Rail (UK)

Cost of sta­tion projects

- Business · Inverness · Network Rail Route 18

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

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