The Anonymous Widower

History Repeats Itself

This article on the BBC is entitled London Marathon 2017: Club runner Josh Griffiths finishes as fastest Briton.

Everybody including Josh, is surprised.

But Josh’s feat is not unique.

Ian Thompson, made up the numbers for his club in the 1973 AAA Marathon Championship.

He then won Commonwealth Gold in 1974 in a record time that still stands.

Good luck, Josh

 

April 24, 2017 Posted by | Sport | | Leave a comment

A Spot Of Bother On The Rother

There is an article in the Sunday Times with the title of Residents Get Up Steam To Halt Eailway Extension.

It has a subtitle of.

A plan to link a heritage line to the national network is dividing a Sussex community.

It’s all about the Rother Valley Railway wanting to create a 2.5 mile link between Robertsbridge and Bodlam.

This section called Future Plans in the Wikipedia entry for the Rother Valley Eailway says a lot more.

There is also this article on Kent Online, which is entitled Rail groups get go-ahead to extend Tenterden-Bodiam line to Robertsbridge.

There are a lot of long comments, of which this from Zaphod is one.

Disgusting. The concoction of smoke billowing out of these things is horrendous. To inflict this on an already over polluted part of Britain is insane. Due ti the travelling nature of this loco it will make sure we all get a lung full. All those with long problems, asthma, bronchitis etc etc are going to suffer. They put grotesque pictures on cig packets to discourage us from smoking then inflict us with this … duh. But I do love these machines & their engineering but unfortunately firing one of these up & running it across the countryside is pure and simple LETHAL.

It doesn’t look to be full steam ahead just yet.

If I have a problem, it is that they propose to use a level crossing to cross the A21.

This Google Map shows the route of the line from Robertsbridge station to the A21.

Note that the A21 leads down from the roundabout in the North-East corner of the map.

This map from Wikipedia shows the Western end of the Rother Valley Railway.

My question is the following.

Why would any sane Planning Authority allow the creation of three new level crossings, given the problems and the strong feelings they create?

Perhaps the economic benefits justify the disruption!

April 24, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | 1 Comment

The Beginning Of The End For Coal In The UK

This article on the BBC is entitled First coal-free day in Britain since Industrial Revolution.

This is opening two paragraphs.

Britain went a full day without using coal to generate electricity for the first time since the Industrial Revolution, the National Grid says.

The energy provider said Friday’s lack of coal usage was a “watershed” moment.

Let’s hope it’s not a long goodbye.

Sadly, whilst there are people like Trumkopf about, it will be a long time before coal burning across the world descreases to a low level.

April 23, 2017 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Electrification At Rotherham

These pictures show some of the electrification gantries around Rotherham Central station.

The overhead gantries would appear to be Network Rail’s standard for 25 KVAC, rather than the lighter-weight structures used on the Sheffield Supertram for their 1500 VDC.

So are Network Rail future-proofing the gantries for later conversion to 25 KVAC or are they being wired to that voltage, so that the tram-trains can be tested on the 25 KVAC as well?

The latter would be prudent, so that the problems and strengths of dual-voltage  25 KVAC/1500 VDC tram-trains can be assessed.

However, as I returned to Sheffield later, it appeared that the line connecting Rotherham and Sheffield had both heavy-weight and light-weight gantries in place.

Could there be a last minute change of project scope to include 25 KVAC  running in the Sheffield tram-train trial, which also explains the timing of the rebuilding of the College Road Bridge?

This is said under Future in the Wikipedia entry for the Sheffield Supertram.

A tram-train extension to Rotherham is currently under construction and is scheduled to open in 2018, with a fleet of seven Vossloh Citylink Class 399 tram-trains in a UK first. This will involve trams operating on Network Rail’s Dearne Valley Line from Meadowhall Interchange to Rotherham station with a short extension to Rotherham Parkgate Shopping Centre. The proposed station will be a combined tram stop and railway station.[10] It is also planned that Rotherham Parkgate will be the hub for longer distance inter regional services,[11] while Central station will be the hub for local, Yorkshire based services. To cater for the tram train services, Rotherham Central will have a third platform built. It is thought that constructing the station will cost around £14 million (£53 million including the railway service to Leeds) and deliver economic benefits worth over £100 million. A study has concluded that it is not worth expanding Rotherham Central railway station because it would cost £161 million to expand the station but only deliver benefits worth £76 million. This is why constructing a new station is considered more viable.

That explains a lot, especially as it is a big change from what was being said perhaps a year ago.

There is an article in the Yorkshire Post, which is entitled Rotherham could get new rail station, which gives a lot more detail.

  • Parkgate station could cost up to £53.2 million
  • Parkgate would be the inter-regional station.
  • Central would be more local
  • Rotherham should have one train per hour (tph)  to Leeds and Manchester, three tph  to Doncaster and six tph to Sheffield.

As I came through the Rotherham Parkgate area on my train between Leeds and Rotherham earlier,  I didn’t see any evidence of station construction.

I think that Network Rail by putting up gsntries that can accept 25 KVAC electrification have made sure that they can fit any future plans.

So long as they can get some sort of wiring along the route and a reversing facility somewhere in the Rotherham area, I can see tram-trains running next year.

If Parkgate station is built, then provided any tracks are in the right place, this shouldn’t be a problem.

But the interesting idea could be to use Class 319 Flex trains on the route to Leeds via the Wakefield Line. The gaps in the electrification would be initially covered by the trains onboard diesel power.

As electrification is installed, they would eventually be able to do Rotherham Central to Leeds under electric power.

Whilst, Network Rail were electrifying the tram-train route, would it not be prudent to put up the wires to Meadowhall Interchange station or even Sheffield station?

The other way they could also electrify the short Swinton to Doncaster Line, which would allow electric trains from London to reach Rotherham Parkgate, Meadowhall and Sheffield stations.

I can certainly see something like the following services through Rotherham when Parkgate station is open.

  • 1 tph Sheffield to Leeds calling at Parkgate and Central
  • 1 tph Doncaster to Manchester and Manchester Airport calling at Parkgate and Sheffield
  • 2 tph Doncaster to Sheffield calling at Parkgate and Central

Add in three tram-trains per hour between Sheffield Cathedral and Parkway via Central and the required frequencies are achieved.

It will be interesting to see what finally happens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

From Leeds To Rotherham

This was not what you would call a quality journey.

By train it took 56 minutes, which is about nine minutes longer than it would take in the average car according to various web sites.

There are also nine stops in another Cook’s Tour of Yorkshire.

It was also in a Class 142 train or Pacer.

The map clipped from Wikipedia shows the Wakefield Line, which is the route the train took.

These pictures were taken on the journey.

In this day and age for a journey of an hour a better train is needed, especially as the two end points are Leeds and Sheffield,where the two cities have a joint population of about 1.3 million.

The fastest trains between Leeds and Sheffield are run by CrossCountry and take forty minutes using the Wakefield Line.

As the fastest Rotherham Central to Sheffield trains take 14 minutes, I think it is reasonable to assume, that the right train could do Leeds to Rotherham Central in 26 minutes.

This route could become a Northern Connect route, run by new Class 195 trains.

As the route is electrified between Leeds and Fitzwilliam station, I wonder if this could be a route for a Class 319 Flex train.

Both trains are 100 mph units, as against the 75 mph of the Class 142 train, which probably defines the timetable.

From my observations, the route is not particularly arduous and I suspect that either train could do the journey in just over forty minutes, even with all the stops.

Certainly, the current service is truly dreadful and inadequate.

It appears that the overhead wires are going up for the tram-train to Sheffield. Or at least the gantries!

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

Shipley Station

Shipley station is one of the few triangular stations in the UK, as this Google Map shows.

As I passed through, I took these pictures.

It certainly, is a station, that needs more information and better sign[posting.

But mainly, it shows how building a station in a triangular junction is a complicated affair.

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

Exploring Skipton Station

Skipton station is more than just the terminus of the Airedale Line from Leeds and Bradford Forster Square stations.

It is the Eastern gateway to the iconic Settle and Carlisle Railway, that after suffering temporary closures in 2015-16 because of Storm Desmond and some of the most challenging reconstruction in recent years, the line is now ready to play its part as one of England’s most memorable tourist attractions.

These pictures show the station and the lines towards Settle.

But Skipton and its station can get more important.

Under Future in the Wikipedia entry for the station, these improvements are mentioned.

More Virgin Services To London

Virgin Train’s new Class 800/801 trains are more flexible than the current trains working to Leeds.

I think we will see two five car trains joining together to form ten-car trains, as this will make better use of the capacity of the railway.

So could a five-car train from Skipton connect with a five-car train from Harrogate and become a ten-car train from Leeds to London?

I suspect the answer is yes, despite the fact that the Harrogate Line is not electrified.

More Capacity On The Airedale Line

This is needed and could be by allowing six instead of four car trains or increased frequencies.

The length increase to six-cars would be necessary for the Class 800/801 to run to Skipton.

More Trains To Carlisle Via Settle

After all the money spent on this line, I can see the line made to work hard to pay back the cost.

More Trains To Morecambe via Lancaster

If one line gets more trains, why not the other?

It also needs better trains than the Class 150 train, I saw going to Morecambe.

Skipton To Colne

SELRAP have been lobbying to reopen the rail link between Skipton and Colne.

There are problems with reopening the line, especially around Colne.

But I think it is one of those projects, that if that keen hill-walker and Prime Minister; Theresa May said go, it would happen.

It certainly, isn’t a crazy project.

 

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

Breakfast At Saltaire

On my way back from Skipton station, I stopped off for breakfast at Saltaire.

I ate in Salts Diner and as you can see, I had a large gluten-free full-English breakfast with tea and juice for £9.95.

April 22, 2017 Posted by | Food, Travel, World | , , | Leave a comment

From Bradford To Skipton

I took the train from Bradford Forster Square station to Skipton station.

It is a route on which there are interesting things to see,

Saltaire

Everything must come second to the World Heritage Site at Saltaire.

Shipley Station

Shipley station is an unusual concept in that the station is built in the middle of a triangular junction.

This Google Map shows the station

It has five platforms and four lifts.

Keighley Station

Keighley station is the  interchange with the Keithley and Worth Valley Railway, which is a heritage railway running steam and vintage diesel trains.

There is a section called Commuter Use in the Wikipedia entry for the Keithley and Worth Valley Railway.

This is said.

As a privately owned heritage railway, the line does not specifically serve commuters; however, a study by Ove Arup & Partners funded by Metro looked at the feasibility of a daily commuter service between Oxenhope and Keighley in 2009.[16] After the first stage of the study was released, Metro stated concerns about a lack of funding and available rolling stock, meaning that services are unlikely to run in the short to medium term

Given that we live in an era of innovative rolling stock, why not run a battery train between Keithley and Haworth?

 

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

The Rebuilding Of Rotherham Central Station

Rotherham Central station was rebuilt in 2012, but it seemed no-one thought about electrification, so the low bridge over the railway for College Road wasn’t touched.

Now that bridge is being rebuilt.

This article in the Rotherham Advertiser is entitled Tram works mean four-month closure for town centre road.

This is said.

A major town centre street will be closed for more than four months to allow key work in the pioneering tram-train link to go ahead.

College Road will be shut from tomorrow until August 18 as the bridge over the railway is being demolished.

Engineers from Network Rail will replace it with a higher one so that overhead lines which will power the tram-trains can be safely installed underneath.

Why wasn’t the bridge raised earlier, when the station was rebuilt?

I suppose someone in the Treasury looked at Rotherham on a map and said that was a place that will never need electric trains.

 

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