Benefits and challenges

Benefits

Let's talk about the benefits

Benefit: 1

Connecting Weedon

And not just Weedon, also the surrounding villages, and of course, Daventry. For a while now, Weedon has not had the best transport links, with weak bus connections to nearby towns, and taxis being non-existent. Rail will certainly fill this gap, especially with reaching further to reach places such as London or Birmingham.

As well as this, it will also connect Weedon to Northampton, Leamington Spa and even Long Buckby as well. In the future if more stations are built, the station could also link residents to there, so it is kind of future-proof.

Benefit: 2

Connecting Daventry

Now, I will get into a bit more detail about the core purpose of the project, which is connecting Daventry. That is obviously where the “Daventry Parkway” phrase comes from. The town, similar to the rest of Northamptonshire, has been neglected by rail and similar modes of transport for tens of years, although the problem is obvious to senior officials in Government, and locally.

This is our time to solve this. With High Speed Two being constructed, and investment in South East transport at an all-time high, it is time to give something back to a large, and fast-growing town here in the South East Midlands.

Benefit: 3

When a station is built, people use it

As we can see in stations such as Corby, in the last 10 years, it has reached half of what a nearly century-old station has in terms of passengers. This proves that when a station is built, people use it, and this is not an exception to Corby. This effect does not just wear off over time, I have created a chart below to show Long Buckby’s yearly passenger numbers, and you can see they increase in tens of thousands a year!

Even these numbers shocked me. As you can see, these numbers are set to increase again last year (data not recorded yet), and then I expect a bit of a slope down this year due to Coronavirus, but then a huge jump up in 2021 due to this.

Challenges

Now, onto the challenges

Challenge: 1

Congestion

One of the main difficulties we will have to overcome is building a station in the middle of the WCML. This would mean Intercity and busy Avanti West Coast services which run on the same route either must slow down to allow LNWR services to stop at the station, or another solution such as a passing loop for the Weedon services to pull into to continue allowing the Avanti West Coast and other LNWR services to pass. The only problem with building a passing loop would be the space for that.

However, the North is dotted with stations on main lines, and the North is one of the busiest areas on the West Coast Main Line. If the North can do it, we can do it too. Especially if we are quieter than the North. This is the same in the South East as well. HS2 will also help us with taking pressure off the West Coast Main Line, which will allow us to build this station as it would not bother the Intercity Avanti West Coast services, as they would be transferred to Phase One of HS2 when it starts operating.

If we start constructing a station now, before HS2 is built, and run a limited LNWR service to it, it will not congest the West Coast Main Line as much and when HS2 is built, we can run a standard service to the station because stress will be taken off the WCML.

Challenge: 1

Space for a station and getting approval

Weedon is becoming quite a dense place, but I do have a perfect place in mind. This means that if this location does not work, there might not be anywhere for the station inside the actual village which would mean locating it on the outskirts of the area, and maybe not even putting it anywhere near Weedon which would mean residents could not access it as easily, but this would mean other villages could access it as well. The idea for the location which I have proposed I have quite a lot of hope in, so I do not expect this to be a huge problem. This is, of course, one of the smaller issues. I do not see there being a big problem with space.

The space I have picked is perfect for many reasons, including development around it, and being at the centre of the village, and near the A45 for easy access to Daventry Town Centre. A similar, and more prominent problem is getting approval. In section 3b of the whitepaper, I said that Northamptonshire County Council said that they would support a proposal for a station in Weedon, so I expect the county council would 100% support this project, but it is Network Rail’s final decision if we were to hook into the New Stations Fund. If we are denied for investment from Network Rail, this could be a problem.

If we start constructing a station now, before HS2 is built, and run a limited LNWR service to it, it will not congest the West Coast Main Line as much and when HS2 is built, we can run a standard service to the station because stress will be taken off the WCML.

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