The Anonymous Widower

Beeching Reversal – To Reinstate The Keswick To Penrith Railway

September 10th – This Beeching Reversal project appears to have been rejected.

Thoughts On The Design Of The Route

Consider.

  • Keswick and Penrith are around 17.3 miles apart by road.
  • The rail distance should be less than 20 miles.
  • There could be perhaps six intermediate stations.
  • A battery electric train typically has a range of 55-65 miles.
  • A quiet battery electric train would be ideal for this route.

I believe that a battery electric train could handle this route.

  • Charging would be mainly in Penrith station, using the existing 25 KVAC overhead electrification in Platform 3.
  • A charging station would be provided in Keswick station to be safe.

A battery electric train could go between the two stations, recharge the battery and be ready to return in under an hour.

The route would be single track, except for a short double track station in the middle to allow trains to pass.

The route would not be electrified.

All stations could be single track, except for the passing station.

Two trains would be needed to work an hourly service.

Four trains would be needed to work an two trains per hour (tph) service.

Could the track could be designed to these criteria?

  • No level crossings.
  • Gentle curves and gradients
  • 80 mph operating speed.

I suspect modern computer technology, which was not available to the Victorians, would ease the design of an efficient track.

  • If a highly-efficient track could be created, it might be possible for a train to do a round trip from Penrith to Keswick, within an hour.
  • This would mean that one train could provide the hourly service.
  • Charging would only be at Penrith, using existing electrification.
  • The passing loop would not be built, but provision would be made to add it later, if the frequency were to be increased.

We could be seeing several of these highly-efficient branch lines run by 100 mph battery-electric trains, that are charged on existing electrified main lines.

The Effect Of High Speed Two

Consider.

  • Currently, there is a roughly hourly service in both directions on the West Coast Main Line at Penrith station.
  • High Speed Two will only provide an hourly service between Birmingham Curzon Street and Edinburgh or Glasgow via Wigan North Western, Preston, Lancaster and Carlisle.
  • Carlisle will have three tph on High Speed Two, between England and Scotland.
  • Carlisle will have scenic services to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Newcastle.
  • Services between Carlisle and Penrith take thirteen minutes.

But most importantly, High Speed Two could bring lots of extra tourists to the area.

So would it be better for the Keswick and Penrith service to terminate at Carlisle?

  • Charging would now be on the West Coast Main Line.
  • Trains would only make a typical two-minute stop in Penrith station.

This would probably mean that an hourly service could be provided with only one train on the branch at a time.

Conclusion

I feel the economics of this project could be transformed by using battery electric trains on this proposed route and terminating them at Carlisle.

 

 

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

National Trust Looks At Car Ban In Lake District

The title of this post is the same as that as that of this article in yesterday’s Sunday Times.

The secondary headline sums up the article.

Nearly 20m visitors a year are ‘loving the national park to death’, and officials are looking at excluding drivers.

So what is to be done?

Can The Railways Help?

In 2015, I spent Three Days in Preston and explored the area by train.

These problems were apparent on the trains and at the stations.

  • The capacity, quality and frequency of the trains to Windermere is pitiful.
  • The capacity, quality and frequency of the trains along the Cumbrian Coast Line is inadequate.
  • Bus information and interchanges could be better.
  • Getting a train to Penrith North Lakes station was difficult.

The only line with an acceptable train service is the West Coast Main Line.

Everything else needs major improvements.

These are some random thoughts.

Could Carlisle Become The Rail Tourism Centre For The Borderlands And The Lakes?

These rail lines and services are already or will be connected to Carlisle Citadel station, within the next few years.

  • Virgin services on the West Coast Main Line between London and the South and Glasgow and Edinburgh in Central Scotland.
  • TransPennine Express services on the West Coast Main Line between Liverpool and Manchester in the South and Glasgow.
  • Possible Grand Union services on the West Coast Main Line between London and Stirling for the North of Scotland.
  • High Speed Two services between London and the South and Glasgow and Edinburgh in Central Scotland.
  • ScotRail services on the Glasgow South Western Line between Carlisle and Glasgow via Dumfries and Kilmarnock.
  • ScotRail services on an extended Borders Railway between Carlisle and Edinburgh via Hawick and Galashiels.
  • Northern services on the Tyne Valley Line between Carlisle and Newcastle via Hexham and the Metro Centre.
  • Northern services on the Settle and Carlisle Line between Carlisle and Leeds.
  • Northern services on the Cumbrian Coast Line between Carlisle and Carnforth via Workington, Whitehaven and Barrow.

Carlisle sits at the centre of a network of some of the most scenic rail lines, anywhere in the world.

Rail services in the area with the exception of the through services, provided by Virgin and TransPennine Express are probably considered by their operators to be a pain.

  • They are generally not used by commuters.
  • There are regular operational problems like floods and landslips.
  • They are overcrowded at some times of the year and need expensive new rolling stock.
  • Rail tourists from aboard probably complain like mad.

But above all the services probably lose money hand over fist.

What Is The Ideal Train For Scenic Routes?

Two possible trains for scenic routes are now in service in the UK.

The Scottish Solution – Inter7City

ScotRail are now introducing four- and five-car InterCity 125 trains on routes between the seven cities in Scotland.

They will probably do a good job and they have the following.

  • Large windows to enjoy the views.
  • Many seats have tables.
  • An on-board buffet and trolley service.
  • Wi-fi and power sockets for phones and laptops.
  • The trains should be reliable, as there is a vast knowledge base about running these trains.
  • The trains can be easily lengthened, by adding extra cars.
  • The trains were 125 mph trains and are probably slower in this application.

But the trains are forty years old and have two enormous diesel engines on each end.

The Swiss Solution – Class 755 train

Greater Anglia are introducing three- and four-car Class 755 trains on rural routes in East Anglia.

They appear to be doing a good job with high passenger satisfaction and they have the following.

  • Large windows to enjoy the views.
  • A number of seats have tables.
  • Space for bicycles.
  • Wi-fi and power sockets for phones and laptops.
  • The trains have level access between train and platform.
  • Hopefully, the trains will be reliable, as they are brand new and Stadler has been making similar trains for over ten years.
  • The trains can use 25 KVAC overhead electrification, where it is available.
  • The trains can work in multiple formations.
  • The trains can be easily lengthened, by adding extra cars.
  • The trains are 100 mph trains.

But the trains still have a diesel power-pack in the middle for operation independently.

In future, these trains will be used to run new services between London and Lowestoft, which is a distance of 118 miles of which 59 miles is electrified.

Similar trains will be fitted with batteries for the South Wales Metro.

Could a train be built with the best of all the features?

I believe the Class 755 train is a pretty good start, but it would have the following extra features.

  • Ability to run at up to 125 mph on 25 KVAC overhead or 750 VDC third rail, where the track allows.
  • A well-designed buffet.
  • 50 mile battery range.
  • A stand-by generator.
  • The ability to fast-charge the battery at a station stop.

I also think that Hitachi could make a five-car AT-300 train and Bombardier could make an Aventra, that met this specification.

What would a fleet of battery-electric trains do for the rail lines around Carlisle?

  • Hopefully, they would become a tourist attraction in their own right and encourage visitors to corm by train.
  • Frequencies would be at least two trains per hour on all routes.

This could be a starting point for making the area easier to access.

Should Stations Around The Lakes Be Developed With Bus Interchanges?

I’ve seen the bus interchange at Windermere station, but are other stations around the Lakes as well provided with comprehensive bus routes?

The objective surely should be that if a family wanted to have a day out in the Lakes from their home in Liverpool or Manchester, they should be able to get a train to a convenient station and a bus to their final destination.

Surely, if there is a sensible alternative, then visitors might use it.

Could The Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith Railway Be Reopened?

The Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith Railway was finally closed in the 1970s and according to Wikipedia, the track-bed has been used for roads and other developments.

I doubt that the railway could be reopened, but a modern light rail route would probably be a very valuable tourist asset.

But Would Good Train And Bus Routes Cut The Traffic In The Lakes?

I doubt it!

If someone has spent £40,000 or more on an expensive car, they feel they have bought the right to drive it anywhere they want!

The Dutch once talked about road pricing for every vehicle and that government lost the next election.

Conclusion

Traffic congestion in the Lakes, is a problem that threatens other areas, where tourists want to go.

So will as the National Trust are suggesting have to ban cars to restore some sanity?

I suspect so!

But it won’t be popular!

 

 

November 11, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Carlisle Station – 12th September 2017

The reconstruction of the roof of Carlisle station is coming on apace, as these pictures show.

The roof was getting an immense soaking and there was an odd leak and a drumming sound, but it does seem that when everything is completed the station will be the interchange needed for the city.

September 12, 2017 Posted by | Transport | | Leave a comment

From Glasgow To Carlisle In A Class 350 Train

TransPennine Express are replacing their Class 350 trains with new Class 397 trains.

So coming down from Glasgow to Carlisle, I took one of the Class 350 trains to see why they are being replaced.

The train that I rode, had been spruced up with the new livery.

The new Class 397 train has the following advantages over the Class 350 train.

  • It will be a 125 mph train rather than a 110 mph train.
  • It will have power sockets, wi-fi and possibly 4G connectivity
  • It will be five-cars instead of four-cars.

Will there be any other passenger features like a buffet?

 

September 12, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Enthusiasm For The Borders Railway In Carlisle

This article in the Carlisle Express And Star is entitled New Rail Link To Carlisle Could Be ‘Catalyst’ For Job Creation.

It is discussing the report of the Campaign for a Borders Railway, which recommends rebuilding the line.

This is said in the newspaper.

The summary said: “A new rail link to Edinburgh via the Borders could be a catalyst for the development of new employment uses on the former MOD land at Longtown and in the Kingstown area on the northern fringe of Carlisle.

“Park and ride stations in these areas would provide congestion relief and improve access to the city.

I think that as the only major City on the route, apart from Edinburgh, Carlisle must be a major beneficiary of a reinstated Borders Railway.

Carlisle scores high in the Location, Location, Location stakes, as not only is it just off the M5 between England and Glasgow, but Carlisle Citadel station is a major rail interchange. Incidentally, these romantic Victorian names are dropped far too readily.

This map from Wikipedia, shows the railways around the City.

Note Longtown station on the Waverley Route to Edinburgh and the MOD Depot or Defence Munitions Centre Longtown, between the two rail routes, to the North of the map.

This Google Map shows the DMC.

Note the West Coast Main Line with its connection to the Centre and the Glasgow South Western Line branching off to Gretna Green station and all the way to Glasgow.

Longtown is in the North East corner of the map and you can just pick out the track-bed of the Waverley Route, linking the town to Carlisle.

Conclusions

The CBR report, recommends a Park-and-Ride at Longtown and I wonder, if developments there might be the key to rebuilding the Waverley Route on a more economic basis.

A lot would depend on whether the Defence Munitions Centreat Longtown continues to be used, but the following could be built in the area.

  • The proposed Park-and-Ride.
  • A Strategic Rail Freight Interchange.
  • Distribution warehouses.
  • Factories that need lots of space and good rail and road access.

A lot would depend on what the locals want and whether Scotland became independent, for which the site must be ideally placed.

If the track-bed of the old Waverley Route is still present and can be used to Carlisle, this route could be developed as a rail route, which might have advantages.

  • It has its own route to Carlisle station with a separate bridge over the River Eden.
  • The West Coast Main Line bridge over the River Eden appears to be only double-track.
  • Would it improves timings to and from Glasgow on the West Coast Main Line?
  • Could it be used as a diversion route for freight trains on the West Coast Main Line through Carlisle?
  • Extra stations could be opened on the route, that could improve connectivity in the City
  • There is probably few paths on the West Coast Main Lines for extra trains from Longtown and/or a reinstated Waverley Route to Edimburgh.

But would the extra cost be justified?

Done properly, as the CBR report says, improving the railways between Carlisle and a new Park-and-Ride at Longtown, would surely improve the Carlisle economy.

 

June 3, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Carlisle Station Gets A Makeover

In If Manchester Victoria And Birmingham New Street Were The First Two Courses, Is Carlisle The Third?, I wrote how Carlisle station was going to get a £14.7 million upgrade including a new ETFE roof.

These pictures show the progress.

Note.

  • There are two through lines in the station for freight and other trains that don’t stop.
  • The four bay platforms at Carlisle are all electrified to some extent and it wouldn’t be the biggest task to make the station fully-electrified.
  • It looked to me like a lot of the magnificent station building, isn’t being used to its full potential.
  • The welcoming square outside the station needs an upgrade to become a real gateway to Carlisle.

I think that after the makeover, it will be a second very high-class station to mark the border between England and Scotland.

Carlisle could be in a unique position in a few years.

  • It is already the best connected city in the Borderlands.
  • Published plans mean that electric express trains will serve Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester and Manchester Airport, at least once an hour, with some places getting at least double.
  • As I wrote in Arriva Rail North’s New Trains, new CAF Civity trains will be arriving, in both electric and diesel variants.
  • After the current landslide at Armathwaite  is cleared up on the Settle-Carlisle Line, these new trains will surely be running at least an hourly service to Leeds.
  • The new trains will be providing an improvement in comfort, speed and possibly frequency on the hourly service to Newcastle, on the Tyne Valley Line.
  • The new trains, would surely work their magic on the Cumbrian Coast Line around the Lake District.
  • Scotrail is getting new trains too, and will some be used to provide a better service to Glasgow via Dumfries and Kilmarnock, using the Glasgow South Western Line.

If this doesn’t increase the numbers of tourists taking a rail-based exploration holiday of the Borderlands and the Lake District, I would be extremely surprised.

I’m not the only person, who thinks this way, as in the July 2016 Edition of Modern Railways, Theo Steel discusses options for the increase in traffic on the Settle to Carlisle Line.

In addition, other developments may happen, that will also increase Carlisle’s importance to the Anglo-Scottish  railway system.

  • The events of this winter, where the West Coast Main Line was closed because of bad weather, could see the Glasgow South Western Line improved and electrified to provide a valuable diversion route for train services between England and Glasgow.
  • There could be a need for more Anglo-Scottish freight trains, but the West Coast Main Line is very busy. So will this mean that freight trains will increasingly use  secondary routes like Settle-Carlisle and the Glasgow South Western Line.
  • Carstairs station sits between Carlisle, Edinburgh and Glasgow and I can’t believe that Scotrail won’t use their new trains to improve services through the town. As ever, the improvements in services around Carstairs,  will probably be driven by the need for new housing and commuting to Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The big question though, is whether the Borders Railway will ever get to Carlisle. If it does, then Carlisle will be ready with a refurbished and electrified platform, alongside the one currently used for services on the Glasgow South Western Line.

Network Rail seem to deserve a few plaudits for their foresight in preparing Carlisle station for the future.

June 21, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment