The Anonymous Widower

Roaming Around East Anglia – Reedham Station

If you have to travel between Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth stations by train, you have to change at Reedham station. Or you should be able to!

These pictures show the station.

You can’t do the direct journey between East Anglia’s two largest Eastern towns at present, as Network Rail have got their special Project Management knickers on. You know the ones with a twist!

So passengers between Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth have three options.

  • Take an hour and a half jurney via Norwich.
  • Take a bus, which probably visits half of the villages in the local area.
  • Drive.

Hopefully, the Reedham to Great Yarmouth service will be restored sometime in the near (?) future.

This will allow two ways to travel by rail between Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth.

Changing Trains At Reedham Station

Theoretically, this should work, especially, if trains were timetabled so that passengers waited perhaps a couple of minutes on what I suspect in winter can be a very pleasant station.

Look at the footbridge. Do Greater Anglia really expect elderly travellers or those with bikes, buggies and baggage to use the Victorian footbridge?

I suspect Greater Anglia don’t see this as a feasible way of attracting more passengers out of their cars and from the buses.

But Network Rail haven’t got the millions of pounds needed to bring the station into the Twentieth Century!

A Shuttle Train Reversing At Reedham

It would be possible for a train to shuttle between Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth, which could reverse in Reedham station.

In Norfolk Rail Line To Remain Closed As £68m Upgrade Project Overruns, I asked if the new Class 755 trains had a fast reverse procedure, as Greater Anglia’s services are full of stations, where a train must arrive and leave a few minutes later.

I wrote the following.

A simple system could be as follows.

  • On arrival in a station, the driver would put the train into a standby mode, when it was safely stopped.
  • The driver would then walk through the train to the second cab.
  • Whilst the driver is changing ends, the conductor is opening and closing the train doors and supervising the loading and unloading of passengers.
  • On arrival in the second cab, the driver would wake up the train and check everything.
  • After the doors are closed and having received the all clear from the conductor and a green light from the signals, the driver would proceed.

At all times, the driver and conductor, would have emergency remote controls to immobilise the train, if something is not what it should be.

Modern automation is certainly able to design a very safe system, that would save time at every reverse.

The stop ar Reedham station would become an almost normal stop and I would expect that a train could reverse  in about two or three minutes.

Use Only One Platform At Reedham

Could this be the most affordable solution?

  • The track layout at Reedham station would be modified, so that all trains would use the Norwich-bound Platform 1.
  • Platform 1 is improved with a quality waiting room and a coffee kiosk, to make a short wait between trains more pleasant.

If there were two trains per hour on both the Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth routes, I’m sure that with the new signalling and good driving, a single-platform at Reedham station would work.

Trains from Norwich could call at XX00, XX15, XX30 and XX45, with trains to Norwich calling at XX07, XX22, XX37 and XX52.

If trains stopped in the right order, then there would be a maximum wait of eight minutes in a comfortable waiting room at Reedham station.

Even with only one train per hour between Norwich and Yarmouth via Reedham, I’m certain an acceptable timetable could be devised.

Greater Anglia’s Class 755 trains

Greater Anglia have ordered thirty-eight Class 755 trains, which have a total of 138 cars.

These will replace twenty-six assorted trains, which have a total of 55 cars.

This is a increase of 46% in the number of trains and  150% in the number of cars.

Greater Anglia didn’t increase the fleet so that could sit in sidings, so I think we can expect some new services and higher frequencies.

Conclusion

I’m certain that a sensible hourly service between Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth stations can be devised.

 

 

March 8, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Norfolk Rail Line To Remain Closed As £68m Upgrade Project Overruns

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

This is the first three paragraphs.

A major railway upgrade project has been delayed, meaning a Norfolk branch line will go longer without a service.

Network Rail is spending £68m to replace Victorian signalling equipment with a computer-based system between Norwich, Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft .

The project was due to be complete by 31 March, but the deadline will now be pushed back to allow for more testing.

As only Berney Arms station will be without a service, this probably isn’t a major disaster for the thousand passengers, who use the station in a year, but the story does have a very familiar ring.

Network Rail + Signalling = Overrun

Either they’ve found a very serious problem or the planning wasn’t the best!

The Possible Reinstatement Of The Reedham Chord

There used to be a direct Yarmouth to Lowestoft Line, but now it is possible to use the Wherry Lines, with a reverse at Reedham station.

Network Rail are talking about reinstating the Reedham Chord to create a more direct route between East Anglia’s largest North-Eastern towns. This is said about the Reedham Chord in Direct Yarmouth Services in the Wikipedia entry for Lowestoft station.

In January 2015, a Network Rail study proposed the reintroduction of direct services between Lowestoft and Yarmouth by reinstating a spur at Reedham. Services could once again travel between two East Coast towns, with an estimated journey time of 33 minutes, via a reconstructed 34-chain (680 m) north-to-south arm of the former triangular junction at Reedham, which had been removed in c. 1880. The plans also involve relocating Reedham station nearer the junction, an idea which attracted criticism.

This is a Google Map of the Reedham area.

Note.

  1. Reedham station is in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. The single-track line to Yarmouth and the double-track line to Lowestoft, run together to form a triple-track railway to the East of Reedham station.
  3. There are a large number of cross-overs in the triple-track section to the East of Reedham station, so that trains can easily go between either platform at Reedham and Yarmouth or Lowestoft.
  4. The line to Yarmouth goes straight away to the East.
  5. The line to Lowestoft curves South to cross the River Yare.
  6. The Reedham to Lowestoft tracks appear to have been relaid, as far as the bridge.

Will the new track layout and signalling, allow trains between Lowestoft and Yarmouth to perform a fast reverse in either platform at Reedham station?

This approach has advantages over the reinstallation of the Reedham Chord.

  • Reedham station won’t need to be relocated.
  • All trains between Lowestoft and Yarmouth will stop at Reedham station.
  • There would be no need to build the Reedham Chord.

I also suspect, that not building the Reedham Chord is the more affordable option.

Do Class 755 Trains Have a Fast Reverse Procedure?

Greater Anglia have a number of routes, that will be run by new Class 755 trains, where the trains will need to be reversed at either end.

  • Cambridge and Ipswich
  • Colchester and Peterborough
  • Colchester Town and Sudbury
  • Ipswich and Felixstowe
  • Ipswich and Lowestoft
  • Norwich and Lowestoft
  • Norwich and Sheringham
  • Norwich and Stansted Airport
  • Norwich and Yarmoiuth

When Stadler designed the Class 755 trains for Greater Anglia, did they propose simple automation, so that trains could be reversed in the minimum time at these numerous terminals?

A simple system could be as follows.

  • On arrival in a station, the driver would put the train into a standby mode, when it was safely stopped.
  • The driver would then walk through the train to the second cab.
  • Whilst the driver is changing ends, the conductor is opening and closing the train doors and supervising the loading and unloading of passengers.
  • On arrival in the second cab, the driver would wake up the train and check everything.
  • After the doors are closed and having received the all clear from the conductor and a green light from the signals, the driver would proceed.

At all times, the driver and conductor, would have emergency remote controls to immobilise the train, if something is not what it should be.

Modern automation is certainly able to design a very safe system, that would save time at every reverse.

What I have described here, is much less ambitious than the system I described in Crossrail Trains Will Have Auto-Reverse.

This auto-reverse system will be used at Paddington on Crossrail, by the Class 345 trains, to allow the driver to change ends on a two-hundred metre long train, whilst it is reversing to return to the East.

Testing The Signalling With The New Class 755 Trains

Obviously, adequate testing must be done with all trains that will use the  new signalling on the Wherry Lines between Norwich, Lowestoft and Yarmouth.

This article on the BBC is entitled ScotRail Class 385 Fishbowl Windscreen Safety Concern.

This is the first three paragraphs.

Aslef has warned that modifications must be made to ScotRail’s new Class 385 electric trains – or its drivers will refuse to work them.

The train drivers’ union is concerned that the curved windscreen is causing reflections of other signals at night.

Drivers identified the problem on a recent evening test run between Glasgow Central and Paisley Gilmour Street.

Testing of the ~Norfolk signalling will cover a myriad of possible problems, against the whole route and all possible trains.

But there is one problem, that is probably delaying the project.

The Class 755 trains have not been certified yet! So starting of the testing can’t be started.

Conclusion

This delay is more complicated, than initial reports suggest.

On the other hand, I wouldn’t be surprised if Network Rail have produced a track and signalling solution, that will allow a direct service between Lowestoft and Yarmouth, with a reverse at Reedham.

Typical timings appear to be.

  • Between Reedham and Yarmouth – 14-16 minutes
  • Between Reedham and Lowestoft – 24-26 minutes

Given that the Class 755 trains have the following characteristics.

  • They are 100 mph trains.
  • They are optimised for fast stops.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a sub-forty minute time between Lowestoft and Yarmouth.

Using the current times between Ipswich and Lowestoft and Norwich and Yarmouth, it also looks like a sub-three hour scenic route is possible between Ipswich and Norwich.

 

January 11, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Is This Britain’s Worst Tourist Attraction?

I’ve never liked waxworks.  I went once to Madame Tussards in probably the 1950s with my mother and we weren’t impressed. To me once was enough!

So when I see the pictures and read the reports in today’s Times about Louis Tussauds House of Wax in Great Yarmouth, it doesn’t change my opinion on waxworks. Read what Trip Advisor says here. The Telegraph doesn’t mince its words either and describes the attraction as facing meltdown.

On the other hand, I might go there, as it sounds so awful. But then there are much better things to see in Great Yarmouth.

November 1, 2012 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Is Blackpool the Most Pedestrian Unfriendly Resort in the UK?

I went to Blackpool with an open mind, but I had met a plumber from Wigan in Liverpool, who goes to that city with his bike, when he wants to get some sea air.

But I hadn’t been prepared for what I found.

Arriving at Blackpool North station, there was no map or instructions to help me get to the football ground or even the town centre. There was a map for sale at a pound or so,but it didn’t have either the station or the football ground on it.

I was told as a child, that if you’re lost, you should always ask a policeman.  So I found two.  But one was from Manchester and the other was from Preston. They hadn’t a clue on directions.  So I suppose, if there was an incident, they’d probably turn up with difficulty and late.

In fact there are no useful maps in the dump, as to call it a town, insults all of those places, like Great Yarmouth, who care for their visitors so much better.

There is however this bus map on all the stops.

Blasckpool's Useless Bus Map

I suppose it might be useful to those who have the route they are taking to hand.  But for me it was as useful as a chocolate teapot.

Close to the football ground it gets worse with roads that have no crossing places for pedestrians.

A typical Pedestrian-Friendly Crossing In Blackpool

The picture was taken on a busy roundabout. where are the protective lights? And here are some Ipswich fans trying to cross the road to McDonalds.

Ipswich Fans Dodge The Traffic in Blackpool

I know Blackpool has financial problems, but surely they want visitors to return.

Obviously they don’t want coeliacs, who have to walk everywhere!

September 12, 2011 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments

To Norwich in the Snow

The train from Dullingham to Cambridge was a few minutes late but for once in the last few weeks, it was actually two coaches, so it was fairly comfortable.  The Cambridge to Norwich train was a three coach, Class 170. It has been promised that the two coach version of this train will be used on the Ipswich Cambridge line after December 12th.  But hopefully, I’ll have moved before I need to use one. 

The train sped through the snow, as this picture shows. 

Through the Snow to Norwich

 

It reminds me off the old joke about the old lady who’d been on a train journey on a very snowy day and asked the conductor, “How does the driver know where he’s going, when he can’t see the rails.” 

Norwich incidentally, is the only town in East Anglia with a proper railway station, with enough platforms laid out so that trains can be despatched efficiently. 

Inside Norwich Station

But is it not to be expected that East Anglia, the forgotten part of the UK, has such awful stations, as there are always more important places to buy votes, especially when Labour is in power.  Norwich station seems to have slipped through the financial net or it could be that it is East Anglia’s only terminal station and was built properly in the first place.

But think of the others.

Bury St. Edmunds is best described as a building in keeping with the ruins of the Abbey.

Cambridge is effectively one long platform, which is the third longest in England, where trains are shunted, coupled and decoupled to try to run an effcient service. At least it is going to be upgraded with a new long platform.  Hopefully, this will allow, Ipswich, Norwich and services to and past Peterborough to be expanded.

Ely is a busy junction station that works, but it is not the best place to connect between north-south and east-west services.  It could do with a proper bridge and/or  lifts so that passengers can transfer easier and a lot more car parking.

Felixstowe is a halt in the car park of a shopping centre.

Great Yarmouth is a low cost industrial building with a few facilities.

Ipswich is really a two platform halt on the main London to Norwich line, with additional platforms for the branches tucked along the sides.

Newmarket is a single platform with a shelter

November 28, 2010 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

The A11 Missing Link Goes Ahead

Or that’s what it looks like after the government’s cost cutting according to this report on the BBC.

I know you could have argued that in our current state all road projects should go, but this is one that will pay for itself in lives saved because of the dangerous Elveden village.

The upgrading of the A14 through Cambridge has been scrapped, but if the Felixstowe to Peterborough rail freight mprovements kick in as they should, then the congestion caused by heavy lorries may decrease.  Remember too, that a lot of the cars on this section of the A14 are commuters working in the high-tech businesses in the Cambridge area and these are just the commuters that might use alternative technological alternatives.

So if it was the A14 or the A11, then the A11 is the more iportant.  It’s just a pity though, that there appear to be no plans in place to improve the links between Great Yarmouth and the rest of the country.  The A11 Missing Link will be a great help, but work on the Acle Straight would very much be welcomed.

October 20, 2010 Posted by | Finance, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Infamous Acle Straight

When I went to Great Yarmouth, the train travelled alongside the A47 or Acle Straight for a few miles close to the town.

The Acle Straight from the Train

I have written about this road before, as it is very dangerous.  You can just see a few vehicles on the road, by the windmill.

But it would appear that nothing will be done to improve transport links to Great Yarmouth!

Perhaps an alternative to improving the road, would be to increase capacity on the railway line.  In common with much of the services in East Anglia, trains are typically inadequate two-coach diesel multiple units, running on a mainly single-track line. The station at Great Yarmouth could also do with a substantial upgrade.

But then Great Yarmouth station is very typical to those around East Anglia.  As an example, Bury St. Edmunds station is a total dump and completely out of keeping with the town. Only Norwich has a station, which is fit for purpose.

But then here in East Anglia, we know how to live on the scraps that the Treasury dishes out!

September 17, 2010 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Would I Return to Great Yarmouth?

Obviously, I would! Great Yarmouth shows how with a bit of effort, you can tranform a working town with a good beach into an interesting place to spend a day.

There are lots of things I didn’t see in Great Yarmouth, like Nelson’s Monument and there are some museums to explore.  I also want to see inside St. Nicholas and see the Lydia Eva under steam.  Yesterday, too, I missed out the racecourse, as I know it well and that is always worth a visit on a nice day.  I’ve probably been at least fifteen times and C had a winner there.  But yesterday, was the first day, I’d explored the town.  Shame on me!

I’ll go by train of course and let’s hope that when I do, the trains are bigger, better and more numerous.  The station could do with a makeover too!

There is much to do in Great Yarmouth, before it becomes an important destination again  It has the beaches, the arcades, the piers, but it also has a large number of more mundane things that bring joy to a decrepit tourist like myself.

Remember, it’s a fairly flat town, so walking is easy and the best way to get about.

There must be one, but I didn’t find a tourist office.

Perhaps too, for a comparison, I’ll go to Lowestoft before I move to London.

September 16, 2010 Posted by | Transport | | 5 Comments

St. Nicholas Church, Great Yarmouth

St. Nicholas in Great Yarmouth, is the largest parish church in England.  Sadly, it was closed when I arrived in the afternoon on the way back to the station, but I was still able to walk in the churchyard.

September 16, 2010 Posted by | Transport | , | 2 Comments

The Sea-Front, Great Yarmouth

As I was brought up partly in Felixstowe, I know how bad and decayed some of our old resorts can be.  Here are a few pictures of the sea-front at Great Yarmouth.

It was clean and plesant and quite different to other old resorts, that I’ve visited recently.

September 16, 2010 Posted by | Transport | | 1 Comment