The Anonymous Widower

Wires, New Platforms And Sidings At Blackpool North Station – 17th April 2018

I took these pictures as I entered Blackpool station.

Note.

  1. There are now six straight platforms at the station.
  2. The platforms are long and can probably take an eleven-car Class 390 train.
  3. There seems to be five or six long sidings for trains, just outside the station.
  4. There is certainly evidence of ongoing work.

They certainly seem to be expecting a lot of trains.

If not soon, the station is future proofed.

What Trains Will Run To Blackpool?

I think the routes from Blackpool should have  a minimum frequency of at least two tph.So the base local service should be.

  • Two tph – Blackpool North to Liverpool Lime Street  Class 319 train
  • Two tph – Blackpool North to Manchester Airport – Class 319 train
  • Two tph – Blackpool South nto Colne – Class 769 train

Other routes could include these services.

  • 1-2 tph  – Blackpool North to York via Leeds
  • 1-2 tph – Blackpool North to Hazel Grove via Manchester Piccadilly – Class 319 train
  • 1-2 tph – Blackpool North to Huddersfield via Manchester Victoria.
  • 1-2 tph – Blackpool North to Ormskirk via Preston – Class 769 trains.

I wrote about the last service in Northern’s Plans For Between Preston And Ormskirk. But as Blackpool North station has six terminal platforms, it might be a better terminus than Preston.

Even if all of these services were to be two tph, this would only be fourteen tph between Preston and Kirkham and Wesham stations.

But the signalling is now modern and Northern have ordered a lot of  100 mph trains.

Obviously, Network Rail have got to finish the electrification.

 

April 17, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Wires At Poulton-le-Fylde Station – 17th April 2018

These pictures show Poulton-le-Fylde station.

Note.

  1. The station has been refurbished.
  2. The overhead wires appear to be complete.
  3. A lift has been installed.
  4. The cafe has reopened.
  5. The island platform is wide.
  6. There are a pair of proper clocks.

It is surely now one of the best stations in the country with a single island platform, serving both lines.

April 17, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

Wires At Kirkham And Wesham Station – 17th April 2018

These pictures show Kirkham and Wesham station.

Note.

  • Two new lifts are being installed.
  • The overhead wires appear to be complete on the two main lines.
  • The platform used by the Blackpool South Branch appears not to have been electrified.

Does anybody know if the line to Blackpool South station will be electrified?

But that gives the Blackpool area and Northern time to create the proper transport solution for the next Open at Royal Lytham and St. Annes.

 

April 17, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

Another Ambitious Tunnel

This article on Global Rail News is entitled Study Finds C$1.7bn Undersea Rail Tunnel The Most Attractive Option For Labrador-Newfoundland Link.

The article cites innovations in tunnel technology is one of the reasons, that this tunnel is now possible at an affordable cost.

The study also proposed that the single rail tunnel, uses this operational method.

Travelling at up to 100km/h, the train would take 20 minutes to cross the strait. It would operate 12 hours a day, seven days a week, carrying a maximum of around 130 vehicles.

They indicate because of low traffic levels, this would handle traffic for over forty years.

Tunnel builders will increasingly get more ambitious and we’ll see more plans for tunnels in the future.

 

April 16, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 4 Comments

Between Blackpool South And Colne Stations Could Take Longer After 20th May

Tomorrow, trains between Blackpool South and Colne stations will take a few minutes under two hours.

But after the timetable change of May 20th, the journey will take an hour longer.

  • There will be a change at Preston.
  • This change will involve a wait of an hour.

I have ridden that line and in the summer, there are a lot of passengers that use it for a trip to the seaside.

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

Northern’s Plans For Between Preston And Ormskirk

The service on the Ormskirk Branch Line between Preston and Ormskirk stations is an infuriating one.

  • The Class 153 trains that run the service seem to be unreliable when I use it.
  • The frequency is roughly hourly and not clockface by any means.
  • Sometimes the trains are very full.
  • The signalling appears to be old-fashioned.

But it seems that from May 21st, things will be getting better.

The timetable shows the following.

  • Trains leave Ormskirk hourly from 07:01 until 23:11 and take 31 minutes to get to Preston.
  • Trains leave Preston hourly from 06:26 until 21:26 and take 30 minutes to get to Ormskirk.

Journey times are actually similar to now, so I would assume they are for a Class 153 train.

What a pity, that the round trip will take over an hour.

Northern will need two trains to run this service, but if they could do a round trip in an hour, only one train would be needed.

Consider.

The Class 153 train is only a 75 mph train.

Part of the journey is along the electrified West Coast Main Line.

Northern have or soon will have faster trains in their fleet

I suspect that any one of these trains could achieve the hourly round trip.

All would offer increased capacity and better quality interiors.

The Class 769 train would handle the route with ease.

  • The train could use the electrification on the West Coast Main Line.
  • The train is faster.
  • It is a four-car train.

I doubt it will happen, but the trains could continue on the Merseyrail network, if their third-rail electrification shoes, were to be refitted.

But who knows what will happen if Merseyrail and Northern decide to bring the railways between Blackpool, Kirkby, Ormskirk, Preston, Southport and Wigan into the twenty-first century?

There’s certainly a lot happening in the area at the timetable change on May 20th.

  • Blackpool to Liverpool gets an electric hourly service.
  • Blackpool to Manchester Airport gets an hourly service, which will go electric in time.
  • Ormskirk to Preston gets a proper hourly service.
  • Wigan North Western to Alderley Edge gets a new service using Class 769 trains.
  • Wigan North Western to Stalybridge gets a revamped service using Class 769 trains.

Porterbrook’s affordable bi-mode Class 769 train seems to be fully involved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 15, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 1 Comment

What Rolling Stock Will Northern Use Between Blackpool North And Manchester Airport Stations From Tomorrow?

I was alerted to the opening of the service, by this article in Rail Technology Magazine, which is entitled Blackpool To Preston Route To Reopen After Major 5-Month Transformation.

As I was coming up to see someone on Tuesday, I’ve decided to come up on the first Virgin from Euston at 16:33 to Blackpool North station.

My train coming up from London, is I suspect a Class 221 train, as I’m in First in Coach E. So I’ll be diesel-hauled all the way.

I have read somewhere that four-car trains will be running between Blackpool North and Manchester Airport stations, so as these trains will be going via Bolton, where there is still no electrification, I would expect, that Northern will be running a couple of Class 156 trains on this route.

But the route would also be an ideal one to introduce the long-awaited Class 769 trains!

  • Trains call at Poulton-le-Fylde, Preston, Buckshaw Parkway, Chorley, Horwich Parkway, Bolton, Salford Crescent, Deansgate, Oxford Road, Piccadilly and Heald Green.
  • It is electrified, except for between Preston and Deansgate, which could be ready in May 2018.
  • The trains are four-cars with a universal access toilet, so are a step up from the previous rolling stock.

In their news release on the reopening of the Blackpool to Preston route, Northern says this.

Train services between Preston and Blackpool North will resume from Monday 16 April 2018 initially with one train per hour allowing time for driver training on the route.

Obviously, drivers have to learn the route, but as Northern have a fleet of thirty-two Class 319 trains, I suspect they have enough drivers to handle this fleet, when they eventually get to run between Blackpool North and Manchester Airport.

I think it’s unlikely, but I wouldn’t be completely surprised to see Class 769 trains working this route for training purposes.

In Does A New Service Start Between Wigan North Western And Alderley Edge Stations Using Class 769 Trains On May 20th?, I came to the conclusion that from May 20th, Northern will be adding these two hourly services using Class 769 trains.

  • Wigan North Western and Alderley Edge
  • Wigan North Western and Stalybridge

So will the training of the drivers be completed between Blackpool North and Preston?

Blackpool North And Liverpool Lime Street

I have been exploring this route on the timetable.

I found these trains running from Blackpool North to Liverpool Lime Street.

  • Sundays from April 22nd an hourly train between 11:00 and 22:00
  • Monday to Saturday from April 20th a direct train at 18:02.
  • Sundays from May 21st an hourly train between 08:30 and 22:00
  • Monday to Saturday from May 21st an hourly service between 06:00 and 22:00

And these trains running from Liverpool Lime Street to Blackpool North.

  • Sundays from April 22nd an hourly train between 08:47 and 20:47
  • Monday to Saturday from April 20th a direct train at 07:56.
  • Sundays from May 21st an hourly train between 06:36 and 22:15
  • Monday to Saturday from May 21st an hourly service between 06:00 and 22:00

I would assume that all trains would be served by Class 319 trains.

I think that Northern are being canny here.

  • Liverpool Lime Street and Blackpool North services will be run from the next weekend, with an hourly Sunday service. This will sort out any possible problems with an hourly service, before it is introduced on May 20th.
  • They have added a couple of trains to help commuters between Liverpool and Blackpool.
  • There is still a lot of capacity between Preston and Blackpool North for training.

It will be interesting to see how passengers react to the new timetable on May 20th.

 

April 15, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 4 Comments

Does President Putin Speak English?

I’ve wondered this for a few months and this article on Newsweek, which is entitled Does Putin Speak English? After Trump Meeting, The Kremlin Weighs in.

This is the first paragraph.

Russian President Vladimir Putin may have been praising Donald Trump’s listening skills last week but on Monday, his own abilities as a good speaker were receiving plaudits. Putin’s English, seldom heard by western audiences, is good enough to correct his translators, according to the man hired to speak on Putin’s behalf.

I think we can take the answer as yes!

April 15, 2018 Posted by | World | , , | 1 Comment

Twisted Mind That Gave Us Chemical Warfare

The title of this post is the same as that of an article by Ben Macintyre,  in today’s copy of The Times.

It is subtitled.

Fritz Haber’s pacifist wife killed herself as he plotted Great War carnage…and he picked up a Nobel price.

Fritz Haber was a brilliant chemist, described in the first paragraph of his Wikipedia entrry.

Fritz Haber ( 9 December 1868 – 29 January 1934) was a German chemist who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1918 for his invention of the Haber–Bosch process, a method used in industry to synthesise ammonia from nitrogen gas and hydrogen gas. This invention is of importance for the large-scale synthesis of fertilisers and explosives. The food production for half the world’s current population depends on this method for producing nitrogen fertilisers. Haber, along with Max Born, proposed the Born–Haber cycle as a method for evaluating the lattice energy of an ionic solid.

This description is rather stained by the second paragraph.

Haber is also considered the “father of chemical warfare” for his years of pioneering work developing and weaponizing chlorine and other poisonous gases during World War I, especially his actions during the Second Battle of Ypres.

Ben Macintyre feels strongly about Haber and finishes with this paragraph.

Rescinding Haber’s Nobel prize will not stop Assad from killing his own people with poison bombsbut it would be a profound symbolic expression of the moral revulsion over the misuse of science so dramatically demonstrated by Haber’s wife a century ago.

I don’t know whether Nobel prizes can be rescinded, but the article is a very informative read about the origins of chemical weapons.

 

 

 

April 14, 2018 Posted by | World | , , , , | 3 Comments

Marks And Spencer Returns To Dalston

Marks and Spencer used to have a shop in Dalston, but it is now long gone. In those days before and during the Second World War, the shop would have been close to where my mother worked at Reeves.

Yesterday, I went to the littleWaitrose at Highbury and Islington, only to find it was being rebuilt, so I decided to take the Overground to Dalston Kingsland station and get the tin of cannellini beans,  needed from the big Sainsburys opposite.

On turning right out of the station, I saw a new store had been opened under a new residential block.

Imagine my surprise, when I saw it was a new M & S Foothall.

But Marks and Spencer don’t sell cannellini beans, do they? Oh! Yes they do!

  • This new stop may only have a short frontage on the street, but it is deep.
  • It is much more Kings Road, than Dalston Kingsland High Street.
  • The gluten-free section is massive.
  • I was even able to get the Southwold 0.5% low-alcohol beer.

These pictures show the store on Dalston Kingsland High Street.

I suspect this store will be a roaraway success.

  • It is a high-quality store.
  • The world-famous Ridley Road Market is opposite.
  • The only major store in the area, is a medium-sized, but rather tired Sainsburys.
  • Passengers changing between the two alston stations will have to pass the front door.
  • It is up there with new stores I’ve seem in Camden Town, Muswell Hill and West Hampstead.

If Crossrail 2 is built, it will sit right on top of the Dalston mega-station.

April 13, 2018 Posted by | Travel, World | , , , | 1 Comment