The Anonymous Widower

Should All High Speed Long Distance Services To Newcastle Extend To Edinburgh?

Look at this Google Map of Newcastle station.

Note.

  1. It is built on a curve.
  2. It is on a cramped site.
  3. Platforms are numbered from 1 at the top to 8 at the bottom.
  4. Platform 2 seems to be used for all express services going North.
  5. Platforms 3 and 4 seem to be used for all express services going South.
  6. Not all platforms would appear to be long enough for nine-car Class 80x trains.

I am certain, that any nation with a sophisticated railway system wouldn’t build a station on a curve with no avoiding lines like Newcastle these days.

Network Rail have a plan to sort out Darlington station and I’m sure they’d like to sort out Newcastle as well!

Current Long Distance Trains Through And To Newcastle

These include.

  • CrossCountry – Plymouth and Edinburgh or Glasgow via Alnmouth, Berwick-upon-Tweed and Dunbar.
  • CrossCountry – Southampton Central or Reading and Newcastle.
  • LNER – King’s Cross and Edinburgh via Berwick-upon-Tweed
  • LNER – King’s Cross and Edinburgh via Alnmouth
  • TransPennine Express – Liverpool Lime Street and Edinburgh via Morpeth
  • TransPennine Express – Manchester Airport and Newcastle.

Note.

  1. All have a frequency of one train per hour (tph)
  2. All trains call at Newcastle.
  3. Two tph terminate at Newcastle and four tph terminate at Edinburgh or beyond.

There is also a new and Edinburgh service from East Coast Trains, that will start this year.

  • It will run five trains per day (tpd).
  • It will call at Newcastle.
  • It will stop at Morpeth between Newcastle and Edinburgh.

There will also be High Speed Two services to Newcastle in a few years.

  • There will be two tph between Euston and Newcastle
  • There will be one tph between Birmingham Curzon Street and Newcastle.

Note.

  1. All services will be run by 200 metre long High Speed Two Classic-Compatible trains.
  2. There is no High Speed Two service to Newcastle, that calls at Leeds.
  3. Only one High Speed Two service to Newcastle calls at East Midlands Hub.

I suspect High Speed Two services need a dedicated platform at Newcastle, especially, if another High Speed Two service were to be added.

Extra Paths For LNER

In the December 2020 Edition of Modern Railways, there is an article, which is entitled LNER Seeks 10 More Bi-Modes.

This is the last paragraph.

Infrastructure upgrades are due to prompt a timetable recast in May 2022 (delayed from December 2021), from which point LNER will operate 6.5 trains per hour out of King’s Cross, compared to five today. As an interim measure  LNER is retaining seven rakes of Mk. 4 coaches hauled by 12 Class 91 locomotives to supplement the Azuma fleet and support its timetable ambitions until new trains are delivered.

There would certainly appear to be a path available if LNER wanted to increase the frequency of trains between King’s Cross and Edinburgh from the current two trains per hour (tph) to three.

I laid out how I would use this third path to Edinburgh in A New Elizabethan.

The Possible Long Distance Trains Through And To Newcastle

These trains can be summed up as follows.

  • 1 tph – CrossCountry – Plymouth and Edinburgh or Glasgow via Alnmouth, Berwick-upon-Tweed and Dunbar.
  • 1 tph – CrossCountry – Southampton Central or Reading and Newcastle.
  • 1 tph – LNER – King’s Cross and Edinburgh via Berwick-upon-Tweed
  • 1 tph – LNER – King’s Cross and Edinburgh via Alnmouth
  • 1 tph – TransPennine Express – Liverpool Lime Street and Edinburgh via Morpeth
  • 1 tph – TransPennine Express – Manchester Airport and Newcastle.
  • 5 tpd – East Coast Trains – King’s Cross and Edinburgh via Morpeth
  • 2 tph – High Speed Two – Euston and Newcastle
  • 1 tph – High Speed Two – Birmingham Curzon Street and Newcastle
  • 1 tph – LNER – King’s Cross and Edinburgh – Extra service

This is ten tph and the five tpd of East Coast Trains.

Capacity Between Newcastle And Edinburgh

I wonder what capacity and linespeed would be possible on the East Coast Main Line between Newcastle and Edinburgh.

There are a few freight trains and some suburban electrics at the Northern end, but I suspect that the route could handle ten tph with some upgrades.

Edinburgh As A Terminal

Consider.

  • Not all trains terminate at Edinburgh, but several tpd go through to places like Aberdeen, Glasgow, Inverness and Stirling.
  • Edinburgh has several shorter East-facing bay platforms, that can take five-car Class 802 trains.
  • Edinburgh has undergone a lot of reconstruction in recent years, so that it can turn more trains.

I very much feel that Edinburgh could handle, at least ten tph from the South.

Conclusion

I think it would be possible to extend all trains to Newcastle to at least Edinburgh.

Would it increase passenger capacity between the two capitals?

It would certainly avoid the difficult and expensive rebuilding at Newcastle station.

 

 

 

May 30, 2021 - Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

5 Comments »

  1. Biggest infrastructure issue North of Newcastle is the OLE power infeeds are sparse limiting total number of electric trains that can be accommodated. This wasn’t deliberate on the part of BR but due to low population and industrial activity the National Grid is quite thin in this part of the UK. Originally we had to connect to the grid at at least 132kV due to the traction system being single phase and presenting an unbalanced load to the system which causes other unintended outcomes to other consumers connected in the same area. But even in this part of UK the NG system is so weak, even at 132kV, that it wasn’t tolerant so maximum demand had to constrained by limiting number of electric trains especially in n-1 situations (loss of a single infeed). NR is now enhancing the number of power infeeds and thanks to modern electronics is now able to connect at 33kV level where a balanced 3 phase demand is presented to the local Distribution Network Operator and turned into single phase 25kV – basically the reverse of what happens on board the trains – and this has opened up the number of locations to provide infeeds. As to what level of service the PSUG2 will support i can’t see.

    Comment by Nicholas Lewis | May 30, 2021 | Reply

    • Thanks! Recently, a Government Minister hinted that Leeds may get HS2 earlier and I feel that if Edinburgh was used as a terminal, this would open up capacity. Opening up the Northumberland Line can get traffic off the East Coast Main Line through Northumberland. I also feel, that the extra path on the East Coast Main Line will be used to add a third Edinburgh service. LNER have already held back some InterCity225s from the scrapyard and are ordering another ten bi-modes.

      I wouldn’t be surprised to see some hydrogen bi-modes from Talgo to run between the North of Scotland and London.

      Expect the full annuncement at COP-26

      Comment by AnonW | May 30, 2021 | Reply

  2. It is likely that the majority of users of HS2 and those who will afford it will find a journey to catch the train in the centre of Newcastle inconvenient. Newcastle Airport is the place to locate HS2 . Is has the space. It has potential flyers used to paying premium fares for domestic flights who can be poached . It has the Metro.
    I may scan and send you a copy of a letter I have written to Henri Murison and John Cridland on the subject.

    Comment by Thomas Carr | May 30, 2021 | Reply

    • High Speed Two would still call in the centre of Newcastle, as it will be a classic compatible railway.

      The East Coast Main Line between South of York and Edinburgh will be a high-capacity passenger and freight railway handling upwards of 12 trains per hour.

      That will happen anyway unless the mad Scottish Greens get power and say all goods between Newcastle and Edinburgh must go by ship.

      Comment by AnonW | May 30, 2021 | Reply

  3. I believe the reason why stations like Newcastle are on curves is that it is easier to fan out from 4 to 10+ tracks in a shorter distance. The approaches to London’s large terminals such as Liverpool St, Waterloo etc all use this method.

    Comment by Maurice Reed | May 31, 2021 | Reply


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