The Anonymous Widower

Abellio’s Plans For Nottingham And Crewe Via Derby

This page on the Department for Transport web site is an interactive map of the Abellio’s promises for East Midlands Railway.

These are mentioned for services between Nottingham and Crewe via Derby.. This is an extension of the current service which is two separate services, that need a change at Derby.

Crewe-Derby Services Will Operate With Increased Capacity Compared To Today


  • Currently, the service between Derby and Crewe takes 43 minutes with another 30 minutes for Derby And Nottingham.
  • It is run by a Sprinter with one or two cars.
  • The service is hourly.
  • I suspect that a well-driven train will be able to do a round trip from Nottingham to Crewe and back in under three hours.

This would mean that three trains are needed to provide the hourly service.

But put four- or five-car Class 222 trains on the route and this would mean.

  • Much greater capacity.
  • Faster journeys.
  • More comfort and facilities.

If a train could do the round trip in under two hours, then just two trains would be needed for the hourly service.

Most Services Will Be Extended To And From Nottingham

I assumed this in the previous section and it appears sensible.

, Later Evening Service Is To Be Provided In Both Directions

Trains can never be too late.

Enhanced Sunday Service With A Regular Hourly service Starting Early In The Morning

You can’t fault that!

Increased Community Rail Partnership Funding

Or that one!

Refurbished Modern Trains

As with their plans for Nottingham to Norwich, they use the same words about the trains.

Read Abellio’s Plans For Norwich And Liverpool, to see what I said.

Wikipedia’s View

The Wikipedia entry for the Crewe-Derby Line says this about services on the route.

The line sees a basic hourly service in each direction with trains calling at all stations on the route however Peartree which is served by 2 Derby bound trains and 3 Crewe bound trains per weekday.

The majority of services on the route since December 2008 have been provided by Class 153 “Super Sprinter” Diesel Multiple Units however Class 158 “Express Sprinter” and Class 156 “Super Sprinter” units are occasionally used. Overcrowding remains a major issue on the route, particularly in the morning and evening peak and a weekends. Passengers are occasionally left behind.

A Class 222 train on this line with a 70 mph operating speed, must provide a better service.

Collateral Benefits

I see these as collateral benefits.

Extra Services Between Derby and Nottingham

If you take this plan with Abellio’s Plans For Norwich And Liverpool, they both have added an hourly service between Derby and Nottingham.

Better Connections To High Speed Two

\Will these extra services connect to High Speed Two at the East Midlands Hub station?

Remember that Abellio’s is an eight year franchise and High Speed Two will arrive in the area, at the time of the end of the franchise.

April 14, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Did Adrian Shooter Let The Cat Out Of The Bag?

This article with a video in the Scotsman is entitled Video: Battery Trains On Track To Cut Emissions and gives a lot of information about the Class 230 train. This is a paragraph.

The train is restricted to a 25mph speed on this week’s test trips, but Vivarail Chief Executive Adrian Shooter says it can sustain speeds of “60 mph for 40 miles” when new batteries become available next year.

Moreover, the batteries need just four minutes to recharge.

So what does this mean for the various routes?

Borderlands Line

Transport for Wales have ordered Class 230 trains for the Borderlands Line.

The line runs between Bidston and Wrexham Central stations is around twenty-seven miles and takes an hour. There is a generous turnround time at both ends in the current schedule.

This Google Map shows the layout of the two-platform station at Bidston.

This picture shows the red-roofed shed in the middle of the island platform, with the tracks on either side.

Would it be sensible to add a dedicated bay platform at Bidston for charging the battery trains?

The train will certainly be able to start with a full battery after a long charge at Wrexham Central and then do the following.

  • Run to Bidston on battery power.
  • Turnround at Bidston, where four minutes could be used to charge the batteries.
  • Run back to Wrexham Central on battery power.
  • Regenerative braking would be used at the thirteen intermediate stations.

If necessary during the long runs the diesel engines could be used to provide more power or top up the batteries.

Chester To Crewe Line

Transport for Wales have ordered Class 230 trains for the Chester to Crewe Line.

It runs between Chester and Crewe stations, is around twenty miles long and services take about twenty minutes.

As there are no stations between Chester and Crewe and the maximum speed of the Class 230 train is sixty mph, it looks like the train will be almost at maximum speed  along this route.

So will the four diesel engines be working hard?

When these trains were built in the 1980s, I doubt that anybody thought they’d be running services on a section of the North Wales Coast Line.

Conwy Valley Line

Transport for Wales have ordered Class 230 trains for the Conwy Valley Line.

It runs between Llandudno and Blaenau Ffestiniog stations, is around thirty miles long and services take eighty minutes to ascend and seventy to come down.

The train will certainly be able to start with a full battery after a long charge at Llandudno and then do the following.

  • Ascend to Blaenau Ffestiniog on battery power, with help from the diesel engines.
  • Turnround at Blaenau Ffestiniog, where four minutes could be used to charge the batteries.
  • Descend to Llandudno on battery power, with help from gravity.
  • The descent would be controlled by regenerative braking.
  • Regenerative braking would be used at the eleven intermediate stations.

If necessary during the long ascent the diesel engines could be used to provide more power or top up the batteries.

Greenford Branch

What do you do with a problem like the Greenford Branch?

In Could Class 165 HyDrive Trains Be The Solution To The Greenford Branch?, I looked at the possibility of using the proposed Class 165 Hydrive trains to provide a four trains per hour (tph) service on the Greenford Branch.

This was my conclusion.

Four tph is possible on the Greenford Branch, but it will need an extra crossover just outside West Ealing station.

Class 165 HyDrive trains with their extra performance would make the four tph timetable more reliable.

The lower noise and emissions of the trains would also please the local residents.

I also feel that a well-designed battery-powered two-car train, with perhaps a charging station at either end could also provide the improved service.

That well-designed battery-train has arrived in the shape of the Class 230 train.

Island Line

It appears likely, that Class 230 trains will be ordered for the Island Line.

It runs between Ryde Pier Head and Shanklin stations, is under nine miles long and a typical round trip is as follows.

  • Shanklin to Ryde Pier Head – 24 minutes
  • Turnround at Ryde Pier Head – 20 minutes
  • Ryde Pier Head to Shanklin – 24 minutes
  • Turnround at Shanklin – 5 minutes

The Island Line has an operating speed of just 45 mph.

Adding all that up, I would estimate that a train doing a round trip would do under twenty miles at a maximum speed of 45 mph.

Adrian Shooter said that the trains will be able to store 2,400 miles² /hour, whereas the Island Line would use only 900 miles² /hour in a round trip. They may be weird units, you won’t find in any text book, but I want to prove if something is possible or not.

It looks like it most definitely is possible for a battery-powered Class 230 train to perform a round trip on one charge of of the batteries.

Suppose though, the line was reinstated to Ventnor station, as a  line without electrification. A quick estimate gives the round-trip as thirty miles, which would need  1350 miles² /hour.

There could even be a second charging station at Ventnor.

Could we see a future Island Line like this?

  • No electrification.
  • Extension to a new Ventnor station.
  • A passing loop at Brading station.
  • Battery trains.
  • Relaid track for very gentle curves and high efficiency.
  • Charging stations at Ryde Pier Head and Ventnor stations.

I suspect with some faster running, where it is possible and perhaps one diesel power pack per train, three-car Class 230 trains could run a two tph service.

This type of service would not be unique for long, as other places would quickly copy.

Marston Vale Line

West Midlands Trains have ordered Class 230 trains for the Marston Vale Line.

It runs between Bedford and Bletchley stations, is around twenty-four miles long and services appear to take about forty-five minutes, with a turn-round time of well over four minutes.

So it would seem that each leg of a return journey would be less than forty miles and there would be sufficient time for a full four-minute charge at either end.

The regenerative braking would be useful in handling the eleven stops.


It isn’t one cat!

It’s a whole destruction, glorying or nuisance of felines!




October 16, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Crewe Hub To Be First ‘All-Digital’ Station, Says Transport Chief

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in the Warrington Guardian.

This is the first three paragraphs

Delays caused by signalling faults could eventually be a thing of the past on trains running to and from Crewe.

At a meeting on Friday Pete Waterman, chairman of the Cheshire and Warrington Local Transport Body (LTB), revealed that Network Rail, the Department for Transport and HS2 Ltd have agreed that the town will become home to Britain’s first all-digital station.

It means that all trains running from Crewe to Warrington, Chester and other destinations across Cheshire would benefit from the same technology which will be used by HS2 services – meaning lines could run more efficiently with trains travelling in a tighter sequence.

I feel that increasingly, digital signalling will be used to improve capacity on UK railways.

April 9, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , | 1 Comment

New Readers

I was given a write-up in the Ipswich Town program today and some people who visit, may have been directed from the program.

Don’t take anything I say too seriously, as underneath it all I try to amuse and inform.  Remember too, I have other interests outside Ipswich Town, like art, architecture, engineering and trains.  I also feel that one of the ways we’re going to get this country out of the mess it’s in, is by appreciating what we’ve got here in these Isles and enjoying it. Who would have thought that a visit to Middlesbrough or Crewe could be so enjoyable.  But they genuinely were and I shall be visiting other places in the next few months, that might be equally unpromising.  Hopefully, they’ll be equally enjoyable, even if Town don’t win or the trip has nothing to do with football.   

The next trips will be Portsmouth and Scunthorpe.

Feel free to post comments.  I reserve the right to remove those that are not constructive!

August 28, 2010 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Good Trip to Crewe and Chester

It was a good trip, not only because Ipswich won and I was able to renew old memories in Chester, but also because of the little things that happened and that I discovered.

  • Virgin’s First Class lounges made travel in my condition a bit easier.
  • The Crewe Arms offered a comfortable bed and good coffee in the morning close to the station and the football.
  • I had a very good curry in Passage to India in Crewe.
  • The staff and stewards at Crewe Alexandra were pleasant and welcoming.
  • Real pubs still exist in the most unlikely places.
  • I got a nice complimentary gluten-free salad on the way back.  So Virgin can do gluten-free, despite what I said earlier

I shall definitely go to Crewe again, if Ipswich play there!

August 26, 2010 Posted by | Food, Sport, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

On To Chester

After a good night’s sleep and some nice coffee in the Crewe Arms hotel, I took a short walk to the station and bought a return ticket to Chester, which would get me back in time for my 15:57 train back to London.

I actually could have boarded my return train at Chester, as it had come from Holyhead, but I wan’t too sure of my plans in Chester.  And I was a bit wary of missing the train home!

August 26, 2010 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Crewe Heritage Centre

One of the few places that are worth seeing in Crewe is the Crewe Heritage Centre, which is a railway museum.

Unfortunately it was closed, despite it being the school holidays.  But as it is within walking distance of the station and the football ground, it would be an ideal place to waste a few hours before an away match with Crewe Alexandra.

August 26, 2010 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Ipswich Win at Crewe

I really enjoyed the game at Crewe last night.

I know Ipswich won, but the football was good and it could easily have gone to penalties.

I should also say, that Crewe’s stewards knew how to make visiting fans appear welcome.  Something that some clubs could learn how to do!

I also had a problem in that I needed to take my medicine.  That was no problem, as I asked one of the helpful staff in the refreshment hut, if I could have a glass of water. I got it without question.

That was typical of the attitude on the club.

Alexandra Stadium, Crewe

August 25, 2010 Posted by | Sport | , | Leave a comment

D & G Buses in Crewe

I noticed that some of the buservices in Crewe are run by a company call D & G Bus

Obviously as Crewe is in Cheshire, these buses must be the first choice of the many footballers wives who live in the area.

August 25, 2010 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , | Leave a comment


After reading the Wikipedia entry for Crewe, I was apprehensive, as it is not complimentary and quotes Bill Bryson as saying it isw the armpit of Cheshire.

But I also have had the other view from the late MP for Crewe; Gwyneth Dunwoody, who used to be my next door neighbour.  She was the sort, that if you went to borrow some sugar, you didn’t return until after several stiff drinks.

Even last week at Crystal Palace, a fellow Ipswich fan had said that he’d enjoyed a couple of trips to the town to see Ipswich.

The Crewe Arms Hotel, Crewe

I stayed in the Crewe Arms by the station, which is typical of many station hotels all over the UK. It has mahogany panelling, deep red carpets and brown leather sofas.  One unexpected thing it has is free and high-speed wi-fi. It definitely didn’t have that in 1880 when it opened.

I slept reasonably well too, as the bed was comfortable. The room was very clean with a bathroom that looks like it had been refurbished in the last year or so.

In the morning, I skipped breakfast because I ate well the previous night, but the coffee I had in a proper china pot was of a high standard.

I would certainly stay there again, if I went back to the football at Crewe.

The town centre was fairly clean with a lot of flowers and had most of the usual names.

Shopping Centre, Crewe

But the highglight last night was an excellent Indian meal in the Passage to India.

Passage To India, Crewe

The building was best desribed as clean, smart and comfortable, the staff were polite and professional and I give the food at least five bricks in honour of Brick Lane, where C and I had one of our most memorable Indian meals together. How about this for a seious shami kebab.

A Serious Shami Kebab

August 24, 2010 Posted by | Food, Sport, Transport | , , | Leave a comment