The Anonymous Widower

To Middlesbrough By LNER

Today, I took the new LNER service to Middlesbrough.

It left at 15:25 and should have arrived in just under three hours. But it was eighteen minutes late.

I took these pictures of our arrival in Middlesbrough.

Note.

  1. The train wasn’t full at Middlesbrough.
  2. Quite a few passengers left and joined at York.
  3. There were also a good number of leavers at Thornaby.
  4. The train was five cars.

As it is only the third day of the new service, passenger numbers seem to me to be on-line with what I’ve seen for other new services.

I have a few thoughts.

Is A London and Middlesbrough Service Needed?

In the 1970s, when I worked at ICI, I would regularly travel to Middlesbrough from London for a day’s work at their Wilton site.

In those days there was no direct train and you had to change at Darlington.

Since then I’ve also travelled to Middlesbrough to see football matches and visit the local countryside.

I suspect I’ve done well over fifty trips between the town and London, but today’s trip was my first one that was direct.

Will More Services Be Added?

If you look at LNER’s service patterns to Harrogate and Lincoln, they started with a single service and have quietly grown to between five and seven trains per day (tpd) in both directions.

I suspect that an early and a late train are essential to allow a full day in London or Middlesbrough.

Could This Route Be Run By A Nine-Car Train?

I suspect normally, a five-car train would be sufficient, but suppose one of the big London football clubs was playing Middlesbrough in an FA Cup quarter final, LNER might like to add capacity for the match.

King’s Cross and York stations regularly handle nine-car Azuma trains and from my pictures, it looks like Middlesbrough can too! The only other stop is Thornaby station, which is shown in this Google Map.

I suspect that it might just be possible, if Thornaby passengers were told to get in the first six cars.

Could This Route Be Run By A Battery-Electric Train?

Consider.

  • The trains run on diesel power North of Longlands junction, where they leave and join the East Coast Main Line.
  • It is a distance of only 22.2 miles.

With some form of charging at Middlesbrough, I think that within a few years, this could be an all-electric service.

It would be very handy for Hitachi, as any possible customers for battery-electric trains could be given a demo to or from London.

I Think The Stop At York Is A Good Idea

It could be argued that LNER’s King’s Cross and Middlesbrough service is two services in one.

  • A direct service between London King’s Cross and Thornaby and Middlesbrough.
  • A fast non-stop service between London King’s Cross and York, that takes several minutes under two hours.

Hence my view, that the York stop is a good idea.

Could The Middlesbrough Service Split And Join With Another Service At York?

The Middlesbrough service takes five minutes for the stop at York, but other services only take three minutes.

Has the longer stop been inserted into the timetable, so that the Middlesbrough timetable can be split to serve two separate destinations?

  • Secondary destinations would have to be North of York or York station itself.
  • These could include Bishops Auckland, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Scarborough and Sunderland.
  • Given the arguments, there have been over the new timetable not calling at smaller stations, could these be served by a train to Newcastle?

There are quite a few sensible possibilities.

An alternative could be to split and join at Thornaby to serve both Middlesbrough and Sunderland.

December 15, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Gift-Wrapping Service On Board LNER Trains This Christmas

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

This article may seem a bit like an April Fool.

But the publicity might just get more people to travel by train.

December 15, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | 5 Comments

Zopa Co-Founders Speak Out Against Fintech’s Peer-To-Peer Exit

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

Read it, as it a cautionary tale about what happens to disruptive innovation.

Eventually, the big bad boys make sure you don’t disrupt their easy life.

Zopa has been part of my life for fourteen years and it did me well. Especially in the bad times and when I had a personal crisis.

I wrote Stability in Financial Systems in 2012, where I said this.

I have a strong feeling that Zopa, the peer-to-peer lender, is also a stable system. Other companies of the same type may well be too! but I am not as familiar with them as I am with Zopa.

Unfortunately, the decision makers in Zopa decided to become a bank, broke the stability and crashed the company.

Son of Zopa will arise!

December 15, 2021 Posted by | Finance | , , | Leave a comment