The Anonymous Widower

Beeching Reversal – To Reinstate The Keswick To Penrith Railway

September 10th – This Beeching Reversal project appears to have been rejected.

Thoughts On The Design Of The Route

Consider.

  • Keswick and Penrith are around 17.3 miles apart by road.
  • The rail distance should be less than 20 miles.
  • There could be perhaps six intermediate stations.
  • A battery electric train typically has a range of 55-65 miles.
  • A quiet battery electric train would be ideal for this route.

I believe that a battery electric train could handle this route.

  • Charging would be mainly in Penrith station, using the existing 25 KVAC overhead electrification in Platform 3.
  • A charging station would be provided in Keswick station to be safe.

A battery electric train could go between the two stations, recharge the battery and be ready to return in under an hour.

The route would be single track, except for a short double track station in the middle to allow trains to pass.

The route would not be electrified.

All stations could be single track, except for the passing station.

Two trains would be needed to work an hourly service.

Four trains would be needed to work an two trains per hour (tph) service.

Could the track could be designed to these criteria?

  • No level crossings.
  • Gentle curves and gradients
  • 80 mph operating speed.

I suspect modern computer technology, which was not available to the Victorians, would ease the design of an efficient track.

  • If a highly-efficient track could be created, it might be possible for a train to do a round trip from Penrith to Keswick, within an hour.
  • This would mean that one train could provide the hourly service.
  • Charging would only be at Penrith, using existing electrification.
  • The passing loop would not be built, but provision would be made to add it later, if the frequency were to be increased.

We could be seeing several of these highly-efficient branch lines run by 100 mph battery-electric trains, that are charged on existing electrified main lines.

The Effect Of High Speed Two

Consider.

  • Currently, there is a roughly hourly service in both directions on the West Coast Main Line at Penrith station.
  • High Speed Two will only provide an hourly service between Birmingham Curzon Street and Edinburgh or Glasgow via Wigan North Western, Preston, Lancaster and Carlisle.
  • Carlisle will have three tph on High Speed Two, between England and Scotland.
  • Carlisle will have scenic services to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Newcastle.
  • Services between Carlisle and Penrith take thirteen minutes.

But most importantly, High Speed Two could bring lots of extra tourists to the area.

So would it be better for the Keswick and Penrith service to terminate at Carlisle?

  • Charging would now be on the West Coast Main Line.
  • Trains would only make a typical two-minute stop in Penrith station.

This would probably mean that an hourly service could be provided with only one train on the branch at a time.

Conclusion

I feel the economics of this project could be transformed by using battery electric trains on this proposed route and terminating them at Carlisle.

 

 

September 10, 2020 - Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. As a teenager I managed to travel on the line a couple of times prior to closure. I think that I was probably lucky regarding the weather but remember it as one of the most picturesque rail routes I have ever taken in this country. This was aided by the excellent visibility afforded by the dmu stock employed on the line.

    Personally I would love to see the line reopened as a tourist railway and an attraction in it’s own right but there seems to be little political will. I fear the 2015 flood damage may have done for the long standing independent proposals by

    http://www.keswickrailway.com/

    see also

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cockermouth,_Keswick_and_Penrith_Railway

    Comment by Fenline scouser | September 10, 2020 | Reply

    • Thanks for that!

      As an East Anglian, I believe strongly, that a strong rural network is good for residents and visitors. I am also very much in favour of using trains like Greater Anglia have done with good visibility and step-free access.

      I also think that cities like Cambridge, Exeter, Norwich and Plymouth should be rural rail hubs. Carlisle could develop this way and become a major tourism base.

      Adding the Borders Railway and a line to Keswick to the city would increasethe attractiveness of the city for a stay.

      Comment by AnonW | September 10, 2020 | Reply

  2. The Department for Transport (DfT) has revealed the full list of rail schemes bidding to be reopened under the second round of the Restoring your Railway Fund.

    https://www.newcivilengineer.com/latest/revealed-mothballed-rail-lines-bidding-for-restoration-10-09-2020/?tkn=1

    Comment by MauriceGReed | September 10, 2020 | Reply


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