The Anonymous Widower

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!

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

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 Railways for that matter!

The first person, who does something is always remembered!

Losers come second!

August 21, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 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

More Frequent Trains And A New Station For The London Overground

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

This is a summary of what Ian says.

  • The new Surrey Canal Road station will be built and called New Bermondsey.
  • A second entrance will be built at Surrey Quays station.
  • Updated signalling will allow the frequency of trains  through the core section of the East London Line to rise from sixteen trains per hour (tph) to twenty.
  • The service between Highbury & Islington and Crystal Palace stations will be increased from four to six tph.
  • The service between Dalston Junction and Clapham Junction stations will be increased from four to six tph.

Ian says this about the link between funding and project delivery.

.The funding under the HIF needs to be spent by 2023, so that’s the deadline for the upgrades to be delivered.

It is a substantial upgrade, which is supported by a Government grant of £80.3million to help in the construction of 14,000 homes.

These are my thoughts.

New Bermondsey Station

I covered building this station in Would This Be The Easiest Station To Build In The UK?.

These pictures were taken in 2015.

The station is close to Millwall FC’s stadium  and this Google Map shows the relationship between the stadium and the station.

The stadium is at the top of the map and the station is in the South-East corner of the map and will be built over Surrey Canal Road.

The Second Entrance At Surrey Quays Station

Ian says this about the second entrance at Surrey Quays station.

The very cramped Surrey Quays station gets a second entrance, which will run under the main road and be based on the north side, where the shopping centre car park is today. That avoids crossing two busy roads, which can take some time if you’re waiting for the lights to change.

This Google Map shows the area around the station.

Ian’s description fits well!

Extra Trains

Both the Clapham Junction and Crystal Palace routes take around 40-45 minutes with a generous turnround time, giving a round trip time of two hours.

  • This would mean that currently both these routes both need eight trains.
  • Increase the frequency to six tph and both routes need twelve trains.
  • This means that another eight trains will be needed to boost the frequency from four tph to six on both routes.

The extra trains should preferably be Class 378 trains, as these are certified for working through the Thames Tunnel, whereas the new Class 710 trains are not.

  • Six Class 710 trains are destined for the Watford DC Line, where they will replace the current Class 378 trains, which will go to the East London Line.
  • There are also six five-car Class 710 trains on order to boost services on the North and West London Lines, which could allow a few five-car Class 378 trains to more to the East london Line.

If Bombardier can deliver the Class 710 trains, then I don’t see have any problems in finding enough trains for the East London Line.

In fact, if London Overground decided to run more services through the Thames Tunnel, they probably have enough trains to run 24 tph on the East London Line, if they should wish.

Would It Be Better To Turn Both 6 tph Services At Highbury & Islington Station?

The East London Line has its own dedicated tracks between Dalston Junction and Highbury & Islington stations, with an intermediate stop at Canonbury station.

  • Currently, there are eight tph between Dalston Junction and Highbury & Islington
  • If the Crystal Palace service is increased by two tph, the frequency will increase to ten tph  between Dalston Junction and Highbury & Islington.
  • If the Clapham Junction service is increased by two tph and turns back at Highbury & Islington station, the frequency will increase to twelve tph between Dalston Junction and Highbury & Islington.

To travellers like me, who live halfway between Canonbury and Dalston Junction station, the increased frequency could be very welcome.

  • If I’m coming from the West on the North London Line, I will often change trains at Canonbury, take one stop to Dalston Junction and then take a bus to my house.
  • From the East, I’ll use the cross-platform interchange at Canonbury, and go home via Dalston Junction and a bus.
  • Tranport for London have recently halved the bus service between my house and Highbury & Islington station, so I tend to use the  Canonbury change more often.

The increase in frequency between Canonbury and Dalston Junction stations, will mean that those changing to go South will have less time to wait.

It would surely help at Dalston Junction station, in that if both six tph services, went through to Highbury & Islington, as passengers would sort themselves out better in busy times, as to which platform to use.

  • Platform 1 – 12 tph to Canonbury and Highbury & Islington
  • Plstform 2 – 4 tph to and from Surray Quays and New Cross
  • Platform 3 – 4 tph to and from Surray Quays and West Croydon
  • Platform 4 – 12 trains to Surray Quays and Crystal Palace or Clapham Junction

\s Platforms 3 and 4 share a spacious island platform, effectively it will be a  16 tph Southbound platform.

South of Dalston Junction station, there will be the same increase to 20 tph, no matter where the individual services turn back.

I suspect too, that there if twelve tph by-passed Dalston Junction station, as they do in the through platforms, that operationally, it might be easier.

 

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

A Trip To Kingham Station

I visited Kingham station on a trip to have lunch with friends nearby.

The station is not step-free, by any means.

Commuters or shoppers going to London, Reading or Oxford must use the bridge without lifts on the Outward journey, but at least when returning, it’s a level walk to the car park.

All services are run by Class 800/801/802 trains, which as the first picture shows don’t have step-free access between train and platform.

But there are many stations that are worse and more difficult to make step-free.

This Google Map shows Kingham station, with London to the South and Worcester to the North.

If you look at my pictures taken in 2019 and the Google Map, you’ll notice that the stairs on the bridge point the other way and that the bridge is the other side of the station building, which is indicated by the red logo.

This sentence in the Wikipedia entry for the station, indicates what is happening.

In 2015, a car park extension has been added with 100 car spaces, and a new footbridge is being added, with provision for passenger lifts.

This probably means the Google Map was created before 2015 and that lifts can be added on the Worcester side of the new footbridge.

It also gives Network Rail an unusual dilemma.

In Winner Announced In The Network Rail Footbridge Design Ideas Competition, I wrote how the competition was won by this bridge.

A factory-built bridge would be ideal for Kingham station and it could have easily been fitted in the space taken by the new bridge.

But in 2015, when the current bridge was installed, the new style of step-free bridge hadn’t even been designed.

Network Rail have two choices.

  • Add traditional lifts to the current bridge.
  • Swap the current bridge for one of the new design with lifts.

There may even be a third choice.

Could two lift towers designed for the winning design be erected and linked to the 2015 bridge?

  • The lift towers appear to have been designed to be free-standing and be able support the weight of the bridge deck, perhaps with the stairs acting as a structural support.
  • The 2015 bridge been designed to accept traditional lifts in brick or steel towers, so why can’t it accept modern steel and glass lifts?

I think it would be possible and at Kingham station, I suspect the lifts could be installed without disrupting the trains or passengers, during a short closure of the line or the station.

I suspect the cost would salso be more affordable.

Other Stations

There are probably several stations with a very serviceable footbridge, that are suitable for lifts to be added.

This picture shows the footbridge at Marks Tey station.

This could be an ideal candidate.

  • The bridge appears sound.
  • The bridge appears to meet all the regulations concerning electrification.
  • The handrails on the stairs could be updated to a modern standard.
  • It looks like there is sufficient space for the towers.

I doubt installation of lifts would be a difficult and expensive project.

There are probably several other stations with a similar design of bridge.

Conclusion

Could Network Rail’s new design of step-free bridge be applied to existing bridges in other stations?

 

 

 

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

A Garden Is Being Created Under London Bridge Station

I took these pictures as I walked in one of the tunnels under London Bridge station.

Somebody is doing a bit of garden creation.

 

 

August 17, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment