The Anonymous Widower

A Trip To Corby

I took these pictures on a trip to Corby this morning.

These are my thoughts.

Trains To And From Corby

I got a Class 222 train to Corby and an eight-car Class 360 train back.

Brent Cross West Station

There was a lot of constructruction activity at the new Brent Cross West station.

Luton Airport Parkway Station

The extensions to Luton Airport Parkway station look to be comprehensive, with several escalators.

The Luton DART connection to Luton Airport appears to be under test, so should open in 2022.

But will there be any air passengers to use it?

I last used it in 2008, when I went to see England play in Belarus.

Electrification North Of Bedford

The electrification North of Bedford station is obviously complete on the slow lines, but on the fast lines, as the pictures show, the gantries are all erected, but there are still wires to be installed.

But as the Class 810 trains won’t be in service until 2023, there’s still a bit of time.

The gantries certainly look sturdy, as this picture shows.

They’re certainly built for 125 mph, but as the Class 810 trains will be capable of 140 mph with full digital in-cab signalling, I would hope that the electrification has been installed to that standard. Or at least to a standard, that can be easily upgraded!

Corby Station

Corby station has been finished to a single-platform station, which is able to accept a twelve-car Class 360 train.

This should be adequate for the current half-hourly service, as a single platform can handle a least four trains per hour (tph) and several around the country regularly do.

Both tracks through the station are electrified and I suspect with a second platform bridge, both could be used by electric trains to create a two-platform station.

But there would appear to be no need at the moment.

Even, if it were to be decided to extend one tph to Oakham and Melton Mowbray stations, this could probably be accommodated on the single-platform.

Network Rail seem to have already installed a crossover South of Corby station, so that trains can use the single platform.

Serving Oakham And Melton Mowbray

I discussed this extension in detail in Abellio’s Plans For London And Melton Mowbray Via Corby And Oakham.

In the related post, I said this.

This page on the Department for Transport web site is an interactive map of the Abellio’s promises for East Midlands Railway.

These are mentioned for services to Oakham and Melton Mowbray.

    • After electrification of the Corby route there will continue to be direct service each way between London and Oakham and Melton Mowbray once each weekday, via Corby.
    • This will be operated with brand new 125mph trains when these are introduced from April 2022.

This seems to be a very acceptable minimum position.

When my Class 222 train arrived in Corby at 1154, it waited a couple of minutes then took off to the North.

I then took the next train to London, which was an eight-car Class 360 train which formed the 1211 service back to St. Pancras.

Meanwhile the Class 222 train, that I’d arrived on did a reverse in the Corby North Run Around Loop finally arriving back in Corby at 1345. The train had taken one hour and forty-nine minutes to return to Corby.

It might be just coincidence, but are East Midlands Railway doing timing tests to see if services can be extended to Oakham And Melton Mowbray?

It should be noted that service times North of Corby are as follows.

  • Corby and Oakham – 19 mins – 14.3 miles
  • Corby and Melton Mowbray – 31 mins – 25.7 miles
  • Melton Mowbray and Leicester – 17 mins – 12.8 miles (estimate) – CrossCountry service

My logic goes like this.

  • It looks to me that it would not be unreasonable that a Class 222 train could run between Corby and Leicester in forty-eight minutes.
  • Double that and you get one hour and thirty eight minutes, for a journey from Corby to Leicester and back.
  • Subtract that time from the one hour and forty-nine minutes that my train took to reverse and there is eleven minutes for a turnback at Leicester station.
  • Eleven minutes would certainly be long enough to tidy a train and for the crew to change ends.

I also believe that the 35.8 miles would be possible for a Class 810 train fitted with one or more battery power-packs instead of a similar number of the four diesel engines.

So are East Midlands Railway doing tests to find the most efficient way to serve Oakham And Melton Mowbray?

On The Corby Branch

I travelled North on a Class 222 diesel train and South on an electric Class 360 train.

On the Corby branch, I was monitoring the train speed on an app on my phone and both trains travelled at around 90 mph for most of the way.

There were sections at up to 100 mph and the track was generally smooth.

I was left with the impression, that trains might be able to go faster on the branch.

Average speeds for the 2.5 miles of the branch were as follows according to these timings from realtimetrains.

  • Class 222 train – Arriving – 5.25 mins – 28.6 mph
  • Class 222 train – Leaving – 5 mins – 30 mph
  • Class 360 train – Arriving – 7.5 mins – 20 mph
  • Class 360 train – Leaving – 5 mins – 30 mph

It doesn’t appear that there are much difference in the timings, although it might be said, that the electric approach is more cautious.

The Class 360 Trains

The Class 360 trains have not been refurbished yet although as my pictures show, some have been given a new livery.

In Are Class 360 Trains Suitable For St. Pancras And Corby?, I said this about the train refurbishment.

This page on the Department for Transport web site is an interactive map of the Abellio’s promises for East Midlands Railway.

These features are mentioned for Midland Main Line services to Corby.

    • Increased capacity
    • Twelve-car trains in the Peak.
    • More reliable service
    • Improved comfort
    • Passenger information system
    • Free on-board Wi-Fi
    • At-seat power sockets
    • USB points
    • Air conditioning
    • Tables at all seats
    • Increased luggage space
    • On-board cycle storage

What more could passengers want?

It certainly hasn’t happened in full.

I did ask a steward, when the new interiors will be installed and he said they were running late because of the pandemic.

Performance Of The Class 360 Trains

I used my app to follow the speed of the Class 360 train, that brought me back to London.

  • The train hit a maximum speed of about 105 mph.
  • The train arrived in London a minute late.

I feel that as the drivers get used to their new charges, they will match the timetable.

Conclusion

I have a feeling that in a couple of years, these trains will fulfil Abellio’s promises.

May 19, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Work Has Started At Brent Cross West Station

I was alerted to the fact that work had started at Brent Cross West station by this article on Rail Advent.

The article didn’t say much, except that work had started, track had been moved to allow construction of the £40 million station and the station should open next year.

So I went and had a look.

I took these pictures from a Thameslink train going North through the station site.

I was sitting on the right-hand side of the train and looking to the East.

I then changed trains at Mill Hill Broadway station and took a few more pictures going South.

Again, I was sitting on the right-hand side of the train, but this time looking West.

This Google Map shows the area.

Note.

  1. The map was probably created a few months ago.
  2. There is still a shed from the Cricklewood TMD still standing, which I didn’t see.
  3. The Brent Cross Flyover can be clearly seen in the images and the map.

Work underway includes.

  • Creation of the new track layout.
  • Building of two wide platforms either side of the tracks i was on.
  • The width of the platforms may indicate island platforms.
  • Building a temporary footbridge, so workers can cross the tracks.
  • There appear to be a support installed for the station footbridge.

One impression, I got today, is that it is a large site and this may enable the building of a relatively simple station.

 

April 12, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 3 Comments

Funding For Homes And A New Railway Station In North London

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Ian Visits.

The government has said, that two major housing developments will be built in London beside new railway stations.

Brent Cross Thameslink

The development and the funding for Brent Cross West station is introduced by this paragraph.

The larger investment will see £320 million being spent on a new Brent Cross West Thameslink station which will lead to a new community of 7,500 properties being built. This is in addition to the £97m grant awarded in the 2016 budget bringing total government investment £416.5 million.

Other points about the development include.

  • The development is on the site of the Cricklewood depot.
  • The station could be asn interchange with the West London Orbital Railway.
  • A contractor should be appointed this year, with opeing in 2022.
  • Services could be eight trains per hour (tph) in the Peak and four tph in the Off Peak.
  • A public bridge over the railway will be included.
  • There will be new offices.
  • The Brent Cross Shopping Centre will be extended.
  • The £320 million investment will be repaid from business rates from the commercial development.

It all seems to me, that there could be a lot of winners here.

Old Oak Common

The development and the funding for Old Oak Common station is described by this paragraph.

The government will also be providing £250 million so up to 13,000 new homes can be built close to the new HS2 railway station at Old Oak Common.

This scheme provides more properties, but it doesn’t as yet include the commercial development.

Conclusion

London seems to be building more housing, that at any time in my life.

 

March 23, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment