The Anonymous Widower

Discontinuous Electrification Through Derwent Valley Mills

One big problem area of electrification on the Midland Main Line could be North of Derby, where the railway runs through the World Heritage Site of the Derwent Valley Mills. There might be serious objections to electrification in this area.

But if electrification were to be installed between Leicester and Derby stations, the following would be possible.

  • The Midland Main Line would be electrified at East Midlands Hub station.
  • Power could be taken from High Speed Two’s supply at East Midland Hub station, even if High Speed Two is not built in full.
  • Battery-electric trains could do a return trip to Nottingham from an electrified East Midlands Parkway station, as it’s only sixteen miles in total.

I am sure, that Hitachi’s Class 810 trains could be upgraded to have a of perhaps twenty-five miles on battery power, as this fits with Hitachi’s statements.

North of Derby, there would be electrification on the following sections.

  • Derby station and South of the heritage-sensitive section at Belper station.
  • Sheffield station and North of the heritage-sensitive section at Duffield station.

Milford Tunnel, which has Grade II Listed portals and is part of the World Heritage Site would not be electrified.

Belper and Duffield stations are 2.6 miles or 4.8 kilometres apart.

I believe it could be arranged that there would be no electrification in the sensitive section, where the Heritage Taliban might object.

The Hitachi Intercity Battery Hybrid Train

Hitachi will start testing their Intercity Battery Hybrid Train next year.

The train is described in this Hitachi infographic.

Note that is has a gap-jumping range of 5 km, which would handle the gap between Belper and Duffield stations.

CrossCountry Services Between Derby And Sheffield

CrossCountry operate the following services between Derby and Sheffield through Milford Tunnel and the World Heritage Site.

  • Plymouth and Edinburgh Waverley/Glasgow Central
  • Southampton/Reading and Newcastle

CrossCountry would need new trains and one of the current Hitachi Class 802 trains could handle this route and use electrification where it exists.

A five kilometre gap will be no big obstacle to designing a battery-electric train for these CrossCountry services.

Freight Trains

In Will Zero-Carbon Freight Trains Be Powered By Battery, Electric Or Hydrogen Locomotives?, I came to this conclusion.

In the title of this post, I asked if freight locomotives of the future would be battery, electric or hydrogen.

I am sure of one thing, which is that all freight locomotives must be able to use electrification and if possible, that means both 25 KVAC overhead and 750 VDC third rail. Electrification will only increase in the future, making it necessary for most if not all locomotives in the future to be able to use it.

I feel there will be both battery-electric and hydrogen-electric locomotives, with the battery-electric locomotives towards the less powerful end.

Hydrogen-electric will certainly dominate at the heavy end.

These locomotives would be able to handle the section of the Midland Main Line through Derwent Valley Mills.


December 30, 2021 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. What rubbish! Get your geography right!!

    I’m not even going to elaborate more. Check your facts.


    John Harpur

    On Thu, 30 Dec 2021, 16:46 The Anonymous Widower, wrote:

    > AnonW posted: “One big problem area of electrification on the Midland Main > Line could be North of Derby, where the railway runs through the World > Heritage Site of the Derwent Valley Mills. There might be serious > objections to electrification in this area. But if elec” >

    Comment by John Harpur | December 30, 2021 | Reply

    • John Harpur
      A bit of a pointless comment if you’re not prepared to elaborate, how do you expect anybody else to understand your opinion on the subject. While working with the rail industry in and around Derby I always got the impression that most people I met and particularly the dealings I had with a company in Belper would have been pleased to see the line electrified.
      I always felt that the line from south of Ambergate up past Cromford up to Matlock to be far more sensitive both from the scenic point of view and more technically demanding when it comes to electrification. Since that’s not part of MML it doesn’t really count for this discussion.

      Comment by fammorris | December 30, 2021 | Reply

  2. There'[s no need to be abusive!

    Comment by AnonW | December 30, 2021 | Reply

    • I few years ago, I shared a trip back from Nottingham in the First Class compartment with a group of about four EMT drivers, who like me were travelling to London. I asked them about electrification and they repeated what had been told to them by a Network Rail engineer a few months before. They hold me the two most difficult part of the electrification would be Leicester, where apace is very limited under the A6 at the South of the station and through the Derwent Valley Mills.

      If you consider the trouble that Network Rail had with the bridge at Steventon in Oxfordshire, I can understand their worries in the Derwent Valley.

      But as the Hitachi trains have very agile pantographs and they have all the technical knowledge of Hitachi ABB Power Grids, I expect to see quite a lot of discontinuous electrification on the Midland Main Line.

      Comment by AnonW | December 30, 2021 | Reply

      • The fact that the Milford Tunnel has a Grade II rating (applied to a portal) really isn’t the issue.
        Reading local press reports there is little concern about electrification and the heritage status, with most commentary relating to the bridges and viaduct.
        According to a History and Gazetteer of Derbyshire published by Francis White & Co in 1857, the relatively short Milford Tunnel in itself doesn’t present a problem, rather it’s more likely the masonry lined cutting that a Sheffield bound train has to go through and which is traversed by no less than 11 bridges in one mile could make things difficult. If one were to be concerned about tunnels the longer Clay Cross built as part of the original line, with similar clearances and a far more imposing portal would be far more challenging.

        Comment by fammorris | December 31, 2021

  3. Seeing as the Class 800 Series have Brecknell-Willis pantographs from sunny Somerset like most of the UK’s 25kV powered rolling stock I don’t know why you’re implying Hitachi have anything special to do with performance of the product.

    Comment by fammorris | December 30, 2021 | Reply

  4. Thanks for the input. I wouldn’t be surprised to see sections not electrified, as it will reduce disruption and shorten the project time.

    All it needs is to balance the cost of the batteries against the savings on the electrification.

    Comment by AnonW | December 31, 2021 | Reply

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