The Anonymous Widower

Beeching Reversal – Reinstatement of Bolton-Radcliffe / Bolton – Bury

This is one of the Beeching Reversal projects that the Government and Network Rail are proposing to reverse some of the Beeching cuts.

This article in the Bury Times is entitled Plans For Bolton Metrolink Route To Radcliffe See New Bid Submitted. This is the introductory paragraphs.

A bid to secure funding for a tram link between Bolton and Radcliffe has been submitted to the government.

Mark Logan, the MP for Bolton North East, hopes to secure part of the Department for Transport’s £500m Restoring Your Railway Ideas Fund to connect the town to the major public transport network.

The proposal submitted shows Metrolink connecting Bolton, Radcliffe and Bury by reviving an existing disused track bed; bridging the gap between some of the more deprived areas along the route.

This Google Map shows the triangular area between Bolton, Radcliffe and Bury.

Note.

  1. Bolton is just off the Western edge of the map.
  2. Bury is in the North East corner of the map.
  3. Radcliffe is at the Southern edge of the map, close to the point of the triangular green space.
  4. There is already a Metrolink line between Bury and Radcliffe.

If you look at this map on a larger scale, you can see the scars of old railway lines between Bolton and Bury and Bolton and Radcliffe.

I will take a more detailed look at this proposal.

Bolton

This Google Map shows the Western point of the triangle, where it connects towards Bolton.

Note.

  1. The disused railway appears to run South of the Bradley Fold Trading Estate.
  2. It then split into two branches in the middle of the map.
  3. The Northern branch goes off in a North-Easterly direction to Bury.
  4. The Southern branch goes off in a South-Easterly direction to Radcliffe.

I’ve followed the route of the disused railway to the West and it goes all the way to the centre of Bolton.

This Google Map shows between Bolton and Bradley Fold.

This railway used to be part of the Liverpool and Bury Railway. This map, which has been clipped from Wikipedia, shows the route.

This information came in a comment from FS (Thanks!) and there are some interesting bridges and viaducts on the route.

Looking at the route from my virtual helicopter, much of the route between Bolton and Radcliffe, is now a walking and cycle route, so there will have to be some careful design to get shared use right.

Radcliffe

This Google Map shows the Radcliffe point of the triangle.

Note.

  1. The Bury Line of the Manchester Metrolink runs down the Eastern side of the map.
  2. The Radcliffe tram stop, with its Park-and-Ride is in the South-East corner of the map.
  3. The disused railway from Bolton joins the map in the North-West corner.

This Google Map avows the Radcliffe tram stop.

I don’t think it would be the most challenging of projects to connect the Radcliffe tram stop to a tram branch to and from Bolton.

  • There seems to be plenty of space on both sides of the main road.
  • Extra platforms could probably be added for Bolton trams if required.

Although, there could be problems threading the route, through the new housing and over the viaducts and bridges.

Bury

This Google Map shows the South-West approaches to Bury.

Note.

  1. Bury Interchange is in the North-East corner of the map.
  2. The tracks and sidings of the East Lancashire Railway can be seen running South-West from the centre of Bury.
  3. The proposed line from Bolton enters the map in the South West corner.

Where will the new line terminate, as getting across the town might be expensive?

New Tram Stops

There is a Wikipedia entry, which is entitled Proposed Developments Of Manchester Metrolink, which says nothing about the Bolton – Radcliffe and Bolton – Bury Lines.

But it does indicate, there may be two new stops between Bury Interchange and Radcliffe tram stop.

Buckley Wells

The Wikipedia entry for Buckley Wells tram stop says this.

Buckley Wells is a proposed tram stop on the Bury Line of Greater Manchester’s Metrolink light rail system. It is to be between Bury Interchange and Radcliffe Metrolink station, in the Buckley Wells area of Bury, north of Fishpool and south of Bury town centre.

The proposed site of Buckley Wells stop, by the A56 road, is owned by Transport for Greater Manchester, was proposed in 2003, offering (in addition to the Metrolink stop and services for southern Bury) a park and ride facility, and opportunity to provide an interchange with the East Lancashire Railway.

This Google Map shows the wider area of the site.

Note.

  1. The Bury Line of the Manchester Metrolink runs SW-NE across the map.
  2. The A56 Manchester Road runs roughly North-South and crosses over the Bury Line.
  3. The tracks and sidings of the East Lancashire Railway, can be seen in the North-West corner of the map.
  4. The main route of the East Lancashire Railway can be seen crossing the Bury Line in the North-East corner of the map.

If you follow the Bury Line back towards Manchester, there is a connection between the Manchester Methrolink and the East Lancashire Railway.

Elton Reservoir

The Wikipedia entry for Elton Reservoir tram stop says this.

Elton Reservoir, also known as Warth, is a proposed tram stop on the Bury Line of Greater Manchester’s Metrolink light rail system. It is to be located between Bury Interchange and Radcliffe Metrolink station, southeast of Elton Reservoir and south of Bury town centre.

This Google map shows the wider area of the site.

Note.

  1. The Bury Line runs North-South from the North-East corner of the map.
  2. The stop is being proposed for new housing, that might be built in the area.

It should be noted that the proposed Bolton – Bury tram line would run on the reservoir side of the houses in the North-West corner of the map.

Infrastructure

On a quick look, the two new lines and the two new tram stops, don’t appear to be too challenging.

The only parts that appear difficult might be.

  • Running the trams between Bolton Town Centre and Bradley Fold.
  • Running the trams into Bury Town Centre.
  • Some of the Radcliffe route seems to have been built on.

But there doesn’t seem to be any bridges over major roads or waterways.

Conclusion

There is a lot to like about these two new tram routes.

August 10, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 3 Comments

Beeching Reversal – Reopening Golborne Railway Station

This is one of the Beeching Reversal projects that the Government and Network Rail are proposing to reverse some of the Beeching cuts.

Golbourne station was known as Golbourne South station in its later years and this Google Map shows the station’s location in the village of Golbourne.

I don’t want to disappoint anybody, but I don’t think a station here is a practical idea.

  • The proposal would mean adding a new station between Wigan North Western and Warrington Bank Quay stations. Would this slow Avanti West Coast services by an unacceptable amount?
  • High Speed Two services will use these tracks. Will that be acceptable to the new route’s engineers.?
  • Platforms for the West Coast Main Line and High Speed Two will need to be at least two hundred metres long. Is there enough space?
  • Where will the cars be parked in the village?

But the biggest problem, will be the disruption caused by constructing the station in the middle of a village.

Conclusion

I shall be very surprised if this station is reopened.

August 7, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , | 1 Comment

Beeching Reversal – Reopen Midge Hall Station

This is one of the Beeching Reversal projects that the Government and Network Rail are proposing to reverse some of the Beeching cuts.

Midge Hall station is a closed station on the Ormskirk Branch Line.

This Google Map shows what’s left of Midge Hall station.

Note.

  1. The single-track Ormskirk Branch Line running SW-NE across the map.
  2. Midge Hall Lane crossing it at right-angles in the South-West corner of the map, where a level crossing can be seen.
  3. The original station had two platforms, of which the remains can be seen.

There certainly seems plenty of space to rebuild the station.

The Ormskirk Branch Line

The Ormskirk Branch Line runs between Ormskirk and Preston stations.

  • It is single-track most of the way.
  • It is about 15.5 miles long.
  • The current trains take just over half-an-hour.
  • There are four intermediate stations.
  • Most services terminate in a bay platform at Preston station.
  • Ormskirk station is electrified with 750 VDC third-rail electrification.
  • Preston station is electrified with 25 KVAC overhead electrification.

The Future section in the Wikipedia entry says this.

There have been several proposals to extend the Merseyrail electric service to Preston using this line. This would restore the most direct Liverpool – Preston route. The reinstatement of the Burscough Curves has been proposed which would allow services to Southport from Preston and Liverpool via Ormskirk. This could be accompanied by the reopening of Midge Hall station.

The reports usually say, that this would be achieved by fitting batteries to the new Class 777 trains.

Battery Operation Of Merseyrail’s New Class 777 Trains

It would appear that on each round trip between Ormskirk and Preston, the trains will have to run thirty-one miles on batteries.

  • In Batteries On Class 777 Trains, I estimated that, the battery capacity of a Class 777 train was 300 kWh.
  • It also looks like Stadler have designed the Class 777 train, with battery-operation as an integral part of the design.

In an article in the October 2017 Edition of Modern Railways, which is entitled Celling England By The Pound, Ian Walmsley says this in relation to trains running on the Uckfield Branch, which is not very challenging.

A modern EMU needs between 3 and 5 kWh per vehicle mile for this sort of service.

I know both branches reasonably well and the Ormskirk Branch is probably the least challenging.

Consider.

  • The Class 777 train is probably equivalent in length to a three-car train, as the cars are short.
  • The Class 777 train appears to have a sophisticated traction system, that includes regenerative braking to the batteries.

If the Class 777 train can achieve 3 kWh per vehicle mile, it will have a range of 33.3 miles. Reduce it to 2 kWh per vehicle mile and the range would be 50 miles.

I am fairly certain, that Stadler have designed a train, that can achieve a round trip between Ormskirk and Preston, without needing a battery top-up at Preston.

I don’t think, that it will need to use overhead wires either.

So that will save on infrastructure costs!

Charging The Batteries

The batteries would be charged using the existing third-rail electrification between Ormskirk and Hunts Cross stations.

No new infrastructure would be needed.

Future Services Between Liverpool And Preston

Preston and Liverpool already a direct hourly electric service via Huyton, St. Helens and Wigan North Western and until proven otherwise a second hourly service via Ormskirk would probably be a more-than-adequate replacement for the current Ormskirk and Preston service.

This would probably be achieved by one if the four trains per hour (tph) continuing to Preston.

As the current trains take about thirty minutes to run between Ormskirk and Preston, I think this could help devising a passenger-friendly timetable.

Future Services Between Southport And Preston

There is currently no train service between Southport and Preston stations.

But there used to be tracks as this Google Map shows.

Two railway lines run across the map.

The two railway lines cross towards the North-East corner of the map.

Note the two green scars of the disused and overgrown Burscough Curves reaching East from Burscough Bridge station.

  • The Northern curve connects to the Ormskirk Branch Line and used to enable trains to go between Southport and Preston stations.
  • The Southern curve connects to the Ormskirk Branch Line and used to enable trains to go between Southport and Ormskirk stations.

Full or even partial restoration of these curves would improve connections to Southport and Preston.

Extend Some Liverpool and Southport Services To Preston

One possibility would be to extend perhaps one-in-four Liverpool and Southport services to Preston via the following route.

  • Reverse at Southport
  • Via Burscough Bridge station and using the Northern Burscough Curve.

Coupled with a one-in-four extension from Ormskirk station, this would provide the following.

  • A two tph service between Liverpool and Preston
  • A two tph service through Rufford, Croston and Midge Hall stations.

With precise and intelligent timetabling. I suspect that Rufford, Croston and Midge Hall stations could all be single-platform stations.

Extend Some Liverpool and Ormskirk Services To Preston Via Southport

Another possibility would be to extend perhaps one-in-four Liverpool and Ormskirk services to Preston via the following route.

  • Using the Southern Burscough Curve to Southport via Burscough Bridge station.
  • Reverse at Southport
  • Via Burscough Bridge station and using the Northern Burscough Curve.

If the route used the electrified Platform 3 at Southport to reverse, it could top-up the batteries.

The Future Midge Hall Station

The design of the station will depend on the train frequency through the station.

An Hourly Service

Midge Hall station would probably be a single-platform station.

  • There would only need to be a single-track railway, as now!
  • The signalling would be handled by one train working, where only one train at a time would be allowed on the single-track between Ormskirk and Preston stations.
  • Passengers needing to cross the line to get to the platform, would use the level crossing.
  • Trains would arrive at fixed times in each hour.

It would be a very basic, but practical station.

A Two tph Service

Midge Hall station could probably still be a single-platform station.

  • There would only need to be a single-track railway, as now!
  • For a two tph service the signalling would need to be more sophisticated.
  • Passengers needing to cross the line to get to the platform, would still use the level crossing.
  • Trains would arrive at fixed times in each hour.

It would be a basic, but practical station.

A More Frequent Service

Midge Hall station would need to be a two platform station, as the line would need to be double-track.

  • Comprehensive signalling would be needed.
  • There could need to be a footbridge, with full step-free access.

It would be more expensive option.

A Compromise

I suspect in the end, Midge Hall station will be designed as a simple single-platform station, that can be upgraded, as required.

Conclusion

The frequency of the service between Ormskirk and Preston has a big effect on the cost of the work to be done.

But I can certainly envisage a two tph service along this route, if the Burscough Curves are reinstated.

  • One tph via Ormskirk.
  • One tph via Southport.

There would be two tph, through the reinstated Midge Hall station.

 

 

August 7, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

Beeching Reversal – East Didsbury – Stockport

This is one of the Beeching Reversal projects that the Government and Network Rail are proposing to reverse some of the Beeching cuts.

This project has been puzzling me.

Search Google for “East Didsbury and Stockport Rail Link” and all you find is grandiose plans for billion pound extensions to the Manchester Metrolink.

Having researched a lot of the proposed Beeching Reversal projects, it appears to me, that the ones likely to be built, will give a lot of benefit for millions, not billions of pounds.

I just wonder, if in this project, Manchester is stealing an idea from Birmingham – the four-poster station!

This Google Map shows Smethwick Galton Bridge station.

This extract from the Wikipedia entry, describes the station.

The station was opened in September 1995 as part of the Jewellery Line scheme to reopen the line between Smethwick and Birmingham Snow Hill station. It was built as an interchange station between two lines, and the platforms on both lines opened at the same time.

Note.

  1. The four lift towers with stairs, that connect the four platforms, have pyramid roofs.
  2. The station is fully step-free.
  3. The rail lines are at different levels.

These pictures show the station.

It is a very practical architectural idea and the world needs more four-poster stations to connect rail lines where they cross at different levels.

Could A Four-Poster Station Link East Didsbury And Stockport?

These are my thoughts.

The Location

This Google Map shows the general area, where the station could be built.

It is a spaghetti of motorways and rail lines with a lumpy sauce of new housing called Barnes Village in the middle.

Note, where the two rail lines cross in the South-West corner of the map.

This second Google Map, shows an enlarged image of the location, where the two rail lines cross.

Note.

  1. The Styal Line runs North-South.
  2. The line running East-West is the Mid-Cheshire Line between Altrincham and Stockport stations.

I suspect most travellers joining the rail network at this point, would walk or cycle in from nearby locations or turn up in a taxi.

The Styal Line

The Styal Line has the following characteristics.

  • It is an electrified double-track line.
  • It connects Manchester Piccadilly and Wilmslow stations.
  • There is a spur that serves Manchester Airport station.
  • East Didsbury station, is the station North of where the two lines cross.
  • Gatley station, is the station South of where the two lines cross.
  • It is the route of trains to and from Manchester Airport.

These trains go through East Didsbury and Gatley stations in trains per hour (tph)

  • 1 tph – Northern – Liverpool Lime Street and Crewe
  • 1 tph – Northern – Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Airport
  • 1 tph – Northern – Manchester Airport and Blackpool North
  • 1 tph – Northern – Manchester Airport and Cumbria
  • 1 tph – Trains for Wales – Manchester Airport and Chester
  • 1 tph – TransPennine Express – Manchester Airport and Redcar Central
  • 1 tph – TransPennine Express – Manchester Airport and Newcastle
  • 1 tph – TransPennine Express – Manchester Airport and Glasgow Central or Edinburgh

Freight trains also use the route.

This means that currently, there are eight tph between the Castlefield Corridor (Deansgate, Manchester Oxford Road and Manchester Piccadilly) and Manchester Airport, all of which go through the location, where the four-poster station could possibly be built.

So could the new station, be used to take pressure off the overloaded Castlefield Corridor?

The Mid-Cheshire Line

The Mid-Cheshire Line has the following characteristics.

  • At this point it is a single-track without electrification.
  • It connects Stockport and Altrincham stations.

Re-Doubling Of The Mid Cheshire Line Between Stockport and Altrincham And Associated Station Reopenings is another of the Beeching Reversal projects and envisages the following.

  • Re-doubling the route.
  • Possible electrification
  • Reopening some stations.

This is the only passenger service that uses the route.

  • 1 tph – Northern – Manchester Piccadilly and Chester

Up to two-three freight tph, also use the route.

In the related post, I said this about the desired frequency of services between Manchester and Chester stations.

It could be argued that two tph between Manchester Piccadilly and Chester are needed now and that four tph should be the preferred frequency.

There certainly needs to be four tph going through the proposed four-poster station.

Conclusion

I am being drawn to the conclusion, that this station if it were to be built, would help a lot of problems with Manchester’s railways.

  • It would allow a sort out of train services to Manchester Airport.
  • It would connect Stockport and Manchester Airport.
  • It would connect Stockport and East Didsbury.
  • It could help a solution to the problem of the Castlefield Corridor.

The station should be built.

August 5, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Beeching Reversal – Re-Doubling Of The Mid Cheshire Line Between Stockport and Altrincham And Associated Station Reopenings

This is one of the Beeching Reversal projects that the Government and Network Rail are proposing to reverse some of the Beeching cuts.

Much of this project appears to be about bringing the former Stockport, Timperley and Altrincham Junction Railway, back up to somewhere near its original state.

This map clipped from Wikipedia shows the railway.

Note.

  1. Stockport Edgeley is now just Stockport station.
  2. Altrincham station is on the Mid-Cheshire Line.
  3. Baguley, Northenden and both Cheadle stations are now closed.

I have just flown my virtual helicopter between Stockport and Altrincham stations and much of the route is already double-track.

  • At Cheadle Village Junction, which appears to be behind Cheadle Heath Police Station, the track becomes single.
  • Just before Sharston Junction, which appears to be to the North-East of Sharston, the track becomes double again.

I estimate, that the single-track section is just over two miles long.

I was also able to ascertain, that there appeared to be plenty of space, where British Rail singled the track.

There is also a second section of single-track, through Navigation Road station, which is shown in this Google Map.

Note.

  1. Both tracks through Navigation Road station are bi-directional.
  2. The Metrolink track is on the West.
  3. The National Rail track is on the East.
  4. South of Navigation Road station, both Metrolink and National Rail get two tracks.

In the twenty-four hours to 0600 this morning, a total of seventeen freight movements, went through this section.

  • Some were biomass trains between Liverpool and Drax power station, up to 6400 tonnes.
  • Some were stone trains from the quarries in the Peak District.
  • Some were Network Rail engineering trains.

I suspect this abort section of single track for both Metrolink and Network Rail is an absolute pain.

The single track must cause a lot of problems as the route is sometimes used by two or three trains per hour (tph) in both directions.

As some of the trains are some of the UK’s longest freight trains, it could  also be very challenging for the signalling and the signallers.

Work That Could Be Done

These sub-projects could be performed.

Elimination of Single Track At Cheadle

I think this is essential and could greatly increase the capacity of the route.

This Youtube video from Don Coffey, shows the view from the cab, which travelling from Manchester to Chester. If you watch from about thirteen minutes, you’ll see the single-track section.

Sorting Out Navigation Road

As with the single-track section at Cheadle, I think this is essential and could greatly increase the capacity of the route.

Watch the same Youtube video from about twenty-two minutes, and you’ll see the single-track section, through Navigation Road station.

In Tram-Trains To Hale Station, I talked about the possibilities of using a variant of Class 399 tram-trains, similar to those running on the Sheffield Supertram.

Signalling

It could be there are minor adjustments or major work to get the most out of a double-track railway.

Electrification

This is an excerpt from the Wikipedia entry for the Mid-Cheshire Line.

In March 2015, the Electrification Task Force said that the Mid-Cheshire line was a tier 1 priority for being electrified in the CP6 period (2019-2024)

Would electrification be installed to perhaps run electric trains between Manchester Piccadilly and Chester?

Baguley Station

I covered Baguley station in Glazebrook Junction And Skelton Junction, where I said this.

Baguley station could be an interesting station, as it would be possible to create an interchange with the Manchester Metrolink. Wikipedia says this.

Proposals were made in the early 2000s to reopen a station in the Baguley area when the extension of the Metrolink out to Wythenshawe and Manchester Airport is actioned. In May 2011 re-opening of the station on the Stockport-Altrincham line was included in Transport for Greater Manchester’s Passenger Plan. The station would be on Southmoor Road and would be a tram/train interchange with the Baguley tram stop, which opened in 2014.

This Google Map shows the possible Baguley Interchange.

Note.

    1. The North-South road is Southmoor Road.
    2. The Metrolink branch to the Airport runs alongside.
    3. The Stockport and Altrincham Line crosses East-West towards the North of the map.

If you take a train between Manchester Piccadilly and Chester via Stockport, Navigation Road, Altrincham and Knutsford, you cross on the railway through here.

So perhaps a Baguley Interchange station, would help some people get to and from Manchester Airport?

Baguley station certainly has possibilities.

Cheadle North Station

Could Cheadle North station be replaced?

This article on the Manchester Evening News is entitled Cheadle ‘On Cusp’ Of Having Own Railway Station For First Time Since Mid-1960s, where this is said.

If ministers back the proposals, the railway station is likely to be built next to the Alexandra Hospital along the mid-Cheshire line – close to where the original Cheadle (later Cheadle North) station was.

This Google Map shows the Cheadle Alexandra Hospital and the Mid-Cheshire Line.

Note.

  1. The hospital is the largest private hospital in the UK, outside London.
  2. The railway, which is single-track at this point, runs along the South side of the site.

If the line is double-tracked, as seems likely, adding a small station would not be a challenging addition.

Northenden Station

Could Northenden station be replaced?

Future Train Services

The train service between Manchester Piccadilly and Chester is as follows.

  • The service is 45 miles.
  • It takes 90 minutes.
  • There are stops at Stockport, Navigation Road, Altrincham, Hale, Ashley, Mobberley, Knutsford, Plumley, Lostock Gtalam, Northwich, Greenbank, Cuddington, Delamere and Mouldsworth.

It could be argued that two tph between Manchester Piccadilly and Chester are needed now and that four tph should be the preferred frequency.

There are other services.

 

Conclusion

After restoring the double-track on this route, there are possibilities to spend, as much money as you want.

In Tram-Trains To Hale Station, these were my conclusions.

  • Tram-trains can deliver a capacity improvement through Navigation Road station.
  • Tram-trains could be extensively tested on the existing Manchester Metrolink network.
  • Tram-trains could be used to build a simple extension to Hale station from Altrincham.
  • The Manchester and Chester service via Stockport, Navigation Road and Altrincham stations could be run by tram-trains.

A comprehensive network of tram-trains could be developed between, through and beyond Altrincham, Crewe and Chester.

Cheshire would have a quality commuter and local train network into Manchester.

After all in the next couple of years, Merseyrail’s Cheshire network will be getting a major upgrade with new trains and perhaps another new route.

August 3, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 6 Comments

Beeching Reversal – Glazebrook Junction And Skelton Junction

This is one of the Beeching Reversal projects that the Government and Network Rail are proposing to reverse some of the Beeching cuts.

This Wikipedia entry, which is entitled Glazebrook East Junction–Skelton Junction Line. gives a lot of information.

Closure Of Passenger Services

This is said.

As part of the London Midland region of BR, It remained a busy line with trains from Liverpool Central and Warrington Central up until the mid-1960s. It was only on the withdrawal of these stopping passenger services in 1964 that all the stations closed along the line.

Where did the services terminate?

I would assume it was Stockport.

Closure Of Freight Services

This is said.

The line carried on as freight only until 1983 when Cadishead Viaduct was in need of serious and costly repair. British Rail decided rather than repairing the viaduct to close it and mothball the line. The tracks were lifted in the mid-1980s from Glazebrook to Partington.

This Google Map shows Cadishead Viaduct over the Manchester Ship Canal, which appears to need some TLC.

It looks to be in similar condition to that of this bridge at Tottenham Hale station in London, before it was replaced.

This Google Map show the bridge at Tottenham Hale now.

It certainly looks a lot better and was installed in a few days over Christmas.

It might be expensive but it certainly looks possible, to add a pair of replacements at Cadishead Viaduct.

Glazebrook Junction

This is said about Glazebrook Junction.

As of 2010 Glazebrook East Junction is still intact and remains part of the national network. The junction towards Cadishead on the original deviation is also still in place with a powered signal lamp showing a permanent red signal. This short section of track from the still live passing loop at Glazebrook East Junction towards Cadishead on the original non-deviated line is permanently point locked. The short section ends near a barrow crossing shortly before a bridge carrying a bridleway above.

This Google Map shows the Junction and Glazebrook station.

Note.

  1. Glazebrook station is in the South-West corner of the map.
  2. The line to be reinstated leaves the map in the South-East corner.

Could there be space for a double-track junction?

Skelton Junction

This is said about Skelton junction.

The tracks from Skelton Junction to the south east of Partington were left and remained intact for chemical trains for a local chemical plant. These trains continued to use this route until 10 October 1993. To this day however this part of the line is intact but disused; the signal lamps at Skelton Junction remain powered red. Also in 2005 this part of the track saw some work; vegetation clearance took place for the line to reopen for freight but this fell through.

This Google Map shows Skelton junction.

Note, that from Skelton junction it appears, it is an easy run to Stockport station.

Stations

Four stations from the route have closed.

Baguley station could be an interesting station, as it would be possible to create an interchange with the Manchester Metrolink. Wikipedia says this.

Proposals were made in the early 2000s to reopen a station in the Baguley area when the extension of the Metrolink out to Wythenshawe and Manchester Airport is actioned. In May 2011 re-opening of the station on the Stockport-Altrincham line was included in Transport for Greater Manchester’s Passenger Plan. The station would be on Southmoor Road and would be a tram/train interchange with the Baguley tram stop, which opened in 2014.

This Google Map shows the possible Baguley Interchange.

Note.

  1. The North-South road is Southmoor Road.
  2. The Metrolink branch to the Airport runs alongside.
  3. The Stockport and Altrincham Line crosses East-West towards the North of the map.

If you take a train between Manchester Piccadilly and Chester via Stockport, Navigation Road, Altrincham and Knutsford, you cross on the railway through here.

So perhaps a Baguley Interchange station, would help some people get to and from Manchester Airport?

Future Train Services

It would appear that at the simplest level it creates a passenger connection between Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Piccadilly stations via South West Manchester and Stockport.

There are also large projects underway, close to Glazebrook.

Climate Emission Killer: Construction Begins On World’s Biggest Liquid Air Battery

railfuture On The Castlefield Problem

Will these two projects and others like them by the Manchester Ship Canal, create the need for more passenger and freight trains to the area?

Conclusion

It looks to me, that opening this new passenger train route could be very beneficial for those that live, work and play in the area.

August 3, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , | 2 Comments

Beeching Reversal – Reinstating Beeston Castle And Tarporley Station

This is one of the Beeching Reversal projects that the Government and Network Rail are proposing to reverse some of the Beeching cuts.

Beeston Castle and Tarporley station was on the Crewe and Chester Line.

  • The station was closed in 1966.
  • The station was situated almost exactly half-way between Crewe and Chester stations.
  • If it were to be reinstated, Beeston Castle and Tarporley would be the only intermediate station.
  • Wikipedia says reinstatement will cost £3 million.

This Google Map shows the site of the station.

Note, that the station appeared to have been, where the A49 crosses the railway and the Shropshire Union Canal.

This Google Map shows an enlargement of the site.

Note.

  1. If canal boats are for hire in the North-West corner of the map, someone will like a convenient station.
  2. The former platforms are just about visible.
  3. Is there enough space for the required car parking?

There’s even a handy cafe for the builders.

Conclusion

It doesn’t appear to be the most challenging station to reinstate.

August 2, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , | 1 Comment

Beeching Reversal – Reopening Wymondham-Dereham Line

This is one of the Beeching Reversal projects that the Government and Network Rail are proposing to reverse some of the Beeching cuts.

It has looked to me, that for some years, that those in Norfolk’s rail industry and Local Government, have been co-operating with rail problems and developments in the county.

If you read the Wikipedia entry for the Mid-Norfolk Railway, various activities are revealed.

  • Regular steam and diesel services between Wymondham and Dereham stations.
  • Occasional sightseeing services North of Dereham station.
  • Mid-Norfolk Railway facilitates commercial freight trains.
  • Dereham yard has been used as a servicing depot by Direct Rail Services for over ten years.
  • Network Rail store track plant at Dereham.
  • There are facilities to transfer damaged rail vehicles to road vehicles at Dereham.
  • The Army uses the line to transport vehicles by train.
  • Storage of trains for Greater Anglia, who have a chronic lack of space.
  • The line appears to be used for specialist crew and driver training.
  • In Mid Norfolk Railway Completes Work On ‘First For UK’ Railway Level Crossing, I wrote about how the railway company used new Dutch technology to demonstrate how to rebuild a level crossing.

It seems, that if you have a different rail-related need in Norfolk, that the Mid-Norfolk Railway will at least listen to your needs.

The company and volunteers have the ambition to restore the railway as far as Fakenham, which will make it one of the longest heritage railways in England.

I am not surprised that reopening services between Wymondham and Dereham stations, is on the list of Beeching Reversal projects.

Dereham

Dereham is a market town of 18,600 residents.

This Google Map shows the Dereham station complex.

It is the headquarters of the Mid-Norfolk Railway.

Wymondham

Wymondham is a developing market town of 14,400 residents, that has a station on the Breckland Line between Cambridge and Norwich via Ely and Thetford.

The Mid-Norfolk Railway also has a connection to the Breckland Line and access to Wymondham station at Wymondham South junction.

This Google Map shows the town of Wymondham.

Note.

  1. The Breckland Line going SW-NE across the map.
  2. Wymondham station in the middle of the map.
  3. Wymondham Abbey station, which is on the Mid-Norfolk Railway in the North-West corner of the map.
  4. Wymondham South junction, where the branch divides to the South-West of Wymondham station.

The A11 Wymondham Bypass encloses a lot of land, which seems to be being developed into housing.

Breckland Line Train Services

Current train services on the Breckland Line include.

  • Greater Anglia – One train per hour (tph) – Norwich and Stansted Airport via Cambridge
  • East Midlands Railway – One tph – Norwich and Liverpool via Ely and Peterborough

Note.

  1. Both train franchises are Abellio.
  2. Both train franchises use modern diesel or bi-mode trains.

As there is significant development of housing and industry, all along the A11 and the Breckland Line between Cambridge and Norwich, many believe that there is a large opportunity for the growth of passenger train services.

All being well in a few years, Norwich will get a third service in a one tp2h service along the East West Railway to Oxford.

But towns like Wymondham probably will need better and more connections to Cambridge and Norwich, before that, as although the roads are good, the emissions won’t be!

The Trowse Swing Bridge

The single-track Trowse Swing Bridge is a major bottleneck on any service between Norwich and the South.

It does manage to carry up to nine to ten tph, but it appears that for efficient operation of extra services South from Norwich, that the bridge will have to be replaced or by-passed.

This Google Map shows Trowse Bridge.

When the Great Eastern Main Line was being electrified to Norwich station, a temporary station was built in this area, whilst electrification was added to the bridge.

A Station At Trowse

A similar strategy could be used, whilst the bridge is replaced, but I suspect, that a bolder plan might be possible.

  • There is a lot of development going on in Norwich.
  • It is expected that rail traffic South from Norwich to Cambridge and London will grow significantly in the next few years.
  • Removing the requirement for the bridge to open, would require difficult Parliamentary legislation.

This Google Map shows the wider City Centre.

Note.

  1. The River Wensum curving through the City.
  2. The large Norwich station in the middle of the map.
  3. Norwich City Centre to the West of the station.
  4. Norwich City’s Carrow Road ground to the South of the station.
  5. The blue-roofed Norwich Crown Point Depot towards the East of the map.
  6. Trowse bridge crossing the river to the South of Crown Point Depot.

It should also be noted, that to solve some of the chronic overcrowding in Crown Point Depot, Greater Anglia have developed some new sidings South of the Trowse bridge, on the Western side of the Great Eastern Main Line, around the area of the former Trowse station.

Consider.

  • If you look at the rail lines South of the Trowse bridge, the Breckland Line crosses under the Great Eastern Main Line and then joins the main line from the East.
  • Norwich could borrow an idea from other cities like Bristol and run a water bus on the River Wensum.
  • The South Bank of the river looks ripe for development.

I wonder if it would be possible to reopen Trowse station as a modern riverside station.

  • There would be two electrified through platforms.
  • The Southern ends of the through platforms would connect to the Great Eastern Main Line and the Breckland Line, as they do now.
  • The Northern ends of the through platforms would combine and cross the Trowse Bridge, as they do now.
  • On the Eastern side of the station, there would be up to two electrified bay platforms, which could connect to any route to the South.
  • At least one platform would be able to take a full-length Class 745 train.
  • There would be a river bus station, with connections to the main Norwich station, Carrow Road and Norwich City Centre.
  • The station would be fully step-free.

As the infamous bridge is only thirty-three years old, surely it can be refurbished and modernised, so that the major problem of reliability is eliminated.

This new station would give train operators advantages and options.

  • The station would be very handy for office and residential developments along the river.
  • The rail line into Norwich could probably be kept open during the construction, as the bridge is only being refurbished.
  • Some travellers to and from Norwich might prefer to use Trowse, rather than Norwich station and use the water bus.
  • Extra services to Norwich might terminate in the bay platforms at Trowse and would not need capacity on the bridge.
  • I suspect that a four or five tph frequency would operate between Norwich and Trowse station.
  • In times of disruption, the bay platforms can be used to turn trains South of the bridge.

I’m sure there is an innovative solution in there somewhere.

What is Norwich City Council intending to do along the South bank of the river?

Future Train Services Between Norwich And The South

Greater Anglia have bought a lot of new trains and I doubt, that they’ll be leaving them in sidings, if they have a job for them to do.

I can certainly see four tph Turn-Up-And-Go services running on the following routes around Norwich.

  • Norwich and Cambridge
  • Norwich and Ipswich
  • Norwich and Lowestoft
  • Norwich and Yarmouth

Being able to turn some Cambridge and Ipswich trains South of Trowse bridge, may be the better solution, than replacing, rather than refurbishing the bridge.

Norwich And Dereham

  • Norwich and Dereham stations are just over twenty miles apart and I suspect that Class 755 trains can do the trip in about twenty-five minutes.
  • This may open up the possibility of an hour’s round trip between Trowse and Dereham stations.

If the hour trip is possible, this could open up a two tph service, run by just two trains.

A Possible Timetable

I could see something like this being a possible timetable.

  • East West Rail – One tph – Norwich and Oxford via Cambridge
  • Greater Anglia – One tph – Norwich and Stansted Airport via Cambridge
  • Greater Anglia – One tph – Trowse and Stansted Airport via Cambridge
  • Greater Anglia – One tph – Trowse and Cambridge
  • Greater Anglia – Two tph – Trowse and Dereham
  • East Midlands Railway – One tph – Norwich and Liverpool via Ely and Peterborough
  • Greater Anglia – Two tph – Norwich and London Liverpool Street via Ipswich
  • Greater Anglia – One tph – Trowse and London Liverpool Street via Ipswich
  • Greater Anglia – One tph – Trowse and Ipswich

Trowse bridge would be handling five tph in both directions, with six tph terminating in Trowse station.

Obviously, there are a lot of permutations and combinations, that will be determined by customer forecasts and figures.

Conclusion

I’ve thought the route between Norwich and Dereham stations will be a commuter, shopping and leisure rail route for some time.

As I indicate, I think some work will need to be done at the Trowse bridge, but a two tph service should be possible.

 

 

 

August 2, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Beeching Reversal – Mid-Cornwall Metro

This is one of the Beeching Reversal projects that the Government and Network Rail are proposing to reverse some of the Beeching cuts.

This is a strange project, as I can’t find a detailed description of what it entails.

All I can think, is that it is a general project to run all the local lines in Cornwall as a unified whole.

Great Western Railway runs these services in Cornwall.

  • Cornish Main Line – London Paddington and Penzance – One train per two hours (tp2h) – Calling at Plymouth, Liskeard, Bodmin Parkway, Lostwithiel, Par, St Austell, Truro, Redruth, Camborne and St Erth
  • Cornish Main Line – Exeter St. Davids and Penzance – One train per hour (tph) – Calling at Newton Abbot, Totnes, Ivybridge, Plymouth, Devonport, Dockyard, Keyham, St Budeaux Ferry Road, Saltash, St Germans, Menheniot, Liskeard, Bodmin Parkway, Lostwithiel, Par, St Austell, Truro, Redruth, Camborne, Hayle and St Erth
  • Looe Valley Line – Liskeard and Looe – One tph – Calling at Coombe Junction Halt, St Keyne Wishing, Well Halt, Causeland and Sandplace.
  • Atlantic Coast Line – Par and Newquay – One tp2h – Calling at Luxulyan, Bugle, Roche, St Columb Road and Quintrell Downs
  • Maritime Line – Truro and Falmouth Docks – Two tph – Calling at Perranwell (1tph), Penryn, Penmere and Falmouth Town
  • St. Ives Bay Line – St. Erth and St. Ives – Two tph – Calling at Lelant Saltings, Lelant and Carbis Bay

Could frequencies and connectivities be improved?

Other Beeching Reversal projects are also aiming to improve the railways in Cornwall.

Transforming the Newquay Line
Reinstatement of Bodmin-Wadebridge Railway and associated works
Increased service provision Bodmin General-Bodmin Parkway

I think the first might increase frequencies on the Newquay to one tph or even two tph and the Bodmin General station improvements should create a useful new platform.

Wikipedia mentions this project.

Reopening The Lostwithiel And Fowey Railway To Passengers

Are there any other lines, stations or platforms, that could be reopened, given a passenger service or or an increase in frequency?

Conclusion

Someone must have a plan somewhere! So can they please disclose it?

 

August 1, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Beeching Reversal – Light Railway Extension To The Barnstaple Branch (Chivenor Braunton) “TawLink”

This is one of the Beeching Reversal projects that the Government and Network Rail are proposing to reverse some of the Beeching cuts.

This is an unusual project for two reasons.

  • It is based on light railway or tram technology.
  • The case for the extension is fully set out in the Taw Link web site.

None of the other projects, that I have documented have such a comprehensive statement of their case for acceptance.

The Introduction

This is taken from the home page of their web site.

Combe Rail CIO is proposing a modern, light railway between Barnstaple and Braunton. The North Devon Local Plan already urges the protection of former railway routes, to allow for future re-instatement. This former railway route is 98% intact, with sufficient width to accommodate a new single-track railway line alongside the Tarka Trail and South West Coast Path.

It’s now accepted that new and re-opened railways unlock economic growth. The success of the Borders Railway in Scotland is a spectacular example of this. The challenge of North Devon’s ever-growing population demands similar, forward-looking infrastructure planning.

Some of the other projects, that I have documented, could do with such a clear Statement of Intent.

The Route

This graphic from the Route page on web site shows the route.

And this Google Map shows the area.

Note.

  1. Braunton is in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. Barstaple is in the South-East corner of the map.
  3. The River Taw runs East-West across the map.
  4. The runways of the former RAF Chivenor, which is now a Royal Marine Base, can be found.

If you enlarge the map by clicking on it, many of the stations on the TawLink can be picked out.

This paragraph from the Route page describes the route.

Starting from Caen Street in Braunton, it will run tramway-style along Station Road, and then use the old railway formation all the way to the Civic Centre car park in Barnstaple. It will then street-run past the front of the former Town Station and along Castle Street to The Strand in the heart of Barnstaple. There are two options for crossing the river Taw – either to street-run along Long Bridge, or to share the proposed reinstated (former railway) bridge. The line will then street-run along Stickelpath Terrace to re-connect to the National Rail Network at Barnstaple (Mainline.) Intermediate stations will be provided at Velator, Wrafton (for Perrigo),  Chivenor (Business Park and The Landings), Ashford (Garden Centre and Braunton Inn) Pottington (Business Park) and Barnstaple Park-and-Ride (near the A39 downstream bridge – which could potentially have a huge catchment area.)

As the proposals for the Reinstatement Of The Bodmin-Wadebridge Railway, are doing, these proposals are replacing a walking and cycle path with a walking/cycling/single-track rail route.

This pair of South-West proposals could set an important design precedent, that can be applied in other places across the UK.

Are These Two Routes Substantially Level?

Thinking about this similar design, were the two original rail routes built as level as possible, so they are now easy walking and cycling routes?

I suspect, that there’s only a couple of metres difference between the two ends of this route at Barnstaple. So it could be the case here!

If thar is the case, it would mean that less energy would be needed to travel the route!

The Trams

This paragraph from the Trams page on the web site describes the trams.

This will be a modern community- and commuter railway, which will run throughout the year. Its scenic location will also make it highly attractive to tourists. It will use lightweight, battery-electric vehicles – like traditional trams, but without the overhead wires – capable of running safely on-road, and quickly off-road. These vehicles are environmentally-friendly, and very quiet. Visually, and in terms of infrastructure, the railway will be low-impact.

I have liked the concept of coastal trams, even since I rode in the one along the Belgian coast, which I wrote about in Riding The Coast Tram.

A Level Route Would Be Beneficial

If I am right about the level nature of the route, this would mean smaller and lighter batteries would be needed to power the trams.

Through-Running

I suspect through-running would not be possible, unless the Tarka Line between Exeter and Barnstaple is electrified, as it is a rather challenging route for a light rail vehicle.

The vehicles also don’t probably have enough capacity, for what can be a busy route in the Peak.

Conclusion

I like this proposal and I have a feeling it will be imitated in the future.

 

 

 

August 1, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 3 Comments