The Anonymous Widower

Low Carbon Construction Of Sizewell C Nuclear Power Station

Sizewell C Nuclear Power Station is going to be built on the Suffolk Coast.

Wikipedia says this about the power station’s construction.

The project is expected to commence before 2024, with construction taking between nine and twelve years, depending on developments at the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, which is also being developed by EDF Energy and which shares major similarities with the Sizewell plant.

It is a massive project and I believe the construction program will be designed to be as low-carbon as possible.

High Speed Two is following the low-carbon route and as an example, this news item on their web site, which is entitled HS2 Completes Largest Ever UK Pour Of Carbon-Reducing Concrete On Euston Station Site, makes all the right noises.

These three paragraphs explain in detail what has been done on the Euston station site.

The team constructing HS2’s new Euston station has undertaken the largest ever UK pour of Earth Friendly Concrete (EFC) – a material that reduces the amount of carbon embedded into the concrete, saving over 76 tonnes of CO2 overall. John F Hunt, working for HS2’s station Construction Partner, Mace Dragados joint venture, completed the 232 m3 concrete pour in early September.

The EFC product, supplied by Capital Concrete, has been used as a foundation slab that will support polymer silos used for future piling works at the north of the Euston station site. Whilst the foundation is temporary, it will be in use for two years, and historically would have been constructed with a more traditional cement-based concrete.

The use of the product on this scale is an important step forward in how new, innovative environmentally sustainable products can be used in construction. It also helps support HS2’s objective of net-zero construction by 2035, and achieve its goal of halving the amount of carbon in the construction of Britain’s new high speed rail line.

Note.

  1. Ten of these slabs would fill an Olympic swimming pool.
  2. I first wrote about Earth Friendly Concrete (EFC) in this post called Earth Friendly Concrete.
  3. EFC is an Australian invention and is based on a geopolymer binder that is made from the chemical activation of two recycled industrial wastes; flyash and slag.
  4. HS2’s objective of net-zero construction by 2035 is laudable.
  5. It does appear that this is a trial, but as the slab will be removed in two years, they will be able to examine in detail how it performed.

I hope the Sizewell C project team are following High Speed Two’s lead.

Rail Support For Sizewell C

The Sizewell site has a rail connection and it appears that this will be used to bring in construction materials for the project.

In the January 2023 Edition of Modern Railways, there is an article, which is entitled Rail Set To Support Sizewell C Construction.

It details how sidings will be built to support the construction, with up to four trains per day (tpd), but electrification is not mentioned.

This is surprising to me, as increasingly, big construction projects are being managed to emit as small an amount of carbon as possible.  Sizewell C may be an isolated site, but in Sizewell B, it’s got one of the UK’s biggest independent carbon-free electricity generators a couple of hundred metres away.

The writer of the Modern Railways article, thinks an opportunity is being missed.

I feel the following should be done.

  • Improve and electrify the East Suffolk Line between Ipswich and Saxmundham Junction.
  • Electrify the Aldeburgh Branch Line and the sidings to support the construction or agree to use battery-electric or hydrogen zero-carbon locomotives.

Sizewell C could be a superb demonstration project for low-carbon construction!

Sizewell C Deliveries

Sizewell C will be a massive project and and will require a large number of deliveries, many of which will be heavy.

The roads in the area are congested, so I suspect rail is the preferred method for deliveries.

We already know from the Modern Railways article, that four tpd will shuttle material to a number of sidings close to the site. This is a good start.

Since Sizewell A opened, trains have regularly served the Sizewell site to bring in and take out nuclear material. These occasional trains go via Ipswich and in the last couple of years have generally been hauled by Class 88 electro-diesel locomotives.

It would be reasonable to assume that the Sizewell C sidings will be served in the same manner.

But the route between Westerfield Junction and Ipswich station is becoming increasingly busy with the following services.

  • Greater Anglia’s London and Norwich services
  • Greater Anglia’s Ipswich and Cambridge services
  • Greater Anglia’s Ipswich and Felixstowe services
  • Greater Anglia’s Ipswich and Lowestoft services
  • Greater Anglia’s Ipswich and Peterborough services
  • Freight services serving the Port of Felixstowe, which are expected to increase significantly in forthcoming years.

But the Modern Railways article says this about Saxmundham junction.

Saxmundham junction, where the branch meets the main line, will be relaid on a slightly revised alignment, retaining the existing layout but with full signalling giving three routes from the junction protecting signal on the Down East Suffolk line and two in the Down direction on the bidirectional Up East Suffolk line. Trap points will be installed on the branch to protect the main line, with the exit signal having routes to both running lines.

Does the comprehensive signalling mean that a freight train can enter or leave the Sizewell sidings to or from either the busy Ipswich or the quieter Lowestoft direction in a very safe manner?

I’m no expert on signalling, but I think it does.

  • A train coming from the Lowestoft direction needing to enter the sidings would go past Saxmundham junction  on the Up line. Once clear of the junction, it would stop and reverse into the branch.
  • A train coming from the Ipswich direction needing to enter the sidings would approach in the wrong direction on the Up line and go straight into the branch.
  • A train leaving the sidings in the Lowestoft direction would exit from the branch and take the Up line until it became single track. The train would then stop and reverse on to the Down line and take this all the way to Lowestoft.
  • A train leaving the sidings in the Ipswich direction would exit from the branch and take the Up line  all the way to Ipswich.

There would need to be ability to move the locomotive from one end to the other inside the Sizewell site or perhaps these trains could be run with a locomotive on both ends.

The advantage of being able to run freight trains between Sizewell and Lowestoft becomes obvious, when you look at this Google Map, which shows the Port of Lowestoft.

Note.

  1. The Inner Harbour of the Port of Lowestoft.
  2. The East Suffolk Line running East-West to the North of the Inner Harbour.
  3. Lowestoft station at the East side of the map.

I doubt it would be the most difficult or expensive of projects to build a small freight terminal on the North side of the Inner Harbour.

I suspect that the easiest way to bring the material needed to build the power station to Sizewell would be to do the following.

  • Deliver it to the Port of Lowestoft by ship.
  • Tranship to a suitable shuttle train for the journey to the Sizewell sidings.
  • I estimate that the distance is only about 25 miles and a battery or hydrogen locomotive will surely be available in the UK in the next few years, that will be able to provide the motive power for the return journey.

In The TruckTrain, I wrote about a revolutionary freight concept, that could be ideal for the Sizewell freight shuttle.

In addition, there is no reason, why shuttle trains couldn’t come in from anywhere connected to the East Suffolk Line.

Zero-Carbon Construction

Sizewell C could be the first major construction site in the UK to use electricity rather than diesel simply because of its neighbour.

Conclusion

I shall be following the construction methods at Sizewell C, as I’m fairly sure they will break new ground in the decarbonisation of the Construction industry.

December 28, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Avanti West Coast Applies For Second Hourly Euston And Liverpool Service

Tucked away beside the Grand Union Sets Out Stirling Ambitions article in the December 2022 Edition of Modern Railways is a report on Avanti West Coast’s application for a second service between Euston and Liverpool.

This is said.

Avanti West Coast has applied for access rights for its second hourly Euston to Liverpool service, starting from December 2023, although a phased introduction of the new service is likely. This would make use of Avanti’s new fleet of 10×7-car Class 807 Hitachi EMUs, which are expected to enter service from Autumn 2023. The ‘807s’ would be deployed on the current hourly Liverpool service, on which a call at Liverpool South Parkway would be added. (provision is made for this in the December 2022 timetable.).

Pendelinos would then operate the second service each hour, calling at Lichfield Trent Valley and Tamworth.

A linespeed project is in progress to raise the permissible speed for non-tilting trains on the West Coast Main Line, and Avanti’s new Hitachi trains will take advantage of this.

In Will Avanti West Coast’s New Trains Be Able To Achieve London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street In Two Hours?, I laid out my reasoning for a two-hour journey between Euston and Liverpool Lime Street.

I’m not sure, if they will reduce the time to two hours, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they do.

November 25, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

Grand Union Sets Out Stirling Ambitions

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

This is the first paragraph.

Grand Union Trains has updated its plans to operate services between Stirling and London Euston. It is targeting a 10-year track access agreement with services starting in May 2025.

I have a few thoughts.

The Route

The route between Stirling and Euston is as follows.

  • Trains will call at Larbert, Greenfauds, Whifflet, Motherwell, Lockerbie, Carlisle, Preston, Nuneaton and Milton Keynes.
  • Station upgrades are proposed for Larbert, Greenfauds, Whifflet and Lockerbie.
  • The route is fully-electrified.
  • There will be four trains per day in both directions, with a slightly reduced service on Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings.

This sentence from the article sums up the philosophy of Grand Union Trains.

The company says the aim is to link towns which have no or limited long-distance services and to improve connectivity for some station pairs on the West Coast Main Line.

Note.

Currently Larbert, Greenfauds and Whifflet don’t have services running past Stirling or Motherwell.

  1. Currently, Nuneaton and Milton Keynes have no Scottish services.
  2. Nuneaton is well connected to Peterborough and the East.
  3. Milton Keynes will be on the East-West Railway to Oxford and Cambridge.

It looks to be a service that has been well-planned and offers good possibilities for travel.

The Trains

The article says this about the trains.

New bi-mode rolling stock would be used and GUT says discussions with potential suppliers and manufacturers are ongoing.

Why Are Bi-Mode Trains Needed?

I can think of these reasons.

  • Grand Union Trains want to run their South Wales services with the same trains.
  • They might want to extend Scottish services from Stirling to perhaps Perth or Dundee.
  • They want to offer a reliable service, when the electrification is damaged.

Bi-mode trains will certainly offer flexibility and reliability.

How Long Will The Trains Be?

Consider.

I suspect a train has a maximum length of 260 metres and these can be run between London Euston and Stirling.

Could it be that station upgrades are needed for Larbert, Greenfauds, Whifflet and Lockerbie, is that these stations have short platforms?

Could the trains and platforms start short and grow with the business?

 

The Trains Will Have Three Classes

These classes will be offered.

  • First Class in compartments
  • Standard in a 2+1 arrangement
  • Standard Economy in a 2+2 arrangement

You pays your money and you make your choice.

Vanload Freight May Be Carried

Consider.

  • There has been a lot of speculation and some serious train conversions, looking at the possibilities of high speed freight.
  • Imagine a train of perhaps five passenger cars and one freight car for containerised freight.
  • I suggested earlier, that the trains might grow with the business.
  • As business develops, extra cars can be added as appropriate.
  • If business booms, then it might be best to run separate passenger and  freight services.

Modern trains and refurbished older ones, offer a multitude of solutions.

The Finance

The article says this about finance.

Grand Union Trains has linked with European independent investment firm Serena Industrial Partners to support its ambitions for its new Great Western service, and the project is supported by Spanish operator RENFE.

Serena Industrial Partners are Spanish, so does that mean, that the trains could be Spanish too?

November 24, 2022 Posted by | Finance, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Heritage Train Company Launches First Class Service In Competition With Avanti West Coast

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

These are the two introductory paragraphs.

A heritage train company is launching a charter service between London and the North West to help passengers frustrated by Avanti West Coast’s severe disruption.

Crewe-based Locomotive Services Group will begin operating a first class-only charter service to and from London Euston on Friday.

These are more details of the service.

The train’s air-conditioned carriages are restored British Rail Mark 3 stock with three-abreast seating, tables, power points and large windows.

The service will only operate on Fridays for the next three weeks, and will run at 110mph using electric locomotives.

It will depart from Crewe at 2.29pm, running non-stop to arrive at London Euston at 4.12pm.

The train will set off to return north at 5.27pm, calling at Birmingham International, Birmingham New Street, Wolverhampton, Stafford, Crewe and Wilmslow before arriving at Manchester Piccadilly at 8.45pm.

I have a feeling that the Mark 3 coaches, were acquired from Greater Anglia.

Locomotive Services Group, also owns a couple of main-line registered Class 90 locomotives.

I am seriously, thinking of taking one of their trips.

I can travel in Mark 3 and Mark 4 coaches, all Stadler and Hitachi trains, but if I travel in a Class 390 train, the air-conditioning plays havoc with my body.

Avanti West Coast can’t put Class 807 trains on London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street. too soon for me!

August 20, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Connection Between The Northern And Lizzie Lines At Tottenham Court Road Station

In Elizabeth Line To Northern Line At Moorgate Station, I described how I was rather underwhelmed with the connection between the Bank branch of the Northern Line and the Lizzie Line.

It’s just too far to walk in the long tunnel, which is not as well fitted out as the connection to the Bakerloo Line at Paddington.

At least it can be improved, without a major amount of expense.

So what is the connection between the Lizzie Line and the Northern Line like at Tottenham Court Road?

There is access to stairs and a lift at the Southern end of the Northern Line platforms, that lead to the pedestrian tunnel between the two platforms of the Lizzie Line.

These pictures show  the connection.

Note.

  1. It is certainly a lot easier than the connection at Moorgate.
  2. You have a choice of stairs or a lift between lines.
  3. Both Northern branches and both Southern branches of the Northern Line all have services through Tottenham Court Road station. Just make sure, that you get a Charing Cross branch train.
  4. If you’re using Tottenham Court Road station for changing to the Lizzie Line from the Northern Line, then make sure you get at the Southern end of the Northern train.
  5. If you’re using Tottenham Court Road station for changing to the Northern Line, then make sure you get at the Eastern end of the Lizzie Line train.

Practice will make perfect, how passengers handle this interchange.

Going Between Euston And Heathrow

There is no problem with the interchange to and from the Elizabeth Line, but getting to and from the Charing Cross branch of the Northern Line is not step-free.

Hopefully, High Speed Two and the rebuilding of Euston station will solve this problem.

August 11, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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