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Fixed Link Options

Fixed Link Costs

The Group is concerned that any discussion of a fixed link might not get serious consideration at the appropriate levels of Government because of assumed costs. This might have been true some years ago, but the Group are aware that there are modern technologies which apparently can substantially reduce the costs of tunnels, bridges, etc. over conventional approaches which might previously have been the only options. No options should be ruled out because of a perception of cost until a professional engineering feasibility study is completed.

Definitions

For clarity in this document, following definitions apply:

  • Route means the actual line that the link will take.
  • Option means the type of link e.g. single rail track, double rail track, light railway,  2 lane vehicle highway, combinations of rail / road, cycle tracks, pedestrian tracks, etc.  See later.
  • Technology means how the construction of a particular option would be implemented e.g. bored tunnel, submerged tunnel, type of bridge, cutting, etc.

Fixed Link Options

The Working Group believes that these options below should be considered. Not all options are applicable to each route. A matrix later shows where the Group considers which options might be applicable to which routes.

Initial options that may be considered:

Single Rail Track: A single rail track to be used by electric trains alternating in each direction. Secondary parallel safety / servicing track may be required if in tunnel.

Double Rail Track:  As above with two tracks - one in each direction. Traffic volume over an extended forecast period, as well as the possibility over time that the initial link or links could be extended to other areas, should be the basis for determining whether a double rail track should be recommended over a single rail track.

Light Railway: As in Docklands Light Railway in London or similar locations. Would probably be automatic (driverless) and only capable of point-to-point connections with possibility of intermediate stops. This would almost certainly not be able to be integrated with existing Scottish main line network.

Vehicle Carriageway: A two lane carriageway for vehicular traffic. Secondary parallel safety / servicing track may be required if in tunnel.

Combination rail / road:  A two lane carriageway for vehicular traffic combined with either a single or double rail track. Secondary parallel safety / servicing track may be required if in tunnel. This is the preferred option for some members of the working group.

Add-on for each of the above options:

Cycle Track / Pedestrian Track: As in Clyde tunnel in Glasgow, where the cycle / pedestrian tunnel is below the vehicle carriageway.

Add-on for a rail only option:

Car Shuttle: Commonly used in the Alps and elsewhere, a siding is provided close to rail tunnel entrances where cars can drive on to flat bed rail wagons and a tug engine brings the wagons through the rail tunnel on a regular schedule.  Would be a turn up and go operation.  For clarity, the following is the definition from Wikipedia of a car shuttle:

car shuttle train, or (sometimes) car-carrying train (French: navette-auto; German: Autoverladung; Swiss German: Autoverlad), is a shuttle train used to transport accompanied cars (automobiles), and usually also other types of road vehicles, for a relatively short distance.

Car shuttle trains usually operate on lines passing through a rail tunnel and connecting two places not easily accessible to each other by road. On car shuttle train services, the occupants of the road vehicles being carried on the train usually stay with their vehicle throughout the rail journey.

Typically, these facilities operate on a ‘Turn up and Travel’ basis.

Initial Menu of Fixed Link Routes / Options

ROUTES

There are 4 routes and 2 spurs that the Working Group has considered. Illustrative maps of each of these can be found under the Crossings tab on this web-site. The full menu of otions can be found at:

http://www.domaindesignagency.com/clients/maps/Routes.pdf

Note that these routes / crossings are purely representative at this point and no assumption is made as to property ownership or other issues that these illustrative routes cross. The actual line of the route would be derived in future study.

Routes

  1. Dunoon  Pier / Town Centre to the Cloch lighthouse area (Crossing  1)
  2. Dunoon Pier / Town Centre to the Gourock Railhead (Crossing 2)
  3. Dunoon to Helensburgh via Sandbank, Strone and Kilcreggan (Crossing 3 / 3A)
  4. Cowal Bridge (Crossing  4 / 4A) 

Spurs

  1. Dunoon to Rothesay (Crossing 5)
  2. Dunoon to Lochgilphead (Crossing 6)

 

The following matrix of routes / options was considered by the Group:

 

 

RAIL

ROAD

RAIL / ROAD

LIGHT RAIL

Crossing 1

X

Y

X

X

Crossing 2

Y

X

X

Y

Crossing 3 / 3A

Y

Y

Y

X

Crossing 4 / 4A

Y

Y

Y

X

Crossing 5

Y

Y

Y

X

Crossing 6

Y

Y

Y

X

 

The Group suggests those routes identified byY would probably be the more cost effective and should be subject to further evaluation. 

 

NOTES ON ROUTES

 

  1. Crossing 2 – a link from Dunoon Pier to the Gourock railhead is normally the automatic assumption made when a tunnel or bridge is suggested. Some very preliminary work was done some years ago and a single track rail tunnel option was investigated. Due to the nature of the sea-bed at this point in the River Clyde, the preliminary conclusion was that such a tunnel would cost in the region of £2Bn. This work needs to be verified.

 

  1. Crossing 3 / 3A – this crossing involves a three shorter links to meet with the road / rail network near Helensburgh. Due to the short links, it is envisaged that modern cheaper technology could be used and the costs would be substantially less than Crossing 2.

 

  1. The proposed Cowal Bridge route (Crossing 4 / 4A) needs particular consideration. As well as improving road transport links to South Argyll and Cowal and providing a rail link to Dunoon (Crossing 4A), this could be seen as opening up a new arterial link to Oban and the West Highlands, bypassing both the A82 north of Tarbet and the Rest and Be Thankful section of the A83. The economic impact of this, not only locally but to wider Argyll and the West, could make this a very attractive option.
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