The Anonymous Widower

Essex Councillors Call For Underground Link

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Railnews.

This is the first paragraph.

Councillors in Harlow are calling for a new Underground link, saying that they are examining ‘all possibilities for improving and modernising transport connections’.

I’ve tackled this subject before in Does Harlow Need An Improved Train Service?, but this time I’m starting with what is possible and working backwards.

Harlow’s Current Train Service

Currently, these trains serve Harlow Town station.

  • Stratford and Bishops Stortford – 2 tph – via Lea Bridge, Tottenham Hale, Waltham Cross, Cheshunt, Broxbourne and Sawbridgeworth
  • London Liverpool Street and Cambridge North – 1 tph – via Tottenham Hale, Cheshunt, Broxbourne, Bishop’s Stortford, Audley End, Whittlesford Parkway and Cambridge
  • London Liverpool Street and Cambridge North – 1 tph – via Tottenham Hale, Cheshunt, Broxbourne, Roydon, Sawbridgeworth, Bishop’s Stortford, Stansted Mountfitchet, Elsenham, Newport, Audley End, Great Chesterford, Whittlesford Parkway, Shelford and Cambridge
  • London Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport – 1 tph – via Tottenham Hale
  • London Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport – 1 tph – via Tottenham Hale and Stansted Mountfitchet

In addition these services run through Harlow Town station without stopping.

  • London Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport – 2 tph – via Tottenham Hale

Note.

  1. tph is trains per hour
  2. The Stansted services are fast services and take 29 minutes between London Liverpool Street and Harlow Town.
  3. The other services seem to take a few minutes longer.

Summarising the services gives the following.

  • Eight tph pass through the station of which six tph stop.
  • Cambridge and Cambridge North has a 2 tph service.
  • London Liverpool Street has a 4 tph service.
  • Stansted Airport has a 2 tph service.
  • Stratford has a 2 tph service.
  • Tottenham Hale has a 6 tph service.

Each of Greater Anglia’s new Class 720 trains, when working as a ten-car formation can carry well over a thousand passengers.

Harlow Town station has a fairly good service, but it could probably be improved.

What Are Harlow’s Councillors Suggesting

This paragraph in the Railnews article gives the councillors wish list.

Harlow Councillor Michael Hardware is portfolio holder for strategic growth. He said: ‘With Harlow’s close proximity to London our plans include investigating the potential for the extension of the central line to Harlow, lobbying to extend London Transport Zones to Harlow, examining connectivity to Crossrail 2 and promoting four tracking of the main line to Stansted Airport as well as improving existing public transport links in and out of the town.

I’ll look at each proposal in turn.

Extending The Central Line To Harlow

Epping and Harlow are about nine miles apart.

This Google Map shows the two towns and the M11 that runs to the East of both towns.

Note.

  1. Epping is in the South-West corner of the map.
  2. Harlow, which is a large town of nearly 90,000 residents is at the top of the map.
  3. The M11 runs North-South across the map to the East of both towns.
  4. North Weald Airfield lies to the East of the motorway.

Would it be possible to run an extension of the Central Line from Epping to Harlow?

It could run up the West side of the motorway.

  • The terminus could be in South-East Harlow close to Junction 7 of the M11.
  • Any plans for the development of North Weald Airfield could have a big effect on any plans.

This Google Map shows the location of Epping station with respect to the motorway.

Note Epping station is in the South-West corner of the map.

Running North-East from the station, the dark green scar of the single-track Epping Ongar Railway can be picked out, as it runs between St. Margaret’s Hospital and the village of Coopersale.

This third Google Map shows the railway as it passes under the M11.

Would it be possible to use the route of this line to connect to a new line alongside the motorway?

This fourth Google Map shows Epping tube station.

Note.

  1. The station has two platforms, but is not step-free.
  2. It has a large car-park.
  3. Trains take thirty-seven minutes between Epping and Liverpool Street stations.
  4. Trains have a frequency of nine tph.

This map from cartometro.com shows the track layout at Epping station and the interface with the Epping Ongar Railway.

Note.

  1. The Epping Ongar Railway has always been single track.
  2. The crossovers to the South of Epping station allow either platform to be used for Central Line services.
  3. When the Central Line ran to Ongar, it looks like all services used Platform 1 at Epping.

I feel that it might be possible to create an extension to Harlow, by doing something like the following.

  • Add a second bi-directional  track alongside the Epping Ongar Railway between Epping station and the M11.
  • Extend Platform 1 to the North, so that the heritage trains can load and unload passengers at Epping station.
  • The Central Line platforms would be unaltered, so could still handle the nine tph they currently handle.
  • Trains to and from Harlow would always use Platform 2.

At the M11, the new bi-directional track would turn North and become double-track to Harlow.

  • The double-track would allow trains to pass.
  • If the rolling stock for the Central Line has been renewed, it might be possible to run the extension on battery power.
  • If Harlow had a single platform, it would be possible to run four tph to Harlow.
  • The current 2012 Stock trains have a capacity of around a thousand passengers.
  • I estimate that trains would take about ten minutes between Epping station and the new Harlow station.

I feel something is possible, but building the line might be easier if new battery-electric trains were available, as this would probably allow the extension to be built without electrification.

On the other hand, it might not have the greatest financial case.

  • It could be difficult to add large numbers of passengers to the Central Line.
  • At around forty-seven minutes, the Central Line service will be slower than the main line trains, which currently take around a dozen minutes less.

I’ll be interested to see what the professionals say.

Extending London Transport Zones To Harlow

Harlow Town station has ticket barriers, but I don’t think it is part of London’s contactless card zone.

Adding Harlow Town and all stations between Harlow Town and the zone could be very beneficial to passengers and train companies.

Examining Connectivity To Crossrail 2

I think that in the current economic situation this should be discounted.

  • It is a very expensive project.
  • Building it will cause tremendous disruption on the West Anglia Main Line.
  • It is only planned to go as far as Broxbourne station.

But I don’t think politicians from outside London and the South-East would sanction another massive project for London.

I don’t think Crossrail 2 will ever be build in its currently proposed form.

Four Tracking Of The Main Line To Stansted Airport

Consider.

  • Currently, the numbers of trains on the West Anglia Main Line is under twelve tph.
  • Modern double-track railways with the latest digital in-cab signalling like Thameslink and Crossrail can handle twice this number of trains.
  • The West Anglia Main Line will be getting new trains with better acceleration.

Four-tracking is mainly needed to cut times to Cambridge and Stansted Airport, but I suspect that with some clever design and improved signalling, the current double-track can be improved significantly.

Improving Existing Public Transport Links In And Out Of The Town

I think that this could be a fruitful area.

  • As I said earlier, Harlow has only 6 tph trains stopping in the station.
  • I believe this could be increased to at least 10 tph, if the West Anglia Main Line were to be modernised.
  • Extending London Transport Zones To Harlow, which I discussed earlier would surely help.
  • Is there enough car parking?
  • Are there enough buses to the stations?
  • Would a fleet of zero-carbon buses tempt people to use them?
  • Would it be possible to run a hydrogen commuter bus service up and down the M11 between say Harlow and Ilford for Crossrail?, as is being done in Dublin, that I wrote about in Three Hydrogen Double Decker Buses Set For Dublin.

Hopefully, Harlow’s councillors would have a few good ideas.

A Few Thoughts On What Is Possible

These are a few of my thoughts on what is possible.

Digital Signalling Could Increase The Number of Trains Per Hour Significantly

Consider.

  • Currently, the West Anglia Main Line handles ten tph between Liverpool Street and Bishops Stortford.
  • Thameslink handles 24 tph with digital signalling.
  • Crossrail will handle 24 tph with digital signalling.
  • High Speed Two will handle eighteen tph.

I certainly believe that another four tph could be easily handled through the two Harlow stations, with full digital signalling.

Perhaps a frequency of eight tph, that would match TfL Rail between London Liverpool Street and Shenfield would be ideal.

If it works for Shenfield it should work for Harlow!

Rebuild Cheshunt Station

Cheshunt station with its level crossing is a bottleneck and any increase in the number of trains through the station will need the level crossing to be replaced by a bridge.

But developers are talking of high class housing in the area and removal of the level crossing appears to be in their plans.

New High-Capacity Class 720 Trains

Pairs of five-car Class 720 trains are coming to the West Anglia Main Line and each pair will carry over a thousand passengers.

These will be used on four tph, that call at Harlow Town station.

Turn Trains In The High Meads Loop at Stratford Station

The single-track Wirral Line Loop under Liverpool handles up to sixteen tph.

Network Rail built a double-track loop under the Eastfield Shopping Centre, which calls at Platforms 11 and 12 in Stratford.

If this loop was used to turn trains it could probably handle at least twelve tph on one platform.

Liverpool Street currently handles these trains that go up the West Anglia Main Line or the Lea Valley Lines.

  • 6 tph – Greater Anglia
  • 6 tph – London Overground

It looks to me that the terminal capacity in London could be as high as 20 tph.

Run More Trains On A Digitally-Signalled Route Through Seven Sisters

Just four tph run on the London Overground route through Seven Sisters station.

Compare that with the East London Line of the London Overground, where sixteen tph run between Dalston Junction and Surrey Quays stations.

The London Overground has ambitions to run four tph to Cheshunt and Enfield Town, as they do to Chingford, but that would only up the frequency through Seven Sisters to eight tph.

The tracks in the area also allow trains from Stratford to use the lines through Seven Sisters stations to go North.

Run West Anglia And Lea Valley Services Together

Currently, Greater Anglia and London Overground seem to do their own things, but surely properly integrated and with the moving of more services to the London Overground, I suspect that everything could be more efficient.

I believe that by using Liverpool Street and Stratford as twin London terminals for Lea Valley services, that upwards of twenty tph can on digitally-signalled West Anglia Main Line and the Lea Valley Lines.

These are the current trains.

  • Bishops Stortford – 2 tph
  • Cambridge North – 2 tph
  • Cheshunt – 2 tph
  • Chingford – 4 tph
  • Enfield Town – 2 tph
  • Hertford East – 2 tph
  • Stansted Airport – 4 tph

Note.

  1. This is a total of eighteen tph
  2. The pinch point is surely the stretch between Bethnal Green and Clapton stations, which handles 14 tph including a mix of fast expresses and London Overground services.
  3. On the other hand the route through Seven Sisters is handling just four tph.
  4. Ten tph run between Tottenham Hale and Cheshunt stations on the West Anglia Main Line.
  5. Only two tph terminate in Stratford.

If the Cheshunt and Enfield Town services are increased to 4 tph, as is London Overground’s aspirations we get the following.

  • Bishops Stortford – 2 tph
  • Cambridge North – 2 tph
  • Cheshunt – 4 tph
  • Chingford – 4 tph
  • Enfield Town – 4 tph
  • Hertford East – 2 tph
  • Stansted Airport – 4 tph

Note.

This is a total of twenty-two tph.

But there is still plenty of spare capacity at Stratford and through Seven Sisters.

If our objective is more trains through Harlow, why not double up the Stratford and Bishops Stortford service.

  • Bishops Stortford – 4 tph
  • Cambridge North – 2 tph
  • Cheshunt – 4 tph
  • Chingford – 4 tph
  • Enfield Town – 4 tph
  • Hertford East – 2 tph
  • Stansted Airport – 4 tph

Note.

  1. This is a total of twenty-four tph.
  2. Harlow will have eight tph to and from London.
  3. There will be 8 tph through Seven Sisters.
  4. There will be twelve tph between Tottenham Hale and Cheshunt stations on the West Anglia Main Line.
  5. Four tph will terminate at Stratford.

Perhaps to reduce the trains on the West Anglia Main Line, the Hertford East trains could go via Seven Sisters.

But that would mean that stations like Brimsdown and Ponders End would lose a lot of their service.

So why not add extra stops to the Bishops Stortford services?

Conclusion

I believe that by doing the following.

  • Adding digital signalling to all lines.
  • Turning more trains at Stratford.
  • Using the route through Seven Sisters at a much higher frequency.
  • Rebuilding Cheshunt station and level crossing.
  • Reorganising stops on the West Anglia Main Line.

That it would be possible to create a high-frequency Metro up the Lea Valley.

Except for the digital signalling and Cheshunt station, there is not much work to do on the infrastructure.

 

 

 

 

 

August 14, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Tidying Up At Cheshunt Station – 4th August 2021

As I approached Cheshunt station, it looked like there had been some tidying up on the Western side of the line.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera handy, so I was unable to take any pictures.

But I did take these pictures later from the station.

It does seem that Network Rail are tidying up the inside of the bend.

The Internet offers no clue, as to what is happening, but it could be anything from improving the car park entrance, to installing a second bay platform at the station, so that more trains can be run to and from Liverpool Street.

But there is a clue here in West Anglia Route Improvement – Cheshunt Station – 26th February 2017, which from the date is four years old.

The Google Map in this post, shows the Southern end of Platform 2 to be a different shape, to the pictures I took today.

It looks like the platforms have been lengthened.

  • Originally, they could handle an eight-car Class 317 train, which are 160 metres long.
  • It looks like now, they can handle  a pair of  five-car Class 720 trains, which are 244 metres long.

This will allow pairs of five-car Class 720 trains to work Cambridge services.

Pairs of four-car Class 710 trains are only 166 metres long, so they don’t need any platform lengthening.

The Sunset Studios Effect

If I was right in The Location Of Sunset Studios In Broxbourne, that a station will be built on the London Overground between Turkey Street and Theobalds Grove to serve the studio complex, then this may require modifications at Cheshunt, if traffic increases substantially.

  • Cheshunt station will need to be step-free.
  • Cheshunt station will need better passenger facilities, like more ticket machines.
  • Cheshunt station may need more car parking.
  • The bay platform at Cheshunt station will need to be handle upwards of four trains per hour (tph), all of which will be pairs of four-car trains.

A large housing development is planned for just to the North of Cheshunt station and hopefully, the developer will sort a lot of these issues.

 

August 4, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Class 321 Renatus Trains At Wickford And On The Crouch Valley Line

This article on Rail Advent indicated that the platform extension at Wickford station had been completed, so that five-car Class 720 trains can work the Crouch Valley Line.

This morning I went to look at the progress and took these pictures.

Note.

  1. Platform 1 has been extended at the London end.
  2. The two trains working the branch were Class 321 Renatus trains.
  3. The stations on the branch seemed to have been spruced up.

I suspect Greater Anglia are expecting a lot more commuters and visitors.

  • But then the area is getting a lot more housing.
  • There are fast direct trains to and from London Liverpool Street on a railway with refurbished electrification.
  • Burnham-on-Crouch is one of the foremost yachting towns.
  • Remember the area is not far from Snowgoose Country.
  • The new Wallasea wetlands that were created with the tunnel spoil from Crossrail’s tunnels is not far away.

This Google map shows Burnham-on-Crouch and Wallasea Wetlands.

Note.

  1. Burnham-on-Crouch with its station in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. Wallasea Wetlands are marked by the red arrow.

I don’t think it will be long before an appropriately-powered ferry is provided across the River Crouch.

I also have some thoughts.

The Class 321 Renatus Trains

The Class 321 Renatus trains may be a 2017 conversion of a 1990-built British Rail Class 321 train, but that doesn’t mean they are a cheap and nasty conversion.

So until all the Class 720 trains are in service, they are a more than adequate stand-in.

I was told that the Class 720 trains will be in service on the branch in September.

The Snow Goose

The Snow Goose is one of the great books of the Twentieth Century, written by the American; Paul Gallico.

This summary of the plot is from Wikipedia.

The Snow Goose is a simple, short written parable on the regenerative power of friendship and love, set against a backdrop of the horror of war. It documents the growth of a friendship between Philip Rhayader, an artist living a solitary life in an abandoned lighthouse in the marshlands of Essex because of his disabilities, and a young local girl, Fritha. The snow goose, symbolic of both Rhayader (Gallico) and the world itself, wounded by gunshot and many miles from home, is found by Fritha and, as the human friendship blossoms, the bird is nursed back to flight, and revisits the lighthouse in its migration for several years. As Fritha grows up, Rhayader and his small sailboat eventually are lost in the Dunkirk evacuation, having saved several hundred men. The bird, which was with Rhayader, returns briefly to the grown Fritha on the marshes. She interprets this as Rhayader’s soul taking farewell of her (and realizes she had come to love him). Afterwards, a German pilot destroys Rhayader’s lighthouse and all of his work, except for one portrait Fritha saves after his death: a painting of her as Rhayader first saw her – a child, with the wounded snow goose in her arms.

It is not a book, you’d expect an American to write about the dark days of World War II in the UK.

But as Christopher Nolan showed in his film, Dunkirk was the battle in World War II, that stiffened up the sinews and summoned up the blood.

Wickford Station

The pictures show that Wickford station is being rebuilt.

I would think it needs a speed-free bridge.

 

June 28, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Does Harlow Need An Improved Train Service?

I ask this question, because I am increasingly seeing articles like this one on My London, which is entitled The Large Town Just Outside London Desperate For A London Underground Station.

The town is Harlow.

This Google Map shows the West Anglia Main Line, as it runs through the North of the town.

Note.

On the face of it the town seems well-served by the trains.

Harlow Town Station

This Google Map shows Harlow Town station to a larger scale.

Note.

  1. The station has four platforms.
  2. The station has full step-free access.
  3. The station has 697 parking spaces with 18 fully accessible spaces.

The station was built in the 1950s and is a Grade II Listed building.

Train services at the station are as follows.

  • Stratford and Bishops Stortford – 2 tph – via Lea Bridge, Tottenham Hale, Waltham Cross, Cheshunt, Broxbourne and Sawbridgeworth
  • London Liverpool Street and Cambridge North – 1 tph – via Tottenham Hale, Cheshunt, Broxbourne, Bishop’s Stortford, Audley End, Whittlesford Parkway and Cambridge
  • London Liverpool Street and Cambridge North – 1 tph – via Tottenham Hale, Cheshunt, Broxbourne, Roydon, Sawbridgeworth, Bishop’s Stortford, Stansted Mountfitchet, Elsenham, Newport, Audley End, Great Chesterford, Whittlesford Parkway, Shelford and Cambridge
  • London Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport – 1 tph – via Tottenham Hale
  • London Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport – 1 tph – via Tottenham Hale and Stansted Mountfitchet

Note.

  1. tph is trains per hour
  2. The Stansted services are fast services and take 29 minutes between London Liverpool Street and Harlow Town.
  3. The other services seem to take a few minutes longer.
  4. London Liverpool Street or Stratford and Tottenham Hale both get six tph.
  5. Bishop’s Stortford gets a four tph service from Harlow Town.
  6. The two Cambridge stations only get two tph.

Harlow Town station has a fairly good service, but it could probably be improved.

Harlow Mill Station

This Google Map shows Harlow Mill station to a larger scale.

Note.

  1. The station has two platforms.
  2. The station has step-free access to the London-bound platform only.
  3. The station has 29 parking spaces with 1 fully accessible space.

The station was built in the 1840s and gets about 13 % of the passengers compared to Harlow Town station.

Train services at the station are as follows.

  • Stratford and Bishops Stortford – 1 tph – via Lea Bridge, Tottenham Hale, Waltham Cross, Cheshunt, Broxbourne and Sawbridgeworth
  • London Liverpool Street and Cambridge North – 1 tph – via Tottenham Hale, Cheshunt, Broxbourne, Roydon, Sawbridgeworth, Bishop’s Stortford, Stansted Mountfitchet, Elsenham, Newport, Audley End, Great Chesterford, Whittlesford Parkway, Shelford and Cambridge

Note.

  1. tph is trains per hour
  2. London Liverpool Street or Stratford and Tottenham Hale both get only two tph.
  3. Bishop’s Stortford gets two tph service from Harlow Mill.
  4. The two Cambridge stations only get one tph.

Unless you lived or worked nearby, I doubt you would be likely to use Harlow Mill station.

Recent And Planned Improvements

These improvements are planned and it is very unlikely they won’t happen.

Class 710 Trains

London Overground now runs new four-car Class 710 trains between London Liverpool Street and Cheshunt.

  • Each has 189 seats and can accept 489 standing passengers.
  • Busy services to Cheshunt will probably are pair of trains.
  • There are four tph between Cheshunt and London.
  • Will the trains shave a few minutes from journey times?

This massive increase in capacity and train quality must attract some passengers to change to and from the London Overground at Cheshunt.

Class 720 Trains

Greater Anglia has 133 new five-car Class 720 trains on order.

  • Each has 540 seats and can accept 145 standing passengers.
  • They are 100 mph trains.
  • Busy services through Harlow will probably be a pair of these trains.

These new trains will be a massive increase in capacity and should attract more passengers to the route.

Class 745 Trains

Greater Anglia has recently introduced ten new twelve-car Class 745 trains on Stansted Express services.

  • Each has 767 seats.
  • They are 100 mph trains.
  • They run a two tph service between Harlow Town and London Liverpool Street station and Stansted Airport.

These new trains should attract more passengers to the route.

Crossrail

Services through Harlow will connect to Crossrail at both London Liverpool Street and Stratford.

Will this mean that some passengers will switch from the Victoria Line to Crossrail for their onward journeys?

  • Crossrail will have more capacity than the Victoria Line.
  • Bond Street, Canary Wharf, Heathrow, Paddington and West London will be easier by Crossrail.
  • Victoria and Waterloo will probably be easier by the Victoria Line.
  • London Liverpool Street station’s new connection to the Northern Line will give easier access to parts of South London.
  • London Liverpool Street station will have much improved step-free connections to all London Underground lines.

Crossrail will certainly change the way many people travel between Harlow and London.

Four Lines Modernisation

This page on the Transport for London web site explains the Four Lines Modernisation. This is the first paragraph.

We’re transforming the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines. When the work is done we’ll be able to run trains more frequently and reliably to make journeys faster and more comfortable.

The project should increase Peak Hour capacity by 33 %.

This will benefit those who change trains at London Liverpool Street between the West Anglia Main Line and the Circle and Metropolitan Lines.

Possible Improvements

These are possible improvements that may happen.

Crossrail 2

It is unlikely, that a start will be made on Crossrail 2 in the near future.

Victoria Line Improvements

The Victoria Line will continue to do, what it has done reliability for over fifty years.

But there could be improvements.

I also suspect that engineers will find a way to increase the frequency to forty tph.

Four Tracks On The West Anglia Main Line

There are two reasons for four-tracking sections of the West Anglia Main Line.

  • To separate Crossrail 2 trains from fast expresses to Stansted and Cambridge.
  • To speed up services to and from Stansted Airport.

However four-tracking the route between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne stations would probably be very beneficial.

  • Stansted Airport and Cambridge services could be speeded up.
  • Extra services could be run on the West Anglia Main Line.
  • It could make it easier to extend the Overground from Cheshunt.

Four-tracking will be needed for Crossrail 2, so there is surely the possibility, that it could be done earlier to bring benefits to those living along the Lea Valley.

ERTMS Signalling On The West Anglia Main Line

ERTMS Signalling could speed up services and increase their number on the West Anglia Main Line.

It might also enable four-tracking, which would be very disruptive to both train services and road traffic to be delayed.

Station Improvements On The West Anglia Main Line

The stations between London Liverpool Street and Cambridge are a poor bunch with only Tottenham Hale, Northumberland Park, Meridian Water, Waltham Cross, Broxbourne, Harlow Town, Bishop’s Stortford and Audley End having full step-free access.

Some of the other stations need refurbishment and step-free access.

As step-free access will be needed for Crossrail 2, why not setup a rolling program of station improvements.

Level Crossings On The West Anglia Main Line

There are four level crossings on the route to the South of Broxbourne, including three at Cheshunt, Enfield Lock and Brimsdown stations.

They all need to be removed for safety reasons.

New Trains And Capacity

The new trains being rolled out by Greater Anglia and the London Overground will certainly have effects on the services on the West Anglia Main Line.

  • The better performance could speed up services by a few minutes.
  • The capacity increase on the new trains should be welcome.
  • The trains will be of better quality than those they replace.

I also wonder, if the better quality of the trains and their facilities will surely attract more passengers. I suspect the train companies hope so!

Extending The London Overground

This map from cartometro.com shows Cheshunt station and Cheshunt Junction just to the South.

Note.

  1. The two platforms on the West Anglia Main Line and the single bay platform for the London Overground.
  2. The level crossing to the North of Cheshunt station.
  3. The comprehensive Cheshunt Junction which trains to go between the Southbury Loop and the West Anglia Main Line.

Cheshunt Junction is occasionally used by Greater Anglia trains to access the Southbury Loop.

It certainly seems to me, that the Overground could connect to the West Anglia Main Line.

  • All trains from London going to the North of Cheshunt could use Platform 2.
  • All trains to London coming from the North of Cheshunt could use Platform 1.
  • The bay Platform 3 would still be available to turn local trains on the Southbury Loop.
  • An extra crossover could probably be inserted to allow trains from London on the West Anglia Main Line to use Platform 3.

London Overground trains could run to a terminal further North.

Trains Between Cheshunt And London

It is worth looking at the number of trains between Cheshunt and London.

  • Greater Anglia -2 tph – London Liverpool Street and Hertford East via West Anglia Main Line
  • Greater Anglia – 2 tph – Stratford and Bishop’s Stortford via West Anglia Main Line
  • Greater Anglia – 2 tph – London Liverpool Street and Cambridge North via West Anglia Main Line
  • Greater Anglia – 4 tph – London Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport via West Anglia Main Line
  • London Overground – 4 tph – London Liverpool Street and Cheshunt via the Southbury Loop

This means that the West Anglia Main Line has 10 tph and the Southbury Loop has 4 tph.

This suggests possibilities.

  • Move some services from the West Anglia Main Line to the Southbury Loop.
  • Extend some or all of the London Overground trains to the North of Cheshunt.
  • Stations like Bishop’s Stortford, Broxbourne, Harlow, Hertford East and Ware could get extra services to London.
  • The new services would connect to extra stations without changing trains.

Very little new infrastructure would be required.

Bishop’s Stortford Station As A London Overground Destination

Bishop’s Stortford station has these trains to and from London.

  • Greater Anglia – 2 tph – Stratford and Bishop’s Stortford
  • Greater Anglia – 2 tph – London Liverpool Street and Cambridge North
  • Greater Anglia – 2 tph – London Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport

Consider.

  • Bishop’s Stortford station could probably easily handle up to an extra two tph.
  • London Overground’s Class 710 trains only have an operating speed of only 75 mph.
  • The trains may need a speed upgrade to serve Bishop’s Stortford, as their speed could slow the Cambridge and Stansted Airport expresses.

If the London Overground services ran to Bishop’s Stortford station, all the smaller stations South of Bishop’s Stortford, could travel to and from Stansted Airport with a single change.

Bishop’s Stortford station may be a possibility, as a destination of two tph on the London Overground route to London.

Broxbourne Station As A London Overground Destination

Broxbourne station has these trains to and from London.

  • Greater Anglia -2 tph – London Liverpool Street and Hertford East
  • Greater Anglia – 2 tph – Stratford and Bishop’s Stortford
  • Greater Anglia – 2 tph – London Liverpool Street and Cambridge North

Consider.

  • Broxbourne station could probably easily handle up to an extra two tph.
  • As Broxbourne is only 3.2 miles and six minutes to the North of Cheshunt, the 75 mph speed of the London Overground’s Class 710 trains may not be a problem.

Broxbourne station may be a possibility, as a destination of up to two tph on the London Overground route to London.

Harlow Town Station As A London Overground Destination

Harlow Town station has these trains to and from London.

  • Greater Anglia – 2 tph – Stratford and Bishop’s Stortford
  • Greater Anglia – 2 tph – London Liverpool Street and Cambridge North
  • Greater Anglia – 2 tph – London Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport

Consider.

  • Harlow Town station could probably easilyhandle up to an extra four tph.
  • If one is needed there would appear to be space for a turnback facility or an extra platform.
  • As Harlow Town is only 5.4 miles and eight minutes to the North of Cheshunt, the 75 mph speed of the London Overground’s Class 710 trains may not be a problem.

If the London Overground services ran to Harlow Town station, all the smaller stations South of Harlow Town, could travel to and from Stansted Airport with a single change.

Harlow Town station may be a possibility, as a destination of up to four tph on the London Overground route to London.

Hertford East Station As A London Overground Destination

Hertford East station has these trains to and from London.

  • Greater Anglia -2 tph – London Liverpool Street and Hertford East
  • There is an extra tph in the Peak.

Consider.

  • Hertford East station has platforms long enough for eight-car trains and may need modification to accommodate a pair of Greater Anglia’s Class 720 trains.
  • Ware station would need to be remodelled to increase frequency above three tph.
  • As the route from Broxbourne is on a branch line, the 75 mph speed of the London Overground’s Class 710 trains may not be a problem.

Hertford East station may be a possibility, as a destination of up to two tph on the London Overground route to London.

Conclusion

I think the best two destinations of the London Overground service to the North of Cheshunt would be Harlow and Hertford East.

  • Trains could terminate at Harlow Town station to connect with Stansted Express and Cambridge trains.
  • It appears that the slightly shorter Class 710 trains may have advantages when using the short platforms at Hertford East station.

Perhaps each destination should receive two tph.

  • Harlow Town would be connected to the Overground.
  • Passengers using stations between Hackney Downs and Cheshunt on the Southbury Loop would change at Harlow Town to and from Cambridge and Stansted Airport.
  • But the biggest benefit would be that two paths on the West Anglia Main Line would be released, as the two tph to Hertford East would be using the Southbury Loop.

I feel there are possibilities to increase the number of trains on the West Anglia Main Line without adding expensive extra tracks.

 

 

April 29, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

My First Ride In A Class 720 Train

Today, I took my first ride in one of Greater Anglia‘s Class 720 train.

It was only between Liverpool Street and Stratford.

Notes and questions.

  1. Are all of the individual seats identical and can they be arranged as ones, twos or threes as required?
  2. Could this mean, that Greater Anglia could create a 2 + 2 version with tables. if they felt such a train was necessary for some routes?
  3. The details like luggage racks, wheelchair spaces and power sockets seem to be of a high standard.
  4. The ride seemed smooth. But if I was going between Liverpool Street and Norwich, I’d prefer to ride in one of Greater Anglia’s Stadler trains.
  5. The last picture is of the seats in a Class 345 train, as I wanted to judge a comparison.
  6. The Class 720 seat appears to my posterior to be slightly more comfortable, than the Class 345 seat.

This train is more than just a high-capacity suburban trundler.

February 22, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 4 Comments

Greater Anglia Amends Class 720 Order From Bombardier To Increase Flexibility

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

Greater Anglia is changing its order for Class 720 trains from a mixed fleet of 22 x ten-car and 89 x five-car to one of 133 x five-car.

The order is still 665 carriages in total.

In Why Do Some Train Operators Still Buy Half-Trains?, I tried to answer the question in the title of the post.

There have also been articles in railway magazines, questioning the practice of buying short trains and doubling them up.

In the UK, the following companies are running new trains in pairs.

  • Great Western Railway – Class 800 and Class 802
  • LNER – Class 800
  • London Overground – Class 710

The only creditable explanation I have heard was from a driver, who said that if one train in a pair fails, you can still run a short train.

Abd now Greater Anglia say it’s for increased flexibility!

October 8, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Greater Anglia Completes Directly-Managed Norwich Victoria Sidings Project

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Railway Gazette.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Greater Anglia has opened four sidings able to stable 12-car trains just outside Norwich station, with its first train using the facility on March 3.

Other information can be found in this and other articles.

  • It was Greater Anglia’s biggest infrastructure investment to date.
  • The sidings are on the South side of the Trowse Swing Bridge, that crosses the River Wensum.
  • The project took nine months to complete.
  • The sidings look to be fully electrified.

I would assume that each siding can take one of the following.

  • A twelve-car Class 745 train, which are 236.6 metres long.
  • A ten-car Class 720 train, which are 240 metres long.
  • Two five-car Class 720 trains, which are 122 metres long.
  • More than one Class 755 trains, which are 65 metres long (3-car) and 81 metres long (4-car)

They will certainly be able to pack in the trains.

 

April 4, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Testing Of Greater Anglia’s New Electric Trains Continues Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on itv.com.

These are the first paragraphs of the report.

Greater Anglia is continuing to test it’s new electric trains amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The company says they are following all government guidelines to ensure that the workforce is kept as safe as possible.

One of the new electric trains completed its maiden voyage to Liverpool Street recently – a journey the company says was a success.

Hopefully, the testing program won’t be delayed too long.

March 31, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

First Of Greater Anglia’s Aventra EMUs On Test

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Railway Gazette.

This was the introductory paragraph.

Greater Anglia has begun testing the first of the 111 Aventra 25 kV 50 Hz electric multiple-units being supplied by Bombardier Transportation for its London commuter routes.

Hopefully, we’ll be seeing some of these trains in service this year.

March 18, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | Leave a comment

Bombardier And Hitachi Come Up With Similar Car Lengths

In an article in the October 2019 Edition of Modern Railways, which is entitled EMR Kicks Off New Era, more details of the new Hitachi bi-mode trains for East Midlands Railway are given.

This is said.

The first train is required to be available for testing in December 2021 with service entry between April and December 2022.

The EMR bi-modes will be able to run at 125 mph in diesel mode, matching Meridian performance in a step-up from the capabilities of the existing Class 80x units in service with other franchises. They will have 24 metre vehicles (rather than 26 metres), a slightly different nose to the ‘800s’ and ‘802s’, and will have four diesel engines rather than three.

I will examine this extract further.

Car Length

If you look at Bombardier’s Class 720 train, the five-car trains are 122 metres long, giving a 24 metre car length.

The ten car Class 720 train is 243 metres long, which is a similar length to three Class 360 trains running as a twelve-car train and only a few metres longer than three Class 321 trains running together.

This must be good for Greater Anglia’s train renewal, as it will minimise expensive platform lengthening.

It looks to me, that two of the new EMR InterCity trains running as a pair will be of a similar length to a twelve-car formation of Class 360 trains.

Consider.

  • As trains for EMR InterCity and EMR Electrics will share platforms at some stations, platform lengthening will again be minimised.
  • If you divide 240 by 10, you usually get the same answer of 24.
  • But if 26 metre cars were to be used, a nine-car EMR bi-mode would be 234 meres long. and two five-car trains working together would be 260 metres long.
  • Twelve-car Class 700 trains are 242.6 metres long.

These points lead me to believe that 24 metre cars are a better length for the Hitachi trains as ten-car formations are the same length as twelve-car formations of many of the UK’s older multiple units.

Maximum Speed On Diesel

Consider.

  • Various places on the Internet say that the maximum speed on diesel of a Class 800 train is 118 mph.
  • Maximum speed of a train is probably more determined by the aerodynamic drag of the train, which is proportional to the square of the speed.
  • So if a Class 800 train needs 3 * 560 kW to maintain 118 mph, it will need 1885 kW or 12.2 percent more power to maintain 125 mph
  • A fourth 560 kW diesel engine will add 33.3 percent more power.

This rough calculation shows that a fourth engine will allow the train to more than  attain and hold 125 mph on the same track where a Class 800 train can hold 118 mph.

But adding a fourth engine is a bit of a crude solution.

  • It will add more dead weight to the train.
  • It will be useful when accelerating the train, but probably not necessary.
  • It will add more noise under the train. Especially, if four cars had engines underneath.
  • It could cause overheating problems, which have been reported on the current trains.

I’ll return to this later.

Aerodynamics

Power required to maintain 125 mph can be reduced in another much more subtle way; by improving the aerodynamics.

  • I have stood on a platform, as an Aventra has silently passed at speed. It is very quiet, indicating that the aerodynamics are good.
  • But then Bombardier are an aerospace company as well as a train builder.

I’ve no idea if a Bombardier Class 720 train has less aerodynamic drag, than a Hitachi Class 800 train, but I’m sure that aerodynamic wizards from Formula One could improve the aerodynamics of the average modern train.

Could better aerodynamics explain why the EMR InterCity bi-modes are stated to have a different nose?

Look at the noses on these Spanish High Speed trains, which were built by Talgo!

Are they more aerodynamic? Do they exert a higher down-force making the train more stable?

They certainly are different and they obviously work., as these are very fast trains.

Incidentally, these trains, are nicknamed pato in Spanish, which means duck in English.

Aerodynamic drag is proportional to a drag coefficient for the object and the square of the speed.

Let’s assume the following.

  • The drag coefficient for the current train is d.
  • The drag coefficient for the train with the aerodynamic nose is a.
  • The terminal velocity of the train with the aerodynamic nose is v.

If the current Class 800 train travels at 118 mph on full power of 1680 kW, what speed would the train with an improved aerodynamic nose do on the same power, for various values of a?

If the new nose gives a five percent reduction in aerodynamic drag, then a = 0.95 * d, then the maximum speed of the train will be given by this formula

d * 118 * 118 = .0.95 * d * v* v

Solving this gives a speed of 121 mph.

Completing the table, I get the following.

  • A one percent reduction in drag gives 119 mph
  • A two percent reduction in drag gives 119 mph
  • A three percent reduction in drag gives 120 mph
  • A four percent reduction in drag gives 120 mph
  • A five percent reduction in drag gives 121 mph
  • A six percent reduction in drag gives 122 mph
  • A seven percent reduction in drag gives 122 mph
  • An eight percent reduction in drag gives 123 mph
  • A nine percent reduction in drag gives 124 mph
  • A ten percent reduction in drag gives 124 mph
  • An eleven percent reduction in drag gives 125 mph

I can certainly understand why Talgo have developed the duck-like nose.

The conclusion is that if you can achieve an eleven percent reduction in drag over the current train, then with the same installed power can raise the speed from 118 mph to 125 mph.

Why Have A Fourth Engine?

If aerodynamics can make a major contribution to the increase in speed under diesel, why add a fourth engine?

  • It might be better to fit four slightly smaller engines to obtain the same power.
  • It might be better to put a pair of engines under two cars, rather than a single engine under four cars, as pairs of engines might share ancillaries like cooling systems.
  • Extra power might be needed for acceleration.
  • Four engines gives a level of redundancy, if only three are needed to power the train.

I wouldn’t be surprised to find out, that Hitachi are having a major rethink in the traction department.

Will The Trains Have Regenerative Braking To Batteries?

I would be very surprised if they don’t, as it’s the only sensible way to do regenerative braking on diesel power.

Will The Trains Be Built Around An MTU Hybrid PowerPack?

This or something like it from Hitachi’s diesel engine supplier; MTU, is certainly a possibility and it would surely mean someone else is responsible for all the tricky software development.

It would give the following.

  • Regenersative braking to batteries.
  • Appropriate power.
  • Easier design and manufacture.
  • MTU would probably produce the sophisticated power control system for the train.
  • MTU could probably produce a twin-engined PowerPack

Rolls Royce MTU and Hitachi would all add to the perception of the train.

I would rate Hitachi using MTU Hybrid PowerPacks quite likely!

Would Two Pairs Of Engines Be Better?

The current formation of a five-car Class 800 train is as follows.

DPTS-MS-MS-MC-DPTF

Note.

  1. Both driver cars are trailers.
  2. The middle three cars all have generators, that are rated at 560 kW for a Class 800 train and 700 kW for a Class 802 train.
  3. Take a trip between Paddington and Oxford and you can feel the engines underneath the floor.
  4. The engines seem to be reasonably well insulated from the passenger cabin.

The system works, but could it be improved.

If I’m right about the aerodynamic gains that could be possible, then it may be possible to cruise at 125 mph using a power of somewhere around 1,800 kW or four diesel generators of 450 kW each.

Putting a diesel generator in four cars, would mean one of the driver cars would receive an engine, which might upset the balance of the train.

But putting say two diesel generators in car 2 and car 4 could have advantages.

  • A Class 800 train has a fuel capacity of 1,300 litres, which weighs 11.06 tonnes. and is held in three tanks. Would train dynamics be better with two larger tanks in car 2 and 4?
  • Could other ancillaries like cooling systems be shared between the two engines?
  • Could a substantial battery pack be placed underneath car 3, which now has no engine and no fuel tank?
  • As the engines are smaller will they be easier to isolate from the cabin?

The only problem would be fitting two generators underneath the shorter 24 metre car.

What size of battery could be fitted in car 3?

  • According to this datasheet on the MTU web site, the engine weighs between five and six tonnes.
  • I think this weight doesn’t  include the generator and the cooling systems.
  • Removing the fuel tank would save 3.7 tonnes

I suspect that a ten tonne battery could replace the diesel engine and its support systems in car 3..

On current battery energy densities that would be a battery of around 1000 kWh.

In How Much Power Is Needed To Run A Train At 125 mph?, I estimates that an electric  Class 801 train needs 3.42 kWh per vehicle mile to maintain 125 mph.

This would give a range of almost sixty miles on battery power.

The battery would also enable.

  • Regenerative braking to batteries, which saves energy at station stops.
  • Diesel engines would not need to be run in stations or sensitive areas.
  • Battery power could be used to boost acceleration and save diesel fuel.

You can almost think of the battery as an auxiliary engine powered by electrification and regenerative braking, that can also be topped up from the diesel generators.

It should also be noted, that by the time these trains enter service, the Midland Main Line will be electrified as far as Kettering and possibly Market Harborough.

This will enable the following.

  • Trains will leave the electrification going North with a full battery.
  • As Nottingham is less than sixty miles from Kettering and the trains will certainly have regeneratinve braking, I would not be surprised to see Northbound services to Nottingham being almost zero-carbon.
  • A charging station at Nottingham would enable Southbound services to reach the electrification, thus making these services almost zero-carbon.
  • Trains would be able to travel between Derby and Chesterfield, which is only 23 miles, through the World Heritage Site of the Derwent Valley Mills, on battery power.
  • Corby and Melton Mowbray are just 26 miles apart, so the bi-mode trains could run a zero-carbon service to Oakham and Melton Mowbray.
  • Trains could also run between Corby and Leicester on battery power.
  • If and when the Northern end of the route is electrified between Sheffield and Clay Cross North Junction in conjunction with High Speed Two, the electrification gap between Clay Cross North Junction and Market Harborough will be under seventy miles, so the trains should be able to be almost zero carbon between London and Sheffield.

It does appear that if a battery the same weight as a diesel generator, fuel tank and ancillaries is placed in the middle car, the services on the Midland Main Line will be substantially zero-carbon.

What Would Be The Size Of |The Diesel Engines?

If the battery can be considered like a fifth auxiliary engine, I would suspect that the engines could be much smaller than the 560 kWh units in a Class 800 train.

Improved aerodynamics would also reduce the power needed to maintain 125 mph.

There would also be other advantages to having smaller engines.

  • There would be less weight to accelerate and lug around.
  • The noise from smaller engines would be easier to insulate from passengers.
  • Engines could be used selectively according to the train load.
  • Engines might be less prone to overheating.

The mathematics and economics will decide the actual size of the four engines.

Earlier, I estimated that a 10-11 % decrease in the trains aerodynamic drag could enable 124-5 mph with 1680 kW.

So if this power was provided by four engines instead of three, they would be 420 kW engines.

Conclusion

The Hitachi bi-modes for East Midlands Railway will be very different trains, to their current Class 80x trains.

September 26, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment