The Anonymous Widower

Liverpool’s Forgotten Tunnel

The Wapping Tunnel in Liverpool was designed by George Stephenson and was the first tunnel in the world to be bored under a city.

It used to take goods trains between Liverpool Docks and the Liverpool and Manchester Line.

During the 1970s preparations were made to connect the Wapping Tunnel to Merseyrail’s Northern Line, so that trains could run between the Northern Line and the City Line, which would have connected the North and East of the City.

But the project was never completed.

It now appears, the project is on the agenda again.

This article on TransportExtra is entitled Liverpool CR Develops Plan To Boost City Centre Rail Capacity.

The plan outlined is as follows.

  • At present, as many as two thirds of trains on the Northern Line turn back as Liverpool Central station.
  • Between four and eight trains per hour (tph) could be diverted into the Wapping Tunnel to serve places like St. Helens, Warrington Central and Wigan.
  • This would free up platforms in Liverpool Lime Street station for Inter-City and Inter-Regional services.

It is also pointed out, that a 2016 study, didn’t find any serious technical problems with the project.

I do have my thoughts on this project.

Services That Could Be Connected

Local services running from Liverpool Lime Street station include.

Manchester Oxford Road Via Warrington Central

This service is run by Northern.

  • It has a frequency of two tph.
  • One service calls at Edge Hill, Mossley Hill, West Allerton, Liverpool South Parkway, Hunts Cross, Halewood, Hough Green, Widnes, Sankey For Penketh, Warrington West, Warrington Central, Birchwood, Irlam, Urmston and Deansgate.
  • The other service calls at Mossley Hill, West Allerton, Liverpool South Parkway, Hough Green, Widnes, Warrington Central, Padgate, Birchwood, Glazebrook, Irlam, Flixton, Chassen Road (1tp2h), Urmston, Humphrey Park, Trafford Park and Deansgate
  • Both trains appear to take the same route.
  • Some stations like Liverpool South Parkway, Warrington West and Deansgate have lifts, but disabled access is patchy.
  • The service has a dedicated terminal at Manchester Oxford Road, which is without doubt Manchester’s worst central station for location, access to the Metrolink, onward travel and step-free access.
  • It takes seventy-two minutes. which is an inconvenient time for train operators.
  • The route is electrified with 25 KVAC overhead electrification at both ends.

I’ve used this route several times and usually pick it up from Deansgate, as it has a convenient interchange to the Metrolink.

I am fairly certain that Merseyrail’s new Class 777 trains running on battery power in the middle could handle this route.

  • They would charge the batteries at the electrified ends of the route.
  • They would join the route at Edge Hill station.
  • They would offer step-free access between train and platform.
  • These trains are built for fast stops, so could all services call at all stations?
  • On Merseyrail’s principles, the service would probably be at least two tph, if not four tph.

I estimate that these trains are fast enough to do the return trip between the Wapping Tunnel portal at Edge Hill and Manchester Oxford Road in under two hours.

  • A two-four tph stopping service between Liverpool and Manchester City Centres, that took less than an hour, would be very convenient for passengers.
  • The service would be well-connected to local tram, train and bus services in both City Centres.
  • The service would also very easy for train schedulers to integrate with other services.

Liverpool and Manchester would have the world’s first battery-powered inter-city railway.

Other than the connection of the Wapping Tunnel no extra infrastructure works would be needed.

Wigan North Western Via St. Helens Central

This service is run by Northern.

  • It has a frequency of two tph.
  • The service calls at Edge Hill, Wavertree Technology Park, Broad Green, Roby, Huyton, Prescot, Eccleston Park, Thatto Heath, St Helens Central, Garswood and Bryn
  • The route is fully-electrified with 25 KVAC overhead.
  • It takes fifty-one minutes. which is a very convenient time for train operators.

Merseyrail’s new Class 777 trains could handle this route, if fitted with pantographs for 25 KVAC overhead electrification.

  • They would join the route at Edge Hill station.
  • They would offer step-free access between train and platform.
  • On Merseyrail’s principles, the service would probably be at least two tph, if not four tph.

I estimate that these trains are fast enough to do the return trip between the Wapping Tunnel portal at Edge Hill and Wigan North Western in under two hours.

  • A two-four tph stopping service between Liverpool and Wigan, that took less than an hour, would be very convenient for passengers.
  • Wigan North Western has good connections using the West Coast Main Line.
  • The service would also very easy for train schedulers to integrate with other services.

Other than the connection of the Wapping Tunnel no extra infrastructure works would be needed.

Blackpool North

This service is run by Northern.

  • It has an hourly frequency.
  • The service calls at Huyton, St Helens Central, Wigan North Western, Euxton Balshaw Lane, Leyland, Preston, Kirkham & Wesham and Poulton-le-Fylde
  • The route is fully-electrified with 25 KVAC overhead.
  • It takes seventy-seven minutes. which is a reasonable time for train operators.

This is a service that could continue as now, but would probably be timed to fit well with four Merseyrail trains between the Wapping Tunnel and Wigan North Western.

Manchester Airport Via Warrington Central And Manchester Piccadilly

This service is run by Northern.

  • It has an hourly frequency.
  • The service calls at Liverpool South Parkway, Warrington West, Warrington Central, Birchwood, Manchester Oxford Road, Manchester Piccadilly and Mauldeth Road
  • The route is partially-electrified with 25 KVAC overhead.
  • The service is operated by diesel trains.
  • The service uses the overcrowded Castlefield Corridor.
  • It takes sixty-nine minutes, which is an inconvenient time for train operators.

This is one of those services, which I think will eventually be partially replaced by other much better services.

  • Northern Powerhouse Rail is planning six tph between Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Piccadilly via Warrington South Parkway and Manchester Airport, which will take just twenty-six minutes.
  • Two-four tph on the route between Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Oxford Road via Warrington Central would be a better service for the smaller stations. Passengers going to and from Manchester Airport would change at Liverpool Lime Street, Deansgate or Manchester Oxford Road.

Continuing as now, would definitely be possible.

Crewe And Manchester Airport Via Newton-le-Willows And Manchester Piccadilly

This service is run by Northern.

  • It has an hourly frequency.
  • The service calls at Edge Hill, Wavertree Technology Park, Broad Green, Roby, Huyton, Whiston, Rainhill, Lea Green, St Helens Junction, Earlestown, Newton-le-Willows, Patricroft, Eccles, Deansgate, Manchester Oxford Road, Manchester Piccadilly, Mauldeth Road, Burnage, East Didsbury, Gatley and Heald Green.
  • The route is fully-electrified with 25 KVAC overhead.
  • The service uses the overcrowded Castlefield Corridor
  • It takes eighty-five minutes, which is an inconvenient time for train operators.

This is one of those services, which I think will eventually be partially replaced by other much better services.

  • Northern Powerhouse Rail is planning six tph between Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Piccadilly via Warrington South Parkway and Manchester Airport, which will take just twenty-six minutes.
  • Two-four tph on the route between Liverpool Lime Street and Wigan North Western would be a better service for the smaller stations. Passengers going to and from Manchester Airport and Crewe would change at Liverpool Lime Street or Wigan North Western.

Continuing as now, would definitely be possible.

Warrington Bank Quay Via Earlstown

This service is run by Northern.

  • It has an hourly frequency.
  • The service calls at Edge Hill, Wavertree Technology Park, Broad Green, Roby, Huyton, Whiston, Rainhill, Lea Green, St Helens Junction and Earlestown.
  • The route is fully-electrified with 25 KVAC overhead.
  • The service takes forty-three minute, which is a convenient time for train operators.

Merseyrail’s new Class 777 trains could handle this route, if fitted with pantographs for 25 KVAC overhead electrification.

  • They would join the route at Edge Hill station.
  • They would offer step-free access between train and platform.
  • On Merseyrail’s principles, the service would probably be at least two tph, if not four tph.

Other than the connection of the Wapping Tunnel no extra infrastructure works would be needed.

Three Possible Routes Through Wapping

Summing up this section, these are possible routes that could be replaced by services through the Wapping Tunnel.

  • Two tph – Manchester Oxford Road
  • Two tph – Warrington Bank Quay
  • One tph – Wigan North Western

Increasing the Wigan North Western service to two tph, would increase the frequency between Edge Hill and Huyton to a very passenger-friendly four tph.

If eight tph could be accommodated in the Wapping Tunnel, the frequency could also be doubled to Manchester Oxford Road.

This would give the following services through the Wapping Tunnel.

  • Four tph – Manchester Oxford Road
  • Two tph – Warrington Bank Quay
  • Two tph – Wigan North Western

The only local services that would need to run into Liverpool Lime Street would be.

  • One tph – Northern – Blackpool North via Wigan North Western.
  • One tph – Northern – Manchester Airport and Crewe via St. Helens and Newton-le-Willows.
  • One tph – Northern – Manchester Airport via Warrington Central.
  • One tph – Trains for Wales – Chester via Runcorn

I can understand, why so many seem to be enthusiastic about using the Wapping Tunnel to connect the Northern and City Lines.

Echoes Of The Brunels’ Thames Tunnel

George Stephenson’s Wapping Tunnel may be the first tunnel under a city, but the Brunels’ Thames Tunnel was the first under a navigable river.

The Brunels’ tunnel was built for horses and carts, but today it is an important rail artery of the London Overground, handling sixteen tph between Wapping and Rotherhithe.

I would expect that the Wapping Tunnel could do for Liverpool, what the Thames Tunnel has done for East London.

Modern signalling techniques probably mean that the theoretical capacity of the Wapping Tunnel is way in excess of the planned maximum frequency of eight tph.

High Speed Two Between Liverpool And London

The latest High Speed Two plans as laid out in the June 2020 Edition of Modern Railways, say that there will be two tph between Liverpool Lime Street and London Euston.

  • Both trains will call at Old Oak Common, Crewe and Runcorn.
  • Both trains will be 200 metres long classic-compatible High Speed Two trains.
  • One train will split and join with a similar service between London Euston and Lancaster.

Will these High Speed Two services replace the current Avanti West Coast services?

Northern Powerhouse Rail Between Liverpool And Manchester

In Changes Signalled For HS2 Route In North, I looked at Transport for the North’s  report, which is entitled At A Glance – Northern Powerhouse Rail.

This report says that Northern Powerhouse Rail between Liverpool and Manchester Piccadilly will be as follows.

  • Services will go via Manchester Airport.
  • There could be a new Warrington South Parkway station.
  • Six tph between Liverpool and Manchester via Manchester Airport and Warrington are planned.
  • Journey times will be 26 minutes.

I would assume that several of the six tph will continue across the Pennines to Huddersfield, Bradford, Leeds, York and Hull.

Will these Northern Powerhouse Rail services replace the current TransPennine and some of the Northern services?

Northern Powerhouse Rail Trains

Nothing has been said about the trains for Northern Powerhouse Rail.

I suspect they will be versions of the 200 metre long classic-compatible High Speed Two trains.

I do wonder, if Avanti West Coast have already ordered a prototype fleet of these trains,

Look at the specification of the Class 807 trains, they have ordered to boost services on the West Coast Main Line.

  • 7 x 26 metre cars.
  • 182 metres long. Shorter than an eleven-car Class 390 train.
  • All-electric, with no diesel engines or traction batteries. Are they lightweight trains with sparkling acceleration?
  • 125 mph operating speed. All Class 80x trains can do this.
  • 140 mph operating speed with ERTMS digital signalling. All Class 80x trains can do this.
  • Ability to work in pairs. All Class 80x trains can do this, up to a maximum length of twelve cars in normal mode and twenty-four cars in emergency mode. I doubt fourteen cars would be a problem!

To be classic-compatible High Speed Two trains, they would need to be able to cruise at 205 mph, whilst working on High Speed Two. I suspect that Hitachi have got some higher-capacity electrical gear and traction motors with lots more grunt in their extensive parts bin!

If these are a prototype fleet of classic-compatible High Speed Two trains, they will certainly get a lot of in-service testing even before the order is placed for the trains for High Speed Two.

Northern Powerhouse Rail will need trains with a slightly different specification.

  • As they won’t generally work on high speed lines, for most trains an operating speed of 140 mph will be sufficient.
  • For serving some destinations like Cleethorpes, Harrogate, Hull, Middlesbrough and Redcar an independently-powered capability would be desirable. Sixty miles on batteries would probably be sufficient!

Nothing would appear to be out of Hitachi’s current capabilities.

Liverpool Lime Street Station After Remodelling

Liverpool Lime Street station has two groups of platforms.

  • Platforms 1-5 on the Western side
  • Platforms 6-10 on the Eastern side.

These pictures show some views of the platforms at Liverpool Lime Street station after the remodelling of 2017-2019.

Note,

  1. The platforms are not narrow!
  2. It appears that the five platforms in the Eastern group are all long enough to take an eleven-car Class 390 train, which is 265.3 metres long.
  3. TransPennine Express trains can use the Western group.

I have looked at a whole day’s traffic on Real Time Trains and it appears that the new track layout allows almost all services to use any available platform.

This flexibility must make operation of the station much easily than it was!

Liverpool Lime Street Station As A High Speed Station

It would appear that the Eastern Group of Platforms 6-10 will all be capable of the following.

  • Handling a 182 metre long Avanti West Coast Class 807 train.
  • Handling a 200 metres long classic-compatible High Speed Two train.
  • Handling a 130 metre long TransPennine Express Class 802 train.
  • In the future, handling a Northern Powerhouse Rail train, which will probably be less than 200 metres long.

But they won’t be able to handle High Speed Two’s full-size trains.

Currently, these services capable of over 125 mph are running or are planned from Liverpool Lime Street station.

  • 2 tph – Avanti West Coast – Liverpool Lime Street and London Euston
  • 1 tph – TransPennine Express – Liverpool Lime Street and Newcastle
  • 1 tph – TransPennine Express – Liverpool Lime Street and Scarborough
  • 3 trains per day(tpd) – TransPennine Express – Liverpool Lime Street and Glasgow

This totals to four tph.

High Speed Two will add two classic-compatible High Speed Two trains.

Will these replace the two Avanti West Coast services?

  • They will be run by the same company.
  • They will take different routes.
  • The current service takes 134 minutes.
  • The High Speed Two train will take 94 minutes.

I can see Avanti West Coast running a  one tph slower train via stations with difficult connections to Liverpool Lime Street. Think Watford Junction, Milton Keynes, Rugby, Stafford and Stoke-on-Trent.

This would bring the total to five tph.

Northern Powerhouse Rail will run six high speed trains to Manchester and beyond.

If they replaced the two TransPennine Express services, that would bring the maximum number of 200 metre long high speed trains to nine tph.

Could Liverpool Lime Street station handle nine high-speed tph?

Comparison With Birmingham Curzon Street Station

Birmingham Curzon Street station on High Speed Two will handle high speed trains from three directions, as will Liverpool Lime Street station.

The Birmingham station will handle nine tph on seven platforms.

As Liverpool Lime Street station will have ten platforms and also need to handle nine tph, I think it will be able to handle the trains.

Will There Be A Station In The Wapping Tunnel?

Just as London has its clay, which makes excavating for the Underground easy, the Centre of Liverpool has its sandstone, which has been honeycombed with tunnels. In addition to the Wapping Tunnel, there are two other tunnels from Edge Hill station to the Docks; the Waterloo Tunnel and the Victoria Tunnel.

Liverpool has plans for a Knowledge Quarter based on the Universities on Brownlow Hill.

As part of the development, it is intended to develop an area called Paddington Village.

Wikipedia says this about the village.

Paddington Village is a site at the eastern gateway to the city centre and has been earmarked as 1.8m sq ft of science, technology, education and health space.

This is also another paragraph.

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson announced that the council were looking into a new Merseyrail station to serve the site. A mention of a station is made in the October 2017 Liverpool City Region Combined Authority update to the Long Term Rail Strategy. Merseytravel commissioned a feasibility report into re-opening the Wapping Tunnel in May 2016 which found that it was a valid proposal which would allow for a new station to be built that could serve the Knowledge Quarter.

Someone has thought up a proposal for a Lime Line, which would be a tram or bus system, linking the Knowledge Quarter and the City Centre.

This map shows how their proposal fits in with all the other rail systems in Liverpool City.

Note the Wapping Tunnel is shown on the map, as a dotted blue line.

  • It connects to the Northern Line to the South of Liverpool Central station.
  • It connects to the City Line to the West of Edge Hill station.
  • A station named University/KQ is shown.

A new St. James station is also shown

Conclusion

Using the Wapping Tunnel to increase capacity in Liverpool City Centre could be used if required to improve capacity for the high speed network in the city, by removing local trains from Liverpool Lime Street station.

August 8, 2020 - Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , ,

22 Comments »

  1. South of underground Liverpool a burrowing junction and header tunnels, ready to branch into the Wapping tunnel, were built and left when men were ordered off site in 1979, as Thatcher came to power.

    The Wapping tunnel was connected to the eastern part of the City Region (Wigan, St.Helens, Huyton) with Central station, the north of the city and even to the Wirral – creating an east-west crossrail. The Northern Line is already a north-south Crossrail. It was also to be a part of the Outer Loop, a circle of the city broken into two loops. The eastern parts of the loop would split into two sub-loops using the Wigan/St.Helens line from Broad Green to Central. A 6-platform underground station at Broad Green, named Rocket, was to be built. This was also shelved. The Outer Loop is shown here:
    https://localwiki.org/liverpool/Extending_Rapid_Transit_Merseyrail

    The line from Liverpool to Warrington (the southern Liverpool-Manchester line) was to be electrified with 3rd rail by 1991 and on Merseyrail running into Central or Moorfields, or even Southport or the Wirral, via the Northern Line tunnel to the south, not the Wapping Tunnel. This can still easily happen very soon using battery-electric Class 777 trains, or by installing wires using 3rd rail/wires bi-mode trains. A Liverpool-Manchester service can use this route, as one once did.

    The 1930 Liverpool-Manchester line via Chat Moss was supposed to still enter Lime St, but using the Wapping Tunnel, it can enter Central and again enter the north end of the city or the Wirral.

    Central is seriously overcrowded needing expansion in platforms and concourse. At least one platform can be easily built as the station is located in the basement of the old high level station. It needs another two platforms.

    James St station near the waterfront needs another two escalators as people are lining up on the pavement and spilling o to the road. These can be at the far end of the platform surfacing at the Waterfront/Albert Dock. There is a disused platform at James St that can be used for cruise liner passengers on trains from Manchester, Leeds, etc, coming in via the Wapping Tunnel.

    Opening the Wapping Tunnel and expanding Central is essential creating great scope and an east-west crossrail.

    The city has waited over 40 years for this to happen, it has suffered ever since. About a third of the metro was shelved with tunnels and trackbed still awaiting trains.

    Comment by John | August 9, 2020 | Reply

  2. A great thing about reusing the Wapping Tunnel is that all local and some regional trains can be diverted from Lime St leaving the station only for NPR, HS2 and other long haul services.

    A 400 metre long train can be accommodated at Lime St by splitting the train before Lime Street with the two 200 metre sections moving onto two adjacent platforms. A smaller motor in one of the cars can be used to shunt the rear part of the train onto the platform.

    Comment by John | August 9, 2020 | Reply

  3. If the Wapping tunnel is reused it will be the oldest part of any urban metro rail network in the world.

    Liverpool’s mayor, not the metro mayor, was proposing a plan to build a station in the disused Victoria Tunnel at the Knowledge Quarter, with no tracks. This was to embarrass DfT/HMG into finishing off the metro after 40 years. In the meantime London has had built:

    – Crossrail;
    – DLR metro;
    – Overground metro;
    – Jubilee Line extension to Underground;
    – Northern Line extension under to Underground (under construction);
    – Heathrow Express;
    – Gatwick Express;
    – Thameslink;

    Whatever it cost to finish off the Wapping Tunnel, expend Central, built the Outer Loop, build Rocket station, open a few other stations, will be buttons to all that.

    Comment by John | August 9, 2020 | Reply

    • As I said in an earlier reply, the connection through the Wapping Tunnel is sensible because it saves money and time and causes less disruption, than the alternative of building a new station.

      It’s also a simple solution to the Northern Line capacity problem.

      I would also build St. James station first!

      That would make it easier to connect the Wapping Tunnel to the Northern Line.

      During the construction, the following would be done.

      1. Northern Line trains from the North would reverse at Central.
      2. Northern Line Trains from the South would reverse at St. James.
      3. Buses could run between St. James and the City Centre.
      4. Extra trains could run between Lime Street and South Parkway.

      I suspect that the closure wouldn’t be that long.

      They would also dig a deep shaft at University station early to do most of the construction in the Wapping Tunnel.

      Comment by AnonW | August 9, 2020 | Reply

      • There were a few proposals for the University station. One was tunnels from the Wapping tunnel i to the Victoria tunnel. This precludes building a flyover at Edge Hill. There was a flyover at Edge Hill but it was demolished. It is partially there.

        It was was possible at one time at Edge Hill to take track from the Bootle Branch to the WCML spur out to Sth Parkway. A building was built in the way after selling off railway land. It was obvious madness to do this. Probably a way to clip the city’s growth, as was a large concrete support for a building above in the James St to Central tunnel, making it now single track. Again madness to do such a thing, defying common sense. A fully functioning east-west crossrail is now all but precluded, unless an expensive burrowing junction is built from the north into Central.

        Comment by John | August 10, 2020

  4. I remember Liverpool well from between 1965 and 1970, as I was at University there and then working at ICI in Runcorn.

    I have driven through the original Mersey Tunnel many times, but strangely, I’ve never driven through the new Queensway Tunnel.

    One of the guys I worked with at Runcorn was an expert of Liverpool’s railways and I remember him saying that the worst problem was the approach to Lime Street, which limited the number of trains the station could handle.

    That was finally fixed in 2018 and Lime Street is now the superb station we see today, that is ready for High Speed Two.

    After writing this post, I now believe that Lime Street station can now handle the two tph for High Speed Two and the six tph for Northern Powerhouse Rail and possibly another two tph. Perhaps one tph to Scotland and another to Birmingham?

    There has been talk of building a new high speed station next to Lime Street, but that would be very expensive and disruptive.

    I just wonder, that if High Speed Two built the Central and Edge Hill link via the Wapping Tunnel would save money and time and be less disruptive. Lime Street would only have to handle perhaps four or five local tph and they’d have eight platforms for 200 metre long high speed trains.

    Lime Street would have more capacity for high speed trains, than Birmingham Curzon Street or the Eurostar platforms at St. Pancras.

    I

    Comment by AnonW | August 9, 2020 | Reply

    • Lime St now had 10 straight platforms. That can easily handle HS2 trains coming on NPR lines and NPR trains, Scots trains, Birmingham, Sth Wales, etc.

      However, expanding Central to 4 or 5 platforms mean NPR trains can enter Central via the Wapping tunnel, the turn back at Kirkdale. This means Morefields (business quarter) and Central (shopping & tourist quarter) are all serviced. Then many in Leeds, Manchester, etc, can get to right to where they are going (as would people from MK if the WCML runs into Crossrail in getting right into The City). Central’s platforms can take six car commuter trains, new platforms could be longer. Then less NPR trains will need to use Lime St.

      Battery-electric trains can give a Southport-Liverpool express (for HS2) into Lime St, or Central, using the Bootle Branch Line to Edge Hill then to either station. A similar service is now operational from Chester to Lime St via Runcorn.

      The secret is expanding Central to a ‘large’ station, which is no big thing. But it adds so much value and flexibility.

      Comment by John | August 9, 2020 | Reply

    • Do not be taken in by HS2 hype (lies). Manchester is getting three 1,000 passenger trains per hr (400 m long). That is 6,000 people per hour, every hour pouring into Manchester, which is over 10 hours 60,000 people. Sure, yes! Pull the other one. Manchester is not a Barcelona, Munich, Chicago or Milan. Gtr Manchester is about the same size of Liverpool’s City Region, with economy not doing as well as Liverpool’s taking into account a similar surrounding footprint.

      Central Liverpool attracts more daily rail commuters/visitors than central Manchester. Manchester’s seats to London were about 8,500 with 5,000 taken up. Seats available increased to over 20,000. Yet Manchester still only uses 5,000 of them. The only train that was and I ‘believe’ still has more passengers than seats is the 7 a.m. London to Manchester service. All the rest of the trains have well more seats than passengers. Most trains to Manchester carry mainly air-conned air.

      Unless Manchester’s population expands by 4 times between now and the opening of phase 2b, this HS2 spin they are throwing is complete nonsense.

      There is no way the city needs 400 m trains.

      Comment by John | August 9, 2020 | Reply

  5. According to the June 2020 Edition of Modern Railways, one Liverpool service will be a 200 metre classic compatible and the other will be half of a pair of 200 metre classic compatibles, with the other half going to Lancaster.

    As I said in the post, I think Liverpool will get one or maybe two services run by Class 807 trains after High Speed Two opens to connect places like Milton Keynes and Stafford to Liverpool.

    If Liverpool can get rid of the local trains, they could probably have up to eight 200 metre long platforms. As Birmingham Curzon Street is planned to handle nine tph with seven platforms, I suspect Lime Street station could handle ten tph with eight platforms.

    And most of the work in the station has been completed.

    There are also other platforms that could handle Northern Powerhouse Rail trains, even if they are 200 metres long. The six platforms at Blackpool North station.

    Suppose Blackpool North and Manchester and Blackpool North and Liverpool Lime Street were run by Class 807 or classic-compatible High Speed Two trains, this would allow them to do 140 mph on the West Coast Main Line and mix it with High Speed Two’s and Avanti West Coast’s expresses, with all trains running under ERTMS. The Bkackpool North and Manchester route, would use High Speed Two infrastructure to call at Warrington South Parkway and Manchester Airport.

    Comment by AnonW | August 9, 2020 | Reply

  6. For some time, I have been of the opinion that High Speed Two [;ans for Manchester will go through a big transition.

    I feel that the architects Weston Williamson have got it right.

    https://anonw.com/2020/06/30/the-rival-plans-for-piccadilly-station-that-architects-say-will-save-millions/

    Manchester could get four tph from London, that would all be 400 metre trains; either full size or classic compatible.

    But they would call at Manchester Airport, Manchester, Leeds and terminate at Hull, Newcastle or Edinburgh.

    So High Speed Two and Northern Powerhouse Rail would share infrastructure between Manchester Airport and East of Leeds.

    This is why rumours of the Eastern leg of High Speed Two being abandoned started. The Anti-High Speed Two brigade are adding two and two and getting minus four.

    The Eastern leg is needed to take pressure off the MML and the ECML for a start. It can also create a fast service between Liverpool and Sheffield via Birmingham Curzon Street.

    Sheffield is a very forgotten city and the most difficult for Northern Powerhouse Rail.

    Comment by AnonW | August 9, 2020 | Reply

    • Four trains per hour into Manchester at 400 m = 4,400 people entering Manchester from London in one hour, every hour. Apart from the odd football game, this is just crazy for such a small city. The trains will be carrying fresh air. This will not happen as the demand is just not there and never will be.

      Greengauge 21, HS2 consultants realises, after 14 years, that the UIC GC structure gauge chosen for HS2 ‘merely increases capital costs’, and results in disconnected dead-end stations.

      Here is why the eastern leg is not needed:

      Greengauge21 consultants, Beyond HS2:
      “Upgrading the East Coast Main Line to 140 mph operation as a high priority alongside HS2 and to be delivered without delay. Newcastle London timings across a shorter route could closely match those achievable by HS2.”

      Click to access Beyond_HS2WEB.pdf

      Also the centres of Derby and Nottingham are reached quicker going via the MML than via a HS2 station between, needing a change.

      From London to Birmingham will take 52 minutes. The 100 miles between is covered doing 116mph on a 250 mph railway. HS2 is SLOW. The WCML with bottlenecks removed, dedicated fast tracks, using faster trains will do it in about the same time.

      HS2 is an appallingly designed railway.

      Comment by John | August 10, 2020 | Reply

    • The ECML takes half the traffic as the WCML. There is no capacity problem. Get rid of bottlenecks then even less so.

      Many predict that Covid-19 will reduce rail need as many have found ways of working from home and using Zoom, etc, with reduced travel.

      HS2 needs to be halted until it is clear after Covid-19 it is actually needed.

      Comment by John | August 10, 2020 | Reply

  7. I have noticed that a new phenomenon is creeping into train timetables. And that is the double terminal.

    Think Liverpool and Runcorn and Manchester Piccadilly and Stockport. If you look at East Coast Trains they are planning to have stops at Stevenage and Morpeth.

    Some companies are using the double terminal to speed up the turnround, by having the cleaning team get on at the last stop.

    It also means that passengers can use the station that is most convenient.

    As modern trains can stop and move away quickly, it also doesn’t impose a large time penalty.

    So will we see all trains stop at Edge Hill with cross-platform interchange with the eight tph going through the Wapping Tunnel?

    Say you wanted to go between Sandhills or Kirkdale and Manchester Airport, you’d get the fist train to Edge Hill and then wait no more than ten minutes for a Northern Powerhouse Rail train to Manchester Airport.

    Comment by AnonW | August 10, 2020 | Reply

    • There could be a service from Sandhills, Moorfields or Central to Manchester airport directly at the end of the year, using the existing CLC tunnel from the south that runs into Central, using battery-electric 777s. This line is full of stoppers, so when the Wapping Tunnel is operational they can run to Edge Hill using any of the two lines to Manchester. So, it can be done pretty well immediately with civil works, or a choice when there is civil works.

      The Warrington to Altricham line needs reusing to easily get to Manchester airport from the west. Some new track will needed from Altricham to the airport. This will reduce any congestion in Manchester’s centre. Then Liverpool City Region and Warrington have fast direct access. NPR has no need to run through Manchester Airport. This needs to be fast centre to centre no running south in Cheshire and around needless, slow, S bends. The Ship Canal can be used by filling it in to canal boat widths using the new land for tracks. This white elephant is redundant, however the transport artery can still be used using a different mode.

      Comment by John | August 10, 2020 | Reply

    • As for Old Oak Common, as for Edge Hill? There are calls to terminate HS2 at Old Oak Common not Euston as it is well connected by urban rail and better for car access, also preventing cars from entering central London. Most who terminate at Euston use other transport for their final destination. Makes sense.

      400m trains can terminate at Edge Hill not Lime St. 200m can terminate at Lime St. The Liverpool City Region has four major sports that attract many thousands from outside the city. The two large football clubs, the Aintree race week (Grand National) and golf with Birkdale and Hoylake. 1,100 passenger trains could terminate at Edge Hill. Or even go directly to Liverpool FC (Bootle Branch if wired) and Aintree (probably better from the north if wired), with extended platforms.

      Comment by John | August 10, 2020 | Reply

    • The 1970s Merseyrail design was to give easy access to all to the one remaining mainline station, Lime St. The design favoured the Wirral who had direct access to Lime St. Liverpool’s access is poor needing a change for most, unless you can enter Lime St mainline from the east. A poor design. Although an underground travellator tunnel can be built from Central to Lime St, which should be done. If NPR and HS2 get to Lime St, connections are greatly expanded.

      To ease Lime St, two parkway stations were planned on the Outer Loop line:

      1) Rocket. A six platform underground station where two loops (one nth, one sth) and the Manchester/Wigan/St.Helens lines met. Rocket station had many functions, however one was to serve passengers on long haul trains who live in the east of the city, parts of the north and parts of the south of the city.

      2) South Parkway. This served, mainly the south of the city with London trains, etc, stopping.

      Only Sth Parkway was built – 30 years late.

      Comment by John | August 10, 2020 | Reply

  8. […] Wapping Tunnel connected services to and from the East to the Northern Line, as I wrote about in Liverpool’s Forgotten Tunnel, as this would remove a lot of local trains from the […]

    Pingback by Possibly One Of The Best Underground Railways In A Smaller City In The World! « The Anonymous Widower | August 20, 2020 | Reply

  9. […] Liverpool’s Forgotten Tunnel, I showed this map, which shows a proposed reopening of the Wapping Tunnel as a passenger route […]

    Pingback by A Railway Station At Liverpool University « The Anonymous Widower | August 21, 2020 | Reply

  10. […] is a proposal, that I wrote about in Liverpool’s Forgotten Tunnel for the trains terminating at Liverpool Central station to use the Wapping Tunnel to connect to […]

    Pingback by New MerseyRail ‘Connected’ Trains « The Anonymous Widower | August 23, 2020 | Reply

  11. Not directly related to the Wapping Tunnel, but the Combined Authority has just announced funding for reopening St James station https://www.liverpoolcityregion-ca.gov.uk/boost-for-liverpools-baltic-triangle-area-as-a-further-1-5m-invested-by-combined-authority-in-new-train-station-scheme/

    Comment by Peter Robins | October 30, 2020 | Reply


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