The Anonymous Widower

A Station For Leiston

The Aldeburgh Branch Line is still  intact, as far as Sizewell nuclear power station.

Past Sizewell, it would appear that the original route and track-bed is not obstructed and can be seen on the Google Maps all the way to Aldeburgh.

This Google Map shows the route, where it enters Aldeburgh.



The prominent road that runs diagonally across the map in a North-West/South-East direction is Saxmundham Road and it goes all the way to the sea.

Reaching to this road is the dark scar of the railway, which runs parallel to the coast. Aldeburgh station was somewhere, where the two features meet.

Sizewell C

If Sizewell C is built, then I could envisage sets of circumstances, which meant that the line was reopened to passengers, at least as far as Leiston station.

Providing a service on the line to Ipswich would not be a problem, once Ipswich station had been rebuilt with a new platform 0 and an extended platform 1, which I believe is necessary to provide better services to Lowestoft and Felixstowe.

But whether the service would generate sufficient traffic to be viable and profitable in the long term, would be very much open to doubt.

Doubling Frequency From Ipswich To Saxmundham

If we assume that the main East Suffolk Line has a one train per hour (tph) service between Ipswich and Lowestoft, I wonder if an Ipswich to Aldeburgh Branch Line service could be used to double the frequency at the Southern end of the East Suffolk Line.

Ipswich to Saxmundham currently takes thirty seven minutes., so on a crude estimate, Ipswich to Aldeburgh could certainly be done within the hour.

I suspect that this would mean that it would not be difficult to run the Aldeburgh Branch Line trains on a one tph basis to fit in between the Ipswich-Lowestoft trains.

As at least one platform would need to be built somewhere on the single-track branch to reverse the trains, it could be built at Leiston, Thorpeness or Aldeburgh provided the track went that far.

So by reinstating the Aldeburgh Branch Line and giving it an hourly service from Ipswich would also give Saxmundham to Ipswich a 2 tph service.

Leiston Station

This increase of frequency at the Southern end of the East Suffolk Line and the needs of any future nuclear power station at Sizewell, will be the only possible reasons that passenger services will resume on the Aldeburgh Branch Line.

If trains ventured onto the Aldeburgh Branch Line, surely they would call at Leiston station.

February 6, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 3 Comments

A Modern Branch Line For Leigh

There is a group called the Lowton East Neighbourhood Development Forum or LENDF, who are proposing to reinstate part of the Bolton and Leigh Railway, to create a branch line to from a reopened Kenyon Junction station on the electrified Liverpool and Manchester Railway to a reopened Leigh station.

This Google Map shows the Southern part of the route, where it connects to the Liverpool and Manchester Railway at the former Kenyon Junction station.



  • The scar of the Bolton and Leigh Railway is clearly visible in line with the A579, which was built alongside the railway North of the A580.
  • The Kenyon Junction station site can also be spotted and was recently used as a work site for the electrification of the line.

There is certainly enough space on the former station site to create a two platform station, with perhaps a bay platform to handle a shuttle train to Leigh.

This Google Map shows, where the line goes at the Northern end.


I would think that Amberleigh Way follows the route of the Bolton and Leigh Railway.

One major factor defines how far the line could go.

It would probably be prudent to restrict the length, so that the chosen train could do a round trip in under thirty minutes, thus giving a two trains per hour (tph) service with just one train and no passing loops or complicated operation.

Four tph would probably require two trains, a passing loop and some clever train scheduling.

And then you mustn’t blow the budget!

Building The Line

I would build the line as simply as possible.

  • Single-track.
  • Single-platform tram-style stations with no footbridges, as at say Galashiels station.
  • Step-free access to the train.
  • No electrification.
  • No passing loop, as not needed with one train and 2 tph.
  • One set of points to connect the branch to the main line for rolling stock transfer.

Kenyon Junction station would be more complicated, as it would need.

  • Two long platforms for Liverpool and Manchester trains.
  • A bay platform for the Leigh branch.
  • A footbridge and other necessary facilities.
  • Appropriate car parking.

Kenyon Junction station would be the most expensive part of the project.

Train Operation

Train operation would be under rules called One Train Working, bur probably also applying the sort of rules under which trams work.

  • Lower speed.
  • Warning systems
  • Very visible trains
  • Driver keeping a good look-out.

This picture shows a two-car diesel multiple unit working under similar rules at its terminus in the centre of the German town of Zwickau.

Arrival At Zwickau Zentrum Tram/Train Stop

Note these points about the train and the infrastructure in the Zwickau Zentrum terminus of the Vogtlandbahn

  • The train is more-or-less standard.
  • The good driver visibility.
  • The orange warning lights.
  • The track laid like a tram track into the street.
  • No electrification.
  • The tram-style stop, designed to fit the trains using it.
  • Pedestrians and cyclists cross the track  in designated places after a good visual check for a train.

As this train goes about a hundred kilometres from this terminus, it still has visible couplings and other railway paraphernalia. These could probably be faired-in for safety and only exposed for recovery of a failed train.

Wikipedia calls this type of operation the Zwickau model, but I prefer to think of it as train-tram, as the train works as a train and then reverts to tram operation on the streets or perhaps through somewhere like parkland or moorland.

Note that in Zwickau, although the trains and the local trams have different gauges, they share tracks, using a unique three-rail track.

As there are no trams in Leigh and if they were, they would be the same gauge as the train, this is not a problem in Lancashire.

The Train

Any suitable and available self-powered train could be used.

  • A diesel multiple unit like a Class 172 train.
  • A fully developed Class 230 train
  • A simple bi-mode train like a Class 319 Flex train.
  • A train with onboard storage, perhaps charging using electrification in the bay platform at Kenyou Junction.
  • One of Merseyrail’s new Stadler trains fitted with a pantograph and onboard energy storage.

I always think, that the train should be a quality unit to attract passengers.

Whatever train is chosen, the bay platform at Kenyon Junction station and all the other platforms on the branch must be sized to fit the train to ensure level access.


It is certainly possible to create a 2 tph service for this new branch line at an affordable cost using a standard train, working to the same rules as the Vogtlandbahn in Zwickau.



February 6, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

A Station At Leicester Forest East

Leicester Forest East is known to most, as a services on the M1, but as this Google Map shows, it is more than that.


Note the Park-and-Ride site at Meynell’s Gorse.

The Leicester and Burton-on-Trent Line runs past the North of the site.

February 6, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , | 2 Comments

Two Options For East Leeds Parkway Station

The proposed East Leeds Parkway station is a little bit more than your average parkway station.

The Wikipedia entry starts like this.

It will be served by trains from the west of Leeds which would normally terminate at Leeds station; by continuing eastwards to this station, it is hoped that extra capacity for through trains would be created at Leeds. The station would also form the first phase of electrifying the railway line to the east of Leeds. As a parkway station, the intention would be to allow for a park-and-ride service and the plans include parking for 500 cars.

It also adds these points about the station.

  • The station will be on the Selby Line.
  • It will have two long platforms for Inter City trains and a bay platform for terminating services.
  • Proposed Ilkley/Bradford to London services could stop at the station.
  • Most importantly, the Local Authorities seem to be prepared to back the station with funds.

Wikipedia also says there are two possible locations for the station.

This Google Map shows East Leeds.


Note the string of stations on the Selby Line running from West to East.

The original location was to put the parkway station at Micklefield, which is in the East, where the line crosses the A1M close to Micklefield station.

Newer plans suggest that the station should be in the region of Thorpe Park, which is close to the major interchange, to the west of where the Selby Line crosses the M1.

I suspect both locations have their merits, but that the Thorpe Park location may have a lot more space and a convenient brownfield site, as this Google Map shows.


The Selby Line runs from West to East at the top of the map.

The site is cetainly well-served by the roads in the area.

February 6, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , | 2 Comments

A Station For Leeds/Bradford Airport

When I wrote The Glasgow Airport Rail Link Will Be A Tram-Train, I put in a section about the rail link to Leeds/Bradford Airport.

I had just read this article on the BBC is entitled Leeds Bradford Airport railway station one of three planned.

This is said.

The proposed new station about one mile (1.6km) from the airport would also act as a park and ride for commuters to Leeds and Harrogate.

I wonder if the trains at Leeds/Bradford Airport will go the last mile?

Even if the link is not electrified, why can’t we imitate the train/trams in Zwickau, that I wrote about in Riding The Vogtlandbahn.

A diesel multiple unit like a Class 172 train, refurbished for Airport and Park-and-Ride duties could leave the Harrogate Line at the Park-and-Ride and then proceed under tram rules on a dedicated track to a tram-like station at the Airport.

The needed infrastructure would be simple, with no electrification and stations built like the simple affairs on the London Tramlink, with no bridges.

A Typical Two Platform Stop

Why not?

Obviously, the ideal solution would be to electrify the Harrogate Line and have trains run into the airport using onboard energy storage.

My only worry about the concept is that of an Airport Link doubling as a Park-and-Ride.

It would need careful capacity planning and be designed so that more frequent and longer trains could be accommodated if the need for more capacity arose.

After all, we don’t know if Yorkshire will vote to exit England!


February 6, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment