The Anonymous Widower

Crossrail Tests Its Trains In Southend

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in the Southend Echo.

This is the first paragraph.

Crossrail trains are being tested from Southend to London – raising hopes that in future they could run to and from the town on a regular basis.

As the title of the article indicates, it could be that Bombardier and Crossrail are seeing how a Class 345 train performs on the route, prior to the delivery of Greater Anglia’s similar Class 720 trains, which are another train in Bombardier’s Aventra family.

Southend Victoria Station

Southend Victoria station could be a destination for Crossrail in the future, but consider these facts.

  • Southend Victoria station is 41.5 miles from London Liverpool Street station and the fastest services take about an hour.
  • Southend Victoria has a frequency of three trains per hour (tph) to London Liverpool Street.
  • Southend Victoria station has four terminal platforms and is a short walk to the Town Centre.
  • Reading station is 36 miles from London Paddington station and the fastest services take just over half-an-hour.
  • Fast-growing Southend Airport with its station is on the Shenfield to Southend Line and the Airport would surely welcome a direct link to Central London and Heathrow.
  • The three tph on the Shenfield to Southend Line doesn’t have a good interchange with the one train every forty minute service on the Crouch Valley Line.

If there is a major problem, it is that Greater Anglia is losing passengers to c2c with its station at Southend Central.

Between 2013/14 and 2015/16 Southend Victoria has lost 2.79 million passengers, whereas in the same period Southend Central has gained  1.14 million.

From what I have seen Greater Anglia intend to speed up the Liverpool Street to Norwich services to ninety minutes and run at a frequency of 3 tph. They are also going to add a fourth train that goes to Ipswich. So again, the three tph service to Southend, isn’t the best fit to services on the Great Eastern Main Line for passengers travelling between say Southend and the County Town of Chelmsford.

There are probably not too many reasons for Crossrail to be extended to Southend for its own sake, but if Greater Anglia and Crossrail decide that an integrated service is to be provided between Shenfield and Southend, then everything is up for discussion.

Fast Trains Between London And Southend Victoria

The current Southend to London trains stop seven times to the East of Shenfield.

They would probably need to stop at Southend Airport and perhaps two of the busiest stations, but cutting out five stations would probably bring the journey time down to fifty minutes, which would attract passengers and make it easier for Greater Anglia to run the service, as trains could do the round trip in comfortably under two hours.

Running three tph, as now, would need just six trains and running a desirable four tph would need eight trains.

I’d be very interested to see what time a one of the new Stadler Class  745 trains, could achieve on the route, with just four stops at Stratford, Shenfield, Billericay and Southend Airport.

Slow Crossrail Trains Between Shenfield And Southend Victoria

Paired with the fast trains could be a number of extended Crossrail services.

Based on Crossrail’s projected timings between Liverpool Street and Shenfield of 41 minutes and the current 35 minutes between Shenfield and Southend, a timing of 76 minutes is estimated.

  • Crossrail’s trains could save as much as two minutes at each of the seven stops, East of Shenfield.
  • The Shenfield to Southend Line has an 80 mph speed limit, which I suspect could be improved.

So could we see Slow Crossrail trains achieving the times that Fast Greater Anglia trains do now?

I think the answer is yes and it shows how trains have improved in the last few decades.

How Many Trains Could Use The Shenfield To Southend Line?

The capacity must be quite high, as the only complication is the totally independent Crouch Valley Line.

Southend Victoria station has four platforms, so the station could probably handle sixteen tph, which is more than enough.

I feel that it would be possible to run four Fast expresses and four Slow Crossrail trains in an hour.

Whether that would be an acceptable timetable is another matter.

Interchange With The Crouch Valley Line

The Crouch Valley Line’s one train every forty minutes must be a nightmare for Greater Anglia and passengers alike, and I suspect that Greater Anglia have a cunning plan to run a two tph service on the line.

It appears that the track layout can achieve this, with the two trains passing at North Fambridge station. But as they don’t run two tph on this branch there must be other limitations.

Foremost of these could be the three tph service on the Shenfield to Southend Line.

So sorting out the Shenfield to Southend Line might improve the service on the Crouch Valley Line.

Conclusion

I have come to these conclusions about services between Liverpool Street and Southend Victoria stations..

  • A Fast Greater Anglia express service could probably achieve a sub-fifty minute time.
  • A Slow Crossrail service, could probably do the trip in an hour.
  • Better interchange with Crouch Valley Line and Great Easstern Main Line services would be achieved.
  • Four Fast and four Slow services in each hour is possible.

My choice for the Liverpool Street to Southend Victoria service would be as follows.

  • Four tph – Crossrail Class 345 trains – Stopping at all stations.
  • Four tph – Greater Anglia Class 745 trains – Stopping at Southend Airport, Billericay, Shenfield and Stratford.

Or the simple option of just running the four Crossrail trains.

Crossrail to Southend, isn’t a ridiculous aspiration.

August 11, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Harlow Council Leader Jon Clempner Hopes Crossrail 2 Will Extend To Town

The title of this post is the same as this article in Essex Live.

You might feel that Jon Clempner has a point, if you look at this diagram of the West Anglia Main Line between the M25 and Stansted Airport.

Note that Harlow Town station is only five and a half miles North of Crossrail 2’s proposed terminal of Broxbourne.

Greater Anglia’s New Trains

Greater Anglia are replacing ten twelve-car Class 379 trains on Cambridge and Stansted Airport services with ten twelve-car Class 745 trains.

You might ask why bother with this replacement, if the number of trains and carriages are the same, which initially will result in the same number of services.

I answer that question in  Why Are Greater Anglia Replacing Class 379 Trains With New Stadler Class 745 Trains?

But this doesn’t mean the current frequency is cast in stone, as the other fleet of Class 720 trains have a similar performance to the Class 745 and 755 trains, so they can mix it on the West Anglia Main Line.

I feel that all the trains would have these features.

  • Trains would be fitted with the latest signalling, so they could work with headways between trains as low as two or three minutes.
  • Trains will all be 100 mph trains or faster.
  • Trains would be designed to stop and restart at a station very quickly.
  • Trains could couple and decouple to make a longer train in a couple of minutes.

They will offer lots of opportunities to improve services.

The Current Service North Of Broxbourne

These current services stop at Broxbourne station in both directions..

  • One train per hour (tph) between Cambridge and London Liverpool Street – fast – stopping at Bishops Stortford and Hsrlow Town
  • One tph between Cambridge and London Liverpool Street – semi-fast – stopping at Stansted Mountfichet, Bishops Stortford, Sawbridgeworth, Harlow Mill, Harlow Town and Roydon
  • One tph between Stratford and Bishops Stortford – local stopping at Roydon, Harlow Town, Harlow Mill and Sawbridgeworth
  • One tph between Stratford and Bishops Stortford – local stopping at Harlow Town and Sawbridgeworth
  • Two tph between Hertford East and London Liverpool Street

In addition, there are four tph between Stansted Airport and London Liverpool Street (Stansted Express).

This means that the frequency of trains through various stations are as follows.

  • Broxbourne – 10 tph – Six stop (not Stansted Express)
  • Harlow Town – 8 tph – Four stop and some Stansted Express stop
  • Bishops Stortford – 8 tph – Two stop, two terminate and some Stansted Express stop.

So there is a maximum of ten tph or just one train every six minutes at Brombourne.

Given that Crossrail and Thameslink handle twenty-four tph through their central tunnels, eight tph is not very high!

Crossrail 2 At Broxbourne

Crossrail 2 will have its own dedicated tracks between London and Broxbourne and could be running twelve tph.

So if there were to be cross-platform interchange between the North of Broxbourne services and Crossrail 2, passengers could change between services as they needed.

The trains going North of Broxborne would be as follows.

  • 2 tph to Cambridge or Cambridge North
  • 2 tph to Bishops Stortford
  • 2 tph to Hertford East.
  • 4 tph to Stansted Airport

There would be a lot of scope to create an efficient service between all stations on the West Anglia Main Line and the two london termini of Liverpool Street and Stratford.

The Hertford East Branch

The Hertford East Branch isn’t a problem now, but the two tph between Liverpool Street and Hertford East station take up valuable paths on the lines to London.

The branch also has the following characteristics.

  • The platforms may not be long enough for ten-car Class 720 trains.
  • It is mainly double-track with a short length of single-track through Ware station.
  • It is fully electrified.
  • It is just seven miles long.
  • It might be possible to add a chord so that trains can access the branch from the Harlow direction from the West Anglian Main Line.

I suspect Network Rail and Greater Anglia have a plan with at least the following objectives.

  1. Keep a direct service between London Liverpool Street and Hertford East.
  2. Increase the frequency of trains to and from Hertford East to four tph.
  3. Avoid as much infrastructure work as possible.

Because of the new trains ability to couple and uncouple, I wonder if we could see two five-car Class 720 trains arrive at Broxbourne as a ten-car unit, with one train going to Hertford East and the other going to Bishops Stortford.

This would have the following advantages.

  • Hertford East gets four tph, including two new tph from Stratford.
  • Bishops Stortford get four tph, including two new tph from Liverpool Street,
  • Two tph could serve each of the London termini of Liverpool Street and Stratford.
  • The number of trains along the West Anglia Main Line between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne is unchanged.
  • Hsrlow Town and Sawbridgworth  get another two tph to Liverpool Street.

I’m probably wrong, but there will be a better idea somewhere.

Conclusion

Crossrail 2 doesn’t need to go to Harlow Town, but Greater Anglia’s new trains should give a better service.

 

August 3, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Why Are Greater Anglia Replacing Class 379 Trains With New Stadler Class 745 Trains?

On the West Anglia Main Line, Greater Anglia are replacing ten twelve-car Class 379 trains on Cambridge and Stansted Airport services with ten twelve-car Class 745 trains.

In some ways this is a bit puzzling as the Class 379 trains were only built in 2010-2011 and with the same number of trains, they will probably only be able to run the same level of services between Liverpool Street, Cambridge and Stansted Airport.

Effectively, Greater Anglia have reorganised their fleet which currently is rather diverse into just two train types.

This probably gives tremendous advantages to Greater Anglia in terms of train operation and maintenance and staff utilisation and training.

It also means that as the trains have been specified at the same time, the passenger experience will be similar.

The interiors of the two Stadler Flirts will probably be identical and this must be something the operator will exploit.

Liverpool Street To Ipswich and Norwich

Greater Anglia are saying that they will run three Class 745 services between Liverpool Street and Norwich every hour in ninety minutes. These Great Easstern Main Line services will also do the shorter Liverpool Street to Ipswich journey in sixty minutes.

Greater Anglia have also said they will run a fourth service in each hour to Ipswich. They have also said that some of these extra Ipswich services would be extended to Lowestoft. As the East Suffolk Line is not electrified, the services would require a bi-mode Class 755 train.

When running between Ipswich and Liverpool Street, the Class 755 train would be identical in performance and experience to its electric big sister.

One advantage of the electric and bi-mode trains being the same, is that on electrified routes in the event of a Class 745 train being unavailable, two or even three lass 755 rains could deputise.

Perhaps the only difference would be the lack of a buffet.

Greater Anglia could also use the Class 755 trains to provide a direct Liverpool Street to Bury St. Edmunds service, if they felt the need was there.

Liverpool Street To Cambridge And Stansted Airport

Just as I believe they will be mixing the Class 745 and Class 755 trains on the Great Eastern Main Line, Greater Anglia have said they’ll be mixing the two types on the West Anglia Main Line.

An hourly Norwich to Stansted Airport service will be introduced using a Class 755 train.

Additional Class 755 Services

Greater Anglia have ordered fourteen three-car and twenty-four four-car Class 755 trains, which is a lot more trains than they use at present for the routes.

So in addition to increasing frequencies on routes  like Cambridge to Bury St. Edmunds, Ipswich, Norwich and Peterborough are they thinking of expanding services?

In the past the following services have been run.

  • Liverpool Street to Norwich via Cambridge.
  • Liverpool Street to Peterborough via Ipswich
  • Liverpool Street to Great Yarmouth via Norwich.

In addition, there are two services that Greater Anglia might take over from other operators.

Note.

  1. Both services seem to get overcrowded at times.
  2. Very little of either route is electrified.
  3. Liverpool to Norwich currently takes five and a half hours.
  4. After Norwich-in-Ninety is achieved, it will be possible in four and a half hours via London.
  5. Birmingham to Stansted Airport  currently takes nearly three and a half hours. Time can be saved by going via London.

With the opening of Crossrail and other faster services, I can see that these two routes will increasingly be important local routes, rather than ones used by masses of long distance travellers.

In the public consultation document for the new East Midlands Franchise, this is said about these services.

At the eastern end of the route, options might exist to provide direct services between Nottingham and a wider range of stations in East Anglia, such as Cambridge and Stansted Airport. Some options could also result in changes to the destinations served by the existing Birmingham to Stansted Airport service currently operated by the Cross Country franchise.

It looks to me that there will be a lot of serious discussions going on.

Conclusion

Where does this all fit with Greater Anglia and their fleet of Class 755 trains?

I just think that on some routes, they are ideal to provide new services or boost existing ones and they will give passengers the same experience as they get on the flagship London to Norwich services.

The Class 379 trains don’t give the flexibility and the homogeneous passenger experience.

 

 

 

August 3, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | 1 Comment

The Design Of The New Greater Anglia Class 745 Train

I am writing this article about the new Class 745 trains for Greater Anglia, as I think they fit the evolving pattern of train design.

The Article In The July 2017 Edition Of Modern Railways

In the July 2017 Edition of Modern Railways, there is an article entitled GA Shows Off Stadler Mock-Up, where this is said.

GA’s fleet will all offer air-conditioning, wi-fi, plug and USB points, electronic seat reservations and will have a low floor design to offer improved accessibility.

I would expect no less!

This is also said.

The 12-car EMUs are formed of two six-car sets permanently married together. Each six-car set has one power bogie at each end, with a total of four on a 12-car train.

As the train has a First Class section and the bistro buffet between First and Second Classes, I suspect there could be two different types of six-car set.

  • One with the First Class seats, the bistro buffet and perhaps a couple of Second Class cars.
  • One with Second Class seats.

Normally, trains will be formed of one of each set.

I would assume, if say two six-car sets were out of service for some reason, the two working sets could be married to create some temporary capacity.

But yet again we see a train and a half-train philosophy.

Bicycle Spaces

As the Norwich trains will have six bicycle spaces, perhaps three will be placed in each set.

The article also says that Stansted Expresses will have eighteen spaces. Perhaps, Class 745 trains have a movable bulkhead at the end opposite to the cab, so that bicycle capacity can be tailored to the expected passengers.

Surely, being able to book your bicycle on the train going to East Anglia for the weekend will not be a feature that is not used.

Capacity To Norwich

Currently, there is two trains per hour (tph) between London and Norwich via Colchester and Ipswich, which are eight-cars long.

The new trains will enable 3 tph, each of twelve-cars, which is more than doubling the number of cars in an hour.

Train Power

The current Class 90 locomotives have a power output of 930 kW to pull the eight coaches.

It could be that each of the four powered bogies are rated at 1000 kW, so if that is right, these new trains are much more powerful than the current ones.

This is an extract from the article.

GA is currently investigating the potential to change from diesel to electric power on the move, and says it will seek to utilise the environmental benefits of electric power wherever possible, even on short stretches out of Norwich and Ipswich stations.

All units are designed for 100 mph operation, but with the potential for upgrading to 110 mph in future.

Does the speed upgrade apply to both the electric and bi-mode units?

Knowing the lines well, I suspect that the extra speed could be useful on the following lines.

  • Stowmarket to Norwich
  • Cambridge to Norwich

I suspect that if there is more improved double-track introduced, there couple be other places.

Conclusion

So expect Norwich-in-Ninety and Ipswich-in-Sixty!

 

July 14, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment