The Anonymous Widower

These Protesters Give Nimbys A Bad Name

I did laugh when I saw this article about Crossrail 2 in the Metro.

It is the sort of selfish protest that gives protesters and Nimbys a bad name.

As someone, who has lived through the upgrading of the North and East London Lines to create the London Overground, I have seen how better transport links create prosperity for a wide range of people of all levels of wealth.

But then any poor people have been ridden out of Chelsea on a rail!

If I’m still alive when Crossrail 2 opens, I will take the line to Chelsea and stare at my betters. Probably with my tongue

On second thoughts I won’t, as Chelsea is jammed solid with Chelsea tractors. Protesters like those, will only be satisfied if they had a free motorway to the rest of

October 4, 2015 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Is Liverpool Planning To Invade Manchester By Train?

There is no love lost between the two North-Western cities of Liverpool and Manchester.

I must admit, that I do use the correct feelings towards Manchester, when I’m in Liverpool, as Liverpudlians like it!

In the October 2015 edition of Modern Railways, there is an article about Merseytravel looking for a new fleet of trains for their 750V DC network, which is entitled New Trains For Liverpool. This is said.

Merseytravel has indicated that it will be seeking ‘innovative proposals’ from manufacturers, with considerable emphasis being placed on the overall cost of operating the fleet rather than just the basic cost of the trains themselves. Options such as regenerative braking and onboard systems to store energy under braking to be used for acceleration will attract particular interest. The independently-powered EMU (IPEMU or battery train) concept evaluated earlier this year on a modified Class 379 in East Anglia ,might see an application here.

It does appear on a quick look, that a version of the new Aventra train, which comes with an IPEMU capability as standard might be suitable for Merseyrail, as the size and speed of the current Class 507 and 508 trains, don’t seem to be unusual like some trains of their age.

The trains would need to be dual voltage, so they could work on both electrical systems on Merseyside. But then Bombardier can handle that!

Surely, if the trains were IPEMUs, I can’t believe that Merseyrail would not use their capabilities to provide extra services to new destinations.

Ormskirk to Preston

In my meanderings yesterday, I twice passed the bay platform at Preston, which is the terminus of the Ormskirk Branch. This branch is about twenty miles long and is a monument to the British Rail Crap Design School and  is detailed in the line’s History section in Wikipedia. This picture shows how I once changed trains at Ormskirk a couple of years ago.

Changing Trains At Ormskirk

Changing Trains At Ormskirk

Note the barrier between the two trains.

If Merseytravel’s new trains, were IPEMUs, they would be able to provide a continuous Liverpool to Preston service via Ormskirk.

Dual voltage trains would be needed so they could use the different power systems at the two ends of the line.

Kirkby to Wigan, Bolton and Manchester

The British Rail Crap Design School were not satisfied with one bad interchange, but they did the same at Kirkby station, thus cutting the Manchester to Liverpool route via Kirkby in half and necessitating a change of train for anybody going this way.

Just as at Ormskirk, where IPEMUs can extend the Ormskirk branch of the Northern Line to Preston, dual-voltage IPEMUs could be used to create an extension of the Kirkby branch  to Wigan, Bolton and Manchester.

IPEMUs would also enable the construction of a new station at Headbolt Lane between Kirkby and Rainsford, which is an aspiration of Merseytravel.

So IPEMUs would enable Liverpool to have another direct service to Manchester for invasion.

New Services to the North

Which services from Ormskirk and Kirkby get developed, would all be down to the traffic statistics.

But the engineering wouldn’t be much, that a competent small station builder couldn’t handle.

I’ve done the change at Ormskirk a couple of times, where in both cases I waited over thirty minutes.

In this modern age, that is as acceptable as piles!

New Services to the South

At its Southern End, the Northern Line joins the City Line at Hunts Cross station., so IPEMUs could travel to Manchester via Warrington Central, if that was what Merseytravel felt they should do.

I do feel that having another terminus like Warrington Central or even Chester might be worthwhile to increase capacity in the tunnel under Liverpool, where trains have to turn back at Liverpool Central.

But IPEMUs would be very helpful in this area, as apart from the line to Crewe, nothing is electrified.

Expanding the Wirral Line

There are various lines that are not electrified that connect to Merseyrail’s Wirral Line. The operation of IPEMUs has been proposed on one line; the Borderlands Line to improve connectivity between Wrexham and Liverpool. In a Proposed Battery Train section in the Wikipedia entry for the Borderlands Line, this is said.

A trial of an overhead-wire and battery powered converted Electrostar train was undertaken in January and February 2015 on the Mayflower Line. The train can travel up to 60 miles on energy stored in the batteries and also recharges the batteries via the overhead-wires when on electrified track, at stations and via brake regeneration. A month later in March 2015, the introduction of battery powered trains was proposed for the Borderlands Line by Network Rail.

The document suggested that consideration had been given to electrification and to running services further into Birkenhead ceasing termination at Bidston for greater connectivity. However these options were expressed as offering low value for money. They proposed that using battery powered rolling stock precluding full electrification of the line, providing a cheaper method of increasing connectivity into the electrified Birkenhead and Liverpool sections of the Wirral Line.

So if Merseytravel decides not to invade Manchester, they can always invade Wales.


I would feel that Merseytravel have got some planned uses for IPEMUs in mind.

I suspect that some of the uses will be rather surprising, but then the concept of an IPEMU does give transport planners a lot of flexibility and a go-anywhere capability.

This document on the Merseytravel web site is their plan of what they would like to do.

There’s certainly a lot of scope for IPEMUs, tram-trains, clever architects and capable construction companies to give Liverpool a world-class local railway network. For a start, they’re looking at stations in all these places.

Carr Mill
Chester-Crewe Line
Deeside Industrial Park
Edge Lane
Headbolt Lane
Maghull North
St James
Tarbock Interchange (or Halewood South)
Town Meadow
Warrington West

That is a large number of stations for only a small part of the UK.

It’s when I read documents like the Merseytravel report, that I think that local areas, should have more control of their transport infrastructure, as local people and their politicians often know the best way to spend the money.

Also when a new station or line is built in an area and most people are in favour, they think of it as their infrastructure and use it!

October 4, 2015 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 4 Comments

How To Catch Polluting Vehicles

I’ve just read about the EDAR pollution sensor in the Sunday Times.

Read more above the device on this page of the Hager Environmental and Atmospheric Technoogies web site.

I think they’ll sell a lot of these and in some ways it’s the best way to cut pollution caused by vehicles in cities.

Most drivers will make sure they;re legal!

October 4, 2015 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Harold Wilson Liked The Muppets

Daniel Finkelstein in The Times is often entertaining. Yesterday, he told a story about how as a 14-year-old, he wrote to Harold Wilson to ask questions for an article in the Scout magazine he’d established for his troop.

He had just found the letter and it discloses that Harold liked The Muppets. He also read every newspaper except the Morning Star.

October 4, 2015 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

Why The London Tramlink Should Be Extended To The Royal Marsden Hospital

One of my Google Alerts picked up this article in the Sutton Guardian entitled Bunker for breakthrough cancer therapy machine could fit 24 Routemaster buses.

It is about the creation of a concrete bunker at the Royal Marsden Hospital to house a cross between an MR Linac machin which is decribed like this here on the Institute for Cancer Research web site.

The MR Linac combines two technologies – an MRI scanner and a linear accelerator – to precisely locate tumours, tailor the shape of X-ray beams in real time, and accurately deliver doses of radiation even to moving tumours.

All this leads to more and more patients going to the Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton to get treatment.

As many will not be in the best of health and would not relish a stressful journey, surely now is the time to build extension A of the London Tramlink to Sutton and the Hospital. This map shows the current proposal.

St. Helier Tramlink

St. Helier Tramlink

The Royal Marsden Hospital is South of Sutton.

As Sutton is a Thameslink station, this Tramlink extension will give access to the Royal Marsden from a large area of London and the South East.

October 4, 2015 Posted by | Health, Transport/Travel | , , , | 2 Comments