The Anonymous Widower

Should The Great Northern And Great Eastern Joint Line Be Electrified?

The Great Northern And Great Eastern Joint Line was created in the Nineteenth Century by the Great Northern Railway and the Great Eastern Railway.

  • The main purpose was to move freight like coal, agricultural products and manufactured goods between Yorkshire and Eastern England.
  • It originally ran between Doncaster and Huntington via Gainsborough, Lincoln, Sleaford, Spalding and March.
  • It had a full length of almost 123 miles.
  • There was a large marshalling yard at Whitemoor near March.

Over the years the line has been pruned a bit and now effectively runs between Doncaster and Peterborough.

  • Trains between Lincoln and March are now routed via Peterborough.
  • It carries upwards of twenty freight trains per day in both directions through Lincoln Central station.
  • Many of the freight trains are going to and from the East Coast ports.
  • The distance between Doncaster and Peterborough is 93.7 miles, as opposed to the 79.6 miles on the East Coast Main Line.
  • The line is not electrified, but it connects to the electrified East Coast Main Line at both ends.

There have been some important developments in recent years.

2015 Freight Upgrade

Wikipedia says this about the major 2015 freight upgrade.

In 2015 a £280 million upgrade of the Joint Line by Network Rail was substantially complete, enabling two freight trains per hour to be diverted from the congested East Coast Main Line; gauge enhancements to enable the passage of 9 ft 6 in (2.90 m) containers were included in the work.

The Sleaford avoiding line had been substantially downgraded since the 1980s and was reinstated to double track as part of the 2015 scheme. Resignalling and modernisation of level crossings was included.

This means that freight trains have an alternative route, that avoids the East Coast Main Line.

Doncaster iPort

Over the last few years the Doncaster iPort has been developed, which is an intermodal rail terminal.

  • It has a size of around 800 acres.
  • The site opened in early 2018.
  • There is a daily train to the Port of Southampton and two daily trains to both Teesport and Felixstowe.
  • The Felixstowe trains would appear to use the Joint Line.

I feel that as the site develops, the Doncaster iPort will generate more traffic on the Joint Line.

This Google Map shows the Doncaster iPort.

There would appear to be plenty of space for expansion.

The Werrington Dive Under

The Werrington Dive Under has been built at a cost of £ 200 million, to remove a bottleneck at the Southern end of the Joint Line, where it connects to the East Coast Main Line.

The Werrington Dive Under was built, so that it could be electrified in the future.

LNER To Lincolnshire

LNER appear to have made a success of a one train per two hours (tp2h) service between London King’s Cross and Lincoln station.

  • LNER have stated, that they want to serve Grimsby and Cleethorpes in the North of the county.
  • North Lincolnshire is becoming important in supporting the wind energy industry in the North Sea.
  • Lincoln is becoming an important university city.
  • Several towns in Lincolnshire probably need a service to Peterborough and London.
  • In 2019, the Port of Grimsby & Immingham was the largest port in the United Kingdom by tonnage.

I can see an expanded Lincolnshire service from LNER.

Full Digital Signalling Of The East Coast Main Line To The South Of Doncaster

This is happening now and it will have a collateral benefits for the Joint Line.

Most passenger and freight trains will also use the East Coast Main Line, if only for a few miles, which will mean they will need to be fitted for the digital signalling.

This could mean that extending full digital signalling to Lincolnshire will not be a challenging project.

Arguments For Electrification

These are possible arguments for electrification.

Electric Freight Trains To And From The North

It would be another stretch of line, that could accommodate electric freight trains.

An Electrified Diversion Route For East Coast Main Line Expresses

Currently, when there is engineering blockades between Doncaster and Peterborough on the East Coast Main Line, the Hitachi Class 800 and Class 802 trains of Hull Trains and LNER are able to divert using their diesel power.

But the electric trains of LNER and Lumo have to be cancelled.

An electrified diversion route would be welcomed by passengers and train companies.

It would also mean that any trains running from King’s Cross to electrified destinations would not to have any diesel engines.

An Electrified Spine Through Lincolnshire

If there was an electrified spine between Doncaster and Peterborough via Gainsborough, Lincoln, Sleaford and Spalding, these stations would be these distances from the spine.

  • Boston – 16.8 miles
  • Cleethorpes – 47.2 miles
  • Grimsby Town – 43.9 miles
  • Market Rasen – 14.8 miles
  • Skegness – 40.7 miles

Note.

  1. These distances are all possible with battery-electric trains.
  2. Charging would be on the electrified spine and at Skegness and Cleethorpes stations.

All of South Lincolnshire and services to Doncaster would use electric trains.

London Services

London services would be via Spalding and join the East Coast Main Line at Werrington.

  • Boston and Skegness would be served from Sleaford, where the train would reverse.
  • Market Rasen, Grimsby Town and Cleethorpes would be served from Lincoln, where the train would reverse.

This would enable Cleethorpes and Skegness to have at least four trains per day to and from London King’s Cross.

North Lincolnshire Services

There are two train services in North Lincolnshire.

Cleethorpes and Barton-on-Humber.

Cleethorpes and Manchester Airport via Grimsby Town, Scunthorpe, Doncaster, Sheffield and Manchester Piccadilly.

Note.

  1. Cleethorpes would need to have a charger or a few miles of electrification, to charge a train from London.
  2. Doncaster, which is fully electrified is 52.1 miles from Cleethorpes.
  3. Barton-on-Humber is 22.8 miles from Cleethorpes.

Battery-electric trains should be able to handle both services.

Arguments Against Electrification

The only possible arguments against electrification are the disruption that the installation might cause and the unsightly nature of overhead gantries.

Conclusion

The Great Northern and Great Eastern Joint Line should be electrified.

 

 

 

 

February 15, 2022 - Posted by | Energy, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. According to the RIA all but15% of the entire network should be electrified.

    Comment by Matthew | February 16, 2022 | Reply


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