The Anonymous Widower

East Midlands Parkway Station – 11th July 2019

I took these pictures at East Midlands Parkway station.

These are some of my thoughts.

Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station

The station is dominated by the coal-fired Ratcliffe-on-Spar power station, with its eight massive cooling towers.

When I was leaving Liverpool University in the late-1960s, I don’t think any of my fellow students thought coal had a future.

Several of my group of Electrical Engineers went into nuclear engineering, but many like me went into computing, electronics and instrumentation.

But still the Government ploughed on with mining coal and burning the filthy stuff to produce electricity.

Now the current government has decided, that they’ll all be gone by 2025!

And good riddance to them!

It has amazed me, they have survived this long.

I can remember reading in the Guardian in the 1980s of proposals by enlightened thinkers to retrain miners as insulation teams to insulate our terrible pre-war housing stock, which wastes vast amounts of energy.

But politicians of the left, including some who are still around today, glory in the honest toil of working in a coal mine.

I’m afraid, that I’ve met so many children of miners, whose major advice from their father, was to never go down a mine except as a tourist.

Burning coal, has been one of the worst cul-de-sacs of the human race.

An Inadequate Train Service

I have scarcely been to a station with such an inadequate train service.

Logic suggests, that it would have a service something like two or four trains per hour (tph) to major cities within half-an-hour.

But read what is said under Services in the Wikipedia entry for the station.

Here’s the first two paragraphs.

Fears were raised by various bodies, notably East Midlands Airport, about the service pattern proposed for the new station.

Donington Park motor racing circuit is nearby, and its owners have expressed their desire for spectators to use the station or coach services when travelling to the circuit. The owners are also in support of any future light rail transport to East Midlands Airport itself.

On my visit, I took a train from Leicester and then had to wait nearly an hour to get one back to where I started.

Abellio certainly have scope to improve the service.

In Leicester Station – 11th July 2019, I wrote that I felt that if Abellio apply similar logic to that which they are applying in East Anglia, that there could be a significant improvement in services on the Midland Main Line, to the North of Leicester.

  • Three tph – Fast trains between Leicester and Sheffield via Derby and Chesterfield
  • One tph – Stopping train between Leicester and Sheffield via Derby and Chesterfield
  • Three tph – Fast trains between Leicester and Nottingham
  • One tph – Stopping train between Leicester and Nottingham
  • One tph – Stopping train between Leicester and Lincoln

As the new trains will have a better performance, more could stop at East Midlands Parkway to even out the terrible stopping pattern.

Station Usage

Wikipedia gives the station usage as just over 300,000 passengers per year.

This compares with  Louthborough station, which is the next station to the South having a usage of 1,300,000 passengers per year.

Even the new Ilkeston station further North with only two platforms and of a much simpler design, had a usage of 250,000 passengers in its first year.

As this Google Map shows, the car parking has attracted a few takers.

I do question though, if the station should ever have been built!

I hope Abellio have a plan to breathe some life into the station.


Note the Stagecoach Megabus in the pictures.

This provides services all over Yprkshire and is decribed under Multi-Modal in the Wikipedia entry for the station.

This is the first paragraph.

From 30 March 2009, the station has been used as an interchange station for combined multi-modal journeys using Megabus-branded services run by Stagecoach (the operators of both East Midlands Trains and of Megabus). The MegabusPlus services transport passengers from cities in the north of England to East Midlands Parkway, where passengers transfer to rail for the service to London.

At a first glance, it looks like a crazy idea.

But Stagecoach wouldn’t run it, if it wasn’t needed or profitable.

Charging Battery Electric Trains

In The Mathematics Of Fast-Charging Battery Trains Using Third-Rail Electrification, I showed how a third-rail-based fast charging sstem, like that proposed by Vivarail could transfer several hundred kWh to the batteries of a train stopped in the station, for a few minutes.

East Midlands Parkway station with pairs of tracks between generously-spaced platforms with a gap between the tracks, would be an ideal location for such a charging system.

  • The two third-rail would be laid together between the two tracks.
  • The third-rails could be shielded, but as they would only be live with a train on the top, would it be necessary?
  • The driver would only need to stop the train in the correct position, but they do that anyway.
  • An adequate electricity supply shouldn’t be too much of a problem!

In a three minute contact between the train and the third-rail, I believe it would be possible to transfer up to 200 kWh to the batteries of the train.


This station has problems.

I’ll be interested to see how Abellio attract more passengers and use the station to passengers and their own benefit.



July 12, 2019 - Posted by | Transport | , , ,


  1. this is not a new problem. The airport has been trying to improve services for years There’s not even a shuttle bus any more – just a shared taxi. I go to EMA every so often, and catch the bus from Derby: every 30 mins and stops just outside the station.

    Comment by Peter Robins | July 12, 2019 | Reply

    • I only went to the station out of curiosity and to photograph the awful coal-fired power station. It seems that no-one properly planned the station’s use. Passenger levels are pitiful and it won’t be long before Ilkeston has more passengers. It almost seems to me, that the service pattern was thought up to dissuade use.

      Abellio’s recasting of the East Anglian timetable will improve Stansted Airport services, so will they do the same for East Midlands Parkway?

      Comment by AnonW | July 12, 2019 | Reply

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