The Anonymous Widower

Have Train, Will Travel

This article in the underland Echo is entitled Metro bosses unveil plans to extend network, including direct link between Sunderland and South Tyneside.

This is the opening couple of paragraphs.

Ambitious plans to extend and expand the region’s rail and Metro networks have been drawn up by public transport bosses.

The scheme – to be presented to the North East Combined Authority (NECA) – could see a direct link between Sunderland and South Tyneside and the network extended as far as Washington and Peterlee.

It is a comprehensive plan, that takes note and advantage of the best practice and technology from around the world.

The Proposed New Routes

Plans for the Tyne and Wear Metro include.

  1. Sunderland City Centre to Doxford Park using the route of the former Hetton Colliery Railway.
  2. New Routes From South Tyneside by linking the South Shields and Sunderland routes, using an existing single-track railway in the region of Tyne Dock.
  3. A Wearside Loop can be created to serve Washington using existing rail routes.
  4. The Leamside Line could be used as a new Metro route.
  5. Re-electrification of Sunderland to 25 KVAC would give advantages to Network Rail and allow Metro services to go South.
  6. Dualling of the track through South Tyneside.

Every plan seems to have serious element of using former and existing routes in a creative manner.

This map shows how the network could look in a few years.


The Metro Has A Touch Of The Karlsruhes

What many forget about the Metro, is that it some of its operation on the Sunderland route is based on a modified form of the Karlsruhe model, where heavy rail passenger and freight trains, share tracks with the Metro.

I was surprised once on a station on the Metro to see a Grand Central High Speed Train come through.

The last two improvements listed above; 5 and 6, use this capability.

The Durham Coast Line runs from Newcastle to Middlesborough and the East Coast Main Line, via Sunderland and Hartlepool. The only electrified section of this line is that which is used by Metro trains.

If new Metro trains could run on their current 1500 VDC and 25 KVAC, then if the line was fully electrified, the following benefits, would be realised.

  • Metro trains could go as far South as Middlesbrough.
  • Grand Central could run electric trains to Middlesbrough, Hartlepool and Sunderland.
  • There would be a second electrified route South from Newcastle, for use as a diversion.
  • Network Rail would get maintenance advantages, as the electrification is network standard.

So we would see Metro trains sharing the route with high speed passenger trains like Class 800s and electrified freight.

The South Tyneside Dualling would incorporate the freight line to the Jarrow Oil Terminal into the Metro. I think that the line would be arranged, so that if freight ever needed to use the line, the Karlsruhe model would apply.

It looks to me that this dualling and the upgraded electrification through Sunderland would be done together.

New Trains

New trains are also mentioned and in this article on Global Rail News. This is said.

Nexus, the Tyne and Wear region’s Passenger Transport Executive (PTE), said it would look to procure a new fleet of multi-system trains capable of operating on the Metro’s 1.5 kV DC electrification system and the 25 kV AC used on the national rail network. Battery technology is also being considered for short sections of non-electrified line.

Looking at the map, there are a couple of short new lines, that might be ideal for IPEMUs.


Taken as a whole, it is good well-thought out plan.







July 16, 2016 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , ,

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