The Anonymous Widower

Trump And The Open

This BBC story today, which was entitled Trump National Stripped Of 2022 US PGA Championship.

The Times also has an article today, saying that Trump has been lobbying hard to get The Open allocated to his course at Turnberry.

I have a feeling that the access and the fact that in 2024, the Open will go to Troon will scupper Trump’s ambitions.

Good crowds will need good transport access and preferably by rail to a large population centre with lots of hotels.

  • 2021 – Royal St. Georges – The nearby Sandwich station is being lengthened to take high speed trains from London, especially for the tournament.
  • 2022 – St. Andrews – Perhaps too short a time to put in the long-promised rail link to Leuchars, but the train service to Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow from Leuchars is good.
  • 2023 – Royal Liverpool – The course has a nearby station at Hoylake and Merseyrail are getting new fleets of classy Swiss trains. Enthusiasts could always take the ferries part of the way from Liverpool.
  • 2024 – Troon – The rail line to Glasgow goes past the course and there’s time to build a temporary station if needed.

The other courses on the active rota for the Open are.

  • Carnoustie – The nearby Golf Street station is used during major golf tournaments.
  • Muirfield – This course has had other problems. But the rail links are not good.
  • Royal Birkdale – Like Royal Liverpool, it has a nearby Merseyrail station.
  • Royal Lytham and St. Annes – This course has a station and it looks like the rail link will be upgraded soon.
  • Royal Portrush – The nearby railway station was rebuilt for the 2019 Open

There is no rail line anywhere near Turnberry.

I feel that the R & A have enough excuses to avoid giving the Open to Turnberry.

It looks to me that Trump bought the wrong golf course.

January 11, 2021 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Beeching Reversal – South Fylde Line Passing Loop

This is one of the Beeching Reversal projects that the Government and Network Rail are proposing to reverse some of the Beeching cuts.

The Project

This project is described on this page on the web site of the Fylde MP; Mark Menzies, which is entitled Improving The South Fylde Rail Line.

The page lists that these improvements are needed.

Track And Stations

These improvements are listed for track and stations.

The bid involves laying around three miles of track between Lytham and St Annes stations, the creation of a new rail platform at Ansdell and Fairhaven Station, the installation of signalling along the line, and potential platform changes at Preston Station. There is scope for improvements to St Annes and Lytham Stations, should Network Rail decide it would rather include those stations within the passing loop – but that would be decided further along the process.

Services

The objective is to be able to run two trains per hour (tph) between Preston and Blackpool South stations.

Trains

Better trains are needed.

It certainly looks like the Pacers have already gone.

The Route

I shall describe the current route in this section.

Blackpool South Station

The Google Map shows Blackpool South station.

Note.

  1. Entrance to the station is from Waterloo Road, which runs East-West across the map.
  2. There are a pair of bus stops by the station entrance.
  3. There is a lot of car parking close to the station.
  4. I suspect that the single platform can hold a modern eighty-metre four-car train.
  5. This seventy-year-old has no difficulty waking to the football ground or the Blackpool trams from the station.

With two tph and some updated facilities, this would be a very useful station.

I suspect there is even space to add a second platform in the future, if that were felt to be necessary.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach Station

This Google Map shows Blackpool Please Beach station and the nearby Pleasure Beach.

We shouldn’t underestimate the importance of this station. One beautiful late summer Saturday, I was going to see Ipswich play at Blackpool and out of curiosity I had explored the train to Colne station. In those days a decade ago, Colne and Blackpool South was one service and the train from Colne was full of families, by the time it got to Preston. A large proportion, left the train at the Pleasure Beach.

The conductor told me, that the crowds, I had witnessed weren’t untypical.

Squires Gate Station and Blackpool Airport

This Google Map shows Squires Gate station and the nearby Blackpool Airport.

Blackpool Airport after a troubled few years seems to be finding a niche market, with a few business, commercial, offshore and training flights.

But I believe that airports like Blackpool in the future can develop another large niche – electric aviation.

Getting to places like Ireland, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and Wales by a nineteen-seat electric airliner will need the following.

  • As short a flight as possible.
  • Close to the coast would help.
  • Good public transport links. Blackpool Airport has both tram and train.
  • Space for aircraft to be parked, whilst charging.
  • Plentiful supplies of renewable electricity. The over-300 MW Burbo Bank Wind Farm is not far away in Liverpool Bay and it will only be joined by more and larger wind farms.
  • Frequent public transport.

Blackpool Airport could tick all these boxes, with a thick green marker.

Some example direct distances from Blackpool include

  • Aberdeen – 238 miles
  • Amsterdam Schipol – 340 miles
  • Belfast City – 128 miles
  • Cardiff – 165 miles
  • Dublin – 134 miles
  • Edinburgh – 150 miles
  • Exeter – 211 miles
  • Geneva – 661 miles
  • Glasgow – 155 miles
  • London Gatwick – 220 miles
  • London Heathrow – 192 miles
  • London Southend – 219 miles
  • Newcastle – 89 miles
  • Paris Orly – 422 miles
  • Isle of Man Ronaldsway – 68 miles
  • Southampton – 208 miles

These distances fit nicely with the range of the nine-seater Eviation Alice electric aircraft, which is predicted to be 620 miles.

St. Annes-on-the-Sea Station

This Google Map shows St. Annes-on-the-Sea station.

Note.

  1. Blackpool is to the North-West and Preston is to the South-East
  2. St. Annes-on-the-Sea is one of those convenient single-platform stations, where you just walk in-and-out on the level.
  3. The passing loop would start on the Preston side of the bridge.

There would need to be no major infrastructure work at the station, although I would expect the facilities could do with a makeover.

Ansdell And Fairhaven Station

In Should The Blackpool South Branch Be Electrified?, I said this about improvements to Ansdell and Fairhaven station.

Ansdell and Fairhaven station is nearest to the course at Royal Lytham.

    • The Open Championship is a very important event on the golfing calendar.
    • Other important golfing events are also held on the course
    • Royal Lytham and St.Annes, last held the Open in 2012 and 2001. So it might come back to Royal Lytham in the mid-2020s.

Ansdell and Fairhaven station used to have two platforms, as described in Wikipedia.

The station was set out as an island platform with tracks on both faces until the singling of the line in the 1980s. Trains now only use the southern face. A disabled access ramp now covers the northern part of the station.

So could a rebuild of the station do the following?

    • Restore two platforms on an island at the station.
    • Put in full disabled access.
    • Create a passing loop.
    • Longer platforms might be a good idea.

This Google Map shows the station.

Note.

    1. The disabled ramp winding away.
    2. The platform is probably about a hundred metres long.
    3. It would appear that there is space at the far end to extend the platform.

I suspect that an ambitious architect with vision, could design a station that met all objectives.

It could be the best Championship Golf Course railway station in the world.

Lytham Station

This Google Map shows Lytham station.

Lytham station will be the Eastern end of the loop and it is likely, that the single-track will change to double at the Western end of the station.

As with St. Annes-on-the-Sea station, I suspect that a good makeover, will be all that will be needed.

Moss Side Station

This Google Map shows Moss Side station.

The only problem here is the level crossing, so do Network Rail want to remove it?

Kirkham And Wesham Station

This Google Map shows Kirkham and Wesham station.

There are three platforms, which from bottom to top on the map are.

  • Platform 1 – Trains to Blackpool South
  • Platform 2 – Trains to Blackpool North
  • Platform 3 – Trains to Preston

All platforms seem to be being electrified in these  pictures. that I took during construction.

Note.

  1. It can’t be described as a station, built down to a small budget.
  2. In the captions to the pictures, I’ve numbered the platforms from left to right.
  3. The last picture looks down Platform 1 and there is an electrification gantry at the Preston end.

Could this comprehensive electrification be so that trains to Blackpool North can use both Platforms 1 and 2?

  • This would allow overtaking of say a local train by a London express.
  • Trains could also be turned back in Platform 1, before the end of its journey, if there was a problem.
  • The electrification is also substantial enough for the longest Class 390 trains.
  • It could even accommodate a classic compatible High Speed Two train.

So does the last point, mean that Blackpool North station is a possible High Speed Two destination? Provided, the platforms at Blackpool North station are long enough, I think it does!

This Google Map shows Kirkham West Junction, where trains to Blackpool North and Blackpool South stations diverge.

Note.

  1. The electrification gantries and their shadows can be seen.
  2. Preston is to the South-East and the route is fully-electrified.
  3. Blackpool North is to the North-West and the route is fully-electrified.
  4. Blackpool South is to the West. The double-track becomes single before Moss Side station.

This picture shows the route going off to Blackpool South.

I took the picture from a train going to Blackpool North station.

So why are wires being run along the first few hundred metres of the Blackpool South Branch?

The Timetable

Currently, trains take the following times to do these journey legs.

  • Run between Ansdell and Fairhaven and Blackpool South stations – 12 minutes
  • Turnback at Blackpool South station – 3 minutes
  • Run between Blackpool South and Ansdell and Fairhaven stations – 11 minutes

As the trains will be running every thirty minutes and the three legs total twenty-six minutes, that means there’s four minutes float.

So hopefully, it should be easily stainable, by an experienced rail timetable creator.

The Trains

I have remarked that I find the electrification at Kirkham & Wesham station, both comprehensive and slightly unusual.

Could The Electrification Have Been Designed For Battery Electric Trains To Blackpool South Station?

But there is one very plausible reason for the electrification layout – The Blackpool South Branch has been designed, so that services on the branch can be rum using battery trains.

  • The distance between Kirkham & Wesham and Blackpool South stations is just over eleven miles.
  • So for a round trip a range of perhaps twenty-five miles on battery power would suffice.
  • There would also be a need for a few minutes of hotel power, whilst waiting at Blackpool South station.

These power needs are well within the capabilities of the average battery train.

  • Trains could be charged on the nine minute run  between Preston and Kirkham & Wesham stations.
  • Changeover between electrification and battery power would take place in Kirkham & Wesham station.

An ideal train would surely be CAF’s four-car battery electric version of the Class 331 train, which I wrote about in Northern’s Battery Plans.

  • According to an article in the March 2020 Edition of Modern Railways, with the same name, these trains will be working between Manchester Airport and Windermere.
  • Class 331 trains without batteries will be running to and from Blackpool North station.
  • Four-car trains are probably the right size for the route.

There would also probably be no need for a charging station at Blackpool South station, if trains could leave Kirkham & Wesham station with a full battery.

Where Would The Trains Terminate In The East?

These would be the obvious choices.

  • Blackburn – Where there is a convenient bay platform.
  • Colne – Where they used to terminate!
  • Liverpool – Merseyrail has the trains and Liverpool has lots of punters and the imagination.
  • Preston – Where they do now!
  • Skipton – If the Skipton-Colne Link is built!

My money would be on Skipton, using a new Skipton-Colne Link, for the following reasons.

  • Politicians of all colours and roses are in favour.
  • Skipton has an electrified route to Leeds.
  • Skipton-Colne would be a valuable by-pass route during the building of Northern Powerhouse Rail.
  • Battery-powered trains would be ideal for Skipton-Colne.

Would A Battery Electric Train Be Feasible Between Blackpool South And Liverpool?

Consider.

  • An all-stations service would complement the fast service between Liverpool Lime Street and Blackpool North stations via St. Helens, Wigan North Western and Preston.
  • The service could either go between Liverpool and Preston via Ormskirk or Southport and a reinstated Burscough Chord.
  • The Ormskirk route is 15 miles of unelectrified line and the Southport route is just four miles further.
  • A service via Southport would need to reverse at Southport station.
  • The service would be run using dual-voltage Class 777 trains fitted with batteries.
  • 25 KVAC overhead electrification, is already  installed between Preston and Kirkham & Wesham stations,
  • Using existing electrification, trains would leave Kirkham & Wesham, Ormskirk, Preston and Southport stations with full batteries.
  • A coastal service between Blackpool and Liverpool would surely attract visitors.
  • Liverpool and Blackpool are the two biggest urban areas on the coast.
  • There are several golf courses on the route, including three courses that have held the Open; Royal Birkdale, Royal Liverpool and Royal Lytham & St. Annes.

It may be a bit fanciful. But.

  • Merseyrail will have the trains.
  • Liverpool has the potential passengers.
  • I believe the route could handle a two tph service.
  • In Reopen Midge Hall Station, I showed that it was possible to run a two tph service between Liverpool and Preston, with one tph via each of Ormskirk and Southport.

Liverpool also has bags of ambition and imagination.

Would A Battery Electric Train Handle Preston And Skipton?

I estimate that this route is forty-one miles, with a stiff rise from Rose Grove to Colne station.

So would a battery electric train be able to handle this distance?

Hitachi are talking 56 miles for their Regional Battery Train, so I suspect CAF would want and need to be competitive with a similar specification.

Perhaps the logical service would be to run between Leeds and Blackpool South.

  • The service would go via Preston, Blackburn, Burnley Central, Colne and Skipton.
  • Leeds and Skipton is electrified.
  • Preston and Kirkham & Wesham is electrified.
  • No extra chargers for trains would be needed.

The only new infrastructure needed would be the Skipton and Colne Link.

Electrification Between Preston And Blackburn

Consider.

  • In Colne – Skipton Reopening Moves Closer, I talked about the proposed Huncoat Rail Fright Terminal, that could be built North of Blackburn on the East Lancashire Line.
  • Blackburn is a major hub for passenger services.
  • An electrified Blackburn would allow Manchester and Clitheroe to be run by battery electric trains. Clitheroe is ten miles and Bolton is thirteen.
  • An electrified Blackburn would allow Blackburn and Manchester Victoria via the Todmorden Curve to be run by battery electric trains. The whole route is 39.5 miles.
  • It may be possible for battery electric trains to reach Leeds via Hebden Bridge, as it is only fifty miles away, which is within Hitachi’s range.
  • As the Blackburn area grows, there will be more pressure for a daily London service.
  • Some think, the Calderdale route should be electrified.
  • Preston and Blackburn stations are just twelves miles apart.
  • There is a multiple unit depot at Blackburn.
  • I also feel that battery electric trains fanning out from Blackburn, wouldn’t do the town’s image any harm.

For all these reasons, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a short stretch of electrification added between Preston and Blackburn.

Conclusion

I like this proposal and it could be a big asset to trains across the Pennines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 27, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Sport, Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Hillside Station To Go Step-Free

This document on the Government web site is entitled Access for All: 73 Stations Set To Benefit From Additional Funding.

Hillside station in Liverpool, is on the list.

These pictures show the station and the current station building, which is on a bridge.

This 3D Google Map shows the station.

Note.

  1. The station appears to have a large forecourt.
  2. The stairs to the platforms have thirty-two steps.
  3. There could be enough space for lifts outside the platforms.

But will a simple solution, be able to cope with major events like the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale?

Perhaps something more radical, but very possible will be done.

One idea, could be to extend the station building at both ends.

  • A set of wide safe stairs and a lift could provide direct access from the street to the platform in the extensions.
  • Once installed, the original stairs could be removed.

There are certainly possibilities for an architect to develop a solution to cope with the biggest events.

June 2, 2019 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Open Golf Championship’s £69m Boost To Scottish Economy

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

The Open golf championship at Carnoustie in July boosted the Scottish economy by £69m this year, according to an independent study.

Researchers at Sheffield Hallam University found the Angus area alone received a £21m cash injection from hosting the event.

It just goes to show the value of big events to a country, region or a city.

I have to ask the opposite  question! – Do some areas of the UK, suffer because they don’t host a big sporting event, arts festival or site or museum of national importance?

 

December 23, 2018 Posted by | Sport, World | , | Leave a comment

Trump Forgot The Ace Of Clubs

This article on the BBC web site, is entitled Donald Trump loses wind farm legal challenge. This is said.

Donald Trump’s legal challenge to a planned offshore wind farm has been rejected by the UK’s Supreme Court.

The UK Supreme Court is probably the end of an expensive road.

My late friend; Brian, would have said that an old accountancy phrase would apply – Screwed, Glued and Tattooed.

Seeing as it’s Scotland, perhaps it should be the Scottish version – Screwed, Glued and Bagpiped. I’m certain, there are a large number of Scots, who have innovative uses of a set of bagpipes as an instrument of torture.

There is this article on the Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group, entitled EOWDC partners welcome Supreme Court decision. This is said.

Vattenfall and Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG), partners of Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm Ltd, the company behind the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC), welcomed today’s Supreme Court decision.
Andy Paine, Project Director for AOWFL, said: “This is another significant step forward for the EOWDC. It affirms the scheme’s potential to position Scotland, and particularly the North-east, as a centre of innovative offshore wind power. The project partners remain committed to seeing the EOWDC come to fruition and delivering long-term economic benefits to the region.”

It certainly looks like Trump didn’t have the heaviest club; the Ace, in his bag.

I’ll leave the last word to the Professional Golfers Association, as detailed in this report on the BBC entitled Donald Trump controversy bad for golf – PGA chief Sandy Jones. This is said.

The chief executive of the Professional Golfers’ Association says the ongoing controversy generated by Donald Trump is “not a positive thing for golf.”

Trump, who owns two Scottish courses, has been criticised for comments made during his bid to become the Republican Party’s US presidential candidate.

And Sandy Jones says the negative publicity around Trump is bad for golf.

“Sadly his political campaign in America seems to be getting in the way of all the great things golf offers.”

Tìoraidh!

 

 

 

December 16, 2015 Posted by | Sport, World | , , , | Leave a comment

Ipswich Town Blue

On the BBC Radio 5 commentary for the Open, someone has just said, that Rory McIlroy is wearing trousers in Ipswich Town blue.

I didn’t think that Ipswich Town’s blue was that unique.

July 17, 2014 Posted by | Sport | , , | Leave a comment

And Now I Get Golf Spam!

With nothing to watch or listen to for most of tomorrow, as the sodding golf will be hogging the airwaves, what have I just received?

Several spam messages trying to sell me golf clubs!

To add to the many things that annoy me about golf, another thing has just suggested itself.  I don’t think I know of a golf course, that I could get to easily by public transport.

July 17, 2013 Posted by | Computing, Sport | , | Leave a comment

The Honourable Company Of Edinburgh Misogynists

The Sunday Times has it’s knives out for golf today, using the title of this post to describe the men-only club that runs Muirfield; the venue of this year’s Open Championship.

It would be interesting to know if the misogynists had ever had a gay member! The law of averages said that they must have!

Interestingly, the Mirror says this of Fred Goodwin in this article.

He also likes to shoot pheasants on a friend’s estate, and play leisurely rounds of golf at the historic Muirfield course.

Fred maybe a man whose business practices have been condemned, but I suppose he isn’t a woman!

July 14, 2013 Posted by | Sport | , , | Leave a comment

Good For Maria

Maria Miller won’t be going to the Open Golf next week, due to the fact it’s being held at a men-only venue. The report is in The Times.

Hugh Robertson and Alex Salmond won’t be going either.

Good for them all!

July 13, 2013 Posted by | News, Sport | , | Leave a comment

HS2 Is A Good Idea

It must be as according to The Times, golfers are leading the protest against the line.

December 3, 2012 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , | Leave a comment