The Anonymous Widower

Chris Grayling On The RMT

This article on Rail Technology Magazine is entitled I’m A Lightning Rod’: Grayling Dismisses Criticism From Rail Unions And ‘Anti-Brexit Brigade’

This is Grayling’s view of the RMT.

“This is a trade union that regards Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party as too right-wing to affiliate to and wants to stand in the way of modernisation of the railways.

It is one of the better political put-downs.

February 1, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Grayling Declares Government Will Not ‘Betray People In The Midlands And The North’ And Will Deliver HS2 In Full

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Rail Technology Magazine.

There has been talk recently of cutting back High Speed Two.

Grayling has stated that this Government won’t do that.

I meet people, who think that High Speed Two is a waste of money.

Usually, they fit into one of the following categories.

  • Nimbys
  • People who always drive.
  • Those that wouldn’t use a train, bus or tram if it was free.

I also think that most of the reasons people are against High Speed Two are for personal selfish reasons.

So why should High Speed Two be built?

Overwhelmingly, it is about greater capacity between the North and South of this country for freight and passengers.

Although, High Speed Two will not carry freight, it will free up capacity on the West and East Coast Main Lines, to allow more freight on these routes.

 

 

January 26, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | 9 Comments

Could London Overground Extend To Hertford East Station?

London Overground’s Future Plans

This table summarises London Overground’s improvements and future plans

Note that in 2019, it is proposed that two extra trains per hour (tph) are added to services between Liverpool Street and Enfield Town stations.

I was also told at the weekend, a strong rumour, that in 2020, London Overground will be taking over the following services.

The first has been mooted for some time, but is supposedly stalled because of differences between Chris Grayling and Sadiq Khan. The second was rather a surprise.

So what will be the result of the Hertford East services being the responsibility of the London Overground?

Greater Anglia’s Services

Greater Anglia‘s current services along the West Anglia Main Line (WAML) are as follows.

  • Two tph between Liverpool Street and Hertford East stations.
  • Two tph between Stratford and Bishops Stortford stations.
  • Two tph between Liverpool Street and Cambridge/ambridge North stations.
  • Four tph between Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport.

In the past Greater Anglia have run Stansted services to and from Stratford and have said they may do so again.

This means that Greater Anglia run ten tph along the WAML between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne stations.

Compare this with the measly two tph, that run between Edmonton Green and Cheshunt stations using the alternative Southbury Loop. The only other movements on this line appear to be a few empty stock movements and freight trains. But not many!

Judging by some of the empty stock movements, I suspect that Greater Anglia have problems positioning their extra trains before and after the Peak.

Rolling Stock To Hertford East

Currently, Greater Anglia run eight-car Class 317 trains to Hertford East station. These are 160 metres long and seat nearly 600 passengers in two classes.

Their new Class 720 trains come in two sizes.

  • Five cars – 122 metres long, seating 540
  • Ten cars – 243 metres long, seating 1100

Could it be that the five-car trains are too small and the ten-car trains are too long for the platforms on the Hertford East Branch?

These pictures show that the platforms at Hertford East station are just long enough for two four-car Class 317 trains working as an eight-car formation. I doubt that a ten-car Class 720 train will fit these platforms and it appears that lengthening the platforms could be difficult.

On the other hand, London Overground’s four-car Class 710 trains are the same length as Class 317 trains.

So could it be that Greater Anglia would prefer that they didn’t have a service to Hertford East station?

Liverpool Street Or Stratford?

Crossrail will have one big effect on the planning of services on the WAML and the Lea Valley Lines, in that the new line will call at both Liverpool Street and Stratford stations, when it eventually opens.

Connectivity

It will be a two-stop journey between the two stations, which in addition are both well-connected to the Underground.

There is very little difference in connectivity between the two stations.

Capacity

Liverpool Street is getting to be full and given more services will be run along the Great Eastern Main Line, it could do with some capacity enhancement.

Stratford though has only two platforms connected to the WAML.

But there is the little-used High Meads Loop under the Eastfield Shopping Centre, which has been used in the past to turn Stansted Express trains, when they served Stratford.

Loops like this can easily handle at least 12 tph, as they do in Liverpool with the Wirral Line.

The High Meads Loop was well-designed to accept a lot of trains.

  • It is double-track.
  • Both tracks have a platform at Stratford capable of accepting a twelve-car Class 745 or Class 720 train.
  • Both platforms are wide and step-free with lifts.
  • The driver doesn’t have to change ends, when using the loop, so the loop will be efficient.
  • An extra stop could be added at Stratford International station.

It is London’s forgotten terminal station.

Operators Would Get Extra Capacity

The two train operators; London Overground and Greater Anglia would gain extra capacity in London.

Travellers Would Choose

If travellers were able to have a choice of London terminals, I suspect that most would choose the one they liked best, but because of Crossrail, it wouldn’t matter if they ended up at the wrong terminal.

Sorting Out West Anglia Main Line And Lea Valley Lines Local Services

I know there needs to be a bit of a sort-out on the WAML to run four tph between Stratford and Meridian Water stations, but could something more radical be on the cards.

Reasonable objectives based on London Overground’s principles would see the following stopping services.

  • Four tph between Seven Sisters and Cheshunt stations via Edmonton Green station.
  • Four tph between Seven Sisters and Enfield Town stations
  • Four tph between Tottenham Hale and Cheshunt stations via Waltham Cross station
  • Four tph between Cheshunt and Hertford East stations.

At the Northern end of the route, there would be three terminal platforms controlled by London Overground, one at Cheshunt and two at Hertford East.

The Aventra Effect

The high-performance Aventras, used by London Overground and Greater Anglia, are ready for digital signalling and designed around fast station stops.

The trains should be able to stop at all stations and maintain the current timetable on the route.

So the timetable could become more passenger friendly, with everything station getting four tph in both directions!

Broxbourne Station Could Be Key

The key at the Northern end could be Greater Anglia’s Broxburne station.

  • It has four platforms.
  • There would be space for an extra platform and/or a turnback for trains from the South.
  • Overground services to and from Hertford East station will call.
  • It is planned to be the terminal of Crossrail 2.

Services between Liverpool Street and Stratford stations and Bishops Stortford, Cambridge and Stansted Airport generally stop at Broxbourne.

So could we see cross-platform interchanges between London Overground’s local services calling at all stations to London and Greater Anglia’s fast services?

The Hertford East Difficulty!

At present one difficulty, is that the Hertford East Branch can only handle three tph, which it does in the Peak, so running the required four tph might need dualling the single-track section through Ware station.

These pictures show Ware station and the level crossing.

Note.

  1. The platform can accept a twelve-car train.
  2. There would be space to install a second platform.
  3. To the East the single track becomes double after the bridge at the end of the platform and is double all the way to the WAML.
  4. To the West the single track becomes double after the level crossing at the end of the platform and is double all of the way to Hertford East station.

Laying a second track and adding a second platform at Ware station, is probably the ultimate solution, to provide four tph all day between London and Hertford East.

But I also feel that with precision driving, the nimble Aventras will be able to do four tph, with a procedure something like this.

  • The level crossing closes to road traffic.
  • A Westbound train arrives in the station and an Eastbound train stops at a signal at the end of the Eastbound track from Hertford East station.
  • When the Westbound train has unloaded and loaded the passengers, it leaves the station and takes the Westbound track to Hertford East station.
  • When the Westbound train has safely passed the stationary Eastbound train, the points are changed and the Eastbound train moves into the station.
  • The level crossing opens to road traffic.

There would be four level crossing closures per hour, which is the same as now, but they could be slightly longer.

I suspect there is a better absolutely safe operating procedure than my naive example.

Eight Tph At Cheshunt Station

As eight tph will be going South from Cheshunt station; four each via Edmonton Green and Waltham Cross, Broxbourne station could turn any that couldn’t be handled at Cheshunt and Hertford East stations.

So we might see the following Northern terminals, if the four tph can run to Hertford East station.

  • Four tph at Hertford East; two via Edmonton Green and two via Waltham Cross.
  • Two tph at Cheshunt via Edmonton Green
  • Two tph at Broxbourne; via Waltham Cross.

All stations between London and Hertford East will get four tph.

Cheshunt station needs a certain amount of rebuilding to make it step-free and possibly remove the level crossing.

A step-free station is essential.

  • The station is not a sleepy rural halt.
  • Changes between trains from the North to London Overground services mean crossing the footbridge.
  • It would give pedestrians, wheelchair users, buggy pushes and others an easy way across the railway, when the level crossing in closed.

Southbound trains from Cheshunt could be.

  • Two tph from Cheshunt via Edmonton Green
  • Two tph from Hertford East via Edmonton Green
  • Two tph from Broxbourne via Waltham Cross
  • Two tph from Hertford East via Waltham Cross

Northbound trains from Cheshunt could be.

  • Four tph to Hertford East.
  • Two tph to Broxbourne.

Judicious timing of Northbound trains could mean that passengers arriving via Edmonton Green at Cheshunt could change to a Hertford East train by walking across the platform.

There are a lot of possibilities to get the best connectivity at the Northern end.

The Southern End

At the Southern End, there will be the following services.

  • , Tottenham Hale station will receive four tph from Cheshunt.
  • Seven Sisters station will receive four tph from Cheshunt and four tph from Enfield Town.

Both stations will be able to send trains to either Stratford or Liverpool Street.

Seven Sisters Services

Seven Sisters station is easier to sort.

  • Half of each group of trains go in each direction.
  • Four tph go direct to Liverpool Street stopping at all stations en route.
  • Four tph go to Stratford via South Tottenham and Lea Bridge stations.

,Trains to Stratford should turn in the  High Meads Loop under Eastfield.

South Tottenham Interchange

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines at South Tottenham station.

Note.

  1. The orange line going across the from left to right is the Gospel Oak to Barking Line
  2. The blue line is the Victoria Line.
  3. The orange line going down the map is the Lea Valley Line, between Liverpool Street in the South and Cheshunt and Enfield Town stations in the North.
  4. The single-track; Seven Sisters Chord, which connects the two Overground lines.
  5. The black line going down the map on the right is the WAML, between Stratford and Lea Bridge stations in the South and Tottenham Hal station in the North.

What is not shown on the map is the massive double-ended Crossrail 2 station, that will link South Tottenham and Seven Sisters stations, which are about five hundred metres apart.

This Google Map shows the area of the two stations.

Note how much green space there is alongside the tracks.

If four tph went via South Tottenham and Lea Bridge stations, this would mean that South Tottenham station has the following services.

  • Four tph to Barking
  • Four tph to Gospel Oak
  • Four tph to Stratford
  • Two tph to Enfield Town
  • Two tph to Broxbourne, Cheshunt or Hertford East.

Timings could be arranged to give a user-friendly interchange at South Tottenham station, which is a step-free station.

Note that it is probably likely, that the Seven Sisters Chord shown in the first map, would need to be improved.

But there is certainly enough space to do it properly!

Tottenham Hale Services

These are trickier, but I believe they could be sorted if the new third track from Meridian Water station was used exclusively for Southbound services going to Stratford.

This would mean that platform usage at Tottenham Hale station would be as follows.

  • Existing Platform 1 – Services to Liverpool Street station.
  • Existing Platform 2 – Services to Cheshunt, Broxbourne, Stansted Airport and Cambridge.
  • New Platform 3 – Services to Stratford station.

Platforms 1 and 3 would be a cross-platform interchange to allow passengers to change terminal.

Splitting Of Stratford And Liverpool Street Services

Stratford and Liverpool Street services would split somewhere North of the new Meridian Water station.

Services to Liverpool Street would include.

  • London Overground – Two tph from Cheshunt, Broxbourne or Hertford East.
  • Greater Anglia – Two tph from Cambridge/Cambridge North
  • Greater Anglia – Four tph from Stansted Airport.

This is much the same as the current timetable, with a change of operator on the Hertford East service.

Services to Stratford would include.

  • London Overground – Two tph from Cheshunt, Broxbourne or Hertford East.
  • Greater Anglia – Two tph from Bishops Stortford.

If all these services stopped at Meridian Water, Northumberland Park, Tottenham Hale and Lea Bridge stations, the STAR service has been implemented.

These Stratford services would be turned in the High Meads Loop.

As there would be four tph coming to Stratford from Seven Sisters station, this would mean that eight tph were being turned in the loop.

I can see two problems with this arrangement.

  • The merging of Northbound trains South of Tottenham Hale station could be tricky.
  • The Cambridge and Stansted expresses use the same route to Liverpool Street as London Overground’s Chingford services, as they do now!

Both problems could be lessened by perhaps running half of the Cambridge and Stansted services to Stratford.

This would mean the following.

  • Five tph that served the WAML would use Liverpool Street station.
  • Seven tph that served the WAML would use Stratford station.
  • Eleven tph would need to be turned in the High Meads Loop.

Trains on the High Mead Loop would be as follows.

  • London Overground – Two tph to Enfield Town
  • London Overground – Two tph to Broxbourne, Cheshunt or Hertford East via Edmonton Green
  • London Overground – Two tph to Broxbourne, Cheshunt or Hertford East via Waltham Cross
  • Greater Anglia – Two tph to Bishops Stortford
  • Greater Anglia – One tph to Cambridge/Cambridge North
  • Greater Anglia – Two tph to Stansted Airport

It could be that the expresses could use one track of the High Meads Loop, with the local services using the other.

I also think, that there is sufficient capacity in the High Meads Loop to terminate all services on the WAML at Stratford.

But would that be a step too far?

Possibly for some passengers, but I suspect it would be liked by train operators.

Services Between Tottenham Hale And Broxbourne

Currently, the following services run between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne stations on the WAML.

  • Two tph between Liverpool Street and Hertford East stations.
  • Two tph between Stratford and Bishops Stortford stations.
  • Two tph between Liverpool Street and Cambridge/Cambridge North stations.
  • Four tph between Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport.

This gives a total of ten tph in both directions.

If you go to my first scenario of providing four tph to Cheshunt/Broxbourne/Hertford East, this gives the following services between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne stations.

  • Two tph between Liverpool Street and Hertford East stations.
  • Two tph between Stratford and Bishops Stortford stations.
  • Two tph between Liverpool Street and Cambridge/Cambridge North stations.
  • Four tph between Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport.
  • Two tph between Stratford and Broxbourne stations.

The extra service between Stratford and Broxbourne is to ensure that all stations on the route get four stopping services, of which two tph go to either Liverpool Street or Stratford at the Southern end.

This gives a total of twelve tph in both directions.

By adding just two tph, there is a vastly improved stopping service along the WAML, with all stations getting at least a four tph service.

Could The West Anglia Main Line Handle Twelve Tph?

In 2020, Greater Anglia will be running Class 745 and Class 720 trains on this route.

  • They will both be 100 mph trains.
  • They will have fast station dwell times.
  • They may even have level access between platform and train, which will help speed boarding.
  • They will have a quality Driver Assist System.
  • Electronic in-cab digital signalling is a possibility.
  • The WAML may allow some 100 mph running.
  • Removing the remaining level crossings would surely speed up services.

The Greater Anglia trains will be limited stop and most will only stop at Tottenham Hale, Cheshunt and Broxborne.

London Overground will also be running Class 710 trains, which will be faster than current trains, with very good dwell times.

So I expect that with new trains, some improvement to the infrastructure, the following will be possible.

  • Four tph, which stop at all stations between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne.
  • Six tph, which are limited stop expresses, only stopping at Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne and a couple of other occasional stations.
  • Time saving for all services.
  • I suspect that the current Stratford to Bishops Stortford service will become limited stop North of Meridian Water station.

It would hopefully be a timetable, that appealed to both passengers and train companies.

Services At Meridian Water

Meridian Water station has been promised four tph to Stratford, that call at Northumberland Park, Tottenham Hale and Lea Bridge stations.

So what services will call at Meridian Water station, in the scenario I have outlined, that follows from four tph between London and Hertford East being transferred from Greater Anglia to London Overground.

It could be something like this.

  • Two tph to Hertford East, calling at all stations.
  • Two tph to Bishops Stortford, calling at selected stations.
  • Two tph to Cheshunt or Broxbourne, calling at all stations.
  • Four tph to Stratford, calling at all stations.
  • Two tph to Liverpool Street, calling at all stations.

It’s certainly better and more comprehensive than promised.

As Meridian Water will be such an important station, could some of the Cambridge and Stansted services call?

Four-Tracking Of The West Anglia Main Line

This project is needed to both increase capacity to Cambridge and Stansted Airport and in the future for Crossrail 2, which will reach as far as Broxbourne station.

But it will be a very disruptive project, not just for rail users, but for road users, when they close several level crossings.

The Underused Southbury Loop

The limited triple-tracking around Tottenham Hale station has been moderately disruptive at weekends and services have run using the Southbury Loop.

The Southbury Loop is underused and I believe that if services were increased permanently on the diversion route, that it would have the beneficial effects on the WAML.

Extra services could be added to the existing double-track route.

Between Cheshunt and Broxbourne

There is one section that could be easier than most to four-track and that is the section between Cheshunt and Broxbourne stations.

This Google Map shows the line North of Cheshunt station.

I have flown my helicopter along this route and just as in the map, the two-tracks sit on a wide site, with space for extra tracks.

I am fairly certain,that four-tracking this section would not be difficult.

South Of Cheshunt 

If the Southbury Loop were to be used to handle some trains, I think the four-tracking could be done in a more relaxed series of small projects over a longer period of time.

There are various problems.

  • Waltham Cross station
  • Enfield Lock station and level crossing.
  • Brimsdown station and level crossing.

But South from Ponders End station should be a lot easier,

  • There are no buildings in the way.
  • There will already be a third-track between Tottenham Hale and Meridian Water stations.
  • Northumberland Park and Meridian Water stations will be fourth-track ready.

I very much feel, that the four-tracking can be done piecemeal without too much disruption to rail pr road traffic.

Other Issues

Over the years, other issues have been raised with the WAML and Crossrail 2.

A Turnback At Enfield Lock Station

I’ve read in a couple of places, that there could be a bay platform at Enfield Lock station, which could turnback trains to the South..

Under the current plans for the STAR service, this will terminate at Meridian Water station and I’ve heard station staff, say it will be a bi-directional shuttle between Tottenham Hale and Meridian Water stations.

The bi-directional shuttle would.

  • Not be using the new infrastructure in a worthwhile manner.
  • Bring more passengers to the overloaded Victoria Line.
  • Not take passengers to the transport hub at Stratford with Crossrail.
  • Not be an efficient use of a train and crew.

I also think, it would struggle for passengers until the building of housing at Meidian Water gets under way.

But supposing, two tracks were built North from Meridian Water to Enfield Lock station, where there would be a bay platform.

  • A fourth track would need to be added alongside the third-track between Lea Bridge and Meridian Water stations.
  • Another platform would be needed at Tottenham Hale station.
  • There is a lot of space on the Eastern side of the WAML, between Meridian Water and Ponders End station.
  • Two extra tracks through Brimsdown station, should be possible with the purhase of some low-grade commercial property.

Note that currently a train from Enfield Lock to Stratford takes twenty-four minutes, if it stops at the little-used Angel Road station.

If a train turned in the High Meads Loop at Stratford, it could be back at Enfield Lock within the hour.

  • Four tph would be possible.
  • This would provide a much needed service for all those who do and will live, work and enjoy themselves allow the Lea Valley.
  • Four trains would be needed for a four tph service.

I can understand, why Enfield Lock station has been talked about as a place for a possible bay platform.

There would also be the possibility of extending to Enfield Lock, without closing the level crossing at the station, if a step-free bridge were to be provided.

The station could become a valuable interchange between Greater Anglia’s Bishop’s Stortford services  and the four tph to Stratford, stopping at all stations.

Eventually, though, the level crossing will be removed and four tracks will be extended Northwards.

Hackney Downs Issues

If as I proposed the following trains run through Seven Sisters station.

  • Two tph between Liverpool Street and Cheshunt/Broxbourne or Hertford East.
  • Two tph between Stratford and Cheshunt/Broxbourne or Hertford East.
  • Two tph between Liverpool Street and Enfield Town.
  • Two tph between Stratford and Enfield Town.

This means that Hackney Downs would have the following services.

  • Two tph between Liverpool Street and Cheshunt/Broxbourne or Hertford East.
  • Two tph between Liverpool Street and Enfield Town.
  • Four tph between Liverpool Street and Chingford.

Would it not be more efficient, if all of these services used the slow tracks into Liverpool Street?

This would give the expresses exclusive use of the fast lines into Liverpool Street.

An Alternative Strategy

Suppose Greater Anglia were to acquire some eight-car trains, then they could carry on as normal.

They wouldn’t actually change the order, but shuffle some of the stock to create eight-car trains.

As the Class 720 trains are cut-and-paste, they can put any number of trailer and motor cars between the two driver cars, a motor car and a pantograph car.

As Greater Anglia could need perhaps ten eight-car trains, this would be

  • Driver cars – 20
  • Pantograph cars – 10
  • Motor cars – 10
  • Intermediate cars – 40

The right number of cars can be found in six ten-car trains and four five-car trains..

Have Greater Anglia purchased a set of ten- and five-car trains, that can also be run as a sub-fleet of eight-car trains?

Conclusion

This post has been speculation on a rumour.

But I now believe that Hertford East services can be run under two different methods.

Transfer To The London Overground

The service could transfer to the London Overground.

  • London Overground have trains suitable for the service and Greater Anglia doen’t!
  • Greater Anglia services may be simpler to operate.
  • Ware station needs to be rebuilt to enable a decent service and Funding the work might be easier for London Overground in partnership with Hertfordshire County Council, than for Greater Anglia.
  • Large numbers of stations in the London Borough of Enfield get a four tph service.
  • By using the Southbury Loop, extra services can be run, without adding to traffic on the West Anglia Main Line.

In a few years time operation of the West Anglia Main Line would be very different.

The Class 710 Trains Can Be Shuffled Into An Eight-Car Sub-Fleet

This is the carry-on as before solution and is possible by just shuffling the required number of trains.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 14, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The UK’s New High Speed Line Being Built By Stealth

Wikipedia has a section called High Speed Rail. This is the first paragraph.

High-speed rail is a type of rail transport that operates significantly faster than traditional rail traffic, using an integrated system of specialised rolling stock and dedicated tracks. While there is no single standard that applies worldwide, new lines in excess of 250 kilometres per hour (160 miles per hour) and existing lines in excess of 200 kilometres per hour (120 miles per hour) are widely considered to be high-speed.

In the UK we have both types of high speed line mentioned in this definition.

High Speed One and High Speed Two have or will have operating speeds of 300 kph and 400 kph respectively and by any definition are true high speed lines.

There is also the East Coast Main Line and Great Western Main Line and West Coast Main Line, which are lines with long stretches, where continuous running at 200 kph is possible.

These lines certainly meet the 200 kph definition now and will likely exceed it, as digital in-cab signalling is deployed in the future and allows running at up to 225 kph in certain places.

Electrification Between Sheffield And Clay Cross On The Midland Main Line

This article on Rail Technology Magazine is entitled Grayling Asks HS2 To Prepare For Electrification Of 25km Midland Main Line Route.

If this electrification happens on the Midland Main Line between Sheffield and Clay Cross, it will be another project in turning the line into a high speed route with a 200 kph operating speed, between London and Sheffield.

Currently, the electrified section of the line South of Bedford is being upgraded and the electrification and quadruple tracks are being extended to Glendon Junction, where the branch to Corby leaves the main line.

The proposed electrification will probably involve the following.

  • Upgrading the line to a higher speed of perhaps 225 kph, with provision to increase the speed of the line further.
  • Rebuilding of Chesterfield station in readiness for High Speed Two.
  • Full electrification between Sheffield and Clay Cross.

Clay Cross is significant, as it is where the Midland Main Line splits into two Southbound routes.

Note.

  1. Some of the tunnel portals in the Derwent Valley are Listed.
  2. Trying to electrify the line through the World Heritage Site will be a legal and engineering nightmare.
  3. Network Rail has spent or is spending £250million on upgrading the Erewash Valley Line.
  4. High Speed Two will reach The East Midlands Hub station in 2032.

When High Speed Two, is extended North from the East Midlands Hub station, it will take a route roughly following the M1. A spur will link High Speed Two to the Erewash Valley line in the Clay Cross area, to enable services to Chesterfield and Sheffield.

But until High Speed Two is built North of the East Midlands Hub station, the Erewash Valley Line looks from my helicopter to be capable of supporting 200 kph services.

  • It is mainly double track, with sections where extra lines have been added.
  • It is reasonably straight.
  • There seem to be generous margins on either side.
  • There is only one tunnel at Alfreton, which is 770 metres long.
  • There is only three stations at Ilkeston, Langley Mill and Alfreton.

As many of the bridges seem new, has the Erewash Valley Line been prepared for electrification?

Electrification Around East Midlands Hub Station

I wouldn’t be surprised to see that by the opening of the East Midlands Hub station in 2032, that the following will have happened.

  • The route between East Midlands Hub station and Sheffield via the Erewash Valley Line and Chesterfield has been fully electrified.
  • A higher proportion of services between London and Sheffield will use the Erewash Valley Line, with times under two hours.
  • From 2022, the trains running on the Midland Main Line will be 200 kph bi-mode trains.

As the East Midlands Hub Station and High Speed Two is developed, various electrified routes will open through the area, thus grdually reducing journey times between London and Sheffield.

Once the station is fully open, I suspect there will be services between London and Sheffield via High Speed Two and the Erewash Valley Line.

But when the High Speed 2 spur towards Sheffield is opened, the trains will take the high speed route.

Electrification From London To Kettering, Glendon Junction And Corby

Currently, the electrified section of the line South of Bedford is being upgraded and the electrification and quadruple tracks are being extended to Glendon Junction, where the branch to Corby leaves the main line.

When completed, this electrification will enable the following.

  • Two electric trains per hour (tph) between London and Corby.
  • Much of the route between London and Glendon Junction will be improved to allow 200 kph running.
  • Much of the route between London and Glendon Junction will be quadruple tracks.

It will be a quality high speed line to a similar standard to that of much of the East Coast Main Line.

The True 200 kph (125 mph) Bi-Mode Train

In the Wikipedia entry for Leicester station, this is said about electrification of the Midland Main Line.

From 2022, services will be operated using bi-mode electro-diesel trains running in electro-pantograph mode between London St Pancras and Kettering North Junction, switching to electro-accumulator/diesel-electric mode northwards from there.

Bombardier have been quoted as developing a 200 kph bi-mode Aventra with batteries.

  • 200 kph on 25 KVAC overhead electrification.
  • 200 kph on diesel.
  • Batteries for Last Mile operation.
  • Better ambience than current bi-modes.
  • Low and level floors.

If Bombardier can produce such a train, surely other train manufacturers can?

Electrification Between Glendon Junction And Market Harborough

I talked about this in MML Wires Could Reach Market Harborough, where I said this.

It appears that Network Rail have a problem.

  • Electrification of the Midland Main Line (MML) is to run as far as Kettering and Corby stations.
  • The power feed is to be located at Braybrooke, which is just South of Market Harborough station.

So Network Rail are now looking for a twelve mile long extension lead.

A Network Rail spokesman, says they are looking at various options, including an underground cable or extending the Overhead Line Equipment.

Since I wrote that post a few weeks ago, I have looked at that section of line and have had various messages, which lead me to the belief, that all bridges and structures have been raised to allow electrification to be added to the line.

These points are in favour of electrification!

  • The only station is Market Harborough, where the track is s being realigned to increase linespeed.
  • Bridges, structures and track appear to have been upgraded for electrification.
  • There are only two tracks.
  • Network Rail need a power connection.

It will be a matter of heads and tails, as to whether Glendon Junction and Market Harborough station will be electrified.

The Electrification Gap Between Market Harborough And East Midlands Hub Stations

These are my thoughts on various sections going North from Market Harborough station.

Between Market Harborough And Leicester

This doesn’t appear to be too difficult to electrify, if that were to be decided, until approaching Leicester station, where there are several bridges over the track.

A driver also told me, that under one bridge the track can’t be lowered, due to the presence of a large sewer.

If the proposed bi-mode trains have a Last Mile battery capability, discontinuous electrification as proposed for South Wales could be used on these bridges.

But the track is fairly straight and the speed limits could be fairly high enabling the proposed bi-mode trains to be cruising near to 200 kph.

Whatever is done, I suspect that the track improvements and the electrification work South of Kettering will enable the new bi-mode trains to go between Leicester and London in comfortably under an hour.

Leicester Station

I think Leicester station is both a problem and a solution.

I don’t think it is possible to electrify the current station without a lot of disruption and major works because of the number of bridges South of the station.

But according to Wikipedia, plans exist to regerenate the station, which could be a big opportunity to create the most cost-effective solution to powering the trains.

Northwards From Leicester

This section looks an ideal one for the proposed 200 kph bi-mode train, with fairly straight tracks.

Operation Of The Bi-Mode Trains

Battery Use

I believe that Bombardier’s design for a 200 kph bi-mode train, doesn’t just use batteries for Last Mile operation.

Using discontinuous electrification on the bridges South of Leicester, which would be the sensible way to electrify that section, but would need the new trains to have a battery capability to jump the gaps.

I also believe that Aventras use batteries to handle regenerative braking, as do Hitachi on their Class 800 trains.

Bombardier Aventras seem to have lots of powered axles and Bombardier have stated that the bi-mode will have distributed power.

As an Electrical and Control Engineer, I believe that the most efficient battery strategy with distributed power, would be to distribute the batteries to each car.

  • Batteries would be close to the traction motors, which is electrically efficient.
  • Batteries would be smaller and easier to install on the train.
  • Battery power could be used to power the train’s systems, as Hitachi do!
  • Battery power could be used to move the train and assist in acceleration

Each car would have its own computer to use the most efficient strategy.

I would also put an appropriately sized diesel generator in each car.

In the mathematical modelling of systems consisting of several identical units working together, it is a common technique to look at an individual car.

Consider the following, where I estimate the weight of a car in a proposed bi-mode Aventra.

  • A motor car for a Class 345 train, which is another Aventra variant, weighs 36.47 tonnes.
  • I estimate that a typical car in the proposed bi-mode train will accommodate a total of about 70 seated and standing passengers.
  • With bags, buggies and other things passengers bring on, let’s assume an average passenger weight of 90 kg, this gives an extra 6.3 tonnes.
  • Suppose the battery and the diesel were to weigh a tonne each

So I will assume that a typical car weighs 44.77 tonnes.

When running at 200 kph, the car will have a kinetic energy of around 19.5 kWh.

The 30 kWh battery in a Nissan Leaf could handle that amount of energy.

The kinetic energy of a passenger train is surprisingly small.

I suspect that each car has a battery size of about 50 kWh, so that it can adequately power the train in all modes.

Acceleration

Acceleration of a train, is the part of the journey that uses most power.

These trains will need to have the same or better acceleration to the Class 222 trains, that currently work the route, as otherwise timings would be slower and a marketing disaster.

In Have Bombardier Got A Cunning Plan For Voyagers?, I did the calculation of the kinetic energy for a four-car Class 220 train, which is in the same Voyager family as the Class 222 train.

Voyagers are an interesting train, as they cruise at 200 kph and have a diesel engine in each car, which generates electricity to power the train.

Consider these facts for a four-car Class 220 train.

  • The train has a weight of 185.6 tonnes, so the average car weight is 46.4 tonnes
  • The train has seats for two hundred passengers or 50 per car.
  • If we assume that each passenger weighs 90 Kg. with their baggage this gives a total car weight of 50.9 tonnes.

This one car of a Class 222 train running at 200 kph has a kinetic energy of 22 kWh.

As both trains are assumed to be travelling at the same speed, the difference in kinetic energy is down to the weight of the car and the number of passengers.

I have assumed more passengers in the Aventra, as I suspect modern design will improve the figure.

Consider each of these trains doing a stop from 200 kph on the Midland Main Line.

The Aventra will convert the train’s kinetic energy into electricity in the batteries, so if I assume that the efficiency of the regenerative braking is eighty percent, this would mean that 19.5 * 0.8 or 15.6 kWh will be stored in the battery in each car. To accelerate back to 200 kph, the onboard diesel engines will have to supply 3.9 kWh for each car.

The Class 222 train will convert the train’s kinetic energy into heat. To accelerate back to 200 kph, the onboard diesel engines will have to supply 22 kWh for each car.

Bombadier have said that their design for a bi-mode Aventra will have distributed power. So if this includes the batteries and the diesel engines, I wouldn’t be surprised if each car has a battery and a diesel engine.

On the Class 222 train a 560 kW diesel is used in each car to provide the 22 kWh to accelerate the train.

So what size of diesel engine would be needed to supply the 3.9 kWh needed to accelerate the train?

Assuming the diesel is as efficient as that in the Class 222 train, the diesel engine would only be in the region of 100 kW.

Which seems very small!

But suppose something like the quiet Cummins ISBe engine, that is used in a New Routemaster bus is installed.

  • This engine has a capacity of 4.5 litres and a rating of 185 bhp/138 kW.
  • It is a quarter the size of the engine in the Class 222 train.
  • One of the major uses of a larger 5.9 litre version of this engine is in a Dodge Ram pickup.

The engine would only run when the power in the battery was below a certain level.

Cruising At 200 kph

Once at 200 kph, I suspect that most of the power required would come from the batteries.

These would be topped up as required by the diesel engine.

Charging The Batteries

Expecting a small diesel engine to charge the batteries sufficiently between London and Sheffield is probably a big ask, especially if the new franchise wanted to run a train that stopped everywhere North of Kettering.

South of Kettering the train would use the electrification and I suspect trains going North will say good-bye to the electrification with full batteries.

So this is why Chris Grayling’s statement of possible electrification between Sheffield and Clay Cross is important.

Southbound trains from Sheffield would leave Clay Cross junction with full batteries, whether they are going via Derby or the Erewash Valley Line.

Between London And Sheffield

Trains between London and Sheffield would only be relying on the diesel engines to top up the batteries between Glendon Junction and Clay Cross.

This is probably about eighty miles. Trains currently take an hour with stops at Leicester and Derby.

It’s a tough ask!

But it might be possible, if an efficient, aerodynamically slippery train is launched with full batteries at full speed at Clay Cross and Glendon Junctions into a route without electrification, which is as straight and level as possible with only gentle curves.

Between London And Nottingham

The distance on the related route between Glendon Junction and Nottingham is about sixty miles with a couple of stops.

This could be an even tougher ask! A charging system at Nottingham might make all the difference.

Bombardier

Obviously Bombardier have done extensive simulations and they wouldn’t be offering the train for the new East Midlands Franchise, if they knew it wasn’t a viable solution!

If they can develop a train that can jump an eighty mile electrification gap at 200 kph, they’ll have a train, that will be a serious export possibility.

The following would also help.

  • Any extra electrification.
  • Launching the train at a higher speed into the gap. 225 kph would be the equivalent of an extra 5kWh in the battery.
  • Batteries with a higher energy density will emerge.
  • More efficient regenerative braking.
  • Better aerodynamics.

I also believe that big improvements could come from a more sophisticated train control system.

Bombardier are developing a totally different philosophy of train design.

Conclusion

It looks like the reality of mathematics and dynamics will be able to satisfy the seemingly impossible dreams of Chris Grayling!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 6, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Grayling On Crossrail 2

This is Chris Grayling’s thoughts on |Crossral 2 for this article in City AM.

I am a supporter of Crossrail 2 but given its price tag we have to ensure that we get this right. The mayor and I have agreed to work together on it over the coming months to develop plans that are as strong as possible, so that the public gets an affordable scheme that is fair to the UK taxpayer.

Following a successful outcome being reached I am keen to launch a fresh public consultation to help gather views to improve the scheme and clarify the position around the safeguarded route.

So perhaps, the line will get built after all.

July 24, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Grayling Sets An Excellent Precedent

This article on the BBC is entitled St Mellons Private Rail Station Welcomed By Chris Grayling.

This is said.

A proposal to create Wales’ first privately-owned railway station has been welcomed by UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.

He told MPs he was very happy to see plans for St Mellons Parkway in east Cardiff go ahead.

Cardiff South and Penarth MP Stephen Doughty said south Wales needed new stations to make the most out of rail electrification.

The new station has been provisionally named Cardiff Parkway.

Mr Doughty said the proposals to build the station in east Cardiff were “backed by the private sector, backed cross party, backed by the Welsh Government, backed by Cardiff council”

Chris Grayling said he was happy to see it go ahead and that as it was privately-funded, it didn’t need the same form of public funding.

At the present time, there is only one privately-funded station; Southend Airport.

There is also this article on Wales Online, which is entitled There could be 12 new railway stations built in Wales.

Builders are going to be busy!

July 23, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 4 Comments

The Future Of East West Rail

There is an article with this title in Rail Technology Magazine.

This is the opening paragraph.

Shortly before the end of last year, transport secretary Chris Grayling announced unprecedented proposals to create a new and independent East West Rail operation tasked with designing, managing and running services between Oxford and Cambridge.

After the opening of the first section of the route, from Oxford to Bicester and on to Marylebone, which I wrote about in Oxford To Marylebone Opens For Business, things seem to be moving on.

  • The Government has announced that the East West Rail Link could be privately financed, built and run.
  • This article in Rail Magazine, which is entitled Verster to leave ScotRail for East West Rail, states that Phil Verster from ScotRail will head up the East West Rail Project.

Let’s hope it all means full steam ahead.

January 22, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Government Focuses On New Stations And Trains

This is the title of an article in Rail Magazine.

This is the opening paragraph.

Passenger numbers rising fast, new stations, improved facilities and new trains are the result of policies followed by the current Government and not what Labour wants to follow, claims Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling.

As an example about what is needed Gayling talks about the Cleethorpres to Sheffield Line.

It is an interesting insight to some of Mr. Grayling’s thinking.

But I agree we need more stations and trains.

I also feel that wit the right innovation and design, we may be able to provide services in places that previously have been thought not to be viable..

January 21, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 4 Comments

Why Grayling’s Proposal For The East-West Rail Link Could Be Right?

I’m not saying it’s right that one  company will build the line and then operate it, but I do think it could have advantages.

Track

With the exception of a few short lengths of existing track, most of the construction is a green field site or one where there is just rusty worthless track from decades ago.

This must give opportunities to design a future-proofed route, that in say the 203os or 2040s could run trains much faster, frequent, heavier and longer, than envisaged today.

The route can also be optimised for what is mow believed to be the likely scheduled service.

Stations

This line could have stations optimised for the modern level of working, that the line will.use.

Nothing should be ruled out in station design, if it makes for a more efficient railway.

I would also hope that stations could be modular, so that improvements and new stations could be added by the operator as ttaffic changes.

Get the design right and the company, passengers and staff will benefit.

It would be easier to get the design right, if all stakeholders are in the same team.

Electrification

Parts of the route are electrified and it will have connections to existing electrified lines at Bedford, Cambridge, Milton Keynes, Oxford and Reading.

I believe that there could be considerable savings to be made, by designing the electrification so that it is integrated with the trains bought for the line.

For instance, I believe in a few years time that all new trains will have on-board energy storage, so could this be taken advantage of to perhaps?

  • Enable regenerative braking on trains, rather than trackside
  • Not put overhead wires in stations.

It could be difficult for freight trains and other electric trains, but there could be scope to simplify the electrification.

Signalling

Go digital to save money.

Operation

I have sat in the cab of a High Speed Train as it went between Edinburgh and Inverness. You see a lot and surely some that drivers see could be safety related.

Surely, if the same company is responsible for both trains and track, reporting and fixing problems must be much more direct.

Conclusion

Good design could really.make the railway cheaper to build and operate.

So if it’s one company, with everybody working to the same objectives, it must benefit that company, if someone has a good idea at any point.

If they have a bad idea, then hopefully it will.be ignored.

December 6, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment