The Anonymous Widower

Was This The Most Significant Statement On Freight Locomotives Last Week?

This press release from Freightliner, is entitled Freightliner Secures Government Funding For Dual-Fuel Project.

The dual-fuel project is important and will cut carbon emissions in the short term.

But it is only a quick fix, made possible by good technology.

It is also not zero-carbon.

This sixth paragraph from the press release is very significant.

This sustainable solution will support a programme to decarbonise freight operating companies’ diesel fleets in a cost-efficient manner that does not require significant short-term investment and facilitates operational learning in support of a longer-term fleet replacement programme, potentially using 100% hydrogen fuel.

I believe the paragraph indicates, that Freightliner and possibly the other companies involved in the building and operation of heavy freight locomotives have concluded, that the technology is now such, that a zero-carbon rail locomotive powered by 100 % hydrogen is now possible.

  • Rolls-Royce and possibly other gas-turbine companies have the technology to build small gas-turbine powered generators that can produce several megawatts of reliable electrical zero-carbon power, when fuelled by hydrogen.
  • We are seeing companies developing strategies for the safe supply of hydrogen in large industrial quantities.
  • Hydrogen has been successfully deployed on buses, trains and other large vehicles.
  • The technology has been proven that will allow dual-mode hydrogen-electric locomotives, that can use electrification, where it exists.
  • Some big companies like Cummins, JCB and Shell are backing hydrogen.

There are thousands of large diesel-powered locomotives all over the world and locomotive builders that can successfully replace these with hydrogen-powered locomotives will not go financially unrewarded!

July 11, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Approaching Kings Cross – 5th July 2021

I took these pictures approaching Kings Cross.

Reports say most of the work of the remodelling is now complete. Although, it did look to me that in places more tracks could be laid.

The Length Of The Long Platforms At Kings Cross

This repeat of the last picture in the gallery shows the length of the nine long platforms.

Note.

  1. The train is in Platform 3.
  2. The train is an eight-car Class 700 train.
  3. Eight-car units are 162 metres long.
  4. Twelve-car units are 242.6 metres long.

Platform 3 is obviously long enough to take the following trains.

This Google Map shows the ends of the platforms at Kings Cross.

Note.

  1. The long platforms at the right are 2 and 3.
  2. Platform 2 and 3 are wide.
  3. Two LNER Azumas are in Platforms 5 and 6.

It looks to me that whilst all platforms can probably handle the standard British Rail length of 240 metres, those on the right may be able to handle longer trains. But what trains? These are my thoughts.

Longer LNER Azumas

This document on the Hitachi Rail web site is entitled Development of Class 800/801 High-speed Rolling Stock for UK Intercity Express Programme.

The document says that Class 80x trains have a sophisticated Train Control and Management System (TCMS).

The document says that this is one of the functions of the TCMS.

To simplify the rearrangement and management of train configurations, functions are provided for
identifying the train (Class 800/801), for automatically determining the cars in the trainset and its total length,
and for coupling and uncoupling up to 12 cars in normal and 24 cars in rescue or emergency mode.

I would assume that with the purchase of extra cars, that it might be possible to lengthen trains to up to twelve cars.

Lengths would be as follows.

  • Ten-car Class 80x train – 260 metres.
  • Eleven-car Class 80x train – 276 metres.
  • Twelve-car Class 80x train – 312 metres.

To add extra capacity on the routes to Leeds and Edinburgh services, there must be a balance between these factors.

  • The cost of extra cars.
  • The cost of platform lengthening.

There must of course be space for any platform lengthening.

It would seem to me, that common sense should allow twelve-car trains to be handled at King’s Cross, as this must be one of the best ways of adding capacity to East Coast Main Line services.

Caledonian Sleeper

The Caledonian Sleeper doesn’t normally run into King’s Cross, but during the rebuilding Euston for High Speed Two, it may be necessary to provide an alternative platform.

Unfortunately, the sixteen-car Caledonian sleeper trains are 352 metres long. So it would appear that Kings Cross would not be a temporary alternative.

But given the amount of money being invested in sleeper trains in Europe by the likes of Midnight Trains and NightJet, I can see that the Caledonian Sleeper might have another problem – success and the need for more capacity.

So I wouldn’t rule out an East Coast Main Line sleeper train between London Kings Cross and Edinburgh.

It might call at Stevenage, Newcastle and Berwick to widen its passenger base, just as the current sleeper calls at Watford, Carlisle and Carstairs.

The train could be extended to Aberdeen, to simplify services in Scotland.

Obviously, traffic and finance would decide, but I wouldn’t rule out the Caledonian Sleeper running to and from King’s Cross for a few years yet.

A Night Light Freight Terminal

In Is This The Shape Of Freight To Come?, I wrote about the new generation of fast electric freight trains, based on redundant electric multiple units.

  • If you look at Real Time Trains, you will find that few trains use King’s Cross station between two and five in the morning.
  • Platforms can take a twelve-car version of these electric freight trains.
  • The new platforms are wide and level.
  • Local delivery could use electric vehicles and bikes.

I think King’s Cross has possibilities for handling goods like food, parcels and shop supplies.

The Short Platforms At Kings Cross

When I was a child, King’s Cross had four short suburban platforms, where N2 steam tank engines hauled suburban services in and out of the station.

The suburban platforms have now been reduced to two platforms, that fit in with the current uses of the station.

  • The two platforms are numbered 9 and 10.
  • They can handle an eight-car Class 700 train, which is 162 metres long.
  • They can handle a five-car Class 800 train, which is 130 metres long.
  • Some five-car services run by the new Hitachi trains use these platforms.

These pictures show the platforms.

Note.

  1. The platforms are wide.
  2. The picture of the Azuma in Platform 9 was taken before the centre track was removed recently.
  3. Today, one LNER Azuma departed from Platform 9 to go to Lincoln, but both platforms were busy with Great Northern services to Cambridge, Ely and Kings Lynn.

I do wonder if the platforms could be used for light freight, during the night.

Conclusion

King’s Cross is not just one of the UK’s finest railway stations, which is recognised by its Grade I Listed status, but it is now moving towards an efficient, high-capacity station that works around the clock!

 

 

July 6, 2021 Posted by | Design, Transport | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Watford Junction Station’s Barrier Seats

I quite like these seats at Watford Junction station.

They would appear to give a nice perch to sit, whilst waiting for the train and also act as a crush barrier for the glass shelter behind.

They also give me something to hold, when a train goes through.

The train shown in the picture was a Tesco train between Tilbury and Daventry.

It went through the station at probably over 60 mph.

It had the usual smelly and polluting Class 66 on the front.

It took four hours 45 minutes for the journey, which included the Gospel Oak and Barking Line through London.

I did note earlier that the train seemed to be using modern wagons.

Are these wagons faster than those you generally see on UK railways?

Surely too, this is the type of train, that could be hauled by an electric locomotive with a Last-Mile capability, like a Class 88 Locomotive.

I would have thought, that Tesco could benefit, by using electric haulage, especially if the locomotive was appropriately liveried.

 

July 6, 2021 Posted by | Design, Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

Is This The Shape Of Freight To Come?

This article on Rail Advent is entitled Eversholt Rail Unveils First Swift Express Freight Train In Doncaster.

It is a full report on the first of a new breed of freight trains based on redundant 100 mph electric multiple units.

Three Rail Problems

The rail industry, its financiers and customers have a lot of problems, they’d like to solve, but these three seem to be coming together to create a whole new industry.

Rolling Stock Leasing Companies Have A Surplus Of Redundant Rolling Stock

 

Most of the released rolling stock has been made redundant because of the arrival of new trains.

What will be left will be a an assortment, which will contain a lot of trains with these characteristics.

  • Four cars
  • Can run in formations of 4, 8 and 12 cars
  • Electrically-powered.
  • Some trains are even dual voltage.
  • 100 mph operating speed.
  • Good reliability.
  • Easy maintenance and modification if needed.

Many were even built over thirty years ago by British Rail Engineering Ltd.

As someone, who used to part-own a company that leased trucks to operators, I know that to maximise cash-flow and ultimately profits, you don’t want them sitting in a yard or a siding.

Conversion to zero carbon is one option.

  • Porterbrook have said they will convert the Class 350 trains, that they own to battery-electric operation.
  • Porterbrook have also converted some Class 319 trains to electro-diesel Class 769 trains.
  • Porterbrook have also converted a Class 319 train to hydrogen operation.
  • Eversholt Rail Group and Alstom are converting Class 321 trains to hydrogen operation.

I also believe that the redundant Class 379 trains will also be converted to battery-electric operation.

But there will still be a substantial number of quality trains, that need a second life.

The Growth Of Parcel Freight

Parcel freight traffic driven by on-line shopping, has boomed in the pandemic.

This type of traffic often originates from outside of the UK and enters the country at places like London Gateway or East Midlands Airport.

Much of it is currently distributed to large cities by truck, which in this day and age is not a green option, or even an option at all.

Rail Operations Group have leased ten Class 769 trains and 9 Class 319 trains with the intention of running parcel services under the Orion brand. I wrote about this proposal in A Freight Shuttle For Liverpool Street Station Planned.

Road Congestion

Road congestion is getting worse and there is bir much point in having product stuck on the motorway, when it can be running along at a 100 mph on an electrified rail line.

The Need For Just-In-Time Deliveries

Many factories these days work on the Just-In-Time principle, with product delivered just as its needed.

As an example Toyota build their cars at Burnaston near Derby, but the engines are built in North Wales. I suspect that they go across the country by truck.

Looking at maps, the engine plant could be rail connected and I feel one could be arranged at Burnaston.

Do they keep a good stock of engines at Burnaston?

I can see several situations like this needing a regular company train.

Fast Food

Because of Brexit we will need to be growing more of our own food.

Traditionally, the Class 43 power cars of InterCity 125 trains carried flowers and fish up from Cornwall.

So will we see rail provide an alternative.

Conclusion

Put these problems together and you can see a fair number of four-car electric multiple units being converted to short 100 mph electric freight trains.

Eversholt Rail Group‘s Swift Express Freight Train is very much a demonstrator for their ideas and it has some expected and unexpected features.

Based On A Class 321 train

The train is based on a four-car Class 321 train.

I rode one recently and I timed it at over 90 mph on the way to Southend.

Trolley Cages

Pictures in the Rail Advent article show a stripped-bare interior with a steel floor, with another picture showing three supermarket trolley cages arranged across the train.

One estimate in the article says that each coach can handle over fifty of these cages and up to nine-and-a-half tonnes of cargo.

Four Seats And A Toilet

Eversholt feel that some of the trains could be used in a Travelling Post Office mode and there may be a need for sorting en route, so two first-class seats, two second-class seats and a toilet are provided.

This train would enable an Anglo-Scottish parcel service.

  • It might stop several times en route.
  • At each stop parcels would be rolled out and in, perhaps with the help of a Harrington Hump.
  • The on-train staff would sort the incoming parcels and put them in the required trolley for offloading.

I don’t think though, they’ll be delivering postal orders.

A Last Mile Capability

The article also disclosed that Eversholt were thinking of fitting a Last-Mile capability to the Swift Express Freight Train.

Batteries were mentioned and they would obviously work.

But one development recently is Porterbrook’s HydroFlex train, which has converted a Class 319 train to hydrogen power.

  • The conversion was done by Birmingham University.
  • It appears that all the hydrogen gubbins is underneath the floor, so cargo capacity would not be reduced.

I suspect underfloor hydrogen power could be very viable in an express freight train.

Fleet Size

The article talks of a fleet size of twenty and also says that the first train has been leased to an unnamed parcel distributor in the UK.

July 3, 2021 Posted by | Design, Finance, Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Decarbonisation Of London’s Freight Routes

London has a rail capacity problem, for both freight and passenger trains.

This report from Network Rail is entitled The London Rail Freight Strategy (LRFS).

Surprisingly, the report only mentions decarbonisation once and that is when it is talking about moving the AC/DC switchover point on the West London Line to Kensington Olympia station.

This section from the report describes how dual-voltage electrically-hauled freight trains would handle the electrification on the West London Line.

Although moving the changeover to Shepherd’s Bush would eliminate the need for passenger trains to slow down or stop at North Pole Junction, electrically hauled freight trains will still need to switch power supply modes whilst moving, wherever the AC/DC interface is located.

Due to the substantial incline facing trains running northward on the WLL, which increases in severity towards the Willesden end of the route, it would be preferable for the changeover to be made as far south as possible. This would enable freight trains to slow down to switch traction before reaching the worst of the gradient, giving them a much better chance of regaining line speed once drawing power from the OLE.

Although Kensington Olympia is less than a mile to the south of Shepherd’s Bush, the intervening route section is almost entirely level, with the incline commencing just before Shepherd’s Bush station and continuing to rise sharply along the rest of the WLL. The capacity and performance benefits of relocating the changeover are therefore likely to be greater if the overhead wires are extended to Kensington Olympia, removing the risk to traffic flow that would remain if freight trains were forced to switch whilst running uphill.

This would prepare the West London Line for the transition to electric freight that will be necessary as part of the decarbonisation of the railway over the next thirty years.

Resolving the current traction changeover issues for freight as well as passenger trains would support this transition by encouraging freight operators to invest in electric locomotives to run on the orbital routes, in the confidence that this constraint has been addressed.

Where is Network Rail’s guidance?

These are a few thoughts.

How Many Of The Freight Trains Through London Could Be Electrically-Hauled?

Most freight trains are hauled by diesel Class 66 locomotives.

But that doesn’t mean that these freight trains between say Ipswich and Cardiff are electrically-hauled on what is a fully-electrified route.

There are various reasons, why they aren’t.

  • There are large fleets of cheap, nasty and polluting Class 66 locomotives.
  • There isn’t many suitable electric locomotives.
  • The routes to major ports like Felixstowe, Immingham, London Gateway and Southampton are not electrified.
  • Many busy cross-country freight routes like Ipswich and Peterborough are not fully-electrified.

But powerful bi-mode electric-locomotives, like the Class 88 locomotives, that can do many tricky trips in the UK are available. Although there are only ten of them.

I have done a quick analysis and found the following.

  • There are a good proportion of lighter weight freight trains, that are not long and heavy.
  • There are a good proportion of freight trains running over routes that are electrified with 750 VDC third-rail equipment.
  • There are also some freight services, where a dual-voltage locomotive would be needed.
  • If a locomotive had a Last-Mile capability of perhaps forty miles, a lot of services could be electric-hauled.

Network Rail should do an analysis of all freight working in the various regions of the UK, to find out what are the needs of the electrically-hauled market in the various regions of the UK.

Could There Be A London Locomotive?

I wouldn’t want to get too regional, but looking at the figures, I think the following locomotive could be developed to handle freight trains in and through London.

I’m very much of the opinion, that the UK needs a battery-electric locomotive with the following capabilities.

  • The physical size and axle loading of a Class 68 or 88 locomotive.
  • Up to 4 MW when running on 25 KVAC overhead electrification.
  • Up to 2.5 MW when running on 750 VDC third-rail electrification.
  • Up to 2 MW for 30 minutes when running on battery power.
  • Regenerative braking to batteries.

Note.

  1. The axle load of a Co-Co Class 66 locomotive is 21.6 tonnes.
  2. The axle load of a Bo-Bo Class 88 locomotive is 21.5 tonnes.

But the overall weight of the Class 66 locomotive is fifty percent higher.

I believe, that a locomotive with this specification could replace the ubiquitous, cheap, smelly, polluting and carbon-emitting Class 66 locomotive on a lot of duties. Especially, in London and the South East, where there is a lot of running on tracks with 750 VDC third-rail electrification.

I believe that this locomotive would be able to haul some of the heaviest trains on these routes.

  • Ipswich and the Port of Liverpool via London.
  • Ipswich and Wentloog (Cardiff) via London.
  • Ipswich and Coatbridge via London.
  • Ipswich and Birmingham via London.
  • Ipswich and Crewe via London.

These routes cry out for the ability to be able to do the last miles into Felixstowe.

Ipswich And Felixstowe On Battery Power

If the diesel engine and all the associated gubbins are removed from a Class 88 locomotive, a battery with the same weight could be fitted into the locomotive, without unduly affecting handling or axle load.

Doing rough calculations, this battery would have a capacity of at least 1 MWh.

  • This battery would be able to supply 2.5 MW for twenty-four minutes, which would be a very valuable Last-Mile capability.
  • The battery would also enable regenerative braking to the battery, which would increase the energy efficiency of the locomotive.

These capabilities may open up the possibility of battery-electric haulage of some trains into and out of the Port of Felixstowe.

  • Freight trains take around 32 minutes to travel from the Great Eastern Main Line to the port.
  • Freight trains take around 36 minutes to travel from the port to the Great Eastern Main Line.
  • The route is fairly level although there is the climb over Spring Road viaduct.

If necessary, the route could be electrified, between the Great Eastern Main Line and Derby Road station.

  • The climb over the viaduct would be electrified.
  • Only 21 minutes of the route would not be electrified.

I believe that, it would be possible for Stadler to design a dual-mode battery-electric locomotive that could haul most of the heaviest trains into and out of the Port of Felixstowe.

This would effectively decarbonise a large proportion of freight traffic on the North London and Gospel Oak to Barking Lines.

Third-Rail Freight

In addition, a locomotive of this class, with a third-rail capability would be able to handle the numerous freight trains on the third-rail network.

With third-rail electrification, there are always worries that it can supply enough power.

  • A Class 66 locomotive has a diesel engine generating 2.5 MW.
  • An eight-car Class 700 train is rated at 3.3 MW. These trains are seen all over South London.
  • A Class 377 train is rated between 0.8 and 1.2 MW. Pairs of these trains are seen all over South London.

It would appear that an electric Class 66-sized locomotive would only draw the same power as typical trains on the third-rail network.

So perhaps a dual-voltage electric locomotive suitable for freight through much of South London, wouldn’t leave all of South London in the dark?

Junctions Which Need Upgrading

The London Rail Freight Strategy, identifies these junctions as needing an upgrade.

Would these junctions be easier to upgrade, if the designers of the junctions, knew that many more trains using the junction were to be hauled by powerful and spritely electric-haulage?

West London Line Issues

Two of the posts covering the London Rail Freight Strategy concern the AC/DC  switchover on the West London Line.

The proposed locomotive wouldn’t care where the switchover happened, as it would use batteries to achieve a smooth switchover.

Conclusion

The UK rail network needs a go-anywhere battery-electric locomotive.

Related Posts

These are related posts about the London Rail Freight Strategy (LRFS).

Doubling Harlesden Junction

East Coast Main Line South Bi-Directional Capability

Gauge Improvements Across London

Gospel Oak Speed Increases

Headway Reductions On The Gospel Oak To Barking, North London and West London Lines

Heavy Axle Weight Restrictions

Kensal Green Junction Improvement

Longhedge Junction Speed Increases

Moving The West London Line AC/DC Switchover To Kensington Olympia

Moving The West London Line AC/DC Switchover To Shepherd’s Bush

Nunhead Junction Improvement

Stratford Regulating Point Extension

Will Camden Road Station Get A Third Platform?

Will Clapham Junction Station Get A Platform 0?

June 28, 2021 Posted by | Design, Transport | , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Heavy Axle Weight Restrictions

London has a rail capacity problem, for both freight and passenger trains.

This report from Network Rail is entitled The London Rail Freight Strategy (LRFS).

One of the secondary recommendations of the report is to improve the capacity to handle trains with heavy axle weight restrictions.

The report explains it like this.

In consultation with train drivers for the Freight Operating Companies and Network Rail structural engineers, this study has identified a list of Heavy Axle Weight restrictions on routes used by freight in London, which are known to negatively impact the movement of heavier trains around the
network.

The resulting proposal, as part of the LRFS, is for packages of works to enable the removal of these restrictions to be progressed.

A general package of cross-London interventions, targeting structures across a variety of routes, has been outlined for development. In addition, a large stretch of the Gospel Oak-Barking Line, where Heavy Axle Weight traffic is subject to a blanket 20mph speed restriction, should be the focus of a dedicated package of works to facilitate the removal of that restriction and to strengthen the route so that it is capable of accommodating future
rail freight growth.

Although these proposed packages of works should address the structures currently known to cause speed restrictions that negatively impact freight operations in London, maintaining the infrastructure to a level that can safely accommodate Heavy Axle Weight loads is an ongoing challenge for
Network Rail.

There are no permanent fixes when dealing with structures that have been bearing railway traffic since the nineteenth century. Ongoing maintenance funding to prevent the need for HAW speed restrictions to be imposed in the first place is just as critical as interventions to remove existing ones.

It sounds to me that, as with Gauge Improvements Across London, there needs to be a full survey to identify all the places, where heavy axle weight is a problem.

It does sound from the report, that some of the remedial works will not be trivial.

Conclusion

I don’t think Network Rail will be keen to rebuild all the freight routes through London.

Related Posts

These are related posts about the London Rail Freight Strategy (LRFS).

Decarbonisation Of London’s Freight Routes

Doubling Harlesden Junction

East Coast Main Line South Bi-Directional Capability

Gauge Improvements Across London

Gospel Oak Speed Increases

Headway Reductions On The Gospel Oak To Barking, North London and West London Lines

Kensal Green Junction Improvement

Longhedge Junction Speed Increases

Moving The West London Line AC/DC Switchover To Kensington Olympia

Moving The West London Line AC/DC Switchover To Shepherd’s Bush

Nunhead Junction Improvement

Stratford Regulating Point Extension

Will Camden Road Station Get A Third Platform?

Will Clapham Junction Station Get A Platform 0?

 

June 27, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 17 Comments

East Coast Main Line South Bi-Directional Capability

London has a rail capacity problem, for both freight and passenger trains.

This report from Network Rail is entitled The London Rail Freight Strategy (LRFS).

One of the secondary recommendations of the report is to use the bi-directional capability of the East Coast Main Line to create another freight route through London.

The report explains it like this.

The southern end of the East Coast Main Line, from Kings Cross to Stoke Tunnel (about five miles south of Grantham), is due to be the first part of a national main line to be fully converted to European Train Control System (ETCS) digital signalling.ETCS, because it does not rely on fixed lineside equipment facing one way or another, is bi-directional by nature.

This presents an opportunity for freight to make use of a new routeing at the southern end of the East Coast Main Line, which current signalling and track layout do not permit.

This strategy therefore proposes installing new track layout features that would facilitate this routeing for freight trains, enabling them to take advantage of the bi-directional capability brought about through ETCS deployment.

The main expected change would be the creation of a facing crossover at Bowes Park, to enable southbound freight trains to run onto the Down Enfield Viaduct in the up direction, before continuing onwards to the terminal at Ferme Park or accessing the Gospel Oak-Barking Line at Harringay.

This example shows an advantage of digital in-cab signalling.

This map from cartometro, shows the lines between Bowes Park and Alexandra Palace stations.

Freight trains coming from the North regularly take the Hertford Loop Line and arrive in North London at Bowes Park

Currently, they sneak down the Eastern side of the East Coast Main Line and then take a route across London, which probably uses the North London Line.

What is proposed is that with an extra crossover just South of Bowes Park station, freight trains will crossover and take Enfield Viaduct the wrong way to the Western side Alexandra Palace station.

The Enfield Viaduct is the track taken from Alexandra Palace station to Bowes Park station, by trains going to Enfield. It takes a bit of a loop to the West.

This second map from cartometro, shows the lines South of Alexandra Palace stations.

Note.

  1. Hornsey is the next station to the South of Alexandra Palace.
  2. The Eastern side of the East Coast Main Line is crowded with maintenance depots for trains.
  3. The orange line is the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.

By the use of digital signalling a new freight route through North London can been created.

Conclusion

How many other places can this technique be used?

Related Posts

These are related posts about the London Rail Freight Strategy (LRFS).

Decarbonisation Of London’s Freight Routes

Doubling Harlesden Junction

Gauge Improvements Across London

Gospel Oak Speed Increases

Headway Reductions On The Gospel Oak To Barking, North London and West London Lines

Heavy Axle Weight Restrictions

Kensal Green Junction Improvement

Longhedge Junction Speed Increases

Moving The West London Line AC/DC Switchover To Kensington Olympia

Moving The West London Line AC/DC Switchover To Shepherd’s Bush

Nunhead Junction Improvement

Stratford Regulating Point Extension

Will Camden Road Station Get A Third Platform?

Will Clapham Junction Station Get A Platform 0?

June 27, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Gauge Improvements Across London

London has a rail capacity problem, for both freight and passenger trains.

This report from Network Rail is entitled The London Rail Freight Strategy (LRFS).

One of the secondary recommendations of the report is to improve the gauge across London.

The report explains it like this.

The portfolio of options developed from this strategy needs to include a cross-London programme of gauge clearance, to address existing gaps and open up new market opportunities for rail freight in the long-term future.

Priorities in this area include:

  • Formal publication of W10 clearance on the North London Line from Kensal Green Junction to Acton Wells Junction. This section is currently only published as W9 but has been used for diversions of W10 traffic in the recent past.
  • Further work to understand what would be required to achieve W12 clearance on the North London Line and Gospel Oak-Barking Line.

This stands to enable rail freight to take advantage of emerging opportunities in the short-sea market from the Essex Thameside ports
and is a priority for stakeholders.

Continued development work towards gauge enhancement of the Channel Tunnel classic routes, which run through south and west London to Wembley.

The ultimate aim is to progress a programme of clearance works to achieve full W12, but opportunities to deliver incremental improvements by clearing for wagon and box combinations above what is possible today, but short of W12, are also being actively considered.

It appears to me, that a series of well-designed and well-defined projects is needed to update all those places, where loading gauge is insufficient.

In the Felixstowe And Nuneaton Freight Capacity Scheme, Phase 1 included increasing the loading gauge between Peterborough and Nuneaton to a loading gauge of W10.

This scheme involved the replacement of fourteen bridge and eleven tracking lowering/slewing schemes.

Conclusion

Gauge enhancement on a difficult railway has been performed successfully in several places in the UK and the bullet must be bitten to enhance the loading gauge appropriately, through London.

Related Posts

These are related posts about the London Rail Freight Strategy (LRFS).

Decarbonisation Of London’s Freight Routes

Doubling Harlesden Junction

East Coast Main Line South Bi-Directional Capability

Gospel Oak Speed Increases

Headway Reductions On The Gospel Oak To Barking, North London and West London Lines

Heavy Axle Weight Restrictions

Kensal Green Junction Improvement

Longhedge Junction Speed Increases

Moving The West London Line AC/DC Switchover To Kensington Olympia

Moving The West London Line AC/DC Switchover To Shepherd’s Bush

Nunhead Junction Improvement

Stratford Regulating Point Extension

Will Camden Road Station Get A Third Platform?

Will Clapham Junction Station Get A Platform 0?

June 26, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , | 14 Comments

Nunhead Junction Improvement

London has a rail capacity problem, for both freight and passenger trains.

This report from Network Rail is entitled The London Rail Freight Strategy (LRFS).

One of the secondary recommendations of the report is to improve Nunhead junction.

The report explains it like this.

Rail freight stakeholders have consistently highlighted Nunhead as a priority location for improving the flow of freight around the London orbital routes. The junction to the immediate east of the station is a flat crossing where two lines of route and multiple passenger and freight services groups converge into the South London Line, creating a pinch point for capacity.

Freight train drivers, when consulted for input into this strategy, flagged the route eastbound from Peckham Rye through Nunhead and towards Lewisham as a challenging section on which to keep heavier trains moving. This is primarily a consequence of the relatively slow permissible speed of 25mph over Nunhead Junction when routed towards Lewisham,
which follows a steadily rising gradient from Peckham Rye.

The option proposed by this strategy is for changes to the track alignment in order to increase the speed of the turnout towards Lewisham, as far as can be achieved without affecting the speed of the main route towards Catford. This option would primarily benefit the performance of eastbound freight flowing from the South London Line towards the North Kent lines, one of the key rail freight corridors in the South East, enabling freight trains to run at faster and more consistent speeds towards Lewisham.

This would most likely increase right time presentation at the critical flat junction at Lewisham, as well as assisting the flow of passenger and freight trains to the Catford Loop by ensuring preceding Lewisham-bound traffic can clear Nunhead Junction as quickly as possible.

Addressing the existing constraints to freight traffic through Nunhead, which by their nature most affect the heavier bulk traffic that characterises the North Kent corridor, would also support industry aspirations to maximise the payloads that trains can haul.

This map from cartometro.com shows the route between Nunhead and Lewisham stations.

 

And this Google Map shows Nunhead station and the junction.

Note.

  1. Nunhead junction is towards the right of the map.
  2. The lines going to the East go to Lewisham.
  3. The lines going to the South East go to Crofton Park and Catford.
  4. I have counted the freight trains through Nunhead junction on real time trains  and there can be as main as six trains per hour (tph), through the junction at times, using both Lewisham and Crofton Park routes.

But there would also appear to be plenty of space around the junction to realign the tracks.

As many trains need to go East from Lewisham and there are two flat junctions on the route; Nunhead and Lewisham, anything that improves keeping to schedule is to be welcomed.

The Use Of Electric Haulage

All routes through Nunhead junction have 750 VDC third-rail electrification, but I suspect all freight trains through the junction are diesel hauled.

Real time trains also shows that many of the trains through Nunhead junction also use the West London Line through Shepherd’s Bush.

In Decarbonisation Of London’s Freight Routes, I proposed a dual-voltage battery-electric locomotive to handle freight trains.

Perhaps more capable battery-electric freight locomotives with their better acceleration, are part of the solution at Nunhead junction.

Conclusion

This appears to be a well-thought out solution to one of the problems for freight trains in London.

I also believe that dual-voltage battery-electric locomotives could be part of the solution at Nunhead junction and would also help in many other places on the UK rail network.

Related Posts

These are related posts about the London Rail Freight Strategy (LRFS).

Decarbonisation Of London’s Freight Routes

Doubling Harlesden Junction

East Coast Main Line South Bi-Directional Capability

Gauge Improvements Across London

Gospel Oak Speed Increases

Headway Reductions On The Gospel Oak To Barking, North London and West London Lines

Heavy Axle Weight Restrictions

Kensal Green Junction Improvement

Longhedge Junction Speed Increases

Moving The West London Line AC/DC Switchover To Kensington Olympia

Moving The West London Line AC/DC Switchover To Shepherd’s Bush

Stratford Regulating Point Extension

Will Camden Road Station Get A Third Platform?

Will Clapham Junction Station Get A Platform 0?

June 24, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Stratford Regulating Point Extension

London has a rail capacity problem, for both freight and passenger trains.

This report from Network Rail is entitled The London Rail Freight Strategy (LRFS).

One of the secondary recommendations of the report is what Network Rail call the Stratford Regulating Point Extension.

The report explains it like this.

Capacity analysis for this study emphasised in its conclusions that the key to making the timetable work is the ability to hold trains in strategic locations in order to match capacity between the orbital lines and the radial routes in and out of London.

It therefore noted that holding capacity at Stratford for the longest freight trains (up to 775m) is essential, recommending that consideration is given to lengthening the Up Channelsea Loop at Lea Junction in particular.

The purpose of this scheme would be to provide a regulating point offering 775m standage for freight trains passing through Stratford towards the NLL, fully segregated from other traffic.

This would be achieved by extending the existing Up Channelsea Loop to the North-West, so that it can accommodate a 775m train clear of Stratford Central Junction.

This option offers combined capacity and train lengthening benefits, as the ability to regulate the longest trains at key interface points on the network increases the chances of finding them a compliant path through successive timetable structures as they pass from route to route.

Note.

  1. 775 metres is the longest train allowed on UK railways.
  2. Longer trains are an efficient way of moving freight and often mean less trains in total.
  3. It is extremely handy to have a place to park a train, to aid in keeping to the timetable.

This map from cartometro.com shows the Eastern end of the North London Line and the Up Channelsea Loop.

Note.

  1. The orange tracks are the North London Line and are used by the London Overground and freight trains.
  2. The Up Channelsea Loop to the South-West of the North London Line.
  3. The Up Channelsea Loop has connections to both directions of the Great Eastern Main Line at its South-Eastern end.
  4. Carpenters Road North junction would appear to connect Liverpool Street station to the High Meads curve, so that empty stock can be moved to and from the sidings at Orient Way.
  5. I would expect that any train waiting in the Up Channelsea Loop can’t overhang Carpenters Road North junction, as this would block the empty stock movements between Liverpool Street and Orient Way sidings.

This Google Map shows the South-Eastern end of the Up Channelsea Loop.

Note.

  1. The bridge over the tracks is the main access to the Olympic Park.
  2. I have arranged that the Up Channelsea Loop runs between the North-West and South-East corners of the map.
  3. The two tracks to access the Up Channelsea Loop join in the South-East corner of the map.
  4. The crossover to the North of the bridge is part of Carpenters Road North junction.

I would estimate that freight trains waiting in the Up Channelsea Loop can’t be closer than about thirty metres from the bridge.

This second Google Map shows what I suspect is the usable section of the Up Channelsea Loop.

Note.

  1. I have arranged the North-Western corner of the map over the buffer stops at the end of the Up Channelsea Loop.
  2. The South-Eastern corner is at the lower limit of the Up Channelsea Loop.
  3. I estimate that the usable length of the current Up Channelsea Loop is six hundred metres at most.

This third Google Map shows the Northern end of the Up Channelsea Loop.

Note.

  1. The crossover so trains can leave the Up Channelsea Loop in the South-East corner of the map.
  2. There is a red buffer stop on the end of the loop.

I feel they will certainly have to bridge the River Lea, if the Up Channelsea Loop is going to be lengthened to the North-West.

Perhaps this fourth Google Map, that shows a 3D view of the area from the West.

Note.

  1. Is there a tunnel under Marshgate Lane that can take three tracks.
  2. There could be space to extend the Up Channelsea Loop over the River Lea and alongside the long building, which is the Energy Centre for the site.
  3. There might even be a bit more space to create a fast exit from the Up Channelsea Loop.

If the Up Channelsea Loop is going to extend this far, then it looks like it has been planned for some time.

I took these pictures as I approached Stratford station.

Note.

  • The Up Channelsea Loop is the track furthest away to the right.
  • The red buffer stop can be picked out.
  • I started taking pictures alongside the Energy Centre.
  • I think that the short tunnel between the Energy Centre and the River Leacan handle three tracks.

It looks to me, that provision was made for lengthening the Up Channelsea Loop, when these tracks were laid.

Conclusion

I think it is going to be a tight fit to extend the Up Channelsea Loop by sufficient length to handle the longest freight trains.

But it should be possible.

Related Posts

These are related posts about the London Rail Freight Strategy (LRFS).

Decarbonisation Of London’s Freight Routes

Doubling Harlesden Junction

East Coast Main Line South Bi-Directional Capability

Gauge Improvements Across London

Gospel Oak Speed Increases

Headway Reductions On The Gospel Oak To Barking, North London and West London Lines

Heavy Axle Weight Restrictions

Kensal Green Junction Improvement

Longhedge Junction Speed Increases

Moving The West London Line AC/DC Switchover To Kensington Olympia

Moving The West London Line AC/DC Switchover To Shepherd’s Bush

Nunhead Junction Improvement

Will Camden Road Station Get A Third Platform?

Will Clapham Junction Station Get A Platform 0?

June 22, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 15 Comments