The Anonymous Widower

Rail Minister Officially Opens Werrington Tunnel

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Rail Technology Magazine.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Werrington Tunnel, an underground freight tunnel running beneath the East Coast Main Line near Peterborough, has been formally opened by Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris.

A key step in the £1.2bn East Coast upgrade, the opening of the tunnel allows for freight services to be ran underneath the main rail artery, significantly improving passenger service reliability on the East Coast Main Line.

I also think, that the tunnel will be used creatively by passenger and freight operators.

Electrification

There is a possibility that the Great Northern and Great Eastern Joint Line (GNGE) between Werrington and Doncaster via Lincoln could be electrified.

  • It would allow the many freight trains using the route to be hauled by electric locomotives.
  • It would create a by-pass for the East Coast Main Line during engineering works, that could be used as a diversion route by electric trains.
  • Werrington and Lincoln are just over fifty miles and might be handled by battery-electric trains, if the GNGE were to be partially electrified.

According to one report, the Werrington Tunnel has been readied for electrification, should that be decided.

An Improved Peterborough And Lincoln Service

In the past, I have travelled between London and Lincoln with a change at Peterborough. In one case, I just missed my connection, as it was a long crowded walk between the two platforms.

The Werrington Tunnel will enable trains to and from Lincoln to use platforms on the West side of Peterborough station.

Train times and platform allocations could be arranged to make connections at Peterborough easier.

A London And Lincoln Service Via Spalding And Sleaford

There are two possible routes between London King’s Cross and Lincoln

  • The current LNER service leaves the East Coast Main Line at Newark.
  • An alternative route  would leave the East Coast Main Line at Peterborough and be routed via the Werrington Tunnel, Spalding and Sleaford.

These notes apply to the alternative route.

  1. The Lincoln service wouldn’t call at Grantham and Newark.
  2. Some services could also call at other stations.
  3. The current hourly Peterborough and Lincoln service via Spalding is run by a Class 153 train , which stops four times and takes fourteen minutes longer than LNER’s service via Newark.
  4. An easy connection to and from Skegness could be arranged at Spalding,

LNER also plans to extend some Lincoln services to Grimsby Town and Cleethorpes. Timings will dictate which will be the better route.

The Werrington Tunnel would add a large degree of flexibility in routing services between London King’s Cross and Lincoln and Lincolnshire.

Splitting And Joining At Peterborough

If the Werrington Tunnel makes Lincoln timings via Spalding and Sleaford viable, I wonder if it would be possible for trains to split and join at Peterborough.

  • One train would go to Lincoln via the Werrington Tunnel, Spalding and Sleaford.
  • The other might go North to Bradford, Hull, Middlesbrough, Scarborough or York.

The Werrington Tunnel again adds flexibility.

A Round-The-Wash Service Between Doncaster And Ipswich/Norwich

In Is There A Case For A Round-The-Wash Service Between Doncaster And Ipswich/Norwich?, I suggested this service, which would be an hourly Doncaster and Cambridge service via Scunthorpe, Grimsby Town Cleethorpes, Lincoln, Sleaford, Spalding, Werrington Tunnel and Peterborough that would alternatively extend to Ipswich or Norwich.

The Werrington Tunnel again opens up possibilities.

Conclusion

I’m sure that the Werrington Tunnel and the technology that built it will be imitated elsewhere.

 

 

December 9, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Are Short Lengths Of High Speed Line A Good Idea?

In New ‘HS3’ Link To Yorkshire Proposed By Thinktank After Region’s HS2 Axe, I showed that a short length of faster by-pass line could give decent ties savings.

So in this post, I will look at home much time, diversions or by-passes like the Selby Diversion could save.

The diversion runs between Temple Hirst Junction and Colton Junction.

  • It is 13.8 miles long.
  • A typical train takes 7.5 minutes, which is an average speed of 115 mph.
  • But Wikipedia claim that the route was well-designed and British Rail felt it was good for 160 mph.

So what times are possible at various speeds?

  • 115 mph – 7.5 minutes
  • 120 mph – 6.9 minutes
  • 130 mph – 6.4 minutes
  • 140 mph – 5.9 minutes
  • 150 mph – 5.5 minutes
  • 160 mph – 5.2 minutes
  • 180 mph – 4.6 minutes

They are not great savings, but if you could increase operating speed on straight sections of thirty miles and raise the average speed from 120 to 180 mph, that would save five minutes. It would all mount up.

If you look at the railway maps of the UK, there are sections of the East Coast Main Line, Great Western Main Line, Midland Main Line and West Coast Main Line, where the track is straight and sometimes as many as four-tracks.

Stevenage Station And Stoke Junction

A simple example in a few years could be between just North of Stevenage station and Stoke junction, which after current works and some others could be four tracks all the way.

  • It is 72.2 miles.
  • Trains take 39 minutes.
  • My timings give an average speed of 111 mph.
  • There are a number of level crossings.
  • Flat junctions at Hitchin and Werrington have been replaced with grade separated junctions.

Note that it is longer than the Cologne-Aachen high speed railway in Germany, which is only 43 miles long and has an operating speed of 250 kph or 155.3 mph.

Savings on the Stevenage and Stoke stretch could be as follows.

  • 140 mph – eight minutes
  • 155.3 mph – eleven minutes
  • 160 mph – twelve minutes
  • 180 mph – fifteen minutes.
  • 200 mph – seventeen minutes.

This alone could mean that London Kings Cross and Leeds could be around two hours with trains such as the proposed High Speed Two Classic-Compatible Trains.

It couldn’t be extended to the North very easily as Stoke Tunnel is between Stoke junction and Grantham.

This Google Map shows the tunnel.

If it could easily be converted into a four-track cutting, this would add nearly six miles to the four-track section with high speed lines in the middle and slow lines on the outside.

A Diversion At York

When improving speeds and times on the East Coast Main Line, a diversion at York is sometimes mentioned.

The Google Map shows the East Coast Main Line, as it goes through York station.

Note.

  1. York station is in the South East corner of the map.
  2. The River Ouse meandering North from near the station, before turning West at the top of the map.
  3. The East Coast Main Line running North from the station to the West of the river.

The railway crosses the river just to the North of Skelton junction.

This Google Map shows the tracks at York in more detail.

Note.

  1. The River Ouse in the North-East corner of the map.
  2. The East Coast Main Line through York station curving round the Railway Museum, before going North.
  3. A second rail route and sidings to the West of the East Coast Main Line can be seen.

Could a diversion route be created between Holgate and Skelton junctions on railway land?

  • It would be about two miles long.
  • It could be built to also sort out the bottleneck at Skelton junction.
  • It might be possible to extend the fast line to Northallerton station.

This could create up to thirty miles of fast lines between Holgate junction and Northallerton.

A Diversion At Durham

When improving speeds and times on the East Coast Main Line, a diversion at Durham is sometimes mentioned.

The Google Map shows the East Coast Main Line, as it goes through Durham station.

Note.

  1. I have arranged the map so that the East Coast Main Line goes between the South-West and North-East corners of the map.
  2. Durham station is clearly visible.
  3. The railway line curves East towards the station around Nevilles Cross after running North from the South.

This Google Map shows the East Coast Main Line, as it goes through Chester-le-Street station.

Note.

  1. Chester-le-Street station is in the North-East corner of the map.
  2. The East Coast Main Line runs North-South down the middle of the map.
  3. About halfway down the map, the East Coast Main Line starts to veer to the East.

If you look at the bigger picture of these maps, it appears that to serve Durham, the line took a loop to the East, so would a diversion cut off the corner between Chester-le-Street and Nevilles Cross and put Durham on a loop?

It would be a bit shorter, but it could be built to enable running at a higher speed.

Short German High Speed Lines

I have travelled a lot on German trains and they have some of our problems.

  • Infrastructure dating back to the times of Kaiser Bill.
  • A high mileage of track without electrification.
  • Less high speed railways than France or Spain.

They are creating several high speed railways.

Earlier, I indicated that the Cologne-Aachen high speed railway, which is only 43 miles long, has an operating speed of 250 kph.

Other short high speed railways include.

Note, that the Germans are still upgrading lines to 200 kph or 125 mph.

The Germans would appear to favour some shorter high speed lines, so it must be a worthwhile philosophy.

Conclusion

I very much feel there is scope to create some new high speed sections on the current UK network, with only building very little outside of the current land used by the network.

As with Germany would it be worthwhile to upgrade some lines to 125 mph running?

These could be possibilities.

There are probably others.

 

December 8, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 15 Comments

New ‘HS3’ Link To Yorkshire Proposed By Thinktank After Region’s HS2 Axe

The title of this post, is the same as this article in the Yorkshire Post.

This is the introductory paragraph.

A new “HS3” high-speed rail line between Yorkshire and the Nottinghamshire town of Newark could help make up for the loss of the HS2 eastern leg from Yorkshire, a report by transport think-tank; Greengauge 21 has suggested.

There is also this map from Greengauge 21.

I clipped my copy of the map from this report on Greengauge 21, which is entitled East, West, North And South.

Note.

  1. As in the Integrated Plan For The North And Midlands, Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield have direct connections to London via High Speed Two.
  2. The Derby leg is extended to Sheffield via the existing Midland Main Line.
  3. The Nottingham leg is extended to Newark, where it joins the East Coast Main Line.
  4. A new High Speed Line, which is shown in white and labelled HS3 links Newark to the East Coast Main Line and the line between Leeds and York at a new triangular junction South of Colton Junction.
  5. Part of the current route between Doncaster and Colton Junction is the Selby Diversion, which according to Wikipedia was built for speeds upward of 140 mph.
  6. The route splits in the region of Colton Junction with the Western leg going to Leeds and Bradford and he Northern leg going to York and Newcastle.

I feel this is a better plan than the previous one from High Speed Two.

  • It adds Bradford, Derby and Nottingham to the High Speed Two network.
  • There is a connection to Birmingham and possibly the South West and Wales.
  • The East Coast Main Line is effectively four-tracked between Newark North Gate and York.

I have a few thoughts.

Colton Junction

This junction will feature a lot in this post, so I had better explain where it is.

The Selby Diversion was built in the 1980s to create a new route, which avoided the newly-discovered Selby coalfield.

Colton Junction is about six miles South of York and is at the Northern end of the Selby Diversion.

This Google Map shows the junction.

Note.

  1. The East Coast Main Line going between South-West and North-East across the map.
  2. The railway going North-East leads to York.
  3. The village of Colton is at the top of the map.
  4. Colton Junction is South of the village, where the East Coast Main Line splits.
  5. The line going South-West is the route without electrification to Leeds, used by TransPennine Express and others.

The line going South is the Selby Diversion, used by all trains on the East Coast Main Line.

East Midlands Hub Or East Midlands Parkway

Some reports indicate that a new Birmingham and Nottingham High Speed Line will go via East Midland Parkway station.

  • East Midland Parkway is a fully-functioning four-platform station.
  • It is already operating.
  • There will soon be a large brownfield site next door, when the coal-fired Radcliffe-on-Soar power-station is demolished.
  • It has connections to Nottingham and Sheffield via Derby and Chesterfield.
  • Platforms are probably long enough to handle splitting and joining.
  • An advanced passenger shuttle could be built to East Midlands Airport.

This map from High Speed Two shows the route of the Eastern leg of High Speed Two, where it passes East Midland Parkway station and Radcliffe-on-Soar power-station.

Note.

  1. The coloured line is the route of High Speed Two.
  2. Red indicates viaduct
  3. Yellow indicates cutting.
  4. Green indicates green tunnel.
  5. There is a curious clover-leaf shape  to the East of High Speed Two.

This Google Map shows the same area.

Note

  1. The River Soar and Remembrance Way can be picked out on both maps.
  2. The Midland Main Line runs North-South in the Google Map and passes through East Midlands Parkway station.
  3. It is possible to pick out the curious clover leaf shape to the North of the railway station, where the rail line goes into the power station.
  4. Returning to the High Speed Two map it is possible to pick out the railway and power stations.

This map from High Speed Two shows the route of the Eastern leg of High Speed Two, to the South-West of East Midlands Parkway station.

Note.

  1. The coloured line is the route of High Speed Two.
  2. Red indicates viaduct.
  3. East Midlands Parkway station is in the North-East corner of the map.
  4. The Midland Main Line runs North-South down the Eastern side of the map.

Could the route of High Speed Two be adjusted so that it runs through East Midlands Parkway station?

This Google Map shows a similar area as the second High Speed Two map.

With the exception of the village of Radcliffe-on-Soar, there aren’t many, who would get in the way of the development of a connection between High Speed Two and the Midland Main Line to the South of East Midlands Parkway station.

  • High Speed Two crosses Remembrance Way  in the South West corner of the map, where there is a junction with the M1 and runs diagonally across the map.
  • High Speed Two could probably sneak up the North side of Remembrance Way.
  • The station might need to be moved to the North a bit to give space.
  • The map also shows the space to the East, that will be created with the demolishing of the power station.

Developing East Midlands Parkway instead of East Midlands Hub could be the more affordable option.

High Speed Two’s Eastern Leg Services

This graphic shows High Speed Two’s services before the Eastern Leg was deleted.

Note.

  1. Western Leg services are to the left of the vertical black line.
  2. Eastern Leg services are to the right of the vertical black line.
  3. Blue indicates a full-size service.
  4. Yellow indicates a Classic-Compatible service.

Destinations on the former Eastern Leg get the following services.

  • Chesterfield – 1 tph
  • Darlington – 2 tph
  • Durham – 1 tph
  • East Midlands Hub – 7 tph
  • Leeds – 5 tph
  • Newcastle – 3 tph
  • Sheffield – 2 tph
  • York – 6 tph

Note.

  1. Two trains will split and join at East Midlands Hub or East Midlands Parkway. But given what I said earlier, the split will take place at East Midlands Parkway.
  2. Derby, Chesterfield and Sheffield could get two tph.
  3. If the pattern of the currently proposed High Speed Two service is followed, that would mean that 5tph to Leeds and four tph to York and further North would go through Nottingham.

I suspect that there could be a reduction in either High Speed Services on the Eastern Leg or on the East Coast Main Line.

Splitting And Joining At East Midlands Parkway

Consider.

  • All Northbound services on High Speed Two and the Midland Main Line pass through East Midlands Parkway station in the same direction.
  • All Southbound services on High Speed Two and the Midland Main Line pass through East Midlands Parkway station in the same direction.
  • The four platforms at East Midlands Parkway station will give a lot of flexibility.

If trains split and joined at East Midlands Parkway, there would be no need to reverse to serve Derby, Chesterfield and Sheffield. I can’t see how this could be performed at East Midlands Hub without the Sheffield train reversing. This probably explains why in the original plans for High Speed Two, Sheffield and Chesterfield had their own spur and Derby was not served directly by High Speed Two.

The redesign in the Integrated Rail Plan For The North And Midlands, which abandons the Sheffield spur, probably reduces the costs significantly.

Nottingham

Nottingham will be an extremely busy station with these services running through.

  • High Speed Two – 2 tph – Birmingham Curzon Street and Leeds HS2 via Nottingham – Full-Size – 200 metres
  • High Speed Two – 1 tph – Birmingham Curzon Street and Newcastle via Nottingham, York, Darlington and Durham – Classic-Compatible – 200 metres
  • High Speed Two – 1 tph – London and Leeds HS2 via Nottingham – Classic-Compatible – 200 metres
  • High Speed Two – 1 tph – London and Leeds HS2 via Nottingham – Full-Size – 400 metres
  • High Speed Two – 1 tph – London and Leeds HS2 via Birmingham Interchange and Nottingham  – Full-Size – 400 metres
  • High Speed Two – 1 tph – London and York via Nottingham – Classic-Compatible – 200 metres
  • High Speed Two – 1 tph – London and Newcastle via Nottingham and York – Classic-Compatible – 200 metres
  • High Speed Two – 1 tph – London and Newcastle via Nottingham, York and Darlington – Classic-Compatible – 200 metres
  • East Midlands Railway – 1 tph – London St. Pancras and Nottingham via Kettering, Market Harborough and Leicester  – Class 810
  • East Midlands Railway – 1 tph – London St. Pancras and Nottingham via Kettering, Market Harborough, Leicester, Loughborough, East Midlands Parkway and Beeston – Class 810
  • East Midlands Railway – 1 tph – Liverpool Lime Street and Norwich via Chesterfield, Alfreton, Nottingham, Grantham, Peterborough and several other stations – Class 158/170
  • East Midlands Railway – 1 tph – Crewe and Newark Castle via Nottingham and several other stations – Class 158/170
  • East Midlands Railway – 1 tph – Leicester and Lincoln via East Midlands Parkway, Attenborough, Beeston, Nottingham, Carlton and several other stations – Class 158/170
  • CrossCountry – 1 tph – Cardiff Central and Nottingham via Derby, Spondon, Long Eaton, Beeston and several other stations – Class 170
  • CrossCountry – 1 tph – Birmingham New Street and Nottingham via Derby – Class 170
  • Midlands Connect – 1 tph – Leeds and Bedford via Nottingham and Leicester – Classic-Compatible – 200 metres

Note.

  1. With High Speed Two services London means London Euston and Old Oak Common.
  2. Two High Speed Two services do not stop in Nottingham
  3. With several of these routes I have only put in a few intermediate stations to show the routing of the train at Nottingham.

These services total up to  twelve tph going through Nottingham and four tph terminating at Nottingham from London St. Pancras and Birmingham New Street.

Nottingham station would need to be able to handle the following with respect to through trains.

  • A train every five minutes.
  • Some trains would be 400 metres long.

But there is plenty of space in Nottingham station and High Speed Two’s digital signalling will be able to handle 18 tph.

Nottingham And Newark

The Nottingham and Lincoln Line between Nottingham and Newark appears from my helicopter to be fairly straight.

  • The line is double track.
  • There are eight stations between Nottingham and the East Coast Main Line.
  • The maximum speed of the line is 70 mph.
  • It is 18.1 miles between Nottingham and the East Coast Main Line.
  • I suspect that it could be upgraded to a 100 mph between Nottingham and the East Coast Main Line.

Typical services in tph will be the same as at Nottingham, which is 12 tph.  But there are also occasional freight trains and Peak services to and from London St. Pancras.

With digital signalling on this relatively-simple section, if it were to be fitted with High Speed Two digital signalling, that will have to be able to handle 18 tph, what would you do with the other six tph?

  • Some paths would be used to handle the occasional freight trains and Peak services to and from London St. Pancras.
  • Some of the capacity could also be used by the stopping trains.

The amount of traffic would probably be less than on the Great Eastern Main Line, which is capable of 100 mph running.

Newark

Newark has the notorious flat crossing, where the Nottingham and Lincoln Line crosses the East Coast Main Line.

This Google Map shows the track layout at Newark.

Note.

  1. Newark Castle station is on the Nottingham and Lincoln Line and is in the South-West corner of the map.
  2. Newark North Gate station is on the East Coast Main Line and is in the South-East corner of the map.
  3. The two rail lines run diagonally across the map and cross near the top of the map towards the right.
  4. Nottingham lies in a South-Westerly direction from this map.
  5. Lincoln lies in a North-Easterly direction from this map.
  6. Doncaster, Leeds and York lie in a North-Westerly direction from this map.
  7. Grantham, Peterborough and London lie in a South-Easterly direction from this map.

Under the Greengauge 21 plan, trains will need to run in the following directions.

  • In both directions on the East Coast Main Line.
  • In both directions on the Nottingham and Lincoln Line.
  • Coming South on the East Coast Main Line, trains will need to be able to go towards Nottingham on the Notting and Lincoln Line.
  • Coming from Nottingham on the Nottingham and Lincoln Line, trains will need to be able to go Leeds and York on the East Coast Main Line.

It would be a complicated set of junctions and flyovers for a railway, but not impossible to design and build.

Newark North Gate And Colton Junction

I’ll repeat the map I showed earlier, that shows the routes between Newark North Gate and Colton Junction.

Note.

  1. The current East Coast Main Line via Doncaster is shown dotted in black.
  2. The proposed new route, which is called HS3 is shown in white.
  3. Colton Junction is at the Northern end of the new track.

I suspect that the new route would be built to the same operating standards as High Speed Two.

  • Operating speed of 205 mph.
  • High specification electrification.
  • Signalling capable of handling 18 tph.
  • All classic and Classic-Compatible high speed trains would be able to take both routes, but would be limited to 125 mph or 140 mph with in-cab digital signalling on the East Coast Main Line.
  • Trains needing to call at Doncaster and freight trains, would use the East Coast Main Line.
  • Full-Size High Speed Two trains would generally use the new high speed line.

It looks to be a good way to increase capacity between Newark and Leeds and York.

Timings Between Newark North Gate And Colton Junction

Consider.

  • Newark North Gate and Colton Junction are 63 miles apart.
  • Trains take 39 minutes.
  • There is a stop at Doncaster.

This is an average speed of 97 mph.

If trains went non-stop on the new ‘HS3’ route, there would be these timings at different average speeds.

  • 100 mph – 37.8 minutes
  • 125 mph – 30.2 minutes
  • 140 mph – 27 minutes
  • 160 mph – 23.6 minutes
  • 180 mph – 22.2 minutes
  • 200 mph – 18.9 minutes

Note.

  1. I have assumed the distance is the same as via the East Coast Main Line.
  2. I have made no allowance for longer acceleration and deceleration times to and from higher line speeds.
  3. High Speed Two Classic Compatible Trains could handle up to 205 mph if the track could support it.

It does appear that savings of upwards of fifteen minutes could be possible on all services that could use the new route.

Both East Coast Main Line and High Speed Two services would get time savings.

Colton Junction And York

As I saw and wrote about in London To Edinburgh On Lumo, the route between Leeds and York is being fully electrified.

The East Coast Main Line is already fully electrified, so I doubt the connection between ‘HS3’  and York will be difficult.

Trains will just exchange a 205 mph track for the East Coast Main Line’s 125 mph or 140 mph with in-cab digital signalling.

Colton Junction And Leeds

This High Speed Two Map shows the original planned track layout for High Speed Two to the East of Leeds.

Note.

  1. The large blue dot indicates Leeds HS2 station.
  2. The orange lines indicate the new high speed tracks for High Speed Two.
  3. The track going North-East is High Speed Two’s connection to the East Coast Main Line in the area of Colton Junction.
  4. The track going South is the Eastern Leg of High Speed Two to East Midlands Hub station, which has now been deleted.

Would it be possible to modify the route of High Speed Two to create a link between the Norther end of Newark and Colton Junction High Speed Line, which Greengauge 21 called HS3 and the proposed Leeds HS2 station?

This map from High Speed Two shows the area, where the High Speed Two Lines were originally proposed to run.

Note.

  1. The village of Swillington to the East of the proposed route of the Eastern Leg of High Speed Two.
  2. Junction 45 of the M1 in the North-West corner of the map.
  3. The River Aire and the Aire and Calder Navigation Canal on the route of High Speed Two to Leeds HS2 station.

This Google Map shows the same area.

I’m no expert, but I do believe that it would be possible to create a chord to allow trains to access Leeds HS2 station from the York direction.

I would suspect that High Speed Two looked seriously at this chord, as it would enable the proposed Leeds HS2 station to have services to York, Newcastle and Edinburgh using the East Coast Main Line.

But there is one problem with this route – It doesn’t allow and easy solution to serve Bradford.

This map from High Speed Two, shows the Leeds HS2 station and the last bit of the approach from the East.

This article on the Architects Journal is entitled Foster + Partners behind designs for Leeds HS2 Station. The article shows.

  • Leeds HS2 station is being designed as a terminal station.
  • It shares a common concourse with the current Leeds station.

It appears from the pictures in the Architects Journal article, that passengers would have to change trains to get to Bradford.

The alternative would be for trains into Leeds to take the route used by Northern’s service between York and Blackpool North, which goes via Church Fenton, Micklefield, East Garforth, Garforth, Leeds, Bramley, New Pudsey and Bradford Interchange.

But judging by the times of other services, Colton Junction and Leeds would take over twenty minutes and it would be a further twenty minutes to Bradford Interchange.

I can’t think that this is a viable alternative.

Conclusion

I am led to the conclusion, that to get a decent service into Leeds from the East using Greengaige 21’s ‘HS3’ between Newark and Colton junction, would necessitate the building of a new Leeds HS2 station and a new route between the new station and Colton junction.

December 7, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Nuggets From The Union Connectivity Review

The Union Connectivity Review has now been published and it can be read online.

This paragraph outlines the objective of the Review.

The UK Government asked Sir Peter Hendy CBE to undertake a detailed review into how transport connectivity across the UK can support economic growth and quality of life in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Sir Peter was also asked to make recommendations as to whether and how best to improve transport connectivity between the nations of the UK.

Sir Peter Hendy is the Chairman of Network Rail.

In no particular order, these are some nuggets from the review.

The Case For UKNET – A Strategic Transport Network For The Whole United Kingdom

This paragraph introduces the case for UKNET.

Having identified the importance of good connections across internal borders and the challenges that currently prevent a pan-UK strategic vision or investment strategy, the Review recommends that the UK Government develop UKNET – a strategic transport network for the whole United Kingdom which would connect all the nations of the
UK, with appropriate funding and coordination with the devolved administrations to deliver it.

The creation only follows best practice from the European Union and large countries like the United States.

These three paragraphs sum up how UKNET would work and how it would bring benefits to the whole of the UK.

UKNET would provide a network into which transport investment would be made on a pan-UK basis to support economic growth, jobs, housing and social cohesion, across the nations of the UK, for the benefit of the whole country.

It would allow transport appraisals for schemes on the network to be undertaken on a UK-wide basis with all costs and benefits being fully accounted for. This would limit the risk of cross-border schemes being deprioritised.

The development of such a network would provide additional certainty for businesses and the private sector, allowing them to plan complementary investments in specific regions and to invest in the supply chain across the country.

I think overall that UKNET is sound thinking, but my only feeling is that it should also look at transport links to and from the whole island of Ireland.

The Case for Faster Rail Journey Times Between England And Scotland

These three paragraphs probably apply to most rail journeys in the world, that compete against air and road travel.

Both the UK and Scottish Governments have previously agreed to develop options which could support a rail journey time between London and Scotland of three hours. A journey time improvement of this size, even when compared to expected journey times once HS2 opens, would dramatically increase the number of people travelling by rail.

There is a correlation between journey times and how many people choose to travel by rail over air. If it takes the same amount of time to travel by rail or by air, the evidence shows that people choose to travel by rail. Rail is typically favoured when the journey time is around three hours between city centres.

Work undertaken by Network Rail and HS2 Ltd on behalf of the Review has demonstrated the potential for increased trips by rail if journey times are reduced. For assurance purposes, two forecasting models were used to assess savings of 20, 35 and 50 mins on the journey times forecast for HS2 Phase 2b. The outcomes for both models were broadly similar and the approach built upon the changes in mode share observed between rail and aviation following previous UK and European rail investments.

Three hours between London and Scotland could be a tough ask.

Note these points about the East Coast Main Line.

  1. An InterCity 225 ran between London and Edinburgh on the 26th September 1191 in three hours and 29 minutes.
  2. Full digital in-cab signalling will allow running at 140 mph.
  3. There are improvements to come on the East Coast Main Line.
  4. As now, the review says two tph will run between London and Edinburgh.
  5. London Kings Cross and Edinburgh is 393 miles
  6. On the East Coast Main Line a non-stop train between would need to average 131 mph.

Three hours is tough but not impossible.

And these points about the West Coast Main Line.

  1. Trains will run on High Speed Two between London Euston and Crewe.
  2. High Speed Two are claiming fifty-six minutes between London Euston and Crewe.
  3. Full digital in-cab signalling will allow running at 140 mph.
  4. Crewe and Glasgow Central is 243.4 miles.
  5. Current fastest time between Crewe and Glasgow Central is three hours and five minutes.
  6. Between Crewe and Glasgow Central, a non-stop train would need to average 118 mph.

A well-driven InterCity 125, with a clear track, could average that speed between Crewe and Glasgow Central.

Three hours is tough but very possible.

This paragraph sums up the mode shift expected between air and road to rail.

These initial estimates indicated that a three-hour journey time was forecast to increase the number of passengers by around four million a year and increase rail mode share from the 2019 level of 29% to around 75%. It was also forecasted that journey times in the region of three hours would generate considerable transport user benefits and revenues over the lifetime of the scheme.

People travelling from the Midlands and North West England to and from Scotland would also get substantial reductions in journey times.

Linking High Speed Two With The WCML

The review says this about linking High Speed Two with the West Coast Main Line.

The UK Government has already acknowledged some of the issues identified by the Review. The ‘Golborne Link’—the current proposed connection between HS2 and the WCML—is expected to deliver quicker journey times and more capacity between England and Scotland and resolve some of the constraints between Crewe and Preston.

However, the ‘Golborne Link’ does not resolve all of the identified issues. The suitability of alternative connections between HS2 and the WCML have been considered by the Review. The emerging evidence suggests that an alternative connection to the WCML, for example at some point south of Preston, could offer more benefits and an opportunity to reduce journey times by two to three minutes more than the ‘Golborne Link’. However, more work is required to better understand the case for and against such options.

These benefits could also include additional operational flexibility when timing freight services and less disruption to the WCML than major upgrades as most construction could take place away from the railway.

An infrastructure philosophy is also detailed.

  • Replacing and enhancing track, signalling and power supply.
  • Possible new sections of line north of Preston.
  • Maximising of line speed.

My feeling is that for good project management reasons and to give faster journey times with the existing trains, that a lot of these improvements should be started as soon as possible.

Borders Railway

The Review says this about the Borders Railway.

Communities in the Scottish Borders region are enthusiastic about the economic and social benefits they see resulting from an extension of the Borders Railway south, across the border, to Carlisle.

The Review also welcomes the £5 million in funding that the UK Government has made available for the development of a possible extension to the Borders Railway which would support improved connections to and from Scotland and with the WCML at Carlisle.

I would build this early, as when the West Coast Main Line is being upgraded between Carlisle and Glasgow, this would be available as a diversion route.

Perhaps too, the Glasgow South Western Line should be improved and electrified as well.

Air Passenger Duty

The Review has a sizeable session on Air Passenger Duty, where it concentrates on the problems of its application to domestic flights.

The Review makes this recommendation.

Where journeys are too long to be reasonably taken by road or rail, the UK Government should reduce the rate of domestic aviation tax.

I believe that before the end of this decade, there will be smaller zero-carbon airliners, that will be ideal for domestic routes, which could totally change the regime of domestic Air Passenger Duty.

Decarbonisation And The Future Of Flight

This is a section in the Review, where this is the first paragraph.

In July 2021, the Department for Transport published the Jet Zero Consultation: a consultation on our strategy for net zero aviation127, alongside the Transport Decarbonisation Plan. This includes the ambition to have zero-emission routes connecting different parts of the UK by 2030 and a commitment to assess the feasibility of serving PSO routes with low carbon aviation. The Review welcomes the commitments made in both publications to accelerate the uptake of sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) and develop low and zero-emission aircraft.

The Review goes on to make two recommendations.

  • Drive the uptake of sustainable fuels and zero emission technologies on domestic aviation through a combination of incentives, tax benefits and subsidies to make the UK a world  leader in developing these fuels and technologies.
  • Support the development of sustainable aviation fuel plants in parts of the United Kingdom that are particularly reliant on aviation for domestic connectivity.

Note.

  1. PSO means Public Service Obligation.
  2. One of the world leaders in the field of sustainable aviation fuels is Velocys, which is a spin out from Oxford University.
  3. The Review also suggests building a sustainable aviation fuel plant in Northern Ireland.

The Review gives the impression it is keen on the use of sustainable aviation fuel

 

Conclusion

There are some good nuggets in the sections I have read in detail.

This post is not finished and there will be additions to the list.

 

 

 

November 30, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Is There A Case For A Round-The-Wash Service Between Doncaster And Ipswich/Norwich?

I suggested this service in The Integrated Rail Plan For The North And Midlands And The East Coast Main Line.

Effectively, it would join East Midlands Railway’s Doncaster and Peterborough service with Greater Anglia’s Cambridge and Ipswich service.

  • The service could go via Scunthorpe, Grimsby Town, Cleethorpes, Grimsby Town, Market Rasen, Lincoln, Sleaford, Spalding, Peterborough, March, Ely, Cambridge North, Cambridge, Newmarket, Bury St. Edmunds and Stowmarket.
  • There would be reverses at Cleethorpes and Cambridge.
  • There may be extra stops in Lincolnshire and across Suffolk.
  • The service would not use the East Coast Main Line, but would use the new Werrington Dive-Under and the Great Northern and Great Eastern Joint Line to the East of the East Coast Main Line.
  • The frequency would be one train per two hours (1tp2h).
  • Ideal trains could be Class 755 trains, perhaps running on batteries or hydrogen.

It would be paired with a new Doncaster and Norwich service, that could partly replace East Midlands Railway’s Liverpool and Norwich service.

  • The service could go via Scunthorpe, Grimsby Town, Cleethorpes, Grimsby Town, Market Rasen, Lincoln, Sleaford, Spalding, Peterborough, March, Ely, Cambridge North, Cambridge, Cambridge North, Ely, Thetford, Attleborough and Wymondham.
  • There would be reverses at Cleethorpes and Cambridge.
  • There may be extra stops in Lincolnshire and across Norfolk.

As with the Ipswich train it would not use the East Coast Main Line and have a frequency of 1tp2h.

The Objectives Of The Service

I believe this service could have several objectives.

Remove Slower Trains From The East Coast Main Line Between Peterborough And Doncaster

There aren’t many except freight, but this plan could provide a better solution to the Liverpool and Norwich service.

Providing Better Connections To The Biggest Growth Point In The UK – Cambridge

Cambridge needs better connections, so that it can bring in the staff and workers, that the high-tech capital of the UK needs.

Better Connection Of East Anglia And Lincolnshire To Northern England And Scotland

In Peterborough and Doncaster the route has two main interchanges to bring about these connections.

Promoting Tourism

For a start the route has five cathedrals; Bury St. Edmunds, Ely, Lincoln, Norwich and Peterborough and the historic city of Cambridge.

But I do believe that there are numerous places, where tourists might stay on the route and use it to explore the East of the country.

A Few Questions

These are a few questions.

Would The Route Be Electrified?

I don’t believe it will be fully electrified for two reasons.

Freight locomotives will increasingly become hydrogen-powered and also be able to use electrification, where it exists.

Plans by the likes of Hitachi ABB Power Grids and Furrer and Frey are likely to enable discontinuous and battery-electric trains to be able to work the route.

This philosophy would avoid all the disruption and reconstruction of structures of electrification and probably be much more affordable.

Would York Or Leeds Make A Better Northern Terminal For The Route?

Both have possibilities.

  • York would need running on the East Coast Main Line.
  • Leeds would probably need trains capable of 125 mph running.

On the other hand both Leeds and York would have superb connectivity.

Conclusion

I feel this would be a very valuable new service and it could be created without building any new infrastructure other than perhaps some strategic stations.

November 25, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Integrated Rail Plan For The North And Midlands And The East Coast Main Line

Note that this is not a finished post.

To read the The Integrated Rail Plan For The North And Midlands (IRP), click this link.

There is a section in the IRP called Serving Leeds, York and North East England.

It is a section of six paragraphs and I shall describe their contents in detail separately.

Paragraph 3.41

This is said in the IRP.

Under the original plans, HS2 trains would have served Leeds, York and North East England via the West Midlands, with the Eastern Leg branching off from the Phase One line just north of Birmingham Interchange.

This is a significantly longer route than the current East Coast Main Line from King’s Cross, which goes directly up the eastern side of the country.

Due to capacity constraints north of Doncaster HS2 trains to Newcastle and York could also only be accommodated at the expense of existing services, potentially reducing or removing connections between the North East and Doncaster, Newark and Peterborough.

Unlike the West Coast Main Line, there is also potential to lengthen existing trains by up to three carriages, increasing the number of seats on those trains by around 40%.

Geography wins and I’ll discuss the train lengthening later.

Paragraph 3.42

This is said in the IRP.

The IRP has concluded in favour of a significant package of upgrades to the East Coast Main Line which could deliver similar journey times to London and capacity improvements for York and the North East as the original proposals – but many years sooner, and with operational carbon savings because trains will be taking a shorter route.

Speed is important in both project delivery and running of the trains.

Paragraph 3.43

This is said in the IRP.

We are therefore taking forward a substantial package of investment for the East Coast Main Line between London and Leeds and the North East, subject to future business case. Development work will consider interventions from both NPR designs undertaken by Network Rail, mainly focussed on York and northwards, and work undertaken by Mott MacDonald for the Department for Transport focused on the line south of York. North of York we will look to increase the number of paths for long distance high speed trains from 6 to 7 or 8 per hour. In addition to the already planned roll-out of digital signalling, work is expected to include looking at opportunities to improve rolling stock performance; power supply upgrades to allow longer and faster trains; route upgrades to allow higher speeds, including of up to 140mph on some sections; measures to tackle bottlenecks, for example south of Peterborough and at stations and junctions such as Newark, Doncaster, York, Northallerton, Darlington and Newcastle all of which limit speed and capacity; and to replace level crossings where needed.

We will ask Network Rail to now take forward these proposals, including considering any alternatives which may deliver better outputs and/or more cost-effective solutions.

I’ll discuss a lot of this later in more detail.

Paragraph 3.44

This is said in the IRP.

This package is intended to:

    • Cut journey times from London to a range of destinations, including Leeds, Darlington, Northallerton, Durham, and Newcastle by up to 28 minutes, bringing journey times closer to those proposed by HS2, much earlier than previously planned;
    • Allow the introduction of longer trains, increasing the number of seats;
    • Provide 7–8 long distance high speed paths per hour north of York to Newcastle, compared to the current 6 paths (and so allowing a minimum of two fast Manchester to Newcastle services each hour alongside other ambitions);
    • Improve performance and reliability, enabling faster and more reliable services for passengers.

I’ll discuss a lot of this later in more detail.

Paragraph 3.45

This is said in the IRP.

Journey times from London to Newcastle under this plan could be as little as 2 hrs 25-28 minutes (subject to stopping pattern), about 21-24 minutes faster than now and 8 minutes slower than under the full HS2 plans.

Journey times to York and Darlington under this plan would be about 15 minutes faster than now and 12-14 minutes slower than under the full HS2 plans.

Journey times from London to Leeds, at around 1 hour 53, would be about 20 minutes faster than now, but 32 minutes slower than under the full HS2 plans.

I’ll discuss a lot of this later in more detail.

Paragraph 3.46

This is said in the IRP.

Journey times from Birmingham to Leeds would be around 30 minutes faster than the current typical time, and, subject
to further analysis, York and the North East could be would be around 30 minutes faster than the current typical time,
via HS2 Western Leg, Manchester and NPR (based on indicative train service).

I’ll discuss a lot of this later in more detail.

My Thoughts

These are my thoughts.

Longer Trains

This is said in Paragraph 3.41

Unlike the West Coast Main Line, there is also potential to lengthen existing trains by up to three carriages, increasing the number of seats on those trains by around 40%.

The Hitachi Class 800, Class 801, Class 802 and Class 803 trains, that run the routes out of King’s Cross come in lengths of five, nine and ten coaches.

  • The maximum length of an individual train is twelve cars according to this Hitachi document.
  • All destinations with the possible exception of Harrogate, Lincoln and Middlesbrough can handle the current nine-car trains.
  • Lengthening a five-car train by three cars would increase capacity by 60 %. You’d just run a current nine-car train.
  • Lengthening a nine-car train by three cars would increase capacity by 33.3 %. Poor maths but possible.
  • Lengthening a ten-car train by three cars would increase capacity by 30 %. Two trains would have to be lengthened, as ten-car trains are a pair of five-car trains.

It looks to me that the IRP is talking about running twelve-car trains.

  • The Hitachi trains are all plug-and-play.
  • The main stations on the route are Doncaster, Edinburgh, King’s Cross, Leeds, Newcastle and York.
  • Some platforms would need to be lengthened, but some like Edinburgh, Leeds and York are probably already long enough.

But what about the important London terminus at King’s Cross?

These pictures show the Northern ends of the platforms at King’s Cross station.

The two trains are both nine-car Hitachi Class 800 or Class 801 trains and I was standing in line with their noses.

I wonder what is the maximum length of trains that can be handled in these platforms.

  • They can certainly handle ten-car trains, as LNER run these to Leeds.
  • Looking at maps, I suspect that eleven-car trains could be the largest that can be handled.

I suspect it will be tight, but I suspect with a simple platform extension, twelve car trains could be accommodated in King’s Cross station.

Journey Times

These times come from High Speed Two’s Journey Planner and the IRP.

  • London and Edinburgh – Three hours and forty-eight minutes – Four hours and nineteen minutes – Three hours and fifty-eight minutes – My estimate based on IRP figures
  • London and Newcastle – Two hours and seventeen minutes – Two hours and forty-nine minutes – Two hours and 25-28 minutes
  • London and Durham – Two hours and sixteen minutes – Two hours and fifty-five minutes – Two hours and forty minutes
  • London and Darlington – One hour and fifty minutes – Two hours and twenty-two minutes – Two hours and seven minutes
  • London and York – One hour and twenty-four minutes – Two hours and ten minutes – One hour and fifty-five minutes – My estimate based on IRP figures
  • London and Leeds – One hour and twenty-one minutes – Two hours and thirteen minutes – One hour and fifty-three minutes

Note.

  1. The first time is that from High Speed Two, which assumes the Eastern Leg of High Speed Two has been built.
  2. The second time is the current best time via the East Coast Main Line.
  3. The third time is the IRP’s estimate via an upgraded East Coast Main Line.
  4. Where the estimates are mine it is noted.

London and York and London and Leeds are under two hours, London and Newcastle is under three hours and London and Edinburgh is under four hours.

Are these times fast enough for modal shift from the Air and Roads to Rail?

Project Delivery

Rail projects in the UK have a variable record in the delivering of projects on time and on budget.

I haven’t done the full analysis, but I do believe that smaller projects have a better record of delivery, based on media reports.

In Railway Restored: Regular Trains To Run On Dartmoor Line For First Time In 50 Years, Network Rail have delivered an important smaller project, for which I said.

Network Rail have set themselves a good precedent to open the line in nine months and £10 million under budget.

As the improvement of the East Coast Main Line is more of a succession of smaller projects, rather than one large project does this mean it is more likely to be delivered on time and on budget?

Extra Paths

This is said in Paragraph 3.43

North of York we will look to increase the number of paths for long distance high speed trains from 6 to 7 or 8 per hour.

One of the min reasons for building High Speed Two, but here we have extra capacity being created on the East Coast Main Line.

One extra path would be very good, but two would be excellent.

Power Supply Upgrades

In the last eighteen months, I’ve written two articles about updating of the power supply on the East Coast Main Line.

The second article talks about the involvement of the University of Leeds to get the power supply to a high standard.

It does appear that Network Rail are doing all they can to enable the East Coast Main Line to handle the eight electric trains per hour

140 mph Running

There are several elements to the successful achievement of 140 mph running on a railway.

  • The trains must be capable of running safely at 140 mph.
  • The track must be able to support trains at that speed.
  • The signalling must be in-cab and fully tested.
  • The electrification must be designed for running at the required speed.
  • The drivers must be fully trained.

Note.

  1. There are certainly 140 mph trains in service and there are tracks in the UK, where they can be tested at that speed.
  2. I wouldn’t be surprised as we have been running 140 mph InterCity 225 trains on the East Coast Main Line for thirty years, that a lot of the track is already profiled for 140 mph running.
  3. The digital signalling is being installed.
  4. The electrification on the East Coast Main Line has been dodgy for years, but is now being upgraded.
  5. Drivers are probably the least to worry about, as they probably know the route well and are honing their skills in simulators.

I can see 140 mph running being delivered in stages and on time.

Darlington Improvements

In First Phase Of ‘Transformational’ Darlington Rail Station Upgrade Approved, I said this about the improvements at Darlington station.

This upgrade is on the Eastern side of the current station and will include a new entrance, station building, concourse and three new platforms.

This design should allow the following.

    • LNER, High Speed Two and other expresses not stopping at the Darlington station to pass through at speeds of up to 125 mph or more.
    • Expresses stopping in the station will slow and accelerate in less time than they do now.
    • It will probably allow more local trains to Bishops Auckland, Middlesbrough and Saltburn

A seventy-five percent increase in platforms probably offers other advantages.

This could knock several minutes off journey times.

York Improvements

I describe this problem and my solution in Improving The North Throat Of York Station Including Skelton Bridge Junction.

My solution won’t happen, as I advocate replacing the historic Skelton Bridge with a modern four-track bridge.

Effects On Lincoln Service

It will be interesting to see how the improvements to the East Coast Main Line effect LNER’s service between King’s Cross and Lincoln.

Any time improvements South of Newatk will surely be reflected in the time between King’s Cross and Lincoln.

Conclusion

The plan seems feasible to me.

November 24, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Improving The North Throat Of York Station Including Skelton Bridge Junction

On the thirty mile stretch of the East Coast Main Line, between York and Northallerton stations, the route is mainly four tracks.

But three miles North of York there is Skelton Bridge over the River Ouse, which is shown in this Google Map.

Zooming closer, I clipped this second Google Map.

Note.

  1. There are actually two bridges over the River Ouse.
  2. The East bridge is a double-track bridge and is the original stone arch bridge.
  3. The West bridge was added later and I suspect has little architectural merit.
  4. The tracks on both sides of the bridge are extremely complicated.

If you look at the timings, trains seem to take one of two timings between York and Northallerton.

  • 17-18 minutes, which is almost an average speed of 100 mph.
  • 27 minutes, which is 67 mph.

Incidentally, one of Drax’s long biomass trains managed a time of 27 minutes.

Would going faster save any minutes?

  • A 110 mph average would give a time of 16.4 minutes
  • A 120 mph average would give a time of 15 minutes
  • A 125 mph average would give a time of 14.4 minutes
  • A 140 mph average would give a time of 12.9 minutes

On the face of it, it doesn’t appear that there are very large time savings, to be achieved.

On the other hand, if all trains can pass through Skelton Bridge and its complicated junction, without slowing, delays will be minimised and timetables can be faster.

But there is an anomaly in all the express trains that pass through York station. All stop, except those planned for East Coast Trains. In fact, their trains won’t stop between Stevenage and Newcastle.

The obvious solution to the Skelton Bridge problem, is to do what British Rail didn’t have the courage to do, when they electrified the East Coast Main Line in the 1980s. And that is to demolish the bridge and build a stylish modern four-track bridge!

It would eliminate many of the things, that could go wrong and would surely improve reliability. This could help to maintain a higher operating speed.

But would it be allowed by the Planning Authorities and the Heritage Taliban?

Hopefully, it doesn’t matter!

  • I am a Control Engineer and mathematical modeller, who has programmed some immensely complex systems in the last fifty-five years.
  • I have also flown light aircraft on instruments for many hours, where you control the plane according to what Air Traffic Controllers and the instruments tell you.

My experience tells me that, it would be possible to control a busy junction, like Skelton Bridge safely, by a well-programmed computer system helping the driver, arrive at the junction at the right time to go straight through.

I also believe that if modern in-cab digital ERTMS signalling can handle twenty-four tph on Thameslink going to and from scores of stations, then it can handle Skelton Bridge Junction.

In Could ERTMS And ETCS Solve The Newark Crossing Problem?, I proposed a similar solution to the problem at Newark.

November 24, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Would A Lumo-Style Service Work Between King’s Cross And Norfolk?

This is a bit of a fantasy and you’ll never know the real reason why I have written it!

With the upgrade of the East Coast Main Line to full digital signalling, there will be a problem South of Hitchin with 140 mph Azumas and Hitachi Class 802 trains and similar from Grand Central , Hull Trains and Lumo hogging the fast lines to and from King’s Cross. I first wrote about it in Call For ETCS On King’s Lynn Route.

One solution would be to replace the current Class 387 trains with a 140 mph train , such as a Hitachi Class 802 variant. This would enable these fast King’s Lynn and Cambridge trains to join the 140 mph trains on a fast run to and from King’s Cross.

The Future Of Cambridge

Cambridge is one of the UK’s four world cities, with its heritage and lately its high position in any technology league table.

The Current Rail Service Between London And Cambridge

Currently, it has a good service into King’s Cross, Liverpool Street and St. Pancras.

  • Great Northern – two tph to King’s Cross – A stopping train using Class 700 or Class 387 trains.
  • Great Northern – one tph between Ely and King’s Cross – A fast train using Class 387 trains.
  • Great Northern – one tph between King’s Lynn and King’s Cross – A fast train using Class 387 trains.
  • Thameslink  – two tph to Brighton – A semi-fast train using Class 700 trains.
  • Greater Anglia – two tph to Liverpool Street – A semi-fast train using Class 720 or Class 379 trains.

Note.

  1. tph means trains per hour.
  2. The similar Class 387 and Class 379 trains are both late-model Bombardier Electrostars with sensible seats and a large number of tables. Both train types can or could be modified to run at 110 mph.
  3. The Class 700 trains are unsuitable for the route, as they have ironing-board seats and no tables. These are only 100 mph trains.
  4. The Queen’s bottom doesn’t like the Class 700 trains.

A large proportion of the passengers and commuters between to and from Cambridge work in high-tech or information-rich businesses and I believe if the trains were more geared to this market they would attract passengers away from the roads.

The Cambridge Employment Problem

Fast-growing Cambridge is taking over the region and it is always looking for towns and villages to develop as places for dormitories and to build premises for the hundreds of high-tech businesses.

This is one of the reasons why Greater Anglia acquired new Stadler Class 755 trains to run services from Cambridge to Bury St. Edmunds, Ipswich, Norwich, Peterborough and Stansted Airport.

If you’re going to lure Cambridge’s well-paid high-tech commuters out of their cars, you must give them an equivalent seat to their car. The Class 379, 387 and 755 trains do this.

Living In Norfolk And Suffolk And Working In Cambridge

This has always been the choice of many who work in Cambridge, but using rail into Cambridge didn’t really take-off seriously until modern three-car Class 170 trains replaced the single-car Class 153 trains.

Greater Anglia have followed the upward trend in passenger numbers, by running hourly  four-car Class 755 trains from Cambridge to both Ipswich and Norwich.

Before the pandemic, it was starting to look like Norwich and Cambridge would soon need a second service, especially with the planned opening of the new Cambridge South station in 2025.

Addenbrooke’s Hospital And The Cambridge Biomedical Campus

Cambridge South station is being built to serve Addenbrooke’s Hospital and Cambridge Biomedical Campus, which intend to be create the foremost medical research cluster in the world.

Staycations And Holiday Homes In East Anglia

Life is changing because of the covids and more people are taking staycations or buying holiday homes.

And many are following the example of the Queen and going to Norfolk for their relaxation.

The Undoubted Need To Improve Rail Services Between London King’s Cross And Norfolk Via Cambridge

These factors convince me that there is a need for a new or repurposed rail service  between London King’s Cross and Norfolk via Cambridge.

  • The need to provide a high-class commuter service between London and Cambridge.
  • The need to bring workers into Cambridge from Norfolk.
  • The need to provide a fast high-class rail link to Cambridge South station with all its medical research.
  • The need to provide a comprehensive working environment on the trains.
  • The need to cater for all those people relaxing in Norfolk after a hard week in London.

It is my view, that a radical design of train is needed for this route.

  • It would need to have a high-class interior.
  • It would need at least a 125 mph capability, so that it can use the fast lines between Hitchin and King’s Cross.
  • The train may need the ability to split and join.
  • It would need an independent power capability for running on the Breckland Line between Ely and Norwich.
  • Because of Cambridge and because East Anglia is easy country for cycling, it would need a sensible capacity for cycles.

I also believe that because of the need to decarbonise, the train should be zero-carbon.

These are my thoughts.

Operating Speed

Because of running on the fast lines between Hitchin and King’s Cross with the 140 mph trains from the North, I suspect that an operating speed of at least 125 mph is needed. But if the Hitachi trains of LNER, Hull Trains, Lumo and in the future possibly other operators like Grand Central, will be capable of 140 mph, this speed could be desirable.

Speed limits once the trains have left the East Coast Main Line at Hitchin North junction are as follows.

  • Hitchin and Cambridge – 90 mph
  • Cambridge and King’s Lynn – 90 mph
  • Ely and Norwich – 75-90 mph

I can see Network Rail using their expertise to raise the speed limit on sections of these lines.

Flighting Of Trains On The East Coast Main Line

To increase capacity on the East Coast Main Line, I believe that at some point in the not too distant future that trains will be flighted. This will involve two or more trains leaving King’s Cross in a sequence and proceeding with all trains at a safe distance from each other.

I can envisage a flight like this from King’s Cross.

  • An Edinburgh train with York as the first stop – Leaves at XX.00
  • A Leeds train with Doncaster as the first stop – Leaves at XX.03
  • A Lincoln train with Peterborough as the first stop – Leaves at XX.06
  • A Cambridge train with Stevenage as the first stop – Leaves at XX.09

Note.

  1. The Edinburgh train would set the speed.
  2. Trains would maintain their time behind the lead train.
  3. Everything could be controlled by the digital signalling.
  4. Gaps between the trains would be sufficient for a safe stop.
  5. No train in the flight would make a station stop unless it was the last train in the flight.
  6. The last train in the flight would drop off and go to their destination.

As there are at least two tph to Edinburgh, Leeds and Cambridge, there would be two main flights per hour leaving King’s Cross, with the second flight perhaps incorporating a service to Hull.

Digital signalling and precise driving would enable the flights to be built in the opposite direction into King’s Cross.

The big advantage would be that instead of needing eight paths per hour on the East Coast Main Line, only two would be needed.

All trains would need to have similar performance, so this is another reason why the Cambridge trains need to be at least 125 mph trains.

Train Interiors

Lumo has broken new ground in train interiors.

  • It is one class.
  • Everybody gets a decent seat.
  • Everybody gets good legroom.
  • Everybody gets some form of table.
  • There are decent-sized overhead racks for hand-baggage and coats.
  • There is space for bicycles and heavy luggage appropriate to the route.

This can be built on to provide a good working and playing environment suited to the passengers who would use a fast King’s Cross and Norfolk service via Cambridge.

  • Lots of tables for four, as in the high-class Electrostars.
  • Better bicycle storage.
  • Better alignment of seats with windows.

Hitachi could obviously produce a train to this specification.

But what about other manufacturers.

Stadler’s Class 755 trains are surely a possibility.

  • A senior driver from Greater Anglia told me that the design speed for a Class 755 train is 200 kph or 125 mph.
  • They have good seats.
  • They have flat floors.
  • They have large windows.
  • They have step-free access between train and platform.
  • Like the Hitachi trains, they are in service.

I believe the closely-related Class 745 trains are probably the best commuter trains in the UK and are the only alternative to the Hitachi trains on a125 mph fully-electrified route.

Bridging The Electrification Gap Between Ely And Norwich

Between Norwich and Ely stations is 53.8 miles and this section is not electrified, although both stations have full electrification.

The line is not heavily used with typically only two passenger trains and the occasional freight trains in each direction in an hour.

This Hitachi infographic describes the Hitachi Regional Battery Train.

A 90 km. range could be sufficient to cover the gap between Norwich and Ely.

Could Hitachi build a Class 802 train or similar with a battery range of 90 km or 56 miles?

Certainly, a speed of 100 mph would probably be sufficient to bridge the gap in a decent time.

Improving The Breckland Line

The Breckland Line is the route between Cambridge and Norwich.

  • Cambridge and Norwich is 68.5 miles
  • Only the sixteen miles between Cambridge and Ely North junction is electrified.
  • There are thirteen stops between the two cities.
  • A typical time is 79 minutes
  • This is an average speed of just 52 mph.
  • The operating speed is 75-90 mph.

I am sure that Network Rail can squeeze a few minutes here and there to get the operating speed up to the 100 mph of the Great Eastern Main Line.

But the big problem at Norwich is the Trowse swing bridge.

It is only single track and it is likely that this bridge will be replaced soon.

This Google Map shows Trowse junction, a short distance South of the swing bridge.

Note.

  1. The electrified double-track of the Great Eastern Main Line goes across the map from North East to South West.
  2. The double-track railway to the East of the main line is the unelectrified Breckland Line to Cambridge, which turns West and goes under the main line.
  3. On the West of the main lines are the Victoria sidings that I wrote about in Greater Anglia Completes Directly-Managed Norwich Victoria Sidings Project.

As the replacement of the swing bridge will require some work to be done to the electrification, I wonder if at the same time Network Rail would electrify the Norwich end of the Breckland Line.

There must be a balance point adding electrification or batteries to the trains.

As the Breckland Line has few freight trains, electrification is not needed for freight.

Ticketing

A high-speed high-capacity service as I’m proposing must be easy to use.

It is a classic route, where nothing short of London-style contactless ticketing will do, as I’m certain this encourages people to use the trains.

As East Anglia is self-contained and has few services that don’t terminate in the area or in London, I am certain that this could be achieved.

If you remove First Class as Greater Anglia has done on many services, you actually simplify the ticketing, so a Lumo-style mid-class is ideal.

High Speed Train Services

Currently Great Northern run two tph from King’s Cross to Ely via Cambridge.

  • One service is extended to King’s Lynn.
  • I could see the second service extended to Norwich.

Both services would need to be run by 125 mph trains because of the speed of other trains on the East Coast Main Line.

Conclusion

I think duch a system would be possible.

November 21, 2021 Posted by | Health, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands

See this link

November 18, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

What Will Be The Fastest Times Possible Between London King’s Cross And Leeds?

According to media reports, it is likely that the Eastern Leg of High Speed Two will be scrapped on kicked into the long grass.

So out of curiosity, what times can be achieved between London King’s Cross and Leeds.

Wikipedia says this about digital signalling on the line.

Increasing maximum speeds on the fast lines between Woolmer Green and Dalton-on-Tees up to 140 mph (225 km/h) in conjunction with the introduction of the Intercity Express Programme, level crossing closures, ETRMS fitments, OLE rewiring and the OLE PSU – est. to cost £1.3 billion (2014). This project is referred to as “L2E4” or London to Edinburgh (in) 4 Hours. L2E4 examined the operation of the IEP at 140 mph on the ECML and the sections of track which can be upgraded to permit this, together with the engineering and operational costs.

Note.

  1. Woolmer Green is 23.8 miles North of King’s Cross and a short distance to the North of the Digswell Viaduct.
  2. Dalton-on-Tees is North of Doncaster, where the line to Leeds leaves the East Coast Main Line.

The 186 mile journey to Leeds can be broken down into these sections.

  • King’s Cross and Woolmer Green – 23.8 miles – 16 minutes – 89.3 mph
  • Woolmer Green and Doncaster – 132.2 miles – 85 minutes – 93.3 mph
  • Doncaster and Leeds – 29.9 miles – 32 minutes – 56 mph

In Will Avanti West Coast’s New Trains Be Able To Achieve London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street In Two Hours?, I estimated that each stop in an electric Hitachi Class 802 train takes eight minutes, which includes six minutes accelerating and decelerating and a two minute dwell time in the station.

  • Services between London Euston and Leeds typically stop three times, so this means there are four acceleration/deceleration cycles, if you add in the one split between London Kings Cross and Leeds.
  • There are also three dwell times of perhaps two minutes in the intermediate stations.
  • This would mean that a total of thirty minutes must be added to calculate the journey time.

If the train averaged these speeds over 186 miles, the following times would be achieved.

  • 125 mph – 89 minutes
  • 130 mph – 86 minutes
  • 140 mph – 80 minutes
  • 150 mph – 74 minutes
  • 160 mph – 70 minutes

Adding in the thirty minutes for stops gives some reasonable timings for between London King’s Cross and Leeds.

There are ways that times could be reduced.

Removal Of Level Crossings

This course of action always brings results, but is hated by the local users.

This article in The Times is entitled HS2 Eastern Leg To Leeds Axed, where there is said.

The government’s long-awaited Integrated Rail Plan also commits to full electrification of the Midland Main Line from London St Pancras to Sheffield, as well as upgrades to the East Coast Main Line. The Times understands this includes removing level crossings, which will help reduce journey times.

Every little helps!

More Running At Higher Speeds

From my figures, it appears that roughly a ten mph increase in average speed reduces journey time by up to six minutes.

So the more running at 140 mph or even faster the better.

It should be noted that the Selby Diversion on the East Coast Main Line was designed by British Rail for 160 mph The Wikipedia entry says this.

The line was the first purpose-built section of high-speed railway in the UK having a design speed of 125 mph; however, research by British Rail in the 1990s indicated that the route geometry would permit up to 160 mph operation, subject to the necessary overhead line equipment and signalling upgrades.

Upgrading the line for higher speeds would be a way of reducing the journey time.

  • Curves could be better profiled.
  • Full digital signalling with perhaps even some degree of automatic control could be introduced.
  • More robust overhead line equipment could be installed.
  • Some sections of slab track could be laid.
  • Level crossing removal.

I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the new Hitachi trains within a few years could be able to average 140 mph between London King’s Cross and Leeds, with a possible 160 mph average speed in the future.

Faster Acceleration And Deceleration

If the three-minute acceleration and deceleration times can be reduced to two minutes this will save eight minutes on the journey.

Quicker Dwell Times

Why not?

High-Speed Two Classic Compatible Trains

These faster trains could bring the time down further, if they were to run the service.

Sample Times

I wouldn’t be surprised to see with full digital signalling and a 125 mph average between London King’s Cross and Leeds.

  • 125 mph Base Time – 89 minutes.
  • Four Acceleration/Deceleration section at 6 minutes each – 24 minutes.
  • Three Dwell Times at 2 minutes each – 6 minutes

This would mean a total time of one hour and 59 minutes.

Uprate that to 140 mph and faster acceleration and deceleration.

  • 140 mph Base Time – 80 minutes.
  • Four Acceleration/Deceleration section at 4 minutes each – 16 minutes.
  • Three Dwell Times at 2 minutes each – 6 minutes

This would mean a total time of one hour and 42 minutes.

Up that to 160 mph.

Uprate that to 140 mph and faster acceleration and deceleration.

  • 160 mph Base Time – 70 minutes.
  • Four Acceleration/Deceleration section at 4 minutes each – 16 minutes.
  • Three Dwell Times at 2 minutes each – 6 minutes

This would mean a total time of one hour and 32 minutes.

These compare with a proposed time of one hour and 21 minutes on the original plan to High Speed Two.

November 18, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments