The Anonymous Widower

Are The Class 387 Trains Getting Excited?

I travelled from Blackfriars to St. Pancras on one of Thameslink’s Class 387 trains.

With only a couple of hours to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, are these trains getting excited about visiting places they never thought they would?

In my view after the Rumours of Battery Powered Trains a few months ago, nothing has been heard.

There has been nothing heard about electrification either, except the award of the electrification contract for the Gospel Oak to Barking Line to J. Murphy and Sons as reported in this article in Rail Technology.

So is it a case of no news is good news for electrification?

I still believe that a fleet of Class 387 IPEMUs could be used to extend electrification by stealth, into areas, where everybody thinks it is impossible to go.

I would use them to run these routes for a start.

  • Liverpool to Newcastle – There is one gap of 43 miles between Leeds and Manchester
  • Blackpool to Scarborough – There might need to be some electrification at Scarborough
  • Liverpool to Hull – There might need to be some electrification at Hull
  • St. Pancras to Corby
  • St. Pancras to Leicester – There might need to be some electrification at Leicester
  • Kings Cross to Hull
  • Liverpool Street to Lowestoft
  • Ipswich to Cambridge
  • Ipswich to Peterborough
  • Paddington to Oxford, Newbury and Bedwyn
  • St. Pancras to Ashford, Hastings and Eastbourne
  • London Bridge to Uckfield
  • Assorted Branch Lines to Barrow, Felixstowe, Greenford, Maidenhead, Marlow, Windermere and Yarmouth

If anybody doubts the concept, it could be proven on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line in North London.

So how does electrification figure in George Osborne’s statement?

  • After all, it cuts carbon emmissions.
  • Trains are faster and more efficient.
  • It needs to be done all over the country, so a lot of areas will benefit.

If electrification is enabled using battery trains, it will be the biggest rabbit any Chancellor has ever pulled!

November 25, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Battery Trains In Japan

Some think I’m wrong about battery trains and believe they will never catch on! But none of the doubters are engineers or physicists, and perhaps more importantly none rode the amazing Class 379 BEMU, when it was being trialled last year in Essex.

I have just searched for battery trains and found this article on the Rail Journal web site entitled Battery-Electric Trains For Japan’s Oga Line. This is said.

EAST Japan Railway Company (JR East) has announced plans to carry out trials with ac battery-electric multiple units (BEMUs) on the 26.6km Oga Line in Japan’s northern Akita prefecture from Spring 2017.

But this is not an experiment, as this is said later.

The Oga Line will be the second line on the JR east network to benefit from BEMU operation, following the introduction of EV-E301 series trains on the Karasuyama Line in Tochigi Prefecture in March 2014.

If the Japanese use BEMU (IPEMU in the UK!) technology in daily service, it can’t be their version of Mickey Mouse! The train is called an EV-E301, and looks a professional train, even if a bit spartan for use in the UK.

I just wonder when George Osborne makes his Autumn Statement today, will he be announcing new battery-electric trains or IPEMUs for all?

In my view, it’s the only way to electrify large parts of the UK and reduce the costs of electrification!



November 25, 2015 Posted by | Travel, Finance | , , , | Leave a comment

London Gets Its First Community Rail Partnership

There are over fifty Community Rail Partnerships in the UK. This is an extract from the Wikipedia entry.

The Association of Community Rail Partnerships (ACoRP) supports its fifty or so member CRPs and also offers assistance to voluntary station friends groups that support their local stations through the station adoption scheme. Since 2005 the Department for Transport has formally designated a number of railway lines as community rail schemes in order to recognise the need for different, more appropriate standards than are applied to main line railway routes, and therefore make them more cost effective.

As the numbers keep increasing, I suspect that central and regional government, local authorities, passengers rail companies and staff, think they are a good idea.

Today’s in some ways surprising news, is that London is to get its first Community Rail Partnership in Hounslow. Sewvn stations are involved on the Hounslow Loop Line.

This article in Rail Technology Magazine gives more details of the partnership.

How many more Community Rail Partnerships will London embrace in the next few years?

November 24, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Torotrak Share Price Rises

On of my Google Alerts picked up this article from which is entitled How Analysts Feel About Torotrak plc After Today’s Huge Increase?

Torotrak is an engineering company behind some kinetic energy recovery systems, that are seen in motor sport like Formula One. But the technology also has applications in the general motor industry to save fuel and we all know the hole VW has dug for itself.

But could the rise in the share price be driver by the big event happening tomorrow – The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement?

Probably not, but Torotrak’s system might be part of a suitable energy storage system for an Independently Powered Electrical Multiple Unit or IPEMU.

One of George Osborne’s biggest problems is funding the electrification of the railways, as if we are to modernise this country, then most rail lines need to be electrified or at least provided with modern trains.

I believe that the IPEMU is one solution to reduce costs, by avoiding the horrendous problems and costs of putting up the wires.

So will George go for it?

November 24, 2015 Posted by | Finance, Travel | , , | Leave a comment

The Croxley Rail Link Is Now The Metropolitan Line Extension

This report in the Railway Gazette is entitled Metropolitan Line Extension Funding Agreed. This is said.

The funding package for the Metropolitan Line Extension project has been finalised, London Underground announced on November 23. Construction is now expected to start next year, with completion due in 2020.

The project has now also changed its name from Croxley Rail Link to Metropolitan Line Extension.

There is now also  this page on Transport for London’s web site, which comes with this new map.

Metropolitan Line Extension

Metropolitan Line Extension

I have to ask, whether the timing of this is significant, as the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement is on Wednesday.

November 23, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

Denmark Hill Station Rises

I say rises, as the pub at Denmark Hill Station is called The Pheonix.

When I last took photos before the upgrade, it was rather a mass of scaffolding.

But look at it now!

I took these pictures as I came home today.

It’s certainly one of the better middle-sized stations in London.

November 23, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

Loughborough Junction Station And Around

I took these pictures of Loughborough Junction station and its environs.

I do wonder if a four-poster station can be built here, to connect the South London Line that passes over the station to the current Loughborough Junction.

This Google Map shows the station and the surrounding area.

Loughborough Junction Station

Loughborough Junction Station

Note the following about the railway lines and Loughborough Junction station.

  • There are four lines going over the station, with the London Overground being the two lines on the southern side.
  • The Thameslink lines are the ones going North-South through the area.
  • The station only has two platforms on these lines.
  • Platforms on the two spurs; Brixton and Cambria, were closed many years ago.

The height difference between the two sets of lines is probably no more than at Smethwick Galton Bridge station, where a four post station has been successfully built.

To say there are a mass of lines and the associated railway arches, filled with small businesses, would be an understatement.

This area should be able to be developed to provide what the people of the area need. A stylish and practical station linking both lines could be part of the development.

November 23, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

Herne Hill Station

I visited Herne Hill Station and took these pictures.

It is a bit of an odd station, in that although it is fully step-free and has a ticket office, it is a station without ticket gates.

It was also surprisingly short on information about buses, as due to a train being cancelled, I thought I might get a bus to Loughborough Junction station.

But there was no map!

This is a Google Map of the station

Herne Hill Station

Herne Hill Station

It clearly shows how the four lines through the station divide both North and South of the station, into two pairs of lines.

It is noteworthy that where the lines split in the North, the area is a Network Rail depot, so it would be ideal to create a shaft to a Victoria Line  tunnel.

I have seen or found nothing to definitely answer the question I posed in Will The Victoria Line Go To Herne Hil?

November 23, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

Changing Trains At Brixton

These pictures are a record of changing from Brixton tube station on the Victoria Line to Brixton station for a train to Herne Hill.

Note the following.

  • The Underground station is step-free, but the rail station definitely isn’t!
  • Platform 1 at Brixton station for Victoria is only accessible with difficulty.
  • Platform 2 is by internal staircase with artwork.
  • The platforms have two bronze figures on the platforms. I’d like to see more of the bronzes in store in our galleries exhibitied on stations. You certainly couldn’t nick them from Brixton station.

The Underground station is one of the best, but the rail station is best described as unusual.

This Google Map shows the two stations.

Brixton Station

Brixton Station

Simple it isn’t!

How complicated and expensive a new station would be depends on how many connections, you want passengers to have.

Building an Overground station in the sky would be expensive, as height always costs money.

But putting decent stairs and lifts into the existing Brixton station would be routine compared to linking to the Overground.

The only way to connect all three lines would be to rebuild the Argos building as a triple dcker station with lifts and escalators.

But it would be horrendously expensive, even if there were some shops and a lot of flats on the top of everything.

But the bulding would be well connected!

I think that the best that can be hoped for is lifts and decent stairs in the main line station.


November 23, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Will The Victoria Line Go To Herne Hill?

The Wikipedia entry for the Victoria Line has a section entitled Possible Future Projects. This is said.

For many years there have been proposals to extend the line one stop southwards from Brixton to Herne Hill. Herne Hill station would be on a large reversing loop with one platform. This would remove a critical capacity restriction by eliminating the need for trains to reverse at Brixton. The Mayor of London’s 2020 Vision, published in 2013, proposed extending the Victoria line “out beyond Brixton” by 2030.

Now that the dodgy crossover on the approach to Walthamstow Central station has been replaced, this extension to Herne Hill station must be higher up Transport for London’s list of priorities, as they try to squeeze more capacity out of London’s railways.

This metro map from, shows the lines around Herne Hill.

Victoria Line And Herne Hill

Victoria Line And Herne Hill

Note the blue lines of the Victoria Line going a short distance past the terminal platforms at Brixton tube station.

The plan calls for these stubs to be extended in a wide loop under Herne Hill station, where there would be a single platform beneath the current platforms.

I think that this was a project that should have some years ago, as it would surely have taken some of the pressure off Victoria tube station, during the current rebuilding.

In the London Transport Infrastructure Plan for 2050,  under New Links and/or stations for Strategic Interchange, there is a mention of Brixton High Level, which I wrote about in Could The Various Lines At Brixton Be Connected?. I finished with.

So it would appear that substantial improvement at Brixton could be achieved by creating a High Level station linking the various lines together and perhaps using an iconic lift tower to the ground.

Brixton needs an iconic creation to go with the vibrancy of the area, that doesn’t destroy everything. This could be the High Level station. Having seen the way that the walkway was threaded through at Hackney, I think there are at least one set of engineers and architects up to the challenge.

But building an iconic station at Brixton would cause a lot of disruption.

However, it could be argued and the passenger figures might show it, that another station at Herne Hill might help in giving passengers another way to get on the Victoria Line.

This section is taken from the Transport Infrastructure Plan.

Some examples of the types of schemes to address these issues are an upgrade of the London Overground network to provide 6 car trains and new stationson existing lines, eg at Camberwell, that can plug connectivity gaps and act as development nodes.

Look at the map of the Victoria Line and Herne Hill and you’ll see the orange line of the London Overground passing across and going over the top of Loughborough Junction station. Surely a four-poster station could be built to improve the connectivity. For a start, it would give Dalstonistas like me, good access to Thameslink.

South London often gets overlooked in the development of London’s railways, but done in the right sequence, I think these projects would be a welcome addition to London transport network.

  • Victoria Line Extension to Herne Hill
  • Brixton High Level Station, which would connect the Overground to lines out of Victoria.
  • Loughborough Junction High Level Station, which would connect the Overground to Thameslink.

I would start with the Victoria Line extension to Herne Hill. After all it would be a nice follow-on job to the Northern Line Extension to Battersea.

November 23, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , | 1 Comment


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