The Anonymous Widower

Cardiff To Gloucester And Cheltenham In A Class 769 Train

As the time gets nearer for the entry of the Class 769 train into service at the end of the year, speculation is mounting about how the trains will be used.

In the August 2017 Edition of Modern Railways, there is an article, which is entitled Class 769s For Wales.

After discussing how the trains will be used to deputise for the current Class 150 trains so that they can be made compliant with the Persons of Reduced Mobility regulations, the article goes on to say this.

None of the electrical equipment will be removed from ‘769s’ destined for Wales. After completion of Great Western Electrification to Cardiff, they could operate electrically from Cardiff to Severn Tunnel Junction, where they would switch to diesel operation for the rest of the route to Gloucester and Cheltenham.

The fastest direct trains take one hour fifteen minutes for the journey, so a round trip could be a few minutes under three hours, so that an hourly service would need three trains.


July 27, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

The National Infrastructure Commission Is Welcomed By Warwickshire

This article on Rail News is entitled Warwickshire rail campaigners welcome news of National Infrastructure Commission and it discusses the struggles of local campaigners trying to restore the rail line between Stratford-on-Avon and Honeybourne, on the North Cotswold Route. Wikipedia says this about the plans.

The Shakespeare Line Promotion Group is promoting a scheme to reinstate the 9 miles (14 km) “missing Link” between Honeybourne and Stratford. Called the “Avon Rail Link”, the scheme (supported as a freight diversionary route by DB Schenker) would make Stratford-upon-Avon railway station a through station once again with improved connections to the Cotswolds and the South. The scheme faces local opposition. There is, however, a good business case for Stratford-Cotswolds link.

Note this could also be a freight diversion route.

Last year, I went to Stratford-on-Avon and wrote Stratford Upon Avon Station Is Getting A Facelift.

I hinted at more services to come and linked to the Wikipedia comments above.

To return to the Rail News article, it says some interesting things like this.

A NIC could overcome one of the biggest hurdles that has existed for decades. For mainly no other reason the route from Stratford to Honeybourne straddles two government regional boundaries (West Midlands and South West) two Network Rail regions (Chiltern/West Midlands and Western), three County Councils, three District Councils and two Local Enterprise Partnerships.

Is anybody in charge? Perhaps the NIC will be. This is said on visitors to Stratford-on-Avon.

Stratford only attracts six per cent of visitors to the town to travel by rail, while the national average for visitors by rail to similar UK rail-connected tourist destinations is over double that, at 13 per cent.

As the line has a good case for reopening and Stratford-on-Avon station has been upgraded, perhaps this is a project that should be looked at seriously.

We are probably going to live in a new era if George Osbourn’s plans for business rate reform come to fruition, which might see progressive Councils developing infrastructure to enable business, housing and tourism opportunities.

Surely a reconstructed line from Stratford-on-Avon to Cheltenham would tick a few boxes.

There is a major prize at the Cheltenham end if Cheltenham Racecourse, which is one of the busiest in the UK, could be linked to the main line rail network at Cheltenham Spa station. The Google Map shows the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway going past the racecourse, where there is already a station.

Cheltenham Racecourse

Cheltenham Racecourse

Unfortunately, there is a supermarket which is partially blocking the route between the racecourse and Cheltenham Spa station.

These are the sort of problems that a National Infrastructure Commission should have the power to solve or dismiss as insoluble.

Watching National Hunt racing at Cheltenham is one of the  great sporting spectacles of the British Isles and a viable rail service to the course from London and Oxford needs to be created.

October 5, 2015 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Developments At Cheltenham

Cheltenham is a town, I’ve been to several times.  Usually, it has been to go to the races, although I did go there on my 92 Club trip. I went by train to Cheltenham Spa station.

This month’s Modern Railways describes a substantial proposed development at the station, which adds extra platforms and capacity. Given that there is a large development being started at Cheltenham Racecourse and getting to the racecourse by road is a nightmare, I think it would be a good idea to expand the station, so that racegoers could at least get to Cheltenham by train. Provision is made in the station scheme for perhaps a light rail system to link to the racecourse station.

But obviously, a heavy rail scheme would be better, so that luxury special trains could run from Paddington direct to the racecourse.  First Great Western are now running Pullman Dining services on InterCity 125 trains to Plymouth, so perhaps the soon-to-be redundant trains could be refurbished as luxury go-virtually-anywhere trains to take visitors to special events in style.

There’s a lot to think about!

But the proposed reworking of Cheltenham Spa station, does show how if you think properly, you can improve a mundane station for the benefit of the rail companies and passengers alike.

Here’s a personal example.

With the simplification of movements at Ipswich, due to the new Bacon Factory Curve, will this make possible, some small improvements? It would be much easier for a train from say Cambridge to come in to Ipswich station and then reverse out to either Lowestoft or Felixstowe, as there won’t be freight trains reversing in the yard outside the station.

I hope Network Rail has got their thinking cap on!

They certainly seem to have got it right with new stations at Cambridge Science Park and Lea Bridge, but they seem to have been unlucky with building a Coventry Arena station, and then have Coventry City move away.

But as I indicated in this post, are Network Rail expanding the railway, by doing lots of small high return projects.

August 25, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Would Happen If We Banned Steeplechasing?

Many believe that the Grand national and all steeplechasing should be banned.

I don’t!

But what would happen if we did ban it?

All our major races would probably move to Ireland or if the Scottish government decided not to ban it, to Scotland.

They would be overjoyed and some places in the UK, like Liverpool and Cheltenham, would lose quite a few jobs and lots of income.

But life in this country would lose one of its great spectacles. Soon horse racing would be reduced to a shadow of its former self, with probably only all-weather racing on the flat surviving.

I do think sometimes, that the various antis in all sorts of areas, have one aim in their mind; to take all the fun out of our lives.

If a man has never made love to a woman, who’s wearing nothing but a fur coat, he’s never lived! Incidentally, it wasn’t C’s coat either and it was at a two hour break in proceedings in a Catholic wedding.

April 5, 2013 Posted by | Sport | , , , | Leave a comment

How to Bet

Betfair is a betting exchange and after yesterday’s Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, they are showing on their blog, that some lucky punters got on at 999-1.

That was certainly a good bet, even if the stakes were small.

Have wins at these sort of odds happened before?  Yes!  See my post about Terimon

What is strange about this one, is that the horse was owned by JP McManus, trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by AP McCoy.  All are masters of their trade and in JP’s case betting as well.

The odds anomaly was more because the horse had lost his way and had lost several races before Cheltenham. Read the story on the BBC.

March 17, 2010 Posted by | Sport | , | Leave a comment