The Anonymous Widower

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 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Lumo: Why The Latest Edinburgh-London Train Service Could Wean Us Off Planes And Roads

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on The Conversation.

It is an interesting read and it appears that Lumo’s message is getting through.

November 22, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 3 Comments

The First Lumo Service Arrives In London

These pictures show the first Lumo service as it arrives in Platform 5 at King’s Cross station.

Note.

The clock showed the train arrived five minutes early.

The train appeared to be about ninety percent full!

How close is the train colour to LNER blue?

The picture shows two iconic A4 Pacifics; Mallard and Dominion of Canada at the National Railway Museum.

Not very is the probable answer!

October 25, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 2 Comments

Is Lumo The Ryanair Of Rail?

Someone had to draw the comparison between Lumo and Ryanair and it was The Times, that used a headline of Lumo, The Ryanair Of Rail, Gets The Green Light On East Coast, for their article about the new London and Edinburgh rail service in their article today.

But how alike are the two business models?

Standard Planes And Trains

The Boeing 737 and the Airbus A 320, as used by Ryanair and easyJet  are the two workhorses of short haul airlines.

It can also be said, that Hitachi’s AT-300 train is becoming the workhorse of long-distance rail services in the UK.

Customised Interiors

Ryanair and easyJet do customise the interiors of their aircraft to a certain extent and from pictures on the Internet Lumo appear to have done the same.

If you look at the widths of the planes and trains on Wikipedia, you find these values.

  • Airbus A 320 – 3.95 metres
  • Boeing 737 – 3.8 metres
  • Class AT-300 train – 2.7 metres

Dividing by the number of seats across, which is six for the planes and four for the train gives these figures.

  • Airbus A 320 – 0.66 metres
  • Boeing 737 – 0.63 metres
  • Class AT-300 train – 0.67 metres

I know there is an aisle down the middle, so let’s say that it is 0.60 metres. This gives these spaces for each seat.

  • Airbus A 320 – 0.56 metres
  • Boeing 737 – 0.53 metres
  • Class AT-300 train – 0.53 metres

I think that is adequate space for a designer to do a good job.

This picture shows the interior of a Great Western Railway Class 802 train, which use a similar body shell to the trains used by Lumo.

Note.

  1. The aisle looks to be similar in width to a seat.
  2. There is a bag shelf above the windows and lots of coat hooks.

As both Lumo and Great Western Railway are both First Group companies, is it likely that the interior dimensions are similar, so that standard trolleys could be used and training could be eased and shared between companies in the group.

This picture shows a trolley fitting in between the tables on a Great Western Railway service.

I suspect, if they design everything together, Lumo could make best use of a narrow aisle to give the seats a bit more width.

This last picture shows TransPennine Express Class 802 train at Willesden Junction station.

Note how the lower part of the side of the train is curved. Is this to get a bit more room for the seat squab?

Passengers Per Metre

This is only a rough calculation and shows typical passengers, fuselage or car length and passengers per metre.

  • Airbus A 320 – 164 passengers – 37.57 metres – 4.4 px/metre
  • Boeing 737 – 160 passengers – 37.0 metres – 4.3 px/metre
  • Class AT-300 train – 96 passengers – 26 metres – 3.7 px/metre

Passenger density in the train is about fourteen percent less.

Toilets

In The Definitive Seating Layout Of Lumo’s Class 803 Trains, I said this.

This article on Economy Class and Beyond is entitled Enter Lumo – The New East Coast Railway Competitor.

It contains a drawing from Lumo,  which shows the layouts of the seats on the train.

    • Coach A – 44 Standard seats – 8 Priority seats – 2 Wheelchair spaces – 2 Tip up seats – Accessible toilet – 56 Total seats
    • Coach B – 84 Standard seats – 12 Priority seats – Bike store – Toilet – 96 Total seats
    • Coach C – 84 Standard seats – 12 Priority seats – 96 Total seats
    • Coach D – 84 Standard seats – 12 Priority seats – Bike store – Toilet – 96 Total seats
    • Coach E – 52 Standard seats – 8 Priority seats – 2 Tip up seats – Accessible toilet – 62 Total seats

Note.

    1. This is a total of 406 seats.
    2. Judging by the position of the tip-up seats they are for staff and perhaps emergency use, if say a coffee gets spilled on a seat.
    3. Each car has a pair of tables, where four can sit. As Lumo’s business model allows early booking, if you and your partner want to take the kids to see granny on her birthday, you should be able to get a table, by booking early.
    4. There are two bike stores in Coaches B and D.

These are some further thoughts.

Toilet Provision

I was on an LNER Class 800 train earlier this week and needed to go to the toilet.

    • I wasn’t sure which way I needed to go, as I couldn’t see a sign pointing me to the toilet, but in the end I struck lucky.
    • You don’t have that problem with Lumo’s trains, as there appears to be a toilet at both ends of the three middle coaches, either in your car or the next.
    • If you’re in one of the driver cars, there is an accessible toilet at the blunt end.

I don’t think anybody will argue with the toilet provision on Lumo’s trains.

Typically a Boeing 737 or an Airbus A320 will have two toilets for about 160 passengers.

Lumo’s trains have two accessible toilets and two ordinary ones for 406 passengers.

Ease Of Boarding

If you want to catch a train at virtually any station in the UK, in most cases, you just turn up something like fifteen minutes before the departure time, present your ticket and get on the train.

Planes used to be like that in the UK, but they aren’t any more.

Catering

In the article in The Times, Matt Lee, who is Lumo’s customer experience director, said they have been free to develop their own systems. He says this about the catering.

Catering will be a Deliveroo-style service: passengers can order M&S or Pret sandwiches in advance and have them delivered to their seat. “We are a testbed for other FirstGroup train operators.

Will they do gluten-free?

Luggage

Lumo have a luggage courier service called LumoLuggage.

Service Expansion

Suppose an airline or a train operating company wants to run additional services to add capacity to a route.

With an airline, they will need to obtain additional take-off and landing slots to fly the route.

But Lumo are running five-car trains on a route, where all the stations can handle nine-car trains and possibly a pair of five-car trains.

So Lumo just add extra cars to the fleet, so that they match the number of cars running on the route to the demand.

The only costs to increase the capacity are those of the extra cars and a proportionate number of extra staff.

Conclusion

I can see this service model being copied by other train operators in other countries.

I’m looking forward to going North on Wednesday.

October 22, 2021 Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Lumo Aims To Be The Green Alternative To Edinburgh – London Flights

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Railway Gazette.

Some points from the article.

Lumo Is Targeting Flyers

This is a paragraph.

Lumo is aiming to carry more than 1 million passengers per year. It is particularly targeting people who currently fly between Edinburgh and London; in June it says there were 74 764 air journeys on the route, compared to 82 002 by rail.

I find it interesting that the number of passengers using air and rail are within nine percent. I thought it would have been more of a difference.

The Service Will Ramp Up

This is a paragraph.

Services will ramp up over a period of months to the planned timetable of five trains each way per day. A small increase is envisaged at the December timetable change, followed by full implementation in Q1 2022.

There is a lot of training to do and some more Class 803 trains to be delivered.

Viability Level

Industry sources are quoted that at the prices charged, the trains will need to be eighty percent full to be viable.

As a Control Engineer, who has built hundreds of mathematical models, I am fairly certain, that by adjusting ticket prices and getting the marketing right, they’ll hit that level.

Late Bookers

The eighty percent viability level probably means that they can afford to leave a few seats available for those that need to book the day before.

Yesterday, when I went to Spalding, I bought my ticket in the Booking Office half-an-hour before travel and got a seat with a window.

Seat allocation algorithms on LNER seem to be very good and I don’t think Lumo’s will be in any way inferior.

Early Bookers

The article says advance tickets can be bought earlier than the usual twelve weeks.

So say you always travel to Scotland for your mother’s birthday, you can buy the ticket early and not be hit by low availability, as it turns out later that Rangers are playing Celtic on the day you travel.

Mutual Support In Case Of Disruption

This is a paragraph.

Reciprocal contracts providing support in case of disruption have been signed with other operators, including LNER.

I think in all the troubles yesterday, that I wrote about in Azumas Everywhere!, LNER could have done with some help yesterday.

Lumo Want To Grow Rail

This is a quote from the company.

We want to grow rail and bring people to a more sustainable, environmentally way of travelling.

They also seem fairly relaxed if you want to travel in First on LNER.

Luggage

This is a paragraph.

Passengers will be able keep their luggage close by or, for an additional charge, have it delivered to their final station or destination.

Does that mean you’re going to Edinburgh to see the family at Christmas and the New Year, you can take a lot of luggage and get it delivered both ways?

Efficient Running North Of Newcastle

I particularly liked this paragraph.

The trainsets will be able to run with power draw limited to 80% of normal on the northern part of the East Coast Main Line where there is limited power supply, with modelling by FirstGroup’s engineers and Network Rail suggesting that for five-car sets this will not affect sectional running times and will allow electric trains to continue running.

If you’re on time, the passengers won’t mind, but the electricity saved is all profit.

As a Control Engineer, my philosophy would be to have an economy mode for 80 % power sections.

  • Trains would enter these sections with a full battery, that had been charged earlier from the electrification.
  • The battery would provide hotel power in these sections.
  • Traction power would come from the electrification.
  • Trains could leave these sections with an almost flat battery.

The battery is not used for traction, but because it is handling the hotel power, less power is drawn from the electrification for traction.

I always remember Freddie Laker was keen on getting his pilots to save fuel.

Charging The Hotel Power Battery

Obviously this can be charged from the overhead electrification, although I doubt they would charge it in sections where power supplies are limited.

But can the battery be charged using regenerative braking?

In Do Class 800/801/802 Trains Use Batteries For Regenerative Braking?, I tried to answer this question using the information in this document on the Hitachi Rail web site, which is entitled Development of Class 800/801 High-speed Rolling Stock for UK Intercity Express Programme , which was published in 2014 and contains this diagram of the traction system.

Note that BC in the diagram stands for battery charger. So even in 2014, Hitachi were thinking about batteries.

In this diagram it seems to me, that electricity for the Auxiliary Power Supply and charging any batteries, can come from these sources.

  • The Electrification
  • The Generator Unit, if fitted
  • The Drive Converter if it can divert regenerative braking energy to the APS.

It is all very comprehensive.

Handling Engineering Blockades

This is a paragraph.

Lumo has looked at how to manage any engineering blockades involving diversions away from the wires, with options including transfers to Hull Trains or TPE services operated using bimode trainsets, transfer to buses if no alternatives are available, and even the cancellation of a service if passengers indicate they would prefer not to travel if their journey will be disrupted.

Being part of a larger group always helps.

Borrowing Trains

Yesterday, whilst waiting to leave Peterborough, I saw a TransPennine Express Class 802 train go through.

Peterborough isn’t exactly near the Pennines!

On checking today, it appears it was running in one of Lumo’s paths.

So was the train being borrowed for training purposes?

But I can envisage, when a difficult blockade say around Newark is to be enacted, that Lumo would borrow a bi-mode from TransPennine Express, so they could use diesel to run the service via Lincoln.

Conclusion

There’s a lot more to Lumo than has so far been disclosed.

In the meantime read the Railway Gazette article, as there’s more there for starters.

September 9, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

All Change As First Class Ditched By New Intercity Rail Service

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on The Times.

These are the first two paragraphs.

Rail bosses signalled the end of the first-class carriage today with plans for a new all-standard intercity train service between London and Edinburgh.

The new budget service will operate on the east coast mainline from October 25, with one-way fares starting from £14.90. In all, 60 per cent of single tickets will be below £30.

I find it interesting that The Times is making the lack of First Class, the most important point in the story.

In Thoughts On Seating In East Coast Trains’ New Class 803 trains, I looked at what the seats could be like and decided they could be generous with lots of tables given the number of seats and the size of the train.

The Times article confirms my analysis.

Having travelled to Liverpool a couple of years ago in Standard Class with two senior guys from Legal and General, I suspect that many business travellers who want to read and chat could turn to East Coast Trains from the airlines.

The article does give some previously-unknown information.

The Service Will Be Called Lumo

The name is unusual, but it is short, memorable and lumo.co.uk was available and is now up and under development as the East Coast Trains web site.

Lumo has also been used for an energy provider, which has now been merged into OVO Energy and is also a video game.

The Service Starts On October 25th

The times are still as I said in Thoughts On Seating In East Coast Trains’ New Class 803 trains, with London and Edinburgh services as follows.

King’s Cross and Edinburgh

  • 05:45 – Arrives 10:10 – 4 hours 25 minutes – Stops at Stevenage
  • 10:45 – Arrives 15:17 – 4 hours 32 minutes
  • 12:18 – Arrives 16:41 – 4 hours 23 minutes – Stops at Stevenage
  • 14:36 – Arrives 19:15 – 4 hours 39 minutes
  • 20:18 – Arrives 00:46 – 4 hours 28 minutes

Edinburgh and King’s Cross

  • 06:14 – Arrives 10:51 – 4 hours 37 minutes
  • 09:11 – Arrives 13:48 – 4 hours 37 minutes
  • 11:14 – Arrives 15:46 – 4 hours 32 minutes
  • 16:12 – Arrives 20:47 – 4 hours 35 minutes – Stops at Stevenage
  • 19:58 – Arrives 01:05 – 5 hours 7 minutes – Stops at Stevenage

Note.

  1. Times appear to be in-line with those of LNER.
  2. East Coast Trains’ objective of arriving by 10:00 is not met.
  3. Paths exist for East Coast Trains from the 7th June.

I got these times from Real Time Trains.

The Lumo Web Site

I have also tried to book a ticket on their web site.

They accept Railcards and I was able to get a one-way ticket for £13.30. But as the site doesn’t appear to be complete, I didn’t buy the ticket.

But if you can go between London and Edinburgh for £13.30, that is certainly good value.

The First Group Press Release

This Press Release from First Group gives more details and was the source of The Times article.

September 7, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 5 Comments

New Rail Service From Newcastle To Edinburgh To Stop At These Northumberland Stations

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Chronicle Live.

Details of the service are as follows.

  • It will be run by TransPennine Express.
  • It starts in December 2021.
  • It will run five times per day (tpd)
  • It will call at Cramlington, Morpeth, Widdrington, Alnmouth, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Reston and Dunbar.

It is planned to run at least until May 2023.

These are my thoughts.

What Trains Will TransPennine Express Use?

The service will probably need a single train, if it was run by a dedicated fleet of trains, that just shuttled between Edinburgh and Newcastle. TransPennine could use either an electric  Class 802 train or a diesel Class 185 train.

The diesel train might not be a good idea for operational reasons as TransPennine’s current services to Newcastle and Edinburgh use Class 802 trains.

But this service wouldn’t need a Class 802 train, as the route is fully electrified, so TransPennine might use a Class 800 train, if one were available from another company in the First Group.

TransPennine could also extend selected Manchester Airport and Newcastle services to Edinburgh, which might be the most efficient ways of using both trains and platforms in Newcastle.

This would give those using the intermediate stations between Edinburgh and Newcastle a service to and from Manchester Airport and the intervening stations, with a change at Newcastle, which would involve staying on the same train.

I’d organise the service as five tpd between Manchester Airport and Edinburgh with calls at Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Oxford Road, Manchester Victoria, Huddersfield, Dewsbury, Leeds, York, Northallerton, Darlington, Durham, Chester-le-Street, Newcastle, Cramlington, Morpeth, Widdrington, Alnmouth, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Reston and Dunbar.

The big advantage of this, is that TransPennine could use the existing Class 802 trains, although they may need one more.

Reston Station

It looks like it will be a much needed service, that will get the new Reston station up and running.

I suspect that,  passenger numbers at Reston station will determine the calling pattern after May 2023.

Will Other Services Continue?

TransPennine Express only has one service that stops between Newcastle and Edinburgh and that is the hourly service between Liverpool Lime Street and Edinburgh stations and that only stops at Morpeth.

I doubt this service will be changed, although after May 2023, it may make some extra stops depending on passenger numbers on the new service.

It should be noted that CrossCountry and LNER call irregularly at Alnmouth, Berwick-upon-Tweed and Dunbar.

As LNER are in rather a mess over their new timetable, I suspect that after May 2023, there could be a bit of a sort out of services.

How Will The New Service Fit With The Reopened Northumberland Line?

Initially the Northumberland Line will run as far as Ashington and won’t open until 2023 at the earliest.

But plans exist to extend the Northumberland Line to Morpeth.

The new service would fit well with an extended Northumberland Line service.

How Will The New Service Fit With East Coast Trains New London And Edinburgh Service?

East Coast Trains will be running a new Open Access service between London and Edinburgh from this autumn.

  • It will have a frequency of 5 tpd.
  • It will stop at Newcastle, Morpeth and Stevenage.
  • It will offer one way fares of £25.

East Coast Trains are another First Group company.

As both services are five tpd in both directions, will the two services co-ordinate stops, so that passengers between say London and Reston can take advantage?

Going North, the stopping train could follow the East Coast Trains express and going South the stopping train would be a few minutes in front of the express.

This would also help with maximising capacity between Edinburgh and Newcastle on the busy East Coast Main Line.

Conclusion

This new stopping service between Edinburgh and Newcastle looks to be a simple solution to improve passenger services for intermediate stations between the two important cities.

 

September 3, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Day Trip On East Coast Trains

Over the years, I’ve done plenty of day trips to Scotland.

In the days of Artemis, I would regularly go North to sort out a problem and since I’ve retired, I’ve gone North for various reasons.

Usually, now I take the sleeper and then come back on the last train. After all, if I fall asleep travelling to King’s Cross, I would hope I get chucked out by staff and can take a ten-minute taxi home.

But in a few weeks, there will be another practical way.

  • Take the 05:45 from King’s Cross and arrive in Edinburgh at 10:10.
  • The last train home leaves Edinburgh at 19:58 and arrives in London at 01:05 on the next day.

And all for a total fare of £50 courtesy of East Coast Trains.

There will also be corresponding trains that run in the opposite direction.

  • Take the 06:14 from Edinburgh and arrive in King’s Cross at 10:51.
  • The last train North leaves King’s Cross at 20:18 and arrives in Edinburgh at 00:46 on the next day.

Combining one of East Coast Train’s services with a sleeper must surely give some interesting possibilities.

August 6, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Should All High Speed Long Distance Services To Newcastle Extend To Edinburgh?

Look at this Google Map of Newcastle station.

Note.

  1. It is built on a curve.
  2. It is on a cramped site.
  3. Platforms are numbered from 1 at the top to 8 at the bottom.
  4. Platform 2 seems to be used for all express services going North.
  5. Platforms 3 and 4 seem to be used for all express services going South.
  6. Not all platforms would appear to be long enough for nine-car Class 80x trains.

I am certain, that any nation with a sophisticated railway system wouldn’t build a station on a curve with no avoiding lines like Newcastle these days.

Network Rail have a plan to sort out Darlington station and I’m sure they’d like to sort out Newcastle as well!

Current Long Distance Trains Through And To Newcastle

These include.

  • CrossCountry – Plymouth and Edinburgh or Glasgow via Alnmouth, Berwick-upon-Tweed and Dunbar.
  • CrossCountry – Southampton Central or Reading and Newcastle.
  • LNER – King’s Cross and Edinburgh via Berwick-upon-Tweed
  • LNER – King’s Cross and Edinburgh via Alnmouth
  • TransPennine Express – Liverpool Lime Street and Edinburgh via Morpeth
  • TransPennine Express – Manchester Airport and Newcastle.

Note.

  1. All have a frequency of one train per hour (tph)
  2. All trains call at Newcastle.
  3. Two tph terminate at Newcastle and four tph terminate at Edinburgh or beyond.

There is also a new and Edinburgh service from East Coast Trains, that will start this year.

  • It will run five trains per day (tpd).
  • It will call at Newcastle.
  • It will stop at Morpeth between Newcastle and Edinburgh.

There will also be High Speed Two services to Newcastle in a few years.

  • There will be two tph between Euston and Newcastle
  • There will be one tph between Birmingham Curzon Street and Newcastle.

Note.

  1. All services will be run by 200 metre long High Speed Two Classic-Compatible trains.
  2. There is no High Speed Two service to Newcastle, that calls at Leeds.
  3. Only one High Speed Two service to Newcastle calls at East Midlands Hub.

I suspect High Speed Two services need a dedicated platform at Newcastle, especially, if another High Speed Two service were to be added.

Extra Paths For LNER

In the December 2020 Edition of Modern Railways, there is an article, which is entitled LNER Seeks 10 More Bi-Modes.

This is the last paragraph.

Infrastructure upgrades are due to prompt a timetable recast in May 2022 (delayed from December 2021), from which point LNER will operate 6.5 trains per hour out of King’s Cross, compared to five today. As an interim measure  LNER is retaining seven rakes of Mk. 4 coaches hauled by 12 Class 91 locomotives to supplement the Azuma fleet and support its timetable ambitions until new trains are delivered.

There would certainly appear to be a path available if LNER wanted to increase the frequency of trains between King’s Cross and Edinburgh from the current two trains per hour (tph) to three.

I laid out how I would use this third path to Edinburgh in A New Elizabethan.

The Possible Long Distance Trains Through And To Newcastle

These trains can be summed up as follows.

  • 1 tph – CrossCountry – Plymouth and Edinburgh or Glasgow via Alnmouth, Berwick-upon-Tweed and Dunbar.
  • 1 tph – CrossCountry – Southampton Central or Reading and Newcastle.
  • 1 tph – LNER – King’s Cross and Edinburgh via Berwick-upon-Tweed
  • 1 tph – LNER – King’s Cross and Edinburgh via Alnmouth
  • 1 tph – TransPennine Express – Liverpool Lime Street and Edinburgh via Morpeth
  • 1 tph – TransPennine Express – Manchester Airport and Newcastle.
  • 5 tpd – East Coast Trains – King’s Cross and Edinburgh via Morpeth
  • 2 tph – High Speed Two – Euston and Newcastle
  • 1 tph – High Speed Two – Birmingham Curzon Street and Newcastle
  • 1 tph – LNER – King’s Cross and Edinburgh – Extra service

This is ten tph and the five tpd of East Coast Trains.

Capacity Between Newcastle And Edinburgh

I wonder what capacity and linespeed would be possible on the East Coast Main Line between Newcastle and Edinburgh.

There are a few freight trains and some suburban electrics at the Northern end, but I suspect that the route could handle ten tph with some upgrades.

Edinburgh As A Terminal

Consider.

  • Not all trains terminate at Edinburgh, but several tpd go through to places like Aberdeen, Glasgow, Inverness and Stirling.
  • Edinburgh has several shorter East-facing bay platforms, that can take five-car Class 802 trains.
  • Edinburgh has undergone a lot of reconstruction in recent years, so that it can turn more trains.

I very much feel that Edinburgh could handle, at least ten tph from the South.

Conclusion

I think it would be possible to extend all trains to Newcastle to at least Edinburgh.

Would it increase passenger capacity between the two capitals?

It would certainly avoid the difficult and expensive rebuilding at Newcastle station.

 

 

 

May 30, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Thoughts On Seating In East Coast Trains’ New Class 803 trains

This page on RailAdvent contains this YouTube video of one of East Coast Trains’ New Class 803 trains under test.

 

On this page on the First Group web site, they give some details of the service.

  • Five trains per day, seven days per week in both directions.
  • One class of travel
  • Offer tickets at an average price of less than £25.
  • At seat catering on every train.
  • Introduce an additional 1.5 million seats on the route every year.

They also expect 80 % of passengers to be new to rail.

The internet doesn’t give the number of seats on the train, so I will estimate a number.

The number of trains per year will be at least 365 * 2  * 5, which is an easy 3650 trains.

Dividing this into 1.5 million gives 410.9 seats per train. I’ll call that 411.

After I made that estimate, I found this page on the Beacon Rail Leasing web site.

It gives this information.

  • Power – 4.5 MW
  • Speed – 125 mph
  • Passenger Capacity – 400
  • Weight – 228.5 tonnes

Using the figure of 400 passengers and 3650 trains per year, that gives a total number of 1,460,000 passengers per year, which is probably within the margin of error for the arithmetic of marketing experts.

If you watch the video, the following can be ascertained.

  • The two driver cars have six large windows each.
  • The three centre cars have nine large windows each.
  • It looks like the seating in the train is three on one side and two on the other.

This picture shows the Standard Class seating bay layout on a Great Western Railway Class 802 train.

 

Note.

  1. The seats are arranged either side of the window.
  2. There are lots of tables.
  3. If the blind was up, passengers will get a good view.

If as I surmised from the video, seating is two+three and there are 39 bays, that means that the train has a base seating capacity of 390 seats.

That leaves ten seats to find places for, or just two per car.

With two+two seating, there would be 312 seats in the bays under windows, so there would be a need to fit in another 86 seats.

It appears to me that to meet their objective of 1.5 million additional seats that a two+three layout is needed.

But it could be that most passengers will get a proper table and possibly reasonable leg room. Try getting that on a budget airline!

A Few Questions

These are a few questions.

When Will The Service Start?

Your guess is as good as mine, but First Group are saying Autumn 2021.

Is The Service Geared For Group Or Family Travel?

Each train has thirty-nine groups of six seats and the same number of groups of four seats.

If say it was granny’s birthday in Edinburgh or a group of six friends were going to Scotland-England at Murrayfield, the layout would accommodate groups and families well.

They certainly need a good seat allocation algorithm.

Will I Be Able To Use My Railcard?

I would suspect not!

But then it would only save £8.33!

What About Delay Repay?

This will be automatic! I can’t ever be bothered to claim otherwise!

Will There Be Disabled Toilets?

It’s the law! But I have seen some much smaller ones that are well-designed and meet all aspects of the law in some new trains, so I would expect to find innovative designs.

Will There Be Single Seats?

I can sleep anywhere and regularly find myself returning to London curled in the corner of my seat fast asleep.

A single seat in the corner of the carriage might be ideal for some passengers.

Will Everybody Get A Table?

If I’m right about each seating bay having a table, then it would look like around ninety-seven percent of passengers would get a proper table. Not big enough for a copy of the Daily Telegraph, but they should have enough space for a laptop and/or a few beers.

What Food And Drink Will Be Offered?

I suspect, it will mainly be drinks and snacks like crisps or nutrition bars, which can be easily served from a trolley.

It should be noted that the three major stations on the route King’s Cross, Newcastle and Edinburgh all have a good selection of places to buy a carry-on!

But unlike at an airport, I suspect passengers won’t turn up two or three hours before departure, so will be unlikely to eat before departure.

I do think, that we could see improvements in the food offerings for taking on the train at Stevenage and Morpeth.

East Coast Trains may also contribute to the development of carry-on shops at some stations.

Will The Trains Accept Bicycles?

This is a tricky one and personally I feel that offering a decent bike hire service could be better value all round.

Using The Fleet Of Five Trains

Wikipedia and other sources indicate that the fleet is just five trains.

We know these facts or proposals.

  • King’s Cross and Edinburgh are 393.15 miles apart.
  • LNER run trains between King’s Cross and Edinburgh in four hours and twenty minutes (4 stops) and four hours and forty minutes (9 stops)
  • The record time between King’s Cross and Edinburgh was set in 1991 by a shortened all-electric InterCity 225 train at three hours twenty-nine minutes  and thirty seconds, which represented an average speed of 112.5 mph.
  • Trains start leaving King’s Cross and Edinburgh about 05:45.
  • The Werrington Dive-Under will, be completed in 2021.
  • The King’s Cross Remodelling should be completed this year.
  • Full digital in-cab signalling is being installed between King’s Cross and Doncaster. This will allow 140 mph running and as a Control Engineer, I believe it could ease the bottlenecks at Newark and over the Digswell Viaduct.
  • East Coast Trains’ Class 803 trains appear to have been designed for sparkling acceleration.
  • East Coast Trains will only make three stops.
  • East Coast Trains intend to compete with the budget airlines.
  • East Coast Trains intend their first train to arrive in London by 10:00. Does that mean Edinburgh as well?

I have just checked on Real Time Trains and this East Coast Trains timetable can be found.

King’s Cross and Edinburgh

  • 05:45 – Arrives 10:10 – 4 hours 25 minutes – Stops at Stevenage
  • 10:45 – Arrives 15:17 – 4 hours 32 minutes
  • 12:18 – Arrives 16:41 – 4 hours 23 minutes – Stops at Stevenage
  • 14:36 – Arrives 19:15 – 4 hours 39 minutes
  • 20:18 – Arrives 00:46 – 4 hours 28 minutes

Edinburgh and King’s Cross

  • 06:14 – Arrives 10:51 – 4 hours 37 minutes
  • 09:11 – Arrives 13:48 – 4 hours 37 minutes
  • 11:14 – Arrives 15:46 – 4 hours 32 minutes
  • 16:12 – Arrives 20:47 – 4 hours 35 minutes – Stops at Stevenage
  • 19:58 – Arrives 01:05 – 5 hours 7 minutes – Stops at Stevenage

Note.

  1. Times appear to be in-line with those of LNER.
  2. East Coast Trains’ objective of arriving by 10:00 is not met.
  3. Paths exist for East Coast Trains from the 7th June.

I believe this timetable is based on what is possible today without the improvements at King’s Cross and Werrington, and the digital signalling.

What Could Be Possible?

Consider.

  • The improvements that are underway will help to reduce journey times.
  • I also believe that by being clever, East Coast Trains could reduce turn-round times at King’s Cross and Edinburgh.

I think it is likely, that East Coast Trains could probably run between King’s Cross and Edinburgh in a time of around four hours.

I can also see a turn-round time of five minutes, if East Coast Trains use all their First Group experience.

Could this mean, a train starting from King’s Cross doing the following trips in a day?

  • 05:50 – King’s Cross to Edinburgh – Arrives 09:50
  • 09:55 – Edinburgh to King’s Cross – Arrives 13:55
  • 14:00 – King’s Cross to Edinburgh – Arrives 18:00
  • 18:05 – Edinburgh to King’s Cross – Arrives 22:05
  • 22:10 – King’s Cross to Edinburgh – Arrives 02:10

Note.

  1. A second train would mirror this time-table starting in Edinburgh.
  2. Every minute saved on each journey between King’s Cross and Edinburgh will bring the final arrival forward.
  3. There is tremendous potential to speed up services.

This time-table would be straight out of Michael O’Leary’s notebook about making assets sweat.

Conclusion

I think that East Coast Trains have done a Ryanair and designed the train to accommodate the maximum number of passengers. But the quoted £25 fare does appear to be good value.

I am certain that two+three seating will be used.

May 28, 2021 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 10 Comments