The Anonymous Widower

Travel First Class For Less Than Standard

I’ve just booked my train ticket for the Rotherham Ipswich match next Saturday on East Midland Trains.

Coming back, the First Class ticket was actually four pounds less than Standard.

It’s actually costing me £38.25 with a Senior Railcard for the First Class Return. Typically, I pay £35.45 for a First Class Return to Ipswich, which is a journey that normally takes under half the time of one to Rotherham.

February 1, 2015 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Are Americans Too Stupid To Be Allowed Firearms?

This story on the BBC web site is entitled US boy, three, shoots both parents in New Mexico, which says it all.

Luckily, it appears his parents will live.

The story is the most read on the BBC web site.

February 1, 2015 Posted by | World | , , | 3 Comments

Electrification In East Anglia

East Anglia is very much a backwater as regards rail investment. Of the main lines only the Great Eastern Main Line is fully electrified and the trains on that line are not in the best of states. At least the line is going to be updated to allow refurbished trains to get to Norwich in ninety minutes and Ipswich in under the hour from Liverpool Street.

This speeding up of the easternmost line coupled with the improved links of Cambridge and Peterborough with Thameslink and Shenfield with Crossrail, will show up the rest of East Anglia’s railways for the crap they are.

Yesterday’s tiresome journey to and from Ipswich, illustrated how when there is major work or problems on the Great Eastern Main Line, the secondary routes can’t cope and bus replacements have to be used.

Suppose that the Ipswich to Ely Line together with the Cambridge branch had been electrified, as it should have been some years ago, when the bridges were opened up to take the larger freight containers.

This would have enabled passengers between Ipswich and London to have done the journey a lot easier with a change at Cambridge. Or for planned closures like yesterday, perhaps an hourly service could be run between London and Ipswich via Cambridge. As the part of the Great Eastern Main Line between Ipswich and Norwich was open, they could even have done the full trip with a reversal at Ipswich.

Electrification of the line from Ipswich to Ely and Cambridge, would give other benefits other than the broad one of flexibility, when a need for diversions arises.

1. More and more freight trains are going across Suffolk to and from the port of Felixstowe. At present all are diesel hauled, mainly by noisy and smelly Class 66s.

If there was an all-electric route from Felixstowe to Peterborough, then many of these trains could be hauled by environmentally-friendly and quieter electric locomotives. But that would mean electrifying the Felixstowe branch and the the port.

However, before this extra electrically eventually happens, we will see the arrival of the Class 88 locomotive. This locomotive which can run either using electric or diesel power will probably have sufficient diesel range and power to bridge the non-electrified gaps from Felixstowe to the East Coast Main Line.

2. Capacity on the routes between Ipswich and Cambridge and Ely is severely limited and electrification would enable something a bit larger than the current trains to be used.

3. Cambridge is overflowing with ideas, investment and jobs. But there is a shortage of space for housing where all the people drawn to the area can live.

So an increased capacity line to Ipswich, with hopefully a more frequent service, would surely help out with some of Cambridge’s space problems.

4. An efficient and good rail service between Ipswich and Cambridge, would certainly help development along the line and especially at Bury St. Edmunds and Newmarket. Both towns need stations to fit their increasingly important status.

5. Cambridge is getting a new station at the Science Park, This will not generally effect the line from Ipswich to Cambridge unless an extra curve is built at Ely to allow a direct connection between Ipswich and the new station.

6. Cambridge and possibly Ely are going to become more important rail interchanges, because of Thameslink, the new East West Rail Link and probable improvements in services direct to the Midlands and the North. Difficult journeys like Ipswich-Gatwick will possibly be easier with a simple change at Cambridge.

On the technical side, electrification of the Ipswich to Cambridge Line has a lot going for it, to make it not the most difficult electrification project. There’s no tunnels and the line has recently been upgraded to make the erection of overhead wires fairly easy compared to some other places. The line runs between two electrified main lines across fairly flat country.

There is probably a suitable resource of refurbished trains, like Class 317 or Class 365 that could be used on the line. Concerning the Class 365, which currently only run the Kings Cross to Cambridge, Kings Lynn and Peterborough services, many of which will be replaced by the extended Thameslink, where will these trains end up?

If Ipswich and Cambridge are joined together by an electrified railway, you can just hear the loud cries of unfairness from Norfolk, where the belief is that Norwich always takes precedence over Ipswich. After all Norwich is a city and Ipswich and Bury St. Edmunds are not!

But to be fair, a lot of the reasons for electrifying the Ipswich to Ely Line also apply to the Breckland Line, that links Cambridge and Norwich via Ely.

1. It would give the opportunity to run services direct to London, if the Great Eastern Main Line has to be closed for some reason.

2. It would enable capacity and frequency of trains to be increased.

3. It would help take the pressure off Cambridge.

4. It would help development all along the line.

5. The new Cambridge Science Park station is on the line.

6. Connecting Norfolk to Cambridge for all those ongoing services, would probably be a good thing.

The only factor which is not important on the line is freight.

If Norwich and Ipswich are fully connected to Cambridge and Ely by electrified railways, that only leaves one major line in East Anglia not electrified; the Ely to Peterborough line.

With all that freight going to and from Felixstowe, I can’t believe that this line will not be electrified.


February 1, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Looking Through A Five Car Class 378 Train

I finally got a picture this morning of the view through a five car Class 378 train.

Looking Through A Five Car Class 378 Train

Looking Through A Five Car Class 378 Train

There’s certainly a lot of London Overground’s signature colour.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

If Transport for London had known that the Overground would be such a success, I suspect they’d have ordered five car trains and the lengthened the platforms before the line opened.

At least though Bombardier designed the trains so they could be broken in half and extra carriages could be inserted in the middle.

I wonder if in a few years time, we’ll see another lengthening of trains and platforms. Some documents from TfL say that six cars is a possibility.

February 1, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Work Starts On The Bridge At Highbury Corner

I walked past Highbury and Islington station this morning and it appears that work is starting on replacing the bridge.

The crossing has been moved away from the station, but the old Post Office hasn’t been demolished yet.

February 1, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , | 3 Comments