The Anonymous Widower

Beeching Reversal – Reopen Midge Hall Station

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

Midge Hall station is a closed station on the Ormskirk Branch Line.

This Google Map shows what’s left of Midge Hall station.

Note.

  1. The single-track Ormskirk Branch Line running SW-NE across the map.
  2. Midge Hall Lane crossing it at right-angles in the South-West corner of the map, where a level crossing can be seen.
  3. The original station had two platforms, of which the remains can be seen.

There certainly seems plenty of space to rebuild the station.

The Ormskirk Branch Line

The Ormskirk Branch Line runs between Ormskirk and Preston stations.

  • It is single-track most of the way.
  • It is about 15.5 miles long.
  • The current trains take just over half-an-hour.
  • There are four intermediate stations.
  • Most services terminate in a bay platform at Preston station.
  • Ormskirk station is electrified with 750 VDC third-rail electrification.
  • Preston station is electrified with 25 KVAC overhead electrification.

The Future section in the Wikipedia entry says this.

There have been several proposals to extend the Merseyrail electric service to Preston using this line. This would restore the most direct Liverpool – Preston route. The reinstatement of the Burscough Curves has been proposed which would allow services to Southport from Preston and Liverpool via Ormskirk. This could be accompanied by the reopening of Midge Hall station.

The reports usually say, that this would be achieved by fitting batteries to the new Class 777 trains.

Battery Operation Of Merseyrail’s New Class 777 Trains

It would appear that on each round trip between Ormskirk and Preston, the trains will have to run thirty-one miles on batteries.

  • In Batteries On Class 777 Trains, I estimated that, the battery capacity of a Class 777 train was 300 kWh.
  • It also looks like Stadler have designed the Class 777 train, with battery-operation as an integral part of the design.

In an article in the October 2017 Edition of Modern Railways, which is entitled Celling England By The Pound, Ian Walmsley says this in relation to trains running on the Uckfield Branch, which is not very challenging.

A modern EMU needs between 3 and 5 kWh per vehicle mile for this sort of service.

I know both branches reasonably well and the Ormskirk Branch is probably the least challenging.

Consider.

  • The Class 777 train is probably equivalent in length to a three-car train, as the cars are short.
  • The Class 777 train appears to have a sophisticated traction system, that includes regenerative braking to the batteries.

If the Class 777 train can achieve 3 kWh per vehicle mile, it will have a range of 33.3 miles. Reduce it to 2 kWh per vehicle mile and the range would be 50 miles.

I am fairly certain, that Stadler have designed a train, that can achieve a round trip between Ormskirk and Preston, without needing a battery top-up at Preston.

I don’t think, that it will need to use overhead wires either.

So that will save on infrastructure costs!

Charging The Batteries

The batteries would be charged using the existing third-rail electrification between Ormskirk and Hunts Cross stations.

No new infrastructure would be needed.

Future Services Between Liverpool And Preston

Preston and Liverpool already a direct hourly electric service via Huyton, St. Helens and Wigan North Western and until proven otherwise a second hourly service via Ormskirk would probably be a more-than-adequate replacement for the current Ormskirk and Preston service.

This would probably be achieved by one if the four trains per hour (tph) continuing to Preston.

As the current trains take about thirty minutes to run between Ormskirk and Preston, I think this could help devising a passenger-friendly timetable.

Future Services Between Southport And Preston

There is currently no train service between Southport and Preston stations.

But there used to be tracks as this Google Map shows.

Two railway lines run across the map.

The two railway lines cross towards the North-East corner of the map.

Note the two green scars of the disused and overgrown Burscough Curves reaching East from Burscough Bridge station.

  • The Northern curve connects to the Ormskirk Branch Line and used to enable trains to go between Southport and Preston stations.
  • The Southern curve connects to the Ormskirk Branch Line and used to enable trains to go between Southport and Ormskirk stations.

Full or even partial restoration of these curves would improve connections to Southport and Preston.

Extend Some Liverpool and Southport Services To Preston

One possibility would be to extend perhaps one-in-four Liverpool and Southport services to Preston via the following route.

  • Reverse at Southport
  • Via Burscough Bridge station and using the Northern Burscough Curve.

Coupled with a one-in-four extension from Ormskirk station, this would provide the following.

  • A two tph service between Liverpool and Preston
  • A two tph service through Rufford, Croston and Midge Hall stations.

With precise and intelligent timetabling. I suspect that Rufford, Croston and Midge Hall stations could all be single-platform stations.

Extend Some Liverpool and Ormskirk Services To Preston Via Southport

Another possibility would be to extend perhaps one-in-four Liverpool and Ormskirk services to Preston via the following route.

  • Using the Southern Burscough Curve to Southport via Burscough Bridge station.
  • Reverse at Southport
  • Via Burscough Bridge station and using the Northern Burscough Curve.

If the route used the electrified Platform 3 at Southport to reverse, it could top-up the batteries.

The Future Midge Hall Station

The design of the station will depend on the train frequency through the station.

An Hourly Service

Midge Hall station would probably be a single-platform station.

  • There would only need to be a single-track railway, as now!
  • The signalling would be handled by one train working, where only one train at a time would be allowed on the single-track between Ormskirk and Preston stations.
  • Passengers needing to cross the line to get to the platform, would use the level crossing.
  • Trains would arrive at fixed times in each hour.

It would be a very basic, but practical station.

A Two tph Service

Midge Hall station could probably still be a single-platform station.

  • There would only need to be a single-track railway, as now!
  • For a two tph service the signalling would need to be more sophisticated.
  • Passengers needing to cross the line to get to the platform, would still use the level crossing.
  • Trains would arrive at fixed times in each hour.

It would be a basic, but practical station.

A More Frequent Service

Midge Hall station would need to be a two platform station, as the line would need to be double-track.

  • Comprehensive signalling would be needed.
  • There could need to be a footbridge, with full step-free access.

It would be more expensive option.

A Compromise

I suspect in the end, Midge Hall station will be designed as a simple single-platform station, that can be upgraded, as required.

Conclusion

The frequency of the service between Ormskirk and Preston has a big effect on the cost of the work to be done.

But I can certainly envisage a two tph service along this route, if the Burscough Curves are reinstated.

  • One tph via Ormskirk.
  • One tph via Southport.

There would be two tph, through the reinstated Midge Hall station.

 

 

August 7, 2020 - Posted by | Transport | , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. […] of Bolton-Radcliffe / Bolton-Bury Reinstating Beeston Castle and Tarporley Railway Station Reopen Midge Hall Station Re-Doubling Of The Mid Cheshire Line Between Stockport And Altrincham And Associated Station […]

    Pingback by Beeching Reversal: Fifty Disused Rail Lines On Track To Reopen « The Anonymous Widower | August 7, 2020 | Reply

  2. […] Reopen Midge Hall Station, I showed that it was possible to run a two tph service between Liverpool and Preston, with one tph […]

    Pingback by Beeching Reversal – South Fylde Line Passing Loop « The Anonymous Widower | August 30, 2020 | Reply


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