The Anonymous Widower

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 | , , , , , , , , , , | 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 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a 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 | , , | 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 | , , , , , , , | 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 | , , , , | 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 | , , | 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 | , | 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 | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Norwich-In-Ninety Is A Lot More Than Passengers Think!

But, I very much expect that Greater Anglia know what they are doing.

I came up to Norwich on the 1100 train, which was timed to get in at 1230. According to the driver, there were signalling problems at Manningtree, which meant we arrived in Norwich twenty-one minutes late.

I was going on to Cromer or Lowestoft. So by the time I’d had a cider and bought a ticket, I didn’t leave Norwich until 1345 for Cromer. But I did have time by the sea to take a few pictures and have a coffee and a gluten-free scone, before getting the return train to Norwich.

Back at Norwich, I had a choice of two trains.

  • The 1700 stopping at just Ipswich and Norwich
  • The 1703 stopping at Diss, Stowmarket, Ipswich and a few other places.

I was booked on the 1700, from where I’m writing this note on my phone.

These are some of my observations.

Operating Speed

I have just travelled between Norwich and Ipswich in thirty minutes, with Speedview on my phone reading within a couple of mph of 100 mph all the way from where we got to operating speed South of Norwich to where we slowed for Ipswich station.

Diss, Stowmarket and Nedham Market stations were passed at almost 100 mph

Ipswich to Colchester was at a slower 90 mph, but then from Marks Tey to just before Chelmsford, the train was back to around 100 mph.

Speeds between 70 and 90 mph were held from Chelmsford to Liverpool Street, which was reached at 1830 as scheduled.

Acceleration

I got the impression, that the acceleration of the train wasn’t up to the operating speed. Certainly, it didn’t seem to accelerate as fast as an InterCity 125,

But then we’re talking about a rather puny Class 90 locomotive with just 930 kW pulling eight Mark 3 coaches.

In an InterCity 125, there is nearly 1,400 kW to accelerate the same number of similar coaches to 125 mph.

But these are small numbers compared to a four-car Class 755 train running on electrical power, which according to Stadler’s data sheet is 2,600 kW, which is 86% more power than an InterCity 125.

As there are two power-bogies each must be good for 1,300 kW.

Typical four-car electric Flirts seem to have around 2-3,000 kW, according to various Stadler data sheets.

Flirts seem to be seriously powerful trains and I can understand why some Norwegian Flirts are capable of 125 mph running. This is said in Wikipedia about the Norwegian Flirts.

All trains have five cars. However, in contrast to previous five-car FLIRTs they will have a third powered bogie giving them a maximum power output of 4,500 kW (6,000 hp) and a top speed of 200 km/h (120 mph).

If that extract is saying that each bogie can provide up to 1,500 kW, then Class 745 trains with four bogies have 6,000 kW.

If they were Class 755 train-sized bogies, then Class 745 trains, then the trains have 5,200 kW.

For comparison, an eleven-car Class 390/1 train has 5,950 kW.

With these figures, I feel it is reasonable to assume, that Class 745 trains, will accelerate to operating speed faster than the current forty-year-old BR stock.

  • They appear to have a lot more power, than the current trains.
  • Their aluminium bodies probably mean they weigh less, than the steel-bodies of the current trains.
  • Their aerodynamics are probably more advanced.
  • They probably have sophisticated technology that stops wheel slip, controls the train in a smooth manner and assists the driver.
  • The rolling dynamics will be no worse than that of the current trains.

Some conclusions can be drawn about the current trains and their operation.

  • A Class 90 locomotive with only 930 kW has sufficient power to keep an eight-car train running at 100 mph. It looks like the figure  is around 1.2 kWh per car per mile.
  • They must be in top condition.
  • The drivers probably know the route like the back of their hand and can coax the required performance from their ageing charges.

BR’s forty-year-old design must still be seriously good and the trains get the TLC they need.

Passing Stations At 100 mph

Diss, Stowmarket, Needham Market, Marks Tey, Kelvedon, Hatfield Peverel and Ingatestone stations were all passed within a few mph of 100 mph, with Maningtree and Colchester stations passed at around 85-90 mph.

Obviously, this must be allowed and not having to slow means that the speed is not degraded.

The only station where there was a substantial slowing was Chelmsford, where the train slowed to about 60 mph.

The Current Norwich-in-Ninety Services

These are the current ninety minutes services between Liverpool Street and Norwich.

  • 0900 – Norwich to Liverpool Street
  • 1100 – Liverpool Street to Norwich
  • 1700 – Norwich to Liverpool Street
  • 1900 – Liverpool Street to Norwich

Only one train is needed that starts and finishes in Norwich, where it is stabled overnight.

Serving The Intermediate Stations

Both the 1100 train to Norwich and the 1700 to Liverpool Street only stop at Ipswich.

But leaving a couple of minutes behind was another Class 90 locomotive/Mark 3 coach set stopping at more stations.

  • Going North, the train takes nineteen minutes longer, with stops at Colchester, Manningtree, Ipswich and Diss.
  • Going South, this train takes ten minutes longer, with stops at Diss, Stowmarket, Ipswich, Colchester and Stratford.

I suspect that when the Bombardier Class 720 trains have been delivered, these might be used for the stopping trains.

How Many Trains Will Be Needed?

It appears that the slower trains are currently timetabled to take between 111 and 115 minutes.

If a round trip can be done in four hours, then two trains per hour (tph), will require eight Class 745 trains.

As there are ten trains on order, this means the following.

  • Eight trains will be used to run the two tph stopping service.
  • One train will be needed for the Norwich-in-Ninety service.

This leaves one train as a spare or in maintenance.

Cromer And Back In A Day

In the four-and-a-half hours, I was in Norwich, I was able to take a train to Cromer, take a few pictures, have a quick lunch and then return to Norwich.

This is possible using the slower trains, but the fast trains can give you another hour in Norwich.

Obviously, this hour will be available for many journeys and must surely open up many possibilities for frequent travellers on the route.

How Reliable Is The Norwich-in-Ninety Service?

There have been twenty services in the first week of the service..

  • Fourteen have been on-time or a couple of minutes early.
  • Five have been under ten minutes late.
  • One was late by more than ten minutes.

That last train was twenty-two minutes late and I was on it, on the first Wednesday of the service.

I shall update this table, until I get bored with it!

Can The Timetable Be Changed?

The way the timetable is set out is an interesting solution to trying to be all things to all passengers.

  • There is a basic two tph service, which stops between London and Norwich according to a simple pattern.
  • Four services per day, with two in each direction, are delayed by two or three minutes.
  • The original departure times are taken by a fast train, that only stops at Ipswich.
  • These four departure times, are arranged, so that the services can be handled by a single fast train shuttling between Liverpool Street and Norwich
  • The fast train starts in Norwich at 0900 in the morning and returns to Norwich and its depot at 2030. The train can then have a good service after a hard day’s work!

Obviously, Greater Anglia have all the passenger data, so they have probably laid out a fast timetable, that will reflect current passenger numbers.

But as time goes on, this timetable can be augmented.

At present, they are using their express trains for both the two tph and the fast services.

These will be changed to Class 745 trains during the remainder of this year.

The venerable Class 90 locomotives and their Mark 3 coaches have blazed the trail and made everybody’s dream of Norwich-in-Ninety a reality, but now it is up to Greater Anglia’s new trains to fully develop the timetable.

  • If they are successful in attracting passengers more services will do Norwich in ninety and Ipswich in sixty.
  • The back-up stopping service running behind the fast train could be run by a new Class 720 train, which have a similar 100 mph operating speed.
  • Several services per day, using Class 755 trains, will be running between Lowestoft and London and augmenting the fast service between London and Ipswich.

Interestingly, as I left Norwich for Cromer, there was a Class 321 Renatus at Norwich station in Platform 2 Checking with Real Time Trains, this other relic from British Rail, but refurbished to a modern standard for passengers and performance, formed the 1400 express to London and arrived on time after seven stops.

It looks to me that Greater Anglia have a creditable back-stop, if there should be any unforeseen problems with the new trains.

But it also shows that the stopping service that follows the Norwich-in-Ninety service can be run by a 100 mph electric multiple unit.

This would surely release Class 745 trains to run more fast services.

An Improved Ipswich And Norwich Service

Greater Anglia have said that there will be three tph between London and Norwich and that one may or will be run the new Class 720 trains.

The only section of the Great Eastern Main Line, that won’t have four tph will be between Ipswich and Norwich. So could we see a 100 mph local service between two rivals.

Yesterday’s Class 321 Renatus did Norwich to Ipswich in forty-one minutes.

  • The route is fully-electrified.
  • Class 720 or Class 321 Renatus trains could be used.
  • Trains would stop at Diss, Stowmarket and Needham Market stations.
  • The rail line is not busy North of Stowmarket.
  • The bottleneck of Trowse bridge South of Norwich is to be replaced.

Running four tph between Ipswich and Norwich would be a lot more affordable, than improving the capacity on the mainly single-carriageway A140.

Would Faster Running Be Possible North Of Ipswich?

There are two major problems on the Great Eastern Main Line to the North of Ipswich.

  • Trowse Bridge to the South of Norwich.
  • Haughley Junction, where the Cambridge and Norwich routes divide to the North of Stowmarket.

Both projects have been kicked into the long grass more times than most, but it does look, that these two bottlenecks could be fixed in the next few years.

I also observed the following between Ipswich and Norwich.

  • The line wasn’t busy North of Stowmarket.
  • The train had no difficulty maintaining 100 mph.
  • The quality of the overhead electrification gantries might suggest a need for replacement.
  • There are some level crossings, that have no place on a 100 mph main line.

Would it be advantageous to update the line, so that higher speeds were possible?

I suspect that both the Class 745 and Class 720 trains could handle perhaps 110 mph with modifications, that are proven or planned with similar trains.

Conclusion

I had an exhilarating ride yesterday and it is a foretaste for the greatest improvement in transport for East Anglia in my lifetime.

 

 

May 22, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments