The Anonymous Widower

Electrification Of The East West Rail Link

East West Rail has this question about electrification in the FAQ.

Q: Will East West Rail be electrified and if so, when?

A: It is expected that the Western Section of the East West Rail link will include electrification of the line between Bedford and Oxford.

Bletchley to Oxford is expected to be completed first during the 2014-2019 railway funding period.

Bedford to Bletchley will follow, probably in the next railway funding period 2019-2024, as part of the wider work done to electrify the Midland Main Line to Corby, Nottingham and Sheffield.

The Office of Rail Regulation has confirmed funding in principle for the electrification.  The exact amount of funding and scope is expected to be determined by the ORR by March 2015 following detailed development between NR, DfT and the train operators.

I will take this as a qualified yes or it would be desireable.

Bletchley to Oxford electrification is stated as being done first and if that timetable is met, it would be likely to be completed before services start on these routes.

  • Oxford to Milton Keynes
  • Milton Keynes to London via Aylesbury.

As both Oxford and Milton Keynes are currently or will be electrified by then, the services between the old and new cities could be performed by a 100 mph EMU, like a Class 387 train, which could then continue to Reading if required.

But there are no plans to electrify any of the London to Aylesbury Line. To complicate matters Chiltern Railways have a shortage of suitable diesel trains.

So although the line might be ready in 2019 or so, there would appear to be no chance of Chiltern Trains running between London and Milton Keynes.


Wikipedia gives the length of the passenger section from London to Aylesbury Parkway as about thiry nine miles.

So this probably means that the line could be run by Class 387 IPEMU trains, if there was some electrification in Marylebone station to charge the trains before they travelled North.

It is an interesting possibility.

Especially, as an electrified Marylebone, would probably allow the same trains to run services to electrified stations at Bicester Village, Oxford Parkway and Oxford.

December 4, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

East West Rail Moves On Phase 2

East West Rail is the project to create an electrified 100 mph railway from Oxford to Ipswich and Norwich via Milton Keynes, Bedford and Cambridge.

This map from the East West Rail web site, indicates the route.

East West Rail

East West Rail

Phase 1 is now almost complete with the linking of Bicester to Oxford.

Services are running between Oxford Parkway and London Marylebone via Bicester Village. Hopefully, Oxford will be reached in Spring 2016.

A statement by East West Rail entitled Alliance contracts awarded for East West Rail Phase 2, has been relkeased about the award of contracts for Phase 2 of the line to connect Bicester, Milton Keynes and Bedford. This is said.

An alliance of four equal parts between Network Rail, Atkins, Laing O’Rourke and VolkerRail will build East West Rail Phase 2 (EWR2) – linking Oxford, Milton Keynes and Bedford, and Milton Keynes with London Marylebone via Aylesbury.

The contracts will enable the following services.

  • Oxford – Milton Keynes (calling at Oxford Parkway, Bicester, Winslow and Bletchley)
  • Oxford – Bedford (calling at Oxford Parkway, Bicester, Winslow, Bletchley, Woburn Sands and Ridgmont)
  • Milton Keynes – Aylesbury – London Marylebone (an extension of the existing service between Marylebone and Aylesbury Vale Parkway, with stops anticipated at Bletchley, Winslow, Princes Risborough and High Wycombe)
  • Increased capacity for freight services

The following work will be done.

  • A new station at Winslow
  • Two new platforms at Bletchley – Click for some details
  • Construction of 18 new overbridges.
  • Construction of 22 new footbridges/subways
  • Changes to 97 railway crossings

It is not a small project.

I find it interesting that the work is an alliance of four companies.

This method of working has been used successfully at Stafford, in the Stafford Area Improvements Program to relieve the bottle-neck at Norton Bridge Junction on the West Coast Main Line.

Hopefully, it will avoid another Great Western Railway style of fiasco.


December 4, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Forth Road Bridge In Trouble

The Forth Road Bridge has not been in the best of health for some years. Wikipedia has a section called Structural Issues and this is said.

2003 saw an inspection programme launched (at a cost of £1.2 million) to assess the condition of the bridge’s main suspension cables after excessive corrosion was discovered in a number of older bridges in the United States of a similar design and size. The study, which was completed in 2005, found that the main cables had suffered an estimated 8-10% loss of strength. Future projections highlight the likelihood of an accelerating loss of strength, with traffic restrictions to limit loading required in 2014 in the worst-case scenario, followed by full closure as early as 2020.

But now a different problem has arisen, as is reported in this article of the BBC. This said.

The Forth Road Bridge is to be closed until the new year because of structural faults, Transport Minister Derek Mackay has said.

This morning, there were long tailbacks on alternative routes.

It strikes me that this part of Scotland is in for not a very good Christmas.

At least the Forth Rail Bridge is its usual sturdy iconic self and I suspect that can cope with a few extra shuttle trains to help take the pressure of the roads.

December 4, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

HS2’s Interactive Map

For those who are worried, need to know or just plain curious, HS2 have put a very good quality interactive map on their web site on this page.

These are some images, I have captured.

Stations are shown by red dots

Euston, St. Pancras and Kings Cross Stations With HS2

Euston, St. Pancras and Kings Cross Stations With HS2

Euston, St. Pancras and Kings Cross Stations With HS2

The map clearly shows the three stations and the route of HS2 into Euston.

Note the following.

  • HS2 clearly arrives at Euston on the western side of the station.
  • The pedestrian route to St. Pancras could be more difficult than planners think.
  • The station would appear to be extended towards Euston Road.
  • Whilst the station is built, I suspect, that a good connection to the Metroipolitan/Circle can be created.

I think we’ll see some plans in the next few years, that make the connection between the three stations a lot better.

Old Oak Common Station

Old Oak Common Station

Old Oak Common Station

The map shows the myriad of lines in the area.

I believe that for many people using HS2 to and from London, will use this station, as its connectivity is so much more comprehensive than Euston.

Birmingham Interchange Station

Birmingham Interchange Station

Birmingham Interchange Station


Birmingham Curzon Street Station

Birmingham Curzon Street Station

Birmingham Curzon Street Station

Birmingham Moor Street and Birmingham New Street stations are to the south of the new station.

HS2 East Of Birmingham

HS2 East Of Birmingham

HS2 East Of Birmingham

This map clearly shows how trains for the North via Birmingham will go into Birmingham and then reverse direction in Birmingham Curzon Street station.

Handsacre And HS2

Handsacre And HS2

Handsacre And HS2

This map shows where HS2 joins the West Coast Main Line at Handsacre.


The interactive map is a real credit to modern computing.

Every project that could benefit should have one.

Will we be seeing one for Crossrail 2?

December 4, 2015 Posted by | Computing, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment