Cost of station projects
Dave Fletcher queries the cost of the proposed Soham station ( Open
Access, RAIL 911). In general, I would concur with those sentiments, and not just on rail infrastructure projects.
By comparison, the new Inverness Airport station at Dalcross was reported as having a £5 million price tag ( Regional
News, RAIL 906), which does make the Soham cost look astronomical for similar-sized and specified stations. But is this a true comparison?
Having recently retired as a project engineer from a mediumsized regional consulting engineers, I am aware how costs
cannot be directly compared without looking at the detail.
For instance, ground conditions, any land purchase requirement, provision of new utility services to the station, the diversion of existing services, highway works, drainage provision, ecology and so on can differ significantly from site to site, as can railway-specific details.
To make any sort of comparison, it needs to be specified what the stated costs actually include.
I have absolutely no knowledge of the funding details, but for example: if Network Rail did provide both the reported estimates, then the Soham cost may have included all construction works shown in the planning application, whereas the Dalcross cost may only be for the platform and works within the railway boundary.
Other organisations would directly fund works such as any land purchase, diversion of existing utility services, access roads, or the construction of the car parks that are also included in the planning application.
In conclusion, unless costs of the works and funding packages are made public, it is not really possible to know the true cost of the total scheme or indeed to directly compare projects.
Peter Morris, Norwich