The Anonymous Widower

First ‘As New’ Refurbished Avanti West Coast Pendolino Takes To The Tracks

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

The article gives these improvements to the Class 390 trains.

  • 25,000 new Standard Class seats
  • Conversion of one First Class carriage to provide 2,000 extra standard class seats.
  • New onboard shop
  • New lighting and carpets
  • Passenger information screens (PIS)
  • Additional luggage space in standard class
  • Power points at every seat
  • Refurbished toilets
  • New First and Standard Premium seats

The only refurbished train in service is 390125, which operated the following services on the 25th April 2022.

  • 0505 Manchester to Euston – Stops at Stockport, Crewe and Stafford
  • 0807 Euston to Liverpool – Stops at Milton Keynes Central, Stafford and Runcorn
  • 1047 Liverpool to Euston – Stops at Runcorn, Crewe and Stafford
  • 1857 Euston to Manchester – Stops at Rugby, Stoke-on-Trent, Macclesfield and Stockport

It will be joined by a second refurbished train early next month.

April 27, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Avanti West Coast Looks To Recover

The title of this post is the same as an article in the March 2022 Edition of Modern Railways.

These are some points from the article.

Passengers Numbers Are Recovering

This is a paragraph.

Mr. Wittingham says the recovery has been strongest on the Anglo-Scottish and Liverpool corridors, while Manchester have begun to bounce back. Slowest to recover is the London to West Midlands market; ‘there’s several operators here and we were the main carrier of business passengers, and that sector has been recovering more slowly than leisure’ says Mr. Whittingham.

Phil Whittingham is MD of Avanti West Coast.

Train Numbers Are Recovering

Avanti are building up train numbers from Euston after the pandemic.

Frequencies are as follows in trains per hour (tph)

  • Pre-Covid – 9
  • During the pandemic – 4
  • From December 2021 – 7
  • Omicron – 4
  • From February 2022 – 6
  • From May 2022 – 6+

Avanti have reacted to demand.

Three Classes Of Travel

This is a paragraph.

Avanti’s business has historically been driven by leisure travel – before Covid this accounted for broadly 60 % of passengers, with most of the rest travelling for business plus a smaller number of commuters. ‘The demand is there, and we think by next year we’ll be on the way to full recovery’ says Mr. Whittingham. ‘Leisure has been strong, especially at weekends, but the missing bit is the corporate market.’

Avanti have been running a marketing campaign and it appears to have been successful.

This paragraph describes Avanti’s new Standard Premium class.

Last year, Avanti West Coast launched a new class of travel – Standard Premium. This was first introduced in May on an upgrade-only basis before going fully live in September with the option to book online in advance. The new class sits between Standard and First, giving passengers larger seats and greater space but without some of the extras that come with First Class Travel such as complimentary refreshments and lounge access.

These are Mr. Whittingham’s comments on the three classes.

The current split of passengers is 84% Standard, 12 % First and 4 % Standard Premium, but given the latter has been in place for less than a year there is clearly scope for growth. ‘Our research shows people have been upgrading to Standard Premium rather than downgrading from First’.

I have yet to try Standard Premium, but I will next time I use Avanti.

Refreshments

Avanti have decided to serve different refreshments in Standard Premium and First classes.

  • In Standard Premium, they are now offering At Seat Orders.
  • In First, they have updated the menu.

Both seem to have been well-received.

I like this statement from Mr. Whittingham.

We’ve tried to make it a more personalised service with a less rigid structure, so we give customers what they want, when they want it, rather than when we want to give it to them.

A Consistent Offer

This is a paragraph.

Mr. Whittingham says Avanti has not yet confirmed whether t will offer three classes of travel on the new Hitachi trains it has ordered, but says the aim is to provide a more consistent offer. Assisting this will be changes in the ongoing Pendolino refurbishment, where 11-car sets are having Coach G converted from First to Standard accommodation, meaning all Pendolinos, whether nine-car or 11-car, will have three coaches for First and Standard Premium passengers.

My instinct says that the four trains will be something like.

  • Class 390 train – Pendolino – Nine-car – three First/Standard Premium cars – six Standard cars
  • Class 390 train – Pendolino – Eleven-car – three First/Standard Premium cars – eight Standard cars
  • Class 805 train – Hitachi – Five-car – one First/Standard Premium car – four Standard cars
  • Class 807 train – Hitachi – Seven-car – two First/Standard Premium car – five Standard cars

Note.

  1. The Class 805 and Class 807 Hitachi trains are very much plug-and-play and can be lengthened or shortened as required.
  2. A regular passenger between London and Liverpool, who regularly upgrades from Standard to Standard Premium in a Class 390 train could be a bit miffed if he couldn’t, because the service was being run by a Class 807 train.
  3. Hitachi would probably be very happy to add extra cars to the Class 805 and Class 807 trains.

As the Class 390 Pendolino trains are being refurbished, I do wonder if they will be receiving some fittings from the Hitachi trains to make sure the trains are consistent to both on-board staff and passengers.

Pendolino Investment

The Pendolino refurbishment is comprehensive.

  • It is one of the largest such programmes ever undertaken in the UK.
  • Leasing company; Angel Trains are funding the work.
  • Alstom are doing the work at Widnes.
  • There appears to be a smooth plan to refurbish all trains.
  • Coach G will be converted from First to Standard accommodation in eleven-car trains.
  • Mr. Whittingham says that all trains will come out looking like a new train.

The eleven-car trains are being converted first, as the conversion of Coach G gives a capacity benefit of around thirty seats.

The awful seats in Standard Class will be replaced with Lumo-style seats and laptop-friendly fold-down tables.

These seats will be a big improvement!

New Trains Coming

This paragraph introduces the new trains.

The second major fleet investment from Avanti is the £350 million for new trains from Hitachi, financed by Rock Rail. These comprise 13×5-car Class 805 bi-modes, ordered for destinations off the electrified route including North Wales and Shrewsbury and 10×7-car Class 807 electrics. Deployment plans for the latter are still being worked through but are likely to include services to Birmingham and Liverpool, and potentially to Blackpool.

What is not said in this paragraph, is that all trains have a redesigned front end, which I suspect is more aerodynamic.

The all-electric Class 807 trains have no diesel engines or batteries, so have they been put on a diet, to improve the acceleration?

In Will Avanti West Coast’s New Trains Be Able To Achieve London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street In Two Hours?, I came to these conclusions.

  • A two hour service between London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street will be possible with Avanti West Coast’s new Class 807 trains.
  • The current Class 390 trains could go a bit faster and if they cut out a couple of stops could probably break two hours.

I also calculated that a two tph service between London and Liverpool in two hours would need nine trains.

Timetable Changes

This paragraph introduces the article’s section on timetable changes.

The project in turn feeds into a major timetable change planned by Avanti and other West Coast main line operators. This will be the first significant change to West Coast main line schedules since 2008; ‘the world has changed, and we need to think about how we best serve our markets’ says Mr Whittingham.

This paragraph sums up the major changes.

Of note are the planned changes to the pattern of London to West Midlands services; the pre-Covid 20-minute interval would be amended to offer faster journey times and greater connectivity. Also featuring in the new timetable aspirations would be additional Trent Valley calls in some Liverpool and Manchester services; Mr Whittingham cites as one benefit of this the potential for improved journey times between the North West and the East Midlands via a change of train at Nuneaton. The Hitachi trains, with their better acceleration, will be particularly useful on services with more frequent stops.

The next three sections will look at some timetable changes in a bit more detail.

London And West Midlands Services

Replacement of twenty diesel Class 221 trains with thirteen bi-mode Class 805 trains will mean a major reorganisation of services to the West Midlands.

  • Some current diesel services will now be electric.
  • All services between Birmingham New Street and Euston will now be electric.
  • No services will run on diesel under live electrification.
  • Avanti have promised to serve Walsall.
  • There will be extra services to Shrewsbury and other places.

The electric services will also speed up some services to the West Midlands.

North West And East Midlands Services

I will look at train times for services between the North West (Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Piccadilly) and the East Midlands (Leicester, Nottingham and Lincoln), where passengers change at Nuneaton.

These are the current fastest possible times according to the National Rail journey planner.

  • Liverpool Lime Street and Leicester -2:24 with changes at Crewe and Nuneaton,
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Leicester – 2:11 with change at Sheffield
  • Liverpool Lime Street and Nottingham – 2:42 with no changes
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Nottingham – 1:51 with no changes
  • Liverpool Lime Street and Lincoln- 3:42 with changes at Sheffield and Doncaster
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Lincoln – 2:38 with change at Sheffield

Note that times are in hours:minutes.

These are all current times for the various legs if the route is via Nuneaton.

  • Avanti West Coast – Liverpool Lime Street and Nuneaton – 1:18
  • Avanti West Coast – Manchester Piccadilly and Nuneaton – 1:13
  • CrossCountry – Nuneaton and Leicester – 0:27
  • East Midlands Railway – Leicester and Nottingham – 0:48 – Time from Leicester and Lincoln service.
  • East Midlands Railway – Leicester and Nottingham – 0:20 – Time from St. Pancras and Nottingham service.
  • East Midlands Railway – Leicester and Lincoln -1:42 – Time from Leicester and Lincoln service.
  • East Midlands Railway – Nottingham and Lincoln -0:52 – Time from Leicester and Lincoln service.

Note that the two Avanti West Coast times have been estimated by taking the time from Real Time Trains and adding three minutes for the acceleration or deceleration at Nuneaton.

These would be possible times between the North West and the East Midlands via Nuneaton.

  • Liverpool Lime Street and Leicester – 1:47
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Leicester – 1:42
  • Liverpool Lime Street and Nottingham – 2:37
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Nottingham – 2:32
  • Liverpool Lime Street and Lincoln- 3:31
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Lincoln – 3:26

Note that I am assuming changes at Nuneaton and Leicester are cross-platform or same platform changes that take two minutes.

But there is another level of improvement possible.

Suppose that East Midlands Railway’s Lincoln and Leicester service were to be extended to Nuneaton and run by a train with this specification.

  • 125 mph operating speed.
  • Battery-electric power.
  • 100 mph operating speed on battery power.
  • Range of 56 miles on battery
  • Ability to use the Midland Main Line electrification, when it is erected.

Charging stations would be needed at Nuneaton and Lincoln.

These would be possible times between the North West and the East Midlands via Nuneaton with the one change at Nuneaton.

  • Liverpool Lime Street and Leicester – 1:45
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Leicester – 1:40
  • Liverpool Lime Street and Nottingham – 2:05
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Nottingham – 2:00
  • Liverpool Lime Street and Lincoln- 2:57
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Lincoln – 2:52

Note.

I am assuming that the timings for the Nuneaton and Leicester and the Nottingham and Lincoln legs are as for the current trains.

I am assuming the change at Nuneaton is a cross-platform or same platform change that takes two minutes.

Trains run on battery where tracks are not electrified.

I can build a table of current times, times via Nuneaton and savings.

  • Liverpool Lime Street and Leicester -2:24 – 1:45 – 0:39
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Leicester – 2:11 – 1:40 – 0.31
  • Liverpool Lime Street and Nottingham – 2:42 – 2:05 – 0:37
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Nottingham – 1:51 – 2:00 – 0.09 slower
  • Liverpool Lime Street and Lincoln- 3:42 – 2:57 – 0.45
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Lincoln – 2:38 – 2:52 – 0:14 slower

It does appear that by using the 125 mph speed of the West Coast Main Line has a positive effect on some times from the North West to the East Midlands.

But times could be reduced further.

  • Installing full digital signalling, that would enable 140 mph running between Crewe and Nuneaton, could save ten minutes.
  • Improving the Nuneaton and Leicester and the Nottingham and Lincoln legs could allow faster running.

The more I look at changing at Nuneaton, I feel it is a good idea.

  • It improves the connections between East Midlands Parkway and Loughborough and the North West.
  • It improves the connections between Cambridge, Peterborough and Stansted Airport and the North West, if the change at Nuneaton is to CrossCountry’s Stansted Airport and Birmingham New Street service.
  • It improves the connections between Coventry and Leamington Spa and the North West.

Avanti have come up with a cunning plan, worthy of Baldrick at his best.

A Second Hourly Service Between London And Liverpool

A paragraph talks about the second hourly service between London and Liverpool.

Avanti still has ambitions to introduce a second hourly service between Euston and Liverpool, but when this will come in will depend on demand recovery.

Consider.

  • If would be desirable if some or all trains running on the route could achieve a timing of two hours between London and Liverpool.
  • It is felt that the second service should stop at Liverpool South Parkway station, where the platforms are too short for eleven-car Class 390 trains.
  • Avanti have stated they would like more stops in the Trent Valley, especially at Nuneaton, where they would connect to services to the East Midlands.
  • Nuneaton is almost exactly halfway between London and Liverpool.
  • Running two tph with Class 807 trains would need nine trains and Avanti have only ordered ten in total.

I believe that a practical timetable like this could work.

  • Class 390 train – one tph – Non-stop or perhaps a single stop in the Midlands – Under two hours
  • Class 705 train – one tph – Stopping at Nuneaton, Stafford, Crewe, Runcorn and Liverpool South Parkway – Current time or better

An hourly service between London and Liverpool in under two hours would surely be a passenger magnet.

February 23, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

HS2 Downsizes Euston Station To Save Costs

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

The High Speed Two station at Euston will now have only ten platforms and it will be built in a single construction phase.

These are my thoughts.

Oversite Development

When completed, there will be a lot of development over the top of the new Euston station.

One way or another, this could be a nice little earner for High Speed Two,

  • It will be one of the most convenient addresses in London.
  • The development could be housing, offices or some innovative commercial property.
  • There might even be a large indoor sports or concert arena like the O2.

But whatever gets developed on top of the station, the developer would surely prefer to be handed as large a site as possible in 2026 all in one go.

And the earlier it is handed over, the earlier High Speed Two gets paid.

I do wonder, if a large international property and entertainment group of the highest quality has made the government an offer that is far too good to refuse to build a world class venue on top of the station.

  • It would be a very well-connected by public transport and most visitors could come by public transport.
  • Surely, if a massive attraction was on top of the station, High Speed Two and all the railways would benefit from the rail ticket revenue.
  • The Manchester Arena is over the top of Manchester Victoria station. So why not a Euston Arena?

Euston station, is a site where High Speed Two and developers must be ultra-bold to maximise the return for everyone, including those sceptics, who believe High Speed Two is a waste of money.

The View From Ian

There is an excellent post on Ian Visits which is entitled HS2 to Cut London Euston Station To Ten Platforms.

Some of the following thoughts have been suggested by reading Ian’s post.

Euston Station Must Be Able To Handle Eighteen Trains Per Hour

The main tracks of High Speed Two are being designed to handle eighteen trains per hour (tph) or a train every three minutes and twenty seconds.

The current plan is that when Phase 2 is complete, the High Speed platforms at Euston station will handle seventeen tph, which will leave one path spare for sorting out problems.

With ten High Speed platforms, that would mean that in a busy hour, each platform would handle two tph or a train every thirty minutes.

With the improvements in signalling and track and train design, I would expect that turning trains in Euston at that frequency is possible.

I suspect that High Speed Two and Network Rail have done extensive Monte-Carlo simulations to prove that ten High Speed platforms can handle the required eighteen tph.

Greater Integration Between High Speed Two And Network Rail

In Ian’s post he says this.

In the meantime, HS2 and Network Rail are working on how they can have a greater integration between HS2 and the associated upgrades of the Network Rail side of the station.

Consider.

  • The Network Rail station should  be able to handle a single 200 metre long Classic-Compatible train at the present time.
  • Under current plans four services into the High Speed platforms at Euston station will be single 200 metre long Classic-Compatible trains.
  • I wonder if it would be possible to add a crossover to allow High Speed Two  trains from the North to enter the Network Rail platforms alongside the High Speed Two platforms.
  • If the track layout were possible, this could effectively give High Speed Two ten High Speed platforms and one or even two emergency ones, if required in the Network Rail station.

This Google Map shows Euston station.

Note.

  1. The large square building is the current Euston station.
  2. The building site on the Western side of the station is the High Speed extension, where there will be ten platforms.
  3. Euston station can take 265 metre long Class 390 trains.
  4. Platform 1 on the East side of Euston station can take the 355 metre long Caledonian Sleeper.

There certainly would appear to be possibilities to link the two sides of the station to improve operational flexibility.

I wonder if something could be done in Birmingham to improve connectivity.

In Birmingham Airport Connectivity, I said this

But look at this map clipped from the High Speed Two web site.

Note.

  1. The blue dot shows the location of Curzon Street station.
    The West Coast Main Line running into New Street station, is just to the South of Curzon Street station.
    New Street station can be picked out to the West of Curzon Street station.

This Google Map shows a close-up of the current Curzon Street station site.

The same pattern of rail lines going past the Curzon Street site into New Street station can be picked out.

Surely, a connection could be made to allow trains from a couple of platforms in Curzon Street station to terminate trains from the West Coast Main Line.

Possible services could include.

  • London Euston and Birmingham Curzon Street via Watford Junction, Milton Keynes, Rugby and Coventry
  • Cardiff and Birmingham Curzon Street via Bristol Parkway, Swindon, Oxford and Milton Keynes.
  • Cambridge and Birmingham Curzon Street via Bristol Parkway, Bedford and Milton Keynes.

There are a lot of possibilities to give High Speed Two much bigger coverage.

 

 

October 26, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 5 Comments

Could We See Between London And Much Of The North By Train In Under Two Hours?

I shall write about each route in order starting from Euston and working East.

Avanti West Coast And Euston

These are services from Euston, that I feel could be under two hours.

London Euston And Liverpool Lime Street

On Thursday, I went to Liverpool by train.

  • My train took two hours and thirteen minutes between London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street stations.
  • There were stops at Stafford, Crewe and Runcorn.
  • The Class 390 train was travelling at 125 mph for a lot of the way.
  • The distance between the two terminals is 193.6 miles.
  • The start to stop average including the stops was 87.3 mph.

So could London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street be achieved in the magic two hours?

A few thoughts.

Average Speed

To do the journey in this time  would need an average speed of 96.8 mph.

Accelerating And Stopping

Ideally, the train will run as fast as it can only changing speed for the station stops.

  • The train will accelerate from stop to cruising speed at Euston, Stafford, Crewe and Runcorn or four times.
  • The train will decelerate from cruising speed to stop at Stafford, Crewe, Runcorn and Liverpool Lime Street or four times.

Effectively, the train goes through four complete station stops, although one will be split between the two ends of the journey.

These figures are from Wikipedia and the Internet

  • The acceleration of the Class 390 train is 1.0 mph/sec which means that it takes 125 seconds to get to 125 mph.
  • The deceleration of a Class 390 train is 2.0 mph/sec, which means that it takes 63 seconds to stop from 125 mph.
  • The acceleration of a Class 801 train is 1.6 mph/sec which means that it takes 78 seconds to get to 125 mph.
  • The deceleration of a Class 801 train is 2.2 mph/sec, which means that it takes 57 seconds to stop from 125 mph.

These figures would appear to show, that a Class 801 train can decelerate and accelerate at a stop in nearly a minute faster than a Class 390 train.

So how can we increase the acceleration and deceleration? The two obvious ways are more power and less weight.

Form the Internet, I estimate that the average car in a Class 390 train is around 52 tonnes, as opposed to 41 tonnes for the Hitachi trains.

So does this weight difference explain some of the difference in acceleration and deceleration times?

Consider.

  • The Class 390 trains have all the extra weight of the tilt mechanism. More weight means slower acceleration.
  • Avanti West Coast’s new Class 807 trains have no diesel engines or batteries. Have the trains been put on a diet?
  • They also have a reprofiled nose. Is it more aerodynamic?

So if these trains can save time on the four accelerate/decelerate cycles compared to the Class 390 trains, they must be getting nearer to the magic two hours.

If two minutes a stop can be saved that would save eight minutes on the journey between London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street.

140 Mph Running

The time to do a mile at various speeds are as follows.

  • 100 mph – 36 seconds
  • 125 mph – 29 seconds
  • 140 mph – 26 seconds

So running at 140 mph, as opposed to the current 125 mph would save three seconds for every mile.

To save five minutes would mean the train would have to run for a hundred miles at 140 mph instead of 125 mph.

As Stafford is 133.5 miles from London, it could be that full digital signalling should be installed on the West Coast Main Line all the way to Stafford or even Crewe, which is 158 miles from London.

This schematic map of the West Coast Main Line was clipped from Wikipedia.

Note.

  1. Trains between London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street take the Trent Valley Line through Nuneaton and Lichfield Trent Valley and stop at Stafford, Crewe and Runcorn.
  2. Trains between London Euston and Manchester take a variety of routes and all go via Stockport.
  3. One train per hour (tph) between London Euston and Glasgow Central takes the Trent Valley Line and goes non-stop between London Euston and Warrington Central.
  4. Norton Bridge Junction just to the North of Stafford has recently been remodelled.

I believe there is potential to enable up to at least a hundred miles of 140 mph running to the South of Crewe. Especially as most of the track South of Crewe is quadruple track.

This should enable the shaving of five or more minutes off the time of any train capable of 140 mph running that uses the Trent Valley Line through Nuneaton, Lichfield Trent Valley and Stafford.

Norton Bridge Junction

Norton Bridge junction, which is five miles North  used to be a bottleneck, but it has now been remodelled.

I wrote about it in The New Norton Bridge Junction In Action.

The new junction has probably been designed so that it can save a few seconds for trains going between Stafford and Crewe, whether or not they stop at either or both stations.

Non-Stop Between London Euston and Runcorn

If you look at the times of a London Euston and Glasgow Central train via the Trent Valley Line , it travels the 174.7 miles between London Euston and Weaver Junction non-stop in one hour and forty minutes. This is an average speed of 104.8 mph.

By comparison, my train on Thursday took one hour and forty-seven minutes with the two stops at Stafford and Crewe.

So there is at least six minutes to be saved by going non-stop.

 

Two Trains Per Hour Between London Euston And Liverpool Lime Street

Wikipedia says this about an additional service.

Subject to approval by the Office of Rail and Road, an additional hourly service will be introduced between London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street with a stop at Liverpool South Parkway from December 2022.

I have a few thoughts and questions on extra services between London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street,

  • In my view the second service is much needed.
  • I also think, that a later train back to London is needed.
  • Does the Wikipedia statement mean that only one train will stop at Liverpool South Parkway?
  • Does Runcorn need two tph to and from London?
  • Would the platforms at Liverpool South Parkway be lengthened to accept eleven-car Class 390 trains?

I feel that if a train stopped at both Liverpool South Parkway and Runcorn, this would make a two-hour journey more difficult to achieve.

London Euston And Liverpool Lime Street In Two Hours

The new Class 807 trains will be delivered by 2022. Because of the pandemic, I’ll assume that of the ten trains on order, some, but not all, will be available by the December 2022 timetable change.

The time savings needed for a two-hour journey will come from four improvements.

  1. The increased performance of the Class 807 trains.
  2. Full digital signalling South of Crewe.
  3. The track improvements already completed like Norton Bridge Junction.
  4. Cutting out stop on the second service.

There may also be time savings to be obtained at the intermediate stops, by better working practices.

I doubt that the full digital signalling will have been installed, but all trains will be capable of 125 mph running.

Avanti West Coast probably have a good idea of the time they could achieve without digital signalling and I feel that they could be about five minutes over two hours with the Class 807 trains.

As the eleven-car Class 390 trains are too long for Liverpool South Parkway station, could we see the following service?

  • 1 tph – Class 390 train – London Euston And Liverpool Lime Street via Runcorn, Crewe and Stafford.
  • 1 tph – Class 807 train – London Euston And Liverpool Lime Street via Liverpool South Parkway.

Note.

  1. The Class 390 train would run the existing timetable in two hours and thirteen minutes.
  2. The Class 807 train would be a two-hour express service if possible.
  3. Going from three stops to one could save the express at least seven minutes, as I showed earlier by looking at train timings South of Weaver Junction.
  4. There would be time savings of at least two minutes on the express service due to the better performance of the Class 807 train.

To save the final four minutes, there would need to be at least eighty miles of 140 mph running, as each mile saves three seconds.

I am fairly certain, that London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street can be regularly achieved in two hours.

London Euston And Warrington Bank Quay

The hourly London Euston and Glasgow Central expresses seem to take one hour and forty-five minutes for the non-stop trip of 182.1 miles, which is an average speed of 104 mph.

As this service is non-stop, I believe that this service would get the maximum benefit from digital signalling and this service will only get faster, as more and more of the route allowed 140 mph-running.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see almost ten minutes lopped off this service by signalling and other improvements.

I am fairly certain, that London Euston and Warrington Bank Quay can be regularly achieved in well under two hours, by a Class 390 train.

London Euston And Wigan North Western

The hourly London Euston and Glasgow Central expresses seem to take one hour and fifty-six minutes for the single-stop trip of 193.9 miles, which is an average speed of 100.3 mph.

As this service just a single stop at Warrington Bank Quay, I believe that this service would get the maximum benefit from digital signalling and this service will only get faster, as more and more of the route allowed 140 mph-running.

As with Warrington Bank Quay, I wouldn’t be surprised to see almost ten minutes lopped off this service by signalling and other improvements.

I am fairly certain, that London Euston and Wigan North Western can be regularly achieved in comfortably under two hours, by a Class 390 train.

London Euston And Preston

The hourly London Euston and Glasgow Central expresses seem to take two hours and eleven minutes for the two -stop trip of 209 miles, which is an average speed of 95.7 mph.

As this service just stops at Warrington Bank Quay and Wigan North Western, I believe that this service would get the maximum benefit from digital signalling and this service will only get faster, as more and more of the route allowed 140 mph-running.

As with Warrington Bank Quay and Wigan North Western, I wouldn’t be surprised to see almost ten minutes lopped off this service by signalling and other improvements.

I am fairly certain, that London Euston and Preston can be regularly achieved in just under two hours, by a Class 390 train.

London Euston And Blackpool North

Avanti West Coast have indicated that their new Class 807 trains will run between London Euston and Blackpool North.

Consider.

  • I am fairly certain that a Class 390 train will be able to run between London Euston and Preston in under two hours, once digital signalling is installed South of Crewe.
  • Currently, Class 390 trains take twenty minutes between Preston and Blackpool North stations.
  • The Class 807 trains have better acceleration and deceleration and should be able to execute faster stops than the Class 390 trains.

I wonder if Avanti West Coast, Hitachi, Network Rail and Rock Rail have thought up a cunning plan to run Class 807  trains between  London Euston And Blackpool North, in under two hours.

Trains would go via the Trent Valley.

Trains might only stop at perhaps Milton Keynes Central, Warrington Bank Quay, Wigan North Western and Preston.

Trains would run at up to 140 mph using digital signalling, in as many places as possible.

Is the performance of the Class 807 trains sufficient to achieve London Euston and Blackpool North in under two hours via the Trent Valley?

London Euston And Manchester Piccadilly via Wilmslow

Consider.

  • Most trains between London Euston and Manchester Piccadilly via Wilmslow seem to take around six or seven minutes over two hours.
  • I believe that if the 158 miles between London Euston and Crewe were to be digitally signalled, then this could save up to eight minutes by allowing trains to run at 140 mph rather than the current 125 mph.

This could be enough to bring the London Euston and Manchester Piccadilly via Wilmslow below two hours.

I am not surprised at this, as the trains were built for 140 mph and because there is no digital signalling, they are limited to 125 mph, which slows the trains by six or seven minutes.

London Euston And Manchester Piccadilly via Stoke-on-Trent

Everything I said about trains between London Euston and Manchester Piccadilly via Wilmslow probably apply, except that the services via Stoke-on-Trent are a few minutes slower.

But I do feel, that this could be enough to bring the London Euston and Manchester Piccadilly via Stoke-on-Trent below two hours.

East Midlands Railway And St. Pancras

These is only one service from St. Pancras, that is not comfortably under two hours.

London St. Pancras And Sheffield

A typical service between London St. Pancras And Sheffield takes a few minutes over two hours..

  • There are two tph
  • There are stops at Leicester, Loughborough, East Midlands Parkway, Long Eaton, Derby or Chesterfield depending on the service.
  • The Class 222 trains travel at 125 mph for most of the way.
  • The distance between the two terminals is 164.7 miles.
  • The start to stop average including the stops is 81 mph.

I would suspect that East Midlands Railway’s new bi-mode Class 810 trains will be able to easily break the two-hour barrier.

  • They have four diesel engines so they can cruise at 125 mph on diesel.
  • They have electric power for South of Market Harborough.
  • Some diesel engines will be changed for batteries.

As electrification increases on the Midland Main Line, these trains will use less and less diesel.

I also suspect that digital signalling will start to creep into the route, starting from Bedford, where it is used on Thameslink.

LNER And King’s Cross

These are services from King’s Cross, that are or I feel will be under two hours.

London King’s Cross And Doncaster

A typical service between London King’s Cross And Doncaster takes around one hour and thirty-seven minutes.

  • There are four tph
  • There are stops at Stevenage, Peterborough, Grantham, Newark and Retford depending on the service.
  • The Class 80x trains travel at 125 mph for most of the way.
  • The distance between the two stations is 156 miles.
  • The start to stop average including the stops is 96.5 mph.

Digital signaling is being installed on this section of the East Coast Main Line and I suspect that this will reduce timings between London King’s Cross And Doncaster.

A simple estimate based on the maximum operating speed, indicates a time of one hour and twenty-six minutes should be possible.

But as a Control Engineer, I believe that digital signalling will lead to faster running over the Digswell Viaduct and through the flat crossing at Newark.

The timing will certainly be under one hour and thirty minutes between London King’s Cross And Doncaster.

London King’s Cross And York

A typical service between London King’s Cross And York takes around one hour and forty-eight minutes.

  • There are two tph
  • There are stops at Stevenage, Peterborough, Grantham, Newark, Retford and Doncaster depending on the service.
  • The Class 80x trains travel at 125 mph for most of the way.
  • The distance between the two stations is 188.5 miles.
  • A non-stop service takes one hour and fifty-two minutes, which is a start to stop average including the stops is 101 mph.

If my crude estimate of time savings because of digital signalling South of Doncaster can be applied, this would imply a reduction in journey time of at least eleven minutes.

London King’s Cross And Leeds

A typical service between London King’s Cross And Leeds takes around two hours and thirteen minutes.

  • There are three tph
  • There are stops at Stevenage, Peterborough, Grantham, Newark, Doncaster and Wakefield Westgate depending on the service.
  • The Class 80x trains travel at 125 mph for most of the way.
  • The distance between the two terminals is 185.9 miles.
  • This is a start to stop average including the stops is 83.9 mph.

If my crude estimate of time savings because of digital signalling South of Doncaster can be applied, this would imply a reduction in journey time of at least eleven minutes, which would put a time between London King’s Cross and Leeds of around two hours.

London King’s Cross And Bradford Forster Square

LNER run some services on this route

  • The services take thirty minutes between Leeds and Bradford Forster Square stations.
  • The services do not reverse at Leeds.

Given that two hours should be possible between London Kings Cross and Leeds, it would appear that two hours and thirty minutes should be possible between Leeds and Bradford Forster Square stations.

London King’s Cross And Bradford Interchange

Grand Central run some services on this route

  • The services call at Doncaster, Wakefield Kirkgate, Mirfield, Brighouse and Low Moor
  • The services take two hours and fifty-four minutes between London King’s Cross and Bradford Interchange stations.
  • The services take one hour and seventeen minutes between Doncaster and Bradford Interchange stations.

The services are run by Class 180 diesel trains, which will have to be replaced to decarbonise the route.

I suspect that Hitachi will have a train for this route, that could use diesel or batteries to the North of Doncaster.

  • My estimate for the best time between King’s Cross and Doncaster is one hour and twenty-six minutes.
  • The current time between Doncaster and Bradford Interchange stations is one hour and seventeen minutes.

This gives a best time of perhaps two hours and forty-three minutes between Doncaster and Bradford Interchange stations.

The route to Bradford via Leeds is perhaps fifteen minutes faster, but it serves different stations.

London King’s Cross And Harrogate

LNER has been running to Harrogate for some time.

  • There is one train per two hours (tp2h)
  • The service calls at Stevenage, Grantham, Doncaster, Wakefield Westgate and Leeds.
  • some services reverse at Leeds.
  • The service takes two hours and fifty-five minutes between London King’s Cross and Harrogate stations.
  • The service takes thirty minutes between Leeds and Harrogate stations.

Given that two hours should be possible between London Kings Cross and Leeds, it would appear that two hours and thirty minutes could be possible between London King’s Cross and Harrogate stations.

London King’s Cross And Huddersfield

In LNER Expands To Huddersfield, I described LNER’s new service to Huddersfield.

  • There will be one train per day (tpd)
  • The service will call at Peterborough, Newark North Gate, Doncaster, Wakefield Westgate, Leeds and Dewsbury.
  • The service will split and join with the London King’s Cross and Skipton service at Leeds.
  • The service will reverse at Leeds.
  • The service take two hours and fifty-five minutes between London King’s Cross and Huddersfield stations.
  • The service will take twenty-five minutes between Leeds and Huddersfield stations.
  • Improvements are planned, which include electrification, between Dewsbury and Huddersfield

Given that two hours should be possible between London Kings Cross and Leeds, it would appear that two hours and thirty minutes could be possible between London King’s Cross and Huddersfield stations.

London King’s Cross And Hull

The fastest Hull Trains service between London King’s Cross And Hull takes around two hours and thirty minutes.

  • There are seven tpd
  • There are stops at Stevenage, Grantham, Retford, Doncaster, Selby, Howden and Brough depending on the service.
  • The Class 80x trains travel at 125 mph for most of the way.
  • The distance between the two terminals is 205.3 miles.
  • This is a start to stop average including the stops is 82.1 mph.

If my crude estimate of time savings because of digital signalling South of Doncaster can be applied, this would imply a reduction in journey time of at least eleven minutes, which would put a time between London King’s Cross and Hull of around two hours and twenty minutes.

London King’s Cross And Middlesbrough

LNER have announced a Middlesbrough service, which I wrote about in LNER’s Middlesbrough And London Service. Starts On December 13th.

  • There will be one tpd in both directions
  • Intermediate stops will be at Thornaby and York.
  • The Middlesbrough and London service will leave Middlesbrough from Platform 1 at 07:08 and arrive in King’s Cross at 10:22.
  • The London and Middlesbrough service will leave King’s Cross at 15:25 and arrive in Middlesbrough in Platform 2 at 18:18.

There appear to be some curiosities in the timetabling of these trains, which I may explore later.

I would assume that is because LNER want a competitive time of three hours between King’s Cross and Middlesbrough.

These are Southbound times between Eaglescliffe and King’s Cross in the morning.

  • Grand Central –  Two hours and thirty-nine minutes
  • LNER – Three hours and two minutes

Is this because the Class 180 train is a genuine 125 mph train on diesel and the Class 800 train is not?

If my crude estimate of time savings because of digital signalling South of Doncaster can be applied, this would imply a reduction in journey time of at least eleven minutes, which would put a time between London King’s Cross and Middlesbrough of around three hours.

Conclusion

Of the cities and towns in the North, that I have discussed only Bradford, Harrogate, Huddersfield, Hull and Middlesbrough, are ones that will be difficult to be provided with a two-hour journey time to and from London. But all should be possible in close to or under two hours and thirty minutes.

 

 

October 17, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Thoughts On Splitting The Northern Line

In Battersea Power Station Station Opens, I talked about the scale of the new Battersea Power Station station.

  • It looks like it could have three entrances.
  • It’s got four escalators and two lifts to go to down to platform level.
  • It has two terminal platforms.

I feel it has been designed to handle as many passengers and trains as Morden station.

  • Morden station has five platforms.
  • The station is step-free.
  • The station handles ten million passengers per year.

The signalling can handle up to thirty trains per hour (tph) to Morden.

It looks to me that Battersea Power Station station has been designed to be big enough to take half the trains from North London with ease.

The Proposed Split

There has been talk of splitting the Northern Line into two separate lines for some years.

  • The Western Line (Charing Cross Line) would run between Edgware and Battersea Power Station via Camden Town, Euston, Charing Cross and Kennington.
  • The Eastern Line (Bank Line) would run between High Barnet and Morden via Camden Town, Euston, Bank and Kennington.

Note.

  1. I will call the two lines the Bank and Charing Cross Lines.
  2. Both lines could have Victoria Line frequencies of over thirty tph.
  3. It is generally felt that the split would need a rebuild at Camden Town station to handle the extra passengers.
  4. Camden Town station needs better access between the trains and the street.
  5. There would need to be better connections at Kennington and Euston stations.

Surely, the main advantages of the split would be as follows.

  • Trains on both lines would go end-to-end without crossing a junction, where signals and points were constantly switching trains. This is why the Victoria Line can handle more than thirty-three tph.
  • Trains will run at Victoria Line frequencies on both lines.
  • All trains at Camden Town and Kennington stations would use a route without points to go as fast as possible through the station.
  • Eliminating the points, would make both lines more reliable.
  • Euston station will have upwards of sixty tph connecting it to Crossrail.

Effectively, the new Bank and Charing Cross Lines would be able to perform just like Dear Old Vicky.

I will now look at where work needs to or could be done to successfully split the two lines.

Kennington Station

In Could Access Between Platform And Train Be Improved At Kennington Station?, I outlined how passengers might use Kennington station to change between the Bank and Charing Cross Lines.

I developed this rule.

The rule would appear to be if you’re on one line and are going to a station on the other, you change at Kennington station.

Staff would need to be on the platform to help those, who were changing direction.

But I do think changing can be made to work well with step-free access between train and platform on all four platforms at Kennington station.

It will be interesting to see, what proportion of train changes at Kennington are simple cross-platform changes, where there is no use of the steep stairs. I think it could be quite high.

I believe Kennington station will grow into a very smooth interchange between the Bank and Charing Cross Lines.

Although, there’ll be a problem for some time, if you’re in a wheelchair and want to go between Morden and Battersea Power station.

This could be solved by lifts between each pair of platforms and the intermediate level passage, which connects to the lifts to the surface.

The Camden Town Problem

This map from cartometro.com shows the lines around and through Camden Town station.

Note.

  1. Camden Town station has four platforms.
  2. The Eastern pair are under Kentish Town Road and connect to High Barnet in the North.
  3. The Western pair are under Camden High Street and connect to Edgware in the North.
  4. In each pair of tracks the Northbound track is above the Southbound track.
  5. There is a level passage between the two Northbound tracks, so it is an easy interchange, if you’re on the wrong train going North.
  6. The passage between the two Southbound tracks has stairs at either end, if you want to change Southbound trains at the station.

But the real problem lies South of the station; the horrendously complicated Camden Town Junction.

The junction must be able to handle trains going between the following stations.

  • Bank and Edgware
  • Bank and High Barnet
  • Charing Cross and Edgware
  • Charing Cross and High Barnet

Note in the map, that the High Barnet tracks dive under the Edgware tracks so they can form two separate pairs of tracks to Euston, only one of which goes via Mornington Crescent.

If there was a similar junction on the motorways of the UK or the Interstate Highways of the US, it would have years ago been simplified.

The split will mean the following.

  • The Eastern pair of platforms will still be connected to High Barnet as now, but will also be directly connected to the tracks that go directly to Euston and on to Bank.
  • The Western pair of platforms will still be connected to Edgware as now, but will also be directly connected to the tracks that go to Euston via Mornington Crescent and on to Charing Cross.
  • Camden Town Junction could be seriously simplified, with perhaps the ability to swap between routes only available for depot and engineering movements.

I do suspect, it would also mean all trains from High Barnet will go via Bank and all trains via Edgware will go via Charing Cross.

  • A proportion of passengers would have to change at Camden Town.
  • Both routes would connect to High Speed Two at Euston.
  • Both routes connect to the Central, Jubilee, Piccadilly and Victoria Lines.
  • Improvements promised for Euston will give better access to the Sub-Surface Lines.

I think it will be a case of winning some good routes and losing others. Disgusted from Finchley might complain.

But then there will be Crossrail, which as it connects to both lines at Tottenham Court Road and Moorgate could give serious advantages.

The split isn’t without passengers who will object to losing their preferred route.

Camden Town Station

This document on TfL’s web site gives more details of the proposed capacity upgrade at Camden Town station. This schematic of the tunnels, platforms and walkways shows how the station could look in a few years time.

Note.

  1. New tunnels are shown in light grey.
  2. Existing tunnels are shown in dark grey.
  3. The Northbound platforms are above the Southbound ones.
  4. The tunnels in the foreground are those of the Charing Cross Line.
  5. The far tunnels are those of the Bank Line.
  6. The new Buck Street entrance is labelled 8.
  7. There is a new pedestrian tunnel between the two Northbound Lines.
  8. Below it is a new tunnel between the two Southbound Lines.
  9. There is an existing passage linking the four lines.

The full upgrade is very much on the back burner, but could Camden Town station be upgraded with the proposed extra cross passages.

  • These would enable passengers to change lines easily on the level.
  • Passengers changing between the Bank and Charing Cross Lines would be kept away from the existing escalators and the space at their bottom.
  • The tunnels would increase the circulation area.
  • The tunnels would be part of the new Buck Street entrance if it were to be built.

I feel with improved cross-platform interchange, Camden Town could function as an interchange station between the Bank and Charing Cross Lines.

A similar rule as I used for Kennington station would apply for passengers.

The rule would appear to be if you’re on one line and are going to a station on the other, you change at Camden Town station.

Staff would need to be on the platform to help those, who were changing direction.

But it would be a more comprehensive and easier interchange than Kennington, as all changes would be without steep stairs.

Once Camden Town station is working well with the new cross passages, I would then get a developer to put a large development on the proposed site of the Buck Street entrance, with a new entrance with lifts and escalators underneath, that reached down to the new cross tunnels.

After what the contractors did at Whitechapel, I suspect this could be achieved, whilst keeping the trains running and leaving the existing Camden Town station intact.

This Google Map shows the area between Camden Road and Camden Town stations.

Note.

  1. Camden Road station on the North London Line is in the North-East corner of the map.
  2. Camden Town station is at the bottom of the map towards the West.
  3. The Charing Cross Line to Edgware is under Camden High Street.
  4. The Bank Line to High Barnet is under Kentish Town Road.
  5. Buck Street is to the North of Camden Town station connecting Camden High Street and Kentish Town Road.
  6. The red-roofed building in Buck Street is the former Hawley School, which is now owned by Transport for London and is earmarked for the new station entrance.
  7. The Regent’s Canal, which has a convenient towpath, runs East-West across the map.
  8. A lot of development is happening on the North bank of the canal.

The map doesn’t show how difficult it is to walk between the two stations along the busy Camden Road.

In Between Camden Road And Camden Town Stations Along The Canal, I walked between the two stations along the canal and then up Kentish Town Road. It took me fourteen minutes in total with seven minutes between the canal and Camden Town station.

I believe the following will happen.

  • People living and working in the new developments will need access to Camden Town station.
  • The Regent’s Canal towpath will be updated into a safer walking route between Camden Lock and Camden Road station, that serves a lot of the developments.
  • More tourists will need to get to Camden Lock and the markets.

These will increase the need for extra capacity at Camden Town station.

The only way it will get built is by a private developer, who puts a lot of housing on the Buck Street site and sells it as quality housing in an iconic location.

A lot of politicians won’t like it, but solving the problems at Camden Town station, which is an overcrowding accident waiting to happen, is more important than their egos.

These pictures show some of the features of Camden Town station.

I believe Camden Town station could grow quickly into a very smooth interchange between the Bank and Charing Cross Lines.

In a few years time, when the Buck Street entrance is built, the capacity problems will be on their way to solution.

Finally, once the Buck Street entrance is complete, the original station can be refurbished.

 

Euston Station, Crossrail, Crossrail 2 and the Northern Line

Consider.

  • Euston station is a very busy station and it will be even busier, when High Speed Two opens.
  • Crossrail 2 will not be built before High Speed 2 opens.
  • The Victoria Line doesn’t connect to Crossrail.
  • The only connection between Euston station and Crossrail are the two branches of the Northern Line.

Splitting the Northern Line into the Bank and Charing Cross Lines will increase the number of Northern Line trains through Euston to at least sixty tph, if both lines can handle Victoria Line frequencies.

It looks to me, that making the Northern Line step-free at Euston is the best short-term alternative to building Crossrail 2.

Euston Station

Euston station is the third station, where the Bank and Charing Cross Lines connect.

This map from cartmetro.com shows the Northern Line through Euston station.

Note.

  1. The Northern Line is shown in black.
  2. The Victoria Line is shown in blue
  3. The Sub-Surface Lines are shown in purple and yellow.

In the map, the platforms are as follows going from top to bottom.

  • Platform 1 – Northbound – Northern – Charing Cross to Camden Town
  • Platform 2 – Southbound – Northern – Camden Town to Charing Cross
  • Platform 6 – Southbound – Northern – Camden Town to Bank
  • Platform 5 – Northbound – Victoria – Victoria to Walthamstow
  • Platform 4 – Southbound – Victoria -Walthamstow to Victoria
  • Platform 3 – Northbound – Northern – Bank to Camden Town

It  is a bit unusual as the cross-platform interchange between Bank and Victoria Lines involves a change of direction.

With the development of Euston station for High Speed Two, I am sure interchange between the two branches of the Northern Line and the other lines at Euston will be made step-free.

Plans have already been published that will connect Euston Square station and Euston station. I wrote about it in The New Step-Free Entrance At Euston Square Station.

These pictures are of Euston station.

I feel the wide Platform 6 could give scope for innovation.

Level Access Between Train And Platform

I believe that many platforms on the Northern Line can be modified to give level access between train and platform.

In Could Access Between Platform And Train Be Improved At Kennington Station?. I outlined how it could be achieved at Kennington station.

At Kennington station, all platforms are straight and this is a prerequisite to making the access level.

I also feel that any straight platform with a Harrington Hump could effectively be given a full length hump.

I suspect that a lot of stations could be converted to level access between train and platform

Conclusion

I believe that splitting the Northern Line would be very worthwhile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 27, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Could Avanti West Coast Run A Lumo-Style Service Between London And Liverpool?

Avanti West Cost’s Class 807 Trains

Avanti West Coast will be introducing their new Class 807 trains by 2023.

One of the routes, on which they will run, will be between London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street stations.

These trains are members of Hitachi’s AT300 family, with these characteristics.

  • Seven cars.
  • 453 seats
  • 125 mph operating speed, with 140 mph possible under in-cab signalling, where the track allows.

They have been designed to be able to achieve or better times from the Class 390 trains, which have the advantage of tilt.

The Seats In The New Trains

Seats are important to passengers and there has been criticism, that some of the seats in Hitachi trains are like ironing boards.

But, so far nothing has been said about the seats on the new Class 807 trains.

453 seats in seven cars of a Class 807 train is 64.7 seats per car.

These are comparison figures for other trains.

  • On a nine-car Class 801 train, there are 611 seats or 67.8 seats per car.
  • On a five-car Class 801 train, there are 302 seats or 60.4 seats per car.
  • On a five-car Class 810 train, there are 301 seats or 60.2 seats per car.
  • On a five-car Class 803 train, there are 406 seats or 81.2 seats per car.
  • On a nine-car Class 390 train, there are 469 seats or 52.1 seats per car.
  • On an eleven-car Class 390 train, there are 589 seats or 53.5 seats per car.

Note.

  1. The Class 390 trains or Pendolinos have less seats per car, than the Hitachi trains. Is this because of all the space taken up by the tilting mechanism?
  2. As the seats per car for a Class 807 is between the five- and nine-car Class 801 trains, it would appear that the seat density is not much different to the trains on LNER and Great Western Railway.
  3. Lumo’s Class 803 trains on their low-cost service would appear to have a higher seating density. But  Lumo says that they have redesigned the seats for more comfort.
  4. In The Seat Of Aurora, I looked at a report from Modern Railways on the seats in the Class 810 trains, which the writer found were much more comfortable.

It would appear that the two latest fleets of Hitachi trains have seats that are designed for more comfort.

Consider.

  • First Group own seventy percent of Avanti West Coast.
  • First Group own hundred percent of two train operating companies; Great Western and TransPennine Express, who run versions of Hitachi AT300 trains, so they probably have a lot of bottom-level feedback.
  • In the current Class 390 train upgrade, Avanti West Coast are replacing all the Standard Class seats, the company must care about seat quality.
  • First Group own hundred percent of Lumo, who have acquired new trains with comfortable seats.

I would be very surprised if the seats in the new Class 807 trains for Avanti West Coast were not custom-designed for their routes.

The Unusual Length Of The Class 807 Train

These are the length of the Class 390 and Class 807 trains.

  • Class 390/0 – nine-car – 217.5 metres
  • Class 390/1 – eleven-car – 265.3 metres
  • Class 807 – seven-car – 182 metres

Note.

  1. A ten-car Class 807 train would be 260 metres.This could be convenient, if more eleven-car Pendolinos were needed.
  2. The Class 807 train is thirty-five metres shorter, than the nine-car Pendolino.

As eleven-car Class 390 trains commonly run London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street, why would they need the Class 807 train to be shorter?

I think there is a clue in this picture.

It shows a Class 390 train in Liverpool South Parkway station.

  • At the time, Liverpool Lime Street station was closed for track remodelling.
  • Liverpool South Parkway was acting as Liverpool’s main terminus.
  • To accommodate the Pendolinos a temporary platform extension was built in the station.

Could it be that shorter trains were ordered to avoid the expense of lengthening the platforms at Liverpool South Parkway and perhaps other stations, that Avanti West Coast might serve?

The Current Service Between London Euston And Liverpool

The current London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street service is as follows.

  • There is one train per hour (tph)
  • The service calls at Milton Keynes Central, Stafford, Crewe and Runcorn.
  • All of the stations can accommodate an eleven-car Pendolino.
  • Trains take around an average of two hours and twelve minutes.
  • The first Northbound train leaves at 07:07 and the last at 21:07.
  • The first Southbound train leaves at 07:00 and the last at 20:48.

Services are generally run by eleven-car Class 390 trains, which gives a capacity of 589 passengers per hour.

I always think, there a need for a later train back to London, but then that could be said of many places.

A Possible Service From December 2022

Wikipedia says this.

  • There will be two tph.
  • The second service will call at Liverpool South Parkway station.

If two tph were to be run by Class 807 trains, this would give the following.

  • A capacity of 906 seats per hour.
  • This is a 54 % increase in capacity.

But if only the Liverpool South Parkway service was run by a Class 807 train and the other service was still run by an eleven-car Class 390 train, this would give the following.

  • A capacity of 1042 seats per hour.
  • This is a 77 % increase in capacity.

And all without expensive and disruptive platform extensions at Liverpool South Parkway station.

According to Wikipedia, the plans will need to be approved by the Office of Road and Rail.

How Fast Will A Class 807 Train Travel Between London Euston And Liverpool?

The Class 807 trains will have these features.

  • The trains will have no diesel engines or batteries. This must save weight and that means better acceleration.
  • The trains will have no tilt mechanism.. This must save weight and that means better acceleration.
  • The trains will have a new nose. Is it more aerodynamic, which would cause less drag and increase operating speed?

Would these features mean the Class 807 trains can match the performance of the Class 390 train, despite not having tilt?

There are also improvements on the West Coast Main Line, that have not been fully reflected in the timetable.

I did a full analysis about how a two-hour journey time might be achieved in Will Avanti West Coast’s New Trains Be Able To Achieve London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street In Two Hours? This analysis led me to these conclusions.

  • I am convinced that the new trains are designed for a two hour journey between London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street stations.
  • Refurbished Class 390 trains should also be able to do the same time.
  • I also calculated that nine trains would be needed for the two tph service, if they can arrange a fifteen minute turnround at both ends of the route. So would, the Class 807 trains be used on the Liverpool service to release newly-refurbished Class 390 trains to boost Blackpool and Birmingham services?

Alternatively, if the two services are run using eleven-car Class 390 trains for the current service and seven-car Class 807 trains for the one via Liverpool South Parkway, Avanti West Coast would need five of each train.

  • They could fit in thirty minute turnrounds at both ends of the route.
  • The mixed pair of trains would give a 77 % increase in capacity.
  • The Class 807 service would be a two-hour trip.
  • If the Class 390 service couldn’t match the time it could use current timings.

Whatever is done, it would be a flagship service between London and Liverpool.

The new trains will pay for themselves many times over, if this is the case, as a two-hour journey will surely attract passengers.

Organising The Service

If you really wanted to make the service simple and passenger-friendly, you would have dedicated platforms for the trains at both ends of the route.

  • In Liverpool Lime Street station trains seem to have used one platform for many years. Currently, they seem to be using Platform 9.
  • Surely, a similar arrangement could be setup at London Euston.

The service could also be setup with contactless ticketing, if that was felt the way things should be done.

Going The Whole Way

Suppose, that the London Euston  and Liverpool Lime Street service is very successful for any number of reasons.

  • The two hour journey time.
  • The all-electric service.
  • The doubling of the frequency.
  • The availability of more seats.
  • The expansion of Merseyrail into England’s first battery-electric Metro, which I wrote about in Chancellor To Fund £710m Merseyrail Expansion.
  • The cost of driving, due to a mileage charge on all journeys.

Will this lead to a need to expand the service?

If it does, the obvious way would be to lengthen Liverpool South Parkway station and run longer trains.

An Eleven-car Class 390 train would carry 589 passengers.

Adding three-cars to a seven-car and the train would still be shorter than an eleven-car Class 390 train, but it would carry around 650 passengers.

This would add an extra ten percent capacity to the route.

This would surely provide the capacity until High Speed Two arrives towards the end of the decade.

I do wonder if Avanti West Coast are using the London Euston  and Liverpool Lime Street service to experiment with how they might run High Speed Two services.

Conclusion

As a two tph service run by Class 807 trains in two hours would be over 4,500,000 seats in each direction, I feel that this will be a very popular and intensive service.

I feel that Avanti West Coast will need to apply lessons learned on sister company’s Lumo’s service between London Kings Cross and Edinburgh.

 

 

 

 

 

September 14, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Anxiety Over HS2 Eastern Leg Future

I did think about giving this post a title of Here We Go Again, as it yet another story about delaying or cancelling the Eastern Leg of High Speed Two.

But in the end I decided to use the title of the article in the September 2021 Edition of Modern Railways.

I wrote about this subject in Is The Eastern Leg Of High Speed Two Under Threat? in December 2020.

In that post, this was my major conclusion.

To achieve the required timings for High Speed Two, major improvements must be made to existing track on the East Coast Main Line and these improvements will mean that existing services will be competitive with High Speed Two on time.

It is backed up by the timings in the following table., which show the direct time by High Speed Two and my best estimate of time on an improved East Coast Main Line.

  • Bradford – Will not served by High Speed Two – One hour and fifty-four minutes
  • Cleethorpes – Will not served by High Speed Two – Two hours and fifty-one minutes
  • Darlington – One hour and forty-nine minutes – One hour and forty-nine minutes
  • Doncaster – Will not served by High Speed Two – One hour
  • Edinburgh – Three hours and forty minutes via Western Leg – Three hours and thirty minutes.
  • Grimsby – Will not served by High Speed Two – Two hours and thirty-six minutes
  • Harrogate – Will not served by High Speed Two – One hour and fifty-two minutes
  • Huddersfield – Will not served by High Speed Two – Two hours and eight minutes
  • Hull – Will not served by High Speed Two – One hour and fifty minutes
  • Leeds – One hour and twenty-one minutes – One hour and thirty minutes
  • Lincoln – Will not served by High Speed Two – One hour and fifty-one minutes
  • Middlesbrough – Will not served by High Speed Two – Two hours and twenty minutes
  • Newcastle – Two hours and seventeen minutes – Two hours and sixteen minutes
  • Nottingham – One hour and seven minutes – One hour and fifty minutes
  • Scarborough – Will not served by High Speed Two – Two hours and fifty-seven minutes
  • Sheffield – One hour and twenty-seven minutes – One hour and twenty-seven minutes
  • Skipton – Will not served by High Speed Two – Two hours and seven minutes
  • Sunderland – Will not served by High Speed Two – Two hours and thirty minutes
  • York – One hour and twenty-four minutes – One hour and twenty-four minutes

Note.

  1. I have included all destinations served by Grand Central, Hull Trains and LNER.
  2. I have included Nottingham and Sheffield for completeness and in case whilst electrification is installed on the Midland Main Line, LNER run services to the two cities.
  3. I suspect LNER services to Bradford, Harrogate, Huddersfield and Skipton will split and join at Leeds.

There are a total of nineteen destination in this table.

  • Twelve are not served by High Speed Two.
  • Six are not more than fifteen minutes slower by the East Coast Main Line.

Only Nottingham is substantially quicker by High Speed Two.

In Is The Eastern Leg Of High Speed Two Under Threat?, I said that if Nottingham services ran at the sort of speed on the East Coast Main Line, that a time of one hour and twenty-one minutes between London St. Pancras and Nottingham could be possible. That would be just fourteen minutes slower than the time on High Speed Two with a change at East Midlands Hub.

Conclusion

I am getting more convinced that we don’t need the Eastern Leg of High Speed Two to East Midlands Hub and Leeds for a few years yet, as by uprating the East Coast and Midland Main Lines we can handle the traffic that we currently are generating with ease.

August 23, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Why Does Birmingham Interchange Station On High Speed Two Need Four Long Platforms?

This page on the High Speed Two web site describes the design and construction at Birmingham Interchange station.

This paragraph talks about the overall design philosophy of the station.

The Interchange Station itself will be made up of two 415 metre long island platforms, offering 4 platform faces, as well as 2 central high speed through lines for non-stopping services. The station will be linked to the NEC, Birmingham International Station and Birmingham Airport via an automated people mover carrying up to 2,100 passengers per hour in each direction. In addition to the APM, the station will be fully integrated with other local buses, taxis and private vehicle options.

Note.

  1. There would appear to be six tracks through the station.
  2. The four platforms will accept the longest High Speed Two trains.
  3. The automated people mover appears to be very comprehensive.

Birmingham Interchange certainly seems to have been designed as a very high capacity station.

This table gives the a list of the trains that will call at Birmingham Interchange station.

 

  • Train 2 – London Euston and Birmingham Curzon Street – 400 metre Full-Size
  • Train 3 – London Euston and Birmingham Curzon Street – 400 metre Full-Size
  • Train 7 – London Euston and Manchester – 400 metre Full-Size
  • Train 11 – London Euston and Edinburgh – Classic Compatible
  • Train 11 – London Euston and Glasgow – Classic Compatible
  • Train 14 – London Euston and Leeds – 400 metre Full-Size

Note.

  1. 400 metre Full-Size trains will be a pair of 200 metre trains.
  2. Train 11 is a pair of 200 metre long Classic-Compatible trains, that  split and join at Carlisle.

Only five 400 metre trains call at Birmingham Interchange.

I have some thoughts.

Stations Served From Birmingham Interchange

These destinations are served from Birmingham Interchange.

  • Two tph – Birmingham Curzon Street
  • One tph – Carlisle
  • One tph – East Midlands Hub
  • One tph – Edinburgh Haymarket
  • One tph – Edinburgh Waverley
  • One tph – Glasgow Central
  • One tph – Leeds
  • Five tph – London Euston
  • One tph – Manchester Airport
  • One tph – Manchester Piccadilly
  • One tph – Motherwell
  • One tph – Preston

I suspect as the service develops more services will stop at Birmingham Interchange, to reduce the number of passenger journeys where a change is necessary.

Surely Liverpool needs a service from Birmingham Interchange, as it doesn’t have one from Birmingham Curzon Street.

Perhaps, the Liverpool/Lancaster service should stop at Birmingham Interchange?

Splitting And Joining At Birmingham Interchange

Consider.

  • The position of Birmingham Interchange to the South of the junction where the Western and Eastern legs, surely makes it an ideal place for splitting and joining a pair of trains, one of which serves the Western leg and the other serves the Eastern.
  • The Liverpool/Lancaster service could split and join at Birmingham Interchange to give better connectivity between the North West and the West Midlands.

Intelligent use of splitting and joining at Birmingham Interchange could make better use of paths to and from Euston.

Splitting And Joining Of Full-Size Trains At Birmingham Interchange

According to the currently proposed timetable Birmingham Curzon Street, Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly will all get three Full-Size tph to and from London Euston, with East Midlands Hub and Leeds getting two Full-Size tph.

This may be a right decision, but if four Full-Size tph is the frequency needed on some routes, then splitting and joining of Full-Size trains can be used at Birmingham Interchange to increase frequencies.

Suppose it was decided that the Leeds and Manchester services needed to be four Full-Size tph.

  • The London and Manchester service that stops at Birmingham Interchange would split into two trains at the station, with one train going to Manchester and the other going to Leeds.
  • The London and Leeds service that stops at Birmingham Interchange would split into two trains at the station, with one train going to Manchester and the other going to Leeds.

Coming South the two services would join at Birmingham Interchange.

I can almost envisage  Full-Size pairs of trains leaving London Euston every ten minutes, which then split and join at Birmingham Interchange to give Leeds and Manchester a core service of six Full-Size tph.

There are a large number of possibilities.

Down One Leg Up T’Other

Birmingham Interchange can be used as an interchange station for journeys where you come South on one leg and then go North on the other.

It might even be possible to arrange some changes with an interchange across one of the island platforms at Birmingham Interchange.

Turning Back Trains

There is a worry about late trains delaying everything.

But because it has four platforms, it could be the station, where trains are turned back, when they are running very late.

It could be better to turnback a train at Birmingham Interchange, rather than let it run all the way to Euston and create havoc.

Perhaps, simulation has shown, that two extra platforms at Birmingham Interchange enable the optimal working of ten platforms t Euston?

Line Blocked Or Blockaded Between Birmingham And Euston

Events happen and there may be reasons why services can’t run through to London.

It could easily be turned into a mini-terminus for services to the North and linked to London by either the West Coast Main Line or a Rail Replacement Bus.

Conclusion

Because of its position in the middle of the country, I suspect there are many reasons for the four long platforms at Birmingham Interchange station.

 

August 21, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 10 Comments

How Many High Speed Two Trains Will Be Able To Terminate In Euston Station?

This is one of those questions for which you get a different answer depending on what conditions you put on the question.

But there are some physical constraints that have been built into the design.

High Speed Two Tracks And Signalling Are Designed For Eighteen Trains Per Hour

It seems to be an accepted fact, that High Speed Two tracks and signalling will be able to handle 18 trains per hour (tph) or a train every three minutes and twenty seconds.

If this applies to all High Speed Two routes it is certainly a big increase in capacity of the UK rail network.

Seventeen Trains Per Hour In Euston Station

Does it also mean that Euston station must be able to handle 18 tph? Not necessarily, as High Speed Two will only need to handle 17 tph, because they will be keeping one path for recovering the service, after perhaps a train breaks down.

  • If the station has eleven platforms, that means each platform must handle 1.5 tph or in practice two tph or a train every thirty minutes.
  • If the station has ten platforms, that means each platform must handle 1.7 tph or in practice two tph or a train every thirty minutes.

Ten platforms appear to make little  difference in normal operation But when things go wrong, it is more likely, there will be another platform to park a late train.

Turning Trains In Thirty Minutes At Euston Station

One train every thirty minutes means that operating procedures and staff training must be such that trains can be turned within this time.

If trains could be turned faster, then this would enable services to be recovered after a delay.

Twenty-Four Trains Per Hour In Euston Station

If say at some time in the future, signalling improves and 24 tph on High Speed Two is possible with perhaps Automatic Train Operation, this would mean that if there were ten platforms each would have to handle 2.4 tph, or in practice three tph or a train every twenty minutes.

A frequency of 24 tph won’t happen in my lifetime, but I do believe it is possible on High Speed Two  with ten platforms at Euston station.

Thirty Trains Per Hour In Euston Station

Thirty tph may be practical on Metros today and could be possible on High Speed Two in the far future, but in practice, that would only be four tph or a train every fifteen minutes.

The Initial Full Timetable Is Seventeen Trains Per Hour

Currently, this is planned to be the case and the trains to and from London Euston are planned to be as follows.

  • Train 1 – London Euston and Birmingham Curzon Street – 400 metre Full-Size
  • Train 2 – London Euston and Birmingham Curzon Street – 400 metre Full-Size
  • Train 3 – London Euston and Birmingham Curzon Street – 400 metre Full-Size
  • Train 4 – London Euston and Lancaster – Classic Compatible
  • Train 4 – London Euston and Liverpool – Classic Compatible
  • Train 5 – London Euston and Liverpool – Classic Compatible
  • Train 6 – London Euston and Macclesfield – Classic Compatible
  • Train 7 – London Euston and Manchester – 400 metre Full-Size
  • Train 8 – London Euston and Manchester – 400 metre Full-Size
  • Train 9 – London Euston and Manchester – 400 metre Full-Size
  • Train 10 – London Euston and Edinburgh – Classic Compatible
  • Train 10 – London Euston and Glasgow – Classic Compatible
  • Train 11 – London Euston and Edinburgh – Classic Compatible
  • Train 11 – London Euston and Glasgow – Classic Compatible
  • Train 12 – London Euston and Sheffield – Classic Compatible
  • Train 12 – London Euston and Leeds – Classic Compatible
  • Train 13 – London Euston and Leeds – 400 metre Full-Size
  • Train 14 – London Euston and Leeds – 400 metre Full-Size
  • Train 15 – London Euston and Sheffield – Classic Compatible
  • Train 15 – London Euston and York – Classic Compatible
  • Train 16 – London Euston and Newcastle – Classic Compatible
  • Train 17 – London Euston and Newcastle – Classic Compatible

Note.

  1. I have assumed 400 metre Full-Size trains will be a pair of 200 metre trains.
  2. Trains 4, 10, 11, 12 and 15 are pairs of 200 metre long Classic-Compatible trains, that  split and join at Crewe. Carlisle, Carlisle and East Midlands Hub respectively.
  3. Trains 5, 6, 16 and 17 are single 200 metre long Classic-Compatible trains.

This graphic shows the services.

Note.

  1. Trains to the left of the vertical black line are Phase 1 and those to the right are Phase 2.
  2. Full-Size trains are shown in blue.
  3. Classic-Compatible trains are shown in yellow.
  4. The dotted circles are where trains split and join.
  5. In the red boxes routes alternate every hour.

In an hour, the following trains will leave London Euston.

  • 8 – 400 metre Full-Size trains, each of which consist of a pair of 200 metre trains.
  • 5 – Pairs of 200 metre long Classic-Compatible trains.
  • 4 – Single 200 metre long Classic-Compatible trains.

Note.

  1. Adding up the 200 metre trains gives a total of thirty trains.
  2. If all paths were handling a pair of 200 metre trains, the total would be thirty-four trains.

As I showed in Could High Speed Two Serve Holyhead?, these four trains can be used to serve extra destinations by appropriate splitting and joining.

So in answer to the question in the title of this post, the answer is thirty-four 200 metre trains.

  • Each path can carry one pair of 200 metre trains per hour.
  • The number of paths is determined by the 18 tph that each leg can handle, reduced by one for a path for recovery.

I am assuming each platform can handle two tph.

But thirty or forty years in the future, this figure with more advanced trains and signalling could be a lot higher.

Does Euston Station Need Ten Or Eleven Platforms?

Mathematically, the following is possible.

  • Ten platforms can handle thirty tph, if trains can be turned in fifteen minutes.
  • Ten platforms can handle twenty-four tph, if trains can be turned in twenty minutes.
  • Ten platforms can handle seventeen tph, if trains can be turned in thirty minutes.

The only need for the eleventh platform, is for when things go seriously wrong.

 

 

 

August 21, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Should London Euston’s High Speed Two Station Have Ten Or Eleven Platforms?

This article on Ian Visits is entitled Call For A Rethink Of HS2’s Euston Station Plans.

These two paragraphs describe the current plan for Euston station.

The current plans for the HS2 station at Euston will see it delivered in two phases, with six platforms opened first to carry HS2 trains on the first stage of the railway up to the West Midlands. The second phase of the Euston station would open later, with an additional 5 platforms to manage demand when HS2 is extended to Crewe, Manchester and Leeds.

Phase one was scheduled for completion in 2026, and phase two in 2033.

This paragraph describes the latest idea from the Department for Transport.

However, the Oakervee review from last year called for a redesign of the station scaling back the station and increasing the amount of oversite development to fund it. Earlier this year it was revealed that the Department for Transport has instructed HS2 to refine the development to build it in one phase, but with just 10 platforms instead of 11 platforms.

There are now two camps arguing as to whether the station should be built with ten or eleven platforms.

I used to write project management software for four decades.

I have seen and heard of many arguments like these where money, time and resources push the design of a project one way or another.

My feeling is that Oakervee is right to recommend increasing the amount of oversite development to fund the station, as there are a lot of knockers of High Speed Two, who object to the amount of money being spent.

But this might mean that the station should be built in one phase, so that the oversite development can proceed at pace on the whole site, rather than just half at a time. I wasn’t involved in the planning of Canary Wharf, but it did seem to go up faster than other developments. And it was a large site!

So perhaps building the station in one phase will get it finished earlier in a better financial state.

But the downside of that, is the station will have ten platforms instead of eleven. But it will have ten platforms from the day it opens!

I would object to the reduction in the number of platforms, if it made High Speed Two more difficult to operate.But I do tend to believe those who say that High Speed Two can manage with ten platforms, as signalling, train design and operation is improving fast.

As an example, I think the next generation of high speed trains will be able to be turned faster in a terminal station.

The test of this statement will come in a few months, when I take a ride to Edinburgh on the new East Coast Trains service, which seems to be proposing to run to a tight timetable. This says to me, that they have found ways of running more efficiently!

Conclusion

I will let others choose the number of platforms at Euston, but I reserve the right to criticise their decision.

Although, I do believe that it could be better to build the station in one phase to maximise the oversite development and optimise the cash flow to pay for the project, both during the building and in the operation.

I would also hope to see some radical ideas for the uses of the oversite development. But I suspect, it will be more of the same.

August 21, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 4 Comments