The Anonymous Widower

Class 319 Flex Trains Could Be In Service By December 2017

I have just seen a an early copy of Porterbrook’s brochure for their new Class 319 Flex train.

On the summary page, the following is said.

4 units in service by December 2017

On the North-West Electrification page of the Network Rail web site, these electrification milestones are given.

  • December 2017 – Preston to Manchester and Manchester Victoria to Stalybridge
  • Early 2018 – Preston to Blackpool

It would appear that the delivery of the trains and the availability of electrified lines are not a bad fit.

I estimate that three Class 319 Flex trains will be needed to provide an hourly service to Blackpool from either Liverpool or Manchester, before Preston to Blackpool is electrified.

But once Blackpool to Preston is electrified, Blackpool, Liverpool, Manchester and Preston would be linked by standard Class 319 trains, releasing the Class 319 Flex trains to develop other routes from the core electrified network.

Places like Blackburn, Burnley, Clitheroe and even Hebden Bridge and Todmorden could be reached from the electrification at Bolton, Manchester or Preston.

The electrified network will be grown, by the selective addition of electrification and/or trains.

March 3, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Is There Anywhere A Class 319 Flex Train Can’t Go?

I have just seen an early copy of Porterbrook’s brochure for their new Class 319 Flex train.

This is an extract.

Porterbrook determined that the most arduous route would be Manchester Piccadilly to Buxton, which has a steep gradient and multiple stops along its 25 mile route 9(8 miles of which is electrified). This anlysis was included to give confidence that the Class 319 Flex would be comparable to existing Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) technology across a range of different routes, stopping patterns and gradients.

So I took a quick look at the Buxton Line on Wikipedia.

This is said.

Due to steep gradients on this line, Class 142 and Class 153 DMUs are banned from the section of line between Hazel Grove and Buxton. Therefore, services to Buxton are worked by Class 150 and Class 156 DMUs. Also Class 158 DMUs were once blocked from operating on the line to Buxton due to the possibility of the large roof-mounted air vents striking low bridges on the route.

Note the two extracts both say “to Buxton”, as obviously, the trains can use the free power boost of gravity on the way down.

To back this up, trains are currently timed to take 37 minutes to climb from Hazel Grove station to Buxton and 33 minutes for the gravity-assisted return.

A driver once told me, that the brakes on a Class 319 train are up there with the best. So there’s little chance of runaway train syndrome.

Train Services To And From Buxton And Hazel Grove

Under Services in the Wikipedia entry for Buxton, this is said.

There is generally an hourly service daily (including Sundays) between Buxton and Manchester Piccadilly, taking about one hour. The service frequency is enhanced to about half-hourly in the morning and evening peaks. A limited number of trains (currently seven on weekdays in total) work through beyond Manchester, with one train each of to/from Blackpool North, Clitheroe, Barrow-in-Furness, Wigan North Western, Wigan Wallgate, Preston and Bolton.

Note.

  • Of these destinations, several are not likely to be electrified in the near future, but could be reached by a Class 319 Flex.
  • Some would also allow the trains to stretch their legs under the wires of the West Coast Main Line or the Manchester to Preston Line.
  • As the Buxton Line is double-tracked would a more powerful train enable more frequent trains?
  • Buxton station may have had improvements to ease turning trains.
  • At present, Northern don’t seem to run any trains further than between Manchester Piccadilly and Buxton stations, but with the opening of the Ordsall Chord at the end of 2017, running trains past Piccadilly could ease the load on one of Manchester’s main stations.
  • Despite Manchester Piccadilly to Hazel Grove being electrified, at present, no electric trains serve the route.
  • ,Clitheroe station  is probably the most interesting destination, as like the Buxton Line, the Ribble Valley Line  needs trains with some qualities common in mountain goats.

It looks like Buxton is going to get a much improved train service.

It should also be noted, that once the Manchester to Preston line is electrified, all services from Hazel Grove to Manchester and Preston could be run by Class 319 trains, whether they are the Electric or Flex variant.

Can and will the service between Manchester and Hazel Grove via Stockport be a Turn-Up-And-Go four tph electric service from the December 2017 Timetable change?

Range On A Full Tank Of Diesel

Or that might be two tanks, as is there one in each driver car for each engine?

The brochure says.

The Class 319 Flex unit would have the capacity to make five return trips per day for two days before refuelling is required.

That surely is more than adequate.

Could The Buxton Line Be Electrified?

It would be assumed that the Germans, French or Italians would electrify a line like the Buxton Line.

But this is not always the case and I’ve used lines in Germany to reach towns the size of Buxton and the lines are not all electrified.

Electric trains on an electrified line have the advantage of bags of grunt and would handle the route with ease.

But it would cost and it wouldn’t be the easiest of engineering projects. I suspect too, that there would be objections to gantries marching sall over the Peak District

I think with modern technology there might be a better and more affordable way.

The Class 319 Flex is just a first solution.

Comparison With The New Class 195 Trains

I suspect it is unlikely that the new Class 195 trains ordered by Northern will be unable to reach Buxton, but they won’t be in service for a few years.

Comparing the two train types, it would appear.

  • Installed power is about the same.
  • But what about the weight?
  • The Class 319 Flex has 12 First Class seats and 255 Standard Class seats in the brochure, as against 204 seats in a three-car Class 195 train.
  • The Class 319 Flex is a bi-mode that can use electric power, between Manchester and Hazel Grove.

It will be an fascinating comparison: A thirty-year-old British Rail-built train with a bi-mode upgrade against a new Spanish-built diesel multiple unit.

Along The Hope Valley Line To Sheffield

The Hope Valley Line between Manchester and Sheffield has two electrified links at the Manchester end to Piccadilly.

  • Via Hazel Grove and Stockport, where electrification reaches to Hazel Grove
  • Via Guide Bridge, where electrification reaches almost to Hyde North, to serve the electrified Glossop Line.

Theis important route between Manchester and Sheffield has been marked down for new Class 195 trains, but I suspect that the distance is within range of a Class 319 Flex.

The Manchester end of this route could be a fertile area for using Class 319 Flex trains. As a simple example, they could be used to bridge the gap between the electrification on the Glossop Line and Rose Hill Marple station.

Conclusion

Manchester Piccadilly and Buxton may be a tough route, but if a train can can climb to Buxton crush loaded with passengers, there are a lot of benefits to the operator.

  • Electric trains between Manchester Piccadilly and Hazel Grove.
  • Releasing of platform space in Piccadilly when the Ordsall Chord opens.
  • Back-to back services between Buxton and Blackpool, Barrow, Clitheroe and Wigan. I suspect there’s a lot more.
  • A possible two trains per hour to Buxton.
  • Two electric trains per hour to Rose Hill Marple.

And that’s just for starters!

 

March 3, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

West Anglia Route Improvement – Enfield Council And Rail Companies

This article in the Barnet and Whetstone Press is entitled Transport Blow To Meridian Water Development.

This is said.

THE council has admitted spending nearly £200,000 on an unsuccessful judicial review into a transport decision that could drastically undermine its vision for the multi-million pound Meridian Water housing development.

In September last year, the Department for Transport told rail companies thinking of bidding for the franchise through Angel Road railway station, in Edmonton, that a successful bid would not have to guarantee a minimum of four trains an hour.

You don’t call for a judicial review lightly and as Enfield lost, I suspect they were none to pleased with the Department of Transport and the various rail companies.

I then found this article on 21st Century Rail, whih is entitled Network Rail needs to get a grip of GRIP.

This is how the article starts.

Network Rail’s infrastructure upgrade process has been severely criticised by one of Enfield Borough’s leading planners.

The Meridian Water project is part of the borough’s wider regeneration plan for the Lea Valley area, which involves re-siting and constructing a new Angel Road station – to be renamed Meridian Water – and installing a third track between there and Stratford.

It then contains a fairly savage attack on Network Rail’s planning process.

The article does include this about plans for the Stratford – Angel Road train service.

It is part of Network Rail’s wider STAR project (Stratford-Tottenham-Angel Road) to increase capacity on WAML (the West Anglia mainline). The third track will run for about five miles; Network Rail is working with the DfT to increase the number of trains to four per hour (tph). Between 2019 and 2024, WAML will be widened to take four tracks and the capacity increased to handle 8tph. If Crossrail 2 is built, capacity will be doubled again to 16tph by 2030.

But it does seem that relations between Enfield Council and Network Rail and the other rail companies could be better.

 

 

 

March 3, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

West Anglia Route Improvement – The Closure Of Northumberland Park Level Crossing

This letter on the Department of Transport web site is a very long-winded way of saying that Network Rail can close the level crossing at Northumberland Park station.

Ironically, when Greater Anglia received their new trains on this route, their increased performance and reduced station dwell time, might mean they could do the required extra stops for STAR at Angel Road station, without the closure of Northumberland Park level crossing.

But it will have to be closed at some time.

March 3, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

West Anglia Route Improvement – Meridian Water, Road Traffic And Level Crossings – 1st March 2017

This map from the Meridian Water web site shows the area of Meridian Water outlined in red.

meridianwatersite

And this Google Map shows the Lea Valley from the North Circular Road in the North almost to Tottenhsm Hale in the South.

riverlea

Note.

  • Tesco and IKEA are in the middle of the Meridian Water site with the West Anglia Main Line and the main North South road to their West.
  • The River Lea and the River Lea Navigation Canal pass between the Meridian Water site and the Banbury Reservoir.

With the building of Meridian Water, traffic in the area is only going to get worse.

The main North-South route shown in the second map starts North of Enfield Lock, where it has rather dodgy connections to the M25 and is generally a single carriageway road, all the way to the Tottenham Hale Gyratory, where traffic is heavy at all times.

One problem is going or coming West from this North-South route, as vehicles need to cross the West Anglia Main Line.

Starting from the North, the crossings of the railway are as follows.

  • A level crossing at Enfield Lock station.
  • A level crossing at Brimsdown station.
  • A bridge for the A110
  • A bridge at Conduit Lane, just North of the current Angel Road station.
  • The North Circular Road, which is not well-connected to the North-South route.
  • A bridge at Leeside Road, just South of the proposed site of Meridian Water station.
  • A level crossing at Northumberland Park station.

Another bridge over the railway delivers you into the jams at Topttenham Hale.

STAR is currently envisaged to provide a seven-day-a-week services of four trains per hour (tph) between Angel Road and Stratford with calls at Northumberland Park, Tottenham Hale and Lea Bridge stations.

However the current local service up the Lea Valley from Stratford goes to Hertford East and Bishops Stortford stations with a rather erratic stopping pattern at stations North of Tottenham Hale.

So will STAR be based on these services or a separate train turning back at Meridian Water station?

But whatever happens it will increase the number of trains through Northumberland Park station.

The Bridges Are For Four Lines

It has now been announced in the last few weeks, that the level crossing will be closed.

Drivers wanting to go across the level crossing, following the closure will now do one of the following.

  • Go South and over the railway to Tottenham Hale.
  • Go North and cross the railway on the Leeside Road bridge.

They could always use the train.

I think the following would help mitigate the loss of the crossing.

  • Some road improvement at the junction of Leeside Road and the North-South road.
  • A decent pedestrian route between the new Meridian Water station and Glover Drive for Tesco and IKEA.
  • The STAR service going North from Meridian Water station, as well as South to Stratford.

Hopefully, it will all be clear by the end of 2018.

 

 

 

March 3, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

West Anglia Route Improvement – Meridian Water Station – 1st March 2017

After reading Colin’s comment to the recent Angel Road station post and looking at the FAQ on the Meridian Water web site., I created this Google Map of the area along Willoughby Lane, from Northumberland Park station to the other side of the railway from IKEA.

willoughbylane

Willoughby Lane is actually a road that starts at Northumberland Park station and then goes Northwards to the two bus stops.

I feel that the new station, which will be called Meridian Water will be built on the large clear site, between the Northernmost bus stop and the railway.

These are some pictures of the that site taken on 1st March 2017.

This is a Google Map of the site.

meridianwaterstation

Note.

  • I used a private helicopter flying low over the area or in more common parlance the top deck of a 341 bus going to IKEA.
  • The entrance to the site is off Leeside Road.
  • The railway runs North-South.
  • Fences leading from the entrance road go right up to the West side of the railway.
  • The works to create the third track for STAR are clearly visible.
  • A large area seemed to be fenced off off on the East side of the Railway.
  • The Leeside Bridge seems a substantial modern structure.
  • IKEA and Tesco to the East of the railway and the Angel Edmonton Road.

I remember the station site as a gas works and these sites are often very polluted. So perhaps building a station on the top and adding car parking might be easier than building houses, unless it’s a few signature tower blocks, which would have superb views of the Lea Valley.

It’s certainly going to be profitable for the developers.

This is from the Infrastructure page on the Meridian Water web site.

It is not very often London gets a brand new rail station, but Meridian Water Station will open in 2019, unlocking the area for commuters, taking passengers south directly to Stratford London and London Liverpool Street and north to Stansted and Cambridge.

The station, which will be built on the Willoughby Lane site and replace the existing and poorly accessible Angel Road station, will provide a much improved rail connection for Enfield residents with a more frequent service into central London.

This site North of Leeside Road is probably a much better-located site than that of the current station.

  • There is a lot of space, which might enable car parking and a turnback platform.
  • It is just off the main North-South road.
  • It is close to IKEA and Tesco and pedestrian access between the two would surely be possible.

This visualisation is from the Meridian Water web site.

meridianwaterstation

Note.

  • It doesn’t look to be a station built on the cheap.
  • The Crossrail symbol on the station.
  • Are we looking North or South in the visualisation.

I suspect that what gets built could be rather different and a lot better with perhaps a continuous garden bridge from West of railway to Glover Drive, where Tesco and IKEA are situated.

 

March 3, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | 2 Comments

Worcestershire Parkway Station Under Way

This article in the Worcester News is entitled PICTURES: Lift off! Clearance work underway for Worcestershire Parkway.

Enough said! Especially as the pictures are informative!

But with similar signs of a new station at Meridian Water, it seems to be good news for those who want new stations.

March 3, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment