The Anonymous Widower

CrossCountry’s Bournemouth And Manchester Piccadilly Service

Whilst I was at Basingstoke station yesterday one of CrossCountry‘s services between Bournemouth and Manchester Piccadilly came through, so I took these pictures.

It was a long formation of Class 220 trains.

Could This Service Be Replaced By Hitachi Regional Battery Trains?

This Hitachi infographic gives the specification of the Hitachi Regional Battery Train.

I feel that in most condition, the range on battery power can be up to 56 miles.

I can break the Bournemouth and Manchester Piccadilly route into a series of legs.

  • Bournemouth and Basingstoke – 60 miles – 750 VDC third-rail electrification
  • Basingstoke and Reading – 15.5 miles – No electrification
  • Reading and Didcot North Junction – 18 miles – 25 KVAC overhead electrification
  • Didcot North Junction and Oxford – 10 miles – No electrification
  • Oxford and Banbury – 22 miles – No electrification
  • Banbury and Leamington Spa – 20 miles – No electrification
  • Leamington Spa and Coventry – 10 miles – No electrification
  • Coventry and Manchester Piccadilly – 101 miles – 25 KVAC overhead electrification


  1. 63 % of the route is electrified.
  2. The short 15.5 mile gap in the electrification between Basingstoke and Reading should be an easy route for running on battery power.
  3. But the 62 mile gap between Didcot North Junction and Coventry might well be too far.

The train would also need to be able to work with both types of UK electrification.

If some way could be found to bridge the 62 mile gap reliably, Hitachi’s Regional Battery Trains could work CrossCountry’s service between Bournemouth and Manchester Piccadilly.

Bridging The Gap

These methods could possibly  be used to bridge the gap.

A Larger Battery On The Train

If you look at images of MTU’s Hybrid PowerPack, they appear to show a basic engine module with extra battery modules connected to it.

Will Hitachi and their battery-partner; Hyperdrive Innovation use a similar approach, where extra batteries  can be plugged in as required?

This modular approach must offer advantages.

  • Battery size can be tailored to routes.
  • Batteries can be changed quickly.

The train’s software would know what batteries were fitted and could manage them efficiently.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hitachi’s Regional Battery Train able to handle a gap only six miles longer than the specification.

Battery And Train Development

As Hitachi’s Regional Battery Train develops, the following should happen.

  • Useable battery capacity will increase.
  • The train will use less electricity.
  • Actions like regenerative braking will improve and recover more electricity.
  • Driving and train operating strategies will improve.

These and other factors will improve the range of the train on batteries.

A Charging Station At Banbury Station

If some form of Fast Charge system were to be installed at Banbury station, this would enable a train stopping at Banbury to take on enough power to reliably reach Oxford or Coventry depending, on their final destination.

This method may add a few minutes to the trip, but it should work well.

Electrification Of A Section Of The Chiltern Main Line

This could be an elegant solution.

I have just flown my helicopter between Bicester North and Warwick Parkway stations and these are my observations.

  • The Chiltern Main Line appears to be fairly straight and has received a top class Network Rail makeover in the last couple of decades.
  • There are a couple of tunnels, but most of the bridges are new.
  • Network Rail have done a lot of work on this route to create a hundred mph main line.
  • It might be possible to increase the operating speed, by a few mph.
  • The signalling also appears modern.

My untrained eye, says that it won’t be too challenging to electrify between say Bicester North station or Aynho Junction in the South and Leamington Spa or Warwick Parkway stations in the North. I would think, that the degree of difficulty would be about the same, as the recently electrified section of the Midland Main Line between Bedford and Corby stations.

The thirty-eight miles of electrification between Bicester North and Warwick Parkway stations would mean.

  • The electrification is only eight-and-a-half miles longer than Bedford and Corby.
  • There could be journey time savings.
  • As all trains stop at two stations out of Banbury, Leamington Spa, Warwick and Warwick Parkway, all pantograph actions could be performed in stations, if that was thought to be preferable.
  • Trains would be able to leave the electrification with full batteries.
  • The electrification may enable some freight trains to be hauled between Didcot and Coventry or Birmingham using battery electric locomotives.

Distances of relevance from the ends of the electrification include.

  • London Marylebone and Bicester North stations – 55 miles
  • London Marylebone and Aynho junction – 64 miles
  • Didcot North and Aynho junctions – 28 miles
  • Leamington Spa and Coventry stations – 10 miles
  • Leamington Spa and Birmingham Snow Hill stations – 23 miles
  • Leamington Spa and Stratford-upon-Avon stations – 15 miles
  • Warwick Parkway and Birmingham New Street stations – 20 miles
  • Warwick Parkway and Birmingham Snow Hill stations – 20 miles
  • Warwick Parkway and Kidderminster – 40 miles
  • Warwick Parkway and Stratford-upon-Avon stations – 12 miles

These figures mean that the following services would be possible using Hitachi’s Regional Battery Train.

  • Chiltern Railways – London Marylebone and Birmingham Moor Street
  • Chiltern Railways – London Marylebone and Birmingham Snow Hill
  • Chiltern Railways – London Marylebone and Kidderminster
  • Chiltern Railways – London Marylebone and Stratford-upon-Avon
  • CrossCountry – Bournemouth and Manchester Piccadilly
  • CrossCountry – Southampton Central and Newcastle
  • Midlands Connect – Oxford and Birmingham More Street – See Birmingham Airport Connectivity.

Other services like Leicester and Oxford via Coventry may also be possible.

As I see it, the great advantage of this electrification on the Chiltern Main Line is that is decarbonises two routes with the same thirty-eight miles of electrification.


CrossCountry’s Bournemouth And Manchester Piccadilly service could be run very efficiently with Hitachi’s proposed Regional Battery Train.

My preferred method to cross the electrification gap between Didcot North junction and Coventry station would be to electrify a section of the Chiltern Main Line.

  • The electrification would be less than forty miles.
  • I doubt it would be a challenging project.
  • It would also allow Hitachi’s proposed trains to work Chiltern Main Line routes between London Marylebone and Birmingham.

I am fairly certain, that all passenger services through Banbury would be fully electric.


August 15, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Match Eighteen – Bournemouth 2 – Ipswich 2

Bournemouth would have been a long way to go and come back with nothing!

I wasn’t optimistic as I sat having brunch in Carluccio’s in Waterloo station and nothing on the way down did anything to convince me that we wouldn’t lose.

But lose we didn’t and I was one of a group of fellow Ipswich supporters, who took the train back to London.

I won’t talk about the two Bournemouth goals, but I will say that our first equaliser was surprising and the second was well-taken.

Teddy Bishop‘s first goal for Ipswich was surprising, in that instead of being from a long range effort, he appeared in the box to side foot a low Tyrone Mings cross past the keeper.

On the other hand, Daryl Murphy’s goal was typical of what he has been scoring in the last twelve months. It is best described as a well-taken looping header from a superbly taken free kick from Paul Anderson.

As to Bournemouth, they were the best team we’ve faced at season and I think that pundits underrate them at their peril. Make sure you get your ticket for the return match at Portman Road on Friday, April 3rd, early.

Walking To Dean Court

Walking To Dean Court

Dean Court is not too far away from Pokesdown station. But the route between the two does need to be better signposted and it isn’t all tarmac

The shortest route through the park was not easy in the dark for someone with dodgy eyesight. Luckily, I was guided by a group of Bournemouth fans.  This map shows the area.

Pokesdown And AFC Bournemouth

Pokesdown And AFC Bournemouth

Come out of the station, turn left and then left again into Clarence Park Road. When you get to the park and the cemetery, you should be able to see the ground. There are paths through the park to the ground.

The great advantage of this route is that it brings you to the corner of the ground, where the away fans enter to take their seats. It also avoids having to walk past the Ukip shop.

It took me about seventeen minutes to walk back to the station after the match. Ipswich station takes about ten minutes from the ground.

November 22, 2014 Posted by | Sport | , , | Leave a comment

A Surprise For Bournemouth

I have always believed a story once told me by a hairdresser who used to work there, that Bournemouth does more blue rinses than any town in England.

So I was surprised to see this shop as I walked from Pokesdown station to Dean Court, down the rather less than salubrious shopping street, with its collection of shops which are not the best.

A Ukip Shop In Bournemouth

A Ukip Shop In Bournemouth

Who’d have thought that Bournemouth would be a hot-bed for kippers.

November 22, 2014 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

An Embarrassing Half Time Entertainment

Bournemouth put on a Crossbar Challenge at half-time, but it was rather unusually embarrassing for the hosts.

One of the travelling Ipswich supporters won the prize, by hitting the crossbar.

I’ve seen this run a few times and most clubs don’t let visiting supports take part for obvious reasons.

We all gave him a big cheer, as he returned to his seat amongst us.

December 29, 2013 Posted by | Sport | , , | Leave a comment