I like walking in City Centres and Bradford didn’t disappoint.
Little Germany with its collection of Listed buildings was certainly a surprise.
These pictures show my arrival in Bradford Interchange station.
Both stations have frequent services to Leeds, but if you are going, coming or visiting anywhere else make sure you pick the right station.
I discussed Bradford’s problem in Why Does Bradford Have Two Stations? and came to the solution that some form of high tech people mover would be best.
I said this.
But what about some eco-friendly battery buses, as the distance is under a kilometre.
It could be run triangularly if necessary between the two stations and the shopping centre, with a charging station at each angle.
I arrived at Low Moor station on a direct service from Kings Cross.
As with several other new stations, it has been fairly very well-constructed, but the design has a few failings.
There Are Not Enough Trains
I was at Low Moor station for an hour taking pictures. In that time several local services went throiugh, but then only one train per hour stops in each direction.
At least two and possibly four trains per hour, as at Halifax, should stop.
Passengers on a wet, cold day will soon get fed up with waiting an hour for another train.
Trains to and from Manchester Airport should also stop.
It Is A Very One-Sided Station
The car park and the main access to the station appear to be on the Bradford-bound side of the station.
Lea Bridge station, that I use regularly near where I live, was built like this and you have to leave extra time to catch a train, as you have to cross the tracks on the footbridge, to go in one direction.
However at Ilkeston station, which I wrote about in Ilkeston Station Opens, the station footbridge replaces one that existed before the station was built. Passengers arrive on top of the station and then descend to the appropriate platform. Or they can walk-in at ground level from the car-drop-off areas or car parking on either side of the tracks!
What makes it worse at Lea Bridge station, is that they could have designed the station to have walk-in access from the road bridge over the lines, as the station does not have ticket gates.
There Should Be Ticket Machines On Both Platforms
I didn’t see the ticket machine, when I arrived, but one is not enough.
Imagine, you are in a hurry and have booked on-line for the 07:01 Grand Central train to Kings Cross and need to retrieve a ticket.
Will you be able to park your car, retrieve the ticket and cross the line before the train comes, especially if there is a queue for the sole ticket machine?
Surely too, ticket machines on the platforms are less likely to be vandalised, as CCTV will be expected.
Why Is There No Direct Access Between The Car Park And The Bradford-Bound Platform?
Both Lea Bridge and Ilkeston stations allow walk-in access to the one or both platforms. Why isn’t there a short flight of steps between the car park and the Bradford-bound platform?
I hope it’s not different rules being applied by different councils? It has been allowed at Kirkstall Forge station.
There Should Be Drop-Off/Pick-Up Areas On Both Sides Of The Station
Obviously, this can’t be arranged at all platforms at all stations, but many stations manage it for at least one, with a step-free bridge across the tracks.
Low Moor station doesn’t score well in this.
Poor Access With Bicycles To The Platforms
Cyclists come in all shapes and sizes, but many will find the steps unacceptably steep and will not use this station.
Or put their muddy bikes in the lifts!
It is a well-built, but rather poorly designed station.
I don’t think, it will attract the number of passengers it should!
There are stops at Doncaster, Pontefract Monkhill, Wakefield Kirkgate, Mirfield, Brighouse, Halifax and Low Moor stations. I alighted at the last station, which only opened on the second of this month.
I took these pictures on the route between Doncaster and Low Moor
These are some notes on the journey.
Hambleton Junction was created as part of the Selby Diversion, where the East Coast Main Line was diverted away from the possible subsidence, that could have been created by the giant Selby Coalfield.
This Google Map shows the layout of the junction.
The Grand Central train turned West at Hambleton Junction to take a South-Westerly route to Pontefract Monkhill station.
It should be noted, that the mistake of the 1980s, when the Selby Diversion was created off not electrifying the Leeds to Selby Line may be rectified in the near future, according to this section in Wikipedia. This is said.
In 2009 the Network Rail route utilisation strategy electrification paper identified the North Cross-Pennine route including the Leeds-Selby-Hull Line as a high ranking option for future electrification, in terms of benefits to passenger services. In 2011 funding for the electrification in CP5 (see Network Rail Control Periods) of the section from Leeds to Micklefield was announced. Funding for the section of the line from Micklefield to Selby was added to the electrification schedule in 2013.
As with all electrification in the UK, I’ll believe it, when I see it.
Ferrybridge Power Stations
The power stations at Ferrybridge, have been a landmark on the A1 since the 1960s.
This Google Map shows the large site, surrounded by major roads.
There is now a Ferrybridge Multifuel power station, but at 68 MW compared to the 2034 MW of the 1960s-built Ferrybridge C., it isn’t very large.
For comparison, according to these statistics in Wikipedia, the UK had installed 11,562 MW of solar power, which generated 10,292 GwH or 3.4% of our total electricity consumption in 2016, which was a thirty-six percent increase on 2015.
Perhaps it was a better summer!
Pontefract Monkhill Station
Pontefract Monkhill station is a simple affair, with just two platforms and no permanent buildings or ticket machine.
This Google Map shows the location of the station.
Note in the North West corner of the map is Pontefract racecourse, where C and I once had a winner.
I think it is true to say, that passenger use of Pontefract Monkhill station would improve with a few more facilities.
The train took the line past the racecourse on the way to Wakefield Kirkgate station.
Wakefield Kirkgate Station
Wakefield Kirkgate station, has been refurbished recently and whether it will see increased usage, is something on which I can’t or won’t speculate.
This Google Map shows the relationship between Kirkgate and Wakefield Westgate station, which is served by electric trains to Leeds and London.
Grand Central probably have a marketing problem with Kirkgate station, as to tickets too and from London, as they have only four trains per day and they take around two and a quarter hours, as opposed to Virgin’s two trains per hour, which take around two hours.
Their major weapon must be price.
Mirfield station is another simple station, with minimal facilities.
Brighouse station is a station that closed in 1970 and reopened in 2000.
That explains, why when I had to go to Brighouse to see a client of mine in the early 1970s, in the town, I had to drive.
It was typical of the projects, I got involved in at the time, as I was helping Allied Mills to optimise what flours they used to make bread. I was using simple linear programming with an objective function.
I can’t leave Brighouse without a few stories.
- All the Senior Management I dealt with had been bakers and didn’t eat the company product, preferring to bake their own.
- Bread was sold on commission to the delivery van drivers. As you could get more square sliced loaves in a van, they ignored fancy loaves, as it dropped their income. Did this infuence the UK’s like of bad bread?
- Bread was sold on sale or return. The returned bread was put to use in animal and pet food.
- Harold Wilson thought this was waste and banned the practice, meaning the secondary uses dried up and a lot of products became more expensive.
- One particular recycled bread, was supposedly very suitable for grewyhounds.
- Dartmouth Naval College insisted that the bread they received was yesterday’s as it discouraged cadets fromj eating too much!
If I remember a few more, I’ll add them.
Halifax station is probably one of the busiest on the route.
This Google Map shows the station and the nearby Nestle factory.
Halifax station has a four trains per hour service to Bradford Interchange and Leeds. This is also said in Wikipedia.
On Sundays there is an hourly service to Manchester Victoria and to Blackpool North and one train every two hours to Huddersfield. New Northern Rail franchisee Arriva Rail North plans to introduce additional services to Leeds & Manchester in 2017, many of which will run through to either Liverpool Lime Street or Chester. Through services to Manchester Airport will also operate once the planned Ordsall Chord is built.
So it will be getting better and Halifax could be the station where you go to to the West.
These extra services and after a couple of visits to the station, suggest to me that the station needs a bay platform or even a third one, that can act as bay platforms looking both ways.
This is said in Wikipedia.
In October 2014 plans were submitted to bring an old platform back into use to create three platforms together with signalling improvements.
Perhaps my feelings are correct.
It is a well-thought out route, through some of the least developed parts of Yorkshire, where I suspect car ownership is not on the high side.
The route, which goes in a curve from Bradford to Doncaster, South of the cities of Bradford and Leeds, does a similar job to that of the Gospel Oak to Barking Line in London, as a compliment to the radial routes.
But four trains per day is not enough and the route has the sense of dereliction that Gospel Oak to Barking and North London Lines had in London.
Perhaps the solution, is to run one of the Class 319 Flex trains every hour between Bradford Interchange or Halifax and Doncaster in both directions to tie everything together.
Currently, Grand Central’s Class 180trains take the following times.
- Doncaster to Bradford Exchange – 90 minutes
- Doncaster to Halifax – 75 minutes
The Class 319 Flex trains could probably match these times if they ran on electric power between Doncaster and Hambleton Junction.
Even if they stopped more often, they might even be able to run between Halifax and Doncaster in under ninety minutes. This would mean that three trains could provide a stopping service between Halifax and Doncaster.
This article in the International Railway Journal is entitled JR Kyushu battery EMU to enter service in October.
This is said.
JAPAN’s Kyushu Railway Company (JR Kyushu) announced on August 24 that its pre-series Dual Energy Charge Train (Dencha) battery-assisted EMU will enter revenue service on the 11km Orio – Wakamatsu section of the Chikuho Line on October 19.
The two-car 819 series set draws power from the 20 kV ac 60Hz electrification system to feed a bank of onboard batteries, which give the train a wire-free range of up to 90km.
At least it can do 11 km. This is said about the train’s manufacture.
The 819 series is based on the existing 817 series EMU and was built by Hitachi at its plant in Kudamatsu in Yamaguchi prefecture.
Note the word Hitachi!
On the Hitachi Rail Europe web site, three new trains are mentioned.
All are A-trains and on all pages, the word battery is mentioned under power supply.
So will Scotrail’s new Class 385 trains have a battery capability?
Probably not initially!
But Hitachi have obviously been doing a lot of research into battery trains and the JR Kyushu is the first practical application.
Scotland’s rail system outside Edinburgh and Glasgow is not electrified, but it is well-known that Scotland’s Government would like more electrified services and also links to places like Leven and St. Andrews.
Both of these places, and there are probably others as well, are a few miles from a main line, that is very likely to be electrified.
So could we see a battery train charged as the JR Kyushu train on a main line, serving these branch lines on battery power?
I feel that the chance of this happening is very high.
Put a charging station, like a Railbaar at the terminal station and it could be done as soon as the train is built.
This article from Global Rail News is entitled India’s Minister for Railways launches glass-roof scenic rail cars.
Scotrail’s plans for shortened HST train sets to go between the major cities will hopefully carried out with style and a great deal of respect for the scenery.
For a start, will the seats be arranged like these in Chiltern’s Mark 3 coaches.
Note that the picture was taken in Standard Class.
There can’t be more stylish, comfortable and practical rides in a train of this Class anywhere in the world.
What is not shown is the cheery staff with the snacks and drinks trolley.
All of this too comes from a subsidiary of Deitsche Bahn and it is far superior to anything I’ve ridden in Germany.
I wonder if windows can be put in the roof of a Mark 3?
Probably! Engineers certainly have ways of making Mark 3 coaches do anything they want
But there’s always the option of connecting cameras to the train’s wi-fi.