The Anonymous Widower

Northern Powerhouse Rail – Significant Upgrades And Electrification Of The Rail Lines From Leeds And Sheffield To Hull

In this article on Transport for the North, which is entitled Northern Powerhouse Rail Progress As Recommendations Made To Government, one of the recommendations proposed for Northern Powerhouse Rail is significant upgrades and electrification of the rail lines from Leeds and Sheffield to Hull.

Northern Powerhouse Rail’s Objective For The Leeds and Hull Route

Wikipedia, other sources and my calculations say this about the trains between Leeds and Hull.

  • The distance between the two stations is 51.7 miles
  • The current service takes around 57 minutes and has a frequency of one train per hour (tph)
  • This gives an average speed of 54.4 mph for the fastest journey.
  • The proposed service with Northern Powerhouse Rail will take 38 minutes and have a frequency of two tph.
  • This gives an average speed of 81.6 mph for the journey.

This last figure of nearly 82 mph, indicates to me that a 100 mph train will be able to meet Northern Powerhouse Rail’s objective.

Northern Powerhouse Rail’s Objective For The Sheffield and Hull Route

Wikipedia, other sources and my calculations say this about the trains between Sheffield and Hull.

  • The distance between the two stations is 59.4 miles
  • The current service takes around 80 minutes and has a frequency of one tph.
  • This gives an average speed of 44.6 mph for the fastest journey.
  • The proposed service with Northern Powerhouse Rail will take 50 minutes and have a frequency of two tph.
  • This gives an average speed of 71,3 mph for the journey.

This last figure of over 70 mph, indicates to me that a 90 mph train will be able to meet Northern Powerhouse Rail’s objective.

Services From Hull Station

Hull station is a full interchange, which includes a large bus station.

  • Currently, the station has seven platforms.
  • There appears to be space for more platforms.
  • Some platforms are long enough to take nine-car Class 800 trains, which are 234 metres long.
  • There are some good architectural features.

If ever there was a station, that had basic infrastructure, that with appropriate care and refurbishment, could still be handling the needs of its passengers in a hundred years, it is Hull.

  • It would be able to handle a 200 metre long High Speed Two Classic-Compatible train, tomorrow.
  • It would probably be as no more difficult to electrify than Kings Cross, Liverpool Lime Street, Manchester Piccadilly or Paddington.
  • It would not be difficult to install charging facilities for battery electric trains.

These are some pictures of the station.

Currently, these are the services at the station, that go between Hull and Leeds, Selby or Sheffield.

  • Hull Trains – 7 trains per day (tpd) – Hull and London via Brough, Selby and Doncaster.
  • LNER – 1 tpd – Hull and London via Brough, Selby and Doncaster.
  • Northern Trains – 1 tph – Hull and Halifax via Brough, Selby, Leeds and Bradford Interchange.
  • Northern Trains – 1 tph – Hull and Sheffield via Brough, Gilberdyke, Goole, Doncaster, Rotherham Central and Meadowhall.
  • Northern Trains – 1 tph – Hull and York via Brough and Selby.
  • Northern Trains – 1 tph – Bridlington and Sheffield via Hull, Brough, Goole, Doncaster and Meadowhall.
  • TransPennine Express – 1 tph – Hull and Manchester Piccadilly or Manchester Airport via Brough, Selby, Leeds, Huddersfield and Stalybridge.

Note.

  1. I have included services through Selby, as the station is on the way to Leeds and is a notorious bottleneck.
  2. All services go through Brough.
  3. All trains work on diesel power to and from Hull.
  4. Hull Trains and LNER use Hitachi bi-mode trains, that work most of the route to and from London, using the 25 KVAC overhead electrification.
  5. Northern use a variety of diesel trains only some of which have a 100 mph operating speed.

There would also appear to be freight trains working some of the route between Hull and Brough stations.

Upgrading The Tracks

I very much believe that to meet Northern Powerhouse Rail’s objectives as to time, that the lines to Hull from Leeds and Sheffield must have a 100 mph operating speed.

Hull And Leeds And On To London

This Google Map shows a typical section of track.

Note.

  1. Broomfleet station is in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. Brough station is just to the East of the middle of the map.
  3. Ferriby station is in the South-East corner of the map.

The Hull and Selby Line is fairly straight for most of its route.

The Selby Swing Bridge

The main problem is the Selby swing bridge, which is shown in this Google Map.

Note.

  1. The bridge was opened in 1891.
  2. It is a Grade II Listed structure.
  3. It is a double-track bridge.
  4. It swings through ninety degrees to allow ships to pass through.
  5. It has a low speed limit of 25 mph.
  6. The bridge regularly carries the biomass trains to Drax power station.

This page on the Fairfield Control Systems web site, describes the major refurbishment of the bridge.

  • The bridge structure has been fully refurbished.
  • A modern control system has been installed.
  • The page says the bridge glides to an exact stop.

Network Rail are claiming, it will be several decades before any more work needs to be done on parts of the bridge.

It looks to me, that Network Rail have decided to live with the problems caused by the bridge and automate their way round it, if possible.

Level Crossings

One general problem with the route between Hull and Selby is that it has around a dozen level crossing, some of which are just simple farm crossings.

The main route West from Selby goes to Leeds and it is double track, fairly straight with around a dozen level crossings.

West from Selby, the route to the East Coast Main Line to and from London is also double track and reasonably straight.

But it does have level crossings at Common Lane and Burn Lane.

The Google Map show Burn Lane level crossing, which is typical of many in the area.

Hull And Sheffield

The other route West from Hull goes via Goole and Doncaster.

This Google Map shows the Hull and Doncaster Branch between Goole and Saltmarshe stations.

Note.

  1. The Hull and Doncaster Branch runs diagonally across the map.
  2. Goole and its station is in the South West corner of the map.
  3. The Hull and Doncaster Branch goes leaves the map at the North-East corner and then joins the Selby Line to the West of Gilberdyke station.

This Google Map shows that where the railway crosses the River Ouse there is another swing bridge.

This is the Goole Railway Swing Bridge.

  • The bridge was opened in 1869.
  • The maximum speed for any train is 60 mph, but some are slower.
  • It is a Grade II* Listed structure.
  • In the first decade of this century the bridge was strengthened.
  • It appears to carry a lesser number of freight trains than the Selby bridge

As with the Selby bridge, it appears to be working at a reasonable operational standard.

I’ve followed the line as far as Doncaster and it is fairly straight, mostly double-track with about a half-a-dozen level crossings.

Updating To 100 mph

It looks to my naïve eyes, that updating the lines to an operating speed of 100 mph, should be possible.

But possibly a much larger problem is the up to thirty level crossings on the triangle of lines between Hull, Leeds and Sheffield.

Full ERTMS In-Cab Digital Signalling

This is currently, being installed between London and Doncaster and will allow 140 mph running, which could save several minutes on the route.

The next phase could logically extend the digital signalling as far as York and Leeds.

Extending this signalling to Hull and Sheffield, and all the lines connecting the cities and towns of East Yorkshire could be a sensible development.

It might even help with swing bridges by controlling the speed of approaching trains, so that they arrive at the optimal times to cross.

Electrification

Eventually, all of these routes will be fully electrified.

  • Hull and Leeds via Brough, Selby and Garforth.
  • Hull and Scarborough via Beverley and Seamer.
  • Hull and Sheffield via Brough, Goole, Doncaster and Rotherham.
  • Hull and York via Brough and Selby.
  • York and Scarborough via Seamer.

But there are two problems which make the electrification of the routes to Hull challenging.

  • The Grade II Listed Selby swing bridge.
  • The Grade II* Listed Goole Railway swing bridge.

There will be diehard members of the Heritage Lobby, who will resist electrification of these bridges.

Consider.

  • Both bridges appear to work reliably.
  • Adding the complication of electrification may compromise this reliability.
  • Train manufacturers have developed alternative zero-carbon traction systems that don’t need continuous electrification.
  • Hitachi have developed battery electric versions of the Class 800 and Class 802 trains, that regularly run to and from Hull.
  • Other manufacturers are developing hydrogen-powered trains, that can use both hydrogen and overhead electrification for traction power.

My Project Management experience tells me, that electrification of these two bridges could be the major cost and the most likely cause of delay to the completion of the electrification.

It should also be noted that Network Rail are already planning to electrify these routes.

  • Huddersfield and Dewsbury on the TransPennine Route, which might be extended to between Huddersfield and Leeds.
  • York and Church Fenton

There is also electrification at Doncaster, Leeds and York on the East Coast Main Line, which would probably have enough power to feed the extra electrification.

Hitachi’s Regional Battery Trains

Hitachi and Hyperdrive Innovation are developing a Regional Battery Train.

This Hitachi infographic gives the specification.

Note.

  1. The train has a range of 90 kilometres or 56 miles on battery power.
  2. It has an operating speed of 100 mph on battery power.
  3. Class 800 and Class 802 trains can be converted to Hitachi Regional Battery Trains, by swapping the diesel engines for battery packs.

When running on electrification, they retain the performance of the train, that was converted.

Discontinuous Electrification

I would propose using discontinuous electrification. by electrifying these sections.

  • Hull and Brough – 10.5 miles
  • Hull and Beverley – 13 miles
  • Doncaster and Sheffield – 20 miles
  • Selby and Leeds – 21 miles
  • Selby and Temple Hirst Junction – 5 miles
  • Seamer and Scarborough – 3 miles

This would leave these gaps in the electrification in East Yorkshire.

  • Brough and Doncaster – 30 miles
  • Brough and Selby – 21 miles
  • Brough and Church Fenton – 31 miles
  • Seamer and Beverley – 42 miles
  • Seamer and York – 39 miles

A battery electric train with a range of fifty miles would bridge these gaps easily.

This approach would have some advantages.

  • There would only need to be 72.5 miles of double-track electrification.
  • The swing bridges would be untouched.
  • TransPennine services terminating in Hull and Scarborough would be zero-carbon, once Huddersfield and Dewsbury is electrified.
  • LNER and Hull Trains services to London Kings Cross would be zero-carbon and a few minutes faster.
  • LNER could run a zero-carbon service between London Kings Cross and Scarborough.

But above all, it would cost less and could be delivered quicker.

Collateral Benefits Of Doncaster and Sheffield Electrication 

The extra electrification between Doncaster and Sheffield, would enable other services.

  • A zero-carbon service between London Kings Cross and Sheffield.
  • Extension of Sheffield’s tram-train to Doncaster and Doncaster Sheffield Airport.
  • A possible electric service along the Dearne Valley.

As plans for Sheffield’s rail and tram system develop, this electrification could have a substantial enabling effect.

Hydrogen

This map shows the Zero Carbon Humber pipeline layout.

Note.

  1. The orange line is a proposed carbon dioxide pipeline
  2. The black line alongside it, is a proposed hydrogen pipeline.
  3. Drax, Keadby and Saltend are power stations.
  4. Easington gas terminal is connected to gas fields in the North Sea and also imports natural gas from Norway using the Langeled pipeline.
  5. There are fourteen gas feels connected to Easington terminal. Some have been converted to gas storage.

I can see hydrogen being used to power trains and buses around the Humber.

Conclusion

Discontinuous electrification could be the key to fast provision of electric train services between Leeds and Sheffield and Hull.

If long journeys from Hull were run using battery electric trains, like the Hitachi Regional Battery Train, perhaps hydrogen trains could be used for the local services all over the area.

Project Management Recommendations

I have proposed six sections of electrification, to create a network to allow all services that serve Hull and Scarborough to be run by battery electric trains.

Obviously with discontinuous electrification each section or group of sections to be electrified is an independent project.

I proposed that these sections would need to be electrified.

  • Hull and Brough – 10.5 miles
  • Hull and Beverley – 13 miles
  • Doncaster and Sheffield – 20 miles
  • Selby and Leeds – 21 miles
  • Selby and Temple Hirst Junction – 5 miles
  • Seamer and Scarborough – 3 miles

They could be broken down down into four sections.

  • Hull station, Hull and Brough and Hull and Beverley
  • Doncaster and Sheffield
  • Selby station, Selby and Leeds and Selby and Temple Hirst Junction.
  • Scarborough station and Scarborough and Seamer.

I have split the electrification, so that hopefully none is challenging.

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 27, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Step-Free Access At Brough Station

On my last trip North, I changed trains at Brough station.

The station appears to have been recently rebuilt and has full step-free access using ramps, as these pictures show.

This Google Map shows the station.

It may work, but those ramps could take some time, if you’re pushing a heavy buggy or wheelchair.

In Winner Announced In The Network Rail Footbridge Design Ideas Competition, I wrote how the competition was won by this bridge.

So would a factory-built bridge like this be installed be installed today, if Brough or a similar simple station was being rebuilt or built from scratch?

  • Concrete bases to support the bridge, would be built in the appropriate position on both platforms.
  • An electrical supply would be provided.
  • A special train would then arrive with the bridge and an crane to lift the bridge into place.
  • A couple of hours later, the bridge would have been erected.

If the system is designed designed, it should be no more difficult than installing a new ticket machine.

Conclusion

How much would be saved in the design and building of new stations, if they were designed around a step-free bridge like this?

But the biggest saving is surely in the time needed to build the station?

June 6, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments