Thanet itself quicker, using high speed trains. Many is the time in the past when I have had to change trains at Ramsgate from Dover in order to get to Margate. Does that still happen?

      I acknowledge that the use of Birchington as a high speed stop will be beneficial to Birchington, but surely a high speed train stopping at a village station, albeit the largest village in Kent, is an oxymoron of sorts.

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    4. Another thought. Once all the minor stations are shut the rail route could be converted into a dedicated road for buses and taxis carrying all the passengers from the Parkway to their town of choice.

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    5. I think the train to Charing Cross via Dover terminates at Ramsgate.

      I don't see that there is a major problem rearranging bus routes in order to have a parkway station. Possibly not attractive to local people who are used to the service that they have, but obviously not something impossible. I agree that a cycle route could easily be built on the existing line and there are plenty of places where that has been done as well around the country.

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  9. We need to add more stations (or "halts"), not less. In Thanet we could do with one between Margate and Broadstairs (Drapers Mill / Dane Valley area), and outside Thanet between Minster and Sturry (Upstreet / Grove Ferry area). We've pretty much reached satuation point with roads now, and with the growing concerns over air pollution railways are the future, not the past. Politicians and the public are starting to see this. We'll also see much more priority given to pedestrians and cyclists in the coming years, particularly in town centres (something that started happening years ago with the semi-pedestrianisation of parts of central Ramsgate, Margate, Herne Bay, etc).

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    1. Yeah, we'd all like trains which stopped outside of our doors, but that isn't a realistic proposition in 2014.

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  10. Having said that, if Margate Station closes then the value of my property will double overnight, and many more people that are currently put off by the noise of trains will invest in the town!

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  11. Margate East? I remember it being open, it closed in 1953.

    More rail stops in Thanet will increase journey time and therefore limit the number of trains available. One stop for the whole of Thanet is the same as for most towns of a similar size.

    The old rail tracks could also become a cycle way, allowing the freedom for cyclists to ride to their hearts content, the only rule I would make is that they wear bright coloured clothing so that they don't blend into the background when on the way home afterwards.

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    1. That's right. Most places with a comparable geography and population have one or two stations. Coventry, with almost exactly the same geographical size but 5 times the population (I think, from memory) has 3 stations.

      Most people live with the idea that they're not going to be able to walk to a train station. If there was a corresponding improvement in the train service, it may well be something many would accept.

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    2. There'd be fast trains (stopping at select stations) and slow trains (stopping at all stations), just like there are now.

      I never wear hi-vis clothing when cycling (except at night, something I rarely ever do). I've even stopped wearing lycra, as I'm a bit old for it... I now tend to favour tight denim hot pants! ; )

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    3. I don't think there is demand, Peter. People regularly use the trains for free journeys around Thanet already, how would any train company police it?

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    4. Ticket barriers? More staff? That's really something the rail companies need to look at.

      I noticed a couple of interesting news snippets just this morning: Some motorways will probably start cutting down speed limits to 60 mph during peak times to cut pollution, and (more remarkably) a cycle only Thames crossing is being proposed for the Wandsworth area. In addition to this, almost 25% of the country now have or are planning a 20 mph speed limits in all residential areas. So believe me, the days of giving mortorists priority are over. We're going to see much more investment in both railway and cycling infrastructure in the coming decades.

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    5. Extra cost. Not worth it for the number of potential passengers.

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    6. They don't even check tickets enough on long journeys. Many times I've travelled for a hour or so (Rochester, Folkestone) and not had my ticket checked at any time (the only route they seem pretty hot on is the Margate to St. Pancras High Speed train). With the amount of money they must be losing, cutting back on staff is a false economy. Whatever happened to checking tickets at train stations like Margate and Ramsgate? Even Faversham and Canterbury (which have barriers) are rarely policed.

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    7. As I understand it, they have checks at peak times. I have sometimes seen teams of ticket inspectors at Ramsgate checking everyone, but as you say have also been all the way to London without any checks. I'm guessing that as a company wishing to make money, Southeastern is aware of the problem and the investments in barriers/staff vs the return they'd get on catching everyone who travels without a ticket.

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  12. In London tube stations are about the same distance apart as our train stations I would be surprised if any stations are shut.

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    1. London is not Thanet. And an urban underground network is not the same as a suburban and historic overground train service. Hence the spacing of underground stations is of no relevance to the spacing of train stations in Thanet.

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    2. But the density of people is not much less and if we are going to have another 12,500 homes here by 2025 then it sounds about right.

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  13. Thanet has 1200 people per km square and the least dense London borough more than 2000. Lots of more densely populated places have fewer stations.

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  14. Sir Roger Gale:

    "Thanet District Council and Thanet's MPs are all agreed that the airport is only temporarily closed."

    "I hope and expect that Thanet council will go for a compulsory purchase order to be funded by Riveroak, the company that wants to buy the airfield to turn it into a European freight hub."

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-28190181

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  15. Sir Roger Gale its not that the same person that said Manston airport would be employing 1000s of people by now? I wonder was it poor judgement or was it bad luck? What I cant believe is still people think what he says is real and not the ramblings of an old fool that cant see that any chance of a CPO or any other miracle is never going to happen. The only way for Manston to have flights from its runway is for a rich plane nut to pay £600m then fork out another £5m a year until he has the brains to build on it.

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  16. Joe try the density of people around the stations not the farm land of Thanet It's not that different to London oh and by the way in London they have the tube and train, Now do your counting.

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    1. Yeah, try visiting some of England's cities outside of London. None of them have as many stations as Thanet for a larger population.

      London has a massive movement of people, Thanet does not.

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  17. I don't know what planet you live on Purple Om but are you suggesting that because they have tube trains in London then Thanet should have a similar system? compared to London most trains through Thanet are lightly loaded. Plus the population of London is greatly increased by tourists, something sadly lacking in Thanet. As I said in earlier comments, why does Thanet need seven stations when other, larger conurbations have only one. Peterborough has one, Chesterfield only one, even Sheffield has only one and with nearly five times the population of Thanet.

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  18. Most strange. We have Purple Om squealing with delight when Manston closed, but when it is suggested that some railway stations could close if Manston Parkway goes ahead then the opposite position is taken. Perhaps he will organise a group of like minded people to parade outside TDC in protest. I wonder how many there would turn up?

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  19. I suspect the offer of Government money was related to Paul Carters dream of a London Manston Airport revival. Since the wheels of government grind exceeding slow this offer was probably in the system before the Gloag Spring bombshell and no central government civil servant noticed that the goalposts had moved. They will eventually andvthere will be no money.
    Given the traffic problems we already have I can't see the sense in closing the existing Thanet stations and having everyone drive to Minster. Anyone who believes that people will catch buses, take a taxi or cycle from their homes to Parkway really are living on a different planet. Thanet Parkway station will just create another air pollution hot spot. Maybe, since we are blessed with more stations than Coventry we should just keep quiet and hope that no one notices.

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    1. Tim, I don't think keeping quiet will help, given this will entirely be a discussion about the economics of running the railway. It might not 'seem like sense' but it is clearly a cost saving to the rail companies. I am tired of this discussion of air pollution, there is no obvious reason why a Manston station would be any more polluting than the existing infrastructure and probably considerably less than the airport. And people will catch buses to stations. Everywhere else has had to for years.

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    2. I agree with Tim for once. Unless (or until) the airport is up and running again then this Parkway nonsense won't happen.

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  20. Bemused I see where you get you name from you really do now how to misunderstand. I said tube and trains not tube trains and just to get it clear so there is no misunderstanding overground trains and underground tube trains

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  21. Perhaps Thanet should have a congestion charge, just like London. That would put more people on trains.

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  22. Well of course Purple Om, you said tube and train. Well we already have trains, visiting seven stations, so it would be tautology to include them when mentioning additional tube trains, which generally run underground. And since nobody likes having their spelling/punctuation etc. criticised I will refrain from explaining the difference between know and now.

    I to do not hold with the pollution argument. Cars and buses are becoming cleaner and greener all the time, and by the time a Parkway station is built we will probably all be using electric cars. The trains too are electric though I am not sure about the high speed service.

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  23. There's more than just one type of pollution... as well as air pollution, it's becoming more and more unacceptable to have the noise of traffic thundering through built up areas. This is quickly being recognised, and I don't think it's an exaggeration to predict that within a few years ALL cities, towns and villages will have a 20 mph speed limit. In Thanet's case this means that from the approach to Birchington (from Herne Bay direction) onwards will all be a 20 mph zone. Of course, this will encourage both rail travel and cycling.

    Incidentally, speed limits on UK roads do NOT apply to cyclists, only motorised vehicles. So as long as they're not causing danger to others, then cyclists can go as fast as they can pedal!

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  24. "However, despite the fact that speed limits do not apply to bicycles, you can be prosecuted simply for cycling too fast - under the charge of 'cycling furiously'. You can also be prosecuted for riding dangerously or carelessly" so in fact Peter your knowledge of the Law is both right and wrong.

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    1. Which is why I added "as long as they're not causing danger to others".........

      My knowledge of the law is 100% correct.

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    2. Another point (though not actually a law), the police advise people who cycle at more than 15 mph NOT to use cycle paths, but to use roads instead.

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    3. You might be interested in the real "John Hamilton" is back on FB posting on Save Manston page. I am taking bets as to how long before he gets kicked out!!

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    4. Couldn’t find him Barry and his account says he doesn’t belong to any groups, what stance did he take on the issue?

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  25. Presumably he supports it? I don't post on FB groups.

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