The Anonymous Widower

Integration Of High-Speed And Commuter Services Out Of Kings Cross Station

The East Coast Main Line ECML) has the following services on the Southern section between Kings Cross and Peterborough.

  • Express services capable of at least 125 mph running from LNER , Grand Central, Hull Trains and other Open Access operators.
  • Great Northern services capable of 110 mph running between Kings Cross and Cambridge and Ely.
  • Great Northern services to Peterborough appear to have been discontinued.
  • Thameslink services capable of 100 mph running between Kings Cross and Cambridge and Peterborough.

It would appear that the slower  Great Northern and Thameslink services will get in the way of the faster trains, if they need to use the fast lines.

The Digswell Viaduct

A particular problem will be the double-track section of line through Welwyn North station and over the Digswell Viaduct.

There are two Great Northern and  six Thameslink services in each hour, that are not capable of operating at 125 mph on the double-track section.

Following the logic of Oxford and Bedwyn services out of Paddington, which are now run by 125 mph Class 802 trains, I feel that timetabling would be easier on the ECML, if there were 125 mph trains running Great Northern and Thameslink services to Cambridge, Ely and Peterborough.

I explored 125 mph services to Kings Lynn in Call For ETCS On King’s Lynn Route, after reading about a proposal in Rail Magazine. They certainly look like they’d give advantages.

Some idiot decided that Thameslink services were fine with a 100 mph top speed. They should have been 110 mph or even faster trains, so that they could cross the Digswell Viaduct without slowing high speed services.

Digital Signalling

Digital signalling will be installed on the Southern section of the East Coast Main Line

This could ease the problem of the double-track section, as all trains should eventually be timed more precisely.

More Use Of The Hertford Loop

Perhaps some or all of the six 100 mph Thameslink services, could use an upgraded Hertford Loop Line, which will be fitted with digital signalling.

125 mph Trains

In a last resort, it would surely be more affordable to run 125 mph commuter trains to Cambridge, Ely and Peterborough, than put put two extra tracks on the Digswell Viaduct.

March 20, 2019 - Posted by | Transport | , , ,


  1. The best way to resolve the Digswell Viaduct issue is to close Welwyn North station, which causes most of the issues. Replace it with a dedicated “Welwyn Parkway” dual-bay-platform station near the A1000/A1, with a single track leading up to connect to Welwyn Garden City platform 1. Finally, extend some (2tph?) Moorgate or Thameslink services that currently terminate at WGC down the single track to Welwyn Parkway, serving commuters from Welwyn and Digswell whilst being a useful park-and-ride for those from further away and the surrounding countryside.

    Comment by J M | March 21, 2019 | Reply

  2. An interesting idea!

    Comment by AnonW | March 21, 2019 | Reply

  3. Just looked at the area, which I know reasonably well on the ground from 1970, when I worked close by. You could certainly run an extra track along the West side of the ECML as far as the viaduct.

    But why not run a single track all the way to a bay platform at Welwyn North station.

    I’m sure Lord Foster or some other architect could create a single-track modern viaduct, that would enhance the look of the Digswell viaduct.

    A single platform at Welwyn North station could take four trains per hour.

    Comment by AnonW | March 21, 2019 | Reply

  4. It would be an interesting experiment after the new Great Nortern trains are running and WGC gets an improved service to London, to increase car parking at WGC and reduce the price. Would Welwyn North lose a lot of traffic?

    Comment by AnonW | March 21, 2019 | Reply

  5. “But why not run a single track all the way to a bay platform at Welwyn North station.”

    A couple of reasons:
    -Building another viaduct adjacent to the existing one, single track or otherwise, is hugely expensive and difficult which is why it hasn’t been done already, despite the obvious demand. A single track down the hill to a new station would be cheaper and far less intrusive.
    -A single bay platform at Welwyn North couldn’t achieve 4tph unless a passing loop was also added between WGC and Welwyn North, wheras a single track to a dual-bay-platform station could alternate trains and achieve 4tph.
    -Welwyn North isn’t a great place to access by car and, particularly if you lose spaces to a new platform, there isn’t enough parking. A new purpose built station would be much closer to the A1 and provide ample cheap parking (and like you say, you’d increase the price in WGC to encourage commuters to use Welwyn parkway).
    -If Welwyn Parkway was built, they might be able to justify building housing on the surrounding green belt, within walking distance of the new station, to fund it.

    But I don’t know the area particularly well to be fair. Just reckon it would be a sensible solution as closing Welwyn North would help the ECML a lot.

    Comment by J M | March 21, 2019 | 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.