The Anonymous Widower

A Railway Station At Liverpool University

In Liverpool’s Forgotten Tunnel, I showed this map, which shows a proposed reopening of the Wapping Tunnel as a passenger route between Liverpool Central and Edge Hill stations.

Note.

  1. The map shows a station at University
  2. The Wapping Tunnel is shown as a dotted blue line.
  3. Between four and eight trains per hour (tph) would be running through University station.

This Google Map shows the line of the tunnel.

Note.

  1. Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral is in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. Much of area of the map is taken up by buildings of Liverpool University.
  3. Crown Street Park is in the South-East corner of the map and contains one of the ventilating shafts for the tunnel.
  4. Blackburne Place in the South-West corner of the map contains another ventilating shaft.

The location of the shafts, probably means that the tunnel runs vaguely along Myrtle Street.

Not knowing that area of the campus well, it could be where Grove and Myrtle Streets intersect.

This Google Map shows the area.

It should be noted that this area of Liverpool is built on sandstone and tunnelling isn’t the most challenging operation, so it might be possible to create a very passenger-friendly station.

Passenger Services Through The Station

I think that my best estimate of passenger service through the station would be as follows.

Frequency

The frequency would be between four and eight tph. These are quite low frequencies for a modern railway and Merseyrail exceeds this frequency in several places.

Westbound

Currently, trains on the Northern Line branches to Ormskirk and Kirkby appear to turnback at Liverpool Central station. So it would appear, that it would be more likely, that Westbound services at Liverpool University station would terminate at Kirkby or Ormskirk.

Passengers wanting to travel to and from stations on the Wirral Line, would need to change at Liverpool Central station.

Eastbound

Currently, local services out of Liverpool Lime Street, that are run by Northern, are as follows.

  • Half hourly service to Manchester Oxford Road (via Warrington Central, most local stations)
  • Hourly service to Manchester Airport (via Warrington Central and Manchester Piccadilly, limited stop)
  • Hourly service to Blackpool North (limited stop)
  • Half hourly service to Wigan North Western (via St Helens Central, all stations)
  • Hourly service to Crewe (via Newton-le-Willows, Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Airport, all stations)
  • Hourly service to Warrington Bank Quay (via Earlestown, all stations)

Note.

  1. The services actually add up to eight tph.
  2. As Merseyrail’s new Class 777 trains will have a pantograph for 25 KVAC overhead electrification and a battery capability, they could be used on all routes.
  3. But I do think that the trains may not be suitable for all routes because of their 75 mph operating speed.
  4. It might be better to serve Blackpool North station by extending an hourly Ormskirk service to Preston and Blackpool North, with stops at all stations.

So could the services Eastbound from Liverpool University station be as follows.

  • Half hourly service to Manchester Oxford Road (via Warrington Central, most local stations)
  • Half hourly service to Wigan North Western (via St Helens Central, all stations)
  • Hourly service to Warrington Bank Quay (via Earlestown, all stations)

The services add up to five tph and I would expect selective increases would balance the services, so that eight tph ran through Liverpool University and Edge Hill stations.

August 21, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Liverpool’s Forgotten Station

Edge Hill station is Liverpool’s forgotten station.

For instance, it could be the only train station in the UK, with a better than two trains per hour (tph) service in both directions, that doesn’t have any displays telling passengers, when the next train is arriving.

These pictures show the station.

Note.

  1. The station is Grade II* Listed.
  2. It does have a good clock.
  3. There are four platforms on two islands.
  4. The only way to get to Platforms 3 and 4, is by one of the worst subways, I’ve seen in many years.

If ever a station needed a good makeover, it is Edge Hill.

This Google Map shows the station.

Note.

  1. The Northern island platform is 1 & 2. All trains using these platforms seem to use platforms 1 to 5 at Liverpool Lime Street station.
  2. The Southern island platform is 3 & 4. All trains using these platforms seem to use platforms 6 to 10 at Liverpool Lime Street station.
  3. The deep four-track cutting, that leads to Lime Street station can be clearly seen to the West of the station.
  4. The lines to the South of the station, that run to the West, lead to the disused Wapping Tunnel. Surprisingly, the tracks still seem to be in place.
  5. The lines to the North of the station, that run to the West, lead to the disused Victoria Tunnel, that used to take freight to and from Liverpool Docks.

There is certainly a lot of space around the station to put in extra platforms and a flyover or two.

Connecting The Wapping Tunnel To The Lines Going To The East

In Liverpool’s Forgotten Tunnel, I talked about a resurrected plan to use the Wapping Tunnel for passenger trains.

This was my opening sentences of the post.

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.

I also included this recent map of the scheme.

The proposed line through the Wapping Tunnel, is shown as a dotted blue line.

Components of the scheme include.

  • Four to eight tph instead of turning back at Liverpool Central station would use the Wapping Tunnel to access Edge Hill and then continue to Liverpool South Parkway, Manchester Airport, Manchester Oxford Road, St. Helens, Warrington and Wigan.
  • A new station will be built at Liverpool University.
  • A new station could be built at St. James. at a future date.

It looks to be a sensible scheme, providing the engineering isn’t too difficult.

New Platforms On The Wapping Tunnel Lines

This Google Map shows the lines leading to the Wapping Tunnel.

Note.

  1. Platform 4 is just off the Northern side of the map.
  2. There is a double track leading to the Wapping Tunnel.
  3. It looks like the other tracks are the entry to a marshalling yard, that used to serve the Docks, through the Wapping Tunnel.

I can see two platforms on either side or a single island platform between the two tracks being built, that is connected to the current station using a stylish step-free bridge, as at Leeds or Reading stations.

Connecting To The Liverpool South Parkway Route

This Google Map shows the Wapping Tunnel lines, as they pass to the South of the station.

Note.

  1. The Eastern ends of the two island platforms are clearly visible.
  2. Platforms 1 and 2, which connect to Wavertree Technology Park, St. Helens and Wigan are the Northern platform.
  3. Platforms 3 and 4, which connect to Liverpool South Parkway, Runcorn and London are the Southern platform.
  4. The lines through the Wapping Tunnel, are the two closest lines to the station.

It does appear that connecting the Wapping Lines to those to Liverpool South Parkway would probably need a series of well-designed crossovers.

In fact they might already be in place and just need refurbishment or replacement.

Connecting To The Wavertree Technology Park Route

Trains needing to go between the Wapping Tunnel lines and the lines towards Wavertree Technology Park, St. Helens and Wigan would need to cross right over the busy lines into Liverpool Lime Street station.

So I suspect for efficient operation, a flyover or dive-under will need to be built.

Conclusion

I don’t think that the engineering to connect the Wapping Tunnel lines to the Eastern routes from Edge Hill station, will be too challenging, as there is certainly plenty of space.

I also feel, that an innovative architect can create an efficient station with character.

 

August 21, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 14 Comments

It’s A Privilege To Work Here!

I was speaking to a young station assistant at Liverpool Lime Street station, who I suspect could have been a trainee or an apprentice, when he came out with the title of this post.

These pictures show the platforms at the station, since the recent remodelling.

Note.

  1. The platforms are wide and can take an eleven-car Class 390 train.
  2. TransPennine Express’s five-car Class 802 trains are easily handles in the shorter platforms of the Western train shed.
  3. I suspect Avanti West Coast’s new Class 807 trains, which are fifty-two metres longer than the Class 802 trains, could fit into the Western train shed, if needed.

It is certainly a station with a large capacity and I believe, with a few tweaks the station will be able to handle High Speed Two and Northern Powerhouse Rail.

Train Lengths Into Liverpool Lime Street

These are the lengths of the various trains that will be terminating at the station.

  • Class 350 train – eight cars – 160 metres
  • Class 350 train – twelve cars – 240 metres
  • Class 390 train – nine cars – 217.5 metres
  • Class 390 train – eleven cars – 265.3 metres
  • Class 730 train – five cars – 120 metres
  • Class 730 train – ten cars – 240 metres
  • Class 802 train – five cars – 130 metres
  • Class 802 train – ten cars – 260 metres
  • Class 807 train – seven cars – 182 metres
  • High Speed Two Classic-Compatible train – 200 metres

That looks like future-proofing to me!

 

An Almost Absence Of Red

I have looked at arrivals into Liverpool Lime Street over the last couple of days on Real Time Trains and nearly all trains seemed to be on time.

So has all the work to improve the track and signalling on the approaches to the station,  over the last couple of years, resulted in better time keeping?

Certainly, train and passenger flows seemed to be smooth.

Conclusion

Wikipedia says this about Liverpool Lime Street station.

Opened in August 1836, it is the oldest still-operating grand terminus mainline station in the world.

I’ve used Lime Street station for fifty-five years and finally, it is the station, the city needs and deserves.

I’ve been to grand termini all over the world and Lime Street may be the oldest, but now it is one of the best.

August 21, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reclassify Hydropower Now – As Renewable Energy

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

It is written by a politician and details the mess California seems to be in over energy policy.

In the UK and Europe in general, hydro-electric power is generally considered to be renewable.

But not always in California, where environmentalists are against dams. So in the last heatwave, California was importing hydropower from places like the Hoover Dam.

We must get our policies and definitions right on what is and what isn’t renewable energy.

August 21, 2020 Posted by | Energy | , , | Leave a comment