The Anonymous Widower

From Nottingham To Peterborough

I took an East Midlands Trains service to Norwich to get to Peterborough. I wanted to look at the Allington Chord. Wikipedia says this about the chord under its entry for the East Coast Main Line.

The Allington Chord was constructed near Grantham in 2006, allowing services between Nottingham and Skegness to call at Grantham without having to use the ECML, trains now passing under the line. This provided sufficient extra capacity for 12 additional services between Leeds and London each day.

This certainly illustrates the improvements gained, when these crossings of the East Coast Main Line are sorted. Could similar improvements be gained when the Newark Crossing is eliminated.

I took these pictures on the journey.

My problems then started as I reported here in The Curse of the Coeliac Traveller.

September 15, 2015 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Is This A Platform For Future Tram-Trains?

Whilst I waited for my train to Grantham, I had a quick look at the Northernmost Platform at Nottingham station. Platform 1 is a through platform and it looks like there could be access from both sides in the future.

The redesigned Nottingham station certainly has all sorts of possibilities for future development. This Google Map shows the layout.

Nottingham Station Layout

Nottingham Station Layout

Platform 1 is at the top, with the East-facing bay plstform 2 clearly visible.

It would appear that tram-trains could use the outer platforms and then be connected to wherever, as the station sits on a large site with space to the North and South.

The section called Railway Platforms in the Wikipedia entry for Nottingham station, says this.

Finally the southern side platform is numbered 7, and can accommodate a thirteen coach train. Sufficient space exists to the south of this platform to add a second platform face, effectively converting this side platform into an island platform, if traffic increases to justify it.

When you compare Nottingham to other places like Birmingham, Manchester or Leeds, the city is truly lucky to have a station with so many possibilities.

There also are not many places in the UK , where you could run the main tram line at right-angles over the main station. But it is a very good way of connecting the two modes of transport.

To the East of the station, there is also an enormous site with these derelict buildings.

A Derelict Site To The East Of Nottingham Station

A Derelict Site To The East Of Nottingham Station

The city must have plans for these.

But then Nottingham is very much saying that the City has an exciting and prosperous future.

September 15, 2015 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Up And Down The Robin Hood Line

The Robin Hood Line was one of the first old railways to reopen.

It had been closed in the nineteen-sixties to save money, although parts were kept open to serve collieries and power stations.

It had then been reopened in the nineteen-nineties.

These pictures show the line as I rode from Hucknall to Worksop and back to Nottingham.

It is not an unattractive line, with the least attractive thing about the line being the Class 156 train.

Two branch lines are likely to be developed.

The proposed Ollerton branch leaves to the East, North of Shirebrook station.

Shirebrook Station

Shirebrook Station

And the Branch that leads to the Erewash Valley Line is just South of Kirkby-in-Ashfield station.

Kirkby-In-Ashfield Station

Kirkby-In-Ashfield Station

A large amount of development could happen to the Robin Hood Line in the next few years.

It has a lot of things going for it.

  1. The Government has backed the extensions to the line.
  2. The track needed is used regularly.
  3. The East Midlands and Nottingham in particular support new railways.
  4. The line could mean an increase in prosperity in the area.
  5. There’s no electrification needed.
  6. If they play their cards right, they should be able to rustle up some rolling stock, if various plans work out.
  7. The funding appears to be in place.

Network Rail also needs an early win and Robin Hood might just steal it for them!

September 15, 2015 Posted by | Transport/Travel | | 1 Comment

Hucknall On The Nottingham Express Transit

I took these pictures as I rode to Hucknall on the Nottingham Express Transit.

They show how the Robin Hood Line runs alongside the tram and it is just a simple walk-across to exchange between the tram and the train. This Google Map shows the layout.

Hucknall Station

Hucknall Station

Hucknall station appears to be a remarkably simple interchange between tram, train and car. It is also surrounded by bus stops.

Passengers just walk between the trams and the single train platform on the level. So it is a truly step-free interchange!

The tram stop opened in 2004, which probably means that it was designed too early to have used tram-train technology.

But of all the places in the UK, this would probably have been the easiest to have built a tram-train interface, where trams could continue running on an electrified Robin Hood Line.

But that is all in the past and it’s too late now to build the line for tram-trains.

September 15, 2015 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | Leave a comment

The Newark Crossing

To improve services between Lincoln and Nottingham, the Route Utilisation Strategy (RUS) for the East Midlands recommends doing something about the notorious flat junction at Newark, which is best described as a cross roads, where a B-road crosses a motorway. This is said.

Of the remainder, the RUS recommends that the provision of a flyover at Newark is further developed in CP4 to refine the infrastructure costs and potential benefits. It is recognised that the development of the East Coast Main Line Intercity Express Programme service requirements beyond those proposed for LDHS services from May 2011, combined with freight growth beyond 18 freight trains per day on the east – west corridor, may drive the requirement for the flyover in CP5.

I shall now look at this Victorian railway relic.

This Google Map shows the location of the crossing.

Newark Crossing

Newark Crossing

Newark Northgate station is on the East Coast Main Line, which runs  top to bottom right on the map, whereas Newark Castle station is on the Nottingham to Lincoln line, which runs top to bottom left. To make matters worse the two lines cross by the River Trent and the A46, with the A1 a short distance to the East. These pictures were taken in quick succession from a train going from Lincoln to Nottingham.

The Civil Servant who signed that the road off, should have the knighthood taken away, that he obviously got for making a decision, which should have included sorting the railway, by building a flyover to take both the railway and the A46.

If this crossing were to be sorted, it would deliver benefits all up the East Coast Main Line and on the routes that use it from Nottingham to Lincolnshire.

I can’t find anything on the Internet, but hopefully some Network Rail engineers have the envelopes and fag packets on the table.

In my view there are two possible solutions to the problem of the Newark Crossing. But whatever solution is chosen, these criteria must apply.

  • The new crossing must be able to handle probably twenty long freight trains and upwards of a couple of dozen passenger trains pass every day, that need to cross the East Coast Main Line.
  • It must be built without any long closures of the East Coast Main Line.

The first approach is the obvious one, where a flyover or an avoiding line on a different route, is built to allow trains on the Nottingham to Lincoln Line to cross the East Coast Main Line. But if it is so obvious and as I suspect that the place where it would be built has been surveyed and examined in great detail, then Network Rail must have a plan that has a reliable cost and time-scale assigned to it.

As the benefits of eliminating the Newark Crossing must be very well defined, it would therefore appear that the cost of building the flyover is way out of line, as otherwise this important project would be published somewhere on Network Rail’s web site.

This snippet from the RUS suggests the problem.

The gradient of the flyover will need to be able to accommodate the freight trains travelling east – west along this corridor. A key geographical constraint is the proximity to the River Trent and the A1 trunk road which adds to the overall construction cost for the flyover.

As freight trains and especially those going from East to West, will only get longer and heavier, there will have to be a large margin for increasing weight and length built in to any design for the crossing, which not only crosses the East Coast Main Line, but the River Trent. The river probably kills off any chance of a dive-under.

The other approach is that Network Rail are working on a radical plan, that perhaps uses some of the many Nottingham rail lines to completely by-pass the Newark Crossing. Trains could cross the East Coast Main Line on either the  Allington Chord, North of Grantham or where the High Marnham Test Track crosses South of Tuxford.


September 15, 2015 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 7 Comments

A Very Wet Stop At Lincoln

I had intended to have a good lunch at Lincoln and go up the hill to look at the cathedral.

But the weather put a stop to that and I just went to see the progress on the two level crossings in the area. This Google Map shows the area of the station and the two crossings that are being given step-free footbridges.

Lincoln Level Crossings

Lincoln Level Crossings

These are some of the pictures I tried to take.

Progress doesn’t seem to be very fast.

It will be interesting to see if Network Rail’s solution makes things easier. This Google Map shows the southern part of Lincoln.

Lines Through Lincoln

Lines Through Lincoln

The lines come into the City and through the station on an East-West axis. You can just make out the scar of the Lincoln Avoiding Line, which used to allow trains to by-pass the level crossings. Together with Lincoln St. Marks station, it closed in the 1980s.

According to Wikipedia, train services run between Lincoln and

Most of these services operate on an hourly or two-hourly basis although some services to places like Nottingham might go to two trains per hour.

There are also once daily services Monday to Saturday to London St Pancras operated by East Midlands Trains and to London Kings Cross operated by Virgin Trains East Coast.

Lines to Doncaster, Newark, Nottingham and Sheffield run to the West and lines to Grimsby, Peterborough, Skegness, Sleaford and Spalding are to the East.

You can understand, why the Route Utilisation Strategy (RUS) for the East Midlands felt that services could be improved by joining services together in Lincoln to free up platform space. At present some Grimsby Town services go though Lincoln to Newark North Gate.

It’s certainly a tricky problem at Lincoln and I can’t help feeling that at some time in the future, there’s going to have to be a solution that takes freight trains away from Lincoln High Street.

September 15, 2015 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

From Peterborough To Lincoln

The Peterborough to Lincoln Line is part of the Great Northern and Great Eastern Joint Railway, from Doncaster to Peterborough, which is increasingly used as a by-pass for freight and other trains from the East Coast Main Line.

The line leaves the East Coast Main Line at Werrington Junction and then runs through the flat Lincolnshire countyside to Lincoln via Spalding and Sleaford.

These pictures show the character of the line.

I’ve never seen so many level crossings and so much featureless countryside.

Surprisingly, I only saw one other train which was another single carriage Class 153 train going the other way.

It would appear that the line generally has an hourly service between Peterbrough and Lincoln and the Nottingham to Skegness Line has an hourly service through Sleaford.

This Google Map shows the lines around Sleaford.



The line from Peterborough comes in at the South East corner with Lincoln to the North and Grantham and Nottingham to the West. The map clearly show the avoiding line connecting Lincoln to Peterborough, so that freight trains can by-pass the town.

The Route Utilisation Strategy (RUS) for the East Midlands felt that services could be improved by joining services together in Lincoln to free up platform space. Perhaps too the trains on the two lines should be more co-ordinated so that changing trains at Sleaford was easier. If you want to go from Skegness to Lincoln by train, some trains have only a few minutes wait, whilst changing at Sleaford, but others the wait is half an hour. I don’t know Sleaford station, but it may be a nice place to wait for a train!

This report on the BBC is entitled Cornwall rail network to get £146m investment.

So could the railways of Lincolnshire be improved, by giving more local control to the county?

September 15, 2015 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

Wot No Adverts!

I took this picture at Kings Cross station.

Wot No Adverts!

Wot No Adverts!

It was a surprise and probably to be welcomed in some ways.

However, although I don’t like advertising, unless it is informative about a new film or play, say, I did miss something to read, as I went up the escalator.

Now that these adverts are often screens, I’m surprised that no-one has developed an art installation using them.

September 15, 2015 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment