The Anonymous Widower

Could The Crewe And Derby Line Become A Much More Important Route?

On the Midlands Connect web site, they have a page, which is entitled Derby-Stoke-Crewe.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Our plans have the potential to increase passenger demand on the corridor by 72%, with faster, more frequent services.

They then give the outline of their plans, which can be summed up as follows.

  • Currently, the service is one train per hour (tph) and it takes 79 minutes.
  • The service frequency will go to two tph.
  • Twenty minutes could be saved on the second service by adjusting calling patterns.
  • Improved links at Crewe for High Speed Two. This must have been written before Stafford and Stoke got the High Speed Two service to Macclesfield.
  • East Midlands Railway are planning to extend the current Crewe and Derby service to Nottingham.

It seems a safe, and not overly ambitious plan.

These are my thoughts.

The Route

I have flown my virtual helicopter along the route and it appears to be double track all the way, except for a three mile section to the East of Crewe, that British Rail reduced to single track

However, in recent years the A5020 was built under the railway and the new bridge appears to have space for the second track to be restored, as this Google Map shows.

Note.

  1. The single track appears to be electrified, from the shadows of the gantries at either end of the bridge.
  2. West Midlands Trains appear to run an electric service between Crewe and Stafford on this route.
  3. I suspect it’s also used as a diversion route for Avanti West Coast’s Manchester service via Stoke-on-Trent or for train positioning.

Will this route allow High Speed Two trains to run between Stoke-on-Trent and Manchester Piccadilly?

From picture and comments in a rail forum, I suspect that the route could be redoubled fairly easily.

  • The electrification runs for about 15.5 miles, between Crewe station and Stoke Junction, which is about half-a-mile on the other side of Stoke-on-Trent station.
  • Trains seem to be connected to the electrification for over twenty minutes, so it could be useful for charging a battery train, running between Stoke-n-Trent and Crewe stations.

This Google Map shows Stoke Junction.

Note,

  1. Stoke-on-Trent station is to the North.
  2. The electrified railway going due South is the West Coast Main Line to Stone and Stafford stations.
  3. The line without electrification going off in a more South-Easterly direction is the line to Uttoxeter and Derby.

Following the route between Derby and Crewe, these are my observations.

  • There is a level crossing at Blythe Bridge station.
  • Most of the bridges over the route are modern, so I suspect will accept electrification.
  • The route would appear to have a speed limit of 70 mph, but I would suspect that this could be increased somewhat as it doesn’t look too challenging.
  • The route is 51 miles long, so a service that takes the current 79 minutes with nine stops, would average 38.7 mph.
  • The proposed time of 59 minutes, would average 51.8 mph

I suspect there could be more to come, as the timetable is probably written for a Class 153 train.

A Crewe And Nottingham Service

The Midlands Connect plan says the service will be the following.

  • Two tph
  • A slow train in 79 minutes.
  • A fast train in 59 minutes.
  • East Midlands Railway want to extend services to Nottingham.

It could be a fairly simple easy-to-use timetable.

Fast Trains

Consider.

  • Derby and Nottingham are 16 miles apart and fastest trains take between 19-22 minutes between the two cities.
  • When it opens, all trains would stop at East Midlands Hub station between Nottingham and Derby.
  • East Midlands Railway have a fleet that will include forty Class 170 trains.
  • I suspect that these 100 mph trains will be able to run between Crewe and Nottingham including the turnround in under 90 minutes.

This would mean that a fast hourly service would need three trains.

Slow Trains

Consider.

  • I wouldn’t be surprised to see the slower services continuing as now and not extending to Nottingham.
  • 79 minutes is probably a convenient time, which would give a ninety minute time for each leg between Derby and Crewe, when turnround is included.
  • Trains would be more of the Class 170 trains.

This would mean that a slow hourly service would need three trains.

Could Battery Electric Trains Be Used?

Consider.

  • I think it is likely that the route between Derby and East Midlands Parkway via East Midlands Hub station, will be electrified, in conjunction with Midland Main Line electrification.
  • Between Derby and Long Eaton stations via East Midlands Hub station is just under ten miles and takes ten minutes.
  • Nottingham and Crewe is 66 miles of which 25 miles in total could be electrified.
  • Derby and Crewe is 51 miles of which 15 miles are electrified.
  • The longest section without electrification is between Derby station and Stoke Junction, which is 35.5 miles.

Batteries would be charged in the following places.

  • Between Long Eaton and Derby stations.
  • During turnround at a fully-electrified Derby station.
  • Between Stoke-on-Trent and Crewe stations.
  • During turnround at a fully-electrified Crewe station.

That’s a lot better than with an electric car.

In Sparking A Revolution, I quoted this Hitachi-specification for a battery-electric train.

  • Range – 55-65 miles
  • Performance – 90-100 mph
  • Recharge – 10 minutes when static
  • Routes – Suburban near electrified lines
  • Battery Life – 8-10 years

I can’t see any problem with one of these trains or other battery-electric trains with a similar performance, running between Crewe and Nottingham or Derby via Stoke.

Could Hydrogen-Powered Trains Be Used?

I would suspect so, as the Alsthom Coradia iLint runs a similar route in Germany.

Connections To High Speed Two

Midlands Connect noted the route’s link to High Speed Two at Crewe.

But it also has other links to High Speed Two at Stoke-on-Trent and East Midlands Hub stations.

I suspect some stations like Uttoxeter or Alsager will have a choice of fast routes to London or Scotland.

Could Services Be Extended From Crewe?

In Connecting The Powerhouses, I talked about an article in the June 2017 Edition of Modern Railways, which proposed reopening the Midland Railway route between Derby and Manchester.

Some passengers and commentators fell a direct fast link is needed.

When High Speed Two is completed, the main route into Manchester Piccadilly will be a high speed spur from Crewe via Manchester Airport. Current plans include the following services.

  • One tph from London Euston via Old Oak Common and Birmingham Interchange.
  • Two tph from London Euston via Old Oak Common
  • Two tph from Birmingham Curzon Street

Note.

  1. All services will call at Manchester Airport.
  2. It is likely that Northern Powerhouse Rail will add six tph to Manchester Piccadilly from Liverpool via Warrington.
  3. Some services will extend through Manchester Piccadilly to Bradford, Doncaster, Huddersfield, Hull, Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield and York.
  4. High Speed lines will probably have a capacity of up to eighteen tph.

The Birmingham Curzon Street, Liverpool and London Euston services would be eleven tph, so there would be more than enough capacity for an hourly train from Nottingham.

What would the service be like?

  • It would be between Nottingham and Manchester Piccadilly stations.
  • It could call at East Midlands Hub, Derby, Uttoxeter, Stoke-on-Trent, Kidsgrove, Crewe and Manchester Airport stations.
  • It would probably be hourly.

Timings could be as follows.

  • Nottingham and Manchester Airport – 87 minutes
  • Nottingham and Manchester Piccadilly – 91 minutes
  • Derby and Manchester Airport – 67 minutes
  • Derby and Manchester Piccadilly – 71 minutes
  • Stoke-on-Trent and Manchester Airport – 32 minutes
  • Stoke-on-Trent and Manchester Piccadilly – 36 minutes

The trains used on this and other local services that might need to use High Speed Two infrastructure would be performing a similar role as that of the Class 395 trains on High Speed One.

Possibilities must include.

  • A classic-compatible High Speed Two train.
  • A five-car AT-300 train, like East Midlands Railway’s Class 810 trains.
  • An updated Class 395 train.

All trains would need a battery capability with a range of 40 miles.

It should also be noted that in Options For High Speed To Hastings, I worked through the options needed to run high speed commuter services to Hastings.

This was the last sentence in that post.

It’s all about selling trains and a company that had a 140 mph or 225 kph high-speed electric train, that could do perhaps 25 miles or 40 kilometres on batteries, would have a valuable addition to their product range.

A train with a range of 50 miles on battery power, would be suitable for the following routes.

  • London St. Pancras and Hastings via Ashford International.
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Nottingham via Manchester Airport, Crewe, Derby and East Midlands Hub.
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Barrow-in-Furness via Manchester Airport, Warrington Bank Quay, Wigan North Western, Preston and Lancaster.
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Chester via Manchester Airport and Crewe.
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Shrewsbury via Manchester Airport and Crewe.

Charging might be needed at some of the terminal stations.

 

June 26, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

High Speed Two To The North West Of England

This map clipped from the High Speed Two web site, shows High Speed Two routes in the North West of England.

Note.

  1. When shown in orange, High Speed Two will use new tracks.
  2. When shown in blue, High Speed Two will use existing tracks.
  3. New stations are shown as large blue dots.
  4. High Speed Two and the West Coast Main Line appear to share a corridor through Crewe, before dividing near Walley’s Green.
  5. High Speed Two loops to the East of the West Coast Main Line and rejoins it South of Wigan between Bryn Gates and Abram Brow.

The route will or might serve the following stations in North West England.

Blackpool North

Blackpool North station is not planned to be served by High Speed Two.

But the station has been recently rebuilt.

  • It has a number of platforms, that are capable of handling 200 metre long classic-compatible High Speed Two trains.
  • The route to High Speed Two at Preston is fully electrified.
  • In a couple of years, it will be connected to Blackpool’s expanding tramway.
  • Blackpool would welcome High Speed Two with open arms.

Blackpool North  would be an ideal extra destination, if more trains were to be split and joined at Crewe.

But whatever happens, I believe that high speed commuter trains will run from Blackpool North.

  • Blackpool and Manchester Piccadilly via Preston, Wigan North Western, Warrington Bank Quay and Manchester Airport.
  • Blackpool and Derby via Preston, Wigan North Western, Warrington Bank Quay, Crewe and Stoke-on-Trent.

Blackpool North has the platforms and electrification and it will be used.

Carlisle

Carlisle station is a through station on the current Glasgow service and can handle a nine-car Class 390 train which is over 210 metres long, which means they can handle a 200 metre long, classic-compatible High Speed Two train.

But two tph will be 400 metre London Euston and Edinburgh/Glasgow trains, so platform lengthening will probably be required.

There will be the following trains.

  • Birmingham Curzon Street and Carlisle – I tph – 118 minutes
  • London Euston and Carlisle – 2 tph – 154 minutes.

After any necessary platform lengthening, Carlisle will be ready  and waiting for High Speed Two and will be reached in Phase 1 of the project.

The High Speed Two web site, says Carlisle will be reached in Phase 2b, but as Edinburgh and Glasgow are part of Phase 1, this must be a mistake.

Crewe

Crewe station is at the bottom of the map, just to the right of centre.

The station gets this introduction on this page of the High Speed Two web site.

HS2 services will call at Crewe, where passengers will be able to access the high speed network heading south. Journey times to London will be cut to under an hour. Macclesfield, Stafford and Stoke-on-Trent will also receive HS2 services, spreading the benefits of better connectivity.

The page also says that between five and seven trains per hour (tph) will call at Crewe.

Lancaster

Lancaster station is a through station on the current Glasgow service and can handle a nine-car Class 390 train which is over 210 metres long, which means they can handle a 200 metre long, classic-compatible High Speed Two train.

Lancaster will also be a terminus of 200 metre long classic-compatible High peed Two train from London Euston, so there may need to be refurbishment to handle the larger, if not longer train.

The use of Lancaster as a terminus, would appear to have the following advantages.

  • The platform is already there.
  • Using Lancaster as a terminal, may reduce the scope of works at Carlisle and Preston.
  • The one tph service from London Euston is effectively a High Speed Northern stopper between Lancaster and Crewe, with calls at Warrington Bank Quay, Wigan North Western and Preston stations.
  • Lancaster has connections to Barrow-in-Furness, Heysham Port and Morecambe and the scenic Cumbrian Coast and Settle-Carlisle Lines.
  • Paces like Barrow-in-Furness. Morecambe and a host of other stations, should save forty-three minutes on journeys to and from London.

I think that Lancaster, is a good place to terminate a service in the North-West of England.

There will be the following trains.

  • Birmingham Curzon Street and Lancaster – I tph – 65 minutes
  • London Euston and Lancaster – 1 tph – 101 minutes.

After the necessary refurbishment, Lancaster will be ready  and waiting for High Speed Two and will be reached in Phase 2b of the project.

But I do feel that Lancaster could be reached in Phase 1 of the project, if necessary works North of Preston and at Lancaster station were planned as an independent project.

Liverpool Lime Street

Liverpool Lime Street station is at the Western edge of the map, at the end of the Liverpool Branch of the West Coast Main Line.

Liverpool gets this headline and brief description on this page of the High Speed Two web site.

The City Region Wants To Deliver a World Class Transport Network

Its ambitious plans would integrate the existing HS2 route and builds on the Northern Powerhouse Rail proposals for high speed, east-west links directly into Liverpool City Centre.

Liverpool has made a good start to prepare for High Speed Two.

  • The Grade II Listed; Lime Street station now has lengthened platforms and an improved layout so that it can handle two 200 metre long High Speed Two trains per hour.
  • Merseyrail is taking delivery of a fleet of new Class 777 trains to update their suburban network.
  • By the time High Speed Two arrives in the city, the suburban network will be larger.

Liverpool is ready and waiting for High Speed Two and will be reached in Phase 1 of the project.

Macclesfield

Macclesfield station is at the Eastern edge of the map, at the end of its own leg of High Speed Two.

The station was the surprise destination added, during the last iteration of High Speed Two.

  • The late, great Brian Redhead, who lived in the town would be very pleased.
  • The station was rebuilt in 1960 and has three platforms.
  • It is planned to have one tph to London Euston via Stoke-on-Trent, Stafford and Old Oak Common.
  • The visualisation on this page of the High Speed Two web site, also shows three platforms, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a fourth added, as the extra platform would add flexibility.

The second surprise for Macclesfield, is that like Liverpool, it will be reached in Phase 1 of the project.

Manchester Airport

Manchester Airport station is the Southern large blue dot at the top of the map.

This page on the High Speed Two web site is rather sparse on information about Manchester Airport station.

I have combined train times given on the web page, with frequencies from an article in the June 2020 Edition of Modern Railways to create this table, which should be valid after the completion of High Speed Two.

  • Birmingham Curzon Street and Manchester Airport – 2 tph – 32 minutes
  • Birmingham Interchange and Manchester Airport – 1 tph – 29 minutes
  • London Euston and Manchester Airport – 3 tph – 63 minutes
  • London Old Oak Common and Manchester Airport – 3 tph – 56 minutes
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Airport – 5 tph – 6 minutes

In Changes Signalled For HS2 Route In North, I stated that Northern Powerhouse Rail were proposing the following Liverpool and Manchester service.

Manchester Airport station will be reached in Phase 2b of the project.

  • Six tph
  • Stops at Manchester Airport and Warrington.
  • An end-to-end journey time of 26 minutes.

This would do the following.

  • Add a Liverpool and Manchester Airport service with a frequency of 6 tph, that will take 20 minutes.
  • Add a Warrington Parkway and Manchester Airport service with a frequency of 6 tph that will take around 10 minutes.
  • Increase the frequency between Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Airport to 11 tph. Or more likely 12 tph.

How many cities have an airport connection running every five minutes using trains running at 125 mph?

As these Liverpool and Manchester services would probably start in places like Hull and Newcastle and come via varied routes that included a selection of Bradford, Doncaster Huddersfield, Leeds and Sheffield, all of the North, that lies to the East of the Pennines will be connected to Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Airport and Liverpool by high speed trains.

Manchester Piccadilly

Manchester Piccadilly station is the Northern large blue dot at the top of the map.

This page on the High Speed Two web site is rather sparse on information about Manchester Piccadilly station.

Using the same data as before I can create a table of services from Manchester Piccadilly station, where I have included Liverpool and Manchester services, that will be run by Northern Powerhouse Rail.

  • Birmingham Curzon Street – 2 tph – 40 minutes
  • Birmingham Interchange – 1 tph – 37 minutes
  • London Euston – 3 tph – 67 minutes
  • London Old Oak Common – 3 tph – 60 minutes
  • Manchester Airport – 12 tph – 6 minutes
  • Liverpool – 6 tph – 26 minutes

Manchester Piccadilly station will be reached in Phase 2b of the project.

Oxenholme Lake District

Oxenholme Lake District station is a through station on the current Glasgow service and can handle a nine-car Class 390 train which is over 210 metres long, which means they can handle a 200 metre long, classic-compatible High Speed Two train.

There will be the following trains.

  • Birmingham Curzon Street and Oxenholm Lake District – I tph – 79 minutes
  • London Euston and Oxenholme Lake District – 115 minutes – Change at Preston

Oxenholme Lake District is ready  and waiting for High Speed Two and will be reached in Phase 2b of the project.

But I do feel that Oxenholme Lake Districtcould be reached in Phase 1 of the project, if necessary works North of Preston and at Lancaster station were planned as an independent project

Penrith North Lakes

Penrith North Lakes station is a through station on the current Glasgow service and can handle a nine-car Class 390 train which is over 210 metres long, which means they can handle a 200 metre long, classic-compatible High Speed Two train.

There will be the following trains.

  • Birmingham Curzon Street and Penrith North Lakes – I tph – 102 minutes
  • London Euston and Penrith North Lakes – 138 minutes – Change at Preston

Penrith North Lakes is ready  and waiting for High Speed Two and will be reached in Phase 2b of the project.

But I do feel that Penrith North Lakes could be reached in Phase 1 of the project, if necessary works North of Preston and at Lancaster station were planned as an independent project

Preston

Preston station is a through station on the current Glasgow service and can handle a nine-car Class 390 train which is over 210 metres long, which means they can handle a 200 metre long, classic-compatible High Speed Two train.

But two tph will be 400 metre London Euston and Edinburgh/Glasgow trains, so platform lengthening will probably be required.

There will be the following trains.

  • Birmingham Curzon Street and Preston – I tph – 50 minutes
  • London Euston and Preston – 3 tph – 78 minutes.

After any necessary platform lengthening, Preston will be ready  and waiting for High Speed Two and will be reached in Phase 1 of the project.

Runcorn

Runcorn station is a through station on the Liverpool service and can handle a nine-car Class 390 train which is over 210 metres long, which means they can handle a 200 metre long, classic-compatible High Speed Two train.

There will be two tph between London Euston and Runcorn and trains will take 74 minutes.

Runcorn is ready  and waiting for High Speed Two and will be reached in Phase 1 of the project.

Stafford

Stafford station is a through station on the Macclesfield service and can handle a nine-car Class 390 train which is over 210 metres long, which means they can handle a 200 metre long, classic-compatible High Speed Two train.

There will be one tph between London Euston and Stafford and trains will take 54 minutes.

Sfafford is ready  and waiting for High Speed Two and will be reached in Phase 1 of the project.

Stoke

Stoke station is a through station on the Macclesfield service and can handle a nine-car Class 390 train which is over 210 metres long, which means they can handle a 200 metre long, classic-compatible High Speed Two train.

There will be one tph between London Euston and Stoke and trains will take 71 minutes.

Stoke is ready  and waiting for High Speed Two and will be reached in Phase 1 of the project.

Warrington

Warrington Bank Quay station is a through station on the current Glasgow service and can handle a nine-car Class 390 train which is over 210 metres long, which means they can handle a 200 metre long, classic-compatible High Speed Two train.

There will be the following trains.

  • Birmingham Curzon Street and Warrington Bank Quay – I tph – 25 minutes
  • London Euston and Warrington Bank Quay – 1 tph – 73 minutes.

Warrington Bank Quay is ready  and waiting for High Speed Two and will be reached in Phase 1 of the project.

Wigan

Wigan North Western station is a through station on the current Glasgow service and can handle a nine-car Class 390 train which is over 210 metres long, which means they can handle a 200 metre long, classic-compatible High Speed Two train.

There will be the following trains.

  • Birmingham Curzon Street and Wigan North Western – I tph – 36 minutes
  • London Euston and Wigan North Western – 1 tph – 84 minutes.

Wigan North Western is ready  and waiting for High Speed Two and will be reached in Phase 1 of the project.

 

June 25, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Could High Speed Two Trains Serve Stoke-on-Trent?

The city of Stoke-on-Trent lobbied hard for High Speed Two to call, but it is going through closer to the West Coast Main Line, which is a few miles to the West.

Current Services

Stoke-on-Trent station is on the Stafford to Manchester branch of the West Coast Main Line.

It is served by two trains per hour (tph) between Euston and Manchester Piccadilly via Milton Keynes Central (1tph), Stoke-on-Trent, Macclesfield (1tph) and Stockport. The fastest journey time is one hour and 24 minutes.

Possible Routes Using High Speed Two

It should be noted that to serve Stafford on the West Coast Main Line, High Speed Two trains will use the West Coast Main Line, rather than High Speed Two between Lichfield and Crewe.

This map clipped from the High Speed Two web site, shows the two routes between Lichfield and Crewe.

Note.

  1. The straighter route is the new High Speed Two route.
  2. The bendy route is the West Coast Main Line.
  3. The two routes split to the North of the city of Lichfield in the South-East corner of the map.
  4. Stafford can be seen between the two routes.
  5. Stoke-on-Trent can be seen to the North-East of the routes.
  6. The new route through Crewe station is shown in orange.

To give an idea of scale, the West Coast Main Line is about forty miles long between the two junctions at Lichfield and Crewe.

Possible Ways High Speed Two Could Serve Stoke-on-Trent Station

There are several ways that High Speed Two trains can serve Stoke-on-Trent station.

London Euston And Stoke-on-Trent Direct

The simplest way is to run a direct service between London Euston and Stoke-on-Trent

  • It would use High Speed Two from Euston to Lichfield, where it would take the Trent Valley Line.
  • It would proceed to Stoke-on-Trent via Rugeley Trent Valley and Stone.

I estimate that the service would take one hour and two minutes.

The service could either turnback at Stoke-on-Trent or go on to Crewe, Manchester or some other convenient terminus.

Manchester services might even call at Macclesfield and Stockport, as the current services do now!

Times between London and Manchester by various routes could be.

  • Current via Stoke-on-Trent, Macclesfield and Stockport – Two hours and seven minutes.
  • Planned using High Speed Two – One hour and seven minutes.
  • High Speed Two and current route to Manchester – One hour and forty-one minutes

Manchester will get three tph from London and one from Birmingham, so perhaps one of the four services should go via Stoke-in-Trent.

 

 

 

 

January 23, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Could High Speed Two Trains Serve Chester?

This may seem a slightly outrageous proposal to run High Speed Two trains to Chester.

  • The city is a major tourist destination.
  • Despite its closeness to Crewe it is a major rail hub, with services across Wales to Cardiff, Holyhead and Llandudno and along the border between England and Wales to Shrewsbury and Newport.
  • Merseyrail serves the city and the station can be considered to be part of Liverpool’s extensive commuting area. This service is likely to be more reliable and faster with the delivery of new Class 777 trains.
  • For parts of Merseyside, travelling to London or Manchester Airport, is easier via Chester than Liverpool Lime Street or Liverpool South Parkway.

If the promoters of High Speed Two are serious about creating a railway for the whole country, then I feel that running trains direct to and from Chester could be very beneficial for the towns and cities, that can be served by the current network at Chester.

Current And Possible Timings

Currently, trains take two minutes over two hours between Euston and Chester.

When Avanti West Coast introduces the new Hitachi AT-300 trains on the route, the following times will be possible.

  • Euston to Crewe via West Coast Main Line – 90 minutes – Fastest Pendelino
  • Crewe and Chester – 24 minutes – Current timing

This would give a time of one hour and 54 minutes, which is a saving of 8 minutes. But a lot of carbon would not be emitted.

I estimate, that with High Speed Two Phase 2a completed, the following timings will be possible.

  • Euston to Crewe via HS2 – 55 minutes – HS2 website
  • Crewe and Chester – 24 minutes – Current timing

This would give a time of one hour and 19 minutes, which is a saving of 43 minutes.

Infrastructure Needed

There will need to be some infrastructure changes.

Platform Lengthening At Chester Station

The station would probably be served by two-hundred metre long classic-compatible, which might need some platform lengthening.

This Google Map shows the station.

It looks to me, that there is plenty of space.

Will Chester And Crewe Be Electrified?

We know little about the capabilities of the trains proposed by the various manufacturers.

But, I wouldn’t be surprised that one or more of the proposals use batteries for one of the following purposes.

  • Regenerate braking.
  • Emergency power.
  • Range extension for up to perhaps sixty miles.

As Chester and Crewe stations are only twenty-one miles apart with no intermediate stations, which will be run at an average speed of only 52 mph I don’t think it will be impossible to extend the service to Chester on battery power.

If electrification is required I wrote about it in Hitachi Trains For Avanti.

As it is only just over twenty miles, I don’t think it will be the most challenging of projects, although there does seem to be a lot of bridges.

Electrification would also allow Avanti West Coast’s Hitachi trains to run on electricity to Chester.

What About Holyhead?

Holyhead could become a more important destination in the next few years.

It is probably the best alternative to avoid flying and driving between Great Britain and the Island of Ireland.

And who can accurately predict, what effect Brexit and thinking about global warming will have?

I have a feeling that after electrification to Chester, using on-board energy storage could be used West of Chester.

It is very difficult to predict battery ranges in the future, but I can see a two hundred metre long classic-compatible train on High Speed Two being able to reach Holyhead on battery power, with or without some limited extra electrification.

I estimate that with some track improvements, that it will be possible to travel between Euston and Holyhead in around three hours.

Conclusion

It looks to me, that when High Speed Two, think about adding extra destinations, Chester could be on the list.

I also suspect that if it can be run without full electrification, Euston and Holyhead could be a valuable route for Avanti West Coast.

January 21, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Should Phase One Of High Speed Two Go To Birmingham Or Crewe?

The important Crewe station is currently planned to be reached from London in Phase 2a of High Speed Two, with the first train scheduled for 2027, according to Wikipedia.

There have been changes over the years and the delivery of the line at Crewe was brought forward by a few years, so that now it is just twelve months after the line opened to Birmingham.

So is it better that Phase 1 of High Speed Two goes to Birmingham or Crewe?

The Route Of High Speed Two Between Birmingham And Crewe

This map clipped from the High Speed Two web site, shows the route between Birmingham and Crewe.

Note.

  1. Phase 1 is shown in dark blue
  2. Phase 2a is shown in a lighter blue.
  3. Phase 2b is shown in orange.
  4. Crewe is in the North-West corner of the map.
  5. Of the two routes in the middle Phase 2a is to the East with the West Coast Main Line to the West.
  6. Birmingham is in the South-East Corner of the map, where two stations are shown; Birmingham Curzon Street in the West and Birmingham Interchange slightly to the South.

This second map, shows High Speed Two to the East of Birmingham.

Note.

  1. The colours are the same.
  2. The Eastern leg to Nottingham and Leeds, which is shown in orange, goes off to the North-East.

This third map shows the route around Lichfield.

Note.

  1. Phase 1 is shown in dark blue
  2. Phase 2a to Crewe is the branch going North and is shown in a lighter blue.
  3. The other branch going to the North West is the existing West Coast Main Line.

This fourth map shows the routes between Lichfield and Crewe

Note

  1. The colours are the same.
  2. Phase 2a of High Speed Two is the straighter route to the East.
  3. The more curvy route is the existing West Coast Main Line.

This fifth map shows the section of the route through Crewe.

Note.

  1. At the North of the map, the blue line is the West Coast Main Line and the orange line is the High Speed Two route to Manchester.
  2. Through Crewe the two lines share a route and may even share tracks.
  3. At the South of the map the High Speed Two route is on the East, with the West Coast Main Line to the West.

Click here to access High Speed Two’s interactive map, that I used to obtain these maps.

 

Phase One Services

Currently the following services are planned for Phase One of High Speed Two.

  • Three trains per hour (tph) – Birmingham Curzon Street, via Old Oak Common (OOC) and Birmingham Interchange.
  • Three tph – Birmingham Interchange via OOC.
  • Two tph – Liverpool Lime Street via OOC, Stafford (1tph), Crewe (1tph) and Runcorn
  • Three tph – Manchester Piccadilly via OOC, Wilmslow (1tph) and Stockport
  • One tph – Preston via OOC, Crewe, Warrington Bank Quay and Wigan North Western
  • One tph – Glasgow Central via OOC and Preston

Summing these up, the following totals are calculated.

  • 6 tph – Birmingham Interchange
  • 2 tph – Crewe
  • 2 tph – Preston

Most other stations get two tph or less.

Birmingham Or Crewe?

In the following sections I will discuss various points.

Service Between Euston And Stafford

There is an interesting point shown up by the maps and the proposed services for Phase One.

Trains using High Speed Two won’t be able to call at Stafford unless they take a diversion along the West Coast Main Line. So after Phase 2a has been built between Lichfield and Crewe, Stafford could lose its High Speed Two service, unless they use the classic route.

Birmingham Interchange Station

Birmingham Interchange station will be unaffected by the decision of the terminus of Phase 1 of High Speed Two.

  • It will be a Parkway station, with probably lots of parking.
  • It will be connected to the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham International station and Birmingham Airport by means of a people mover.
  • All High Speed Two services go through the station and six tph are proposed to stop in Phase 1.
  • The West Midlands Metro could serve the station.
  • It will be thirty-eight minutes from London. Stansted Airport is fifty and Gatwick is around thirty!

I suspect that the time to and from London and a four-hundred metre long train every ten minutes, will mean that this will be a very busy station.

  • Will Londoners treat Birmingham Airport, as a London Airport?
  • Motorways to the East of Birmingham could mean the West Midlands treats the station as a Park-and-Ride station for London.
  • Birmingham International station is a well-connected station with five platforms.

This station could become the busiest in the UK.

Birmingham Curzon Street Station

Birmingham Curzon Street station will be an unusual station for the UK, in that will be a city-centre terminal station running East-West, with services going both North and South, using a junction with the main High Speed Two.

  • It will have seven platforms.
  • It will be a short walk to Birmingham Moor Street station.
  • It will have a stop on the West Midlands Metro line between Digbeth and Grand Central

Birmingham are hoping the station will be a catalyst for redevelopment of the area around the station.

After Phase 2 of High Speed Two services to the South are planned to include.

  • Three tph – Euston via Birmingham Interchange and OOC.
  • One tph – Birmingham Interchange direct

The hourly shuttle between the two stations makes up the service between them to a Turn-Up-And-Go frequency of four tph.

After Phase 2 of High Speed Two services to the North are planned to include.

  • One tph – Stafford or Crewe direct
  • One tph – Manchester Piccadilly via Crewe and Manchester Interchange
  • Two trains per day – Preston via Crewe, Manchester Interchange and Wigan North Western
  • Two trains per day – Carlisle via Manchester Interchange, Wigan North Western and Preston.
  • One tph – Glasgow via Warrington Bank Quay, Wigan North Western, Preston and Carlisle.
  • One tph – Edinburgh via Crewe, Warrington Bank Quay, Wigan North Western, Preston and Carlisle.
  • One tph – Leeds via East Midlands Hub
  • One tph – York via East Midlands Hub and Sheffield
  • One tph – Newcastle via York

Summing up four tph go via the Western leg and Crewe to the North and three tph go via the Eastern leg and East Midlands Hub.

I suspect it is all about balancing the services between the three legs of High Speed Two.

  • London and Birmingham
  • Birmingham and North West England and Scotland
  • Birmingham and North East England.

High Speed Two has been designed for fifteen tph running into Euston, so if all parts of the route can handle that number of trains, there must be a lot of scope to add extra services.

Birmingham Curzon Street with its seven platforms would balance all the services and probably help to sort things out in times of disruption.

Between Birmingham International Station And Lichfield

The maps show that this section must be built to connect High Speed Two to the West Coast Main Line just to the North of Lichfield Trent Valley station on the Trent Valley Line, as there is no other possible connection between the two routes.

This map clipped from the High Speed Two map, shows where the two lines join.

It is obviously designed for speed.

I estimate that the distance between Birmingham Interchange and this junction is not far short of twenty miles.

Between Lichfield And Crewe Station

Along the West Coast Main Line, the distance is around forty-two miles, but the straighter route proposed for High Speed Two could be a few miles shorter and several minutes faster.

If Phase 1 of High Speed Two were not to be built, trains would have to share the West Coast Main Line through Stafford station.

Currently, Stafford station can have as many as fifteen tph through the station.

Phase 1 of High Speed Two will have these trains going North of Birmingham Interchange station.

  • Two tph – Liverpool Lime Street
  • Three tph – Manchester Piccadilly
  • One tph – Preston
  • One tph – Glasgow Central

Which is a total of seven tph, with one tph stopping at Stafford.

I doubt they could all be squeezed through Stafford.

There would certainly be no space for any trains starting at Birmingham Curzon Street.

This is a very simple example of the capacity problems on the West Coast Main Line, which can only be solved by extra tracks to the North.

Crewe Station

Consider these points about Crewe station.

  • It is not of a design that reflects its status.
  • Currently, it handles 23 tph, that go all over the North West and much further.
  • Phase 1 of High Speed Two would add another seven tph
  • New services are planned.
  • A rebuilding of the station would surely improve both capacity and operational efficiency.
  • Looking at the fifth of the maps, it appears that the West Coast Main Line and High Speed Two share a corridor , if not tracks, through Crewe station.

For all these reasons, I am convinced that if High Speed Two passes through, then the station will need a rebuild.

So it looks like whether High Speed Two goes ahead or not, Crewe station will need an expensive rebuild.

Extra High Speed Two Services Through Crewe

Once Phase 2a has been completed, this will allow some extra Phase 2 services to be run along the route from Euston.

  • Two tph from one tph – Glasgow Central via OOC, Birmingham Interchange (1tph), Preston and Carstairs
  • Two tph – Edinburgh via OOC, Birmingham Interchange (1tph), Preston, Carstairs and Edinburgh Haymarket

I suspect these might run as a pair of trains as far as Carstairs and split and join there.

There will also be extra services between Birmingham Curzon Street, Crewe and Stafford to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool Lime Street, Manchester Piccadilly and Preston.

It is worth noting, that when all the services going North from Birmingham are summarised, you get the following.

  • Four tph – Manchester Piccadilly
  • Three tph – Liverpool Lime Street
  • One tph – Preston
  • Four tph – Glasgow/Edinburgh
  • One tph – Stafford or Crewe

It looks a bit complicated North of Crewe, but it will create a frequent service between Crewe and Scotland.

High Speed To Chester

It should also be noted, that if between Crewe and Chester were to electrified, High Speed Two trains could serve Chester.

  • Chester is a major rail interchange for the Border areas between England and Wales, North Wales and the Wirral.
  • It is also connected to Merseyrail.
  • Chester is an important tourist destination, with the city centre close to the station.

Electrification might also allow battery-electric versions of Avanti’s new Hitachi trains to serve some of their routes, without using diesel.

This simple example of Chester, says to me that opening High Speed Two to Crewe could allow extra services to be developed.

Conclusion

It appears from this analysis, that the only advantage of not building Phase 2a is that about forty miles of line between Lichfield and Crewe can be pushed back for a few years.

 

 

 

 

 

January 20, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 2 Comments