The Anonymous Widower

Arena Specials Make Loss

This is the headline in a news item in the May 2015 Edition of Modern Railways.

It describes how the locomotive-hauled services to  Coventry Arena station to serve rugby matches at the nearby stadium have not been a success.

Reading the item in the magazine, makes me think that building this station and providing a match-day service, might not have been properly thought through.

It now looks like an expensive special train hired at a cost of tens of thousands of pounds isn’t the answer.

I don’t think that this station will see reasonable levels of use, until the Coventry to Nuneaton Line is electrified and the shuttle is run by a four-car electrical multiple unit.

Electrification is at least likely to happen, to allow electrically-hauled freight trains to use the route.

April 21, 2016 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , | Leave a comment

A Ride From Nuneaton To Coventry In A London Midland Class 306 Train

I went to Nuneaton station and then took the Coventry to Nuneaton Line to see the new stations at Bermuda Park and Coventry Arena before changing at Coventry for Birmingham. I took these pictures from the train.

Both new stations have two similar platforms, so I only photographed one at each station.

All platforms seem to be able to take at least a three car train, but the Coventry-facing platform at Coventry Arena station can take six card to handle events. I also suspect that selective door opening on modern trains like Electrostars can allow longer trains to call.

The train was actually two Class 153 trains, which explains the Class 306 train.

The line may be electrified in future, as it is used by freight trains, but if Network Rail get their act together, I can see the passenger service on this line using IPEMUs. Especially, when Kenilworth station is reopened on the Coventry to Leamington Line.

Unless the two lines are electrified, freight would still be diesel-hauled. A Class 88 locomotive could be used, so that where there is electrification.freight trains could be electric-hauled. But they seem to be taking a long time to arrive!

April 2, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Is This Rail Project Going Nowhere?

There are no good vibes coming from the Coventry Arena station.

This article on the Coventry Telegraph web site is entitled Ricoh Arena station matchday fiasco could see new train operator take over Nuneaton to Coventry line. This is said.

London Midland says it will have to close the station for an hour after games and major events as it can only provide an hourly service for 75 people due to a lack of trains.

But the DfT has invested about £4.75m towards the £13.6m of improvements along the line and is keen to see the route used to its full potential.

I have used three stations regularly to go to see football in the last year; Ipswich, Norwich and Brighton. These three grounds are all about the same size as the Ricoh Arena and have nearby stations that can cope with large crowds. Both Ipswich and Norwich are commuter stations and run half-hourly eight-coach trains amongst others, away from the grounds. Brighton is a new ground and the service relies on four-coach trains going in both directions to clear the spectators. Of the three Brighton is probably the most crowded.

So I would think that it essential that at least four-car trains should be provided at the Ricoh Arena to ferry passengers to Coventry and Nuneaton.

Six car trains would be better, but as many passengers would just be ferried to Coventry, four would probably be enough.

It strikes me that whoever planned this line, never went to see football or rugby at a stadium close to a rail station. Close to Coventry, Aston Villa, Birmingham, Walsall, West Bromwich and Wolverhampton all have stadiums within walking distance of a station.

Another article in the Coventry Telegraph is entitled London Underground tube trains could be used to sort Ricoh Arena station fiasco.

These Vivarail trains may be a solution, if two three-car units can be coupled together.

But are the platforms long enough to accept a six-car train?

I have found a document entitled Coventry Arena Specific Safety Management Plans, which has been produced by Arup.

In an Appendix, the report details how the fans will be transferred between Coventry and Coventry Arena stations.

An additional shuttle service will operate between Coventry and Coventry Arena on certain event days, at 30 minute intervals. This will provide a 15 minute interval service between the two stations. All services will be scheduled to run from the Up platform at Coventry Arena and platforms 1 or 2 at Coventry (though in times of operational disruption these services can use platform 5). All services will be formed by DMU sets of a maximum of 6 cars. Platforms at Coventry Arena and Platform 5 at Coventry are configured for this length; the other platforms at Coventry can accommodate longer trains.

At least the platforms are long enough!

So it looks to me that no-one told London Midland.


September 13, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments