The Anonymous Widower

‘Mammoth Task’ Completed As Overground Line Reopens

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

The article tells the story of one of the worst rail cock-ups of recent years.

A rogue wagon on a freight train ripped up four kilometres of the Gospel Oak to Barking Line on the night of the 23rd of January.

And it was only yesterday, that the line fully reopened.

This is the last sentence of the article.

The cost of the repairs and resulting disruption has not been revealed.

Effectively, four kilometres of new railway don’t come cheap!

February 20, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

Government Probe Into How Derailed Freight Train Travelled 2.5 miles Along Overground Line

The title of this post is the same as rgis article on the Ham and High.

This is the introductory paragraph.

The government has launched an investigation into how a derailed freight train travelled 2.5 miles before the problem was flagged up to the driver.

The article gives some more details.

  • The accident happened on Thursday 23rd of January.
  • The train derailed near Wanstead Park station.
  • The train finally stopped between Leyton Midland Road and Walthamstow Queens Road.
  • The train was carrying construction  from Barkingspoil to the landfill site at Calvert in Buckinghamshire.

The derailment caused a lot of damage as pictures and this paragraph in the article show.

Across the two and a half mile stretch, there are 39 new pieces of rail – each 216m long – that require replacing, as well as 5,300 concrete sleepers and 900 wooden sleepers.

Work to replace 10,000 tonnes of ballast will need to take place, as well as putting replacement timber into 10 bridges.

At least, as they have just relaid this section of railway for the Gospel Oak to Barking electrification, there will hopefully be no nasty surprises  in the rebuilding process.

This map from carto.metro.free,fr shows the track layout between South Tottenham station in the West and Blackhorse Road station in the East.

Note the two crossovers either side of South Tottenham station, which are used to reverse the train between the two platforms.

I suspect that London Overground, wish there are crossovers at Blackhorse Road station, so that passengers could use the interchange with the Victoria Line.

But crossovers are expensive can cause operational problems.

At least, there are no crossovers in the section of track destroyed by the freight train.

February 6, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , | 4 Comments

Company Hopes To Use Railways To Develop Drone Delivery Corridors

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

The first two paragraphs explain the idea.

SkyRights Holdings is seeking to partner with Class I railways to make their alignments available for use by drone delivery companies and for ‘urban air mobility’ applications.

The company said the airspace above railways offers ‘a unique solution to address the safety, electric charging infrastructure and liability management challenges when compared to flying delivery drones over populated areas.’

I think this could be very feasible.

January 8, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Cross City Connect Proposes HS1-HS2 Link

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in the January 2020 Edition of Modern Railways.

The article is only sketchy giving only a few details of the proposal.

  • The link would connect HS2 at Old Oak Common to HS1 at Rainham.
  • HS2 would not connect to Euston.
  • There would be intermediate stations at South Bank Central, Canary Wharf and Barking.

This map, that was posted in the RailUK forums, shows the route.

These are my thoughts on various points of the plan.

The Tunnel Route And South Bank Central Station

The proposed tunnel route is shown in red on the map.

These are my thoughts on the main tunnel.

Western Section – Old Oak Common To South Bank Central Station

This Google Map shows the area of London between Old Oak Common Elizabeth Line Depot and the South Bank.

Note.

  1. The depot is in the North-West corner marked with the red arrow.
  2. The Thames as it curves around the South Bank is in the South East corner of the map.
  3. The Serpentine in Hyde Park can be picked out.

I think that the tunnel would go deep under the West London Line and Hyde Park before cutting away East to the Thames.

Note that when a similar tunnel was dug deep under East London for High Speed One, there wasn’t too much difficulty. But that was twenty-five years ago and tunnelling techniques have surely improved.

There is also all the knowledge, that has been accumulated by the boring of Crossrail and the Thames Tideway Tunnel.

South Bank Central Station

This second Google Map shows the Thames between the London Eye and Blackfriars station.

Blackfriars Bridge, Blackfriarts station, The Hayward Gallery. The National Theatre, The Royal Festival Hall, Waterloo bridge and Waterloo station can all be picked out.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the various lines in the area.

Note.

  1. There seem to be few lines by the Thames on the South Bank, with just the Bakerloo and Northern Lines crossing the area.
  2. The Waterloo & City Line crosses further to the East.
  3. I would suspect, that as most of the buildings in the area of the South Bank have been built since 1950, that detailed plans and surveys exist of the South Bank.
  4. Even Waterloo Bridge was built as recently as the Second World War, which is young for many of the bridges across the Thames.

This leads me to believe that a substantial station could be built under the South Bank.

  • It would have long platforms roughly following the line of the Thames.
  • It could be connected to Waterloo station at the South-Western end.
  • Connections could surely be made to the Bakerloo and Northern Lines and possibly to the Jubilee Line.
  • The Northern Line is being extended to Battersea Power station.
  • The Bakerloo Line could be extended to South East London.
  • There are possible plans to extend Charing Cross station over Hungerford Bridge, which could be connected as well.
  • Could the station be connected to Blackfriars station at the North-Eastern end?
  • Could tunnels be built under the Thames to connect the station to the North Bank?

It seems to me, that there are lots of possibilities to make the proposed Soiuth Bank Central station a very well-connected station.

This Google Map may offer a clue as to where the station could poke its head into the South Bank.

Going from West to East across the map, the following can be seen.

  • The approach road to Waterloo Bridge.
  • The National Theatre
  • The IBM Building.
  • The London Studios

The last is the interesting building, as it has been sold to Mitsuibishi Estates to be developed as luxury housing. It is also a large site of 2.5 acres and there used to be a tower on the site, so I suspect there could be space for a station in the basement and an entrance or two on the surface.

It would certainly be a wonderful location to arrive at in London.

  • Walk to the West and you pass The Nation Theatre, the Hayward Gallery, the Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Festival Hall before arriving at Hungerford Bridge and the footbridges to the North Bank, Charing Cross station and Trafalgar Square.
  • Walk further West and you pass the London Eye and come to Westminster Bridge, with The Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey and Parliament Square on the other side of the River.
  • Walk to the East and you pass Blackfriars station, that sits above the river and the Tate Modern, before arriving at the Millenium Bridge that leads to St. Paul’s Cathedral.
  • South Bank Central station could even have a pier for the Thames Clippers.

It would certainly be a Central station, worthy of the name.

In this post entitled Walking Between Blackfriars And Hungerford Railway Bridges, there are a series of pictures I took on the walk.

These pictures show the section around the studios.

Note thaty the river walk is a tree-lined boulevarde and there is an accessible beach.

It should also be noted that the Thames Tideway worksite locations are on the North side of the river at this point of the river, so this could leave space for the Cross City Connect tunnel to be towards the South Bank.

South Bank Central Station And Canary Wharf Station

This Google Map shows the route between the South Bank and Canary Wharf.

Note.

  1. The South Bank is in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. East Enders fans will be able to recognise the O2 at the Eastern side of the map.
  3. Canary Wharf is to the West of the O2 in the bend of the River.

I suspect that the tunnel could be bored roughly along the line of the River before passing under Canary Wharf, where there could be a deep-level station.

Potential Station – Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf station is only labelled as a potential station.

This Google Map shows the Canary Wharf Crossrail station.

Is the design of the station such, that extra lines could be placed alongside or under the Crossrail tracks and connected to the existing station?

There certainly must be a suitable place for a potential station at Canary Wharf, otherwise it wouldn’t have been proposed.

The station would give access to Crossrail, the Docklands Light Railway and the Jubilee Line.

I also expect that the Canary Wharf Group would be very co-operative and could make a contribution to the cost of the station.

Canary Wharf Station To Barking And Rainham

This Google Map shows the final section from Canary Wharf to Rainham.

Note.

  1. Canary Wharf and the O2 at the West of the map.
  2. The London City |Airport to the East of the O2, with the water alongside the runway.
  3. Rainham station marked by a red arrow at the East of the map.

It would appear that the route of the tunnel could be under the River or the runway at the City Airport.

But it should be born in mind, that High Speed One was dug under Barking and there wasn’t too much trouble.

Potential Station – London City Airport

As the Cross City Connect tunnel could pass under the terminal building at the Airport, could a station be built here?

I suspect not!

  • Passengers at the Airport go to many of the destinations of the rail service.
  • I don’t think there will be enough passengers to justify the station.
  • London City Airport is expanding the terminal and they probably wouldn’t want to change things now.

The Airport wants a Crossrail station and that is more likely.

Potential Station – Barking

Barking station is only labelled as a potential station.

The map from carto.metro.free.fr, shows another potential station at Barking.

It is a well-connected station.

Could a two track high speed station with two-platforms per track, be built underneath the current station and connected to it by escalators and lifts?

It would probably not be a much more difficult station to design and build, than Whitechapel station on Crossrail.

CCC-HS1 Interface

This Google Map shows the rail lines and roads around Dagenham Dock station.

Stand on the London-bound platform and whilst waiting for a c2c train, Eurostars and Javelins speed by behind you.On the map, you can just see the Jigh Speed One tunnel portal to the West of the station.

The two pairs of tracks; c2c and High Speed One run parallel through Rainham station, until they split with the c2c tracks going towards the river and Purfleet and Grays station and High Speed One threading its way through the approaches to the Dartford Crossing and its tunnel under the Thames.

This Google Map shows the area to the South-East of Rainham station, which is in the North-West corner of the map.

Note the A13 road linking East London to the junction with the M25 in the East, which is to the North of the Lakeside Shopping Centre.

This Google Map shows the North Western corner of the previous map.

Note.

  1. Rainham station at the top of the map.
  2. The two c2c tracks running South East from the station.
  3. The two High Speed One alongside the c2c tracks.
  4. The dual carriageway of the A13 road.

There is a large empty triangular area of land between the road and the four railway tracks. As I’ll mention it several times, I’ll call it the Rainham triangular site in future.

I suspect that the Cross City Connect tunnel will break off from High Speed One to the South-East of Rainham station , with a portal in the Rainham triangular site.

A train between Paris and Birmingham or Manchester would do the following.

  • Take High Speed One as now.
  • After stopping as required at Ashford and/or Ebbsfleet stations, it would cross under the Thames.
  • At Rainham it would take the Cross City Connect tunnel.

After stopping as required  at South Bank Central and Old Oak Common stations, it would take High Speed Two for the North.

Boring The Tunnel

The Rainham triangular site could be the place from where to bore the tunnel. Or at least the Eastern part!

  • There is a lot of space.
  • Linings and other heavy materials and equipment, could be brought in by rail using High Speed One.
  • Tunnel spoil could be conveyored to the river and taken away in barges.

Would tunnelling techniques have improved enough to go between Rainham and Old Oak Common in one continuous bore?

Would There Be A Station At Rainham?

All services going through the Cross City Connect tunnel would need to terminate somewhere.

Some would go all the way to the Continent and in the near future they could terminate at some of all of the following destinations.

  • Amsterdam
  • Bordeaux
  • Brussels
  • Cologne
  • Frankfurt
  • Geneva
  • Paris

High Speed Two’s trains would be compatible with the Channel Tunnel, but ridership would be variable along say a Manchester and Paris route.

So some services would need to terminate in the London area.

As the line to Euston would be abandoned in the Cross City Connect plan, a new station will be needed to terminate trains.

There are two possibilities.

  • Old Oak Common, which because of its connections to Crossrail, the Overground and the Great Western Railway will be the place of choice for many to catch High Speed Two.
  • A new station at Rainham.

Both should be built.

Rainham High Speed station would be built in the Rainham triangular site.

  • It has good road access to the UK’s motorway network.
  • c2c services would call to give South Essex access to High Speed services
  • Southeastern Highspeed services would call to give Kent access to High Speed services.
  • Continental services would call to give access to alternative routes to or through London.
  • Some High Speed Two services to and from the North would terminate at the station.

There is probably space for an extensive train depot on the site.

Consider a service between Geneva and Glasgow.

  • Most travellers would fly on this route as it would be in the order of eight hours by train.
  • I suspect though that London and Geneva at possibly six hours could attract more traffic.

A well-planned station at Rainham would probably cater for the masochists who wanted to do the long journey by High Speed Rail in a day.

But the interchange at Rainham would be invaluable for passengers travelling between the Continent and Canary Wharf or Westminster.

  • Canary Wharf is served directly.
  • Westminster is a short walk over the Thames or one stop on the Jubilee Line from South Bank Central station.
  • Try going between St. Pancras International and Canary Wharf or Westminster quickly without changing trains or using a taxi.
  • The proposed Crossrail 2 won’t make these journeys any easier.
  • The Cross City Connect Route would be faster.

As Canary Wharf is connected to Crossrail and Old Oak Common to the Overground, access to the Greater London area would be much improved with a change at Rainham High Speed station.

Cross City Connect, also gives access to these services to places, that will not be served by High Speed Two.

  • South Western Railway services from Waterloo, which will be close to South Bank Central station.
  • Great Western Railway services will be available at Old Oak Common.

Travellers wanting classic service to the North would go as now, via St. Pancras.

The only thing missing is a connection to Crossrail, which would give direct access to Liverpool Street and Paddington.

I think that Rainham High Speed station would become a very important station.

Tunnel Size And Number

High Speed Two is being built to a loading gauge of UIC GC, which is similar to the Channel Tunnel. The Channel Tunnel bores are 7.6 metres in diameter.

The biggest tunnel under London will be the one currently being dug for the Thames Tideway Scheme.

  • It will be 25 kilometres long.
  • The diameter is 7.2 metres.
  • It will be up to seventy metres below the surface.

For much of its route, it follows the Thames in a similar manner to the Cross City Connect tunnel.

Cross City Connect would need one tunnel of this size for each track.

Could two tracks share a single tunnel?

Theoretically, I think they could, but it could cause problems in station design.

Station Design

Would the Cross City Connect need four tracks and platforms at each station?

High Speed One stations at Stratford, Ebbsfleet and Ashford stations effectively have four tracks and platforms, due to the security need of separating domestic and International passengers.

But as all trains these days, including those on Eurostar and the Javelins working suburban services have doors on both sides, surely there is an engineering solution.

  • South Bank Central and any other Central London stations would have platforms on both sides
  • All platforms would have level access between train and platform and platform doors.
  • Platform doors would be designed to work with all trains using the route. I have ideas how this could be done.
  • The domestic platforms would be the two platforms between the two tunnels. This would mean domestic passengers could board and leave the trains with the minimum of fuss. They could also reverse direction if they should need.
  • The International platforms would be on the outside and would have the extra security checks needed.
  • International and domestic services would only open doors to the appropriate platform.

If a solution to the security problem can be found, then two tunnels would be sufficient.

Four tunnels would blow the budget.

Train Operating Speed In The Tunnel

Consider.

  • High Speed Two has been designed with an operating speed of 225 mph.
  • The Chanel Tunnel has a maximum operating speed of 100 mph.
  • The Channel Tunnel track could possibly handle 120 mph.
  • Crossrail has an operating speed of 90 mph.

It should also be noted that the faster the trains go, the greater the pressure on infrastructure like platform edge doors and the passengers waiting on the platforms outside the doors.

I would suspect that the maximum operating speed of trains in the Cross City Connect tunnel would not  be hoigher than 100 mph, but with a possibility of increasing it up to 125 mph in the future.

Train Frequency

Note that the design frequency of High Speed Two is twenty-one trains per hour (tph).

If Thameslink and Crossrail have been planned for twenty-four tph, with an objective of going to thirty tph, I don’t see why, we shouldn’t see twenty-four tph or even thirty tph running through the Cross City Connect tunnel.

Summing Up The Tunnel Route And South Bank Central Station

These are my conclusions on the tunnel route.

  • It uses London’s geography and the tunnelling-friendly clay soil to advantage.
  • The designers of the scheme have found an easy place to build a well-connected station at South Bank Central.
  • It also appears that the Eastern portal at Rainham, is on a site with plenty of space.
  • Could the Eastern portal make a good site from where to build the tunnel.

Overall, it appears to be a very viable project.

Passenger Services

When Phase Two of High Speed Two, these services are currently planned to run into Euston.

  • 3 tph – Birmingham Curzon Street – via Old Oak Common and Birmingham Interchange (2 tph)
  • 2 tph – Liverpool – via Old Oak Common, Stafford (1 tph), Crewe (1 tph) and Runcorn
  • 3 tph – Manchester – via Old Oak Common, Birmingham Interchange and Manchester Airport (2 tph)
  • 1 tph – Preston – via Old Oak Common, Warrington Bank Quay and Wigan North Western
  • 2 tph – Glasgow – via Old Oak Common, Birmingham Interchange (1 tph), Preston and Carstairs
  • 2 tph – Edinburgh – via Old Oak Common, Birmingham Interchange (1 tph), Preston, Carstairs and Edinburgh Haymarket
  • 3 tph – Leeds – via Old Oak Common, Birmingham Interchange, East Midlands Hub (1 tph), Chesterfield (1 tph) and Sheffield Midland (1 tph)
  • 2 tph – Sheffield – via Old Oak Common, Birmingham Interchange, East Midlands Hub and Chesterfield (1 tph)
  • 1 tph – York via Old Oak Common and Birmingham Interchange
  • 2 tph – Newcastle – via Old Oak Common (1 tph) and Birmingham Interchange and York.

Adding these up gives a frquency of twenty-one tph between Old Oak Common and Birmingham Interchange.

The Dutch believe that five trains per day (tpd) will be viable between London and Amsterdam and it looks like this frequency will be running by the end of 2021.

Obviously, passenger numbers will be determined by where passengers want to go, but I think that there should be at least this minimum service between the Continent and the North.

  • 3 tpd – Glasgow
  • 3 tpd – Liverpool
  • 3 tpd – Birmingham Curzon Street
  • 3 tpd – Manchester
  • 3 tpd – Leeds

I believe that High Speed Two and Northern Powerhouse Rail will be combined, as I described in Changes Signalled For HS2 Route In North.

This could result in a service between London and Hull that  called at Old Oak Common, Birmingham Interchange, Crewe, Manchester Airport, Manchester, Huddersfield, Bradford and Leeds.

I estimated timings from London to various cities as follows.

  • Birmingham – 49 minutes
  • Liverpool – 66 mins
  • Manchester – 66 mins
  • Leeds – 92 mins
  • Hull – 130 minutes

It looks like there could be a direct service between Paris or Brussels to the North in these times.

  • Birmingham – Under three hours
  • Liverpool – Under four hours
  • Manchester – Under four hours
  • Leeds – Around four hours
  • Hull – Under five hours

Get the design of Rainham High Speed station right and the right timetable and timings would only be a few minutes longer with a cross-platform interchange at Rainham High Speed or Birmingham Interchange station.

The merging of High Speed Two and Northern Powerhouse Rail could enable services with these frequencies.

  • 4 tpd – Paris or Brussels and Birmingham
  • 4 tpd – Paris or Brussels and Glasgow
  • 4 tpd – Paris or Brussels and Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds and Hull.
  • 4 tpd – Paris or Brussels and Liverpool

Note.

  1. These services would be pairs of trains, eith the two trains would splitting and joining at Lille. One train would go to and from Brussels and the other to and from Paris.
  2. The services would add one tph to traffic through the busy Channel Tunnel and to High Speed Two between Old Oak Common and Birmingham Interchange.
  3. There would be several extra services per day, with a change at Rainham High Speed station.
  4. Birmingham would get four tpd at Birmingham Curzon Street and another twelve tpd at Birmingham Interchange.
  5. The trains from Brussels could have Amsterdam, Cologne and Frankfurt as their terminus.

I could see these services giving the airlines a good kicking.

  • Manchester and Paris has seven flights per day, but the route could have four direct tpd and three tph with a change at Rainham.
  • Glasgow and Paris appears to have just two flights per day.
  • A 200 metre long train could seat over 500, whereas an Airbus A320 seats around 200.

Would you fly between Paris and Birmingham, Liverpool or Manchester, if you could go by train in under four hours?

Freight Services

Why not? Especially at night!

Design the platform edge door correctly and freight trains would be able to pass through the Cross City Connect tunnel.

Much of the container traffic between the UK and Europe should go by rail, and this tunnel makes it possible.

Issues That Must Be Considered

There are a few issues that must be considered.

St. Pancras Station

I think that long-term St. Pancras station will have capacity and access problems for trains and passengers.

  • The six Eurostar platforms are probably not enough, if more services want to use the station.
  • The lounges and passport control need more space.
  • At times, the station concourse is overcrowded.
  • Crossrail 2 and/or better access to the Underground is needed now.
  • Getting from St. Pancras to Canary Wharf, Euston and Westminster is not easy.

You also regularly hear Eurostar passengers moaning and say that they preferred Waterloo as the terminal.

Building Cross City Connect solves all the problems and effectively gives London five stations, that can be used for the Continent at Canary Wharf, Old Oak Common, Rainham, Saint Pancras and South Bank Central.

Southeastern’s HighSpeed Services

Southeastern’s HighSpeed services to and from Kent, only have two London destinations; Stratford and St. Pancras.

  • Cross City Connect seem to be suggesting that some of these services take their new tunnel and go to Birmingham.
  • They would connect the services to the new stations at Canary Wharf and South Bank Central.
  • The current Class 395 trains are only 140 mph trains and might be to slow for the 225 mph High Speed Two.
  • But their speed would be fine on an upgraded West Coast Main Line.

I’m sure that space could be found at Milton Keynes, Tring or Watford Junction for a platform to handle four tph through the Cross City Connect tunnel to Rainham and Kent.

London would get another Crossrail!

And talking of Crossrail, the services could take the Crossrail route to Reading and possibly Oxford.

There is great potential to use some of those paths through the Cross City Connect tunnel to link passengers to the major Continental interchange at Rainham High Speed station.

Stratford International Station

At present this station is really only a domestic station for Southeastern’s HighSpeed services between St. Pancras and Kent.

  • Continental services do not stop.
  • The only connections are to buses and the Docklands Light Railway.
  • It is badly-connected to Crossrail, the Greater Anglia services and the Underground, at the main Stratford station.
  • Underneath the station is the High Meads Loop, which is connected to the West Anglia Main Line and used to be used to terminate Stansted Expresses.

It is a design crime of the worst order.

But it could be so much better.

  • A better connection with a travelator could connect the two Stratford stations.
  • A Lea Valley Metro could be developed using the High Meads Loop as a terminus.
  • Stansted Airport and Cambridge services could also use the High Meads Loop.
  • Platforms could be added to the High Meads Loop, that would connect direct to the International station.

I also feel some Continental services should stop, as this would give them easy access to the important Crossrail.

Stratford could be the station, that ties London, East Anglia and South Essex together and gives them good links to the Continent.

A Future Thames Estuary Airport And Thames Barrier

I feel that in the next three decades, there is at least a fifty percent chance, that London will build an airport in the Thames Estuary.

The Airport would probably be some miles to the East, but the Cross City Connect tunnel and Rainham High Speed station could be valuable parts of the rail system serving that Airport.

Look at the section called Future in the Wikipedia entry for the Thames Barrier.

A new barrier will be needed in the next fifty years.

It could include rail and road crossings.

It could incorporate a large Airport.

There may even be tidal power generation.

As there will be extensive developments on both sides of the Thames, more transport infrastructure will be needed and the Cross City Connect tunnel and the Rainham High Speed station will play their part.

Immigration Control And Security

This could have a large effect on station design, as domestic and International passengers will need to be kept apart.

Cross City Connect are saying that four tracks might be needed; two for domestic services and two for International ones.

However, I believe that a four-platform station with just two tracks (and tunnels!), that kept domestic and International passengers apart could be built.

Earlier I said this.

  • South Bank Central and any other Central London stations would have platforms on both sides
  • All platforms would have level access between train and platform and platform doors.
  • Platform doors would be designed to work with all trains using the route. I have ideas how this could be done.
  • The domestic platforms would be the two platforms between the two tunnels. This would mean domestic passengers could board and leave the trains with the minimum of fuss. They could also reverse direction if they should need.
  • The International platforms would be on the outside and would have the extra security checks needed.
  • International and domestic services would only open doors to the appropriate platform.

I certainly think, there is a solution, that can be used with just two tracks.

Euston Station

If the Cross City Connect route is built, what happens at Euston?

Operationally, Euston may have problems with the number of platforms and their length, as many of London’s terminal stations do.

But Euston’s biggest problem is the connection to the Underground.

  • It is a cramped station.
  • It is not step-free.
  • The Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan Lines call in the separate Euston Squiare station about two hundred metres away.

I understand that these problems were to be fixed with the rebuilding of the station.

So what happens now?

Will there be more demolition of the station and the surrounding buildings?

Conclusion

There’s more to this project, than meets the eye!

 

January 3, 2020 Posted by | Transport, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Pesa And PKN Orlen To Develop Hydrogen Fuel Cell Trains

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Rolling stock manufacturer Pesa and energy company PKN Orlen signed a letter of intent to develop hydrogen fuel cell trains on December 12.

I am pleased that Poland appears to be turning to trains that emit less carbon, but I do worry about how the hydrogen is produced.

It appears the Dutch are moving towards green hydrogen, which is produced by the electrolysis of water using electricity produced by offshore wind farms.

But how are the Poles producing their hydrogen?

I did find this article on biznewsalert.com, which is entitled Poland Wants To Be A Hydrogen Kuwait. P2G Can Help.

This is the introductory sentence.

Hydrogen could drive low-carbon transport and also help reduce CO2 emissions. Although it is a distant perspective for now, the production of the element could support onshore wind farms.

It does appear that the Poles are thinking along lines, that will reduce carbon emissions.

What is P2G?

P2G or Power-to-Gas has an informative Wikipedia entry.

This is the first paragraph, which outlines the process.

Power-to-gas (often abbreviated P2G) is a technology that converts electrical power to a gas fuel. When using surplus power from wind generation, the concept is sometimes called windgas. There are currently three methods in use; all use electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen by means of electrolysis.

There certainly a lot of activity in the sector.

My Experience Of Polish Transport

Poland is a large country with an extensive rail system. I have travelled long distances across the country and many of the passenger trains are electric.

I can’t remember seeing a freight train, but I do remember large numbers of diesel trucks moving freight across the country.

Conclusion

Hydrogen could be a very important fuel for transport in Poland.

December 18, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Switching From Lorries To Freight Trains Could Cut Air Pollution By 10%

The title of this post is the same as this article on Rail Technology Magazine. This is the first paragraph.

Making the switch from HGVs to trains for freight travel could lead to 10% less air pollution from NOx across the country, says new research from the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT).

The major problem will be to get freight operators to switch from road to rail.

However, I do feel that this may be hastened by external factors and innovative methods and technology.

Shortages Of Train And Truck Drivers

There are regular news items about shortages of train and truck drivers.

I would think, that both careers will attract the same type of person.

Both careers will have their good and bad points.

But after a search of the Internet, it does appear that the train driver will earn more than the truck driver.

So will a shortage of truck drivers, nudge more freight operators to use rail?

Track Improvements For Rail Freight

Over the last decade or so, there have been several improvements in track layouts, that have been driven by the need to increase the amount of freigt carried by rail.

  • The development of the Great Northern and Great Eastern Joint Line through Lincolnshire as a freight by-pass for the East Coast Main Line.
  • The building of the Bacon Factory Chord to increase capacity to and from the Port of Felixstowe.
  • Electrification of the Gospel Oak to Barking Line will create a second electrified freight route across London.
  • Several passing loops have been lengthened to allow longer freight trains.
  • The Ordsall Chord will help freight through Manchester.

Obviously any general improvements will help freight trains as well as passenger trains.

Air-Pollution Activitists And Politicians

Most long-distance rail-freight is diesel-hauled and increasingly it goes through areas of large cities, where there is electrification. These electrified lines all see diesel-hauled freight trains.

  • The North London Line
  • The West London Line
  • The Gospel Oak to Barking Line
  • The Ordsall Chord
  • The Great Eastern Main Line
  • The West Coast Main Line
  • The East Coast Main Line
  • The Great Western Main Line

It will not be long before air-quality activists set their sites on removing diesel haulage from lines like these.

Will a local politician in North London say, be more likely to get elected, if they say, they will push for a ban on noisy and polluting diesel-powered locomotives running through their constituency.

The Replacement Of Diesel Locomotives With Electro-Diesel Locomotives

If you take a freight route like say Felixstowe to Trafford Park in Manchester via the Great Eastern Main Line, the North London Line and the West Coast Main Line, all of the route except for the two ends is electrified.

Normally, freight on this route would be hauled by a Class 66 diesel-locomotive, which would probably score 2/10 as a friend of the environment.

A modern electro-diesel locomotive, like a Class 88 locomotive  may be able to this and similar routes using electricity in the middle and its onboard diesel engine at both ends of the route.

The various locomotives, used on UK freight trains compare as follows.

  • Class 66 – 65/75 mph – 2.4 MW on diesel
  • Class 68 – Modern diesel to Stage II A emission standards – 100 mph – 2.8 MW on diesel
  • Class 70 – 75 mph – 2.7 MW on diesel
  • Class 86 – 75 mph – 0.7 MW on electricity
  • Class 88 – 100 mph – 4 MW on electricity – 0.7 MW on diesel
  • Class 90 – Electric locomotive – 100 mph – 0.9 MW on electricity
  • Class 92 – Electric locomotive – 87 mph – 5 MW on electricity

As the table shows the  Class 66 locomotives  are slow and less powerful than both the more modern Class 68 or Class 88 locomotives.

Cynically, I would say that the only reason that Class 66 and Class 70 locomotives are still in service is that they are good for the bottom line.

Despite this, I feel we’ll see an increasing number of electro-diesel locomotives like the Class 88 arriving in the UK.

New Electric Locomotives

Judging by some of the strange combinations, I’ve seen on some freight trains, we are short of electric locomotives.

This double-headed train has a Class 90 electric locomotive and a Class 66 diesel locomotive at the front of a long freight train.

Even electric locomotives from the 1960s are being called up for service.

These two Class 86 locomotives were hauling a freight train through Hackney Wick station.

I think we’ll see small numbers of new electric locomotives arriving in the UK.

I suspect too, that freight operators are preparing their bids for the fifteen Class 90 locomotives, that will be released in the next few years by Greater Anglia.

More Electrification

In a couple of years, there will be full electrification from London to Bristol and Cardiff.

Although the Government has put a hold on a lot of electrification,  current schemes like electrification of the Great Western Main Line will increase the use of electric or electro-diesel haulage.

Other smaller schemes might be added to increase the use of electric haulage for freight.

As an example, the lines into the important freight ports of London Gateway and Liverpool Two are not electrified. Electrifying both would probably increase the proportion of electrically-hauled freight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 2, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Election 2019: DUP Manifesto At A Glance

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

This is said under Infrastructure.

The infamous bridge from Northern Ireland to Scotland makes an appearance in the manifesto. It has been mooted on a number of occasions, despite a number of potential barriers to its construction.

Not everyone believes those barriers are insurmountable, though.

I don’t and feel strongly, that the bridge should be built and linked to High Speed Two

  • London and Belfast in four hours
  • London and Dublin in five hours.
  • Belfast and Glasgow in under two hours.

Not forgetting, it would become an important freight route..

 

 

December 2, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Freight Train With Four Locomotives

Every time, I go through Ipswich station, there are usually at least one pair of Class 86 locomotives stoating about.

But these pictures show four locomotives, bringing a train into Ipswich Yard.

Much of the train was empty, so I suggest it was some kind of positioning move. It also looks like only two locomotives had their pabtographs up.

It seems that Freighliner must like the locomotives, as increasingly, I see pairs at Ipswich and going along the North London Line, with a heavy freight train in tow.

Wikipedia says this about their current use by Freightliner.

However, the class does still remain in use with the company, with Freightliner retaining a core fleet of 14 locomotives in service as of 2019, ensuring the class has been in service well over 55 years after first being introduced.

British Rail were obviously better at making locomotives, than sandwiches.

A pair of Class 86 locomotives, which each have 2685 kW, is a powerful pair and more than the 4,000 kWQ of the modern bi-mode Class 88 locomotive.

Freighliner also have ten Class 90 locomotives and will acquire another thirteen locomotives from Greater Anglia in the near future.

  • These locomotives have a power output of 3,730 kW.
  • They have an operating speed of 110 mph, which must be very useful on the higher speed main lines.
  • For most operations, they probably don’t need to be used in pairs.

With all these electric locomotives, it looks like Freightliner are looking to reduce their carbon footprint.

November 26, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Thoughts On The Design Of A High Speed Freight Shuttle

I am enthusiastic about the concept proposed by Rail Operations Group, that will see Class 769 trains running freight shuttles between London Gateway and Liverpool Street station, which I wrote about in A Freight Shuttle For Liverpool Street Station Planned.

But if you were starting from scratch, how would you design the ultimate freight shuttle train?

Consider these objectives.

The Amazon Objective

Amazon and their suppliers would like next day delivery for all of their customers.

Probably within a country the size of the UK, next day delivery can be achieved.

But I suspect that Amazon and their competitors would like anybody in the world to get as near as next day delivery as possible from anywhere in the world.

Giving worldwide next day delivery is obviously impossible, but giving it to as much of the world as is currently practical is clearly an Amazon objective.

We live in a I-Want-It-Now world!

Destinations To Be Served

I feel that places to be served by high speed light freight shuttles fall into various groups.

Major Cities

The proposed shuttle into Liverpool Street station will be the first of many.

Liverpool Street station is also an easy station at which to run such a service.

  • There is level access from the street for vehicles like electric vans and cargo bikes at Platform 10, using the old taxi cab road.
  • The station and the approaches are fully electrified.
  • Crossrail will release platform space at the station.

Three trains per day can probably be accommodated in the Off Peak hours, with more services during the night.

It would not be possible to fit a light freight facility into all city-centre stations, as easily as it appears to be at Liverpool Street.

But I do think light freight facilities of this type at the following stations could be possible..

  • Brighton
  • Bristol Temple Meads
  • Glasgow Central
  • Liverpool Lime Street
  • London Euston
  • London Paddington
  • Manchester Piccadilly
  • Nottingham

Some recently rebuilt stations like Birmingham New Street, would be very difficult, so I would recommend that all station developments, should take possible light freight facilities into account.

Logistics Parks, Ports And Airports

London Gateway is a large port and logistics facility, to the East of London.

This Google Map shows London Gateway.

The logistics park is still being developed to the North of the port, with the rail lines in between the two.

  • I have searched the rail lines and I can’t see anything like a loading bay for a freight shuttle, which surely will be something like a platform for passengers.
  • It is early days yet and this map could be a couple of years old.
  • There would also be space to the North of the rail lines for someone like Hermes, UPS or Yodel to build a large secure shed with a siding alongside, served by a platform, so that goods could be rolled into the trains.
  • It should be possible to electrify the siding, in a similar way to Platform 10 at Liverpool Street station.

It’ll all come clear, when the service starts.

Other ports like Felixstowe, Immingham, Liverpool and Southampton might also want to develop high speed light freight services as will the various logistics parks and freight terminals dotted around the country.

Most are served by rail connections, although in many cases like Felixstowe, London Gateway, Liverpool and Southampton, the last few miles need to use some form of independent power.

Could these light freight services connect to airports like Heathrow, Manchester and Stansted?

Retail Parks And Out-Of-Town Shopping Centres

Large retail groups, like Marks and Spencer, Sainsburys and Tesco have set up large distribution centres often in the centre of England, some of which have rail access.

Could major retail centres like Lakeside in Essex, Sheffield Meadowhill, Gateshead Metro Centre and others receive goods by rail.

Specialist Terminals

If you go to Montrose station, you can see the remains of sidings, where Scottish fish was loaded to be taken by rail to ports for export to places like New York.

But it is likely that specialist terminals will be setup to handle goods, such as seafood, flowers and Scotch whisky.

Some seasonal products like Cornish flowers would only need a part-time facility, but these would only be rudimentary.

Long Rural Routes

I can see the requirement for light freight deliveries increasing in all parts of the UK.

Some destinations are probably expensive for delivery companies.

But could an integrated delivery system be setup using the long rural rail routes.

  • Inverness and Wick
  • Inverness and Aberdeen
  • Glasow and Oban
  • Chester and Holyhead
  • Settle and Carlisle

Services might automatically roll pallets off and on at stations, which would then be handled locally by a purpose-built van or light truck.

  • Some services would start in London and the South-East, but others could start in the East Midlands or the Scotland’s Central Belt
  • Some services would connect with ferries to serve islands, like the Hebrides and the Orkneys.
  • A daily service might do wonders for business in rural areas.

London and Wick takes thirteen hours by passenger train. This would enable, somebody in Wick wanting an urgent part for a machine that has broken, to order it from London and certainly receive it within forty-eight hours.

Great Britain And Ireland Services

Services between Great Britain and Ireland will be a problem, as trains will have to unload on one side of the Irish sea onto trucks for delivery after the sea crossing.

Unless politicians do what I suggest in A Solution To The Northern Irish Problem!, which is to build a high speed rail system connecting Scotland and Northern Ireland.

  • The main crossing would be a bridge or a tunnel, where my preference would be for a bridge.
  • The main route would be Glasgow and Dublin via Stranraer and Belfast.
  • There would be a 125 mph connection between Carlisle and Stranraer
  • The Irish section of the route would be an electrified standard-gauge railway capable of running trains at 125 mph.
  • The route would handle passengers and freight.
  • There could a branch to Shannon, where some proposals have been made to create a deep water port.

I estimated that London and Belfast would take four hours, with an hour longer for Dublin.

But as this fixed link would probably not be built this century, as Ulster always says no, unloading on to trucks would probably be necessary for a long time.

Continental Services

Why not? Unlike Ireland, there’s a rail connection and it’s standard gauge!

Eurostar has shown that the same trains can run successfully on British, French, Belgian and Dutch railways and trains can now be fitted with systems to access the various electrification voltages.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Europe-wide high-speed light freight service for appropriate cargoes.

Summing Up Destinations

I can sum up the destinations as follows.

  • They will not be large grand affairs, in many cases.
  • There must be easy access for local transport, which will include a proportion of electric vehicles.
  • Destinations are generally within a few miles of an electrified main line.
  • Some services like Cornish flowers or Scottish seafood will need an independently-powered train, with a moderate range.

You can see why Rail Operations Group have chosen to use bi-mode Class 769 trains, as they will be ideal to connect to places perhaps a hundred miles from electrification.

New Or Refurbished Trains?

The proposed service is to be run with a Class 769 train, which is a bi-mode rebuild of a 1980s Class 319 train.

But would it be better to use a brand new train, rather than an old conversion?

In the future, if the experiment is a success, a new train will probably be designed, that will be based on the experience of the trials.

But at the moment modifying an old train, is probably a more affordable approach and one that carries less risk.

Operating Speed

The Class 769 train can operate at 100 mph on electrified lines and at around 90 mph, when relying on the diesel generators.

In High Speed Urban Freight Logistics By Rail, I talked about Rail Operations Group’s plans for running high speed freight services between Thames Gateway and the Central Belt in Scotland.

Surely, a faster train would be desirable for services along high speed lines.

Train Capacity And Interior

This will depend on the application and I suspect Rail Operation Group’s trial will show the optimum design.

But I wouldn’t be surprised to see trains based on British Rail’s standard length of eighty metres, as this would mean, they will easily fit so many existing stations without expensive modification.

If longer trains are needed for busy routes, then the trains could work in twos or threes, as many British Rail electric multiple units have done for decades.

Are Freight Shuttles Ideal Trains For Battery Power?

The train will not need the full air-conditioning and toilet services of a passenger train, which could mean.

  • Electrical power needed for services other than traction would be lower.
  • Underneath the train could be relatively free of equipment.

In addition, it should be noted.

  • Most routes will be run for the major part on electrified lines.
  • Charging technology for batteries at remote destinations could be easily provided.
  • Battery-electric trains have operational, environmental and marketing advantages over trains with diesel engines.

So why not efficiently fill space under the train with batteries?

For their initial service between London Gateway and Liverpool Street station, Rail Operations Group would probably only need to use diesel for less than a dozen miles.

Could Modified InterCity 125 Trains Be Used?

The fact that they are diesel is a major drawback, but there are other problems too!

  • Major structural work would be needed to create cargo doors.
  • I suspect that they may be too long.
  • They may not be very operator friendly.

Other companies have proposed them for high speed freight, but nothing has materialised so far.

Conclusion

Rail Operation Group’s thinking is spot on!

 

 

November 4, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments

The New Light Freight Terminal At Liverpool Street Station

These pictures show the old cab road at Liverpool Street station, where the proposed light freight terminal will be developed.

The spacious cab road shut a few years ago and was moved to its current position in front of the station. Nowadays it is used mainly for deliveries to the station and the retail units, by Network Rail maintenance vehicles and sometimes by Rail Replacement Buses.

This second set of pictures show the exit of the cab road in Primrose Street, behind the station.

Note  these points about the old cab road.

  1. There is some nice ironwork and a vaulted ceiling, but nothing that would be damaged if electric vans and cargo bikes used the cab road to serve freight shuttles.
  2. The road surface and the brickwork all appear to be in good condition.
  3. By removing the barrier between the cab road and platform 10, there would be no problem loading and unloading trains.
  4. There is also a good wide passage leading from the old cab road to the main concourse of the station.

I suspect that the only functional building in the area, which is the Left Luggage Office, will have to be moved. But it might be better placed on the main concourse.

Platform 10 Looks Very Convenient For The Freight Shuttle

The closeness of Platform 10 and the old cab road makes the platform look very convenient for the terminus of freight shuttles from London Gateway

How Will The Freight Shuttles Travel Between London Gateway And Liverpool Street Station?

The route from London Gateway to Liverpool Street station will be as follows.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the tracks, where the Gospel Oak to Barking Line crosses over the Great Eastern Main Line.

The train will join the Great Eastern Main Line here for a fast run into Liverpool Street station.

  • I suspect the train will switch to the fast lines using the crossovers shown in the map.
  • Note that the performance of a Class 769 train on electrified track, will be only slightly less than the expresses.

At Liverpool Street station, the train will run into Platform 10.

Will Liverpool Street Station Lose A Platform?

Currently, Platforms 9 and 10 are generally used for the London and Norwich services.

  • These trains run at a frequency of two trains per hour (tph).
  • They are formed of a rake of Mark 3 coaches topped sand tailed by a Class 90 locomotive and a driving van trailer.
  • They call at various stations en route including Chelmsford, Colchester and Ipswich and are very heavily used at peak times.
  • Entry to and exit from the trains is not of a modern standard and I suspect turnround times can sometimes must be very slow.

From next year, these trains will be replaced  by modern twelve-car Class 745 trains.

  • These trains have 757 seats, which I have read somewhere is more than the current trains.
  • The trains will have level access between train and platform at all stations.
  • I suspect turnround times will be shorter, due to the modern design.

Frequency between London and Norwich will also be increased yp three tph, by extending a service between London and Ipswich, which will be run by a Class 720 train.

Will it be possible to fit three tph into Platforms 9 and 10?

I suspect that it might be tight, as over the last few months, Norwich trains have sometimes  been using higher numbered platforms like 14.

So will the proposed three tph to Colchester, Ipswich and Norwich be moved to two higher numbered platforms.

This would enable platform 10 to be used by freight shuttle trains, but will the station be able to run all the services, with one platform less?

Current Services Into Liverpool Street Station

Current services from Liverpool Street station are as follows.

  • Six tph – GEML – TfL Rail – Shenfield
  • Three tph – GEML – Greater Anglia – Southend
  • Two tph – GEML – Greater Anglia – Norwich
  • One tph – GEML – Greater Anglia – Ipswich
  • One tph – GEML – Greater Anglia – Clacton
  • One tph – GEML – Greater Anglia – Colchester Town
  • One tph – GEML – Greater Anglia – Braintree
  • Four tph – WAML- London Overground – Chingford
  • Two tph – WAML- London Overground – Cheshunt
  • Two tph – WAML- London Overground – Enfield Town
  • Four tph – WAML- Greater Anglia – Stansted Airport
  • Two tph – WAML- Greater Anglia – Hertford East
  • Two tph – WAML- Greater Anglia -Cambridge

Totalling these up means the following.

  • 16 tph use the double-track West Anglia Main Line (WAML)
  • 15 tph use the four-track Great Eastern Main Line (GEML) as far as Shenfield.
  • 6 tph use the double-track GEML to the North of Shenfield.

It looks neatly balanced.

Would moving Norwich services to a pair of the higher-numbered platforms improve operation?

All WAML services would be in platforms 1 to 9, as against platforms 1 to 8 now!

All GEML services would be in platforms 10 to 18, as against platforms 9 to 18 now!

If platform 10 is used by the freight shuttles, this would make operational sense, as the shuttle will approach Liverpool Street along the GEML after joining at Manor Park station.

Future Services Into Liverpool Street Station

From 2021 or so, these could be the from Liverpool Street station.

  • Three tph – GEML – Greater Anglia – Southend
  • Three tph – GEML – Greater Anglia – Norwich
  • One tph – GEML – Greater Anglia – Clacton
  • One tph – GEML – Greater Anglia – Colchester Town
  • One tph – GEML – Greater Anglia – Braintree
  • Four tph – WAML- London Overground – Chingford
  • Two tph – WAML- London Overground – Cheshunt
  • Two tph – WAML- London Overground – Enfield Town
  • Four tph – WAML- Greater Anglia – Stansted Airport
  • Two tph – WAML- Greater Anglia – Hertford East
  • Two tph – WAML- Greater Anglia -Cambridge

Totalling these up means the following.

  • 16 tph use the double-track West Anglia Main Line (WAML)
  • 9 tph use the four-track Great Eastern Main Line (GEML) as far as Shenfield.
  • 12 tph from Crossrail will use the slow lines as far as Shenfield.
  • 3 tph use the double-track GEML to the North of Shenfield.

Crossrail has opened up capacity on the Great Eastern Main Line.

  • Currently, there are 15 tph on the GEML using platforms 9 to 15.
  • In 2021, there will be just 9 tph on the GEML using platforms 10 to 17.

There will be extra services to Lowestoft and Crossrail’s Peak Hour service to Gidea Park station.

But even so, I suspect there will be space for more services.

 

 

November 3, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 11 Comments