The Anonymous Widower

Rumours Grow Over Future Of HS2

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

This is the first paragraph.

The future of HS2 appears to be increasingly in doubt, as reports suggest that the forthcoming Oakervee Review will axe Phase 2b between the West Midlands and Yorkshire and possibly cancel the project entirely.

The article also says this about the first phase of the project.

Another possibility is that Phase 1 between London and Birmingham could be built more cheaply by lowering the maximum speed from the presently-planned 250km/h. Such a reduction would reduce the new line’s capacity and lengthen journey times but still ease the pressure on the West Coast Main Line, where paths are in short supply.

There are three suggestions in these two paragraphs and before I discuss them, I’ll detail the various phases of the project as they are current proposed.

The Phases Of High Speed Two

High Speed Two will be two phases with the second phase split into two.

  • Phase 1 – London and the West Midlands
  • Phase 2a – West Midlands and Crewe
  • Phase 2b – Crewe and Manchester and West Midlands and Leeds

The plan improves links between London and several major cities in the Midlands and North.

Northern Powerhouse Rail

I am a great believer in holistic design and in the economies of doing several similar projects together or in a well-defined sequence, that delivers benefits in a stream.

For that reason, I believe that the equally-important Northern Powerhouse Rail should be designed in conjunction with High Speed Two, to achieve the following objectives.

  • A better railway, that connects more towns and cities.
  • A phased delivery of benefits.
  • Possible cost savings.

This report on the Transport for the North web site which is entitled At A Glance – Northern Powerhouse Rail, advocates a much better approach.

  • High Speed Two would go from Crewe to Hull via Warrington, Manchester Airport, Manchester Piccadilly, Huddersfield, Bradford and Leeds.
  • Northern Powerhouse Rail would go from Liverpool to Hull via Warrington, Manchester Airport, Manchester Piccadilly, Huddersfield, Bradford and Leeds.
  • There would be a double junction at High Legh between Liverpool and Manchester, that connects the two routes.
  • London and Liverpool services would use the Western end of Northern Powerhouse Rail from High Legh.
  • There would be improvements East of Leeds to connect to Sheffield and the East Coast Main Line.

This map shows the high speed railways between Crewe, Liverpool, Manchester and Warrington.

I discussed, what has been proposed by Transport of the North in Changes Signalled For HS2 Route In North.

Cutting High Speed Two To An Affordable Budget

I’ll take the three suggestions in the Rail News article.

Suggestion One – Cancel The Project

This is actually the second suggestion, but I think the article kills it in the second paragraph, that I quoted, when it says that High Speed Two is needed to ease pressure on the West Coast Main Line.

Cancellation would probably be a vote loser and a big stick with which to beat Boris, if he brought forward any environmental proposals.

I doubt cancellation will happen, unless we get someone like Nigel Farage as Prime Minister.

Suggestion Two – Cancel Phase 2b Between The West Midlands And Yorkshire

This clip of a map from the Transport for the North report shows a schematic of the rail links to the East of Manchester.

Northern Powerhouse Rail would offer a lot of improvements, which are shown in purple.

There are also these projects that will improve trains to and from Yorkshire.

  • Northern Powerhouse Rail between Liverpool and Hull via Manchester Airport, Manchester Piccadilly, Huddersfield, Bradford and Leeds.
  • A possible connection between Northern Powerhouse Rail and High Speed Two at High Legh.
  • Midland Main Line upgrade with 125 mph bi-mode trains between London and Sheffield.
  • 140 mph running on the East Coast Main Line between London and Doncaster and onward to Bradford, Hull, Leeds and York.

I’ll add a few more flesh to the points.

High Speed Two To Hull

If High Speed Two connects to Northern Powerhouse Rail at High Legh it will join everything together.

  • High Speed Two trains would run between London and Hull via Birmingham, Crewe, Manchester Airport, Manchester Piccadilly, Huddersfield, Bradford and Leeds.
  • Very expensive infrastructure would be shared between High Speed Two and Northern Powerhouse Rail.
  • Leeds and Manchester would be just twenty minutes apart, with trains from both lines on the same tracks.
  • Hull station has the space to handle the trains.

Combining the two routes should save billions.

Midland Main Line To Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley, Wakefield And Leeds

This is already ptoposed for the Midland Main Line.

  • New stations will be built at Rotherham and Barnsley.
  • Four fast trains per hour between Sheffield and Leeds can be delivered.
  • 125 mph bi-mode trains to Yorkshire via the East Midlands.

But what about the following?

  • Could the Erewash Valley Line be used instead of a new High Speed Two line between the East Midlands and Sheffield?
  • Could the Midland Main Line be electrified and upgraded to 140 mph running like the East Coast Main Line?

Similar connectivity to that of High Speed Two can be created at a lower cost.

Cancellation of the Eastern Leg of Phase 2b would mean there would be no improved link between the West and East Midlands.

Perhaps, the Eastern leg of High Speed Two, would run only to the proposed East Midlands Hub station at Toton.

Increasing Capacity On The East Coast Main Line

In Thoughts On A 140 mph East Coast Main Line Between London And Doncaster, I did a crude calculation to see how many extra trains could be run between London and Doncaster on a digitally signalled 140 mph East Coast Main Line.

This was my conclusion.

If something similar to what I have proposed is possible, it looks like as many as an extra seven tph can be accommodated between Kings Cross and the North.

That is certainly worth having.

Extra trains could be run between Kings Cross and Bradford, Hull, Leeds, Nottingham and Sheffield.

Estimated timings would be eighty minutes to Doncaster and under two hours to Leeds.

Suggestion Three – Reduce Speed In Phase 1

There is always a tendency for project promoters to make sure their project is the biggest and the best.

There will be an optimum speed for a London and Birmingham high speed line, which balances benefits, costs, noise and disturbance. One politician’s optimum will also be very different to another’s.

Such parameters like operating speed and capacity must be chosen with care.

Conclusion

I believe, that we need the capacity of both High Speed Two and Northern Powerhouse Rail  to move passengers and freight.

So we should design them together and with other improvements like the Midland Main Line and the East Coast Main Line.

 

 

October 13, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

HS2 Railway To Be Delayed By Up To Five Years

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

These first few paragraphs indicate the current situation.

The first phase of the HS2 high-speed railway between London and Birmingham will be delayed by up to five years, Transport Minister Grant Shapps says.

That section of the line was due to open at the end of 2026, but it could now be between 2028 and 2031 before the first trains run on the route.

HS2’s total cost has also risen from £62bn to between £81bn and £88bn, but Mr Shapps said he was keeping an “open mind” about the project’s future.

The second phase has also been delayed.

What are the short term consequences of this delay in the building of High Speed Two?

  • No Capacity Increase Between London And Birmingham., until three or five years later.
  • Capacity increases to Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham and Preston will probably be five years or more later.

Are there any other things we can do to in the meantime to make the shortfall less damaging to the economy?

East Coast Main Line

Much of the East Coast Main Line (ECML) has been designed for 140 mph running. Wikipedia puts it like this..

Most of the length of the ECML is capable of 140 mph subject to certain infrastructure upgrades.

Wikipedia also says that Greengauge 21 believe that Newcastle and London timings using the shorter route could be comparable to those using HS2.

Track And Signalling Improvements

There are a number of improvements that can be applied to the ECML, with those at the Southern end summed up by this paragraph from Wikipedia.

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.

Currently, services between London and Edinburgh take between twenty and forty minutes over four hours.

Who would complain if some or even all services took four hours?

To help the four hour target to be achieved Network Rail are also doing the following.

  • Building the Werrington Dive-under.
  • Remodelling the station throat at Kings Cross.
  • Adding extra tracks between Huntingdon and Woodwalton.
  • Devising a solution for the flat junction at Newark.

Every little helps and all these improvements will allow faster and extra services along the ECML.

Obviously, running between London and Edinburgh in four hours has implications for other services.

In Changes Signalled For HS2 Route In North, I said this.

Currently, the fastest non-stop trains between London and Doncaster take a few minutes over ninety minutes. With 140 mph trains, I think the following times are easily possible.

  • London and Doncaster – 80 minutes
  • London and Hull  – A few minutes over two hours, running via Selby.
  • London and Leeds – A few minutes less than two hours, running on the Classic route.

For comparison High Speed Two is quoting 81 minutes for London Euston and Leeds, via Birmingham and East Midlands Hub.

I suspect that North of Doncaster, improving timings will be more difficult, due to the slower nature of the route, but as services will go between Edinburgh and London in four hours, there must be some improvements to be made.

  • Newcastle – Current time is 170 minutes, with High Speed Two predicting 137 minutes. My best estimate shows that on an improved ECML, times of under 150 minutes should be possible.
  • York – Current time is 111 minutes, with High Speed Two predicting 84 minutes. Based on the Newcastle time, something around 100 minutes should be possible.

In Wikipedia,  Greengauge 21 are quoted as saying.

Upgrading the East Coast Main Line to 140 mph operation as a high priority alongside HS2 and to be delivered without delay. Newcastle London timings across a shorter route could closely match those achievable by HS2.

My estimate shows a gap of thirteen minutes, but they have better data than I can find on the Internet.

Filling Electrification Gaps East Of Leeds And Between Doncaster And Sheffield

In Changes Signalled For HS2 Route In North, I said this.

These are the lines East of Leeds.

  • A connection to the East Coast Main Line for York, Newcastle and Edinburgh.
  • An extension Eastwards to Hull.

These would not be the most expensive sub-project, but they would give the following benefits, when they are upgraded.

  • Electric trains between Hull and Leeds.
  • Electric trains between Hull and London.
  • Electric access to Neville Hill Depot from York and the North.
  • An electric diversion route for the East Coast Main Line between York and Doncaster.
  • The ability to run electric trains between London and Newcastle/Edinburgh via Leeds.

Hull and Humberside will be big beneficiaries.

In addition, the direct route between Doncaster and Sheffield should be electrified.

This would allow the following.

  • LNER expresses to run on electricity between London and Sheffield, if they were allowed to run the route.
  • Sheffield’s tram-trains could reach Doncaster and Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

A collateral benefit would be that it would bring 25 KVAC power to Sheffield station.

Better Use Of Trains

LNER are working the trains harder and will be splitting and joining trains, so that only full length trains run into Kings Cross, which will improve capacity..

Capacity might also be increased, if Cambridge, Kings Lynn and Peterborough services were run with 125 mph or even 140 mph trains. GWR is already doing this, to improve efficiency between Paddington and Reading.

Faster Freight Trains

Rail Operations Group has ordered Class 93 locomotives, which are hybrid and capable of hauling some freight trains at 110 mph.

Used creatively, these might create more capacity on the ECML.

Could the East Coast Main Line be the line that keeps on giving?

Especially in the area of providing faster services to Lincoln, Hull, Leeds, Huddersfield,Bradford Newcastle and Edinburgh.

Conclusion On East Coast Main Line

There is a lot of scope to create a high capacity, 140 mph line between London and Edinburgh.

An Upgraded Midland Main Line

Plans already exist to run 125 mph bi-mode Hitachi trains on the Midland Main Line between London and Leicester, Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield.

But could more be done in the short term on this line.

Electrification Between Clay Cross North Junction And Sheffield

This 15.5 mile section of the Midland Main Line will be shared with High Speed Two.

It should be upgraded to High Speed Two standard as soon as possible.

This would surely save a few minutes between London and Sheffield.

140 mph Running

The Hitachi bi-modes are capable of 140 mph,  if the signalling is digital and in-cab.

Digital signalling is used by the Class 700 trains running on Thameslink, so would there be time savings to be made by installing digital signalling on the Midland Main Line, especially as it would allow 140 mph running, if the track was fast enough.

Extension From Sheffield To Leeds Via New Stations At Rotherham And Barnsley

Sheffield and Transport for the North are both keen on this project and it would have the following benefits.

  • Rotherham and Barnsley get direct trains to and from London.
  • A fast service with a frequency of four trains per hour (tph) could run between Leeds and Sheffield in a time of twenty-eight minutes.

This extension will probably go ahead in all circumstances.

Use Of The Erewash Valley Line

The Erewash Valley Line is a route, that connects the Midland Main Line to Chesterfield and Sheffield, by bypassing Derby.

It has recently been upgraded and from my helicopter, it looks that it could be faster than the normal route through Derby and the World Heritage Site of the Derwent Valley Mills.

The World Heritage Site would probably make electrification of the Derby route difficult, but could some Sheffield services use the relatively straight Erewash Valley Line to save time?

Faster Services Between London And Sheffield

When East Midlands Railway receive their new Hitachi bi-mode trains, will the company do what their sister company; Greater Anglia is doing on the London and Norwich route and increase the number of hourly services from two to three?

If that is done, would the third service be a faster one going at speed, along the Erewash Valley Line?

I suspect that it could have a timing of several minutes under two hours.

Conclusion On An Upgraded Midland Main Line

There are various improvements and strategies, that can be employed to turn the Midland Main Line into a High Speed Line serving Leicester, Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield.

West Coast Main Line

The West Coast Main Line is not such a fruitful line for improvement, as is the East Coast Main Line.

Digital signalling, 140 mph running and faster freight trains, may allow a few more trains to be squeezed into the busy main line.

Increasing Capacity Between London and Birmingham New Street

I’ve seen increased capacity between London and Birmingham quoted as one of the reasons for the building of High Speed Two.

Currently, both Virgin Trains and West Midlands Trains, have three tph between London and Birmingham New Street.

  • This is probably not enough capacity.
  • The line between Birmingham New Street and Coventry stations is probably at capacity.

These points probably mean more paths between London and Birmingham are needed.

High Speed Two is planned to provide the following services between London and Birmingham after Phase 2 opens.

  • Three tph – London and Birmingham Curzon Street stations via Old Oak Common and Birmingham Interchange (2 tph)
  • Fourteen tph – London and Birmingham Interchange via Old Oak Common.

That is a massive amount of extra capacity between London and Birmingham.

  • It might be possible to squeeze another train into each hour.
  • Trains could be lengthened.
  • Does Birmingham New Street station have the capacity?

But it doesn’t look like the West Coast Main Line can provide much extra capacity between London and Birmingham.

Increasing Capacity Between London and Liverpool Lime Street

Over the last couple of years, Liverpool Lime Street station has been remodelled and the station will now be able to handle two tph from London, when the timetable is updated in a year or so.

Digital signalling of the West Coast Main Line would help.

Increasing Capacity Between London and Manchester Piccadilly

Manchester Piccadilly station uses two platforms for three Virgin Trains services per hour to and from London.

These platforms could both handle two tph, so the station itself is no barrier to four tph between London and Manchester.

Paths South to London could be a problem, but installing digital signalling on the West Coast Main Line would help.

Conclusion On The West Coast Main Line

Other improvements may be needed, but the major update of the West Coast Main Line, that would help, would be to use digital signalling to squeeze more capacity out of the route.

The Chiltern Main Line

Could the Chiltern Main Line be used to increase capacity between London and Birmingham?

Currently, there are hourly trains between Birmingham Moor Street and Snow Hill stations and London.

As each train has about 420 seats, compared to the proposed 1,100 of the High Speed Two trains, the capacity is fairly small.

Increasing capacity on the route is probably fairly difficult.

Digital Signalling

This could be used to create more paths and allow more trains to run between London and Bitmingham.

Electrification

The route is not electrified, but electrifying the 112 mile route would cause massive disruption.

Capacity At Marylebone Station

Marylebone station probably doesn’t have the capacity for more rains.

Conclusion On The Chiltern Main Line

I don’t think that there is much extra capacity available on the Chiltern Main Line between London and Birmingham.

Conclusion

I have looked at the four main routes that could help make up the shortfall caused by the delay to High Speed Two.

  • Planned improvements to the East Coast Main Line could provide valuable extra capacity to Leeds and East Yorkshire.
  • The Midland Main Line will increase capacity to the East Midlands and South Yorkshire, when it gets new trains in a couple of years.
  • Planned improvements to the West Coast Main Line could provide valuable extra capacity to North West England.
  • The Chiltern Main Line probably has little place to play.

As Birmingham has been planning for High Speed Two to open in 2026, some drastic rethinking must be done to ensure that London and Birmingham have enough rail capacity from that date.

 

 

 

September 4, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hydrogen Trains To Be Trialled On The Midland Main Line

This article on Railway Gazette is entitled Bimode And Hydrogen Trains As Abellio Wins Next East Midlands Franchise.

Abellio will be taking over the franchise in August this year and although bi-mode trains were certain to be introduced in a couple of years, the trialling of hydrogen-powered trains is a surprise to me and possibly others.

This is all that is said in the article.

Abellio will also trial hydrogen fuel cell trains on the Midland Main Line.

It also says, that the new fleet will not be announced until the orders are finalised.

In this post, I’m assuming that the hydrogen trial will be performed using the main line trains.

Trains for the Midland Main Line will need to have the following properties

  • 125 mph on electric power
  • 125 mph on diesel power
  • Ability to go at up to 140 mph, when idigital n-cab signalling is installed and the track is improved.
  • UK gauge
  • Ability to run on hydrogen at a future date.

I think there could be three types of train.

  • A traditional bi-mode multiple unit, with underfloor engines like the Hitachi Class 800 series, is obviously a possibility.
  • An electrical multiple unit, where one driving car is replaced by a bi-mode locomotive with appropriate power.
  • Stadler or another manufacturer might opt for a train with a power pack in the middle.

The second option would effectively be a modern InterCity 225.

  • South of Kettering, electricity would be used.
  • North of Kettering, diesel would be used
  • Hydrogen power could replace diesel power at some future date.
  • Design could probably make the two cabs and their driving desks identical.
  • The locomotive would be interchangeable with a driver car.

Bi-modes would work most services, with electric versions working to Corby at 125 mph.

Which manufacturer has a design for a 125 mph, hydrogen-powered train?

Alstom

Alstom have no 125 mph UK multiple unit and their Class 321 Hydogen train, is certainly not a 125 mph train and probably will still be under development.

Bombardier

In Mathematics Of A Bi-Mode Aventra With Batteries, I compared diesel and hydrogen-power on bi-mode Aventras and felt that hydrogen could be feasible.

In that post, I wrote a section called Diesel Or Hydrogen Power?, where I said this.

Could the better ambience be, because the train doesn’t use noisy and polluting diesel power, but clean hydrogen?

It’s a possibility, especially as Bombardier are Canadian, as are Ballard, who produce hydrogen fuel-cells with output between 100-200 kW.

Ballard’s fuel cells power some of London’s hydrogen buses.

The New Routemaster hybrid bus is powered by a 138 kW Cummins ISBe diesel engine and uses a 75 kWh lithium-ion battery, with the bus being driven by an electric motor.

If you sit in the back of one of these buses, you can sometimes hear the engine stop and start.

In the following calculations, I’m going to assume that the bi-mode |Aventra with batteries has a power source, that can provide up to 200 kW, in a fully-controlled manner

Ballard can do this power output with hydrogen and I’m sure that to do it with a diesel engine and alternator is not the most difficult problem in the world.

So are Bombardier designing the Bi-Mode Aventra With Batteries, so that at a later date it can be changed from diesel to hydrogen power?

All an Aventra needs to run is electricity and the train, the onboard staff and passengers don’t care whether it comes from overhead wires, third-rail, batteries, diesel or hydrogen.

Bombardier  also have the technology for my proposed locomotive-based solution, where one driver-car of an Aventra is replaced by what is effectively a locomotive.

If Bombardier have a problem, it is that they have no small diesel train to replace Abellio’s small diesel trains. Could the longer services use the bi-mode Aventras and the shorter ones Aventras with battery power?

CAF

CAF probably have the technology, but there would be a lot of development work to do.

Hitachi

Hitachi have the bi-mode trains in the Class 802 trains, but haven’t as yet disclosed a hydrogen train.

Siemens

They’ve made a few noises, but I can’t see them producing a bi-mode train for 2022.

Stadler

In a few weeks time, I will be having a ride in a Stadler-built Class 755 train, run by Abellio Greater Anglia.

The Class 755 train is a bi-mode 100 mph train, from Stadler’s Flirt family.

Could it be stretched to a 125 mph train?

  • Stadler have built 125 mph electric Flirts.
  • It is my view, that Stadler have the knowledge to make 125 mph trains work.
  • Flirts are available in any reasonable length.
  • I’ve read that bi-mode and electric Flirts are very similar for drivers and operators.

These could work the Midland Main Line.

If the mainline version is possible, then Abellio could replace all their smaller diesel trains with appropriate Class 755 trains, just as they will be doing in East Anglia.

Stadler with the launch of the Class 93 locomotive, certainly have the technology for a locomotive-based solution.

East Midlands Railway would be an all-Stadler Flirt fleet.

As to hydrogen, Stadler are supplying hydrogen-powered trains for the Zillertalbahn, as I wrote in Zillertalbahn Orders Stadler Hydrogen-Powered Trains.

Talgo

Talgo could be the joker in the pack. They have the technology to build 125 mph bi-mode trains and are building a factory in Scotland.

My Selection

I think it comes down to a straight choice between Bombardier and Stadler.

It should also be noted, that Abellio has bought large fleets from both manufacturers for their franchises in the UK.

Zero-Carbon Pilots At Six Stations

This promise is stated in the franchise.

Once the electrification reaches Market Harborough in a couple of years, with new bi-mode trains, running on electricity, the following stations will not see any passenger trains, running their diesel engines.

  • St. Pancras
  • Luton Airport Parkway
  • Luton
  • Bedford
  • Wellingborough
  • Kettering
  • Corby
  • Market Harborough

These are not pilots, as they have been planned to happen, since the go-ahead for the wires to Market Harborough.

Other main line stations include.

  • Beeston
  • Chesterfield
  • Derby
  • East Midlands Parkway
  • Leicester
  • Long Eaaton
  • Loughborough
  • Nottingham
  • Sheffield

Could these stations be ones, where East Midlands Railway will not be emitting any CO2?

For a bi-mode train to be compliant, it must be able to pass through the station using battery power alone.

  • As the train decelerates, it charges the onboard batteries, using regernerative braking.
  • Battery power is used whilst the train is in the station.
  • Battery power is used to take the train out of the station.

Diesel power would only be used well outside of stations.

How would the trains for the secondary routes be emission-friendly?

  • For the long Norwich to Derby and Nottingham to Liverpool routes, these would surely be run by shorter versions of the main line trains.
  • For Stadler, if secondary routes were to be run using Class 755 trains, the battery option would be added, so that there was no need to run the diesel engines in stations.
  • For Bombardier, they may offer battery Aventras or shortened bi-modes for the secondary routes, which could also be emission-free in stations.
  • There is also the joker of Porterbrook’s battery-enhaced Class 350 train or BatteryFLEX.

I think that with the right rolling-stock, East Midlands Railway, could be able to avoid running diesel engines in all the stations, where they call.

Why Are Abellio Running A Hydrogen Trial?

This is a question that some might will ask, so I’m adding a few reasons.

A Train Manufacturer Wants To Test A Planned Hydrogen Train

I think that it could be likely, that a train manufacturer wants to trial a hydrogen-powered variant of a high-speed train.

Consider.

  • The Midland Main Line is about 160 miles long.
  • A lot of the route is quadruple-track.
  • It is a 125 mph railway for a proportion of the route.
  • It has only a few stops.
  • It is reasonably straight with gentle curves.
  • Part of the route is electrified.
  • It is connected to London at one end.

In my view the Midland Main Line is an ideal test track for bi-mode high speed trains.

A Train Manufacturer Wants To Sell A Fleet Of High Speed Trains

If a train manufacturer said to Abellio, that the fleet of diesel bi-mode trains they are buying could be updated to zero-carbon hydrogen bi-modes in a few years, this could clinch the sale.

Helping with a trial, as Abellio did at Manningtree with Bombardier’s battery Class 379 train in 2015, is probably mutually-beneficial.

The Midland Main Line Will Never Be Fully Electrified

I believe that the Midland Main Line will never be fully-electrified.

  • The line North of Derby runs through the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. Would UNESCO allow electrification?
  • I have been told by drivers, that immediately South of Leicester station, there is a section, that would be very difficult to electrify.
  • Some secondary routes like Corby to Leicester via Oakham might be left without electrification.

But on the other hand some sections will almost certainly be electrified.

  • Around Toton, where High Speed Two crosses the Midland Main Line and the two routes will share East Midlands Hub station.
  • Between Clay Cross Junction and Sheffield, where the route will be shared with the Sheffield Spur of High Speed Two.
  • The Erewash Valley Line, if High Speed Two trains use that route to Sheffield.

The Midland Main Line will continue to need bi-mode trains and in 2040, when the Government has said, that diesel will not be used on UK railways,

It is my view, that to run after 2040, there are only two current methods of zero-carbon propulsion; on the sections without overhead electrification battery or hydrogen power.

So we should run trials for both!

Abellio Know About Hydrogen

Abellio is Dutch and after my trip to the Netherlands last week, I wrote The Dutch Plan For Hydrogen, which describes how the Dutch are developing a green hydrogen economy, where the hydrogen is produced by electricity generated from wind power.

So by helping with the trial of hydrogen bi-mode trains on the Midland Main Line, are Abellio increasing their knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of hydrogen-powered trains.

In Thoughts On Eurostar To North Netherlands And North West Germany, I  proposed running bi-mode trains on the partially-electrified route between Amsterdam and Hamburg via Groningen and Bremen, which would be timed to connect to Eurostar’s services between London and Amsterdam. These could use diesel, hydrogen or battery power on the sections without electrification.

If hydrogen or battery power were to be used on the European bi-mode train, It would be possible to go between Sheffield and Hamburg on a zero-carbon basis, if all electric power to the route were to be provided from renewable sources.

Abellio Sees The PR Value In Running Zero-Carbon Trains

In My First Ride In An Alstom Coradia iLint, I talked about running hydrogen-powered trains on a hundred mile lines at 60 mph over the flat German countrside

The Midland Main Line is a real high speed railway, where trains go at up to 125 mph between two major cities, that are one-hundred-and-sixty miles apart.

Powered by hydrogen, this could be one of the world’s great railway journeys.

If hydrogen-power is successful, Abellio’s bottom line would benefit.

Conclusion

This franchise will be a big improvement in terms of  carbon emissions.

As I said the choice of trains probably lies between Bombardier and Stadler.

But be prepared for a surprise.

 

 

 

 

 

April 11, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Could A 125 Mph Electric Train With Batteries Handle The Midland Main Line?

In Bombardier’s 125 Mph Electric Train With Batteries, I investigated a pure electric train based on Bombardier’s proposed 125 mph bi-mode Aventra with batteries.

It would have the following characteristics.

  • Electric power on both 25 KVAC overhead and 750 VDC third-rail.
  • Appropriately-sized batteries.
  • 125 mph running, where possible on electrification and/or battery power.
  • Regenerative braking using the batteries.
  • Low energy interiors and systems.

It would be a train with efficiency levels higher than any train seen before.

It would also be zero-carbon at the point of delivery.

An Example 125 mph Train

I will use the same size and specification of train, that I used in Bombardier’s 125 Mph Electric Train With Batteries.

  • The train is five cars, with say four motored cars.
  • The empty train weighs close to 180 tonnes.
  • There are 430 passengers, with an average weight of 90 Kg each, with baggage, bikes and buggies.
  • This gives a total train weight of 218.7 tonnes.
  • The train is travelling at 200 kph or 125 mph.

Travelling at 200 kph, the train has an energy of 94.9 kWh.

I will also assume.

  • The train uses 15 kWh per mile to maintain the required line speed and power the train’s systems.
  • Regenerative braking is eighty percent efficient.

I will now do a few calculations.

Kettering To Leicester

Suppose one of the proposed trains was running between St. Pancras and Leicester.

  • I’m assuming there are no stops.
  • In a year or two, it should be able to run as far as Kettering using the new and improved 25 KVAC overhead electrification.
  • The train would leave the electrification at Kettering with a full charge in the batteries.
  • The train would also pass Kettering as close to the line speed as possible.
  • Hopefully, the twenty-nine miles without electrification between Kettering and Leicester will have been updated to have the highest possible line speed, with many sections capable of supporting 125 mph running.

I can do a rough-and-ready calculation, as to how much energy has been expended between Kettering and Leicester.

  • Twenty-nine miles at 15 kWh per mile is 435 kWh.
  • The train has a kinetic energy of 94.9 kWh at 125 mph and twenty percent will be lost in stopping at Leicester, which is 19 kWh.

This means that a battery of at least 454 kWh will be needed to propel the train to Leicester.

Kettering To Sheffield

If the train went all the way without stopping between Kettering and Sheffield, the energy used would be much higher.

One hundred-and-one miles at 15 kWh is 1515 kWh.

So given that the train will be slowing and accelerating, we’re probably talking of a battery capacity of around 2000 kWh.

In our five-car example train, this is 400 kWh per car.

Kettering To Sheffield With Stops

The previous calculation shows what can be achieved, but we need a practical train service.

When I last went to Sheffield, the train stopped at Leicester, Loughborough, East Midlands Parkway, Long Eaton, Derby and Chesterfield.

I have built an Excel spreadsheet, that models this route and it shows that if the train has a battery capacity of 2,000 kWh, the train will get to Sheffield with 371 kWh left in the battery.

  • Increase the efficiency of the regenerative braking and the energy left is 425 kWh.
  • Reduce the train’s energy consumption to 12 kWh per mile and the energy left is 674 kWh.
  • Do both and the energy left is 728 kWh.

The message is clear; train manufacturers and their suppliers should use all efforts to improve the efficiencies of trains and all of their components.

  • Aerodynamics
  • \Weight savings
  • Bogie dynamics
  • Traction motors
  • Battery capacity and energy density
  • Low energy lighting and air-conditioning

No idea however wacky should be discarded.

Network Rail also has a part to play.

  • The track should have as a high a line speed as is practical.
  • Signalling and timetabling should be designed to minimise interactions with other services.

Adding all these together, I believe that in a few years, we could see a train, that will consume 10 kWh per mile and have a regenerative braking efficiency of ninety-five percent.

If this can be achieved then the train will have 960 kWh in the batteries when it arrives in Sheffield.

Sheffield To Kettering

There is no helpful stretch of electrification at the Sheffield end of the route, so I will assume that there is a method of charging the batteries at Sheffield.

Unsurprisingly, as the train is running the same total distance and making the same number of stops, if the train starts with a full battery at Sheffield, it arrives at Kettering with the same amount of energy in the battery, as on the Northbound-run to Sheffield.

An Interim Conclusion

I am led to the interim conclusion, that given the continued upward curve of technology and engineering, that it will be possible to run 125 mph electric trains with an appropriately-sized battery.

How Much Battery Capacity Can Be Installed In A Train?

In Issue 864 of Rail Magazine, there is an article entitled Scotland High Among Vivarail’s Targets for Class 230 D-Trains, where this is said.

Vivarail’s two-car battery units contains four 100 kWh lithium-ion battery rafts, each weighing 1.2 tonnes.

Consider.

  • Vivarail’s cars are 18.37 metres long.
  • Car length in a typical Aventra, like a Class 720 train, is 24 metres.
  • Aventras have been designed for batteries and supercapacitors, whereas the D78 trains, used as a base for the Class 230 train,were not.
  • Batteries and supercapacitors are getting better all the time.
  • Batteries and supercapacitors can probably be built to fit in unusually-shaped spaces.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Aventras being able to take double the capacity of a Class 230 train under each car.

I wouldn’t rule out 2,000 kWh energy storage capacity on a five-car train, that was designed for batteries.

The actual size installed would depend on operator, weight, performance and cost.

My Excel spreadsheet shows that for reliable operation between Kettering and Sheffield, a battery of at least 1200 kWh is needed, with a very efficient train.

Charging Trains En-Route

I covered en-route charging fully in Charging Battery/Electric Trains En-Route.

I came to this conclusion.

I believe it is possible to design a charging system using proven third-rail technology and batteries or supercapacitors to transfer at least 200 kWh into a train’s batteries at each stop.

This means that a substantial top up can be given to the train’s batteries at stations equipped with a fast charging system.

An Astonishing Set Of Results

I use astonishing lightly, but I am very surprised.

I assumed the following.

  • The train uses 15 kWh per mile to maintain the required line speed and power the train’s systems.
  • Regenerative braking is eighty percent efficient.
  • The train is fitted with 600 kWh of energy storage.
  • At each of the six stations up to 200 kWh of energy can be transferred to the train.

Going North the train arrives in Sheffield with 171 kWh in the energy storage.

Going South the train arrives at Kettering with 61 kWh in the energy storage.

Probably a bit tight for safety, but surprising nevertheless.

I then tried with the following.

  • The train uses 12 kWh per mile to maintain the required line speed and power the train’s systems.
  • Regenerative braking is ninety percent efficient.
  • The train is fitted with 500 kWh of energy storage.
  • At each of the six stations up to 200 kWh of energy can be transferred to the train.

Going North the train arrives in Sheffield with 258 kWh in the energy storage.

Going South the train arrives at Kettering with 114 kWh in the energy storage.

It would appear that increasing the efficiency of the train gives a lot of the improvement.

Finally, I put everything, at what I feel are the most efficient settings.

  • The train uses 10 kWh per mile to maintain the required line speed and power the train’s systems.
  • Regenerative braking is ninety-five percent efficient.
  • The train is fitted with 500 kWh of energy storage.
  • At each of the six stations up to 200 kWh of energy can be transferred to the train.

Going North the train arrives in Sheffield with 325 kWh in the energy storage.

Going South the train arrives at Kettering with 210 kWh in the energy storage.

These sets of figures prove to me, that it is possible to design a 125 mph battery/electric hybrid train and a set of charging stations, that will make St. Pancras to Sheffield by electric train, a viable possibility without any more electrification.

Should The Train Be Fitted With A Means Of Charging The Batteries?

Why not?

Wires do go down and rest assured, a couple of battery/electric hybrids would get stuck!

So a small diesel or hydrogen generator to allow a train to limp a few miles might not be a bad idea.

Electrification Between Sheffield And Clay Cross On The Midland Main Line

In The UK’s New High Speed Line Being Built By Stealth, there is a sub-section with the same title as this sub-section.

This is the first part of that sub-section.

This article on Rail Technology Magazine is entitled Grayling Asks HS2 To Prepare For Electrification Of 25km Midland Main Line Route.

If this electrification happens on the Midland Main Line between Sheffield and Clay Cross, it will be another project in turning the line into a high speed route with a 200 kph operating speed, between London and Sheffield.

Currently, the electrified section of the line South of Bedford is being upgraded and the electrification and quadruple tracks are being extended to Glendon Junction, where the branch to Corby leaves the main line.

The proposed electrification will probably involve the following.

  • Upgrading the line to a higher speed of perhaps 225 kph, with provision to increase the speed of the line further.
  • Rebuilding of Chesterfield station in readiness for High Speed Two.
  • Full electrification between Sheffield and Clay Cross.

Clay Cross is significant, as it is where the Midland Main Line splits into two Southbound routes.

Note.

  1. Some of the tunnel portals in the Derwent Valley are Listed.
  2. Trying to electrify the line through the World Heritage Site will be a legal and engineering nightmare.
  3. Network Rail has spent or is spending £250million on upgrading the Erewash Valley Line.
  4. High Speed Two will reach The East Midlands Hub station in 2032.

When High Speed Two, is extended North from the East Midlands Hub station, it will take a route roughly following the M1. A spur will link High Speed Two to the Erewash Valley line in the Clay Cross area, to enable services to Chesterfield and Sheffield.

But until High Speed Two is built North of the East Midlands Hub station, the Erewash Valley Line looks from my helicopter to be capable of supporting 200 kph services.

If this electrification is performed, it will transform the prospects for battery/electric hybrid trains between London and Sheffield.

  • Trains will have to run fifteen miles less on battery power.
  • Trains will arrive in both St. Pancras and Sheffield with batteries that are at least three-quarters full.
  • Returning the trains will fill them up on the electrification at the end of the line.
  • There will probably not be a need for charging systems at St. Pancras, Chesterfield and Sheffield.

I also think, that as the train could arrive in Sheffield with a full battery, there is the possibility of extending services past Sheffield to Barnsley, Huddersfield and cLeeds, if the operator felt it was a worthwhile service.

Nottingham

Nottingham is just eight miles from East Midlands Parkway station, which is less distance than Derby.

So if the battery/electric hybrid trains can reach Derby from Kettering on Battery power, with some help from charging at Leicester and Loughborough, the trains can reach Nottingham, where charging would be installed.

Conclusion

From my calculations, I’m sure that an efficient battery/electric hybrid train can handle all current services on the Midland Main Line, with third-rail charging at intermediate stations.

I do think though, that if Sheffield to Clay Cross Junction is electrified in preparation for High Speed Two, that it makes the design easier and the economics a lot better.

It would also give Sheffield a genuine sub-two hour service to London, which would only get better.

 

 

November 1, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The UK’s New High Speed Line Being Built By Stealth

Wikipedia has a section called High Speed Rail. This is the first paragraph.

High-speed rail is a type of rail transport that operates significantly faster than traditional rail traffic, using an integrated system of specialised rolling stock and dedicated tracks. While there is no single standard that applies worldwide, new lines in excess of 250 kilometres per hour (160 miles per hour) and existing lines in excess of 200 kilometres per hour (120 miles per hour) are widely considered to be high-speed.

In the UK we have both types of high speed line mentioned in this definition.

High Speed One and High Speed Two have or will have operating speeds of 300 kph and 400 kph respectively and by any definition are true high speed lines.

There is also the East Coast Main Line and Great Western Main Line and West Coast Main Line, which are lines with long stretches, where continuous running at 200 kph is possible.

These lines certainly meet the 200 kph definition now and will likely exceed it, as digital in-cab signalling is deployed in the future and allows running at up to 225 kph in certain places.

Electrification Between Sheffield And Clay Cross On The Midland Main Line

This article on Rail Technology Magazine is entitled Grayling Asks HS2 To Prepare For Electrification Of 25km Midland Main Line Route.

If this electrification happens on the Midland Main Line between Sheffield and Clay Cross, it will be another project in turning the line into a high speed route with a 200 kph operating speed, between London and Sheffield.

Currently, the electrified section of the line South of Bedford is being upgraded and the electrification and quadruple tracks are being extended to Glendon Junction, where the branch to Corby leaves the main line.

The proposed electrification will probably involve the following.

  • Upgrading the line to a higher speed of perhaps 225 kph, with provision to increase the speed of the line further.
  • Rebuilding of Chesterfield station in readiness for High Speed Two.
  • Full electrification between Sheffield and Clay Cross.

Clay Cross is significant, as it is where the Midland Main Line splits into two Southbound routes.

Note.

  1. Some of the tunnel portals in the Derwent Valley are Listed.
  2. Trying to electrify the line through the World Heritage Site will be a legal and engineering nightmare.
  3. Network Rail has spent or is spending £250million on upgrading the Erewash Valley Line.
  4. High Speed Two will reach The East Midlands Hub station in 2032.

When High Speed Two, is extended North from the East Midlands Hub station, it will take a route roughly following the M1. A spur will link High Speed Two to the Erewash Valley line in the Clay Cross area, to enable services to Chesterfield and Sheffield.

But until High Speed Two is built North of the East Midlands Hub station, the Erewash Valley Line looks from my helicopter to be capable of supporting 200 kph services.

  • It is mainly double track, with sections where extra lines have been added.
  • It is reasonably straight.
  • There seem to be generous margins on either side.
  • There is only one tunnel at Alfreton, which is 770 metres long.
  • There is only three stations at Ilkeston, Langley Mill and Alfreton.

As many of the bridges seem new, has the Erewash Valley Line been prepared for electrification?

Electrification Around East Midlands Hub Station

I wouldn’t be surprised to see that by the opening of the East Midlands Hub station in 2032, that the following will have happened.

  • The route between East Midlands Hub station and Sheffield via the Erewash Valley Line and Chesterfield has been fully electrified.
  • A higher proportion of services between London and Sheffield will use the Erewash Valley Line, with times under two hours.
  • From 2022, the trains running on the Midland Main Line will be 200 kph bi-mode trains.

As the East Midlands Hub Station and High Speed Two is developed, various electrified routes will open through the area, thus grdually reducing journey times between London and Sheffield.

Once the station is fully open, I suspect there will be services between London and Sheffield via High Speed Two and the Erewash Valley Line.

But when the High Speed 2 spur towards Sheffield is opened, the trains will take the high speed route.

Electrification From London To Kettering, Glendon Junction And Corby

Currently, the electrified section of the line South of Bedford is being upgraded and the electrification and quadruple tracks are being extended to Glendon Junction, where the branch to Corby leaves the main line.

When completed, this electrification will enable the following.

  • Two electric trains per hour (tph) between London and Corby.
  • Much of the route between London and Glendon Junction will be improved to allow 200 kph running.
  • Much of the route between London and Glendon Junction will be quadruple tracks.

It will be a quality high speed line to a similar standard to that of much of the East Coast Main Line.

The True 200 kph (125 mph) Bi-Mode Train

In the Wikipedia entry for Leicester station, this is said about electrification of the Midland Main Line.

From 2022, services will be operated using bi-mode electro-diesel trains running in electro-pantograph mode between London St Pancras and Kettering North Junction, switching to electro-accumulator/diesel-electric mode northwards from there.

Bombardier have been quoted as developing a 200 kph bi-mode Aventra with batteries.

  • 200 kph on 25 KVAC overhead electrification.
  • 200 kph on diesel.
  • Batteries for Last Mile operation.
  • Better ambience than current bi-modes.
  • Low and level floors.

If Bombardier can produce such a train, surely other train manufacturers can?

Electrification Between Glendon Junction And Market Harborough

I talked about this in MML Wires Could Reach Market Harborough, where I said this.

It appears that Network Rail have a problem.

  • Electrification of the Midland Main Line (MML) is to run as far as Kettering and Corby stations.
  • The power feed is to be located at Braybrooke, which is just South of Market Harborough station.

So Network Rail are now looking for a twelve mile long extension lead.

A Network Rail spokesman, says they are looking at various options, including an underground cable or extending the Overhead Line Equipment.

Since I wrote that post a few weeks ago, I have looked at that section of line and have had various messages, which lead me to the belief, that all bridges and structures have been raised to allow electrification to be added to the line.

These points are in favour of electrification!

  • The only station is Market Harborough, where the track is s being realigned to increase linespeed.
  • Bridges, structures and track appear to have been upgraded for electrification.
  • There are only two tracks.
  • Network Rail need a power connection.

It will be a matter of heads and tails, as to whether Glendon Junction and Market Harborough station will be electrified.

The Electrification Gap Between Market Harborough And East Midlands Hub Stations

These are my thoughts on various sections going North from Market Harborough station.

Between Market Harborough And Leicester

This doesn’t appear to be too difficult to electrify, if that were to be decided, until approaching Leicester station, where there are several bridges over the track.

A driver also told me, that under one bridge the track can’t be lowered, due to the presence of a large sewer.

If the proposed bi-mode trains have a Last Mile battery capability, discontinuous electrification as proposed for South Wales could be used on these bridges.

But the track is fairly straight and the speed limits could be fairly high enabling the proposed bi-mode trains to be cruising near to 200 kph.

Whatever is done, I suspect that the track improvements and the electrification work South of Kettering will enable the new bi-mode trains to go between Leicester and London in comfortably under an hour.

Leicester Station

I think Leicester station is both a problem and a solution.

I don’t think it is possible to electrify the current station without a lot of disruption and major works because of the number of bridges South of the station.

But according to Wikipedia, plans exist to regerenate the station, which could be a big opportunity to create the most cost-effective solution to powering the trains.

Northwards From Leicester

This section looks an ideal one for the proposed 200 kph bi-mode train, with fairly straight tracks.

Operation Of The Bi-Mode Trains

Battery Use

I believe that Bombardier’s design for a 200 kph bi-mode train, doesn’t just use batteries for Last Mile operation.

Using discontinuous electrification on the bridges South of Leicester, which would be the sensible way to electrify that section, but would need the new trains to have a battery capability to jump the gaps.

I also believe that Aventras use batteries to handle regenerative braking, as do Hitachi on their Class 800 trains.

Bombardier Aventras seem to have lots of powered axles and Bombardier have stated that the bi-mode will have distributed power.

As an Electrical and Control Engineer, I believe that the most efficient battery strategy with distributed power, would be to distribute the batteries to each car.

  • Batteries would be close to the traction motors, which is electrically efficient.
  • Batteries would be smaller and easier to install on the train.
  • Battery power could be used to power the train’s systems, as Hitachi do!
  • Battery power could be used to move the train and assist in acceleration

Each car would have its own computer to use the most efficient strategy.

I would also put an appropriately sized diesel generator in each car.

In the mathematical modelling of systems consisting of several identical units working together, it is a common technique to look at an individual car.

Consider the following, where I estimate the weight of a car in a proposed bi-mode Aventra.

  • A motor car for a Class 345 train, which is another Aventra variant, weighs 36.47 tonnes.
  • I estimate that a typical car in the proposed bi-mode train will accommodate a total of about 70 seated and standing passengers.
  • With bags, buggies and other things passengers bring on, let’s assume an average passenger weight of 90 kg, this gives an extra 6.3 tonnes.
  • Suppose the battery and the diesel were to weigh a tonne each

So I will assume that a typical car weighs 44.77 tonnes.

When running at 200 kph, the car will have a kinetic energy of around 19.5 kWh.

The 30 kWh battery in a Nissan Leaf could handle that amount of energy.

The kinetic energy of a passenger train is surprisingly small.

I suspect that each car has a battery size of about 50 kWh, so that it can adequately power the train in all modes.

Acceleration

Acceleration of a train, is the part of the journey that uses most power.

These trains will need to have the same or better acceleration to the Class 222 trains, that currently work the route, as otherwise timings would be slower and a marketing disaster.

In Have Bombardier Got A Cunning Plan For Voyagers?, I did the calculation of the kinetic energy for a four-car Class 220 train, which is in the same Voyager family as the Class 222 train.

Voyagers are an interesting train, as they cruise at 200 kph and have a diesel engine in each car, which generates electricity to power the train.

Consider these facts for a four-car Class 220 train.

  • The train has a weight of 185.6 tonnes, so the average car weight is 46.4 tonnes
  • The train has seats for two hundred passengers or 50 per car.
  • If we assume that each passenger weighs 90 Kg. with their baggage this gives a total car weight of 50.9 tonnes.

This one car of a Class 222 train running at 200 kph has a kinetic energy of 22 kWh.

As both trains are assumed to be travelling at the same speed, the difference in kinetic energy is down to the weight of the car and the number of passengers.

I have assumed more passengers in the Aventra, as I suspect modern design will improve the figure.

Consider each of these trains doing a stop from 200 kph on the Midland Main Line.

The Aventra will convert the train’s kinetic energy into electricity in the batteries, so if I assume that the efficiency of the regenerative braking is eighty percent, this would mean that 19.5 * 0.8 or 15.6 kWh will be stored in the battery in each car. To accelerate back to 200 kph, the onboard diesel engines will have to supply 3.9 kWh for each car.

The Class 222 train will convert the train’s kinetic energy into heat. To accelerate back to 200 kph, the onboard diesel engines will have to supply 22 kWh for each car.

Bombadier have said that their design for a bi-mode Aventra will have distributed power. So if this includes the batteries and the diesel engines, I wouldn’t be surprised if each car has a battery and a diesel engine.

On the Class 222 train a 560 kW diesel is used in each car to provide the 22 kWh to accelerate the train.

So what size of diesel engine would be needed to supply the 3.9 kWh needed to accelerate the train?

Assuming the diesel is as efficient as that in the Class 222 train, the diesel engine would only be in the region of 100 kW.

Which seems very small!

But suppose something like the quiet Cummins ISBe engine, that is used in a New Routemaster bus is installed.

  • This engine has a capacity of 4.5 litres and a rating of 185 bhp/138 kW.
  • It is a quarter the size of the engine in the Class 222 train.
  • One of the major uses of a larger 5.9 litre version of this engine is in a Dodge Ram pickup.

The engine would only run when the power in the battery was below a certain level.

Cruising At 200 kph

Once at 200 kph, I suspect that most of the power required would come from the batteries.

These would be topped up as required by the diesel engine.

Charging The Batteries

Expecting a small diesel engine to charge the batteries sufficiently between London and Sheffield is probably a big ask, especially if the new franchise wanted to run a train that stopped everywhere North of Kettering.

South of Kettering the train would use the electrification and I suspect trains going North will say good-bye to the electrification with full batteries.

So this is why Chris Grayling’s statement of possible electrification between Sheffield and Clay Cross is important.

Southbound trains from Sheffield would leave Clay Cross junction with full batteries, whether they are going via Derby or the Erewash Valley Line.

Between London And Sheffield

Trains between London and Sheffield would only be relying on the diesel engines to top up the batteries between Glendon Junction and Clay Cross.

This is probably about eighty miles. Trains currently take an hour with stops at Leicester and Derby.

It’s a tough ask!

But it might be possible, if an efficient, aerodynamically slippery train is launched with full batteries at full speed at Clay Cross and Glendon Junctions into a route without electrification, which is as straight and level as possible with only gentle curves.

Between London And Nottingham

The distance on the related route between Glendon Junction and Nottingham is about sixty miles with a couple of stops.

This could be an even tougher ask! A charging system at Nottingham might make all the difference.

Bombardier

Obviously Bombardier have done extensive simulations and they wouldn’t be offering the train for the new East Midlands Franchise, if they knew it wasn’t a viable solution!

If they can develop a train that can jump an eighty mile electrification gap at 200 kph, they’ll have a train, that will be a serious export possibility.

The following would also help.

  • Any extra electrification.
  • Launching the train at a higher speed into the gap. 225 kph would be the equivalent of an extra 5kWh in the battery.
  • Batteries with a higher energy density will emerge.
  • More efficient regenerative braking.
  • Better aerodynamics.

I also believe that big improvements could come from a more sophisticated train control system.

Bombardier are developing a totally different philosophy of train design.

Conclusion

It looks like the reality of mathematics and dynamics will be able to satisfy the seemingly impossible dreams of Chris Grayling!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 6, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Direct Trains Between Liverpool Lime Street And Norwich

In my wanderings around the UK, I very often come across this service and use it for short trips between two major towns or cities many miles from both Liverpool and Norwich.

The Current Service

Currently, the service is run by East Midlands Trains and is usually a two-car Class 158 train. Although, I have seen the service worked by a pair of these trains.

The route is very comprehensive with calls at Liverpool South Parkway, Widnes, Warrington Central, Manchester Oxford Road, Manchester Piccadilly, Stockport, Sheffield, Chesterfield, Alfreton, Ilkeston, Nottingham, Grantham, Peterborough, Ely and Thetford.

The service always seems to be full and I suspect that in addition to offering useful routes like Manchester-Sheffield, Liverpool-Nottingham and Nottingham-East Anglia, it is often a convenient route for some long distance business and family travellers.

The major problem for a train operator is that it needs a lot of rolling stock to provide a service.

Liverpool to Norwich takes five and a half hours, so to provide the hourly service probably needs as many as a dozen trains.

This extract comes from the East Midlands Trains section in Wikipedia entry for the Class 158 train.

The hourly Norwich to Liverpool service has been criticised for overcrowding, especially between Liverpool and Nottingham. This resulted from the Department for Transport specifying two-coach units in the EMT franchise starting in November 2007. In the light of persistent and excessive overcrowding, with some passengers being left behind on occasions, the DfT eventually admitted that it had made a mistake. Various cascades of other units enabled more Class 158 stock to be released for this route, and from the December 2011 timetable change the busiest services have been lengthened to four-coach trains between Liverpool and Nottingham, with units splitting and joining at Nottingham as necessary, two-coach trains being regarded as adequate between Nottingham and Norwich. Further services on this route were strengthened from December 2012.

Running a pair of Class 158 trains on the route between Liverpool and Nottingham, does seem to ease problems there, but I’ve encountered bad over-crowding at the Eastern end too.

Improvements On The Route

Several improvements or changes of rolling stock have or are taking place in the next few years.

Increased Capacity At Liverpool Lime Street

This is detailed in the 2017-2018 Station Remodelling section of the Wikipedia entry for Liverpool Lime Street station.

  • Two new platforms are being added.
  • Platforms are being lengthened.

In addition there are improvements on the approaches to the station.

Ordsall Chord And Related Improvements In Manchester

The Liverpool-Norwich service calls at both Manchester Oxford Road and Manchester Piccadilly stations, although it doesn’t use the new Ordsall Chord.

But I can’t believe that the Liverpool-Norwich service won’t be affected by all the works in Manchester.

Hope Valley Line Improvements

This article on Rail Technology Magazine is entitled Long-Awaited Hope Valley Line Plans Given The Green Light.

Improvements to the Hope Valley Line between Manchester and Sheffield include.

  • A loop to allow passenger trains to overtake slow freight trains.
  • Removal of a foot crossing.
  • Improvements around Dore and Totley station.

This is said on this document on the Transport for the North web site, which announces the Hope Valley improvements.

The new passing loops will mean three fast trains can run per hour between Sheffield and Manchester, one every 20 minutes, freight and stopping trains every hour, and a fast Manchester-Nottingham and East of England service every hour.

If nothing else, the extra capacity between Manchester and Sheffield, will reduce reliance on the Liverpool-Norwich service.

Improvements To The Midland Main Line

The Midland Main Line is not being electrified between Nottingham and Sheffield, but other improvements have taken place over the last few years.

  • In particular, the Erewash Valley Line has been improved and a new station at Ilkeston has been added.
  • The Liverpool-Norwich service calls at stations on this by-pass.
  • The line has been resignalled.

Would a train with a 125 mph capability, as opposed to the 90 mph operating speed of the Class 158 train, allow a faster service?

East Coast Main Line Running

The 90 mph Class 158 trains must present pathing problems on the East Coast Main Line, whereas a 125 mph train could mix it easier with the high speed trains.

Greater Anglia’s Plans

Greater Anglia have ordered a fleet of Class 755 trains.

  • The trains are bi-mode.
  • The trains have a 100 mph operating speed.
  • Greater Anglia have ordered fourteen three-car and twenty-four four-car trains.

Greater Anglia will be replacing 27 diesel trains, that consists of  58 carriages, with 38 bi-mode trains, that consist of 138 carriages.

  • There are forty percent more trains.
  • There are a hundred and thirty-eight percent more carriages.
  • Average train length of the diesels is 2.1 carriages, wheres that of the bi-modes is 3.6.

There are two possible reasons for these large number of trains.

  • Abellio have decided to buy a few bi-modes for their other franchises.
  • There is going to be a massive expansion of train services in East Anglia.

Two of the new bi-mode services interact with the Liverpool-Norwich service.

  • Colchester to Peterborough via Ipswich, Bury St. Edmunds and Ely
  • Norwich to Stansted Airport  via Ely and Cambridge.

Both services are thought to be hourly.

Consider the Colchester to Peterborough service.

  • I estimate that trains will take around two hours.
  • The round trip could be under five hours, even with a generous turn-round at both ends and perhaps a wait at Ipswich.
  • The waits would allow connecting passengers to join the train.
  • A five hour round trip would need five Class 755 trains.
  • I would choose four-car trains, as the route can get crowded.

Could the Colchester to Peterborough service be considered as an extension of the Liverpool-Norwich service, that serves Bury St. Edmunds, Ipswich and Colchester?

I think it could if the trains were timed appropriately.

  • Passengers from Liverpool to Ipswich, would change at Peterborough or Ely to the Peterborough to Colchester train, which would arrive a few minutes after the Liverpool to Norwich train.
  • Passengers from Ipswich to Liverpool, would change at Ely or Peterborough to the Liverpool train, which would arrive a few minutes after Colchester to Peterborough train.

Hopefully, the change would not require a platform change.

Consider the Norwich to Stansted Airport service.

  • I estimate trains will take about one hour and fifty minutes.
  • The round trip would be four hours and would need four Class 755 trains.
  • I would choose four-car trains, as the route can get crowded.

Could the Norwich to Stansted Airport service be equally spaced with the Liverpool-Norwich service between Ely and Norwich  to give a clock-face two trains per hour (tph)?

These services call at Ely

  • CrossCountry -Birmingham to Stansted Airport
  • East Midlands Trains – Liverpool to Norwich
  • Greater Anglia – Peterborough to Colchester
  • Greater Anglia – Norwich to Stansted Airport
  • Great Northern – Kings Lynn to Kings Cross

Totalling them up gives the following frequencies to various stations.

  • Bury St. Edmunds/Ipswich/Colchester – 1 tph
  • Cambridge North/Cambridge – 3 tph
  • Kings Lynn – 1 tph
  • Norwich – 2 tph
  • Peterborough – 3 tph
  • Stansted Airport – 2 tph

I suspect that the services will be arranged so there are convenient interchanges. No-one wants to spend an hour on a draughty Ely station waiting for the next train.

I also suspect that Greater Anglia  will use some of their extra trains to improve connectivity at Ely.

Speed Limits On The Route

Speed limits on the route are rather variable.

  • Liverpool to Manchester via Warrington is limited to 85 mph
  • The Hope Valley Line between Manchester and Sheffield is 90 mph
  • The proportion of the Midland Main Line, where 125 mph running is possible, is being increased.
  • Grantham to Peterborough on the East Coast Main Line allows 125 mph running.
  • The Peterborough to Ely Line is limited to 75 mph.
  • The Breckland Line between Ely and Norwich is limited to 75- 90 mph.

I feel that increasing speed limits on some parts of the line would help the Liverpool to Norwich service.

But surely, a train with a 125 mph-capability would help with journey times and train timetabling between Sheffield and Peterborough.

But on the rest of the route, trains with this speed capability, wouldn’t be needed.

Rolling Stock Choices For Liverpool Lime Street And Norwich

Various choices include.

Class 158 Trains

Everything could carry on as now using Class 158 trains

  • Two two-car trains working ass a pair would go from Liverpool Lime Street to Nottingham.
  • The trains would divide at Nottingham.
  • One train would go on its way to Norwich, and the other would wait at Nottingham to join with the train returning from Norwich.

With all the new diesel multiple units arriving in the next few years, I think it is likely that more Class 158 trains could be made available to strengthen the service.

The trouble with the Class 158 trains, is that with only a 90 mph operating speed, they can’t take advantage of the sections of the route where 125 mph running is possible.

Class 170 Trains

These trains were built as successors to the Class 158 trains.

  • They are more modern.
  • They are 10 mph faster.
  • Most  are three cars.

But they are still not fast enough for the 125 mph sections of the route.

A Second Service Between Liverpool And Nottingham

Improvements on the Hope Valley Line and in Liverpool and Manchester, might make it possible to run a much-needed second service between Liverpool and Nottingham via Manchester, Stockport and Sheffield..

This extra service could use the same trains as the full service.

Currently, the direct service between Liverpool Lime Street and Nottingham takes two hours thirty five minutes. In some ways, this is a problem, as if the timing was say two hours twenty minutes, a five hour round trip would be possible.

This would mean that the second service would need just five trains.

I doubt that Class 158 trains could meet this schedule, so more would be needed.

Class 800 Trains

Class 800 trains are 125 mph bi-mode trains, but are they fast enough on diesel to make real differences to the timetable by running fast on the Midland Main Line?

I think not!

So more trains would be needed to run the service.

Bombardier’s Proposed 125 mph Bi-Mode

A genuine 125-mph bi-mode, with that performance on both electricity and diesel, would be a totally different matter.

  • Timings between Liverpool and Nottingham would drop to perhaps two hours twenty, thus allowing a five hour round trip.
  • Timings between Liverpool and Norwich would drop to perhaps four hours fifty, thus allowing a ten hour round trip.

Even so a full service would require fifteen trains.

Bombardier have proposed a train of this type and I wrote about it in Bombardier Bi-Mode Aventra To Feature Battery Power.

In my view, this small exercise shows why some routes in the UK need a 125 mph bi-mode.

If the train can’t do 125 mph, where it is possible on the Midland and East Coast Main Line, the time savings on the route won’t be possible and more trains will be needed to run the service.

One great advantage is that the trains working this route could be the same as those working the main routes of the East Midlands franchise to and from London.

Short Formation InterCity 125 Trains

The forty-year-old InterCity 125 trains have the power and the speed to match the 125 mph bi-mode trains.

Short formation with four or five passenger cars between the two Class 43 locomotives are being used by Scotrail and Great Western Railway, but to use them on Liverpool to Norwich would require another fifteen trains to be updated, which is probably not as cost effective as new 125 mph bi-modes.

Conclusion

If service between the Liverpool Lime Street and Norwich is to continue in its present form, it needs 125 mph bi-more trains.

 

 

 

 

April 29, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What A Fine Mess Thameslink And The Midland Main Line Is In

This article is prompted by an article in the May 2017 Edition of Modern Railways, which is entitled Crunch Time Nearing For MML Thameslink Timetable.

The author of the report; the respected Roger Ford, explains the problems of getting a timetable that is acceptable to a number of parties.

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) want to do the following.

  • Run 20 trains per hour (tph) through the central core of Thameslink by May 2018.
  • Run 24 trains per hour (tph) through the central core of Thameslink by December 2018.
  • Run eight, four and four tph respectively to Bedford, Luton and St. Albans.

East Midlands Trains (EMT) and/or their successor, want to do the following.

  • Run their current diesel services.
  • EMT want to run new new electric services to Kettering and Corby.
  • EMT want to run 6 tph at 125 mph into St. Pancras.

And both companies will have to satisfy the politicians.

Network Rail’s original plan is described under Political Developments in the Thameslink entry in Wikipedia. This is said.

Network Rail had planned to terminate Sutton Loop Thameslink trains at Blackfriars station, rather than have them continue through central London as at present. This would increase the capacity of the central core as the Sutton Loop could only accommodate shorter trains. This upset many residents in South London and their local politicians, who saw it as a reduction in services rather than an improvement. In response to pressure, government has ordered Network Rail to reverse the decision.

It is an awful lot of trains to squeeze into the Midland Main Line.

Some improvements were planned to help with the capacity North of Bedford.

  • A fourth track between Bedford and Kettering/Corby.
  • !25 mph electrification.

Both these should happen, but the electrification South of Bedford will only be 100 mph capable and there is no date for its upgrade.

So it looks like we have the classic pint pot and everybody is trying to put a quart in it.

Roger points out that the knock-on delays for a late train, could be horrendous and felt all over the North, with several minute increases in journey times to Sheffield and Nottingham.

Roger does highlight a couple of solutions.

Turning Thameslink Services At Kentish Town

The first Roger Ford outlines is to turn some services from the South at Kentish Town.

  • ,There is stabling capacity.
  • EMT might take over some of the fast outer-suburban commuter services.
  • There is a good connection to the Northern Line, which will have an increased capacity in a couple of years.

Perhaps too, a connection could be made with the Gospel Oak to Barking Line at West Hampstead Thameslink and Tufnell Park to improve connectivity.

But would the politicians accept a solution like this?

Has Thameslink Got The Wrong Length Of Trains?

If you look at some recent train orders, they seem to suggest a train and a half-train philosophy.

  • GWR’s order for Class 80x trains.
  • VTEC’s order for Class 80x trains.
  • Greater Anglia’s order for Aventras.
  • SWT’s order for Class 707 trains.

In all these orders, it would appear that two half-trains are used to create a full train, when needed. This coupling and uncoupling is done throughout the day and often on an automatic basis.

But Thameslink’s Class 700 trains only come in lengths of eight and twelve cars.

The eight-car train is needed for short platforms on the Sutton Loop Line.

But eight-car trains have disadvantages compared to say a six-car train.

  • two trains can’t be joined together to make a long train.
  • An eight-car train uses one of the valuable twenty-four hourly paths through the central core of Thameslink, just as a twelve-car train does.

The train length is patently inefficient.

The Sutton Loop Line could be run by using six-car trains that split and join at Streatham station.

Splitting Regional Services With A Change Of Train

This diagram from the Wikipedia entry for East Midlands Trains shows the company’s routes.

I can’t see that expecting passengers to change trains on a journey say between London and Sheffield  would be welcomed by everyone.

Electrification To Leicester, Derby And Nottingham

This section is an aside, but I think that it could be the key to solving the capacity problem.

Electrification to these three cities, shouldn’t be a problem other than the usual one of Network Rail’s competence and it could be completed by 2023, which would include Sheffield.

However, there is a serious problem with electrification between Derby and Sheffield, in that the line goes through the World Heritage Site of the Derwent Valley Mills.

But there is an alternative plan, which is to electrify the Erewash Valley Line, which avoids the World Heritage Site and provides a more direct and possibly faster  route between London and Sheffield.

Under Future in the Wikipedia entry for the Erewash Valley Line, this is said.

Network Rail as part of a £250 million investment in the regions railways has proposed improvements to the junctions at each end, resignalling throughout, and a new East Midlands Control Centre.[1]

As well as renewing the signalling, three junctions at Trowell, Ironville and Codnor Park will be redesigned and rebuilt. Since the existing Midland Main Line from Derby through the Derwent Valley has a number of tunnels and cuttings which are listed buildings and it is a World Heritage Area, it seems that the Erewash line is ripe for expansion. As the new signalling is rolled out, train detection is moving away from the traditional Track circuit detection of trains to Axle counting.

I hope all of the work done on the Erewash Valley Line has made sure that whenh they do electrify the line, the bridges are high enough and the signalling cables are well out of the way.

As the East Midlands Hub station for HS2 will be close to Toton TMD on the Erewash Valley Line and would open in 2032/3, it strikes me that it would be sensible to plan electrification of the Midland Main Line and HS2 together.

Bring On The Bi-Modes

Roger Ford dismisses the bi-modes in strong words.

A bi-mode doesn’t really work on the high-speed main line.

Under the wires it is a very heavy EMU, while under diesel power it is an underpowered DEMU. Just consider the roles on the MML. From London to Bedford it would need to run as a 125 mph diesel. From Bedford to Kettering the pantograph would go up for some 125 mph running. And after that it would go back to diesel. So why bother with the electric traction?

I would agree with that, but the Class 80x bi-modes may have other characteristics, that could get the timetable out of trouble.

The current hourly timetable out of St. Pancras  is as follows.

  • XX:00 – Corby, stopping at Luton, Bedford, Wellingborough and Kettering.
  • XX:15 – Nottingham, stopping at Market Harborough, Leicester and East Midlands Parkway
  • XX:26 – Sheffield, stopping at Leicester, Loughborough, East Midlands Parkway, Long Eaton, Derby, Chesterfield
  • XX:29 – Nottingham, stopping at Luton Airport Parkway, Bedford, Wellingborough, Kettering, Market Harborough, Leicester, Loughborough, Beeston
  • XX:58 – Sheffield, stopping at Leicester, Derby, Chesterfield

When Bedford to Corby is electrified, there will be another path.

Note that all the paths except those to Corby go through Leicester.

Currently the services are run by a mixture of 27 x Class 222 trains of 4, 5 and 7 cars and 12 x InterCity 125s of a 2×8 formation.

I said that the Class 80x trains may have other characteristics, that could get the timetable out of trouble.

One is that, two closely-related Class 395 trains can automatically couple and uncouple in under a minute, so I suspect that the Class 80x trains will have the same capability.

So supposing a pair of Class 80x trains ran from St. Pancras to either Bedford, Kettering or Leicester, where they would divide, with each train going to a separate destination.

This would mean that six paths would give twelve services to each of three destinations, Corby, Nottingham and Sheffield via Derby and Chesterfield.

EMT could balance the number of trains with their passenger statistics and could extend services from Corby, Nottingham and Sheffield, as they felt appropriate.

Modern trains would also be able to execute stops quicker than the current Class 222 trains and Inter\City125s.

So could extra stops be introduced South of Bedford to enable Thameslink services to be simplified and thinned out?

Conclusion

These may be consequences.

  • Four tph might be able to call at Luton Airport Parkway and East Midlands Parkway.
  • Sheffield and Nottingham might get marginally slower services, but they could get four tph.
  • All EMT might stop at Bedford, to enable Thameslink services to Bedford to be reduced from 8 tph to 4 tph.
  • Two tph between Sheffield and London might use the Erewash Valley Line and stop at Alfreton and Ilkeston.

There’s an optimal solution in there somewhere.

 

May 14, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Ilkeston Station Opens

I went to the new Ilkeston station this morning and took these pictures.

It is not the most sophisticated of stations and it is worth comparing the design with Lea Bridge station.

This picture is from A Look At Lea Bridge Station, which shows the station in detail.

 

Alongside Lea Bridge Station

 

Comparing Ilkeston and Lea Bridge stations, there are similarities and differences.

  • Both stations are built adjacent to existing road bridges.
  • Both road bridges have some good brickwork and a utilitarian span over the railway.
  • Both stations have two platforms on the outside of a double-track main line.
  • Both stations don’t have ticket barriers.
  • Lea Bridge has lifts and Ilkeston has long ramps for step-free access.
  • Lea Bridge is fitted with comprehensive CCTV for Driver Only Operation (DOO). Ilkeston is not!
  • Ilkeston has car parking and Lea Bridge has none.

Both stations cost around ten million pounds, with perhaps Lea Bridge slightly more because of the lifts and DOO cameras.

My Overall View

I think that Ilkeston station is a job well-done by the architect to keep costs to a minimum for a well-functioning station, that meets all current and future regulations.

These are more details on various features.

The Station Entrance

One of my gripes with Lea Bridge station, is that when I use that station, I take a bus to it, which drops me just before the road bridge over the station. I then have to walk past the station footbridge, with no possible access and in a great circle to get to the station entrance at the side.

At Ilkeston, those walking to the station by the side of the road that crosses the bridge, just walk over the station footbridge, from which they walk down to their chosen platform.

This is a much better arrangement and will surely suggest to passers-by, that using the train isn’t a hassle.

When I went to Ilkeston, some months ago, I remember that the area between the Town Centre had what developers call potential and perhaps could be turned into a green walking and cycling route.

This Google Map shows the relationship between the town and the station.

It certainly isn’t as desolate as the Town Centre was on my last visit. There’s even a Marks and Spencer’s Simply Food store in a retail park, just a couple of hundred metres from the station.

I made a mistake in not exploring that way today, as it looked not to be finished.

I shall return!

Car Parking

The car parks are on both sides of the tracks, which is good for the able-bodied passengers, as if space allows they can park where is best for their personal circumstances.

My one worry about the car parking, is that 150 spaces might not be enough.

On the other hand car ownership is low in the Erewash Valley! So perhaps they expect a lot of passengers to walk to the station.

Access To The Platforms

At present, the landscaping is not finished on the Nottingham-bound side (Platformk 2) of the station and I suspect the walking route to the platform will be improved.

But supposing you are a passenger with a touch of arthritis and failing eyesight. Whatever side you park your car, you will have to negotiate both  long ramps to cross the tracks, when you catch a train out of Ilkeston or on your return.

But saying that several London Overground stations near me use long ramps and there doesn’t appear to be too many protests.

Lifts would of course be better. But a lot more costly!

Picking Up And Dropping Off Passengers

The drop-off/pick-up point is by the Chesterfield-bound Platform 1, but I suspect that when the station is completed, drivers will be able to do the drop-off/pick-up in the car park by Platform 2.

Taxi Rank

The taxi rank is  by the Chesterfield-bound Platform 1, so passengers arriving on Platform 2 will have to cross the tracks on the footbridge.

I did talk to a taxi driver called Paul Kitchener,  who is one half of a taxi company called Paul and Jackie Taxi. I was able to find them on Fscebook, so if you have special needs for a taxi and you don’t live in Ilkeston, you could always contact them first.

Shelters and Ticket Machines

As expected a shelter is provided on both platforms, but perhaps more surprisingly, there is a ticket machine on both platforms as well.

Thjs duplication of ticket machines is to be welcomed, as is placing them in an obvious place on the platform.

The Germans make their ticket machines very easy to find, which is not often the policy of some of our train operators.

Two ticket machines by stairs to the footbridge, which pedestrians will use as access to the station, is an idea, that might result in more revenue for the train operator.

Bike And Motor-Cycle Parking

I didn’t see much, although there were a few hoops outside Platform 1

Coffee Kiosks

A guy from London Overground, told me that if you have a coffee kiosk on the platform, it may attract more passengers.

The platforms at Ilkeston might not be quite big enough for a kiosk, but I’m certain the architect has ideas.

Future Proofing

There have been troubles recently, where stations have been built without enough clearance for future electrification.

Without getting out a measure, it appears that the two existing road bridges and the new foot-bridge at Ilkeston, may have enough clearance to satisfy the most nit-picking of inspectors. The bridge that could be dodgy is the rusty road bridge and that would not be the most difficult bridge to replace with a new one.

Perhaps, as it has not been given a coat of paint, the new bridges are being constructed, as I write.

The design of the station, would also allow the following.

  • Two fast lines through the station, between Platform 2 and the boundary fence, where there is already an avoiding line.
  • The possibility of putting a second face on Platform 2, so that a bay platform or a platform on a fast line could be created.
  • The addition of lifts.

I also suspect that the platforms are long enough for a Class 222 train to call.

A Good Local Reaction

One of the staff told me that he reckoned about five hundred people had come to have a look at the new station, which he felt was more than expected.

Several, that I spoke to seemed enthusiastic.

One couple, I spoke to, said forty-eight pounds each was a lot to get see their daughter and her family. But yet again, they hadn’t heard of the Two Together Railcard. They felt thirty-two pounds was a lot more reasonable.

Services

Current services through the station are an hourly train between Leeds and Nottingham via Sheffield and a two-hourly service between Liverpool and Nottingham via Manchester.

This gives an impressive list of destinations from Ilkeston, that includes Barnsley, Chesterfield, Ely (for Cambridge), Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Norwich, Nottingham and Sheffield.

But what is missing are connections to Birmingham, Derby, London and Mansfield.

London will be solved in the future, when passengers by their journey hsbits put sufficient pressure on the train operator.

A solution for Derby and Mansfield was proposed in this article in the Nottingham Post which is entitled Hopes HS2 could see ‘Maid Marian Line’ opened to passengers.

There is a freight-only line between Kirkby-in-Ashfield station on the Robin Hood Line and Pye Bridge on the Erewash Valley Line, on which Ilkeston is situated.

The proposal would allow trains to go between Kirkby-in-Ashfield via Pinxton and Selston to Langley Mill and Ilkeston and then on to Toton for HS2.

From there services could go on to Nottingham or Derby and also give access to the Nottingham Express Transit at Toton.

In my view, the ideal service would be Mansfield to Derby via Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Langley Mill, Ilkeston, Toton (when built), Long Eaton and Spondon.

At Derby, there is also up to four trains per hour to Birmingham.

Conclusion

This is a fine station, which has been built at a keen price, which with more services will be a big asset to Ilkeston.

 

April 2, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Will High Speed 2 Have Go-Anywhere Trains?

I ask this question as after writing Plans For Toton Station For HS2 Are Beginning To Emerge, I started to think about the specification of the trains that will work on HS2.

Extending North |From Toton Or East Midlands Hub Station

Extending HS2 to Sheffield from Toton will eventually be via a dedicated High Speed Line, where the trains can run at their design speed of 225 mph.

But Toton HS2 to Sheffield via Chesterfield will be linked by the Erewash Valley Line, where trains will be able to travel at least as fast as 125 mph.

The Erewash Valley Line will probably be electrified before HS2 opens to Toton HS2 around 2030, to bring Sheffield consistently under two hours from London.

Extending North From Crewe

Similarly Crewe to Liverpool will not be getting a dedicated High Speed Line, but there is already a route where at least 125 mph is possible.

As passengers won’t want to change trains, Liverpool will get two trains per hour (tph)from London on HS2.

The only work needed North of Crewe would be to create extra and longer platforms at Liverpool Lime Street, provided that the new HS2 trains can work on classic high speed lines like the West Coast Main Line.

These improvements at Liverpool Lime Street are actually underway and knowing Scousers as I do, you could bet your house on it being ready in 2027, as they would want to have HS2 services at the same time as Manchester, if not a couple of years before.

Learning From The French

We should also look at how the French do things.

If you travel from Biarritz to Paris via a TGV, the service runs on both High Speed and classic lines.

From the Liverpool and Sheffield examples, I suspect that we will adopt a similar philosophy.

Consider when HS2 opens, the places that could be served directly from Crewe.

  • Runcorn and Liverpool
  • Manchester Piccadilly, if there is platform space.
  • Warrington, Preston, Carlisle, Glasgow and Edinburgh – Why not?
  • Chester and Holyhead – If the North Wales Coast Line is electrified, as has been threatened!

Note most of the West Coast Main Line routes are covered.

Can this explain the decision to combine the HS2 and West Coast Main Line franchises and the early extension of HS2 to Crewe?

The new franchise could even use the same 225 mph trains for HS2 at a slower speed on the West Coast Main Line to replace the Pendelinos.

The only disadvantage would be that the new trains couldn’t take advantage of the more generous HS2 loading gauge, unless of course the classic lines, where they are to run have their gauges enhanced. This may already be the case, as many of these routes have a loading gauge of W10 to take large freight containers.

The Trains For HS2 And West Coast Main Line

I think we’ll be seeing a very interesting specification for the HS2 trains.

  • 225 mph capability on High Speed Lines
  • 140 mph Pendolino performance on classic lines where possible.
  • Short and long trains. Class 800 trains and others seem to be ordered this way, as five and nine/ten car units.
  • Automatic coupling and uncoupling of units, just as Class 395 trains do now!

As the trains won’t be delivered for nearly ten years,  wouldn’t be surprised to see that they have a 100 mph independently-powered capability of perhaps 100 miles. This would enable the trains to reach places like Aberdeen, Barrow in Furness, Blackpool, Inverness and Lincoln from the West Coast Main Line or Phase 1 of HS2.

Expanding The High Speed Network

It may seem strange to use perhaps onboard energy storage to extend services away from HS2. But this capability would probably only be given to the shorter trains that can join and split at Crewe or Birmingham International for fast running to and from London. Generally, when operating on onboard energy storage, the trains will be travelling at slower speeds. so less energy is needed.

This would mean that places like Barrow-in-Furnace, Blackpool, Cleethorpes and Lincoln could be easily added to the high speed network.

The High Speed network could also be expanded by improving the current network with selective electrification and the capability for higher line speeds.

All of these improvements on the classic lines,  would mean that local and freight trains were able to provide a better service too!

Coupled with HS2, they would make a wonderful marketing opportunity.

I estimate the following using new trains and HS2 from Crewe, when Phase 2a of HS2 is complete.

  • Glasgow-London would take under four hours for the journey as opposed to just over four and a half hours now.
  • Liverpool-London would come down from two hours twelve minutes to one hour 33 minutes.
  • Preston-London would down from two hours fifteen minutes to under a hundred minutes.
  • Wigan-London would come down from just over two hours to just 87 minutes.

And some commentators and politicians doubt HS2 is needed.

Conclusion

Certainly, the decision to extend as fast as possible to Crewe was a very good idea.

Consider going from Euston to Glasgow in say 2028.

  • The train would run from Euston to Crewe at full speed of 225 mph stopping if required at Old Oak Common and Birmingham International in a time of 58 minutes.
  • From Crewe to Glasgow, the train would run at least at 125 mph stopping as appropriately.
  • Selective improvements and in-cab signalling would reduce journey times from those of today to the North of Crewe.

Ten years or so later, the journey time will be even faster as the High Speed line was extended past Crewe.

February 13, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 1 Comment