The Anonymous Widower

Sometimes You Win Slow

Announcements on the East West Rail Link, haven’t exactly come thick and fast, the last one being the route of the section between Bedford and Cambridge, that I talked about in Is Cambridge University Being Pragmatic About The East West Rail Link?, was published in March 2016.

This article on Mix96 is entitled Winslow’s Station Is One Step Closer.

This is said.

Now a station for the town is one step nearer as Bucks County Council has paid £900,000 for a site to build it.

That looks like nine hundred thousand small steps to me.

Winslow station is to be built to the North-West of the town and this Google Map shows the location.

Winslow Station Site

Winslow Station Site

The lower black scar contains a rusty single-track and is all that remains of the original Varsity Line

When open the station will have two services.

  • London Marylebone to Milton Keynes Central via Aylesbury, Winslow and Bletchley
  • Reading-to Bedford via Oxford, Winslow, Bletchley and possibly Milton Keynes Central.

Wikipedia talks about opening one train per hour on both services in 2019.

September 8, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Could Electrification Be Removed From The Chingford Branch Line?

This article in Rail Engineer also quotes Jon Shaw of Bombardier on onboard energy storage in the new Aventra trains, like the Class 710 trains that will work the Chingford Branch Line.

As part of these discussions, another need was identified. Aventra will be an electric train, but how would it serve stations set off the electrified network? Would a diesel version be needed as well?

So plans were made for an Aventra that could run away from the wires, using batteries or other forms of energy storage. “We call it an independently powered EMU, but it’s effectively an EMU that you could put the pantograph down and it will run on the energy storage to a point say 50 miles away. There it can recharge by putting the pantograph back up briefly in a terminus before it comes back.

I believe that once the concept of onboard energy storage is accepted, that Network Rail and operators, will question whether there is a need for so much electrification.

In a few years time, all trains, except perhaps a few engineering ones, on the Chingford Branch Line North of St. James station will be new Class 710 trains with the following characteristics.

  • Enough onboard energy storage to handle regenerative braking and handle the twenty mile out-and-back trip on the branch.
  • By using onboard energy storage, the trains have a remote wake-up facility, as discussed in Do Bombardier Aventras Have Remote Wake-Up?.
  • The ability to raise and lower a pantograph quickly.

So would it be possible to remove electrification, North of Clapton Junction.

This map from shows the area of Coppermill junction, with the Chingford Branch Line shown conveniently in orange.

Coppermill Junction

Coppermill Junction

I will now list the advantages of removing the electrification between Clapton Junction and Chingford.

Maintaining The Overhead Wires

Overhead wires get damaged, vandalised and stolen at a surprisingly high frequency.

Network Rail would love to see the wires come down.

The only objectors would be the thieves, who nick the wires to sell.

The Sidings At Chingford Could Be Without Electrification

As all the trains stored there would have their own onboard energy storage, they would move in and out under their own power.

The Chingford sidings could thus be without electrification.

This would.

  • Reduce maintenance costs for the sidings.
  • Enable track layouts to be changed without changing the electrification.
  • Increase safety levels for everybody working in the sidings.

The only electrification needed at Chingford might be a short stretch of overhead wire to top up trains low on electricity.

All Height Restrictions Could Be Removed At The Highams Park Level Crossing

After the recent accident on the M20, reported in this story on the BBC,, which is entitled M20 motorway shut after lorry crash causes bridge collapse, I don’t think it is wise to underestimate the stupidity of some drivers.

So if there were no overhead wires at the Highams Park level crossing, it might avoid a serious incident.

Easing Station Rebuilding and Building

Wood Street station needs to be rebuilt to make the station step-free and it would be much easier and less disruptive to train services, if there were no overhead wires to get in the way.

If any new stations are added to the line, then the cost of building must be more affordable, if there are no overhead wires to get in the way.

Less Visual and Noise Intrusion

Obviously, removal of overhead wires will reduce the visual intrusion.

But, it will also reduce the noise, as overhead wires are a source of noise from electric trains.

Note too, that as the new trains will use regenerative braking at most times, there will be much less noise from wheel-brakes.

A Safer Railway

There is no doubt, that a railway without electrification is a safer railway, as there is no electricity, except for points and signals.


It would be advantageous for several reasons if electrification could be removed from the Chingford Branch Line.

Related Posts

Improving The Chingford Branch Line

Could Reversing Sidings Be Used On The Chingford Branch Line?

Could The Hall Farm Curve Be Built Without Electrification?

New Stations On The Chingford Branch Line

Rumours Of Curves In Walthamstow

Will Walthamstow Central Station On The Victoria Line Be Expanded?

Wikipedia – Chingford Branch Line

September 8, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 6 Comments