The Anonymous Widower

Cross City Rail Lines

This list of cross-city rail lines is for my own information.

The line must go from one side of the city to another, with at least one stop in the City or Town Centre.

United Kingdom

Birmingham

Brighton

  • East Coastway and West Coastway – West-East through City Centre

Liverpool

London

Northern City Line and Waterloo and City Line go partly under the City Centre, but not across it.

 

May 20, 2017 Posted by | Travel, Uncategorized | | 5 Comments

Along The South Harz Railway

Getting from Göttingen to Nordhausen for the Harz Narrow Gauge Railways was not the simple process it should have been.

My first attempt was to take a train changing at Eichenberg totally failed, as I wrote about in A Wasted Journey To Eichenberg.

After getting back to Göttingen, I took a direct train along what is known as the South Harz Railway.

The route is not electrified and it looked like it had been improved since the reunification of Germany.

 

May 4, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

A Walk In Bradford City Centre

I like walking in City Centres and Bradford didn’t disappoint.

Little Germany with its collection of Listed buildings was certainly a surprise.

April 21, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

The Subway Is Finally Exposed

These pictures show the subway and a few other things at Hackney Wick station.

It looks to my untrained eye, that now, the builders can get on with putting in the stairs and lifts and then fit out the station ready for opening.

This visualisation shows how the station will look on completion.

Hackney Wick Station South Elevstion

I do hope they leave the approach to the station clear, as in the visualisation.

April 20, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

An Energy Analysis Of Merseyrail’s New Trains

Various factors come into this anaysis and I’ll detail them first.

Merseyrail’s New Trains

Merseyrail‘s new trains from Stadler have the following known characteristics, according to various sources I quote in Thoughts On Merseyrail’s New Trains

  • The trains will have regenerative braking.
  • The trains will weight in at 99 tonnes.
  • The trains will have a capacity of 486 passengers.
  • The trains are four cars and 64 metres long.

It should also be noted that the current trains have a maximum speed of 121 kph, although the Northern Line has a maximum speed of 97 kph and the Wirral Line one of 110 kph.

I also suspect that the trains will be pretty good aerodynamically, as most modern trains are. My linked article quotes an energy saving of twenty per cent.

Merseyrail’s Tunnels

Merseyrail’s tunnels date from the Loop and Link Project of the 1970s, where the three electrified lines coming into Liverpool, were connected together.

  • The Loop Line allows trains from the other side of the Mersey to access four stations in Central Liverpool and gave a substantial capacity increase.
  • The Link Line joined the Northern suburban  lines to Kirkby, Ormskirk and Southport to the Southern suburban line to Hunts Cross.

Currently, the Loop Line is having a major upgrade with slab track and other goodies and if it is not to the same standard, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Link Line improved as well.

I suspect that when the work is finished, Merseyrail’s tunnels will not offer much resistance to the trains passing through.

If the new trains use regenerative braking with batteries, there is one big advantage in the tunnels.

Some braking energy is stored on the train and used to accelerate the train when needed. So hopefully, the flow of electricity between track and train is reduced, which means less heat generation in the tunnel as the currents flow through to and from the train.

Let’s assume that a train running at line speed in a tunnel has X KwH of kinetic energy. For a stop, this energy must be absorbed by the regenerative brakes and turned into electrical energy. It won’t be 100 % of the energy but I suspect that with modern systems it could be as high as 80%. Batteries are an efficient way to store this energy and I suspect, with the best systems, virtually every KwH you put in the battery can be retrieved later, if the battery is large enough.

Merseyrail’s Branches

Unlike Manchester, Liverpool is not surrounded by hills, so I would expect that most of the lines have fairly gentle gradients.

These are a few altitudes.

  • Aintree – 13 m.
  • Chester – 32 m.
  • Garston – 23 m.
  • Hunts Cross – 40 m.
  • John Lennon Airport – 24 m.
  • Kirkby – 26 m.
  • New Brighton – 43 m.
  • Ormskirk – 52 m.
  • Southport – 6 m.
  • West Kirby – 9 m.

These examples, show that the network is not an arduous one. I suspect that the lowest part of the network is in the tunnels under Liverpool. Judging by the escalator lengths, I suspect it could be around thirty metres below ground.

Kinetic Energy Of A Full Train

The mass of a train is 99 tonnes plus say 70 kg for each of 486 passengers.

This gives a mass of 133 tonnes for the fully-loaded train.

Suppose it is travelling at 100 kph.

This gives a kinetic energy of 51.3 MJ.

Or converting that to everyday units we get 14.25 KwH.

As a typical transport battery for somethig like a hybrid bus  is around 75 KwH, I would think that such a battery could handle regenerative braking on the trains with ease.

How Far Could A Train Run On Batteries Away From Electrification?

This is a bit like asking the old question about how long is a piece of string.

Merseyrail’s lines are generally fairly flat and if the trains have regenerative braking with batteries, I suspect the range could be longer than expected.

Other factors will also affect the range.

  • Driving aids.
  • Wheel-slip protection.
  • Good driving.
  • The weather.
  • Accurately-positin slab track.

I also think the range on batteries will be deliberately restricted to a conservative distance, as running out of energy, would not be tolerated.

I would also expect the achievable range to get longer, as the operator and its drivers, learn how to conserve energy.

 

 

April 19, 2017 Posted by | Travel, Uncategorized | | 2 Comments

Drought Caused Brexit

According to Al Gore, drought in Syria was one of the causes of refugees flooding to the EU.
It’s an interrsting thought!

March 24, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Where Is Moorside?

Moorside is the name given to NuGen‘s new nuclear power complex in Cumbria.

I was drawn to write this post, by this article in Construction News, which is entitled Network Rail and Moorside nuclear power plant developer Nugen are putting together a business case for rail investment in Cumbria that could be worth as much as £400m.

four hundred million pounds could buy a lot of rail infrastructure.

But where exactly is Moorside?

This map was taken from the Our Site page on the NuGen web site, showsthe Moorside site outlined in red.

nugen

Note the development with the yellow-shaded areas to the South-East of the red-lined area. This is Sellafield.

And this is a Google Map of the coast around the nuclear reprocessing complex.

moorside

Note the railway stations along the coast. Sellafield station is by the nuclear complex, with Braystones and Nethertown to the North.

All three stations are on the Cumbrian Coast Line, which in addition to the passenger service, is used to transport freight, including nuclear waste to and from Sellafield.

Overlaying the NuGen map on the Coogle Map shows that Moorside will be to the North-West of Sellafield.

The Cumbrian Coast Line and the related Furness Line curve around Cumbria from Carlisle to Carnforth via Workington, Whitehaven, Sellafield and Barrow-in-Furness.

  • The line is mainly double track, but with sections of single-track.
  • The line is not electrified.
  • Most of the trains are elderly diesels.
  • The train service is vaguely hourly, but patchy in places.

The nuclear power complex is a ten billion pound project and will require large amounts of heavy equipment and construction materials to be transported the site. Also on a daily basis, large numbers of engineers and construction workers wilol need to get to one of the largest construction sites in the North of England.

Is Network Rail’s £400 million proposed vdevelopment, a reconstruction of the Cumbrian Coast and Furness Lines to the following standard.

  • Double track.
  • Electrification
  • 100 mph line speed where possible.
  • Build a new station at Moorside and any other places, where they are needed.
  • Step-free stations
  • At least two trains per hour in both directions.
  • Full wi-fi and 4G on all trains and in stations.

Upgraded to a high standard, it might do more than help construction at Moorside and Sellafield and those that work in the two complexes.

  • It might increase quality tourism.
  • It could be a diversion route for the West Coast Main Line.
  • It might make a London service to Barrow-in-Firness via HS2 a possibility.

Network Rail’s project could do a lot more than service the twin nuclear sites.

I explored the Cumbrian Coast Line in April 2015.

Click here to see my posts.

 

 

February 27, 2017 Posted by | Travel, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

A Station For Marlborough

Marlborough once had a pair of stations, as this map of the railways in the town shows.

marlboroughlines

Note the various stations in an area, where Marlborough the largest town has a population of 8,395.

This railway map shows the important Reading to Taunton Line that passes to the South of Marlborough. This Google Map shows that line as it crosses the A346 road.

The Reading to Raunton Line South Of Marlborough

The Reading to Raunton Line South Of Marlborough

Note.

There would also appear to be tracks of disused railways leading North-Westerly from Bedwyn towards Marlborough.

If Marlborough and the surrounding area were to be given a better rail connection, I would think that a possible solution would be a parkway station, perhaps where the A346 crosses the railway and the canal.

It should be born in mind, that modern trains are designed to perform fast stops at stations, so the extra station at Marlborough would not be the time penalty, it was a few years ago.

Transition Marlborough’s Proposal

But a local action group called Transition Marlborough have their own plans for a Marlborough Rail Link, which as this graphic shows are more ambitious.

marlboroughraillink

Their plans would involve restoring and electrifying the line to Marlborough, where a well-positioned station will be built.

These are my initial thoughts.

  • The route of the line appears feasible.
  • Electrification may be a problem given Network Rail’s expertise in this area.
  • Bedwyn would not appear to be the best terminus for a line to London.
  • I’ve not been to Bedwyn station, but I suspect it could be a bleak place in some kinds of weather.

After I wrote this list, a kind soul in the area sent me this message.

You’ll find that Bedwyn station is a pretty bleak place, especially in Winter. To reach it by road from Marlborough involves a 7.5 mile road trip, at least 3 miles of which is on an unmarked road through a forest. Bedwyn station is almost inaccessible for people without cars, as the connecting bus service is poor and unreliable.

My Version Of The Proposal

I think the best solution could be to create a single-track railway without electrification to a simple station with adequate parking at the proposed Salisbury Road Business Park location.

The distance between Reading and Marlborough by train would be about 37 miles. Network Rail’s plans to electrify the line between Reading and Bedwyn are probably best described as fluid, but I suspect that electrification to Newbury could be possible, which would mean that only twenty miles between Paddington and Marlborough would be unwired.

So this would mean that when inevitably an electric train with onboard energy storage has a range of forty miles, Marlborough could get a modern electric service to and from Paddington.

The advantages of this strategy are as follows.

  • No ugly overhead catenary marching across the country.
  • Work would only include restoring a single track railway and building a simple no-frills station at Marlborough.
  • Marlborough station would not have any electrification and could be designed like a tram stop.
  • Fast Environmentally-friendly electric trains to and from Reading and Paddington.
  • The route would be designed for six-car trains in case Marlborough College put on a free concert featuring the Rolling Stones.
  • The route could be designed to allow two trains per hour (tph), as opposed to the current one tph service to and from Bedwyn.
  • Marlborough to Paddington would have a maximum time of around 80 minutes.

But the biggest advantage is that the scheme is that it could be affordable.

This article on the BBC is entitled Marlborough £30m railway line restoration plan.

If this branch line is developed as I believe Network Rail are now thinking, there could be money left over for a good launch party!

Conclusion

With the next generation of electric train with onboard energy storage or IPEMUs, a Marlborough station on a new Marlborough Branch Line can be used to create a two tph service to and from Paddington to replace the current one tph service from Bedwyn.

So a new Marlborough station would be a win for all those using stations on the Reading to Taunton Line to the East of Pewsey.

I also wonder how many other similar services can be developed by extending a service past a main line terminal to a new or reopened branch line, which is built without electrification and run using trains with onboard energy storage.

 

 

 

 

February 18, 2017 Posted by | Travel, Uncategorized | , , , | 4 Comments

Network Rail Announces Electrification Of The Schotts Line

This article in Rail Technology Magazine is entitled Network Rail awards Carillion £49m Shotts electrification contract.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Network Rail has agreed a contract with Carillion Powerlines Ltd to deliver the electrification of the Shotts Line between Holytown Junction and Midcalder Junction.
The £49m contract will see the delivery of 74km of electrified railway as part of the Scottish government’s wider £169m investment in the line between Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Electrification of The Schotts Line will provide a fourth electrified line between Edinburgh and Glasgow.

From hundreds of miles to the South, it looks a good choice.

  • The route is effectively in three sections, with only the central section between Holytown Junction and Midcalder Junction, needing to be wired.
  • The bridges that need to be raised are already being worked on.
  • The route goes to Glasgow Central rather than Glasgow Queen Street.
  • The Class 385 trains needed are already being built in Newtown Aycliffe.

It certainly seems that the planning of electrification in the Scottish Lowlands is being better managed that that on the Great Western Railway.

 

 

January 13, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Drayton Green Station

Drayton Green station is the first station on the Greenford Branch Line.

I took these pictures of the station and the nearby bridge, this morning.

Note.

  • The station is a tidy station, with shelters and information.
  • There are gentle steps up and down from the nearby road bridge to access the two platforms.
  • The station fits the current two-car Class 156 train, that works the branch.

I’ve seen far worse stations on my travels around the UK.

The Current Service

The current two trains per hour (tph) service is provided by  a single two-car Class 156 train, that shuttles between bay platforms at West Ealing  and Greenford stations.

Two trains could provide a four tph service.

Electrification

In an ideal world, the branch would be electrified.

  • There is occasional freight traffic.
  • It might serve as a diversion route.
  • It might be a way of serving Old Oak Common station and the nearby depots.
  • Crossrail will increase the number of passengers on the branch.

But to electrify the area around Drayton Green station could be expensive.

I’m no expert, but it does strike me, that not only is the bridge rather low, but also the parapets of the bridge certainly are.

So I suspect that electrification of the branch meeting all the regulations, would need an expensive new bridge, which would need several months of closure, with the resulting inconvenience to passengers.

But there is an alternative for passengers and that is to use electric trains with onboard energy storage to work the line.

Consider.

  • Greenford station is electrified with 750 VDC third-rail electrification.
  • West Ealing station is electrified with 25 KVAC electrification.
  • Out and back is only 5.4 miles.

Or the current Class 156 train could continue until it fell to pieces.

As the branch is not busy, two two-car trains delivering a 4 tph service could be sufficient for some years.

But I very much feel that the operator and the passengers would prefer an modern electric train.

 

 

 

January 4, 2017 Posted by | Travel, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment