The Anonymous Widower

An Updated Manningtree Station

I stopped off at Manningtree station on the way to the football last night to have a look at the new step-free subway and perhaps buy a drink in the buffet.

Having a drink en route to Ipswich, is probably a good idea at the moment, as Ipswich station is being updated and there is nowhere between the station and Portman Road to buy one.

These were the pictures I took.


  • There is a loop on the Northern side of the station, which has been modified to create a short through Platform 4.
  • The subway is fully operational, although signs say there is still work to do.
  • The subway is ideally placed for a passenger to get off a Norwich-bound train, walk to the subway and cross underneath the lines to either the station exit or a train on the Harwich branch waiting in Platform 1.

As to the buffet, it wasn’t worth a visit, as the cider, which is so important for coeliacs, was rubbish.

The New Manningtree Depot

This article in Rail News says this about the new Stadler Flirts ordered by Greater Anglia.

The trains will be maintained at the existing depots, including Crown Point at Norwich, and also at a new depot at Manningtree which is to be built on a former industrial site alongside the main line.

This Google Map shows the area.

Manningtree Depot Site

Manningtree Depot Site

The Great Eastern Main Line crosses the map, with Manningtree station clearly marked.

Going East, there is a fully-electrified triangular junction, where the Harwich Branch or Mayflower Line joins the main line, followed by two crossings of the River Stour.

Then to the North and South of the main line, there is a large derelict industrial site, which I suspect will be the location of the depot, as it is the only place that fits the Rail News description.

I suppose the biggest question about this depot, as will it be North or South of the main line. But there is masses of space and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the site used for other commercial purposes as well.

Other questions might include.

  • Will housing be developed in the area? Probably not, as it could be liable to flooding.
  • Will the depot be developed with limited overhead wires for safety and ascetic reasons?
  • Will a station be built to serve the area?
  • If one is, will it have extensive car parking in the space available?
  • How will environmentalists react to development of the deelict industrial site?

I do suspect locally, that the new employment opportunities will be welcomed.

The Manningtree Station Level Crossing

This Google Map shows a close-up of Manningtree station.

Manningtree Station

Manningtree Station

Note how the road crosses the railway at the right. Wikipedia says this about the crossing.

A second peculiar feature just east of the station is a combination of a road underpass and a level crossing. The underpass has limited height and the parallel level crossing is needed to permit higher vehicles to cross the railway.

This article on the BBC has a video about the crossing, which surely makes a case for improvements.

The title of the article is Bus trapped on Manningtree railway crossing: Driver fined says it all.

Luckily, the only damage was to the driver’s wallet!

With increased traffic on the railway lines through the crossing, will we be seeing improvements to this crossing, which surely must cause problems for trucks at times?

Platform 4

I think we’ll be seeing more use of Platform 4 as the lines get busier and the traffic gets faster.

  • I have read somewhere, that the updated Platform 4 will be used as a means of allowing fast trains to overtake. I suppose a Colchester to Ipswich local train could wait in Platform 4, whilst a London to Norwich express went through on Platform 3.
  • Perhaps the line could be used by trains going down the Harwich Branch to improve connectivity to the branch with London to Norwich expresses in the Peak.
  • I also think for operational reasons train companies like to have a station before a depot, so that any sleeping passengers can be woken and offloaded.

But seriously, why would you get Platform 4 ready for increased use and not use it?

The Future Of The Mayflower Line

Wikipedia for Harwich Town station says this about services on the line.

As of December 2015 the typical weekday off-peak service is one train per hour to Manningtree, although there some additional services at peak times. Trains generally call at all stations along the Mayflower Line; some are extended to or from Colchester and/or London Liverpool Street.

I suspect that an ideal service would be at least two trains per hour (tph) on the line, which were timed to connect with fast services on the Great Eastern Main Line at Manningtree.

Currently there are direct trains in the Peak to and from Liverpool Street. The train, that I got to Manningtree last night was actually going to Harwich, after dividing into two at Colchester, with the front half of the train going on to Clacton-on-Sea.

In the new franchise, Greater Anglia will be running new Aventra trains on the branch. As they are buying five and ten-car trains, I would assume that the five-car version will work the Mayflower Line.

  • This will mean that there will be an increase in capacity on the line.
  • There will also be a large increase in comfort.
  • I would assume that two five-car trains are easily joined and separated to provide shared services, such as I experienced last night.
  • As the journey between Harwich Town and Manningtree takes twenty-two minutes, two trains would be needed to run a 2 tph service.

Running 2 tph may be a problem, as the electrification is one of the Treasury’s budget specials. Wikipedia says this.

The line diverges from the Great Eastern Main Line at Manningtree and is double-track for passenger services as far as Harwich International where connecting ferry services are available to Hoek van Holland and Esbjerg. Beyond Harwich International, the original second track remains in place as a through-siding, but only the “up” (Manningtree-bound) line was electrified and that section to Harwich Town is bi-directional.

But Bombardier may have a solution, in that the line was used for the BEMU trial, where a Class 379 train with an onboard battery, ran one way on the overhead wires, charging the battery at the same time.

As all Aventras will be wired to accept onboard energy storage, will we be seeing battery power on the Mayflower Line?

I think the answer is yes!

On my way to Manningtree, I was sitting next to a lady going to Harwich and when I talked about the battery train test of twenty months ago, she said she’d ridden the train and liked it. She didn’t qualify her initial statement with any negative statement.



October 19, 2016 - Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel | , , , ,

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