The Anonymous Widower

No Trains Out Of Cornwall Until The Weekend After Lorry Hits Plymouth Bridge

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

A few points from the article.

  • It was a Tesco truck.
  • It took twenty-four hours to extract.
  • The accident happened on Ashford Hill in Plymouth.

I found the bridge on Google Maps.

Note.

  1. The railway and the bridge are at the top of the map.
  2. My eyesight isn’t good, but I can see the warning signs on the bridge.
  3. There is a TescoExpress in the bottom right corner of the map.

It can’t be a lot more than a hundred metres between the bridge and the TescoExpress.

To make matters worse for the train operators, the accident site is to the East of Plymouth station, which means trains can’t run to Plymouth.

Will GWR Use Okehampton?

Network Rail have already re-laid the track to Okehampton, prior to opening an hourly service between Exeter and Okehampton later this year.

Okehampton station is close to the A30 and I suspect that GWR would have little difficulty running a five-car Hitachi train to Okehampton from London with a reverse at Exeter. At Okehampton, they could use coaches to serve Cornwall by running to Bodmin Parkway.

If I was the CEO of GWR, I’d see if it could be arranged, as what good publicity they’d get for the new Okehampton service.

August 31, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Soham Station Aims For December 2021 Opening

This article on Rail Technology Magazine is entitled Soham Set To Benefit From New Station After 56 years Without.

Work only started on Soham station earlier this year, so this paragraph is a bit of a surprise.

The completion of the work means that from December, Greater Anglia’s Ipswich to Peterborough service will finally be able to stop at Soham once more, better connecting the population.

The work referred to is changes to the signalling to allow services to call at the new Soham station.

It certainly appears that the station is being built at a canter!

I have some thoughts on the station.

Station Location

This Google Map shows the town of Soham.

Note.

  1. The railway between Ely and Ipswich running North-South at the Western edge of the map.
  2. Station Road connecting the town centre to the railway.
  3. Looking at the map to a large scale, it certainly appears that construction has started, as dark green portacabins and red and white barriers ae visible.

This Network Rail visualisation shows the proposed station.

Note.

  1. The visualisation is looking to the East.
  2. Ely and Peterborough are to the left.
  3. Bury St. Edmunds and Ipswich are to the right.
  4. The footbridge is wide enough to cross a double-track, although the route is currently only single-track at this point.
  5. There is just a single platform on the town side of the track.

It appears to be a simple design, that possibly could speed the construction.

Station Design

This Network Rail visualisation is a closer view of the proposed station.

Note.

  1. The turning circle and the carpark on the town (Eastern) side of the station can be clearly seen.
  2. The single platform will be 100 metres long and will be able to accommodate a four-car Class 755 train, which is 80.7 metres long.
  3. It appears that there is a concrete wall at the back of the platform. Is this to protect passengers from the sometimes-biting winds of the Fens or the swirling air currents generated by passing freight trains.

The station and footbridge are future proofed for a possible second platform and lifts.

Services

Currently, Greater Anglia runs a train between Ipswich and Peterborough every two hours, although this was promised to be doubled in frequency at some time in the future.

Times to various stations are as follows.

  • Ipswich – 48 minutes
  • Bury St. Edmunds – 19 minutes
  • Ely – 9 minutes
  • Peterborough – 50 minutes

These times are from Real Time Trains, which already acknowledges the station.

Note that to get to the important city of Cambridge passengers will need to change at either Bury St. Edmunds or Ely.

In the future there are two ways that the connection between Soham and Cambridge can be improved.

Reinstatement Of The Warren Hill Junction and Snailwell Junction Chord

This Google Map shows the layout, where the Ely and Ipswich Line and the Cambridge Branch Line join to the North of Newmarket in a triangular junction.

Note.

  1. The A14 runs across the top of the map.
  2. The Ely and Ipswich Line runs in a curve to the South of the A14 and the British Racing School.
  3. The former Snailwell junction was to the South of the British Racing School and was the Northern point of the triangular junction.
  4. Chippenham junction is the Eastern point of the triangular junction and is where the Ely and Cambridge lines join.
  5. The former Warren Hill junction was at the South close to the stables of Godolphin and John Gosden and was the Southern point of the triangular junction. From Warren Hill junction the railway runs through the Warren Hill tunnel to Newmarket station and ultimately to Cambridge.

If the chord were to be reinstated between Snailwell and Warren Hill junctions, it would be possible to run an hourly service between Soham and Cambridge via Dullingham and Newmarket.

The A14 Parkway Station

The A14 Parkway station is a proposal from the East West Railway.

  • It would be just to the East of Chippenham junction and would be served by both Greater Anglia’s services between Ipswich and Cambridge and Ipswich and Peterborough.
  • It would also be close to the major road junction, where the A11 and the A14 meet.
  • It would be a Park-and-Ride station.

I believe it could be a major factor in cutting road mileage in East Anglia, as drivers going to Cambridge from Ipswich, Norwich, a large area of North-East East Anglia and North Essex could find that using the A14 Parkway station an easier and faster route. But the A14 Parkway would need a frequent service to the soon-to-be-three main Cambridge stations.

A Soham and Cambridge service could reverse at the A14 Parkway station or by careful timetabling, passengers would be able to change trains in a minute or two.

Two Trains Per Hour Between Newmarket and Cambridge

An hourly service between Soham and Cambridge would add an invaluable second hourly service between Newmarket and Cambridge.

It would also fit in with the regular proposals to reopen stations at Six Mile Bottom, Fulbourn and Cherry Hinton.

 

August 31, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

If We Have More Electric Cars Do We Need More Parkway Stations?

We are all being encouraged by carrot-and-stick methods to change to zero-carbon vehicles.

And it’s not just from Government and environmental activists!

I was recently asked on a train, if I drove an electric car, by the guy sitting opposite me at a table. He told me, that his ten-year-old BMW needed replacing and his daughters were pestering him to get an electric car.

  • He had looked into it and said he could afford one.
  • However like many, he was worried about the battery range.
  • He also said charging at home would not be a problem, as he lived in a house with parking for three cars and could install his own grid-to-vehicle charger.
  • I asked him what he did and like my late wife; C, he was a family barrister.

C would drive thousands of miles a year to Court from our house in Suffolk in her Porsche Boxster, to places like Bedford, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Colchester, Ipswich, Milton Keynes, Norwich, Southend and Yarmouth. Only when she went to London did she use a train from Whittlesford Parkway station.

There are a lot of people like family barristers, where their profession dictates that they travel long distances by car to a variable place of work.

Purchase of an electric car, for some drivers may turn out to be a worrying one, as will they always find a charger at the other end of their journey, to charge the vehicle to get home.

I can see parkway stations like Whittlesford developing into electric parkway stations, where most parking spaces have a charger.

  • Parking could be booked, as in many railway car parks.
  • Some stations could probably host one or more wind turbines.
  • The vehicle batteries with the appropriate grid-to-vehicle technology could be used as grid storage.

Get the technology and the locations right and I can see more parkway stations being developed.

It might also be the sort of infrastructure project that a financial institution like L & G might finance.

 

August 31, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 5 Comments

Silicon Roundabout – 31st August 2021

The builders did it. Or at least these sections of the project.

  • Getting the roads open.
  • Opening the Cowper Street entrance.

These pictures show the roads in the area at around 09:30 this morning.

The traffic seemed to be moving freely, but there weren’t many cyclists.

This second gallery shows the new Cowper Street entrance to Old Street station.

I was able to enter the station, through the new entrance.

August 31, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | 5 Comments