The Anonymous Widower

Increasing Capacity On Waterloo Suburban Services

A new franchise is taking over the services out of Waterloo station to the South West.

There is an informative article in Rail Technology Magazine, which is entitled First MTR joint venture awarded South Western franchise.

I wrote about the suburban services in An Analysis Of Waterloo Suburban Services Proposed To Move To Crossrail 2.

The Services Proposed To Move To Crossrail 2

These suburban termini and their routes are proposed  to be connected to Crossrail 2.

The times are for a typical one-way journey from Waterloo, which usually has a frequency of two trains per hour (tph).

But consider.

I would think it is highly likely that a Class 707 train could do a round trip to Chessington South, Epsom and Hampton Court stations, within an hour. For the purpose of this calculation, I’ll assume that trains to Shepperton take two hours for the round trip.

So this would mean that to execute the current 2 tph, would need the following number of five-car trains, which would work as a ten-car unit.

  • Chessington South –  2×2 = 4 trains
  • Epsom – 2×2 = 4 trains
  • Hampton Court – 2×2 =  4 trains
  • Shepperton – 4×2 = 8 trains

So a total of 20 new five-car Class 707 trains would be needed to run these four services at a frequency of 2 tph, stopping as they do now!

As they can’t do the round trip in an hour with the current stock, they need to use more trains. And drivers and depot space!

Services to Windsor and Eton Riverside

Services between Waterloo and Windsor and Eton Riverside stations currently take 54 minutes.

I don’t think it is unreasonable to expect that a Class 707 train could do the round trip in two hours.

So that means that just eight trains are needed to run the ten-car 2 tph service to Windsor.

Services On The Hounslow And Kingston Loop Lines

These seem to be timed as follows.

  • Hounslow Loop – 85 minutes – 20 stops.
  • Kingston Loop – 79 minutes – 22 stops

Consider.

  • The services are probably timed for 75 mph trains.
  • 100 mph Class 707 trains with a faster station-stop performance could save a minute at each stop.
  • All the platforms on the loop have only recently been updated for ten-car trains.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Class 707 trains, run round the Hounslow and Kingston Loop Lines in under an hour.

This would enable clockface services, simplify train scheduling and please passengers, signallers and the train operating company.

Other Services

There are other services that would benefit from Class 707 trains.

These are two examples of services out of Waterloo

  •  Weybridge via Hounslow and Virginia – 75 minutes – 20 stops.
  • Guildford via Epsom – 71 minutes – 17 stops

Would a Class 707 train, bring these journeys under the magic hour including a turnback?

Waterloo Station

When the former International platforms at Waterloo station has been upgraded in the Summer, it will have five new Platforms 20-24.

To gain efficient access to the new Platforms, Network Rail are replacing the Eurostar tracks, with lines that enable trains to take a sneaky quick route in and out of Platforms 20-24.

These pictures show the lines going from Platforms 1 and 2 at Vauxhall station to the former Eurostar Platforms.

It looks like when it’s finished Platform 1 at Vauxhall will be the up platform towards Waterloo and Platform 2 will be the down platform.

Currently Platform 2 at Vauchall seems to handle services that come through Putney and Clapham Junction stations, with services going the other way using Platform 3.

According to Services in the Wikipedia entry for Putney station, typical off-peak service at  the station is.

This means that there are 12 tph in both directions from Putney to Waterloo via Clapham Junction and Vauxhall.

It does look that after all the work is finished, these services will go into the rebuilt Platforms 20-24.

Will the various services be given their own platforms in Waterloo?

It would be a  way of increasing passenger throughput in the station at busy times, as commuters would know that their trains always used the same platform. Simple and efficient!

It could be done with all services and I think this is done to a certain extent now.

Conclusion

South West Trains new fleet of thirty Class 707 trains is sized to run the services to Chessington South, Epsom, Hampton Court, Shepperton and Windsor and still leave a couple of spares for breakdowns and maintenance.

This calculation shows that you can sometimes replace a large number of 75 mph trains with a significantly smaller number of 100 mph units and still attain the same service frequency.

As they have just lost the franchise, I feel a little bit sorry for Stagecoach. But not that sorry!

 

March 29, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Improvements To South Kensington Tube Station

Transport for London have announced that they are looking for a partner to improve South Kensington tube station.

It’s all described in this article in the Construction Enquirer, which is entitled TfL invites bids for South Ken tube station revamp.

The following improvements are mentioned.

  • Improve the retail and commercial units of the station.
  • Refurbish the buildings at 20-34 Thurloe Street.
  • Restore the Grade II Listed entrance to its original state.
  • Provide step-free access to the District and Circle line via a new station entrance on Thurloe Street.
  • Bring a disused Eastbound platform back into use.
  • Improve the gate line and emergency exits.

There will also be some extra development on TfL’s land.

This Google Map shows the layout of the station.

And this map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the layout of the lines.

 

TfL are hoping work can start next year.

 

 

 

 

March 29, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

Jeremy Corbyn On Brexit

Replying to Theresa May’s announcement of Article 51, Jeremy Corbyn gave a speech that was probably nine month’s late. If he had been so anti-Brexit last summer, perhaps the result of the Referendum would have been different.

March 29, 2017 Posted by | World | , , , | 1 Comment

Trump’s Plan Won’t Reverse Coal’s Decline

That is the title of this article on FiveThirtyEight.

It explains that coal’s problem is not Obama and his legislation, but that natural gas is so much

This is a paragraph.

Trump — along with many of his supporters in coal-producing states — blames Obama’s environmental policies for the coal industry’s struggles. And it’s true that U.S. coal consumption dropped precipitously during Obama’s time in office. But the timing is largely coincidental: Coal’s biggest problem isn’t regulation — it’s natural gas.

There are several interesting graphs worth looking at.

I think we should all be worried about Trump’s mental health, as he is showing all the logic of a typical East European mad dictator.

March 29, 2017 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

Forget Trump: The Private Sector Is Still Going Green

This is title of a piece by Irwin Stelzer in this week’s Sunday Times.

Read the article if you can. It talks about how large companies like Exxon and Shell and individuals like Bill Gates are putting prices on carbon and backing reliable clean energy.

The last paragraph sums it up nicely.

Presidents come and go. The private sector will be engaging in long-run research and long-lived investments, perhaps more efficiently than the government has been doing. The profit motive might just turn out to be more productive than the vote-getting or ideological motives of politicians.

I think he could be right!

Think of all those successful projects, that were were done without any Government support or blessing and think of all those government projects that sunk without trace taking millions of pounds with them.

And also think about all that legal money slushing around the world looking for a home in an innovation that will be a wothwhile investment.

March 28, 2017 Posted by | Business, Finance, World | , , | Leave a comment

Gluten-Free Food On The NHS – Again

In August 2015 , I write Gluten-Free Food On The NHS.

My view hasn’t changed. But my list of foods has changed slightly.

I still think, that those prescribed a gluten-free diet, should get a small payment each month, either as a voucher or a direct transfer into your bank account.

The current system is bureaucratic and expensive. A lot of money also goes on products that are crap and I wouldn’t give to a starving beggar!

March 28, 2017 Posted by | Food | , , | 3 Comments

An Overview Of Headbolt Lane Station

Headbolt Lane station is Merseyrail’s solution to connecting the single-track Kirkby Branch of the Northern Line to the double-track Kirkby Branch Line from Wigan  Wallgate station in an efficient manner.

At present at Kirkby station, the following happens.

  • The two lines meet head-on at Kirkby station, which is less than satisfactory, with a walk along a shared platform to change trains.
  • The service between Liverpool and Kirkby is a Turn-Up-And-Go four tph.
  • The service between Kirkby and Wigan Wallgate and Manchester is just one tph.
  • Also, I’m also not sure of the quality of the facilities at Kirkby station.

, So hopefully a new station at Headbolt Lane would offer advantages.

  • It would be a better-equipped station.
  • Interchange would be cross-platform.
  • The trains would be timed to be in the station at the same time.
  • The trains can double as waiting rooms, whilst waiting for passengers.
  • Ideally the frequencies on both branches would be the same at four tph.

I reckon that the current trains would take about the same four minutes to go from Kirkby to Headbolt Lane as they do between Fazakerley and Kirkby, as the distances are similar. So as the current trains seem to stop quickly at stations according to the timetable, perhaps a time of ten minutes between Fazakerley and Headbolt Lane is on the cards..

So given the need for the driver to change ends at Headbolt Lane station, it looks like the timings available with the current trains are not fast enough to allow the line to be extended to Headbolt Lane station and maintain the current four tph.

Four tph could probably be achieved if the line was made double-track or if a second turn-back platform were to be provided at Headbolt Lane station.

But all that would cost money.

But help would be at hand, in that the faster new Stadler trains,with  their ability to stop and get going again very quickly, would probably be designed to execute the turnback fast enough to keep the four tph service.

So it might appear that the consequence of this, is that Headbolt Lane station can’t be served by Merseyrail at four tph, until the new Stadler trains are delivered, unless the Class 507 trains are faster than they appear and the drivers know how to squeeze out their maximum performance.

One complication could be that services to Skelmersdale will pass through the station.

But this would probably ease the provision of four tph to and from Liverpool, as Skelmersdale would offer another station, where trains could be turned back, if say two tph turned at Headbolt Lane and two tph at Skelmersdale.

It might be that extension to Skelmersdale and making Headbolt Lane the turnback station for Kirkby need to be done together to get four tph from Kirkby to Liverpool with the current trains.

Before I leave the subject of Headbolt station, the question has to be asked, if trains can run directly between Liverpool and Wigan Wallgate.

Some would argue, that if you were doing that route, you’d go from Liverpool Lime Street to Wigan North Western, but what if you live at Kirkdale and your mother lives in Wigan?

As I believe that lines like these need a Turn-up-And-Go four tph, and I believe Merseyrail think the same way, then the best solution is to provide four tph both ways from Headbolt Lane station and make sure that passengers can just walk across to continue their journey.

Conclusion

I have come to the conclusion, that four tph from Kirkdale to Manchester is possible with a cross-platform change at Headbolt Lane station.

March 26, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Extra Services To Southport On Merseyrail’s Northern Line

Local interests have ambitions to connect Ormskirk and Southport stations, as is detailed in Wikipedia under Future Developments in the Wikipedia entry for Ormskirk station.

There have been calls from local authorities and the local rail user group to reopen both curves at Burscough to allow the reinstatement of through trains from here to Southport, as well as to reinstate through services between Preston & Liverpool via Ormskirk and to rebuild & reopen the Skelmersdale branch.[7] Merseytravel’s 2014 ‘Liverpool City Region Long Term Rail Strategy’ does not back plans for an Ormskirk to Skelmersdale route (instead proposing that the link be provided from the Kirkby to Wigan Wallgate line), though it does suggest that a new bi-level interchange at Burscough Bridge could be built to provide improved interchange facilities between the Ormskirk branch and the Wigan to Southport line in addition to reopening the curves and extending electrification through to Preston & Southport.

, To connect the two stations would mean doing at least the following.

  • Reinstate the South Burscough Curve as a single track
  • The South Burscough Curve would have bi-directional signalling and third rail electrification.
  • Remodel Ormskirk station.

This picture shows what remains of the second platform at Ormskirk station.

The second platform could probably be reinstated reasonably easily, but I wonder if a clever station designer and train scheduler could organise Liverpool, Preston and Southport services around a single long platform?

The current layout could be actually considered to be two platforms, as one end serves Liverpool trains and other Preston trains.

So in this explanation, I’ll refer to them as the Liverpool Platform and the Preston Platform.

  • The Liverpool platform would be long enough to take two new Stadler trains.
  • The Preston platform would be long enough for the longest train likely to work an Ormskirk to Preston service.
  • An electrified passing loop starting from between the two platforms and extending towards Burcough Junction station would be installed.

Consider.

  • Trains arriving and returning to Liverpool would operate as they do now using the Liverpool platform.
  • Trains arriving and returning to Preston would operate as they do now using the Preston platform, but stop within the passing loop.
  • Passengers changing between Liverpool and Preston services would change trains as they do now, by walking along the platform.
  • Liverpool to Southport and Liverpool to Preston services would use the Liverpool platform and would either go through the Preston platform or use the passing loop as appropriate.

Two parallel platform stations are so nineteenth century!

These modifications between Ormskirk and Southport  would improve train services in the following ways.

  • Create more capacity between Liverpool and Southport.
  • Allow travellers to go between Southport and the Ormskirk Branch of the Northern Line , without going via Sandhills station.
  • Allow access to Manchester services at Burscough Bridge station
  • Add direct Liverpool services to those to Manchester and Southport to all the new housing that seems to be under construction around the Southport to Manchester Line.
  • Enable the construction of one or more new stations, like Kew Gardens in Southport, which is close to the hospital.

You can certainly understand why Merseyrail appears to be keen.

There are lots of ways to organise services.

I suspect one of the most efficient ways will be to run the trains in a loop going to and starting from Hunts Croos and going to Liverpool Central via Liverpool Central, Southport, Burscough Bridge, Burscough Junction and Ormskirk. Four trains per hour (tph) would go in one direction and four tph in the other.

Timing with the current trains are as follows.

  • Hunts Cross to Southport – 64 minutes
  • Southport to Burscough Bridge – 22 minutes
  • Burscough Bridge to Ormskirk – 9 minutes – estimated
  • Ormskirk to Liverpool Central – 34 minutes
  • Kirkby to Liverpool Central – 18 minutes.

These timings are not the easiest to put together to make a four tph schedule.

As an example, if you want a current Class 508 train to go from Hunts Cross to Southport and back again, it will take 128 minutes plus whatever it takes to turn the train at each end. Allowing eleven minutes at each end gives a time of two and a half hours, which means ten trains are needed for a full four tph.

Ormskirk to Liverpool central will also need trains. If they could do Liverpool Central to Ormskirk and back in under an hour, that would need four tph..

The new Stadler trains have been designed to do the journey nine minutes quicker, which means that if the turnrounds are a bit quicker, it could be possible to do the round trip in two hours, which would mean only eight trains would be needed for a full four tph.

Ormskirk to Liverpool central will also need trains. If they could do Liverpool Central to Ormskirk and back in under an hour, that would need four tph..

If you look at the full loop with the current trains, this takes 258 minutes plus perhaps 30 minutes for the two reverses at Southport and the one at Liverpool Central. So we get a time of probably three hours and a requirement of 12 trains to run 4 tph to both Ormskirk and Southport and provide a four tph service between the two current termini.

As the current services need ten trains for Hunts Cross-Southport and four for Liverpool Central-Ormskirk, the loop saves two trains.

With the new Stadler trains, I suspect they could do the loop diagram in under two hours, which would mean just eight trains for a full four tph.

Thus, extra services can be provided between Ormskirk and Southport with a requirement of four less trains than running the lines individually.

Services to Southport and Ormskirk from Liverpool would be as follows.

  • Southport to Hunts Cross via Formby – 4 tph
  • Southport to Liverpool Central via Ormskirk – 4 tph

But the big difference is most stations on the Northern Line are served by four tph from Hunts Cross and Southport and all the other stations need a single change and a wait of a few minutes.

To operate the loop service, it would need Ormskirk to Southport to be fully electrified.

Southport To Manchester

You then have the situation if a Class 319 Flex train were to work Southport to Manchester, that it would work as follows.

  • Southport to Burscough Bridge – using third-rail electrification when installed.
  • Burscough Bridge to Bolton – using diesel power.
  • Bolton to Manchester – using overhead electrification.

Southport would become an all electric station.

To get a full electric service to Manchester, it would only be necessary to electrify between Manchester and Burscough Bridge, where the chsngeover would take place.

I have followed this line in my helicopter and there are only three small bridges and a level crossing between Burscough Bridge and Wigan Wallgate stations.

So I suspect electrifying from Wigan to Burscough Bridge could be an easier electrification than most.

Conclusions

I have come to the following main conclusion.

Combining Southport and Ormskirk services in a loop via a reinstated South Burscough Curve, means the following.

  • Southport gets eight trains per hour (tph) to and from Liverpool.
  • Ormskirk gets four tph to and from Liverpool.
  • All stations on the Northern Line get four direct or single-change tph from Hunts Cross, Southport and Liverpool Central.
  • Ormskirk to Southport and all intermediate stations get 4 tph in both directions.
  • The service can be run by less trains than needed for independent operation to Southport and Otmskirk.

Southport to Ormskirk needs third-rail electrification.

There were a some subsidiary conclusions.

  • Ormskirk station can be based on a single platform with a passing loop, which could allow Liverpool-Preston services.
  • Ormskirk station could still run the current Ormskirk to Preston service.
  • The third-rail electrification between Southport and Burscough Bridge stations could be used by Class 319 Flex trains working services between Southport and Manchester.
  • Southport could become an all electric station.

I suspect that others could do much better.

 

 

March 26, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Could Kirkdale Station Become A Busy Interchange On Merseyrail?

Kirkdale station on Merseyrail’s Northern Line, is the station, where the Kirkby and Ormskirk branches of the line meet.

This map shows the Northern end of the Northern Line.

Passengers going between say Maghull and Fazakerley would use Kirkdale as an interchange, but it does mean crossing a high footbridge, albeit one with lifts.

These pictures show Kirkdale station.

One of the features of the station is the three tunnels, which are described like this in Wikipedia.

The three short tunnels were to give greater throughput and are all on the same line. The extreme west left hand tunnel is used for shunting. The next tunnel is the main Merseyrail Northern Line tunnel. The third tunnel is disused, but was until the late 1960s the fast line for expresses to Yorkshire and Manchester.

There are also two more tunnels to the East.

Could they be used for more than their current and original purposes to improve the connectivity of the station?

More Southport Services

Merseyrail have ambitions to connect Ormskirk and Southport stations, through a reinstated South Burscough Curve and a remodelled Ormskirk station.

I wrote about it in detail in Extra Services To Southport On Merseyrail’s Northern Line.

I came  to the following main conclusion.

Combining Southport and Ormskirk services in a loop via a reinstated South Burscough Curve, means the following.

  • Southport gets eight trains per hour (tph) to and from Liverpool.
  • Ormskirk gets four tph to and from Liverpool.
  • All stations on the Northern Line get four direct or single-change tph from Hunts Cross, Southport and Liverpool Central.
  • Ormskirk to Southport and all intermediate stations get 4 tph in both directions.
  • The service can be run by less trains than needed for independent operation to Southport and Otmskirk.

Southport to Ormskirk would need third-rail electrification.

There were a some subsidiary conclusions.

  • Ormskirk station can be based on a single platform with a passing loop, which could allow Liverpool-Preston services.
  • Ormskirk station could still run the current Ormskirk to Preston service.
  • The third-rail electrification between Southport and Burscough Bridge stations could be used by Class 319 Flex trains working services between Southport and Manchester.
  • Southport could become an all-electric station.

I suspect that others could do much better.

Onward To Manchester

Connecting Southport and Ormskirk gives all stations between Kirkdale and Ormskirk easy access to and from Manchester, with a change at Burscough Bridge station.

But what about going via Kirkby?

Headbolt Lane station is Merseyrail’s solution to connecting the single-track Kirkby Branch of the Northern Line to the double-track Kirkby Branch Line from Wigan  Wallgate station in an efficient manner.

I wrote about this station in An Overview  Of Headbolt Lane Station.

I have come to the conclusion, that four tph from Kirkdale to Manchester is possible with a cross-platform change at Headbolt Lane station.

Onward To Preston

The Ormskirk Branch Line from Ormskirk to Preston used to be a much more important line. Wikipedia says this.

Prior to the introduction of the 1970–71 London Midland Region timetable, it was a secondary main line from Liverpool to Scotland, Blackpool, and Yorkshire.

Now there is just the occasional hourly train along the line. Often it is just a single Class 153 train, although last time it was two.

It was also surprisingly clean and full.

But the line deserves better.

  • The frequency of trains should be at least 2 tph to Preston
  • They should also connect better with trains to Liverpool and Southport.
  • Could the trains go beyond Preston?

Perhaps the solution is to link trains between somewhere like Kirkdale and Colne or Blackpool.

I suspect that Merseyrail have their own ideas.

Kirkdale And The Canada Dock Branch

The Canada Dock Branch passes under Kirkdale station and if that line is opened up to passenger trains, then surely there should be a connection.

Kirkdale As A Terminus

If services are going to increase to Manchester, Preston and Southport, could Kirkdale have a bay plarform to turnback trains?

Looking at the shunting line behind platform 2, this could certainly be turned into a bay platform.

Conclusion

Kirkdale station could get even busier.

March 26, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , | 1 Comment

Everton’s New Stadium

This article on the BBC is entitled Everton agree deal for new stadium site.

This is said.

The Premier League club and landowners Peel Holdings have reached agreement on the Bramley-Moore Dock site near the River Mersey.

This Google Map shows Bramley-Moore Dock and its relationship to Sandhills station.

Bramley Moore Dock is the dock at the end of the A5054.

There is also a second article on the BBC entitled Everton’s new stadium ‘could host Commonwealth Games’.

I suspect that depending if and which Commonwealth Games, Liverpool gets, then there will be a different plan of construction.

If it is 2022, as a stand-in for Durban, it would be sensible to go for solution similar to Manchester 2002, which did seem to work pretty well.

The BBC finishes the second article with this paragraph.

But, Liverpool has seen a few false dawns when it comes to massive regeneration projects – and stadiums – and there is the small issue of decent transport links to sort out before hoards of sports fans can be welcomed.

This second Google Map shows the location of the stadium, the A5054 and the Merseyrail’s Northern Line.

I estimate that from the water in the dock to where the Northern Line crosses the A5054 is about five hundred metres. So if a station were to be built at the  crossing point, walking distances would be of the same order as Arsenal, Aston Villa, Charlton, Rotherham and Tottenham.

Plans for a new station at Vauxhall, which is an area just to the South of the Bramley-Moore Dock, have been proposed. This is said in Wikipedia.

Vauxhall railway station is a proposed railway station in the Vauxhall area of Liverpool. If it is constructed it will be sited between Moorfields and Sandhills on the Merseyrail Northern Line. Construction of the new station was proposed in January 2017 by Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson, as part of the city’s North Docks project and also Everton Football Club’s potential plans to build their new stadium in the area.

The current Off Peak frequency at Sandhills station, which would be the next station to the North, is as follows.

  • 4 trains per hour (tph) to Southport
  • 4 tph to Ormskirk
  • 4 tph to Kirkby
  • 4 tph to Hunts Cross via Moorfields & Liverpool Central
  • 12 tph to Liverpool Central (combined – 8 terminate there whilst 4 continue to Hunts Cross)

There will be few sports grounds with as good a train service as that, if a new station is built.

This Google Map shows Liverpool Waterfront between Bramley-Moore and Albert Docks.

Any European city, wouldn’t mess about and would run a tram along a historic waterfront like this.

It’s not as if there isn’t enough space as this picture looking North from behind the Liver Building shows.

A tram line could probably go down the middle of the dual carriageway. Especially, if like Birmingham’s new City Centre extension to the Midland Metro, it could be built without wires.

We shall see what happens!

 

 

March 26, 2017 Posted by | Sport, Travel | , , , | 1 Comment