The Anonymous Widower

The Bay Platform And The Reversing Siding At West Croydon

I went to West Croydon and took these pictures at the station.

They certainly answer some of the questions I asked in How Trains Reverse At West Croydon.

What is the maximum length of train, that can be handled by the bay platform 1?

On a brief look, it looks to be able to take a ten-car train.

How long does it take to reverse a train?

Look at the sequence I observed.

  • 16:30 – Train leaves the siding for Platform 3 to go North.
  • 16:33 – Train timed to leave Platform 3 to go North
  • 15:34 – Train timed to arrive Platform 4 from the North
  • 15:41 – Train arrives in the siding from Platform 4

From entering the siding from Platform 4 to entering Platform 3 seemed took around eleven minutes.

But they were working to a precise timetable with the aim of getting into West Croydon station on time.

How many trains an hour can the station reverse?

So if it takes eleven minutes for the sequence, it looks like this layout with one reversing siding can handle four trains per hour (tph), which it does at present.

In Increased Frequencies On The East London Line, I noted that two extra trains would be going South to Crystal Palace and Clapham Junction. But there appear to be no plans to increase services to West Croydon. Perhaps 4 tph is the maximum possible.

Can more than one train enter the reversing siding?

I wouldn’t have thought so during this type of operation. But it did look like the siding could accept a ten-car train or even two five-car trains.

Summing Up

It does look that there has been a lot of flexibility built into the track and its operation.

I also think that there could be enough space to squeeze some more track into the layout, if something like The Streatham Virtual Tube needed to turn more trains at West Croydon.

One thing that has to be said, is that the station is not an architectural gem worth cherishing. If the number of trains terminating at West Croydon, needed to be substantially increased, then no one would mourn if the station was rebuilt to increase the capacity.

June 2, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , | 1 Comment

Will The High Speed Trains Ever Die?

I am writing this post as I’ve just read this article on Rail News, which is entitled Strategic Railfreight Interchange Debate Ignites.

The plan is to build a rail freight interchange called Rail Central at Blisworth between the West Coast Main Line and the Northampton Loop Line and then run high speed freight trains based on modified HSTs to destinations all over the country.

To say there is opposition to the plan would be a gross understatement and explodes would probably be a better word in the headline rather than ignites.

The plan reminds me of one that used to be used by Royal Mail called Spokes from Speke, that was used to get First Class letters delivered on time. Basically, small aircraft flew the letters, which had been sorted by destination, from all over the country to Speke airport in Liverpool, where they were sorted and then flown to the destination. So a letter from say the Orkneys to Plymouth, would be flown from Kirkwall to Speke, unloaded and then put on the plane to Plymouth.

If I remember, it worked very well.

On this page of the British Library web site, there is an Oral History of the origins of Spokes from Speke.

As it would appear the system has Network Rail’s backing could it be that someone is creating a Spokes from Blisworh for important parcels?



June 2, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

A Tram-Train Between Skipton And Colne

Skipton station is a station at the western end of the electrified lines to and through Leeds. There are several plans for the future, involving direct trains to London and more frequent services to and from Leeds. There is also an aspiration of the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Railway to extend into Skipton.

Colne station is at the eastern end of the partly single-track East Lancashire Line, with services all the way to Blackpool South station via Burnley, Blackburn and Preston.

The two stations used to be connected until 1970, when it was closed, despite not being recommended for such by Beeching.

An organisation called Skipton-East Lancashire Rail Action Partnership is pressing for the line to be reopened. This map shows the rail lines in the area.

Skipton To Colne

Skipton To Colne

Reopening this just under twelve miles length of track could bring a lot of benefits.

Most of the trackbed hasn’t been built on, but look at this Google Map of Colne station.

Colne Station

Colne Station

Note how the  dual-carriageway, A6068  and a football pitch have been built, where any link from Colne would probably go.

So there would be a need for an expensive bridge. But as the line to Colne is only single-track, I suspect that the bridge could get away with one track, providing there was a passing loop at Colne station.

Having seen tram-trains in Germany, I know what the Germans would do and that is run tram-trains from the Blackpool tramway across Lancashire as trains and then over a tramway to Skipton. The advantage would be simpler infrastructure and lower costs.

The Tram-Train At Karlsruhe Station

The Tram-Train At Karlsruhe Station

The picture shows one of Karlsruhe tram-trains at the Hauptbahnhof. The tram-train is essentially the same as those that will be trialled between Sheffield and Rotherham in the near future.

The advantages of tram-trains would be simpler infrastructure and lower costs. Once the Calder Valley Line is electrified between Preston and Burnley Manchester Road station, a tram-train could start at either Leeds or Bradford Forster Square stations, go via Keighley, Skipton and Colne and then reach Blackburn and Preston, after joining an electrified Calder Valley Line at Rose Grove. From Skipton to Rose Grove, the line could be single track with passing loops and the electrification would be 750 VDC, like all trams in the UK. But of course, Skipton to Leeds and the Calder Valley would be to the main line standard of 25 kVAC.

An Outwardly Normal Class 379 Train

An Outwardly Normal Class 379 Train

But we have our own British solution in the shape of the IPEMU. The picture shows the prototype, which I rode as a paying passenger in early 2015.

These trains have batteries or some other form of energy storage, which is charged whilst running on electrified lines.

An IPEMU could charge its batteries at Skipton and Preston and use batteries on any line without electrification in between.

The advantage would be no wires and possibly only a single track across the Pennines.

But if it is decided to create a link between Skipton and Colne, the railway technology developments of the last few years, could make the link more affordable and much less of an intrusion into some of our most beautiful countryside.

June 2, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , | 2 Comments

The Worst Value Project You Can Find?

Not my words but part of a quote from Dr. Richard Wellings of the Institute of Economic Affairs from 2013 about the Borders Railway, from this article on Rail News entitled Borders Railway Passenger Figures Ahead Of Target.

To be fair to Dr. Wellings, this is the original report with the full quote on the BBC, which is entitled Borders railway decision ‘insane’, says Institute of Economic Affairs. This is said.

Dr Richard Wellings of the IEA told BBC Scotland: “Even looking at the official figures, this is just about the worst value project you can find.

“The whole project’s insane. The average strategic road scheme has a benefit cost ratio of around five, which is ten times higher than the Borders railway, so this is a gross misallocation of resources, particularly when there are still huge problems on the road network in Scotland.”

These are the latest figures of usage from Transport Scotland and Scotrail published in the Rail News article.

  • Tweedbank: forecast 18,978 — actual 183,918
  • Galashiels: forecast 20,567 — actual 104,593
  • Stow: forecast 5,129 — actual 24,365
  • Gorebridge: forecast 79,014 — actual 39,400
  • Newtongrange: forecast 46,449 — actual 50,480
  • Eskbank: forecast 114,568 — actual 65,672
  • Shawfair: forecast 54,298 — actual 9,398
  • Brunstane/Newcraighall: forecast 865 — actual 11,344
  • Edinburgh: forecast 228,156 — actual 205,203

This adds up to totals of forecast: 568,023 — actual 694,373.

Actual has exceeded the forecast by 22%, which  certainly seem to be a bad case of London Overground Syndrome, that benign disease, where more passengers use a new railway than forecast.

June 2, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment