The Anonymous Widower

An Automated Shuttle Train On The Marlow Branch Line

The Marlow Branch Line has the following features.

  • It is 7 miles long, between Maidenhead and Marlow stations.
  • It is single-track.
  • It is not electrified
  • Trains on the route are two-car diesel trains.
  • There is a single platform at Marlow station.
  • There is an electrified bay-platform at Maidenhead station.
  • There are three intermediate stations.
  • The service frequency is one tph.
  • Trains take six minutes to go between the two terminals.

A unique problem is that trains reverse at Bourne End station on each trip, which takes 4.5 minutes for the driver to change ends and restart the train.

Currently a round trip from Maidenhead to Marlow takes 49 minutes.

By using an automated shuttle train, could this round trip time be reduced to enable one train to operate at a frequency of two tph?

Automation would reduce the 4.5 minutes at Bourne End to perhaps thirty seconds, but that would only bring the round trip time down to 41 minutes.

The station stops on the round trip would be as follows.

  • Furze Plat – 30 seconds
  • Cookham – 30 seconds
  • Bourne End – 30 seconds
  • Marlow – 1 minute
  • Bourne End – 30 seconds
  • Cookham – 30 seconds
  • Furze Plat – 30 seconds
  • Maidenhead – 2 minutes

Adding the stops up, that leaves just twenty-four minutes to cover the fourteen miles of the round trip.

This is an average speed of 35 mph.

I think that an appropriate train would be able to run an automated shuttle, with a frequency of two tph.

The train (or tram-train) would have the following features.

  • It would be battery-powered
  • It would have an operating speed of perhaps sixty mph.
  • It would have fast acceleration and deceleration.
  • It would probably be a tram-train to negotiate the tight bend at Bourne End station.

The following infrastructure works would also be needed.

  • The track would be improved to allow higher speeds.
  • The points would be automated at Bourne End
  • A fast charging system would be added to the bay platforms at Maidenhead and possibly Marlow stations.

An automated shuttle may have possibilities on this most difficult of branch lines.

February 19, 2019 - Posted by | Transport | ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] Marlow Branch Line […]

    Pingback by Automated Shuttle Trains With A Train Captain « The Anonymous Widower | February 19, 2019 | Reply

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