The Anonymous Widower

Mathematics Of The Lea Valley Lines

The mixture of Class 315 and Class 317 trains on the Lea Valley Lines are being replaced by new Class 710 trains.

Train For Train Replacement

London Overground currently has the following fleet, which work the Lea Valley Lines.

  • 17 x Class 315 trains – 75 mph
  • 8 x Class 317/7 trains – 100 mph
  • 6 x Class 317/8 trains – 100 mph

All these trains are being replaced by thirty-one Class 710 trains, which are 100 mph trains with a shorter dwell time at stations.

Time savings of over a minute, are claimed for each station stop, by other train manufacturers for their new generation of trains.

As one train is used on the Romford to Upminster Line, that leaves thirty trains to work from Liverpool Street to Cheshunt, Chingford and Enfield Town stations.

The Current Lea Valley Services

The current Lea Valley services can be considered to be two separate four trains per hour (tph) services to the following destinations.

  • Chingford
  • Edmonton Green with 2 tph extended to each of Cheshunt and Enfield Town.

Journey times are as follows from Liverpool Street.

  • Cheshunt – 39 minutes
  • Chingford – 27 minutes
  • Ednonton Green – 31 minutes
  • Enfield Town – 34 minutes

As an illustration of the slowness of some of these times, the fastest Cheshunt services take around twenty-five minutes, but they use the West Anglia Main Line, which has a higher speed limit.

Improving Journey Times

So how can journey times be improved?

The following factors will apply.

The Aventra Advantage

The Aventra and other modern trains will have the following advantages.

  • 100 mph operating speed.
  • Powerful acceleration and smooth regenerative braking.
  • Driver assistance systems to optimise train speed.
  • Level access from train to platform.

The last three factors will minimise the dwell time, when stopping at a station. Savings of up to three minutes have been claimed by some train manufacturers.

All Passenger Trains On The Routes Will Be Aventras

How much time this will save will probably be decided in practice.

Track, Station And Signalling Improvements

The operating speed of the routes is 40-75 mph , which could surely be improved.

Obvious problems include.

  • Level crossings at Bush Hill Park, Highams Park and Theobalds Grove.
  • Platform-train interface.
  • Provision of Harrington Humps.

A detailed analysis will probably be done to iron out any small time delays in running the routes.

Rewrite The Timetables For Aventras

Currently, the timetables are written so that they can be reliably run by the 75 mph Class 315 trains and also to allow for their possible presence on the routes.

How Much Can Be Saved?

This is a bit like asking how long is a piece of string, but assuming savings of a minute a station gives the following times.

  • Cheshunt – 24 minutes
  • Chingford – 20 minutes
  • Ednonton Green – 20 minutes
  • Enfield Town – 21 minutes

I would not be surprised if substantial time savings could be saved,

Liverpool Street Station

The pair of four tph services will mean that there will be a train arriving in Liverpool Street station every seven and a half minutes.

This should be no problem on two platforms, especially as all trains will be identical and designed for a fast turn-round.

Will they arrive and depart from a pair of platforms at Liverpool Street stations, like 2/3 or 4/5, so that passengers would know that their Lea Valley Line train always left from the same gates at the station?

This would surely make it easier for the train presentation teams!

Hopefully, by analysing the turning of trains, minutes can be saved.

Each Route In Detail

 

I shall now look at each individual route.

Liverpool Street To Edmonton Green

North of Hackney Downs station, in the Off Peak, the only trains on the route will be the following services.

  • Two tph between Liverpool Street and Cheshunt
  • Two tph between Liverpool Street and Enfield Town

These will be augmented in the Peak by some Greater Anglia limited-stop services stopping at Edmonton Green, Seven Sisters and Hackney Downs stations.

Current timings on this route are.

  • London Overground – 31 minutes with eleven stops using a 75 mph Class 315 train.
  • Greater Anglia – 23 minutes with two stops using a 100 mph Class 317 train.

As the distance between Liverpool Street and Edmonton Green stations is 8.6 miles, these timings give speeds of 16.6 and 22.4 mph respectively.

The following will speed up services on this route.

  • All trains on the route will be 100 mph Aventras.
  • The performance of the Aventras
  • Track, station and signalling improvements.
  • Driver assistance systems.

I suspect that my initial crude estimate of twenty minutes between Liverpool Street and Edmonton Green will be high.

Cheshunt Services

North of Edmonton Green station, the only service on the route will be the two tph service between Liverpool Street and Cheshunt.

As the route between Edmonton Green and Cheshunt is only 5.5 miles long, with just three stops, I wonder if when combined with the time between Liverpool Street and Edmonton Green, that the round trip time  could be reduced to under an hour, including the turn-round at both ends.

The current two tph service takes a few minutes over an hour-and-a half for a round trip from Liverpool Street, so three trains will be needed to run the service.

But if it could be done in an hour, then only two trains would be needed.

This level of speed improvement may seem ambitious, but the next generation of trains appear to be being built with it in mind.

Chingford Services

If the Chingford trains can do the trip reliably in twenty minutes, this would mean that a train could do a round trip from Liverpool Street to Chingford in under an hour, whereas now they take nearly an hour-and-a-half.

This means that four tph from Liverpool Street to Chingford needs either of the following trains.

  • 4 x Class 710 trains
  • 6 x Class 315/317 trains.

I doubt London Overground will park the spare trains in a siding.

It might even be possible to increase the frequency between Liverpool Street and Chingford. But this would probably need the removal of the level crossing at Highams Park station.

Enfield Town Services

North of Edmonton Green station, the only service on the route will be the two tph service between Liverpool Street and Enfield Town.

This is likely to be a route, where the return trip to Liverpool Street could be under an hour.

This means that two tph from Liverpool Street to Enfield Town needs the following trains.

  • 2 x Class 710 trains
  • 3 x Class 315/317 trains.

Conclusion

It does appear that on a rough look, the number of trains required to provide the current service will be less.

I think the three routes will need the following numbers of Class 710 trains to provide current services.

  • Cheshunt – 2 trains
  • Chingford – 4 trains
  • Enfield – 2 trains

As each train is usually eight-cars, then sixteen trains could be a minimum number to provide the current service.

But to do this, trains on each route must be able to do an out-and-back trip within an hour.

I think this could be possible and the extra trains will obviously be used to provide extra services.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 25, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | 1 Comment

AECOM Invests In Heathrow Southern Railway Link

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in Global Rail News.

AECOM is one of the largest engineering consultancy and design companies, who in the UK have been involved in projects like Crossrail, London Gateway, London 2012, Sellafield and Titanic Belfast.

This is the last two paragraphs from the article.

David Barwell, chief executive, AECOM London, said: “We are delighted to announce our investment in Heathrow Southern Rail.

“As a long-term partner to Government AECOM is delighted to bring its development, engineering and delivery capability to resolve current and future infrastructure needs and to bring private sector funding to accelerate the delivery of critical public infrastructure.”

Designing projects like the Heathrow Southern Railway is a complex business and the involvement of AECOM in the project must be beneficial from a design and planning aspect.

When the project was announced in September 2016, I wrote Why I Like The Heathrow Southern Railway Proposal. As things have changed since, I have updated that report and I think I’m getting to like the project even more.

September 25, 2017 Posted by | Travel | | Leave a comment

Is Existing UK Electrification Up To Scratch?

I ask this question after a very delayed rail journey from Leeds to London after the football yesterday.

I left Leeds on the 19:15 and all went well until between Grantham and Peterborough the train ground to a halt.

The driver informed us, that the previous train had had a pantograph failure and had brought the overhead wires down.

So we were stuck.

Free water was offered and I took a carrier bag to the buffet and looted half-a-dozen bottles for myself and a few fellow travellers.

But we waited and waited as the the train awaited a tow from a diesel locomotive.

Eventually, one arrived and it towed us to Peterborough, where the train started on its own power to London on the unaffected electrification.

We finally arrived at 02:10 at Kings Cross or four and a half hours behind schedule.

Virgin were rounding up taxis for everyone at Kings |Cross. But the length of queue was such, I came home using that lady of the night;Victoria and a 277 bus.

But consider other facts from last night.

  • At least four Southbound trains were delayed upwards of four hours.
  • Some Northbound trains, got no further than Peterborough.
  • Virgin probably had to make arrangements for large number of disgruntled passengers.
  • Taxis appeared to be in short supply.
  • The train ran out of snacks.

I also think from comments from friends, that problems with the overhead wires are not uncommon.

This article in Rail Magazine is entitled MPs Debate Reliability Of ECML Wiring. This is a paragraph.

Maskell had asked: “We already know that there is six times higher spend in the South than in the North on rail and transport infrastructure, but we also seem to have an east-west divide in rail – the East Coast route has received £3 billion less than that of the West. Will the Government bring forward their funding to upgrade the East Coast Main Line infrastructure, since the passenger performance measure is now at 25.1% because of overhead line failure?”

Rachel Maskell is MP for York Central.

It would appear that the electrification needs to be made more robust and improved in reliability.

East Coast Main Line Power Supply Upgrade

This page on the VolkerRail web site describes a project called East Coast the Main Line Power Supply Upgrade, which has the following project scope.

The Rail Electrification Alliance (REAL) is responsible for the delivery of Network Rail’s East Coast Main Line Power Supply Upgrade Project. The alliance, comprising of Network Rail, VolkerRail, Siemens, J Murphy and Sons, Jacobs and TSP, will construct new substations, install over 600km of new cabling and renew overhead line equipment (OLE) and structures over 246km of the ECML, from Wood Green in London to Bawtry near Doncaster.

The new power supply upgrade (PSU) is in direct support of the InterCity Express Programme, providing an enhanced traction power supply to enable the introduction of the new faster, more environmentally friendly Class 800 and 801 trains at the end of 2018, providing an improved service for passengers. The improvements will also reduce the amount of maintenance required for OLE.

Hopefully, this will reduce the likelihood of incidents like yesterday’s!

How Will The Class 800 and Class 801 Trains Deal With Line Problems?

In Do Class 800/801/802 Trains Use Batteries For Regenerative Braking?, I looked at the electrical systems of how Class 800 and Class 801 trains and how they would cope with various problems, based on  this document on the Hitachi Rail web site, which is entitled Development of Class 800/801 High-speed Rolling Stock for UK Intercity Express Programme.

I found the following.

All Class 801 Trains Have At Least One Generator Unit

All Class 801 trains have at least one generator unit, so it can obviously provide hotel power and probably enough power to limp to the next station, in case of overhead line failure.

So if yesterday’s problem hit and the line was not physically blocked the electric Class 801 train could move to the next station or perhaps cross to an unaffected line.

The Class 800 train would just continue on its onbopard diesel power.

Locomotive Haulage Is Possible

So a rescue similar to yesteday’s is possible.

Automatic Coupling And Uncoupling

This is definitely in line with Class 395 train performance.

Automatic Train Identification Function

This is said in the Hitachi document.

To simplify the rearrangement and management of train configurations, functions are provided for identifying the train (Class 800/801), for automatically determining the cars in the trainset and its total length, and for coupling and uncoupling up to 12 cars in
normal and 24 cars in rescue or emergency mode.

I suspect most modern trains can do this.

One Twelve-Car Train Can Rescue Another

That would have been very useful yesterday.

Conclusion

The design of the new Class 800 and Class 801 trains will probably help in the coping with some of the problems on the East Coast Main Line and any other routes on which they operate.

I suspect there is already a lot of provision of crossovers for trains to cross between slow and fast lines and also to allow trains to run bi-directionally to get around various problems.

 

 

September 23, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Will Elland Road Stadium Ever Get a Railway Station?

The traffic getting to Elland Road for the match between Leeds United and Ipswich Town was horrendous. But then the crowd was over 34,000!

You can see Elland Road stadium as you come into Leeds on the trains from London, and this Google Map shows the relation between the rail line and the stadium.

My friend actually parked her car alongside the rail line and we walked to the ground along Elland Road.

I took these pictures from where we parked.

Development is happening between the railway and the stadium including a new ice rink.

So will a new station be built on this line, if Leeds United won promotion to the Premier League?

This article in Rail Technology Magazine is entitled Plans For Three New Leeds Railway Stations Unveiled. It says that a new station at theWhite Rose Shopping Centre could be built.

This Google Map shows Elland Road Stadium and the White Rose Shopping Centre and the two rail lines in the area.

Note.

  1. The line through Cottingley station is the Huddersfield Line.
  2. Cottingley station is currently the nearest station to Elland Road Stadium.
  3. The Huddersfield Line passes alongside the White Rose Shopping Centre.
  4. The Huddersfield Line is not electrified.

After the traffic, I saw at the match, something needs to be done.

TransPennine Improvements

The Huddersfield Line will be improved to form part of a strategy for 125 mph trains across the Pennines.

The map from Wikipedia shows the lines between Leeds and Batley stations, that go through Cottingley.

Note.

  1. The White Rose Centre is probably near the closed Churwell station.
  2. The four kilometre long Morley Tunnel, which if it is in good condition could be reasonably easy to electrify.
  3. After Batley the route diverges and serves nemerous towns in the area like Bradford, Brighouse, Halifax and Huddersfield.

There is surely scope for a comprehensive and frquent service to the West of Leeds.

A Digitally-Signalled Trans-Pennine Route

The complexity of the routes around Leeds must be a nightmare to operate.

In this article on Rail Technology Magazine, which is entitled Grayling Commits £5m To Install Digital Signalling On TransPennine Route, the Transport Minister advocates the use of digital signalling to increase capacity and stability on the line.

Having waited at Leeds station to get a train to Guiseley, operation of the suburban routes in Leeds seems to be incredibly complicated and I suspect difficult for both passengers and the operators.

The Ordsall Chord will give Manchester a cross-city route, so could digital signalling open up an East-West route across Leeds and thread it through all the long distance services serving Leeds?

New stations at Apperley Bridge, Kirkstall Forge, Leeds-Bradford Airport, Thorpe Park and White Rose Shopping Centre would all fit this pattern and I believe digital signalling could be the key to making it work, with four trains per hour to each terminus.

More Suburban Electrification In Leeds

In some ways the most important stretch of electrification needed in Leeds would be the route from Neville Hill depot to York, as this would add the following.

  • Ease movements of trains between York and the depot.
  • Improve the performance of services between Liverpool and Newcastle via Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds and York.
  • Allow electric services from Thorpe Park to destinations on the other side of the city.

There must be an exceedingly good reason, why this route has not been electrified.

Conclusion

Leeds could expand the Metro dramatically by doing the following.

  • Running services through two through platforms in Leeds station.
  • Building several new stations.
  • Electrifying between Neville Hill depot and York.
  • Using digital signalling.
  • Obtaining some bi-mode trains. Even Class 769 trains would do the job.

The network of lines around Leeds could give Leeds a Metro of a very high standard, at a very affordable cost.

September 23, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Progress On The Sheffield-Rotherham Tram-Train

I took these pictures in Sheffield and Rotherham, whilst trying to take pictures of Class 399 tram-trains.

Note.

  1. The heavy-weight gantries for the electrification, which I suspect would support 25 KVAC electrification.
  2. It appears simple bi-level platforms are being built at Rotherham Central station.
  3. Could a stop being put at the New York stadium?

It certainly doesn’t seem to be an expensive system.

  • A single track line is to be electrified.
  • Standard 25 KVAC electrification is used.
  • There must be a simple isolated section where the voltage changes.
  • The platform extensions are simple.

Modern construction methods, like plastic platforms could be used to cut costs.

How Did Network Rail Manage To Spend So Much Money?

The only feasible positive explanation is that this tram-train trial is being very comprehensive.

  • The tram-trains are tested on 25 KVAC at Rotherham.
  • The tram-trains are tested on 750 VDC all over Sheffield.
  • The tram-trains are tested on sharp curves and climbing hills on the Sheffield Supertram network.
  • The voltage changeover is thoroughly tested on the Tinsley Chord.
  • Platform designs get a rigorous test.

If the tram-train passes these tests and the regulators like it, it’ll be passed for the UK network.

Is The Rotherham Trial A Tram-Train Or A Train-Tram?

When going from Sheffield to Rotherham, the Class 399 train, starts as a tram and changes to a train on the Tinsley Chord.

But when going from Rotherham to Sheffield, the vehicle starts as a train and changes to a tram.

So I suppose it’s both and it changes over where the voltage changes on the Tinsley Chord.

But just as in the Rotherham trial, provided there is an overhead wire with an acceptable voltage, the Class 399 tram-trains can run on any track, be it for trams or trains.

On What Routes Could A Class 399 Train Run?

There are several possibilities.

Extending An Existing Tram Network On A Heavy Rail Line

The tram-train runs normally on a standard tram line and then the route is extended on a heavy rail line, which is electrified with 25 KVAC overhead wires.

This is what is being done at Rotherham.

Creating A Tram Link Across A Town Or City

Suppose a town or city has two stations on opposite sides. Perhaps one handles trains from the West and the other handles trains from the East.

If a tram route can be created between the two stations, which is connected to the lines at the station, then tram trains can run across the town or city.

This has been done in Karlsruhe.

 

 

September 22, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Ordsall Chord Progress – 22nd September 2017

The Ordsall Chord is coming on.

The wires would appear to be on the way up and it looks like trains will be running over it on schedule around the end of December 2017.

September 22, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

Merseyrail To Skelmersdale – Skelmersdale Station

In Merseyrail To Skelmersdale – How To Plan A New Rail-Link, I talked about a new Skelmersdale station.

From Kirkby, I took a taxi to look at the sites of Headbolt Lane and Skelmersdale stations.

These pictures were taken in and around the Concourse Shopping Centre at Skelmersdale.

The Shopping Centre has everything needed for a railway station, if one should be built nearby.

This Google Map shows the Concourse Shopping Centre.

As the rail line from the junction to the East of Rainford station comes in from the South, I’m sure that Merseyrail have a good place to put the station, so that passengers can walk into the Concourse Shopping Centre.

Passengers might even be able to use the existing bridge.

 

 

September 21, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Merseyrail To Skelmersdale – Headbolt Lane Station

In Merseyrail To Skelmersdale – How To Plan A New Rail-Link, I talked about Headbolt Lane station.

From Kirkby, I took a taxi to look at the sites of Headbolt Lane and Skelmersdale stations.

These pictures were taken at the site of the proposed Headbolt Lane station.

Plans for the station talk about a single platform.

This Google Map shows the railway line, which runs alongside Headbolt Lane.

Note the footbridge in the bottom left corner of the map.

Merseyrail would seem to have a lot of space to put the station.

September 21, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Merseyrail To Skelmersdale – Kirkby Station

In Merseyrail To Skelmersdale – How To Plan A New Rail-Link, I talked about Kirkby station.

So as I was going from Liverpool to Blackburn, I took a detour.

These pictures were taken at Kirkby station.

The amazing thing about Kirkby station is that in the last three years, the yearly passenger totals have averaged around 2.4 million.

Not bad for a station with four trains per hour (tph) to Liverpool and two tph to Manchester.

Near me in London, Chingford station has 4 tph to London and struggles to attract 1.7 million passengers per year.

You can understand, why Merseyrail are considering expanding the train service to Kirkby and the surrounding area.

Under Merseyrail’s plans, the station will remain a single platform, but I suspect the upgrading will do the following.

  • Trains will stop by the stairs and the ramp.
  • Platform facilities could be improved.
  • There’s space for a lift!

I suspect there’s not too many single-platform stations that will be able to handle 4 tph in both directions.

 

September 21, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

Details In A Class 345 Train Interior

These pictures were taken of internal details of a Class 345 train.

Various thoughts.

Cantilevered Seats

The bays of four-seats are cantilevered to the sides of the train, which means the space underneath the seat is available for luggage and well-behaved dogs.

Heating

It would appear that the heating is under the Metro-style seating.

As I said in Aventras Have Under Floor Heating, it would appear that the Greater Anglia Aventras do have under-floor heating, so perhaps this is a customer-chosen option, more suited to longer-distance routes.

The Lobbies

East car in the Class 345 train, has three sets of doors and lobbies.

Note how each lobby has a central handrail and two vertical handrails in each corner. One of these is just behind the door and you can grab it from outside.

Metro-Style Seating

I have not travelled in the Peak, so I don’t know how the seats perform with a full load, but this type of seating works well in the Overground’s Class 378 trains.

Note how the Class 378 seats have wider armrests and are not so open underneath. That vertical handrail in front of the seats can get in the way too!

The Class 378 trains were introduced in 2009, so the differences are probably down to eight years of design and advanced manufacturing.

Armrests

The armrests have received praise in some reports and they appear to work.

Note how in the metro-style seating the armrests have two levels.

Conclusion

As the first Aventra to enter service, it is a very good effort.

Certainly finding criticism of these interiors is difficult.

If you’re in London and want to go to the Olympic Park or the Eastfield Shopping Centre at Stratford, why not forsake the Jubilee and Central Lines of the Underground and take one of these new trains from Liverpool Street.

There are four trains in service at the present time, but by the end of the year, there will be eleven, so there is an improving chance you’ll get a ride in the best commuter train, in which I’ve ever ridden.

 

September 20, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | 3 Comments