The Anonymous Widower

Will HS2 And Northern Powerhouse Rail Go For The Big Bore?

It looks to me that there will be increasing links and merging between High Speed Two (HS2) and Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR).

This report on the Transport for the North web site, is entitled At A Glance – Northern Powerhouse Rail.

Proposals and possibilities include.

  • NPR will have a Western terminal at a new station in Liverpool City Centre.
  • HS2 trains would access Liverpool and Manchester via a junction between HS2 and NPR at High Legh.
  • There will be six trains per hour (tph) between Liverpool and Manchester via Manchester Airport.
  • The route between Manchester and Manchester Airport is planned to be in tunnel.
  • There will be six tph between Manchester and Leeds.

In addition, Boris has made positive noises about a high speed line between Manchester and Leeds being of a high priority.

So will the planners go for the logical solution of a High Speed tunnel between Manchester Airport and Leeds?

  • There could be a theoretical capacity of perhaps 15 tph, which is the design capacity of High Speed Two.
  • Speeds of up to 140 mph should be possible.
  • Stations could be at Manchester Airport, Manchester Piccadilly/Piccadilly Gardens, Huddersfield, Bradford and Leeds.
  • West of Manchester Airport, the route appears easier and the tunnel would emerge close to the airport.
  • East of Leeds the tunnel would join up with existing routes to Doncaster, Hull, Newcastle and York.

I believe such a tunnel could be built without disrupting existing rail services and passengers. Remember buildibg Crossrail’s tunnels was an almost invisible process.

It would result in two rail systems across Northern England.

  • An Upgrading Of The Classic Rail Routes
  • The Big Bore

My thoughts on the two systems follow.

An Upgrading Of The Classic Rail Routes

This could include improvements such as these,

  • Extra passing loops.
  • Selective electrification
  • Improved stations
  • Comprehensive in-car digital signalling
  • More paths for passenger and freight trains.

Which could be applied to routes, such as these.

  • The Huddersfield Line
  • The Chat Moss Line
  • The Calder Valley Line
  • The Hope Valley Line
  • The Dearne Valley Line
  • The Leeds and Hull Line
  • The Midland Main Line North Of Clay Cross

In addition, there could be the reopening of some closed or freight routes to passenger trains.

This article on Rail Technology Magazine is entitled Network Rail Reveals Detailed £2.9bn Upgrade Plans For TransPennine Route.

It is a comprehensive upgrade that includes.

  • Improvement between Huddersfield and Westtown
  • Grade separation or a tunnel at Ravensthorpe
  • Rebuilding and electrification of eight miles of track.
  • Possible doubling the number of tracks from two to four.
  • Improved stations at Huddersfield, Deighton, Mirfield and Ravensthorpe.

This project would be a major improvement to the Huddersfield Line.

In Sheffield Region Transport Plan 2019 – Hope Valley Line Improvements, I talked about planned improvements to the Hope Valley Line, which should begin in the next couple of years.

These improvements are given in detail under Plans in the Wikipedia entry for the Hope Valley Line.

The Hope Valley Improvements will cost in the region of tens of millions of pounds and Wikipedeia sums up the benefits like this.

These changes to allow three fast trains, a stopping train and freight trains each hour were also supported in a Transport for the North investment report in 2019, together with “further interventions” for the Northern Powerhouse Rail programme.

It seems like good value to me!

So could we see other millions and billion pound projects created to improve the classic routes across the Pennines?

Projects would be fully planned and the costs and benefits would then be assessed and calculated.

Then it would be up to the Project Managers to devise the optimal structure and order in which to carry out all the project.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see the following techniques used.

  • Discontinuous electrification to avoid bridge reconstruction.
  • Intelligent, hybrid diesel/electric/battery trains from Bombardier, Hitachi or Stadler, capable of 125 mph running and changing mode at speed.
  • Modular digital signalling
  • Factory built stations and step-free bridges.
  • Removal of all level crossings.
  • All stations updated for step-free access between train and platform.

The objectives would be as follows.

  • More paths, where needed.
  • Faster line speed.
  • Less running on diesel.
  • Fast station stops.

Hopefully, the upgrading could be done without too much disruption.

Remember though, that disruption to existing users during a project, is most likely down to bad project management.

The Big Bore

The Central Core tunnel of Crossrail between Royal Oak and East London, was virtually a separate project before Crossrail’s stations and much of other infrastructure was built.

I believe that digging the tunnel first gave a big advantage, in that it could be constructed as an independent project, provided that the logistics of delivering the components and removing the junk was done efficiently.

But it did mean that travellers wouldn’t see any benefits until the project was almost complete.

HS2 and NPR are different in that they also envisage upgrading these routes.

  • The Huddersfield Line
  • The Chat Moss Line
  • The Calder Valley Line
  • The Hope Valley Line
  • The Dearne Valley Line
  • The Leeds and Hull Line
  • The Midland Main Line North Of Clay Cross

Only the Huddersfield Line is directly affected by the Big Bore.

Effectively, the Big Bore will provide a by-pass route for passenger trains between Leeds and West of Manchester Airport, to take the fast trains of HS2 and NPR underneath the congested classic lines.

In Changes Signalled For HS2 Route In North I said this about a tunnel between Leeds and Manchester.

To get a twenty-five minute time between Leeds and Manchester with a ten minute frequency, which I believe is the minimum service the two cities deserve, would be like passing a whole herd of camels through the eye of a single needle.

The Swiss, who lets face it have higher hills, than we have in Northern England would create a new route mainly in tunnel between the two cities, with perhaps an underground station beneath the current Grade I Listed; Huddersfield station.

The transport for the North report suggests Bradford Low Moor station, as an intermediate station, so why not Bradford Low Moor and Huddersfield stations?

Note that the Gotthard Base Tunnel, which opened a couple of years ago, deep under the Alps, is about the same length as a Leeds and Manchester tunnel, and cost around eight billion pounds.

It would be expensive, but like Crossrail in London, the tunnel would have big advantages.

  • It could be built without disrupting current rail and road networks.
  • It would have a capacity of up to thirty tph in both directions.
  • Unlike Crossrail, it could handle freight trains.
  • It would unlock and join the railway systems to the East and West.

I believe, it would be a massive leap forward for transport in the North of England.

It would be a very big project and probably one of the longest rail tunnels in the world.

Comparison With The Gotthard Base Tunnel

But surely, if a small and rich nation like Switzerland can build the Gotthard Base Tunnel, then we have the resources to build the Big Bore between Manchester Airport and Leeds.

Consider these facts about the Gotthard Base Tunnel.

  • It is two single track bores.
  • Each bore has a track length of around 57 kilometres or 35 miles.
  • The tunnel may be deep, but it is direct and level.
  • The maximum speed is 250 kph or 160 mph.
  • The operational speed for passenger trains is 200 kph or 125 mph.
  • The operational speed for freight is 100 kph or 62 mph.
  • It can take the largest freight trains.

To make numbers even more impressive it is joined to the shorter Ceneri Base Tunnel.

Manchester And Leeds Direct

Now consider Manchester Airport and Leeds.

  • The current rail distance is 56 miles.
  • There are stops at Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Oxford Road, Manchester Victoria and Huddersfield stations.
  • Journey time is eighty minutes.

But the direct distance is only 68 kilometres or forty-three miles.

Surely if the Swiss can blast and dig two 57 km. single-track rail tunnels, we can go eleven kilometres further with all the recent experience of tunnelling around the world.

The lengths of the various legs would be as follows.

  • Manchester Airport and Manchester – 14 km.
  • Manchester and Huddersfield – 35 km.
  • Huddersfield and Bradford – 17 km.
  • Bradford and Leeds – 13 km

Trains running on the various legs at 200 kph, which is the cruising speed of a 1970s-built InterCity 125, could take the following times for the various legs.

  • Manchester Airport and Manchester – 4.2 minutes
  • Manchester and Huddersfield – 10.5 minutes
  • Huddersfield and Bradford – 5.1 minutes
  • Bradford and Leeds – 13 km – 3.9 minutes

Leeds and Manchester Airport would be under thirty minutes apart.

Looking at NPR between Liverpool and Hull, times could be as follows.

  • Liverpool and Manchester – 26 minutes
  • Manchester and Leeds – 20 minutes
  • Leeds and Hull – 38 minutes

Or a Coast-to-Coast time of under ninety minutes.

Train Frequencies

At the current time or certainly in a few years time, the theoretical frequency through the Big Bore will be at least fifteen tph and possibly as high as twenty-four tph.

The At A Glance – Northern Powerhouse Rail report talks about the following frequencies.

  • Liverpool and Manchester via Manchester Airport – Six tph.
  • Manchester and Leeds – Six tph
  • Leeds and Hull – Two tph

This is all so lacking in ambition. It is like building a new high capacity road and only allowing those with status to use the road.

If Leeds and Manchester Airport can handle eighteen tph, why not use some of it to create an Express Metro under the Pennines?

To me, if the Big Bore is built, nothing short of twelve tph or a train every five minutes is acceptable, at Liverpool, Manchester Airport, Manchester, Huddersfield, Bradford and Leeds stations.

The extension to Hull could be reduced to perhaps six tph, but with the upgrading of the Hull and Leeds Line to perhaps 140 mph, I’d be bold and create a true TransPennine Express;

Hull and Liverpool every five minutes would be the ultimate Marketing dream.

The Underground Stations

Manchester Airport, Manchester, Huddersfield, Bradford and Leeds would all be through stations deep underground.

  • They would be connected to the surface by lifts and escalators.
  • Some entrances to the stations would connect to existing stations and others might emerge in City squares like Manchester’s P:iccadilly Gardens.
  • Most stations would be just two platforms, as all trains would pass through on either side of a large underground concourse.;
  • All stations would have platform edge doors.
  • Passengers would be able to reverse direction by just walking across the concourse.

Stations would build on the lessons learned from Crossrail. But then NPR is closer to Crossrail than a Classic High Speed Line.

The Terminal Stations

The two main terminal stations for NPR and trains running through the Big Bore would be the proposed High Speed station at Liverpool and the existing Hull station.

But one other terminal station is being created; Edinburgh.

I have been going to Edinburgh station to and from England for perhaps thirty years and the capacity of the station has constantly increased.

Recent developments are extended Platforms 5 and 6, that can take the longest LNER trains.

I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that with the application of digital signalling, that there is capacity for at least eight tph between Edinburgh and Newcastle.

There would certainly be capacity for at vleast two tph between Liverpool and Edinburgh via Manchester Airport, Manchester, Huddersfield, Bradford, Leeds, York and Newcastle.

In the East the other possibilities for terminals are Doncaster, Newcastle and York.

  • I would discount Newcastle, as it lacks capacity and its location would make it difficult to add.
  • Doncaster has good connectivity and space, but do Leeds and Hull offer similar connectivity?

So that leaves Hull, Edinburgh and York, as the only Eastern terminals.

In the West, there is probably a need to connect to the Northern section of the West Coast Main Line (WCML).

Glasgow Central is probably the obvious terminal, but it would need an extra connection at the junction of HS2, NPR and WCML at High Legh.

If necessary Preston could be used, as it has space and lots of connectivity.

Integration Of HS2 and NPR

The At A Glance – Northern Powerhouse Rail report is proposing this and it looks that the following HS2 services could be possible between Euston and Manchester.

  • Two tph – Euston and Hull via Old Oak Common, Manchester Airport, Manchester, Huddersfield, Bradford and Leeds
  • Two tph – Euston and Edinburgh via Old Oak Common, Manchester Airport, Manchester, Huddersfield, Bradford, Leeds, York and Newcastle.

Note.

  1. Manchester Airport, Manchester, Huddersfield, Bradford and Leeds would all have four tph to and from London, by the Western arm of HS2’s Y.
  2. If in addition there were two tph between Liverpool and Hull and Liverpool and Edinburgh, this would mean four tph from the Big Bore of NPR to both Hull and Edinburgh.
  3. None of these core services need to terminate in the Big Bore.

I very much feel that integrating HS2 and NPR is the way to go.

Freight

The Gotthard Base Tunnel has been designed so that both freight and passenger trains can use the route.

There is a need for extra freight capacity across the country and I wonder if freight trains could use the Big Bore.

I estimate that the Big Bore would be 68 kilometres if bored straight and level between West of Manchester Airport and Leeds.

Lets assume it is seventy kilometres or 43.5 miles.

So times, through the tunnel at various average speeds would be.

  • 125 mph – 21 minutes
  • 110 mph – 23.7 minutes
  • 100 mph – 26.1 minutes
  • 90 mph – 29 minutes
  • 80 mph – 32.6 minutes
  • 62 mph (Gotthard Base Tunnel speed for freight) – 42 minutes.

Could it be mandated that freight trains can use the tunnel, if they could maintain a particular speed?

Consider.

  • A 125 mph train with stops at Manchester Airport, Manchester, Huddersfield, Bradford and Leeds would probably take thirty minutes to transit the tunnel.
  • A freight train running at 90 mph would take more or less the same time.
  • Fifteen tph would mean a train every four minutes.
  • Automatic control of all trains in the tunnel would be a possibility. It appears to work on the much more complicated Thameslink.

I think with the following conditions, one or even two freight trains per hour, in addition to the passenger trains, can pass through the Big Bore in each direction.

  • The locomotives have the performance of at least the Class 93 locomotive, which is currently being built.
  • Freight trains can be hauled through at a minimum speed, which could be between 90 and 110 mph.
  • The passenger trains and train and platform staff work together to produce very short station dwell times.
  • All passenger trains are identical.
  • Station platforms are designed so that passengers can leave and enter the trains rapidly.

It will be a Big Bore with a capacity to match!

What About Sheffield?

I haven’t forgotten Sheffield, but I think it could be linked across the Penines by another route.

Under the upgrades for Northen Powerhouse Rail, it is proposed that services between Sheffield and Leeds become 4 ton in 25 minutes along the Dearne Valley Line.

Does Boris Know More Than He Lets On?

The headline on the front cover of Issue 885 of Rail Magazine is Boris Backs New Pennine Railway.

There is also a sub-heading of PM commits to Leeds-Machester line.

Boris didn’t apply any substance to the speech, except to say that it will be funded.

I believe that my naive analysis in this post shows that something is possible and I just wonder, if Boris has been briefed about a much better plan?

August 25, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are Class 360 Trains Suitable For St. Pancras And Corby?

It appears that East Midlands Railway will be using Class 360 trains on the route between St. Pancras and Corby stations running them under the branch name of EMR Electrics.

The London And St. Pancras Route

The route has the following characteristics.

  • It is just short of 80 miles long.
  • The current Class 222 trains take one hour and fifteen minutes for the journey.
  • This means these trains have a start to stop average at 64 mph.
  • Much of the route is cleared for 125 mph running.
  • The route is being made a complete double track.
  • The whole route is being electrified with 25 KVAC overhead wires.

In December 2020, the route will host a new electric service.

East Midlands Railway’s Train Specification For The Route

This page on the Department for Transport web site is an interactive map of the Abellio’s promises for East Midlands Railway.

These features are mentioned for Midland Main Line services to Corby.

  • Increased capacity
  • Twelve-car trains in the Peak.
  • More reliable service
  • Improved comfort
  • Passenger information system
  • Free on-board Wi-Fi
  • At-seat power sockets
  • USB points
  • Air conditioning
  • Tables at all seats
  • Increased luggage space
  • On-board cycle storage

What more could passengers want?

How Well Do Class 360 Trains Fit The Specification?

These are a few pictures of a Class 360 train, which I took today.

Some problems and strengths are immediately obvious.

  • There are no tables.
  • Will two+three seating e acceptable, considering that the current trains on the route have two+two seating.
  • There is no space for bicycles.
  • There are no luggage racks, which will be needed as the Corby service will also double as a service to Luton Airport.
  • The trains are in reasonably good condition.
  • There ia a fully-accessible toilet.

A lot of work will need to be done to update the interior of the trains to a standard, that fits East Midland Railway’s specification and their customers expectations.

But there is a full twelve months before the trains will be needed to run on the newly electrified route between St. Pancras and Corby stations.

This may seem enough time, but many current train refurbishment projects are running late.

Is The Performance Of Class 360 Trains Good Enough?

The current Class 222 trains have the following performance.

  • 125 mph maximum speed.
  • An acceleration rate of 0.80 m/sec/sec

By comparison the Class 360 trains have the following performance.

  • 100 mph maximum speed.
  • An acceleration rate of 0.98 m/sec/sec.

Given that much of the route between St. Pancras and Corby stastions will be constructed for 125 mph running, will the top speed of the Class 360 trains be high enough?

Will The Class 360 Trains And The Hitachi AT-300 Bi-Modes Be Compatible?

East Midlands Railway has ordered thirty-three AT-300 bi-modes, which will be able to run at 125 mph on the fully-electrified Midland Main Line to the South of Market Hsrborough station.

As thetwo trains will share the fast lines, with the Class 360 trains, will there be conflicts, as the Class 360 trains are only capable of 100 mph?

Ideally, the Class 360 trains should be upgraded to their highest speed possible.

Some of similar Class 350 trains are capable of 110 mph.

This could be enough, but surely for ease of operation, all of East Midlands Railway’s services into St. Pancras should be run by trains capable of running at 125 mph.

Will The Class 360 Trains Need Digital Signalling?

The Hitachi AT-300 trains will probably be able to run using digital signalling, which could be a valuable way of creating more paths on the Midland Main Line.

So will the Class 3560 trains be fitted with digital signalling?

Conclusion

In my view there is a lot of upgrade work to be done to the Class 360 trains to make them suitable for working on the services between St. Pancras and Corby.

  • They need a new upgraded interior.
  • The trains need upgrading to at least 110 mph.
  • A possible upgrading with digital signalling.

I can’t help feeling that the Class 360 trains would make a good stop-gap, but in the long-term it might be better to have a small fleet of electric trains.

Electric AT-300 trains must be one of the favourites, although Class 745 trains, similar to those that Abellio will run between Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport, would do nicely.

 

August 22, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 3 Comments

East Midlands Railway Announces Three Brands

The title if this article is the same as that of this article on Railway Gazette.

This is a quote about their electric trains to Corby, which will run under the brand name of EMR Electrics.

EMR said that once various developments had been completed, passengers would be able to reach the terminal at Luton Airport in ‘a little under half an hour’ from central London.

Currently, the fastest services going to between St. Pancras and Luton Airport Parkway stations take twenty-four minutes using 125 mph Class 222 trains with Luton Airport Parkway as the first stop.

Thameslink using 100 mph Class 700 trains take 30 minutes and more!

I question, whether the 100 mph Class 360 trains, running with Luton Airport Parkway as the first stop, can do the trip in the 24-26 minutes to get to the terminal in under half an hour, even with Luton Airport’s  DART shuttle train working!

In Are Class 360 Trains Suitable For St. Pancras And Corby?, I looked at Class 360 trains running the service between St. Pancras and Corby stations.

I came to this conclusion.

In my view there is a lot of upgrade work to be done to the Class 360 trains to make them suitable for working on the services between St. Pancras and Corby.

  • They need a new upgraded interior.
  • The trains need upgrading to at least 110 mph.
  • A possible upgrading with digital signalling.

I can’t help feeling that the Class 360 trains would make a good stop-gap, but in the long-term it might be better to have a small fleet of electric trains.

Electric AT-300 trains must be one of the favourites, although Class 745 trains, similar to those that Abellio will run between Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport, would do nicely.

So will East Midlands Railway have updated and faster Class 360 trains or will they be bringing in 125 mph trains to hit the required schedule to Luton Airport Parkway?

Conclusion

Luton Airport will have a real Airport Express!

But will the Class 360 trains, be able to deliver it? I have my doubts!

August 21, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Little Has Been Said About East Midlands Railway’s Promised Hydrogen Trains

In their proposal for the East Midlands franchise, Abellio said that they would trial hydrogen-powered trains on the Midland Main Line.

But little has been heard of this promise since winning the franchise.

So where could the franchise use hydrogen-powered trains on the Midland Main Line?

Extending Corby Trains To Oakham And Melton Mowbray

This is a distance of under thirty miles, so it would probably be within range of a well-designed hybrid battery-hydrogen-electric train.

  • Refuelling with hydrogen could be at Corby or Melton Mowbray stations.
  • Trains would be 240 metres long.
  • In addition batteries would be charged between St. Pancras and Corby stations.
  • Trains would run at 125 mph for much of the route between St. Pancras and Corby.
  • Hydrogen power would be used as a top-up between Corby and Melton Mowbray if required.

The service could even go further and turn back at Leicester.

Perhaps one train per hour (tph) of the two Corby services could be extended.

Non-Stop London To Leicester Trains

The Midland Main Line will be electrified as far as Market Harborough, so there would be under twenty miles without electrification on the route between St. Pancras and Leicester stations.

  • Trains would run at 125 mph for much of the route between St. Pancras and Leicester.
  • Refuelling could be at Leicester.
  • To publicise the service, it might be best to run two tph non-stop.
  • Perhaps the only stop would be Luton Airport Parkway, as the Airport wants more fast services.

As with the Corby Extension service, it wouldn’t require a great deal of running on hydrogen.

Why Not Run A Loop From London?

If the Corby Extension service went as far as Leicester it would approach the station from the North, whereas the London service would approach from the South.

So why not run the services back-to-back?

  • There could be two tph in each direction.
  • There could be a longer stop at Leicester to take on hydrogen.
  • Stops could include Luton Airport Parkway in both directions, to give the Airport four tph to and from London and Leicester.
  • There might also be the possibility of an improved station at Syston, which is to the North-East of Leicester.

It wouldn’t need any new platforms or other infrastructure, except for the hydrogen filling station at Leicester and the possible improvements at Syston.

It would deliver high speed hydrogen-powered trains to Leicester at a frequency of two tph direct and two trph via Corby.

It would fit Luton Airport’s ambitions as I outlined in Luton Trains Its Eye On Sub 30-Minute Express.

What would that do for the prestige of the Leicester and the ambitions of Luton Airport?

Who Would Build The Trains?

These are my thoughts.

  • Alston have the technology, but do they have the train?
  • Bombardier have stated they are not interested in hydrogen.
  • CAF have the train and the battery technology, but do they have the hydrogen technology?
  • Hitachi have the train, but do they have the battery and hydrogen technology?
  • Stadler have the train and the battery technology, but do they have the hydrogen technology?

I have heard rumours they are pushing hydrogen technology and also that their PowerPack concept works at 125 mph, so I suspect that Stadler are as likely as any to produce a working high speed hybrid hydrogen train.

But they will have several dozen trains working in the UK in a year or so.

They are not to be underestimated.

But then the prize for successfully running a 200 kph or 125 mph zero-carbon train will be immense, and this will not be lost on the train builders.

Or East Midlands Railway for that matter!

The first person, who does something is always remembered!

Losers come second!

August 21, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

On The Caledonian Sleeper To Glasgow

I’m on the Caledonian Sleeper to Hlasgow.

It’s one of the new Mark 5 trains and they are a great improvement, although one Scottish hard man, preferred the old Mark 3s.

Out of Euston we were doing 80 mph and the ride in the Lounge Car is good. At least up to the standard of a Greater Anglia Mark 3, which are some of the best!

I’ll finish this post by adding pictures and tags when I get home!

August 19, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Metrolink Customers Complete 170k Trips Using Contactless System

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

The high number of journeys is no surprise to me and Manchester should have introduced this system several years ago!

This post from September 2015 is ntitled Transport for London Are Leading The Contactless Revolution.

I’ll repeat the short post here.

This article from Rail Magazine is entitled Contactless Ticketing Booms In London.

It states the following.

  • In the first year, 180 million journeys have been made using contactless cards.
  • This accounts for a fifth of all pay-as-you-go journeys.

But what isn’t said is the fact that despite the predictions of some left-wing and green politicians, there has been no hint of any problems. If there had been, the various tabloids would have had a field-day.

When are the rest of the large cities of the UK going to copy London, so I don’t need to use that nineteenth century technology of paper tickets?

Manchester’s figure of 170,000 in four weeks is a rate of around two million in the first year.

  • Greater Manchester is a lot smaller than Greater London.
  • London had been running Oyster successfully since 2003.
  • Oyster and contsctless ticketing could be used on the Underground, Overground, trams, trains and buses.

I will be very surprised if Manchester doesn’t expand their system.

This is said in the Wikipedia entry for Oyster card.

Since the launch of contactless payment in 2012, over 500 million journeys have been made, using over 12 million contactless bank cards.

Assuming the rate of use is level, which it isn’t as it’s increasing, this works out at 71.4 million journeys per year.

  • Greater London’s population is 8.8 million
  • Greater Manchester’s population is 2.8 million

Just doing a simple pro-rata means that Manchester should see 22 million journeys a year or 62,000 journeys a day.

According to Wikipedia, the Manchester Metrolink had 43.7 million riders in 2018/19.

Conclusion

Manchester must do the following as soon as possible.

  • Extend contactless ticketing to all buses and trains in the Greater Manchester area.
  • Make sure all taxis accept contactless cards.
  • Extend the Mabchester Metrolink.
  • Put in an order for some more trams, as soon as possible. They will be needed as traffic will grow exponentially.
  • Purchase some vandal-proof terminals.

They should also enter into discussions with Cheshire, Lancashire, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield and Yorkshire about creating a common and integrated contactless card system for the North!

Contactless ticketing would transform lhe North!

Will Contactless Ticketing Generate Funding For Extensions?

Some extensions to the Manchester Metrolink will be fairly easy and not very costly to build. In Tram-Trains To Hale Station, I talked about a simple extension to Hale station, that could go a lot further to perhaps Northwich, Sandbach and Crewe.

When Transport for Greater Manchester get a decent financial model and data from a year of contactless ticketing, some of the routes for tram-trains might be possible to fund from a large insurance or pension fund.

I have used this tram-train extension as an example, as there is no need to lay a lot of new track, so costs can be less.

London should have been able to fund improvements, but Sadiq Khan brought in a fare freeze and Crossrail turned out to be late.

A Lesson For Brexit

Boris Johnson was Mayor of London, when full contactless ticketing was implemented in London.

  • It was the first such system in the world.
  • The left and the green were against it and said it would all end in tears.
  • All Londoners and visitors have embraced the system and I’ve never found anybody who refuses to use it.
  • Attacks on staff have dropped to a very low level, as there’s no money about.
  • In my opinion it is one of the main reasons, that London has been so successful in recent years.

I voted Remain and still think, there are reasons we should stay in Europe.

  • But the referendum went the other way and everyone must abide by the result.
  • Boris probably had little to do with London’s contactless ticketing revolution, but if it had failed he would have got the blame.
  • All politicians in London now embrace the technology and would be voted out of office, if they decided contactless bank cards couldn’t be used.

Boris is now in charge of Brexit and just like those of the left and the green who opposed contactless ticketing, those that oppose Brexit will be Yesterday’s Men.

Like contactless ticketing, it has nothing to do with Boris, but all to do with the power of the man and woman on the bus or in the voting booth.

I think it is too late to stop a No-Deal Brexit.

 

August 19, 2019 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Shuttle Train Between Stratford And Meridian Water Stations Has Appeared In The Timetable

In the Wikipedia entry for Meridian Water station, this is said about the initial service.

A seven day a week, half-hour service from 6am to 11pm is timetabled to start on 9 September 2019  to Stratford calling at Northumberland Park, Tottenham Hale and Lea Bridge which will start and terminate at Meridian Water from Platform two.

If you type this date and time into the on-line National Rail timetable, you get these trains.

  • 06:22
  • 07:08 and )7:38
  • 08:08 and )8:38

The trains then seem to follow the eight minutes past the half hour pattern until 23:08

Each journey has the same characteristics.

  • They leave from Platform 2 at Meridian Water
  • They arrive in Platform 11 at Stratford fifteen minutes later at XX:23 and XX:53
  • Times at Northumberland Park are XX:10 and XX:40.
  • Times at Tottenham Hale are XX:13 and XX:43
  • Times at Lea Bridge are XX:16 and XX:46

Return journeys have the following characteristics

  • They leave from Platform 11 at Stratford at XX:17 and XX:47
  • They arrive in Platform 2 at Meridian Water fifteen minutes later at XX:32 and XX:02
  • Times at Lea Bridge are XX:23 and XX:53
  • Times at Tottenham Hale are XX:26 and 56
  • Times at Northumberland Park are XX:29 and XX:59

The timetable to provide the two trains per hour (tph) service looks to have been put together in a very simple way.

  • Two trains are used.
  • Train One works the XX:08 from Meridian Water and the XX:47 train from Stratford
  • Train Two works the XX:38 from Meridian Water and the XX:17 train from Stratford
  • Trains have six minutes to turn round at Meridian Water.
  • Trains have twenty-four minutes to turn round at Stratford.
  • Only one train is North of Lea Bridge at any one time and they are on the new third track.
  • The two trains will pass between Stratford and Lea Bridge stations, where they will be on separate tracks.

There is one complication; the two tph service between Stratford and Bishops Stortford is still running and the timetable, says it will be using Platform 11 at Stratford.

  • But as the Meridian Water shuttle train will wait for twenty-four minutes at Stratford, could the Bishops Stortford train share the same platform?
  • Or will the signallers use Platform 12 as an overflow, when they need?

There must be a sound, safe and reliable plan, otherwise they wouldn’t run the trains.

Enfield Council has been promised four tph between Meridian Water and Stratford stations.

Sharing Platform 11 between the Meridian Water shuttle and the Bishops Stortford service might just fulfil Enfield’s needs.

  • If the Southbound Bishops Stortford to Stratford service stopped at Meridian Water, if would stop in Platform 3, which shares an island with Platform 2, which will be used by the shuttle.
  • The Southbound Bishops Stortford to Stratford service would probably stop at Meridian Water at XX:22 and XX:52, which would be conveniently between the shuttle services.
  • Northbound Stratford to Bishops Stortford services would leave conveniently at XX:00 and XX:30 from the samr platform as the shuttle.

But I feel that this is very much an interim service until Greater Anglia have worked out what is possible with real trains and passengers and their new Class 720 trains have been delivered.

August 18, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

Flights For Sale On Deathtrap’ 737s

The title of this post, is the same as that on an article on the front page of today’s Sunday Times.

Apparently, TUI, United Airlines and some other airlines have booked passengers on Boeing 737 MAX 8 airlines for later in the year.

I certainly won’t fly these airlines until the Boeing 737 MAX scandal is over.

August 18, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | 7 Comments

The Bakerloo Line Connection At Paddington Station

I use the Bakerloo Line to get to and from Paddington station for various reasons, and find myself in the narrow two-way passage  between the Underground station entrance in the middle of the Paddington station and the top of the escalators to the Bakerloo Line.

These pictures show the route towards the Bakerloo Line.

 

It strikes me that a certain amount of reorganisation is needed.

  • In the narrow two-way passage signs tell people to keep left.
  • On the escalators, the escalators are run on a keep right basis.

So everybody has to cross over in the area at the top of the escalators.

I’m sure, it could be better organised.

It should be noted that another pedestrian tunnel is being built to connect the Bakerloo Line to Crossrail.

I wrote about the Paddington Bakerloo Line Link in Paddington Is Operational Again!

August 18, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

bluecity

I came across these two cars by Brentford station.

They are electric hire cars from a company called bluecity.

The concept should appeal to many living in London, and I might have been interested, if I still drove.

But I just have no interest these days, as life without a car is much more stress-free.

August 18, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment