The Anonymous Widower

Should High Speed Two’s Macclesfield And London Service Call At Birmingham Interchange?

Connecting Manchester City Centre to the High Speed Two network will be a major undertaking.

  • It looks increasingly likely that High Speed Two and Northern Powerhouse Rail will have a shared line running from the main High Speed Two route through Crewe to Manchester Piccadilly via Manchester Airport.
  • Between Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly will be in a high speed tunnel.
  • Northern Powerhouse Rail will connect Liverpool Lime Street and Warrington to Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly.
  • There will be a major problem keeping train services running between Manchester and Birmingham, London and the South.

But just at Project Rio kept Manchester connected during the rebuilding of the West Coast Main Line in the early years of this century, I believe that a similar creditable alternative route may be starting to evolve.

Avanti’s Additional Class 807 Trains Will Be Delivered

These trains will allow additional services and release some Class 390 trains to reinforce other services.

Avanti West Coast’s Future West Coast Main Line Service

The small fleet of Class 807 trains are needed to provide extra services on the West Coast Main Line.

  • But if these trains are successful, will more be used as replacements for the nearly twenty-years-old Class 390 trains?
  • Will they also be given more traction power to double as the classic-compatible trains for High Speed Two.
  • Other operators might also like to purchase a high capacity 200 metre long high speed train, which would share routes used by High Speed Two.

In Thoughts On Class 807 Trains And High Speed Two’s Classic-Compatible Trains, I discuss the design of extra trains for High Speed Two and the West Coast Main Line.

Surely, though having similar trains handling both roles on the West Coast Main Line and High Speed Two, would be an advantage to Avanti West Coast?

London And Manchester Services

Currently, there are these services between London Euston and Manchester Piccadilly stations.

  • Via Milton Keynes Central, Stoke-on-Trent and Stockport
  • Via Stoke-on-Trent, Macclesfield and Stockport
  • Via Stafford, Crewe, Wilmslow and Stockport

All services have a frequency of one train per hour (tph)

High Speed Two plans to run these services between the South and the Manchester area.

  • 1 tph – 200 metres – London Euston and Wigan North Western via Old Oak Common, Crewe and Warrington Bank Quay
  • 1 tph – 200 metres – London Euston and Macclesfield via Old Oak Common, Stafford and Stoke.
  • 1 tph – 400 metres – London Euston and Manchester Piccadilly via Old Oak Common, Birmingham Interchange and Manchester Airport
  • 2 tph – 400 metres – London Euston and Manchester Piccadilly via Old Oak Common and Manchester Airport
  • 2 tph – 200 metres – Birmingham Curzon Street and Manchester Piccadilly via Manchester Airport
  • 1 tph – 200 metres – Birmingham Curzon Street and Wigan North |Western


  1. I have included Wigan North Western, as it has good connections to North Manchester.
  2. Services can’t go via Manchester Airport until the tunnel is completed.
  3. The 400 metre services will need to use dedicated High Speed Two tracks, so will need to use the tunnel via Manchester Airport.

Wigan and Macclesfield stations will not be requiring major rebuilding, during the construction of High Speed Two. That should mean the stations will not need to be closed for long periods.

  • Macclesfield station could probably handle up to three tph from the South.
  • Wigan North Western station could probably handle two tph from the South.
  • Work in the Manchester Piccadilly area, may well close the station at times.

I suspect Macclesfield and Wigan North Western could be very useful alternative stations for travelling to and from the South.

Manchester And Birmingham Via Macclesfield

I can see that there could be difficulties for some passengers, if they found themselves at Macclesfield wanting to go to the Birmingham area.

A solution would be for the Macclesfield and London service to stop at Birmingham Interchange, which will be extremely well-connected.

Birmingham Interchange

This map from High Speed Two, shows Birmingham Interchange and Birmingham International stations.


  • Birmingham Interchange station is marked by the blue dot.
  • Birmingham International station is to the West of the M42.

The two stations will be connected by an automatic people mover.

Destinations and their frequencies available from Birmingham Interchange, when High Speed Two is complete will include.

  • 2 tph – Birmingham Curzon Street
  • 1 tph – Carlisle
  • 1 tph – East Midlands Hub
  • 1 tph – Edinburgh Haymarket
  • 1 tph – Edinburgh Waverley
  • 1 tph – Glasgow Central
  • 1 tph – Leeds
  • 5 tph – London Euston
  • 1 tph – Manchester Airport
  • 1 tph – Manchester Piccadilly
  • 5 tph – Old Oak Common
  • 1 tph – Preston

It looks like if you miss your train to many important cities at Birmingham Interchange, it will be an hour to wait for the next train.

Destinations and their frequencies available from Birmingham International are currently.

  • 8 tph – Birmingham New Street
  • 1 tph – Bournemouth
  • 1 tph – Crewe
  • 0.5 tph to Edinburgh Waverley
  • 0.5 tph to Glasgow Central
  • 7 tph – London Euston
  • 1 tph – Macclesfield
  • 1 tph – Manchester Piccadilly
  • 1 tph – Reading
  • 1 tph – Shrewsbury
  • 1 tph – Southampton
  • 1 tph – Stafford
  • 1 tph – Stoke-on-Trent
  • 2 tph – Wolverhampton

Note that 0.5 tph is one train per two hours.

These two lists can be combined.

  • 10 tph – Birmingham Curzon Street/New Street
  • 1 tph – Bournemouth
  • 2 tph – Carlisle
  • 1 tph – Crewe
  • 1 tph – East Midlands Hub
  • 1.5 tph – Edinburgh Haymarket
  • 1.5 tph – Edinburgh Waverley
  • 1.5 tph – Glasgow Central
  • 1 tph – Leeds
  • 12 tph – London Euston
  • 1 tph – Macclesfield
  • 1 tph – Manchester Airport
  • 2 tph – Manchester Piccadilly
  • 5 tph – Old Oak Common
  • 1 tph – Preston
  • 1 tph – Reading
  • 1 tph – Shrewsbury
  • 1 tph – Southampton
  • 1 tph – Stafford
  • 1 tph – Stoke-on-Trent
  • 2 tph – Wolverhampton

This list is surely missing Bristol, Cardiff, Liverpool, Sheffield and Newcastle.


We should not underestimate the importance of Macclesfield and Wigan North Western stations in getting to and from Manchester during the building of High Speed Two.

July 15, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts On Class 807 Trains And High Speed Two’s Classic-Compatible Trains

Avanti West Coast’s New Class 807 Trains

Avanti West Coast have ordered a small fleet of Class 807 trains.

This article on Railnews, gives this short description.

There will be more seats, because a seven-car train will have 453 and five-car sets will have 301. First said the seven-car version will have about the same number of seats as a nine-car Pendolino, because each IET vehicle is longer, at 26m.

Adding standard details of other Hitachi trains in the family, the following seems to be known.

  • They are seven-car trains.
  • The cars are the standard twenty-six metres, so a seven-car train will be 182 metres.
  • Ten trains have been ordered.
  • I suspect that like all the other trains in the family, they will be 125 mph trains, that are capable of 140 mph, when the signalling and track allows.
  • They are pencilled in for services between London Euston and Birmingham New Street, Blackpool North and Liverpool Lime Street stations
  • They will not have batteries or diesel engines for emergency or hotel power. Could this mean, that the trains have been designed for high performance, by removing excess weight?
  • The trains don’t have a tilting capability. Does this save weight and increase acceleration?
  • The trains have 453 seats, as opposed to the nine-car Class 390 trains, which have 469 seats.

Could these trains be designed, to be able to better the Class 390 train schedules on the West Coast Main Line?

  • They have no tilting capability.
  • They can only work on electric power, like the Class 390 trains.
  • They could have very fast acceleration, due to the weight loss.
  • They only reduce capacity by 3.5 %, when compared to a nine-car Class 390 train.

In Will Avanti West Coast’s New Trains Be Able To Achieve London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street In Two Hours?, this was my conclusion.

I believe the following will be possible.

    • A two hour service between London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street will be possible with Avanti West Coast’s new Class 807 trains.
    • The current Class 390 trains could go a bit faster.
    • I estimate that a Class 807 train could save as much as two-and-a-half-minutes at each stop.
    • Blackpool North and London times will be comfortably under three hours.
    • Coventry and London times will be comfortably under an hour.

The performance of these Class 807 trains will improve the West Coast Main Line.

What will London in two hours, do for Liverpool?

Class 807 Trains With Different Car Lengths

It is possible to create a table showing car length, train length and capacity for Class 807 trains

  • 26 metres – 182 metres – 453 seats
  • 26.5 metres – 185.5 metres – 462 seats
  • 27 metres – 189 metres – 470 seats
  • 27.5 metres – 192.5 metres – 479 seats
  • 28 metres – 196 metres – 488 seats
  • 28.5 metres – 199.5 metres – 497 seats

It seems that by lengthening all cars by half a metre, just adds nine seats.

Does this point to the fact, that twenty-six metres was a carefully-chosen optimal car length?

Class 807 Trains With Different Numbers Of Cars

A similar table can also be created for different numbers of twenty-six metre cars.

  • 7 cars – 182 metres – 453 seats
  • 8 cars – 208 metres – 518 seats
  • 9 cars – 234 metres – 582 seats
  • 10 cars – 260 metres – 647 seats

Note that as an eleven-car Class 390 train is 265.3 metres, a ten-car Class 807 train will fit all platforms, currently used by eleven-car Class 390 trains.

Replacement Of Eleven-Car Class 390 Trains With Class 807 Trains

The eleven-car Class 390 trains are 265.3 metres long and seat 589 passengers.

Looking at the two tables, nine-car Class 807 trains would be almost direct replacements for an eleven-car Class 390 trains.

  • The performance of the Class 807 trains would be as good if not better.
  • The passenger capacity of both trains would be similar, with just seven seats less in the new trains.
  • The Class 807 trains would also be shorter and could fit any platform currently served by an eleven-car Class 390 train.

It should also be noted, that the Class 807 trains would have to run as singles, as platforms on the West Coast Main Line can’t handle a four hundred metre train.

I believe it is highly likely that the classic-compatible trains for High Speed Two and the trains that replace the Class 390 trains will be the same and based on the Class 807 trains, that are now being assembled at Hitachi’s factory at Newton Aycliffe.

Could A Class 807 Train Be Stretched To Become A High Speed Two Classic-Compatible Train?

The Classic-Compatible trains are described in this section in Wikipedia, by this sentence.

The classic-compatible trains, capable of high speed but built to a British loading gauge, permitting them to leave the high speed track to join conventional routes such as the West Coast Main Line, Midland Main Line and East Coast Main Line. Such trains would allow running of HS2 services to the north of England and Scotland, although these non-tilting trains would run slower than existing tilting trains on conventional track. HS2 Ltd has stated that, because these trains must be specifically designed for the British network and cannot be bought “off-the-shelf”, these conventional trains were expected to be around 50% more expensive, costing around £40 million per train rather than £27 million for the captive stock.

The trains will have the same characteristics as the full-size trains.

  • Maximum speed of 225 mph.
  • Cruising speed of 205 mph on High Speed Two.
  • Length of 200 metres.
  • Ability to work in pairs.
  • A passenger capacity around 500-600 passengers.

A seven-car Class 807 train with twenty-six metre long cars would appear to be a partial match and tick all the boxes, except for the following.

  • The train’s maximum and cruising speeds are well below what is needed.
  • The train is only 182 metres long.
  • The train has a passenger capacity of 453.

Would a train with eight twenty-five metre long cars be a better fit?

  •  The train length would be 200 metres.
  • I doubt twenty-five metre cars would cause a problem!
  • I estimate the passenger capacity would be 498 seats.

The trains or members of the same family have already shown.

  • They can run on the East Coast, Great Western, Midland and West Coast Main Lines.
  • They can run on High Speed One.
  • They can split and join automatically.
  • When needed they can run on local lines.

If I was Avanti West Coast’s train-Czar, I would be seriously interested in a Classic-Compatible High Speed Two train, that was very similar to one, that I already had in service. Provided, of course it did what it promised in the specification.

In Wikipedia, the car lengths for Class 800, Class 801, Class 802, Class 805 and Class 810 trains are all given and have been reported in the media.

But the car lengths of the Class 803 and Class 807 trains are not given. Is it just an omission or is it deliberate?

Both these trains are designed for demanding routes.

  • The Class 803 trains are designed for London and Edinburgh in four hours.
  • I believe that the Class 807 trains are designed for London and Liverpool in two hours.

To get these demanding times, have Hitachi changed the car lengths?

  • Trains with shorter cars might accelerate better.
  • A redesigned interior might get more passengers in the shorter length.

I shall await the launch of both these lightweight speedsters with interest!


I wouldn’t be surprised that Hitachi’s offering for more trains on the West Coast Main Line and the Classic-Compatible trains for High Speed Two are very similar to the Class 807 trains.

  • The classic-compatible trains for High Speed Two could be eight-car trains with twenty-five metre cars.
  • The replacements for the eleven-car Class 390 trains could be nine-car trains with twenty-six metre cars.

Both would be based on the Class 807 train.







July 15, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 6 Comments

Beeching Reversal – Stockport And Ashton Line

This is one of the Beeching Reversal projects that the Government and Network Rail are proposing to reverse some of the Beeching cuts.

I came across this railway, when I was writing Macclesfield Station And High Speed Two, as I felt the Stockport and Stalybridge Line could be a useful connection to the proposed High Speed Two terminus at Macclesfield station.

This article on the Quest Media Network is entitled Proposals For New Rail Link Between Ashton And Stockport.

This paragraph described the political backing.

The Labour politicians are backing a bid to the ‘Restoring Your Railway Fund’, which will distribute £500 million of funds to reinstate axed local services and restore stations. 

The bid was put forward by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and Stockport Council, but also has the backing of Tameside Council.

Not fans of Boris, I would presume!

These paragraphs describe the proposals

It proposes two options – a heavy rail service between Stockport and Manchester Victoria via Denton and Reddish South, and a light rail service connecting with the existing Manchester-Ashton Metrolink line at Ashton Moss in the north, and with the proposed Stockport-East Didsbury line in the south.

The proposals also open possibilities of new stations along the line at Audenshaw, Thornley Lane and Heaton Norris.

These are my thoughts.

Macclesfield As A Terminal

As I said in conjunction with High Speed Two, I believe that Macclesfield station would make a good terminal, where a Stockport-facing platform could be built, which would give step-free access to the hourly High Speed Two train to Stoke, Stafford and London.

Manchester Victoria And Stockport

This route map, which has been clipped from Wikipedia, shows the route between Manchester Victoria and Stockport stations.


  1. The connection to Manchester Victoria station joins at Denton Junction.
  2. There are possible stations at Denton, Reddish South and Heaton Norris.
  3. Trains to Macclesfield station take the West Coast Main Line from Stockport station.
  4. At Stalybridge there is a connection to the Huddersfield Line for Huddersfield and Leeds.

Realtimetrains devolves this extra information.

  • Manchester Victoria and Stockport are twelve miles apart via Denton.
  • It is a busy freight route with upwards of a couple of trains per hour (tph)
  • There used to be a station at Miles Platting.

It is a comprehensive route and deserves a lot more than a simple hourly service to Manchester Victoria station.

Battery Electric Trains


  • Macclesfield, Manchester Victoria and Stockport stations are all fully electrified.
  • About twelve miles of track are not electrified.
  • Manchester Victoria and Macclesfield stations are twenty-four miles apart.
  • I estimate a four-car 100 mph battery electric train like a Class 350 train would do the trip in close to 25 minutes.

It looks like an ideal route for a battery electric train to me.

Two trains would be needed to run a two tph service, with no extra infrastructure.


Develop a service between Manchester Victoria and Macclesfield stations using battery electric trains, with at least a frequency of two tph.


July 15, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Waves Are Surging To The Forefront Of Sustainable Energy

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Benzinga.

It’s an interesting article, if you can sort it out from all the advertising.

Some of my Scottish friends, feel this could be the way to go!

July 15, 2020 Posted by | Energy | | Leave a comment