The Anonymous Widower

How Long Would An IPEMU Take From St. Leonard’s To St. Pancras International?

If an IPEMU is going to be used between St. Leonard’s and St. Pancras International station, there are two possibilities.

  • A 110 mph IPEMU based on existing Class 387 trains.
  • A 125 mph IPEMU based on a purpose-built Aventra. Ian Walmsley stated in the April 2016 Edition of Modern Railways that a 125 mph Aventra is possible.

This compares with the 143 mph and 100 mph speeds of a Class 395 train on high speed and classic lines respectively.

For this estimate, I will make the following assumptions.

  • St. Leonards takes four minutes longer than Hastings.
  • The baseline time from St. Pancras to Ashford is 38 minutes in a Class 395 train.
  • Times on the high speed section are in proportion to the train speed.
  • The baseline time from St. Leonard’s to Ashford is 46 minutes in a Class 171 train.
  • All trains on the unelectrified section are limited to 100 mph.

Times From St.Leonards to Ashford

The Class 171 train takes 46 minutes, but it is only a benchmark, as few would go to Ashford and then get on a Class 395 train on High Speed 1.

The Class 395 train and the IPEMUs would be quicker as they would save a couple of minutes at each of the typical five stops, because of their faster acceleration.

Two minutes a stop would save ten minutes.

Times From Ashford to St. Pancras

Doing a simple calculation based on train speed gives the following times.

  • Class 395 train – 38 minutes
  • Class 387 IPEMU – 48 minutes
  • Aventra IPEMU – 43 minutes.

Times from St. Leonards to St. Pancras

Adding the two times together gives.

  • Class 395 train – 74 minutes
  • Class 387 IPEMU – 84 minutes
  • Aventra IPEMU – 79 minutes.

With Hastings it will be four minutes less.

In Wikipedia, there is a section called Future for the entry for the Marshlink Line. This is said.

The line is strategically important, as electrification and junction improvements would mean that High Speed 1 trains could travel directly from St Pancras International to Hastings. Amber Rudd, Member of Parliament for Hastings, has campaigned for electrification works to start by 2017. The aim is to reduce times to London from Hastings to 68 minutes, and from Rye to under an hour. This would require remodelling Ashford International station so the existing Marshlink line could connect to HS1, installing power systems, and adding a passing loop at Rye, all in addition to requiring new trains.

I think that the aim of 68 minutes from London to Hastings is a modest one, but as my crude estimate was only six minutes longer, I think the 68 minutes is totally attainable, especially as my times from St. Leonards to Ashford are just based on current timings and taking off a couple of minutes for each stop.

But if the Marshlink Line could be significantly improved, then time reductions of several minutes could well be achieved.

March 29, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Electrification Of Bath Spa Station

Bath Spa Station could present a unique mix of electrification problems.

  • It is a Grade II* Listed Building.
  • It is situated in a World Heritage Site.
  • The station sits on a viaduct between the River Avon and the City.
  • Traditional electrification of the Great Western Main Line Through Bath, would be a challenge to the best engineers.
  • Electrification will present aesthetic problems.

This Google Map shows the cramped location.

Bath Spa Station

Bath Spa Station

At least it is close to the bus station, which can’t be said for that many stations.

As with Electrifying The Great Western Through Sydney Gardens, the engineers are thanking Brunel.

Look at this picture of the lines through the station.

Lines Through Bath Spa Station

Lines Through Bath Spa Station

Engineers must surely be able to use some system to erect the wires on this wide viaduct, that was designed for Brunel’s broad gauge.

  • A solution similar to that used in Paddington station could be used in the station.
  • Central masts could be erected, with the overhead wires on either side.

No wonder that the Great Western Electrification is running so late, if every station is as difficult as this one.

These are a few pictures of Bath Spa station.

I’ll be looking forward to comparing them with pictures taken in a year or two, after the wires are in place.

March 29, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

The Great Western Main Line Through Bath Spa Station

This Google Map shows the route of the Great Western Main Line through Bath Spa station.

The Great Western Main Line Through Bath

The Great Western Main Line Through Bath

Trains from Bristol come in from the West with London to the East and the layout certainly wasn’t designed to be simple.

  • Bath Spa station is on a viaduct hemmed in by the river.
  • The railway crosses the River Avon twice.
  • The railway is on a raised viaduct to the West.
  • Bath is a World Heritage Site.

It is not the place, where you would want to electrify a major railway Line.

These are pictures I took of the Great Western Main Line through Bath.

It is certainly not how, you would create a railway today.

March 29, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Electrifying The Great Western Through Sydney Gardens In Bath Spa

The Great Western Railway runs i through Sydney Gardens in Bath. This picture shows an InterCity 125 running through the gardens.

An InterCity 125 Passes Through Sydney Gardens

An InterCity 125 Passes Through Sydney Gardens


  • There is plenty of width, as the line was built for broad gauge trains.
  • Height might a bit tight, when you add in the pantograph.
  • I would think that the structure under the track is pretty sound, as it’s had masses of pounding for years from Castles, Kings, Warships and InterCity 125s.
  • I suspect that the bridges over the line have been fully surveyed and like most of Brunel’s structures are well designed.

So I suspect that the track could be arranged, so that it positioned the train in the right place, to allow a Class 800 train to pass through with absolute safety.


The tracks could be moved closer or further apart to match the geometry of the bridges.

The tracks could be lowered if required.

If necessary, as is often done in tunnels, a solid concrete slab track could be laid. But this can create more noise.


I wouldn’t be surprised to see an innovative rail system used in Sydney Gardens to make sure the trains run accurately, reduce noise and improve the look of the railway.

But then after Dawlish and some of the challenging situations, Network Rail has faced with tracks in the last few years, I suspect they’ll come up with a very acceptable solution.

The problem is the electrification.

Engineers will renew switches and crossings at Bathampton Junction, and will lower the track at Sydney Gardens, as well as at Hampton Mill and Meadow Farm bridges.

They will install specially designed electrification equipment in Sydney Gardens, which is classed as a World Heritage Site. Work on Box Tunnel will continue over the entire six-week period.

So as I thought height is tight.

This was a comment from the article.

When these plans were presented in the Guildhall last year, the Network Rail representative emphasised that the brackets hadn’t been finalised. The poor guy had the patient of a saint as he dealt with audience members insisting that trains be fitted with batteries to enable them to do without overhead lines in Bath as well as suggesting that they could coast through the city un-powered.

I don’t think it was a good meeting for Network Rail.

As an engineer, I agree with the comment about battery trains, but the Class 800 trains are not to my knowledge able to accept batteries at the present time. Although, judging by the way the industry is going, I suspect that within a few years, all electric trains will have provision for batteries, if the operator wants them.

In some ways, I feel that Brunel might be providing the solution.

To erect overhead wires for railway electrification, you need to support the wires every fifty metres or so.

This Google Map shows the gardens.

Sydney Gardens, Bath

Sydney Gardens, Bath

Note there is a solid road bridge over the railway at both ends of the gardens, with Beckford Road in the North and Sydney Road in the South.

I estimate that the distance between the two road bridges is two to three hundred metres.

In the middle is the footbridge from where I took the picture of the InterCity 125 and another wider bridge.

As the trains will not be going flat out at 200 kmh through here, as they’ll probably be stopping at Bath Spa station, I suspect that the four bridges could be used as support for the overhead electrification.

This Network Rail visualisation shows the footbridge with a Class 800 train going underneath.

Sydney Gardens Bridge And A Class 800 Train

Sydney Gardens Bridge And A Class 800 Train

It looks to me, that the wires are attached under Brunel’s bridges and that by clever design tNetwork Rail can get an solution acceptable to all.

One of the problems, is of course making sure, that pedestrians on the bridge are safe, with 25KVAC overhead electrification underneath.

By lowering the track, they are increasing the safety distance and also making it less likely that naughty dogs can get on the track.

I have a feeling that this problem, will be one that will haunt Network Rail.

This picture was taken from the Sydney Road bridge and shows the area of the visualisation.

The Footbridge In Sydney Gardens, Bath

The Footbridge In Sydney Gardens, Bath

As the train appears to be on the left track, the visualisation actually shows the back of a train.

This is a gallery of pictures that I took in Sydney Gardens.

It would be a shame to ruin the gardens, by some less than adequate design.




March 29, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

Only In Essex

This story is from the Brentwood Gazette and is entitled C2C train delays after car abandoned on track at Pitsea.

Enough said!

March 29, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Electrification At Paddington Station

I took this picture looking across the lines at Paddington station.

Electrification At Paddington

Electrification At Paddington

The nearest platform, which is number one, is not electrified yet. note the bar across the tracks which is used to support the wires.

This picture shows wires installed over platforms four and five.

Electrification At Paddington

Electrification At Paddington

Note where the support is yellow, that you can just see a slim vertical support for the overhead wire.

It certainly seems to be more of a sympathetic design than the gantries I discussed in Aesthetic Problems With Overhead Wires On The Great Western



March 29, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , | 1 Comment

I Can’t Display My Galleries

WordPress have done their usual and updated the software without testing it.

I can’t look at any galleries.

I’m using Windows 7. But it works fine on an old xP machine.

If you can see them properly or can’t please add a comment.

March 29, 2016 Posted by | Computing | | 2 Comments