To allow passenger
and freight trains to run at optimum speeds - to maximise the capacity of the line - gradients should be no steeper than 1
If gradients are steeper, problems can arise in wet weather, or snowfall. Trains can be delayed, or even slip
to a stand.
There are short sections of the Keswick to Penrith line, near the summit, which are steeper than this. Historical
evidence exists that these caused difficulties.
Nothing should be done to force the new Railway to "build-in"
more such difficulties.
Road vehicles can cope with much steeper gradients. This is often not realised by
non-Railway planners when dealing with issues of where a Railway could be "fitted in".
Building a Railway is
completely different from building a road !
It is not possible to build a "hump backed bridge", or a
steeply inclined "dive under" for the Railway if a road has been inconsiderately built across a Railway trackbed.
Any chnge of level can result in new earthworks, and even more bridges, to be built for a long distance either side of the
new feature. This new construction could stretch for a kilometre or more in either direction for one new bridge if the existing
gradients are un-favourable.
Some free space is required either side of a train, and above it. This allows for:
of signals and lineside equipment
* Clear view of signals and features on the line ahead
* Safe space for people
working along the line
* Displacement of air as the train passes
* Future increases in train sizes (partcularly
The diagram below is an ealy version of a proposed "universal" clearance standard for
Railways in the UK. All new and re-built Railways will have to conform to such Standards.
This must be taken into
account if any new building is planned close to the trackbed.
A new building too close to the track could mean
any one of the following solutions, all of which are expensive and can be avoided by careful planning:
* Move the track
sideways - possibly for a kilometre or more for curvature, if space exists
* Demolish or relocate the building
Impose a severe speed restriction on the train
* Lay only one track instead of two (reducing overall capacity of the
To prevent future conflicts when rebuilding the Railway, NOTHING should be built less than 3 metres from
the original centreline of the nearest track.
If there is an original Railway fenceline, nothing should be built inside
that - the empty space is there for a reason, most often for visibility on curved track.
|Click on the diagram to see an enlarged version
Planning for the Railway
Planning Policies and Guidance exist at ALL levels
of Government in the UK to protect former Railway trackbeds for possible re-opening. The information above is crucial in understanding
what is involved in providing proper protection.
Policies relevant to the Keswick to Penrith route are listed on
our "Planning Policies" page.
Other parts of the UK have different policies - in some areas stricter, more
detailed and more comprehensive.