The Anonymous Widower

When Are We Going To Get Some Rain?

It’s now over a month since I experienced any rain and I feel totally crap, with a very dry month and I suspect dry lungs as well.

I drinking lots of 0.5% alcohol beer, tea and lemonade, but it all seems to make no difference!

I need a right royal downpour, so I can walk around in it.

January 21, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 2 Comments

Brexit Was An Easy Sell

How many times, have you heard a smooth salesman give you a line of patter to try to sell you something?

In some cases, they have presented you with say a car, bicycle or washing machine, which is all you need with a feasible story.

So you have bought it, because you couldn’t see any risk and it did what you need.

In most cases you haven’t regretted the purchase as it was a well-made good product.

If you asked a good salesman to sell Brexit, he could come up with all sorts of positive reasons, why you should vote for it.

On the other hand, a good salesman selling Remain, would have only given you negatives and doom and gloom.

When did anybody sell you anything, based on its negative qualities?

In my view,  David Cameron’s referendum was skewed in favour of Brexit, as selling a negative to millions of people is not a feasible proposition.

 

 

January 15, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment

The Combined Car Park And Storage Battery

I don’t drive these days, but I did for well over forty years.

If I was still driving now and still lived in Suffolk, I’d be looking seriously at an electric car as an everyday runabout, as rarely in the last twenty years, have I had the need to do a long journey, that I couldn’t do by train.

So my electric car would probably sit in a car park space at Cambridge North station, attached to a charger, a lot of the time. But with better batteries and vehicle-to-grid systems, there will come a time, when you will park your battery vehicle and tell it you’ll be returning in a few hours or days and you’ll need say four hours of charge on return. Obviously, if your circumstances change, you will have an app on your phone to make adjustments.

Suppose your average car had a 30 kWh battery, this would mean that the 450 space car park at Cambridge North station, if say 300 spaces were for electric cars would have a electricity storage capacity of around 0.9MWh.

So if the wind wasn’t blowing or the sun wasn’t shining, then there’s probably about half a MWh of electricity that can be borrowed and still allow drivers to get home.

It may all sound terribly complicated, but electricity put into batteries at night or other quiet times, gets used when it’s needed.

Batteries and other forms of energy storage will be everywhere; in houses, offices, public buildings, wind and solar farms, and in every electric vehicle.

There are 31.,6million cars alone in the UK and how many are quietly sitting in car parks and garages or at the side of the street, for most of the day.

The Car Park As A Power Station

There will be multi-story car-parks reserved for electric cars.

  • Each parking space will have a charging point.
  • The roof will of course have solar panels.
  • I would expect that in a few years time the connection between car and charger will be automatic.
  • The parking charge would be based on a mixture of time parked and energy passed to or from the battery.
  • Car parks would probably also be paid by National Grid dependent on how much energy they can make available automatically.

The control system for all this lot, would do my head in! But it would mean that all generated energy was either used or stored!

In some ways a car pack for electric cars would become a small power station.

Examples Of Car Parks

These car-parks would have some interesting applications.

Airports

Airports like Heathrow have a pollution problem and it’s not just the planes, but masses of diesel and petrol vehicles.

  • To encourage more passengers to drive electric vehicles to an airport, why not make the closest car parks electric car only?
  • Long-term car parks for electric vehicles could be a massive storage battery, which would be used to help power the airport.
  • Car parks for electric cars would be less polluted.
  • Car parks for electric cars could be under the ground with runways and taxiways on top.

Everyone would be a winner.

  • Passengers’ electric cars would be earning an energy storage charge from the National Grid.
  • The Airport would have a reliable back-up power source.
  • There would be much less pollution at the Airport.
  • National Grid would gain additional much-needed energy storage.

There will be a lot of thought going in to making airport parking more efficient and affordable for electric cars.

Business Parks And Offices

Much of the logic for airports would apply.

But I do feel, that companies with medium and large-sized fleets of vehicles will go electric, as they can then integrate energy management across their premises and fleet.

Town And City Centres

Towns and cities with a pollution problem like London, will surely use the best car parks as bribes to get more electric vehicles into the centre.

Residential Developments

The mind boggles at what could be done in residential developments.

  • Cars could go to and from parking automatically.
  • Every house would come with energy storage plus that in the car.
  • The development would appear car-free.
  • Cars could be in shared ownership with the development.
  • There could be automatic trolleys running through the development delivering parcels.

The market will determine what is needed.

Conclusion

Creating car parks solely for electric cars will create energy storage units at points of employment, living, shopping and transport.

January 6, 2019 Posted by | Transport, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Not Just Drones We Should Worry About!

In The Private Thoughts of Engineers and Scientists, I talked about a discussion, I had with a chemist about the production of sarin gas.

His view was that if amateurs tried to make the deadly gas, there was a high chance, they’d kill themselves, but he had a better idea to cause havoc in a city, which I will not disclose.

I too, have a couple of non-lethal methods, that would bring an airport or a city to a standstill.

One idea is so simple, that I suspect many terrorists could think it up.

Again, I will not disclose my ideas, but they are probably just two of many.

In some ways, the success of the drones in closing Gatwick Airport will only encourage others to think of new ways to disrupt our lives.

We still don’t now, who were behind the Gatwick Airport drones, but there must be a long list of suspects.

  • Extinction Rebellion
  • Anti-Airport Protesters
  • Russia – It worked better than Novichok!
  • North Korea – Unlikely, as they don’t seem to have any spats with the UK.

One thing that may rule out a lot of groups, is that sophisticated high-performance drones are not cheap.

Other groups will be ruled out, because they want to kill hundreds of innocent people and a couple of drones are unlikely to do this.

December 21, 2018 Posted by | Transport, Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

Could Metropolitan Line Trains Run Between Uxbridge In The West And Barking/Upminster In The East?

I read somewhere in Wikipedia, that Transport for London (TfL) were thinking of extending Uxbridge Branch trains on the Metropolitan Line from Aldgate to Barking and/or Upminster stations.

Current Frequencies Between Wembley Park And Upminster Stations

These are the Off Peak frequencies on the various sections of the route in trains per hour (tph)

Wembley Park To Baker Street

  • 2 tph – Amersham to Aldgate
  • 2 tph – Chesham to Aldgate
  • 8 tph – Uxbridge to Aldgate
  • 4 tph – Watford to Baker Street

This gives a total of 16 tph

Baker Street To Liverpool Street

  • 2 tph – Amersham to Aldgate
  • 2 tph – Chesham to Aldgate
  • 8 tph – Uxbridge to Aldgate
  • 6 tph – Hammersmith to Barking
  • 6 tph – Circle Line

This gives a total of 24 tph

Aldgate East to Barking

  • 6 tph – Hammersmith to Barking
  • 6 tph – Richmond to Upminster
  • 6 tph-  Ealing Broadway to Upminster
  • 3 tph – Wimbledon to Barking

This gives a total of 21 tph

Barking to Upminster

  • 6 tph – Richmond to Upminster
  • 6 tph – Ealing Broadway to Upminster

This gives a total of 12 tph

Current Frequencies Between Hammersmith And Baker Street

I’ll add this, in case I need it later.

  • 6 tph – Hammersmith to Barking
  • 6 tph – Circle Line

This gives a total of 12 tph

Current District Line Frequencies Between Hammersmith And Upminster

These are the Off Peak frequencies on the various sections of the route.

Hammersmith to South Kensington

  • 6 tph – Richmond to Upminster
  • 6 tph – Ealing Broadway to Upminster

This gives a total of 12 tph

South Kensington to Tower Hill

  • 6 tph – Richmond to Upminster
  • 6 tph – Ealing Broadway to Upminster
  • 3 tph – Wimbledon to Barking
  • 6 tph – Circle Line

This gives a total of 21 tph

Aldgate East to Barking

  • 6 tph – Hammersmith to Barking
  • 6 tph – Richmond to Upminster
  • 6 tph-  Ealing Broadway to Upminster
  • 3 tph – Wimbledon to Barking

This gives a total of 21 tph

Barking to Upminster

  • 6 tph – Richmond to Upminster
  • 6 tph – Ealing Broadway to Upminster

This gives a total of 12 tph

Four Lines Modification

The Four Line Modification is a project to upgrade the following lines.

  • Circle Line
  • District Line
  • Hammersmith & City Line
  • Metropolitan Line

New S7 and S8 Stock trains have been delivered and new track and drainage has been installed, but the biggest change will be in the new signalling. TfLsays this abut the new signalling.

Work to install a new signalling and control system began in summer 2016. This will eventually allow the trains to be driven automatically, with a train operator in the cab to open and close the doors. The train operator will be responsible for managing customer information and safety.

Similar technology introduced in recent years on the Jubilee and Northern lines improved performance. The new signalling system allows trains to be run closer together, meaning a more frequent service and shorter waiting times, allowing more people to be carried. This new technology will enable us to reduce delays and improve reliability.

If 32 tph can be run on sections of the four lines, it is an impressive upgrade of capacity.

Currently the frequencies are.

  • Wembley Park to Baker Street – 16 tph
  • Baker Street to Liverpool Street – 24 tph
  • Aldgate East to Barking – 21 tph
  • Barking to Upminster – 12 tph

For completeness these frequencies will be added.

Hammersmith to Baker Street – 12 tph

Note

  1. The frequencies are all at least eight tph below the maximum future operating frequency.
  2. The busiest section is between Baker Street and Liverpool Street stations.
  3. The frequency on the two end sections of the Northern East-West section between Hammersmith and Upminster stations is only 12 tph.

It looks like TfL have scope to increase the capacity on the four lines.

Are The Circle/District Line Platforms At Edgware Road Station At Maximum Capacity?

Currently, the following services terminate at Edgware Road station.

As there are only two platforms to turn the twelve tph, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone told me, that Edgware Road station was at maximum capacity.

If this is the case, then no more trains can be run on the Circle Line, without reducing the frequency to Wimbledon, unless the station were to be rebuilt.

This Google Map shows the station.

And this map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines through Edgware Road and Baker Street stations.

Edgware Road station lies in a cutting, in the midst of some very expensive real estate.

  • It is not step-free.
  • According to the carto.metro.free.fr map, there used to be or still is a siding or platform to the South of the current four platforms.
  • The junctions to the West of the stations are complicated.
  • As trains often wait for a few minutes in the station, I suspect it is not operationally efficient.

Could at some time in the future, the station be rebuilt?

  • The East-West services might go straight through in two Northern platforms.
  • The junction to the West of the station would be simplified, with no crossing of tracks.
  • Three terminal platforms could be built for trains coming from the South, which would allow an increase in services.
  • Hopefully, the East-West and terminating services could be separated and wouldn’t cross each other.
  • Development of tower blocks over the top would provide some funds for the new station.

Would it be possible to increase Circle Line services to ten tph?

Frequencies along the route would be as follows.

  • Baker Street to Liverpool Street – 28 tph
  • Tower Hill to South Kensington – 25 tph
  • High Street Kensington to Edgware Road – 16 tph

My scheduling nous says yes! I also feel, that using good project planning, the station could be built without disrupting services.

Baker Street Issues

Is Aldgate Station At Maximum Capacity?

Currently, the following services terminate at Aldgate station.

  • 2 tph from Amersham
  • 2 tph from Chesham
  • 8 tph from Uxbridge

As there are only two platforms to turn the twelve tph, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone told me, that Aldgate station was at maximum capacity.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines at Aldgate station.

Note

  1. The two platforms at Aldgate station are sandwiched between the two Circle Line tracks.
  2. The platforms are curved, which makes step-free access difficult.

I suspect fitting in three straight platforms and full step-free access in the existing station will be very difficult.

This Google Map shows the general area around Aldgate station.

Certainly South of Aldgate High Street, there seems to be a site that could be ripe for development.

Are the District and Circle Lines underneath?

In a comment to this post, Melvyn says that the station could be redeveloped. He said this.

I did read a proposal to make Aldgate accessible linked to property development so this would mean a redesign of the station which could lead to removal of one of the terminal tracks.

I think I will conclude, that whatever happens at Aldgate station, there is no way, the station can handle more than twelve tph.

Could Extra Trains Be Turned At Barking?

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows Barking station and the sidings to the East.

If the eight tph from Uxbridge turned back at Barking, that would mean that seventeen tph would need to be handled at the station.

I’m fairly certain, that this number of trains could be turned at Barking.

It is also worth noting in the map, the cross-platform interchange with c2c.

Could Extra Trains Be Turned At Upminster?

Upminster station has a depot with an impressive maze of sidings to the East.

As the station also has three platforms for District Line trains, I believe the station can handle more than the twelve tph, that it does now!

Increasing The Core Frequency

Suppose extra trains were to be run between Baker Street and Liverpool Street stations.

Ideally, eight extra tph would need to be run to use the maximum capacity of the route.

Where Would The Extra Trains Go In The West?

Extra trains could possibly be run to Hammersmith station, as the three-platform station can probably handle more trains than the twelve tph it does now.

If Edgware Road station is at maximum capacity, then no more Circle Line trains could be run.

But with a rebuild of Edgware Road station in the future, would allow perhaps up to an extra four tph on the Circle Line.

But there could be a few more Hammersmith & City Line services.

There would also be the possibility of more Metropolitan Line services to Amersham, Chesham Uxbridge and Watford stations.

Where Would The Extra Trains Go In The East?

Consider.

  • There are four bay platforms at Moorgate station,but are they currently the wrong side of the important Liverpool Street station.
  • Moorgate station is being rebuilt for Crossrail and this may open up possibilities for using the bay platforms.
  • Aldgate station is at full capacity.
  • Extra trains can’t take the Circle Line as Edgware Road station is at frill capacity.
  • With a rebuild of Edgware Road station, it might be possible to add four tph to the Circle Line.

So I come to the conclusion, that some extra services must go on to Barking and/or Upminster.

A Possible Timetable

If I assume the extra eight tph go all the way between Wembley Park and Upminster, this gives the following frequencies along the line.

  • Wembley Park to Baker Street – 24 tph
  • Baker Street to Liverpool Street – 32 tph
  • Aldgate East to Barking – 29 tph
  • Barking to Upminster – 20 tph

The terminals of the various services could be shared between Aldgate and Upminster.

I also suspect, that the new signalling will allow twelve tph instead of the current eight tph to be terminated at Baker Street station.

Uxbridge To Barking/Upminster Timings

These are the timings for various section of the route.

  • Uxbridge to Baker Street – 38 minutes
  • Baker Street to Liverpool Street – 13 minutes
  • Liverpool Street to Barking – 25 minutes
  • Barking to Upminster – 18 minutes

This means that Uxbridge to Upminster could take 94 minutes, with Uxbridge to Barking taking 76 minutes.

These may translate into the following round-trips.

  • Uxbridge and Upminster – Four hours, which would need 32 trains.
  • Uxbridge and Barking – Three hours, which would need 24 trains.

The current service between Uxbridge and Aldgate has a round trip of two hours, which needs 16 trains.

It would appear that if Uxbridge services go to an alternative terminal, then Barking would be a better choice.

Conclusion

It looks like, that it is very likely, that Metropolitan Line trains will run as far as Barking and/or Upminster stations.

December 17, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 4 Comments

The New London Pollution Charge — May Be Mayor Sadiq Khan’s ‘Poll Tax Moment’

The title of this post is the same as that of a news story in today’s Sunday Times.

This is the first paragraph.

The ‘ultra-low emission zone’ will force 1m motorists to pay the £12.50 daily charge — or get off the road,

The Sunday Times has done a detailed analysis and makes the following points about the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).

  • About a million vehicles will be liable to the new levy.
  • The ULEZ charge of £12.50 will be a nice little earner for Transport for London (TfL).
  • The ULEZ charge will raise three times as much as the Congestion Charge.
  • It could collect up to £1.5billion per year.
  • Some people will be paying £4,000 a year to drive their own car.
  • Initially, the charge will only be levied in Central London, but after 2021, it will apply inside the North and South Circular Roads.
  • The Sunday Times has read some TfL impact assessments.

Reading the full article convinces me, that I made the right decision to give up driving.

I am in favour of the ULEZ, as I suffer from pollution and I don’t have a driving licence because my eyesight was damaged by a stroke.

But Sadiq Khan seems to have forgotten a lesson of recent history, where the City of Westminster voted down his laudable aim of pedestrianising part of Oxford Street.

On that issue, he should have pedestrianised all of it. Just as the City of London seems to be doing!

But the motoring lobby gave Westminster a good kicking and do you think, they will be less active at the ballot box in the next Mayoral Election?

Few would vote for someone, who would tax them an extra £4,000 a year.

Sadiq Khan is a well-meaning politically-correct lightweight, who doesn’t think through the effects of his promises.

 

 

December 9, 2018 Posted by | Transport, Uncategorized | , , , , | 1 Comment

I’ve Finally Found A Small Wooden Spoon

I have finally found the answer to the question I asked in  Where Are The Small Cooking Spoons?.

In that post I said this.

My mother had a very small wooden cooking spoon about twelve or so centimetres long. It was ideal for warming baked beans or making scrambled eggs in a non-stick milk saucepan.

Her’s had suffered an accident and I can remember that one side was slightly burned, but it was still usable. And absolutely the eight size!

I’ve been looking for over fifty years since I left home and not found one yet!

Yesterday, I found one in the Borough Kitchen in Borough Market.

They also had a smaller one.

 

 

November 24, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The Oxford, Milton Keynes, Cambridge Corridor

November 17, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Upgrades For Northern And Jubilee Lines Have Been Brought To A Halt By Transport for London

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in City AM. This is the first paragraph.

Planned upgrades for the Northern and Jubilee Lines have been paused by Transport for London (TfL), though train drivers’ union Aslef says they will be cancelled entirely.

But is it such a disaster?

The Jubilee and othern Lines need more trains to increase the service frquencies. This is said in the article.

The Northern Line upgrade plan was to buy 17 additional trains so the Northern Line could run a 30 trains per hour service on all branches of the line, while the Jubilee Line would have had 10 new trains to operate a 36 trains per hour service.

So it looks like twenty-seven new trains are needed.

The Central Line Train Upgrade

This article on Railway-news.com is untitled London Underground’s Central Line Trains Set For Upgrade.

Currently, the Central Line‘s 1992 Stock have DC motors, which will be replaced by more efficient motors  and a sophisticated control system.

The cost of the upgrade will be £112.1 million or about £1.3 million per train.

Transport for London are only making a reliability claim for the upgrade. Hopefully, if the trains are more reliable, then more can be in service. so can a higher frequency be run?

I also think in addition, the trains could possibly accelerate faster from stops, thus reducing the dwell times at stations and ultimately the journey times.

  • Epping to West Ruislip currently takes ninety minutes with 38 stops.
  • Ealing Broadway to Newbury Park takes sixty minutes with 24 stops.
  • Northolt to Loughton takes sixty-seven minutes with 28 stops.

Saving just ten seconds on each stop will reduce journey times by several minutes.

I suspect that Transport for London will rearrange the timetable to increase the service frequency from the current twenty-four trains per hour (tph).

It will be interesting to see what frequency of trains and journey times are achieved, when all the Central Line trains have been updated.

The Victoria Line Upgrade Of 2016

In 2016, the Victoria Line track was upgraded at Walthamstow Central station, so that services could be increased to thirty six tph.

The Problem Of Ordering A Small Batch Of Unique Trains

This article on London Reconnections is entitled Third World Class Capacity: Cancelling Tube Upgrades.

The article talks about the problems of building small batches of unique trains and I would conclude they will be expensive, unless you could find some way of not buying them.

Could The Jubilee And Northern Line Trains And Stations Be Upgraded To Increase The Capacity And Avoid The Need For More Trains?

I’ve no idea, but I suspect that Transport for London have looked into the possibility.

The Jubilee Line

Currently,  the Jubilee Line is worked by sixty-three 1996 Stock trains.

Wikipedia gives a good description of the Traction Control of the trains. This is the first sentence.

1995 and 1996 stocks have similar body shells but they use different AC traction control systems. The 1995 stock system is more modern, since the 1996 stock design specification was frozen in 1991.

This gives me the impression, that a more modern traction control system could improve the train performance, as electronics have moved on in the last twenty years.

The Northern Line

Currently, the Northern Line is worked by one hundred and six 1995 Stock trains.

Upgrading The Traction Control

I wonder if the most economic way is to update the traction control on both sets of trains with the same system.

If the upgrade needed new AC motors at the Central Line cost £1.3 million a train, would give total cost of around £220 million.

Upgrading The Stations

I suspect that Transport for London will upgrade the stations with Harrington Humps and other facilities to make train loading and unloading easier and less likely to delay the train.

I suspect that all the lessons learned in raising the Victoria Line to 36 tph will be applied.

Crossrail And The Jubilee Line

Crosrail appears to have been designed, so that it works in co-operation with London’s older Underground lines.

When considering Crossrail’s relationship with the Jubilee Line, the following must be taken into account.

  • The two lines have interchanges at Bond Street, Canary Wharf and Stratford stations.
  • Crossrail has good connections to the Metropolitan and Baskerloo Lines, which in North-West London serve Jubilee Line territory.

Perhaps more importantly, there is a cross-platform interchange at Whitechapel between the two Eastern branches of Crossrail. This will give passengers an easy route between Sssex and Canary Wharf.

These features should divert passengers away from the Jubilee Line.

Will this make upgrading the Jubilee Line, less urgent?

London Bridge Station, Thameslink And The Jubilee Line

One of the problems with the Jubilee Line is that you have to walk miles to get to the platforms at some stations.

London Bridge and Waterloo stations are bad examples.

These two stations are now connected by a fourteen tph link across the South Bank, which goes from London Bridge to Charing Cross via Waterloo East.

I use the route regularly back from Waterloo, as I can get a 141 bus to my home at London Bridge station.

Next year, when Thameslink is fully open even more passengers will be able to avoid the Jubilee Line.

And then there’s West Hampstead Interchange!

If this station were to be created to link all the lines together at West Hampstead, it would also create a second connection between Thameslink and the Jubilee Line.

The Splitting Of The Northern Line

Once Camden Town and Bank stations have been upgraded in 2025, the Northern Line will become two separate lines, with cross-platform interchange at Camden Town and Kennington stations. This will  enable thirty-six tph on both branches and allow trains to be used more efficiently.

I do wonder, if in the detailed design and planning of the station extension at Camden Town, has shown that the split can be performed earlier, thus efficient train usage can  start earlier.

Thameslink And The Northern Line

My late wife used to live in Barnet until we were married.

From that area in the 1960s, you could either take the Northern Line from High Barnet station or the two tph local train into Kings Cross from Oakleigh Park or New Barnet stations.

The local rail service is now three tph to Moorgate. Not a great improvement in fifty years!

However, things are changing at New Barnet and Oakleigh Park stations.

  • New trains and an uprated service into Moorgate.
  • Thameslink will add a two tph service to Sevenoaks.

Will these developments take a small amount of pressure off the Northern Line?

The Provision Of Depot Space

One of the disadvantages of buying more trains, would be that the depots would need to be expanded, so they could be stored.

London is a crowded city, which is short of land.

So is this a problem?

Londoners

Londoners are World Champions at ducking and diving!

So don’t underestimate their abilities to find the quickest routes that take the pressure off the Jubilee and Northern Lines.

Replacing The Whole Jubilee And Northern Fleets

It is intended that new trains will be in service on the Piccadilly Line around 2022. Wikipedia says this about Siemens proposal for the trains.

Siemens has publicised an outline design, which would feature air-conditioning and would also have battery power enabling the train to run on to the next station if third and fourth rail power were lost. It would have a lower floor and 11% higher passenger capacity than the present tube stock. There would be a weight saving of 30 tonnes, and the trains would be 17% more energy-efficient with air-conditioning included, or 30% more energy-efficient without it.

By the end of the 2020s, the Jubilee and Northern Line trains will be over thirty years old, and by then the two lines will be in need of even more capacity.

Replacing the current trains with a London-proven new train would surely be a distinct possibility.

Conclusion

The more I look at whether the top-up order for new trains is needed, the more I’m convinced it isn’t!

 

 

October 12, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

An Affordable Reinstatement Of The Stour Valley Railway

The Stour Valley Railway used to link Cambridge to Colchester. The section between Sudbury and Shelford stations was closed in 1967. The only portion remaining is the Gainsborough Line between Sudbury and Marks Tey stations.

So could the line be reopened in an affordable way using modern technology?

In Sudbury To Cambridge – D-Train, IPEMU Or Tram-Train?, I basked what would be the ideal rolling stock on a reopened Stour Valley Railway.

My conclusion was.

It is very much a case of who pays the money makes the choice.

Purists will want a double-track railway with fully manned stations, served by at least two-trains per hour. But they’re probably not paying!

There are plenty enough single-track, single-platform stations in the UK, that work safely and well. The Gainsborough Line, which would connect a restored Stour Valley Railway to the Great Eastern Main Line has the following characteristics, history and aspirations.

So why not extend a  railway across Suffolk, with these features.

  • Single-track throughout.
  • No traditional electrification
  • Single-platform stations.
  • Passing loops at Sudbury or Great Cornard and Haverhill.
  • In-cab wireless signalling, using ERTMS, as piloted on the Cambrian Line in Wales.
  • No level crossings.
  • No freight, except engineering trains.
  • Run under tramway rules.
  • Double-manned trains.
  • Services would be run by Aventras running on stored power.

It would be the ultimate modern railway connecting to one of the world’s most high-tech cities.

A Few Questions

These questions come to mind. If you have any others, let me know and I’ll answer them.

Could an Aventra Travel Between Marks Tey And Shelford Stations On Battery Power?

Both ends of the Stour Valley Railway connect to double-track main lines, which use 25 KVAC overhead electrification.

Current practice, always extends the electrification for a few hundred metres down a branch line and I would assume this would be done, so that a train running on stored energy, which was running short of power, could pull out onto the main line using the electrification.

Estimates of the distances of the sections of the line are as follows.

  • Marks Tey to Sudbury – 12 miles – From Gainborough Line details in Wikipedia.
  • Sudbury to Haverhill – 17 miles – From road distances
  • Haverhill to West Anglia Main Line – 14 miles – From road distances.

Which gives a total of forty-three miles.

These factors will help.

  • The terrain is not challenging.
  • The trains will be using regenerative braking at stops.
  • The trains have been optimised for low energy use.
  • The trains will enter the line with full batteries.

In An Exciting New Aventra, Bombardier are quoted as saying.

So plans were made for an Aventra that could run away from the wires, using batteries or other forms of energy storage. “We call it an independently powered EMU, but it’s effectively an EMU that you could put the pantograph down and it will run on the energy storage to a point say 50 miles away. There it can recharge by putting the pantograph back up briefly in a terminus before it comes back.

The prototype, which was based on a Class 379 train, that I rode in public service in January 2015, could happily travel along the eleven miles of the Mayflower Line. Even then the on-board engineer, that I spoke to, reckoned that longer distances were possible.

Two years on, I can’t believe that Bombardier have not achieved their objective of a train with on-board storage, that can reliably achieve a fifty mile range away from the wires.

In fact for reliable operation over fifty miles, they’d probably need a range of around seventy miles, just to make sure.

Could Charging Be Provided En Route?

Seville’s MetroCentro trams, which I described in Seville’s Elegant Trams, charge themselves at each stop.

I believe that there may be a very simple system, that could be used with Aventra trains.

The Aventras are dual-voltage trains, so could a short length of 750 VDC third rail be provided in some or all stations, which at most times is electrically dead. As is normal practice the rail would be on the side of the track away from the platform.

The sequence of operation would be as follows.

  • The train arrives in the station.
  • The second crew member gets out to supervise the passengers, as is normal practice.
  • The presence of the train, allows the third rail to be switched on.
  • The train connects using a third-rail shoe and charges the batteries.
  • When charging is complete, the third rail is switched off.
  • The second crew member checks all is ready and boards the train.
  • The train goes on its way with a full battery.

I’m sure that by careful design, a very safe system of charging the batteries can be developed.

  • The third rail can’t be switched on unless a train is in the platform.
  • The train would act as a massive safety guard for the third-rail.
  • The shoe could be on the middle car of a five-car train.
  • CCTV could monitor the third-rail at all times it is switched on.

I don’t think that all stations would have charging facilities, but just enough to ensure reliable operation of the trains.

How Would You Rescue A Failed Battery Train?

There are generally two ways, that failed trains are rescued.

  • In most cases, a second train attaches itself to the failed train and drags it out of moves it to a suitable siding out of the way.
  • Alternatively, a locomotive, often nicknamed a Thunderbird moves the train.

Would a battery train be able to shift the dead weight of a failed train?

It has been suggested to me, that Greater Anglia’s Class 755 trains, which are bi-mode will be able to rescue a Class 720 train, which are Aventras.

Now that is probably the ideal solution.

If you are using battery trains on a route, you make sure that you have some bi-mode trains working a route nearby.

How Long Would Colchester To Cambridge Take With A Battery Train?

Currently, the fastest journey by train between Colchester and Cambridge, that I can find takes two hours twenty minutes with a change at Ipswich. The Internet gives a driving time of one hour twenty-two minutes.

So how long would a journey take on the Stour Valley Railway?

The following timings are achieved by electric trains on the part of the route that is electrified.

  • Marks Tey to Colchester – 7-8 minutes
  • Shelford to Cambridge – 7 minutes

With Marks Tey to Sudbury taking twenty minutes. I will assume that a modern train like an Aventra would save a couple of minutes per stop, but then there could be an extra station at Great Cornard.

So let’s leave the timing at twenty minutes.

Scaling this time up for the forty-three miles between Marks Tey and the West Anglia Main Line from the twelve miles between Msrks Tey and Sudbury gives a time of one hour twelve minutes for the centre section of the route without electrification.

Adding everything together gives one hour twenty-seven minutes for the complete  Colchester to Cambridge journey.

I suspect a few minutes could be saved by good driving and some extra electrification at the junctions.

This all adds up to a comfortable three-hour round trip between Colchester and Cambridge.

How Many Trains Would Be Needed To Work A Colchester To Cambridge Service?

The previous section would mean that to provide an hourly service between Cambridge and Colchester would require just three trains. A half-hourly service would require six trains.

Why Not Use Bi-Mode Trains?

It could be argued that everything a Class 720 Aventra train running on battery power could be done by a Stadler Class 755 bi-mode train.

Consider.

  • The track access charges and leasing costs may favour one train or the other.
  • Tha Class 720 train is probably better suited to gliding silently through the Suffolk countryside.
  • The Class 755 train would run on diesel for most of the journey. Not very green!
  • The five-car Class 720 train may be too big.

Abellio’s accountants and the Marketing Department will decide.

Costs And Benefits

The cost of building the railway between the West Anglia Main Line and Sudbury, is a bit like the old question, as to how long is a piece of string.

Much of the route is still visible in Google Maps and it could be rebuilt as single track with single platform stations, which is the style of the Gainsborough Line.

The picture shows Newcourt station on the Avocet Line in Devon.

There were originally stations between Shelford and Sudbury at the following places.

I don’t suspect all would be needed, but none except perhaps Haverhill and a rebuilt and/or moved Sufbury would be anything more than basic.

To show the level of costs, Newcourt station cost £4 million, when it opened in 2015.

I would estimate that a total cost of the single track and the required stations would be around £100-120 million.

At least, it would be unlikely, if new trains had to be purchased.

Putting value to the benefits is more difficult, but at least they can be listed.

  • Fast growing Haverhill will gain a high-capacity public transport link to Cambridge.
  • It would give Cambridge access to the housing and industrial sites, the |City needs.
  • An efficient route would be built between Cambridge and Colchester via Sudbury and Haverhill.
  • Haverhill and Sudbury get good direct links to Colchester and Ipswich.
  • Most of the locals would be pleased, as house prices would rise!!
  • All areas along the line get links to Addenbrook’s Hospital.
  • If you can’t drive in South Suffolk, it is a beautiful prison.

As to the last point, why do you think I moved to London?

Conclusion

Reinstatement of the Stour Valley Railway  would be the ultimate modern railway for one of the world’s most high-tech cities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 13, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 3 Comments