The Anonymous Widower

Shuttling Between Stratford And Meridian Water Stations

The shuttle between Stratford and Meridian Water stations started today with a frequency of two trains per hour (tph).

As a driver said to me, it’s more of a Z, than a shuttle, as it has this pattern.

  • Bishops Stortford to Stratford. – 56 or 53 minute +turnaound of six minutes
  • Stratford to Meridian Water – 15 minutes + turnround of seven minutes
  • Meridian Water to Stratford – 15 minutes + turnround of seven minutes
  • Stratford to Bishops Stortford – 53 or 55 minutes + turnround of 19-24 minutes

As I said in Meridian Water Station Is To Be Upgraded, the diagram takes three and a half hours and it would need seven trains.

Note.

  1. Most of the trains today, seemed to have been formed of two four-car Class 317 trains, although there was at least one train working as a four-car train.
  2. I made two visits to the route today and it seemed to be performing reliably.
  3. One train was cancelled due to a shortage of crew.

These are some pictures, I took throughout the day.

A few thoughts on what I saw and deduced.

The Timetable Works

The timetable seems to have worked well today and the driver who described the timetable as a Z, didn’t say it was crazy or ridiculous.

Passengers didn’t seem to be running around like headless chickens, so they were probably getting the hang of it.

Greater Anglia and Network Rail should be very pleased.

The Stations Have Long Platforms

The stations on the route; Stratford, Lea Bridge, Tottenham Hale, Northumberland Park and Meridian Water, all seem to have long platforms, which can certainly accommodate eight-car trains, which are 160 metres long.

Tottenham Hale’s platforms can handle twelve-car trains and are 240 metres long.

Do Greater Anglia’s Trains Fit the Platforms?

Greater Anglia’s new Class 720 trains come in two lengths.

  • Five-car trains are 122 metres long.
  • Ten-car trains are 243 metres long.

Only the five-car trains will fit the platforms at Lea Bridge, Northumberland Park and Meridian Water and the ten-car trains will only fit Stratford and Tottenham Hale.

It certainly looks to me, that only five-car trains will be able work the Z-shaped service between Stratford, Meridian Water and Bishops Stortford stations.

But this is not a problem.

In Greater Anglia Are Replacing Eight-Car Class 317 Trains With Five-Car Class 320 Trains , I explained how the new five-car train has almost the same capacity as the old eight-car train.

There Are Now Three tph Between Stratford and Northumberland Park 

This is probably only an interim timetable, but it still has tripled the frequency of trains between Stratford and Northumberland Park.

This means that the base frequency for events at Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium has tripled.

So those going to events at the stadium, will have increased train  capacity from Stratford, Lea Bridge and Tottenham Hale.

As only one train of the two tph between Stratford and Bishops Stortford stops at Northumberland Park, it would be easy to up the frequency to four tph, by getting the second service to stop.

This Timetable Can Easily Be Increased To Four tph Between Stratford And Meridian Water

Currently, the two tph between Stratford and Bishops Stortford, stop as follows.

  • 1 tph – Lea Bridge, Tottenham Hale, Waltham Cross, Cheshunt, Broxbourne, Harlow Town and Sawbridgeworth
  • 1 tph – Lea Bridge, Tottenham Hale, Northumberland Park, Enfield Lock, Cheshunt, Broxbourne, Roydon, Harlow Town, Harlow Mill and Sawbridgeworth

The four tph between Stratford and Meridian Water, that was promised in the STAR project, could be arranged by stopping both trains at Lea Bridge, Tottenham Hale, Northumberland Park and Meridian Water in both directions.

The only extra stops at Northumberland Park and Meridian Water would be as follows.

  • Southbound in Platform 3
  • Northbound in Platform 4

These are the same platforms current services use at Tottenham Hale.

The Proposed Fourth Track Between Meridian Water And Tottenham Hale

How does the now-implemented Z-shaped service fit with the proposed fourth track, I discussed in Meridian Water Station Is To Be Upgraded.

The upgrade is described in the Wiukipedia entry for Meridian Water station, where this is said.

In August 2019, it was announced that funding had been approved for construction of a fourth platform and a new section of track between Tottenham Hale and Meridian Water to enable up to 8 trains per hour to serve the station at peak times.

This must be the earliest upgrade in history, after a new station has opened.

In the related report, I came to the conclusion, that the fourth track would.

  • Leave the Southbound West Anglia Main Line, just to the North of Meridian Water station.
  • Go through the new Platform 1 at the station.
  • Continue through Northumberland Park station.
  • Join the new third track, between Northumberland Park and Tottenham Hale.

This would allow Stratford and Liverpool Street trains to take separate routes to their respective terminals.

In the Meridian Water Station To Be Upgraded post, I said this.

Eight trains per hour (tph) in both directions calling at the station could be as follows.

  • Platform 1 – Two tph from Bishops Stortford to Stratford
  • Platform 2 – Two tph Meridian Water to Stratford
  • Platform 3 – Two tph from Hertford East to Liverpool Street
  • Platform 3 – One tph from Cambridge to Liverpool Street
  • Platform 3 – One tph from Cambridge North to Liverpool Street
  • Platform 4 – Two tph from Stratford to Bishops Stortford
  • Platform 4 – Two tph from Liverpool Street to Hertford East
  • Platform 4 – One tph from Liverpool Street to Cambridge
  • Platform 4 – One tph from Liverpool Street to Cambridge North

Four tph go to and from each of Stratford and Liverpool Street.

At Tottenham Hale, platforms would be as follows.

  • Platform 2 – Southbound Services to Stratford and two tph to Meridian Water.
  • Platform 3 – Southbound Services to Liverpool Street
  • Platform 4 – Northbound services going further than Meridian Water.

I am assuming that the missing Platform 1 and the fourth track through Tottenham Hale station will not be built in the short term, as doing this, would blow the available budget.

Conclusion

The shuttle is working and it will get better, with the addition of a fourth track between Meridian Water and Tottenham Hale.

 

September 10, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Greater Anglia Are Replacing Eight-Car Class 317 Trains With Five-Car Class 320 Trains

At first sight eight into five won’t go, but here’s how it will be done.

Greater Anglia’s new Class 720 trains come in two lengths.

  • Five-car trains are 122 metres long.
  • Ten-car trains are 243 metres long.

Compare this length with that of an eight-car Class 317 train, which is just under 160 metres long.

Several platforms on the Greater Anglia network, such as Hertford East, can only take one five-car train, as I wrote about in Greater Anglia’s Class 720 Trains.

So how does the capacity of this train compare with an eight-car Class 317 train?

Using Wikipedia, the capacity of a five-car fie-car Class 720 train is 540 seated and 145 standing or 685 in total

  • Eight-car Class 317 train – 396 seated and 171 standing – 738 total – from Angel Trains web site.

The new five-car train has a capacity of 92.8% of that of the old eight-car train, but it has thirty-six percent more seats.

This plate was on the end of a Class 317/1 train.

This says that a four-car unit has 292 seats, so an eight-car Class 317 train would have 584 seats.

The new five-car Class 720 train has 92.4% of the seats of an old eight-car Class 317 train.

I suspect this is all down to modern train interior design.

Conclusion

An eight-car Class 317 train can be replaced with a five-car Class 320 train.

September 10, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Meridian Water Station Is To Be Upgraded

In the Wiukipedia entry for Meridian Water station, this is said.

In August 2019, it was announced that funding had been approved for construction of a fourth platform and a new section of track between Tottenham Hale and Meridian Water to enable up to 8 trains per hour to serve the station at peak times.

This must be the earliest upgrade in history, after a new station has opened.

I have searched the Internet and can’t find anything more about the loose statement, I quoted above.

Space has been left for the fourth platform, which will be numbered 1, on the East side of the station, as this picture taken from the island platform 2/3 shows.

Will platform 1 be a terninal platform or will it be a through platform.

A through platform connected to a loop around the island platform would allow Southbound trains to split to the North of the station.

  • Trains for Liverpool Street would call in Platform 3 and continue as now to Liverpool Street.
  • Stopping trains for Stratford would call in Platform 1 and take the proposed extra track to Tottenham Hale.
  • Express trains for Stratford could call in Platform 3 and continue as now to Stratford.
  • Platform 2 would still be a bay platform to handle shuttle trains from Stratford.

Eight trains per hour (tph) in both directions calling at the station could be as follows.

  • Platform 1 – Two tph from Bishops Stortford to Stratford
  • Platform 2 – Two tph Meridian Water to Stratford
  • Platform 3 – Two tph from Hertford East to Liverpool Street
  • Platform 3 – One tph from Cambridge to Liverpool Street
  • Platform 3 – One tph from Cambridge North to Liverpool Street
  • Platform 4 – Two tph from Stratford to Bishops Stortford
  • Platform 4 – Two tph from Liverpool Street to Hertford East
  • Platform 4 – One tph from Liverpool Street to Cambridge
  • Platform 4 – One tph from Liverpool Street to Cambridge North

Four tph go to and from each of Stratford and Liverpool Street.

The Extra Track

As I said earlier, the extra track could be a loop through the station with the following layout.

  • Start to the North of Meridian Water station, around the area of the former Angel Road station.
  • Go through Platform 1 at Meridian Water station.
  • Continue South to the East of the other three tracks.
  • Go through Northumberland Park station, where provision has been made to add a new Platform 1.
  • Continue South.
  • It would probably then join with the new Northbound track and go into Platform 2 at Tottenham Hale station.
  • Continue South on the recently-built third track to Lea Bridge and Stratford stations.

The operation of the route looks complicated with the number of tracks as follows.

  • Between Stratford and Lea Bridge Junction via Lea Bridge station – Two tracks
  • Between Lea Bridge Junction and Tottenham Hale station – One track – Bi-directional
  • Between Tottenham Hale and Meridian Water via Northumberland Park station – Two tracks

This would enable a four tph service between Stratford and Meridian Water stations.

Would It Not Be Better To Extend The Fourth Track To Lea Bridge Junction?

Possibly!

But by only having a single extra bi-directional track South of Tottenham Hale, they can achieve the required service without replacing the Ferry Lane Bridge and possibly with a simpler track layout at Lea Bridge Junction.

How Would And Stratford and Stansted Airport Services Fit In?

What I think the eight tph service could be, means that on the third track between Tottenham Hale and Lea Bridge stations, there are four Southbound and two Northbound trains in every hour. This can probably be handled by bi-directional running on the single track section.

But other arrangements would probably have to be made to squeeze some more services into the section between Tottenham Hale and Lea Bridge stations.

Perhaps digital signalling would allow Stansted trains to use the main route and only stopping trains would use the new third track. This could probably mean that Stratford had the following services along the West Anglia Main Line.

  • 2tph – Shuttle to Meridian Water
  • 2 tph – Semi-fast to Bishops Stortford
  • 2 tph – Stansted Express

Would some or all of the train use the High Meads Loop to turn round, as some Stansted services to Stratford have done in the past?

Will A Stratford And Stansted Service Be An Extension Of The Norwich and Stansted Service?

This would be possible and Greater Anglia have enough Class 755 trains to run it.

  • It would add a fourth service in each hour between London and Norwich.
  • It would add a direct service between Cambridge and Stratford.
  • If run at a frequency of 2 tph it would greatly improve connectivity up the West Anglia Main Line to Cambridge and Stansted Airport

Passenger numbers will decide what happens.

Train timings are interesting.

With the current Class 170 trains, I suspect that they could run between Norwich and Stansted in just under two hours, to make a round trip in four hours possible but tight. So can the bi-mode Class 755 trains using electricity South of Ely easily achieve the very convenient four hour round trip?

  • The bay platform at Cambridge would be released for other services.
  • Just four trains would be needed for an hourly service.

Between Stansted and Stratford a limited stop Express would be comfortably under the hour, especially if the High Meads Loop were to be used.

  • Stansted and Stratford would need four trains to run a two tph service,which would probably be Class 720 trains.
  • Norwich and Stratford via Stansted would need six trains for an hourly service and twelve for two tph.

The numbers of extra trains required for a joined-up two tph service between Norwich and Stratford, probably make it unlikely.

I think the service will be as follow.

  • Hourly Norwich and Stansted using Class 755 trains.
  • 2tph Stansted and Stratford using Class 720 trains.

But if the Norwich and Stansted via Cambridge service is as successful, as I think it will be, the passenger numbers might prompt Greater Anglia to add a second train on every hour.

The only problem would be if the new services generated a lot of journeys between Cambridge and Stratford and Greater Anglia felt there should be at least an hourly service.

Will Stansted Services Stop At Meridian Water?

Why not!

  • It is going to be a community of ten thousand houses.
  • Businesses in the are will increase and could be attracted by an Airport service.
  • Modern trains have a very short dwell time.

It will depend on the passenger numbers.

The Shuttle Starts

The station should be receiving the first shuttle trains on Monday the 9th of September,, as I said in The Shuttle Train Between Stratford And Meridian Water Stations Has Appeared In The Timetable.

Looking at the timetable fo Monday from around 14:00, Strastford services through Tottenham Hale station appear to be.

  • 13:56 in Platform 3 – Bishops Stortford (13:15) to Stratford (14:10) – Doesn’t use the third track.
  • 14:13 in Platform 4 – Stratford (14:00) to Bishops Stortford (14:56) – Doesn’t use the third track.
  • 14:13 in Platform 2 – Meridian Water (14:08) to Stratford (14:23) – On the third track between 14:08 and 14:16
  • 14:25 in Platform 2 – Stratford (14:16) to Meridian Water (14:31) – On the third track between 14:22 and 14:31
  • 14:43 in Platform 3 – Bishops Stortford (13:47) to Stratford (14:40) – Doesn’t use the third track.
  • 14:43 in Platform 4 – Stratford (14:30) to Bishops Stortford (15:23) – Doesn’t use the third track.
  • 14:43 in Platform 2 – Meridian Water (14:38) to Stratford (14:53) -On the third track between 14:38 and 14:46
  • 14:55 in Platform 2 – Stratford (14:46) to Meridian Water (15:01) – On the third track between 14:52 and 15:01
  • 14:56 in Platform 3 – Bishops Stortford (14:15) to Stratford (15:10) – Doesn’t use the third track.
  • 15:13 in Platform 4 – Stratford (15:00) to Bishops Stortford (15:56) – Doesn’t use the third track.

Note.

  1. The first time in each entry, is the time at Tottenham Hale.
  2. All Stratford services from Tottenham Hale leave from the island platform 2/3.

It would appear that the two tph to Bishops Stortford and 2tph to Meridian Water are intertwined.

I can follow the first train through the services in the table.

  • The first train leaves Bishops Stortford at 13:15 and arrives at Stratford at 14:10
  • It leaves for Meridian Water at 14:16, where it arrives at 14:31
  • It returns to Stratford at 14:38, where it arrives at 14:53.
  • The train finally leaves for Bishops Stortford at 15:30, where it arrives at 16:23

The 14:10 arrival at Stratford left Bishops Stortford at 13:15 and that the 15:30 arrives back at Bishops Stortford at 16:23, where it forms the 16:47 back to Stratford.

The round trip is three and a half hours and it would need seven trains.

What Trains Will Be Used For The Shuttle?

The current services between Stratford and Bishops Stortford are pairs of Class 317 trains, forming an eight-car train.

These will work well for the time being, but what happens when the new Class 720 trains arrive.

These are five- and ten-car trains and will they be a suitable length to run the Stratford/Bishops Sortford/Meridian Water services?

Five-car may be too short and ten-car may be too long!

The only four-car trains in the area are the Class 710 trains of the London Overground.

Conclusion

There are a lot of questions to answer.

I shall add to this post, when I see what is happening next week.

September 5, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 5 Comments

Tottenham Hale Station Is Beginning To Make Sense

These are pictures, I took of Tottenham Hale station, this morning.

A few of my observations.

The Cladding Is Going On

The cladding is going on the building above the Victoria Line ticket hall.

It appears to be fireproof glass on a concrete and steel frame.

A Wide Island Platform

Platforms 2 and 3 form a wide island platform.

  • Only Platform 3 appears to be in use for London-bound services to both Liverpool Street and Stratford.
  • Both faces appear long enough for a 240 metre long Stansted Express train.
  • There is a step-free bridge at the half-way point of the platform.
  • The original bridge with its escalator is still in place.

It is a design with good potential for handling more services.

  • Platform 3 could handle all services to Liverpool Street station.
  • Platform 2 could handle all services to Stratford station.

Travellers would just walk across the island platform.

The Step-Free Bridge Appears Almost Complete

The bridge appears to be almost complete.

  • The bridge has lifts and stairs with double handrails on both sides.
  • The lift and stairs on the London-bound side are in the middle of the island platform 2 & 3.
  • There is an escalator for London-bound travellers to access the bridge, to give an easy route to the Victoria Line.

There appears to be just a bit of testing before full commissioning.

The Old Bridge Is Still In Place

It still has its up escalator from Platform 2 & 3 and there have been statements that this bridge will be modified to create a link between the Underground station and the developments on the other side of the tracks.

Most Of The Bus And Taxi Interchange Is Complete

With buses and black taxis, the interchange seems finished.

  • Much of North and East London can get a bus to and from the station.
  • Today, I got a 76 bus to Dalston for a two hundred metre walk.
  • But with a heavy case, I’d get a black cab,

Transport planners usual only plan for travellers to and from the City centre.

The Future

The Stratford And Meridian Water Shuttle

This is rumoured to start in September and will probably be the following.

  • Two trains per hour (tph) between Stratford and Meridian Water stations.
  • Stops will be at Lea Bridge, Tottenham Hale and Northumberland Park stations.
  • Trains could be any length up to probably 240 metres, as all platforms are long.
  • Current trains take sixteen minutes between Stratford and Meridian Water stations.

In addition services between Stratford and Hertford East and Bishops Stortford stations would stop at Meridian Water, to give the station a four tph service to and from Stratford.

The new Meridian Water station has been built with a dedicated bay platform for the shuttle service.

The bay Platform 2 is on the right and the through Platform 3 is on the left in this picture taken looking North at Meridian Water station.

Two tph to Stratford would leave from each side of this platform.

The new track between Meridian Water and Lea Bridge stations has been built without a passing loop, so the two tph shuttle must probably be run by a single train.

The shuttle would.

  • Have exclusive use of the new track between Lea Bridge and Meridian Water stations.
  • Have shared use of the existing track between Lea  Bridge and Stratford stations.
  • Call at Platform 2 at Tottenhale and Northumberlan Park station in both directions.

A two tph shuttle would consist of the following.

  • Four journeys between Stratford and Meridian Water stations.
  • Twenty-four intermediate station stops.
  • Two turnrounds each at Meridian Water and Stratford stations.
  • Current turnrounds at Stratford have in excess of twenty minutes to unload and load passengers and for the driver to change ends.
  • Greater Anglia will be running the shuttle in September with nearly nearly forty-year-old British Rail-built Class 317 trains.

As there is not enough time to fit the trains with wings and jet engines, what the hell will be happening?

Go to Stratford station and there is an out-of-date sign at the end of Platform 1 and 2, where the Overground trains terminate.

It directs passengers to Platform 12 for Stansted Airport.

It dates from the time, when Stansted Express trains used to go to Stratford station.

They didn’t turnround in Platform 12, but used the High Meads Loop underneath the Eastfield Shopping Centre to reverse direction.

  • The train stopped in Platform 12 long enough for passenger to leave and join the train.
  • The driver stayed in the same cab and carried on driving.

I suspect that a Class 317 train could go from Platform 1 at Lea Bridge station, round the High Meads Loop and back to Platform 2 at Lea Bridge station, in these split times.

  • Lea Bridge to Stratford – 6 minutes.
  • Stop in Platform 12 at Stratford – 1 minute
  • Straford to Lea Bridge – 6 minutes.

I believe all these times can be achieved by well-driven Class 317 trains, which gives a timing of thirteen minutes.

Currently, Lea Bridge to Meridian Water takes nine minutes in the elderly Class 317 trains, sharing the track with other trains.

But the shuttle trains will have a clear track, once they are on the new track North of Lea Bridge station.

I believe they could do this in perhaps seven minutes.

Applying, the sort of maths a bright nine-year-old should be able to master.

60 – 2*13 – 4*7 = 6

So could you turn a train round at Meridian Water station in three minutes?

  • London Overground regularly do this at Dalston Junction station.
  • Stepping-up might be needed, where a second driver immediately gets into the rear cab and takes over the train.

But it all leads me to the conclusion, that a single Class 317 train can run a two tph shuttle between Meridian Water and Stratford stations.

The following conditions would apply.

  • The trains must use the High Meads Loop.
  • There would be a fast stop in Stratford, taking less than a minute.
  • Stratford to Lea Bridge times should be six minutes or less.
  • Meridian Water to Lea Bridge times should be seven minutes or less.
  • Stepping-up might need to be employed at Meridian Water.
  • Trains could be up to 240 metres long.
  • The trains would have to be well-driven.

There is also the fall-back position, that the new Class 720 trains to be delivered later in the year will have increased performance.

Development Of The High Meads Loop

The High Meads Loop is an almost unique piece of railway infrastructure on the UK rail network.

  • The simpler Wirral Line Loop under Liverpool turns upwards of twelve tph back for the Wirral Line.
  • The Wirral Line also has four stations on the loop.
  • I believe the High Meads Loop could easily handle a similar frequency to the Wirral Line Loop.
  • The High Meads Loop is also double-track.

I believe, that currently, the High Meads Loop is only planned to only handle the following services.

  • Two tph – Meridian Water Shuttle
  • Two tph – West Anglia Main Line services.

There is a lot more capacity to handle services from the West Anglia Main Line or its branches.

Liverpool Street And Meridian Water Services

When the Field Day Festival took place a couple of weeks ago, Greater Anglia stopped several services, including some Stansted Express services at Meridian Water station to bring festival-goers back to Central London.

Currently, the following Liverpool Street services pass through Meridian Water station.

  • Two tph – Liverpool Street and Hertford East
  • Two tph – Liverpool Street and Cambridge
  • Four tph – Stansted Express

As Greater Anglia’s new fleet of trains, will all be optimised for fast stops, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some Greater Anglia services to and from Liverpool Street station doing the following.

  • Northbound services would stop in Platform 4 at Tottenham Hale, Northumberland Park and Meridian Water stations.
  • Southbound services would stop in Platform 3 at Tottenham Hale, Northumberland Park and Meridian Water stations.

If Northumberland Park and Median Water stations deserve four tph to and from Stratford, surely they deserve the same frequency to and from Liverpool Street. Could both Cambridge and Hertford East services stop at Northumberland Park and Meridian Water station?

  • Both Northumberland Park and Meridian Water stations could get direct services to and from Liverpool Street station.
  • The island platforms at all three stations  could give some useful cross-platform interchanges.

Stations North of Tottenham Hale would get these frequencies to and from the station and the Victoria Line.

  • Eight tph – Northumberland Park
  • Eight tph – Meridian Water
  • Two tph – Ponders End
  • Two tph – Brimsdown
  • Four tph – Enfield Lock
  • Three tph – Waltham Cross
  • Six tph – Cheshunt
  • Six tph – Broxbourne

Note.

  1. With a few extra stops by Stratford services, all stations between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne could get at least a very customer-friendly four tph.
  2. If your station didn’t have a Stratford service, there would be a cross- or same-platform interchange going at Tottenham Hale station.
  3. Using Stratford and Crossrail may be preferable on some journeys than Tottenham Hale sand the Victoria Line.
  4. In this hot weather give me an air-conditioned Aventra over a furnace on the Victoria Line any time.

A Lea Valley Metro could be emerging.

Stansted Express And Meridian Water

Consider.

  • Various arguments and statistics could be used to decide whether Stansted Express trains stopped at Meridian Water station.
  • I suspect too, that if Spurs continue to play in Europe, that a strong case can be made for stopping Stansted Expresses at Northumberland Park station.
  • But the performance of the trains on the West Anglia Main Line will enable Greater Anglia to do what’s best for passengers and profits.

As Greater Anglia did a couple of weeks ago with the Field Day Festival, they can even be selective.

Stansted Express And Stratford

The Stansted Express is currently a four tph service between Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport.

Consider.

  • In the past, Stansted Expresses ran to and from Stratford.
  • As they did in the past, they could terminate in the High Meads Loop at Stratford.
  • Big International events are held at Stratford.
  • The Central Line links Stratford and Liverpool Street.
  • Crossrail will link Stratford and Liverpool Street at a frequency of twelve tph.
  • Stratford and Tottenham Hale will soon be linked at a frequency of four tph.
  • Extra trains could be needed to run Stansted Expresses to and from Stratford.

I think that running a Stansted |Express to and from Stratford that will remain under review and could be implemented at some date in the future.

In Future Stansted Airport Train Services, I outline how trains might serve Stansted Airport from Norwich and Stratford stations.

Any trains between Stratford and Stanstead Airport, would probably terminate in the High Meads Loop, as they did in the past.

Should High Meads Loop Services Use Platform 11 Or Platform 12?

When Stansted Express services used the High Meads Loop a few years ago, they used to use Platform 12, as the sign still shows.

It could obviously handle the planned four tph, but suppose the High Meads Loop was handling twelve or sixteen tph, as a high-frequency route to Crossrail would Platform 11 be a better option?

Certainly, if the High Meads Loop was handling a lot of services including Stansted Express, Cambridge and local services, there would need to be a lot of thought about how to organise passengers.

There would need to be a fast pedestrian route between Platform 11 or 12 and the two Crossrail/Central Line platforms.

Extra Services That Could Use The High Meads Loop

As I said earlier, I think that if a Stratford and Stansted Airport service is revived, it will use the High Meads Loop.

My preference would be to run a Stratford and Norwich service, that would call at Stansted Airport.

  • It would serve greatly increase capacity all along the West Anglia Main Line, through Cambridge.
  • It could give intermediate stations a direct service to Stansted Airport.
  • Two tph would be a sensible frequency.
  • Calls could include Tottenham Hale, Broxbourne, Harlow, Bishops Stortford, Whittlesford Parkway, Cambridge, Cambridge North, Ely and all stations to Norwich.

A two tph service would need twelve Class 755 trains.

The High Meads Loop would also be available to turn extra local services.

One possibility is to reinstate the Hall Farm Curve and run services between Chingford and Stratford.

The level crossing at Highams Park station is a problem, but in Improving The Chingford Branch Line, I outlined how it could be possible to run four tph between Chingford and Stratford stations, using clever timetabling, digital signalling and good driver aids.

Another possibility is to terminate some London Overground services from Cheshunt and Enfield Town at Stratford, instead of Liverpool Street.

Services could be .

  • Two tph between Enfield Town and Liverpool Street
  • Two tph between Cheshunt and Liverpool Street
  • Two tph between Enfield Town and Stratford.
  • Two tph between Cheshunt and Stratford.

This would mean.

  • London Overground’s preferred frequency of four tph to Enfield Town and Cheshunt.
  • All stations between Edmonton Green and Seven Sisters, including White Hart Lane, would get an eight tph service to London and Crossrail.
  • Four tph in both directions would call at South Tottenham station to give a same platform interchange with the Gospel Oak to Barking Line..

Most of the infrastructure is already in place, although improvements might be needed to the Seven Sisters Chord, that links Seven Sisters station to the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.

Summing up, I believe we could see the following services using the High Meads Loop.

  • Two tph to and from Meridian Water
  • Two tph to and from Bishops Stortford via Meridian Water
  • Two tph to and from Norwich via Stansted
  • Four tph to and from Chingford via the Hall Farm Curve.
  • Two tph to and from Enfield Town via South Tottenham and Seven Sisters
  • Two tph to and from Cheshunt via South Tottenham and Seven Sisters

That is an easy-to-handle fourteen tph.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr, shows the lines connecting the North London Line and the High Meads Loop to platforms 1m 2, 11 and 12 at Stratford station.

Given that freight trains pass through the area to get between the North London Line and the Great Eastern Main Line, there may need to be some track reorganisation to make full use of the High Meads Loop.

Digital signalling would also help, as it would all over the London Overground network.

I think it would not be unreasonable to expect that in some point in the future twenty tph could be running around the High Meads Loop.

A new rail terminus for London would have been created with the ability to handle more trains than either Cannon Street, Fenchurch Street or Marylebone. stations.

Could we see all West Anglia Main Line services terminate in the High Meads Loop?

Probably not, as the platform wouldn’t be able to cope with all the passengers.

Crossrail 2

If Crossrail 2 is ever built, it will terminate at Broxbourne on the West Anglia Main Line.

It will need four-tracking of the West Anglia Main Line between  Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne stations, which will create massive disruption for passengers and residents.

Conclusion

There is a lot of development, that is possible on the West Anglia Main Line to make it into a world-class commuter route and a main line route with good services to Stansted Airport, Cambridge and Norwich.

Cambridge is a big growth point in the UK economy and dveloping the West Anglia Main Line will only improve the economy of the area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 24, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Roaming Around East Anglia – London Overground’s Luxurious Metro Trains

I spent Friday and Saturday roaming around East Anglia, ending up at the football at Portman Road.

These pictures show one of London Overground’s Class 317 trains, which I used to start my journey between Hackney Downs and Cheshunt stations.

Some questions?

  • Are then any other inner-city metro trains, where there are comfortable seats and tables for four?
  • How are passengers going to react, when it is replaced with a high-capacity Class 710 train, with longitudinal seating?
  • Will the wi-fi and charging points of the new trains compensate.

One factor that will help the changeover, is that most on the line are Class 315 trains, which need to be delivered to the scrapyard.

The Class 317 trains will surely find a good home.

March 3, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments

By Rail Between Derby And Manchester via Stoke

In his article entitled Connecting The Powerhouses in the June 2017 Edition of Modern Railways, Colin Boocock, says that the best rail route between Derby and Manchester, is to go via Stoke.

There is one train an hour that takes one hour 44 minutes with a change at Stoke. The two legs appear to take 51 and 42 minutes respectively with an eleven minute wait at Stoke station, which is a well-equipped Virgin station.

Change the destination to Manchester Airport and there is an extra change of train and a journey which is at least half-an-hour longer.

You can actually do Derby to Manchester Airport in a couple of minutes over two hours, if you go via Sheffield.

But it does seem a bit crazy, as Manchester Airport is actually eight miles closer to Derby if you drive.

Stoke is well connected to Manchester with up to four trains per hour to Manchester Piccadilly, some of which take just forty minutes. Manchester Airport takes just over the hour with a change at Crewe or Manchester Piccadilly.

The Crewe to Derby Line links Derby and Stoke via Uttoxeter.

This description of the route comes from this section in Wikipedia.

The route is double track for all of its length except for a three-mile section between Alsager and Crewe, which was singled by British Rail. Whilst the majority of the route is not electrified, the section between Stoke Junction and Crewe is as this is a part of the West Coast Main Line.

This means that it should be possible to run electric trains between Manchester Airport and Stoke. As there would be no chnge at Crewe using best times on Stoke-Crewe and Crewe-Manchester Airport giives a time of about fifty minutes.

The route between Stoke and Derby is not electrified and the operating speed of the line is given as 70 mph.

Surely, as it connects Derby and Nottingham to Stoke and the electrified West Coast Main Line, it should have a faster operating speed. In an ideal world, Derby to Stoke must be a prime candidate for electrification. Some of London Overground’s redundant 100 mph Class 317 trains could probably do Derby to Stoke in perhaps thirty-five minutes.

So with electrification all the way, a time of about one hour twenty -five minutes between Derby and Stoke would be possible in a train, that once graced the Stansted Express. So it’s even got luggage racks.

But Derby to Stoke won’t be electrified for years, so could the current service get passengers to Stoke?

There is a section called Services in the Wikipedia entry for the Crewe-Stoke Line. This is said.

The line sees a basic hourly service in each direction with trains calling at all stations on the route however Peartree which is served by 2 Derby bound trains and 3 Crewe bound trains per weekday.

The majority of services on the route since December 2008 have been provided by Class 153 “Super Sprinter” Diesel Multiple Units however Class 158 “Express Sprinter” and Class 156 “Super Sprinter” units are occasionally used. Overcrowding remains a major issue on the route, particularly in the morning and evening peak and a weekends. Passengers are occasionally left behind.

That is a truly pitiful service, as the main rail route from Derby to Manchester is run by a single-coach Class 153 train at times.

It’s amazing anybody trusts the line enough to use it.

As with the Derwent Valley Line, which I wrote about in Exploring The Derwent Valley Line, the problem is probably down to a shortage of suitable trains.

The line needs a suitable bi-mode train.

  • At least four-cars.
  • Airport interior with  luggage racks.
  • Possibly a First Class compartment.
  • Ability to do the forty miles between Stoke and Nottingham on diesel.

A Flex version of a Class 317 train would do nicely and could probably do Nottingham to Manchester Airport in two hours. This would mean.

  • Four trains could provide an hourly service.
  • Eight trains would provide a two trains per hour service.

Would you believe that London Overground will release the eight Class 317/7 trains with the Airport interior next year, when they are replaced by new Class 710 trains?

Conclusion

The more I do little exercises like this, the more I believe that Porterbrook’s Flex concept is not only high-class engineering, but it is a idea, that has arrived at exactly the right time.

The only problem with converting Class 317 trains, is they are owned by Angel Trains! I’m sure that that is not an insurmountable problem!

June 2, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

What Will Happen To The Class 319, Class 455, Class 321 And Cl;ass 317 Trains?

When I go to Walthamstow to have supper with my son, I regularly travel from Hackney Downs station in one of London Overground’s Class 317 trains.

For a metro train, some are unusual in that they still have the First Class compartment and spacious 2 + 2 seating in the rest of the train. Also, as some at one time used to work the Stansted Express service, they have multi-lingual safety instructions and luggage racks.

Like the Class 319, Class 321 and Class 455 trains, they are going to be replaced by new trains by their current operators.

So what will happen to the various trains.

The Class 319 Flex Train

Porterbrook, the ROSCO, who own the Class 319 and Class 455 trains have developed the Flex concept that can transform these classes into much-needed four-car bi-mode trains. We should be seeing Class 319 Flex trains under test by the end of the year.

As the Class 319 Flex train has now been given its own TOPS-number of 769, the powers-that-be must think it is a viable concept.

In Metro Development With Flex Trains, I describe how I believe Northern are going to use the Class 319 Flex trains in the North West in the Liverpool, Manchester and Preston triangle, to develop a world-class Metro network.

The Class 455 Flex Train

The applications of a Class 455 Flex train would probably be less than that of a Class 319 Flex train, as the trains are 75 mph third rail trains, as opposed to 100 mph dual-voltage units.

The Class 319 and its Flex version will travel on say the West Coast Main Line with ease, but the slower Class 455 train would be a rolling roadblock.

But because they have a high-quality 2 + 2 interior, they could find applications as much-needed four-car diesel multiple units.

The interiors are certainly some of the best on short distance suburban trains and I would rate them better than some stock delivered in the lst couple of years.

The Class 455 Flex Train And Pacer Replacement

Class 455 Flex trains would make a superb replacement for the dreaded Pacers.

  • Class 455 trains were built to withstand the impact of a 24-tonne cement mixer truck falling from the sky. Try repeating the Oxshott accident with a Pacer.
  • The Class 455 interior is comfortable and South Western Railway‘s fleet was fully refurbished around 2003.
  • The Class 455 Flex train will have at least the performance of a Pacer.
  • The Class 455 trains meet all the latest Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations.
  • Could the Class 455 Flex train be given the same hill-climbing capability of a Class 319 Flex train?
  • The Class 455 train is four-cars as opposed to the two-cars of a Pacer.

Ironically, the Pacers are a few years younger than the Class 455 trains. But then class is permanent! Or should that be Mark 3 coaches are permanent?

I think that Porterbrook are looking at converting the Class 455 trains for several reasons.

  • They own ninety-one Class 455 trains, that will be released by South Western Railway.
  • The quality interiors probably just need good cleaning and cosmetic repairs.
  • The costs and rate of conversion are now well-known.
  • The Pacers need to be replaced quickly.

It should be noted that the number of Pacers in service are as follows.

  • Class 142 – Arriva Trains Wales – 15
  • Class 142 – Northern – 79
  • Class 143 – Arriva Trains Wales – 15
  • Cl;ass 143 – Great Western Railway – 8
  • Class 144 – Northern – 23

The only replacements on order are Northern’s 25 x two-car and 30 x three-car Class 195 trains.

That means that 140 two-car Pacers are being replaced by the same number of vehicles.

So there is a short term need for some quality trains. If all the Cl;ass 455 trains were converted that would add another ninety-one quality trains that could be used to replace Pacers.

The Welsh and Great Western Pacers are used far from any 25 KVAC electrification, so the inability to use electrification on a Class 455 Flex will be irrelevant. But both Wales and the West Country have lines with challenging gradients.

So if the Class 455 Flex train was designed to be able to handle the Manchester to Buxton test route, the trains could handle the Cardiff Valley Lines and the challenging lines in Devon.

Currently, the Class 455 trains have a very red interior, which would surely go down well in the Principality.

The 100 mph Bi-Mode Train

The rumoured large response to Porterbrook’s proposal for the 100 mph four-car bi-mode Class 319 Flex train, says to me, that there is a market for a train, with the following characteristics.

  • 100 mph operating speed on electricity.
  • Over 90 mph operating speed on diesel power.
  • Four-car

Both the Class 321 and Class 317 trains could be modified to fit this specification.

Class 321 Flex Trains

Greater Anglia have around a hundred of these trains, which will be replaced by brand-new Aventras in the next couple of years.

  • They were built in the late 1980s.
  • They have a 2 + 3 interior.
  • Class 321 trains can be modified for dual voltage.
  • Thirty are being upgraded under the Renatus project, which involves new air conditioning and heating, seating and Wi-Fi.
  • A new traction package with new AC traction motors and regenerative braking has been designed.
  • They are owned by Eversholt Rail Group.
  • The trains are probably very similar electrically to the Class 319 trains,

If needed, there must be scope to convert some of these trains to bi-mode using similar engineering to the Class 319 Flex trains.

I haven’t ridden in a Class 321 Renatus, but pictures on the web, indicate the train could have a high-class interior.

It would appear that with the Renatus treatment, the Class 321 trains could be transformed into a high class train.

The market would decide, if some were converted into bi-mode Flex variants.

Class 317 Flex Trains

Greater Anglia and London Overground have around seventy of these trains, which will be replaced by brand-new Aventras in the next couple of years.

  • They were built in the early 1980s.
  • They have a 2 + 2 interior, to a variety of standards, but mostly in generally good condition.
  • Some have First Class compartments.
  • Some were built for the Stansted Express and have luggage racks.
  • All are 25 KVAC units.
  • They are owned by Angel Trains.
  • Plans exist for the fitting of a new traction package if required.

As with the Class 321 trains, there must be scope to convert some of these trains to bi-mode using similar engineering to the Class 319 Flex trains.

The Future

The four main train types , that I have have listed are all slightly different.

  • Class 317 is a 100 mph, 25 KVAC overhead only, good 2 + 2 interior
  • Class 319 is a 100 mph, dual-voltage train, average 2 + 3 interior
  • Class 321 is a 100 mph, dual-voltage train, average 2 + 3 interior
  • Class 455 is a 75 mph, 750 VDC third-rail only, good 2 + 2 interior

There are also smaller numbers of other types that could also be converted.

Different train types will be better suited to different markets.

I’ll list some of the markets in the next few sections.

Route Extensions

This is probably the simplest application of a Flex train.

Consider the new Bromsgrove station at the Western end of the Cross-City Line in Birmingham.

From May 2018, the station will have been electrified and new electrified services will start across Birmingham from Bromsgrove.

West from Bromsgrove it is under twenty miles to Worcester, which is getting a new station at Worcestershire Parkway.

Bromsgrove to Worcestershire Parkway would be well within range of a Flex train.

How many simple extensions to electric services could be created with a few Flex trains?

There could be quite a few and some might even be extensions to third-rail networks using Class 455 Flex trains.

Metro Development

In Metro Development With Flex Trains, I discuss how Northern are developing the Northern Electric network in the Liverpool, Manchester and Preston triangle, using a mixed fleet of electric and bi-mode Flex version of the Class 319 trains.

Various places in the UK have plans for Metros and where there is some electrification a mixed fleet of electric and bi-mode trains could be used to develop the metro.

The mixed fleet of electric and bi-mode Flex trains gives the train operator advantages.

  • Passengers have a similar customer experience across the fleet.
  • The Flex trains can go anywhere on the network.
  • The electric trains can only work electrified lines, but as more electrification is added, they can take advantage.
  • Flex trains can deputise for electric ones.
  • If there is a problem with the electrification, the Flex trains can still get through.
  • Drivers and other staff don’t have two very dissimilar train types to deal with.
  • Maintenance must be simplified.

I feel that Class 319, Class 321 and Class 317 trains could all be offered in both electric and bi-mode Flex versions.

Several of the possible places where a Metro needs to be developed like Hull, Leeds, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Sheffield and Stoke-on-Trent are in Northern territory, so for preference, Northern would probably use Class 319 trains, especially as they have the ability to cruise safely at near 100 mph on the West and East Coast Main Lines.

But there is only so many Class 319 trains, so I suspect Northern will have to look at other types.

A city that could benefit from the Flex approach is Leeds.

  • There is a mix of electrified and non-electrified local lines from Leeds station.
  • Some important local routes like Leeds to York and Sheffield are not fully electrified, but could be worked by a Flex train.
  • Northern use five Class 322 trains in the Leeds area. These are very similar to Class 321 trains.
  • Northern need some more stock for the electrified lines from the City and have brought in some Class 321 trains.
  • Leeds station seems to me to have a platform capacity problem.

I feel that a few Class 321 Flex trains and some reorganisation of services so some ran back-to-back through Leeds station could be beneficial.

One point about a mixed fleet of electric and bi-mode Flex trains must be raised.

Suppose an operator is thinking of using a mixed fleet to create a local Metro around a City and that calculations say that to work the required service would need six electric and four bi-mode trains.

Would the operator perhaps buy five trains of each type and use one bi-mode as an electric train most of the time?

But surely, this would be inefficient as the bi-mode would be dragging its diesel power packs around all day.

But the bi-mode trains have an advantage, in that they can still operate if the electrification has failed.

They might also be able to rescue a stalled train and drag it back to the depot.

Diesel Multiple Unit And Pacer Replacement

The Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations are going to kill off a lot of diesel multiple units and especially the Pacers.

Operators with Pacers are going to need to act quickly and as I showed earlier in The Class 455 Flex Train And Pacer Replacement, a  Class 455 Flex train would be a very able replacement.

  • Similar performance.
  • Four cars instead of two.
  • The unmatched ride of the Mark 3 coach.
  • Modern, comfortable high-quality interior.
  • Full compliance with the accessibility regulations.

For operators with lots of Class 150 and Class 156 trains, which need to be refurbished, a Class 455 Flex train would be a very able deputy.

In some places, where two Class 150 trains work as a pair, replacing them with a single Class 455 Flex train, may give operational and capacity advantages.

The High Speed Parcel or Pallet Train

In The Go-Anywhere Express Parcel And Pallet Carrier, I proposed using Class 321 trains as HSPTs of High Speed Parcel or Pallet Trains. In the manner of all Mark 3-based trains, they would undoubtedly make an excellent fist of this job.

Both electric and bi-mode Flex versions could be used to give a go-anywhere fleet.

I suggested using Class 321 trains, as some of them have very basic interiors, so conversion would be less costly to parcel carriers than acceptable passenger trains.

Conclusion

The train refurbishing companies are going to be busy.

The real beauty of this approach, is that what trains get created will depend on what is needed and how much train operators are prepared to pay.

But there are also plenty of trains for most applications.

Cats are supposed to have nine lives, but that is nothing compared to a Mark 3 coach.

 

 

May 30, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Travelling In Style Between Liverpool Street And Hackney Downs Stations

There are some Class 317 trains, with First Class seats, that work the Lea Valley Lines into Liverpool Street.

Obviously, when the new Class 378 trains arrive, these will go somewhere more suited to this luxury.

July 8, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

The First Repainted Class 317 Train

This morning, I did two trips on this repainted Class 317 train, that was built in the early 1980s.

It would appear to have been running between Liverpool Street and Chingford.

The inside has not been touched other than by a team of people like Aggie MacKenie who have applied some no small amount of elbow grease. I did think it might be a relaid carpet, but it might just have been good cleaning. The tables at which I sat, were also clean enough to eat your lunch off.

I travelled one way with an American tourist, and she couldn’t believe the age of this train.

But as Wikipedia details, this train was refurbished to run the Stansted Express in 2000. So does that mean they’re really only fifteen years old?

June 6, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

A Lonely Stansted Express In East London

When I last visited Emerson Park station, I travelled in a rather clean Class 317 train, that had been refurbished for use on the Stansted Express. I was surprised to see that today it is still there.

As this is a train with a universal-access toilet, luggage racks, a First Class section and has been fully refurbished in only 2000, surely this train, which is one of fifteen, could be better employed somewhere else. These two airport routes are possibilities.

1. Routes to Manchester Airport from Liverpool and in the near future, Preston and Bolton.

2. Cardiff to Swansea via Cardiff Airport, after South Wales is fully electrified.

But then as Northern Rail are happy with their Class 319 Trains, perhaps we’re getting to the point that we’re going to have to put better class trains into storage.

On the other hand cities like Glasgow and Leeds are looking to create purpose-built rail links to their airports. So building these links will hopefully be more affordable as the trains might not need to be built.

It has also to be noted that according to the Future section in Wikipedia for the Class 317 trains, a demonstration is being built to see if it is worth fitting new traction equipment and an updated interior, to give the trains a life extension of twenty years.

Remember though that these trains are based on Mark 3 Coaches and thus are inbred to both chameleons and Lazarus, so it looks like if they refurbish the Class 317 trains, they’ll outlive some of the much younger trains.

June 1, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , | 1 Comment