The Anonymous Widower

Two Platform Stations With 125 mph Trains

Increasingly, we are seeing stations in the UK, where there is only two platforms and trains pass through the station without stopping at 125 mph.

If HS4Air is built, there will be several stations between Gatwick Airport and Ashford, where this will happen.

I must admit, that I don’t like being on a platform, where trains past through, so perhaps it is a personal thing.

With me it’s not just 125 mph trains, but freight trains as well.

But for reasons of safety, I think we could come up with a better design of station.

I shall use Penshurst station on the Redhill to Tonbridge Line as an example.

This Google Map shows the station.

Note that it is very simple with a platform on each line.

Currently, it gets a single train per hour (tph) in both directions.

HS4Air would probably mean that at least another four tph, passed through the station at 125 mph.

Platform-edge doors would be a difficult and expensive solution, but why not make access to the platform only possible, when a train is stopping?

Looking at Penshurst station, this station also needs some more facilities, like a fully accessible footbridge.

The footbridge would be outside the secure area.

For slower passing trains and heavy freight trains, the use of wide platforms and rear access will suffice as these pictures from Hackney Wick station show.

If more stations were built to the rules used at Hackney Wick, the UK’s railways would probably be safer.

August 19, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Brompton’s Electric Bicycle

Brompton were promoting their new electric bicycle at Kings Cross.

It looks a neat front wheel drive, pedal-assisted design.

At nearly £3,000, it would only be a bike for a serious commuter. Although, I suspect many will buy one to potter around their local area.

What I found interesting was that the battery weighs three kilograms and has a capacity of 0.3 kWh.

This energy density is very much in line with the most efficient, large traction batteries in road vehicles, trains and trams.

 

August 17, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | 1 Comment

At Least Three Class 710 Trains Were Hiding At Willesden TMD

Today, I spotted at least three Class 710 trains hiding behind Willesden TMD.

You certainly can’t miss them with their orange fronts.

August 16, 2018 Posted by | Travel | | Leave a comment

How Removing Level Crossings Can Get Complicated And Expensive

This article in the East Anglian Daily Times is entitled Multi-Million Pound Lift Could Boost Rail Link From Sudbury To Colchester.

Greater Anglia intend to improve the service on the Gainsborough Line by running direct services between Sudbury and Colchester Town stations.

One of the reasons for doing this, is that the increasing number of passengers travelling between Sudbury and Colchester will avoid changing trains at Marks Tey station.

This Google Map shows Marks Tey station.

Note.

  • The two platforms on the Great Eastern Main Line.
  • The single platform for the Gainsborough Line.
  • The footbridge over the main line.

As can be seen, the only step-free interchange with the Gainsborough Line is to and from trains going North to Colchester and Ipswich.

These pictures show the frootbridge and the Gainsborough Line platform.

It is not an ideal interchange for passengers other than the unencumbered, fit and healthy.

I suspect some passengers from Sudbury to London might even take a train to Colchester first and then use the lifts to change to a London train.

And then there’s the Car Parking!

Note in the Google Map, that the station has two car parks, one on each side of the line. So most using the car parks will have to cross the line on the footbridge.

Also note, that the car park on the Northern side of the station, is connected to the station using a pedestrian crossing over the single track rail line, that connects the Gainsborough Line to the Great Eastern Main Line.

According to the East Anglian article, this rail line is used twice a day. But when the Sudbury to Colchester Town service starts, it will be used twice an hour. Anf if this service is successful, I can see Greater Anglia wanting to run the service with a frequency of two trains per hour (tph), which would mean four tph going over the pedestrian crossing.

Understandably, Network Rail want to remove the pedestrian crossing.

This is a paragraph from the East Anglian article.

The national fund has £300m available – and Mr Burles said he estimated that the cost of the work at Marks Tey would be between £4m and £5m. It is at the top of Greater Anglia’s “wish list,” but political support would be necessary if the money was to be released.

As to the political support, the Gainsborough Line and Marks Tey are in a total of five constituencies; all of which are Conservative.

I suspect, Chris Grayling could be under severe pressure from this one.

Although you have to remember that to many civil servants in the Department of Transport, Suffolk is just an area, you pass through on the way to your weekend cottage in Norfolk.

 

 

August 16, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Grayling Gives Green Light To Network Rail ECML Improvements

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

This Google Map shows the Werrington area, just North of Peterborough on the East Coast Main Line.

 

Network Rail have a web page, which describes the Werrington Grade Separation in detail.

This is said.

We will build a new two-track railway line, just over 3km in length, under the East Coast Main Line at Werrington Junction that will enable high-speed trains to pass over the Great Northern Great Eastern Line. North of the Cock Lane footbridge the Stamford Lines would be widened to the west to create four tracks. The central pair of tracks would then dive into a new underpass, below the ECML, and rise to meet the GNGE line approximately 600m after Lincoln Road.

This Google Map shows the Cock Lane footbridge over the East Coast Main Line.

Note the large number of tracks on the East Coast Main line. Those on the |Western side are the Stamford Lines.

This Google Map shows Northern end of the route, where it joins the Great Northern Great Eastern Joint Line.

From this video it looks like the new double-track railway passes under the Werrington Parkway and Lincoln Road under new bridges.

Note that video is good, but you will end up on the Network Rail web site, when it finishes. Why can’t they use YouTube like everyone else?

It is certainly a comprehensive scheme, which will stop freight trains slowing the expresses on the East Coast Main Line.

 

August 15, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

Peak District Freight Sidings Get £18m Network Rail Boost

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

This Google Map shows the spa town of Buxton and the surrounding countryside.

One of the towns major industries is quarrying and the white areas to the East of the town are the quarries. The large quarry at the top of the map is Tunstead Quarry, which produces 5.5 million tonnes of limestone a year.

This paragraph from Wikipedia, sums up the uses of limestone.

Limestone has numerous uses: as a building material, an essential component of concrete (Portland cement), as aggregate for the base of roads, as white pigment or filler in products such as toothpaste or paints, as a chemical feedstock for the production of lime, as a soil conditioner, or as a popular decorative addition to rock gardens.

So how does all this limestone get to where it is needed?

This map from this document on the Network Rail web site, shows the rail lines to the quarries

Note the two freight lines.

  • The Great Rocks Freight Line goes between a junction near Chinley station on the Hope Valley Line to Buxton via Tunstead Quarry and is used to take heavy trains into and out of the area.
  • The Quarry Freight Line connects other quarries to Buxton.

Trains going to and from the quarries on the Quarry Freight Line must reverse in sidings at Buxton to access the Great Rocks Freight Line.

This Google Map shows the various lines at Buxton.

Buxton station is in the South West corner of the map and the Buxton Line to Manchester goes out at the North.

The two freight lines come to Buxton from the South East and join in  the sidings that run along the Buxton Line.

I took these pictures in March 2017.

They show the sidings, as my train approached Buxton station.

It would be desirable to be able to run longer trains to and from Hindlow and Dowlow quaries on the Quarry Freight Line, but these sidings are not long enough to reverse the longer trains.

The £18million project will lengthen the sidings, so trains can consist of 26 instead of 18 wagons.

  • Each train will transport 2,500 tonnes of materials.
  • Each train will take 76 lorry loads from the roads.

The longer trains will mean that no new train paths will be needed on the crowded rail network.

Conclusion

This is only a small project, but it will increase freight capacity to and from Hindlow and Dowlow quarries by forty-four percent.

August 15, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

New Access To York Station As Part Of Major Brownfield Redevelopment Plans

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

This the first paragraph.

New plans including a new access point to York station and the expansion of the National Railway Museum headline groundbreaking proposals of creating 6,500 jobs in the city.

The development is a partnership between.

  • Homes England
  • Network Rail
  • York City Council
  • National Railway Museum

This page on the York City Council web site, is entitled Major Developments At York Central.

This is the first paragraph.

York Central is the large brownfield site to the west of the city’s railway station. It lies between the A19 and A59 road corridors, and is contained by operational rail lines.

The document goes on to say that redevelopment of parts of the site could include.

  • 1,000 to 2,500 homes
  • 60,000m2 to 120,000m2 of office, leisure and retail uses

To gauge the size of the site, this Google Map shows the area.

Note the large York station towards the right of the map.

This looks to me to be the sort of development we need to do more of in this country.

August 15, 2018 Posted by | Travel, World | , , | 1 Comment

More Thoughts On Aberdeen Crossrail

In A Crossrail For Aberdeen, I put down my initial thoughts for Aberdeen Crossrail.

Now that I’ve been to Aberdeen and travelled on most of the Aberdeen Crossrail route between Inverurie and Montrose stations, I can add more thoughts.

I shall express my thoughts in generally a Southerly direction.

Inverurie Station

Currently, this is a two-platform station on a passing loop.

This picture gives a flavour of the station, which is Grade B Listed.

You can just see, the rather elderly iron footbridge across the tracks.

I suspect that platform usage will be as follows.

  • Platform 1 – All through trains to and from the West and Inverness.
  • Platform 2 – All trains starting or terminating at Inverurie.

If platform 2 is to be in regular use, then there will be pressure to improve the footbridge.

Double Track From Inverurie To Aberdeen

Most of this section seems to be single track, with passing loops at Inverurie and Dyce stations.

The only difficult bit is probably where the track goes under the new Aberdeen Western By-Pass.

This Google Map shows where they cross to the West of Dyce station.

The difficulty is not the engineering, but the insolvency of Carrilion, who were the contractor for the road.

Dyce Station

These pictures show Dyce station, where I changed from train to bus.

I’m pretty sure that once the track is complete, Dyce station will only need a small amount of work.

Aberdeen Station

Aberdeen station is not only a transport hub with a bus station, but it is also connected directly to the Union Square development.

It is certainly ready for Aberdeen Crossrail.

InterCity 125s

In my travels up and down between, Aberdeen, Montrose, Stonehaven and Dundee, it surprised me, how many journeys were made on an InterCity 125.

I’ve read somewhere, that one of the reasons, ScotRail are bringing in shortened InterCity 125s, is that passengers tend to use these faster trains on journeys like those between Stonehaven and Aberdeen.

Although the shorterned InterCity 125s will be limited to 100 mph, their bags of grunt, will mean good acceleration and surely faster times between Aberdeen and Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling.

Trains For Aberdeen Crossrail

I timed the InterCity 125s at 100 mph on large sections of the route between Aberdeen and Montrose, as this picture of the SpeedView App on my phone shows.

I think this means, that any trains working passenger services on the Edinburgh-Aberdeen and Glasgow-Aberdeen Lines must be capable of continuous operation at 100 mph.

As Wikipedia gives the operating speeds of both lines as being this figure, it does appear that Aberdeen Crossrail will be a fast local service, very much in line with the performance of services from London to Basingstoke, Brighton, Chelmsford and Oxford.

Initially, I suspect that ScotRail will be using Class 170 trains to provide the stopping service on Aberedeen Crossrail. Class 158 trains could also provide the service, but their 90 mph operating speed may not be enough.

ScotRail certainly have enough Class 170 trains, but I suspect that running two-car trains between Montrose and Inverurie stations, which stop everywhere will not have enough capacity. So a pair of trains will need to be used for each service.

In A Crossrail for Aberdeen, I said this under Frequency Issues.

The route of Inverrurie to Montrose has been deliberately chosen.

  • Inverurie to Aberdeen takes around 23 minutes.
  • Montrose to Aberdeen takes around 35 minutes.

So with slightly faster trains and line speed, than currently used, it should be possible for a train to go from Inverurie to Montrose and back in two hours to include a few minutes to turn the train round.

A two hour round trip means that a train leaving Inverurie at say 06:00 in the morning, will if all goes well, be back in Inverurie to form the 08:00 train.

How convenient is that?

This means that one tph will need two trains, two trph will need four trains and four tph will need eight trains.

These figures would be doubled if four-car trains were to be run on the route.

I feel that four-car trains will be needed on all services on Aberdeen Crossrail, if some of the passenger loading I saw, were to increase. As it surely will do, if they have a more convenient and much better quality service.

Passengers will also see the lots of seats on the shortened InterCity 125s, speeding past and will want some of that.

Two two-car trains working as a four-car train can provide the capacity, but in my view they are not what passengers want, as they can’t circulate in the train to find a preferred seat.

I also think, that at least two tph should run between Montrose and Inverurie stopping at all stations.

This would require four four-car trains.

ScotRail doesn’t at present have any suitable four-car trains.

Will It Be Hydrogen Trains For Aberdeen Crossrail?

Trains will need to be independently powered, as I think it unlikely that the route will be electrified.

I’m sure that CAF, Stadler or another manufacturer, will be happy to supply a small fleet of four-car diesel trains.

But would Abellio want to introduce more diesel trains, when they have enough Class 170 trains to provide a pretty good four-car service

Class 769 trains, which are bi-mode could be used, but they only do around 90 mph on diesel.

I am led to the conclusion, that the only suitable train available to a reasonable time-scale will be Alstom’s proposed conversion of a Class 321 train, running on hydrogen.

  • The trains are capable of 100 mph using electric power.
  • I would be very surprised if these trains couldn’t do 100 mph on hydrogen power.
  • The new interiors fitted under the Renatus project, are a quality upgrade, as I said in A Class 321 Renatus.
  • The trains could be available from 2020.

There is plenty of wind in the Aberdeen area to generate the hydrogen.

Conclusion

Aberdeen Crossrail will become a two trains per hour service using four-car trains.

I wouldn’t be surprised if those trains are Alstom’s Class 321 trains, powered by hydrogen.

August 15, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Montrose Station

These pictures show Montrose station on the Edinburgh-Aberdeen Line.

This Google Map shows how the station lies between the town and the Montrose Basin.

Note the following about Montrose station.

Fish Exports

Seafood used to be exported from a wharf alongside sidings on the West side of the line.

A station guy told me, that these sidings were called the New York Sidings, as that was the major destination.

Services Through Montrose

The line through Montrose is not particularly busy, with a maximum frequency of around four trains per hour (tph) in both directions.

Typical Off Peak passenger service is only two tph.

Step-Free Footbridge

This is not shown on the map and was actually not working, when I visited.

I didn’t need it, but if I was in a wheelchair and needed to board or alight from a train, the station is arranged, so that all trains can stop in the Southbound platform.

I suspect that this arrangement was used before the bridge was built.

Montrose Viaduct

Montrose viaduct to the South of the station is only single-track and this must make operations and increasing services, a little bit difficult.

Signalling

This photograph shows a typical signal close to Montrose.

Would modern signalling perhaps based on ERTMS, make it easier to run services through the area?

Aberdeen Crossrail

Aberdeen Crossrail is a proposed service between Inverurie and Montrose stations, stopping at all stations in between. including Dyce for Aberdeen Airport, Aberdeen and Stonehaven.

The frequency of such a service needs to be at least two tph, but I have a strong belief that all of these services end up with a frequency of four tph, as on the following services.

  • Cross-City Line in Birmingham
  • London Overground
  • Merseyrail
  • Great Northern from Moorgate station

So could Montrose handle four tph?

Originally, as the pictures show, it appears that there was ca North-facing bay platform at the station.

This could handle four tph, but it would mean some passengers would have to use the footbridge to change trains.

The station guy indicated, that there may be a turnback siding, so trains could reverse.

This arrangement would be able to handle four tph, but it would also mean that many passengers changing between Crossrail and longer distance services, wouldn’t have to change platforms.

Conclusion

Montrose is going to get a much better train service.

 

August 14, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

Did The Queen Ever Ride In This Train?

These pictures show the British Rail BEMU, which was an experimental two-car battery electric multiple unit, that ran on the Deeside Railway between Aberdeen and Ballater stations, in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

It is now parked at the Royal Deeside Railway awaiting restoration.

As the bodywork is aluminium, it struck me that it wouldn’t be an impossible restoration project.

Someone, I spoke to, said the biggest problem and probably expense were the batteries.

Perhaps, they could use some recycled batteries from electric buses or other vehicles, which some companies are going to use as house storage batteries.

A Memory From A Lady

I travelled to the Royal Deeside Railway on a bus and sat up front on the top deck. Next to me was a lady, who was perhaps in her seventies like me, who remembered using the train several times.

From what she said, it appeared to work reliably for a number of years.

Did Her Majesty Ever Use The Train?

No-one at the Royal Deeside Railway has any proof, that the Queen ever rode in the train.

But they are pretty sure, that the Queen Mother used the train. Apparently, she liked the steady speed as it proceeded through the countryside.

Conclusion

With the current developments in battery transport, I feel that this prototype might well be worth restoring to operation condition.

August 13, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 1 Comment