The Anonymous Widower

Middlesbrough To London LNER Trains To Run From 13 December

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

The title is clear and these paragraphs give details of the train service.

The daily weekday service in each direction will also connect nearby Thornaby with London King’s Cross.

The services will depart Middlesbrough at 07:08 and Thornaby at 07:15, arriving at King’s Cross at 10:22.

Northbound from London will leave at 15:25, stopping at York, to Thornaby at 18:08 and Middlesbrough at 18:18.

This is obviously not a complete service.

  • It will be impossible to use direct trains to spend a day on Teesside from London, as I have done many times over the years, usually with a change at Darlington station.
  • It needs to run seven days a week.

But as the article says, more work needs to be done at Middlesbrough to turn the trains.

Currently, LNER run one train per two hours (1tp2h) to York, which alternates with a service to Lincoln at the same frequency.

LNER have said, that the Middlesbrough service will be an extension of the York service.

  • As York trains can be nine-car trains, this could explain the need for works at Middlesbrough station.
  • As York and Middlesbrough are 51 miles and an hour apart, it looks to me, that once Middlesbrough station has been updated, LNER can extend services to Middlesbrough according to passenger demand.

I suspect that eventually, the London and Middlesbrough service will have a similar frequency as the Harrogate and Lincoln services of five trains per day (tpd).

What Real Time Trains Says About The Service

Although it’s exactly four months before the service starts, it has already been entered into Real Time Trains.

The following information is given about the services.

  • One seven-minute stop at York going South and a five-minute stop going North.
  • Changeover between diesel and electric at Longlands junction, where the Teesside trains leave and join the East Coast Main Line.
  • Services do not appear to pass through Northallerton station.

Train times are as given by the BBC.

Splitting And Joining At Newark

I think it would be possible to combine the Lincoln, Middlesbrough and York services into one service.

  • A pair of five-car Azumas would run between Kings Cross and Newark North Gate, with stops at Stevenage, Peterborough and Grantham.
  • They would split at Newark North Gate station.
  • The front train would continue Northwards to Middlesbrough, with stops at Retford, Doncaster, York and Thornaby.
  • The rear train would continue Eastwards to Lincoln, with a possible extension to Grimsby Town and Cleethorpes.

Returning South the trains would join at Newark North Gate.


  1. As TransPennine Express services to and from Middlesbrough, call at Northallerton, LNER services could do the same.
  2. As with splitting and joining at Newark, only a five-car train runs to and from Middlesbrough, this could be used before the new platform at Middlesbrough is constructed.
  3. if this service ran at a frequency of 1tp2h, there would be space in the timetable for a new 1tp2h service to perhaps Newcastle and Edinburgh.

There are a lot of possibilities.

Battery-Electric Trains Between London And Middlesbrough

Only the twenty miles between Northallerton and Middlesbrough on the route are without electrification.

Hitachi have announced the Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train, which is described in this Hitachi infographic.

I believe that a version of this train could be given sufficient battery range to be able to achieve a round trip to Middlesbrough station from the electrification of the East Coast Main Line, without any need for charging at Middlesbrough.

It could be one of the first InterCity services in the world, run by battery-electric trains.

August 13, 2021 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , ,


  1. It’s quite possible that a train could be given sufficient battery range to be able to reach Middlesbrough, after all one of Hitachi’s competitors (J-Tech) built a two car battery /pantograph emu about 6 or 7 years ago that had a range of 32 kms. That said it ran at slightly less than half the max vehicle design speed.
    It’s also interesting that with a lot of battery activity between 2011 and 2017, apart from incorporation as an emergency get you home facility on the N700 Shinkansen, the subject of battery propulsion in Japan seems to have gone off the boil.

    Comment by fammorris | August 13, 2021 | Reply

    • I have a feeling, as I was heavily involved in the 1970s in replacing valve-based control systems with new-fangled transistorised equipment, equipment.

      We created plug-compatible modules, that used the existing sensors and control panels.

      Hitachi have gone for local supplier Hyperdrive Innovation for the battery packs, when the must be several Japanese suppliers, who would be more likely to get the order.

      I suspect that Hyperdrive have designed a battery pack that is plug-compatible with the diesel engine and the control system of the train.

      It would mean very little modification to the train and its software.

      It would also offer immense flexibility, as you could fill the slots under the cars, with an appropriate number of diesels and batteries for a route.

      We’ve already seen that with East Coast Trains Class 803 trains, which have no diesel engines and a battery pack for hotel power.

      I wouldn’t bet against the Class 803 battery pack being the virtually the same as one for a Class 802 train. Although, it might have less cells to save weight and cut costs!

      Comment by AnonW | August 13, 2021 | Reply

      • Yes you’re almost certainly correct.
        Hyperdrive being a battery packager they almost certainly source their cells from a supplier of prismatic ones in the way that ABB do from a company like Samsung who formed a strategic tie up with ABB 5 or 6 years ago for what is now the joint Hitachi ABB Power Grids venture (I realised this as I write from some info I picked up today when understanding the source of the battery packs for Stadler’s locos and railcars).

        Comment by fammorris | August 14, 2021

  2. I wouldn’t be surprised that Hitachi have access to some of best cells!

    Comment by AnonW | August 14, 2021 | Reply

    • Indeed they do. Just been learning about the three different types of cell construction and the difference between between high power density and high energy density battery cells. The former seems better for the duty cycle of regenerative braking and vehicle acceleration needed for most of Hitachi battery train projects.

      Comment by fammorris | August 14, 2021 | Reply

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