The Anonymous Widower

A Branch Line For Ludgershall

In the Wikipedia entry for Andover station, this is said under Future.

The new open-access operator Go! Cooperative has proposed operating a light rail service from Andover using the branch line to Ludgershall.

This sounds like another branch line that could work under Zwickau rules.

  • Single track with no passing loop.
  • Single self-powered train, like a Class 172 train providing a two trains per hour service.
  • Simple one platform stations, with step-free level access to the train.
  • Slow speed with train warning devices like horns and lights and good driver lookout.
  • Standard railway signalling.


  1. There would appear to be a disused platform at Andover station.
  2. Trains with onboard energy storage couldn’t be used, as Andover isn’t electrified.
  3. The route might be an ideal trial for a Class 230 train.
  4. In Zwickau, the train goes through parkland, the town centre and across full-barrier level crossings.
  5. In Zwickau, pedestrians and cyclists can cross the tracks, just like they can cross the Blackpool Tramway or the London Tramlink.
  6. The Zwickau trains have a driver and conductor, as is normal on German trains.
  7. Rules would have to be developed for the Army to move in their tanks by train on the branch.

You might argue that we’ve used Zwickau rules in the UK on some branch lines for years.

But, usually branch lines are worked using some ancient diesel multiple unit with these characteristics.

  • Bad driver visibility.
  • Inadequate warning systems.
  • Poor passenger comfort.
  • Terrible access from station to train.

The train at Zwickau is a standard Stadler diesel multiple unit of a modern design, with large windows and a few extra orange lights and warning devices.

Arrival At Zwickau Zentrum Tram/Train Stop

But because it is a standard train, once it joins the main railway, it can speed under normal train rules along a convenient route to an important terminus, some distance away.

Off the main line, all it needs is a single-track railway and one platform stations.


The Zwickau approach has several advantages.

  • Virtually standard train with a few extra features.
  • No electrification.
  • Single-track with no passing loops.
  • Standard railway signalling.
  • Single platform stations aligned for step-free access.
  • No station footbridges.
  • Pedestrians and cyclists cross the line, as they would a tramway.

Perhaps the biggest advantage is that the same train runs under normal railway rules on a heavy rail line and then can switch to slow running under tram rules on a branch or perhaps an extension to a town centre station.


There are a couple of drawbacks.

  • Train must be a modern design with extra safety features, like lights and warning devices.
  • Train must be self-powered; diesel or onboard energy storage.
  • Network Rail don’t like pedestrians and cyclists crossing the tracks willy-nilly.

If the train is a modern design with good driver visibility, then the risks associated with last point are probably minimised, or at least reduced to the level of a well-designed and run tramway.


February 8, 2017 - Posted by | Transport | ,


  1. Reblogged this on balabhaska and commented:
    Train ready

    Comment by balabhaskar6 | February 8, 2017 | Reply

  2. […] Ludgershall is a possible reopened station on a reopened Ludgershall Branch Line. See A Branch Line For Ludgershall. […]

    Pingback by A Look At New Station Projects « The Anonymous Widower | February 9, 2017 | Reply

  3. […] The reopened Ludgershall Branch Line. […]

    Pingback by No-Frills Mini Trains Offer Route To Reopening Lines That Beeching Shut « The Anonymous Widower | February 11, 2017 | Reply

  4. […] lines like the Fawley Branch,  Ludgershall Branch and the Swanage […]

    Pingback by The Class 319 Flex Train And Third Rail Routes « The Anonymous Widower | March 5, 2017 | Reply

  5. […] lines like the Fawley Branch,  Ludgershall Branch and the Swanage […]

    Pingback by The Class 319 Flex Units To Be Class 769 « The Anonymous Widower | May 25, 2017 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.