The Anonymous Widower

Thoughts On The Eastern Leg Of High Speed Two

These are a few thoughts on the Eastern Leg of High Speed Two.

Serving The North-East Quarter Of England From London

In Anxiety Over HS2 Eastern Leg Future, I gave a table of timings from London to towns and cities in the North-East quarter of England from Lincoln and Nottingham Northwards.

I’ll repeat it here.

  • Bradford – Will not be served by High Speed Two – One hour and fifty-four minutes
  • Cleethorpes – Will not be served by High Speed Two – Two hours and fifty-one minutes
  • Darlington – One hour and forty-nine minutes – One hour and forty-nine minutes
  • Doncaster – Will not be served by High Speed Two – One hour
  • Edinburgh – Three hours and forty minutes via Western Leg – Three hours and thirty minutes.
  • Grimsby – Will not be served by High Speed Two – Two hours and thirty-six minutes
  • Harrogate – Will not be served by High Speed Two – One hour and fifty-two minutes
  • Huddersfield – Will not served by High Speed Two – Two hours and eight minutes
  • Hull – Will not be served by High Speed Two – One hour and fifty minutes
  • Leeds – One hour and twenty-one minutes – One hour and thirty minutes
  • Lincoln – Will not be served by High Speed Two – One hour and fifty-one minutes
  • Middlesbrough – Will not be served by High Speed Two – Two hours and twenty minutes
  • Newcastle – Two hours and seventeen minutes – Two hours and sixteen minutes
  • Nottingham – One hour and seven minutes – One hour and fifty minutes
  • Scarborough – Will not be served by High Speed Two – Two hours and fifty-seven minutes
  • Sheffield – One hour and twenty-seven minutes – One hour and twenty-seven minutes
  • Skipton – Will not be served by High Speed Two – Two hours and seven minutes
  • Sunderland – Will not be served by High Speed Two – Two hours and thirty minutes
  • York – One hour and twenty-four minutes – One hour and twenty-four minutes

Note.

  1. I have included all destinations served by Grand Central, Hull Trains and LNER.
  2. I have included Nottingham and Sheffield for completeness and in case whilst electrification is installed on the Midland Main Line, LNER run services to the two cities.
  3. I suspect LNER services to Bradford, Harrogate, Huddersfield and Skipton will split and join at Leeds.

There are a total of nineteen destination in this table.

  • Twelve are not served by High Speed Two.
  • Six are not more than fifteen minutes slower by the East Coast Main Line.

Only Nottingham is substantially quicker by High Speed Two.

Serving The North-East Quarter Of England From Birmingham

Fenland Scouser felt the above table might be interesting to and from Birmingham with or without the Eastern Leg of High Speed Two.

I think, I can give more information than that and it should be possible to give for each destination the following.

  • Whether of not the route exists on High Speed Two.
  • Time on High Speed Two from Birmingham.
  • Time on High Speed Two and Northern Powerhouse Rail from Birmingham via Manchester
  • Time by current trains from Birmingham

In the following table, the fields are in the order of the previous table.

  • Bradford – No direct route – No time – One hour and three minutes – Two hours and twenty-seven minutes
  • Cleethorpes – No direct route – No time – Three hours and eight minutes – Three hours and eighteen minutes
  • Darlington – Route Exists – One hour and twenty-three minutes – One hour and forty minutes – Two hours and fifty-five minutes
  • Doncaster – No direct route – No time – One hour and thirty-six minutes – Two hours and nineteen minutes
  • Edinburgh- Route Exists – Three hours and fourteen minutes – Four hours – Four hours and thirteen minutes
  • Grimsby – No direct route – No time – Two hours and fifty-three minutes – Three hours and three minutes
  • Harrogate – No direct route – No time – One hour and twenty-eight minutes – Three hours
  • Huddersfield – No direct route – No time – Fifty-six minutes – Two hours and eleven minutes
  • Hull – No direct route – No time – One hour and forty-four minutes – Three hours and two minutes
  • Leeds – Route Exists – Forty-nine minutes – One hour and six minutes – One hour and fifty-nine minutes
  • Lincoln – No direct route – No time – Two hours and fifty-three minutes – Two hours and thirteen minutes
  • Middlesbrough – No direct route – No time – Two hours and twenty-nine minutes – Three hours and thirty-two minutes
  • Newcastle – No direct route – No time – Two hours and four minutes – Three hours and twenty-six minutes
  • Nottingham – Route Exists – Fifty-seven minutes – Two hours and fifty-five minutes – One hour and ten minutes
  • Sheffield – Route Exists – Thirty-five minutes – One hour and thirty-four minutes – One hour and fifteen minutes
  • Skipton – No direct route – No time – One hour and forty-three minutes – Two hours and fifty-two minutes
  • Sunderland – No direct route – No time – Two hours and fifty-nine minutes – Three hours and fifty-eight minutes
  • York – Route Exists – Fifty-seven minutes – One hour and twenty-eight minutes – Two hours and twenty-seven minutes

Note.

  1. No time means just that!
  2. One of the crucial times is that Birmingham Curzon Street and Leeds is just an hour and six minutes via High Speed Two and Northern Powerhouse Rail. This time gives good times to all destinations served from Leeds.
  3. Nottingham and Sheffield are both around an hour and fifteen minutes from Birmingham New Street, by the current trains.

I’ll now look at some routes in detail.

Birmingham And Leeds

The time of one hour and six minutes is derived from the following.

  • Birmingham Curzon Street and Manchester Piccadilly by High Speed Two – Forty-one minutes
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Leeds by Northern Powerhouse Rail – Twenty-five minutes

It would be seventeen minutes slower than the direct time of forty-nine minutes.

But it is quicker than the current time of one hour and fifty-nine minutes

Note.

  1. As Manchester Piccadilly will have a time to and from London of one hour and eleven minutes, Leeds will have a time of one hour and twenty-six minutes to London via Northern Powerhouse Rail and Manchester.
  2. If the Eastern Leg is built, The London and Leeds time will be one hour and twenty-one minutes.
  3. The Eastern Leg would therefore save just five minutes.

The Northern Powerhouse route could probably mean that Huddersfield, Bradford and Hull would be served by High Speed Two from London.

Manchester Airport, Manchester Piccadilly and Leeds would be connected by a tunnel deep under the Pennines.

  • Manchester Piccadilly, Huddersfield and Bradford could be underground platforms added to existing stations.
  • Piccadilly and Leeds would have a journey time of under 25 minutes and six trains per hour (tph).
  • The tunnel would also carry freight.
  • It would be modelled on the Gotthard Base Tunnel in Switzerland.

I wrote full details in Will HS2 And Northern Powerhouse Rail Go For The Big Bore?

Birmingham And Nottingham

The time of two hours and fifty-five minutes is derived from the following.

  • Birmingham Curzon Street and Manchester Piccadilly by High Speed Two – Forty-one minutes
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Leeds by Northern Powerhouse Rail – Twenty-five minutes
  • Leeds and Nottingham – One hour and forty-nine minutes

It would be one hour and fifty-eight minutes slower than the direct time of fifty-nine minutes.

The current time of one hour and ten minutes is much quicker.

Birmingham And Sheffield

The time of two hours and thirty-four minutes is derived from the following.

  • Birmingham Curzon Street and Manchester Piccadilly by High Speed Two – Forty-one minutes
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Leeds by Northern Powerhouse Rail – Twenty-five minutes
  • Leeds and Sheffield – One hour and twenty-eight minutes

It would be one hour and fifty-nine minutes slower than the direct time of thirty-five minutes.

The current time of one hour and fifteen minutes is much quicker.

Conclusions On The Timings

I am led to the following conclusions on the timings.

The building of the Eastern Leg of High Speed Two gives the fastest times between Birmingham and Leeds, Nottingham and Sheffield.

But if the Eastern Leg of High Speed Two is not built, then the following is true, if Northern Powerhouse Rail is created between Manchester and Leeds.

The time of an hour and six minutes between Birmingham Curzon Street and Leeds is probably an acceptable time.

This time probably enables  acceptable times between Birmingham Curzon Street and destinations North of Leeds.

But with Nottingham and Sheffield the current CrossCountry service is faster than the route via Manchester.

The speed of the CrossCountry services surprised me, but then there is a section of 125 mph running between Derby and Birmingham, which is used by CrossCountry services between Birmingham New Street and Leeds, Nottingham and Sheffield.

This table gives details of these services.

  • Birmingham New Street and Leeds – 116,4 miles – One hour and 58 minutes – 59.3 mph
  • Birmingham New Street and Nottingham – 57.2 miles – One hour and 14 minutes – 46.4 mph
  • Birmingham New Street and Sheffield – 77.6 miles – One hour and 18 minutes – 59.7 mph

Note.

  1. The Leeds and Sheffield services are run by 125 mph Class 220 trains.
  2. The Notting service is run by 100 mph Class 170 trains.
  3. All trains are diesel-powered.

As there is 125 mph running between Derby and Birmingham, the train performance probably accounts for the slower average speed of the Nottingham service.

CrossCountry And Decarbonisation

Consider.

  • CrossCountry has an all-diesel fleet.
  • All train companies in the UK are planning on decarbonising.
  • Some of CrossCountry’s routes are partially electrified and have sections where 125 mph running is possible.

The only standard train that is built in the UK that would fit CrossCountry’s requirements, would appear to be one of Hitachi’s 125 mph trains like a bi-mode Class 802 train.

  • These trains are available in various lengths
  • Hitachi will be testing battery packs in the trains in the next year, with the aim of entering service in 2023.
  • Hitachi have formed a company with ABB, which is called Hitachi ABB Power Grids to develop and install discontinuous electrification.

When CrossCountry do replace their fleet and run 125 mph trains on these services several stations will be connected to Birmingham for High Speed Two.

The route between Leeds and Birmingham via Sheffield is part of the Cross Country Route, for which electrification appears to have planned in the 1960s according to a section in Wikipedia called Abortive British Rail Proposals For Complete Electrification,

I suspect that the following times could be achieved with a frequency of two tph

  • Birmingham New Street and Leeds – 90 minutes
  • Birmingham New Street and Nottingham – 60 minutes
  • Birmingham New Street and Sheffield – 60 minutes

It is not the Eastern Leg of High Speed Two, but it could do in the interim.

Electrification Of The Midland Main Line

I don’t believe that the Midland Main Line needs full electrification to speed up services to Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield, but I believe that by fitting batteries to Hitachi’s Class 810 trains, that will soon be running on the line and using the Hitachi ABB Power Grids system of discontinuous electrification, that the route can be decarbonised.

I would also apply full digital in-cab signalling to the Midland Main Line.

Conclusion

We will need the Eastern Leg of High Speed Two at some time in the future, but if we do the following we can do more than cope.

  • Create Northern Powerhouse Rail between Manchester and Leeds, so that High Speed Two can serve Leeds and Hull via Manchester.
  • Decarbonise CrossCountry with some 125 mph battery-electric trains.
  • Electrify the Midland Main Line.

I would also deliver as much as possible before Phase 1 and 2a of High Speed Two opens.

 

August 24, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Installation Of OLE Begins In The Valleys

The title of this post, is the same as that of a short article in the September 2021 Edition of Modern Railways.

This is the first paragraph.

Construction of Core Valley Lines (CVL) overhead electrification equipment commenced  on 26 July, when the first piles for masts were installed on the Aberdare branch.

The article appears has several small stories buried in the text.

Was This Good Project Management?

This is a paragraph.

The work, between Penrhiwceiber and Mountain Ash took place a year later than Transport for Wales had aimed for prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, TfW does not expect significant delays to completion, because the CVL transformation has been rescheduled and revised.

It certainly sounds like it to me that good Project Management has brought the electrification back on track.

I have seen this happen many times over past decades.

Yesterday, at Whitechapel station, I asked one of Crossrail’s Senior Managers, who in the past had used Artemis, if good project management was bringing Crossrail under control. He gave a knowing smile and said that there’s still a lot to do with the trains and gave me the official First Half Of Next Year answer.

But I do wonder, if we’ll get a surprise!

Battery Power To The Rescue

This is a paragraph.

Less overhead line electrification will be needed than was expected when the plans were announced in 2018. Improvements in battery technology enable the battery/electric dock to run further without OLE than had been assumed.

There must be an optimal point, where the extra expense of battery/electric trains are paid for by the savings and disruption of not installing overhead line equipment.

Using The Pandemic To Advantage

This is a paragraph.

TfW also accelerated preparatory works between Radyr and Pontypridd with a three-week blockade last winter taking advantage of low passenger numbers during the second Covid-19 lockdown.

It sounds like another case of good Project Management.

Dealing With A Level Crossing

This is a paragraph.

A crossing on the Rhondda Line will be permanently closed as a result of TfW purchasing the only building accessed by it! Deputy Climate Change Minister Lee Waters said it was more cost-effective for TfW to acquire the former army barracks at Pentre than spend an estimated  £450,000 to bring the nearby crossing up to the requisite safety standards.

This Google Map shows the site.

It strikes me, that Transport for Wales will have to be very innovative to find a sensible use for a site hemmed in by the railway on one side and the River Rhondda on the other.

Conclusion

As we do more electrification in the UK, hopefully we’ll get better at it.

 

August 24, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Could Services To The North On High Speed Two Reverse At Birmingham Curzon Street?

When I first went to Nice by TGV, which I wrote about in Cambridge to Nice by Train, the train reversed in Marseille. They still do!

So would it be possible to run services between London and the North of England and Scotland via Birmingham Curzon Street?

  • Birmingham Curzon Street can handle trains to and from London Euston, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Scotland.
  • It could offer timetabling advantages.
  • It might be possible to use London Euston station more efficiently.
  • There will be plenty of capacity between Birmingham Curzon Street and Manchester and Leeds, if the Eastern Leg is built.

Drivers would probably step-up to perform a fast stop at Birmingham Curzon Street.

I could envisage a service, that went between London Euston and Hull.

  • It would call at Birmingham Curzon Street, Manchester, Huddersfield, Bradford and Leeds.
  • There might be a stop at Crewe for interchange to other services on the West Coast Main Line.
  • The train would reverse in Birmingham Curzon Street.
  • The service could be an extension of the core London and Birmingham Curzon Street service.
  • It could have a frequency of two trains per hour (tph)

Note.

  1. If Northern Powerhouse Rail were to be upgraded to handle High Speed Two’s Full-Size trains, these could be used on the route.
  2. The service would make better use of the underused section of High Speed Two between Birmingham and Manchester.
  3. This service would reduce the urgency to build the Eastern Leg of High Speed Two.
  4. Hull gets a High Speed Two service from London Euston and Birmingham Curzon Street.

Scottish and other services could also reverse at Birmingham Curzon Street.

How Long Would A Reverse At Birmingham Curzon Street Take?

Consider

  • CrossCountry services take about ten minutes to reverse at Reading.
  • Typical stops of Southeastern Highspeed services at Ebbsfleet take less than two minutes.
  • Most stops with Hitachi 80x trains appear to take about a minute.
  • Better operating procedures and automation could make the reverse faster.
  • It looks like High Speed Two trains are designed for speedy boarding.

I suspect that the reverse can be achieved in perhaps two or three minutes.

Update – In Dwell Time On High Speed Two Trains, I found out the dwell time is two minutes.

London Euston and Manchester Piccadilly With A Reverse At Birmingham Curzon Street

If I look at London Euston and Manchester Piccadilly, I get the following times.

  • London Euston and Birmingham Curzon Street – Forty-five minutes
  • Reverse at Birmingham Curzon Street – two minutes,
  • Birmingham Curzon Street Could See Six tph – Forty-one minutes

That would be eighty-eight minutes, which compares with seventy-one minutes by going direct.

Current proposals give the following frequencies between the three stations.

  • London Euston and Birmingham Curzon Street – 3 tph
  • Birmingham Curzon Street and Manchester Piccadilly – 2 tph
  • London Euston and Manchester Piccadilly – 3 tph

There would be six tph running to and from London Euston.

But the pattern could be.

  • London Euston and Birmingham Curzon Street – 2 tph
  • London Euston and Manchester Piccadilly – 2 tph
  • London Euston and Manchester Piccadilly via Birmingham Curzon Street – 2 tph

in addition one of each pair of services would call at Birmingham Interchange.

Note.

  1. There would still be six tph running to and from London Euston.
  2. Birmingham Curzon Street, Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly get four tph to and from London Euston.
  3. Birmingham Interchange still has two tph to and from Birmingham Curzon Street.
  4. Birmingham Interchange now has two tph to and from Manchester.Airport and Manchester Piccadilly.

It could be a worthwhile improvement for passengers and train operators.

Reversing in Birmingham Curzon Street Could Increase Frequency To And From London Euston

I showed in the previous section, that with a reverse in Birmingham Curzon Street, it is possible to increase services between London Euston and Birmingham Curzon Street, Manchester Airport  and Manchester Piccadilly from three to four tph.

Suppose, one of each of the two Liverpool and Glasgow/Edinburgh services were to reverse in Birmingham Curzon Street, this would increase the frequency of trains between London Euston and Birmingham Curzon Street to six tph or a train every ten minutes.

Now that would be a Turn-Up-And-Go service. Especially, if customer-friendly contactless ticketing were to be used.

Conclusion

Reversing services at Birmingham Curzon Street has possibilities.

August 24, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment