The Anonymous Widower

Mid Norfolk Railway Completes Work On ‘First For UK’ Railway Level Crossing

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

These are the introductory paragraphs.

The Mid Norfolk Railway has finished work on the refurbishment of the level crossing on Yaxham Road at Dereham.

The work is a first for the Mid Norfolk Railway as the technology has never been used at such a busy crossing on the entire rail system.

The new level crossing has been completed using a system that has been developed by Edilon Sedra, a Dutch railway infrastructure company.

By all accounts it appears to be a job well done,

It also appears Network Rail and Transport for London are very interested in what has been done.

Could this be, because it looks like the work has a fifty year maintenance-free lifespan?

This Google Map shows the site.

Note the single track railway running North-South under the flyover.

As you can see from some of the pictures in the article, the actual level crossing is under the flyover. Not the easiest place to work!

Conclusion

This appears to be another successful co-operation between a heritage railway, Network Rail and local interests.

Following on from the co-operation between the Mid-Norfolk Railway and Greater Anglia over train storage, that I wrote about in Aerial Pictures Show New Trains Housed In Mid-Norfolk, could the rebuilding of the level crossing be part of a larger scheme to allow Greater Anglia to use Mid-Norfolk rails to run a commuter service to Dereham?

June 10, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Plans For Brandon Rail Station Upgrade Deemed Lawful By Local Council

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Train operator Greater Anglia has been allowed to press ahead with plans to complete £1m of improvements at Brandon railway station.

Work at Brandon station will include.

  • Demolishing of redundant buildings, that are not in the best of condition.
  • Install new shelters, LED lights, CCTV cameras and better drainage.
  • Increase car parking spaces from six to a hundred.
  • It looks like accessible car parking will be provided.
  • Provide a new bat roost.

The overall cost will be a million pounds.

This Google Map shows the station.

Note.

  1. Cambridge and Ely is to the West and Norwich is to the East.
  2. The queues at the level crossing at the Western end of the station.
  3. I seem to remember, that it’s a Council Depot on the North side of the tracks.

At some time in the future the station will need a step-free footbridge.

Greater Anglia’s Norwich And Stansted Service

This is the main passenger service at Brandon station.

  • Trains are four-car Class 755 trains.
  • The service is hourly.
  • Trains take about thirty minutes between Brandon and Cambridge stations.
  • Trains take about an hour between Brandon and Stansted Airport stations.
  • Trains take forty-five minutes between Brandon and Norwich stations.

Will there be enough car parking spaces?

Could Brandon Station Ever Have A Half-Hourly Service?

If there’s one city that will dominate the economy of East Anglia, it is Cambridge and its need for premises and housing for workers, will mean that there will be increasing numbers of passengers using the trains into Cambridge.

So I wouldn’t be surprised to see a half-hourly service between Norwich and Cambridge.

Could We See More Brandon Stations?

As I travel round the country, I’ve visited several stations like Brandon. Many could be improved by a radical restructuring or a comprehensive refurbishing.

May 7, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Plan Submitted For £18.6 Million Station At Soham

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

The new Soham station appears to be simple.

  • A single 102 metre long platform, that will be able to handle a four-car Class 755 train.
  • A car-park. Fifty spaces is mentioned on Wikipedia.
  • Trains on Greater Anglia‘s two-hourly service between Ipswich and Peterborough service will call. This service is planned to go hourly, with some services extended to Colchester.
  • The picture in the article shows a bridge.
  • Opening could be in Spring 2022.

I’ve read somewhere that the station will have provision for adding a second platform.

  • Looking at the maps of the railway through Soham, it is double-track at the Southern end of the village and single-track at the Northern end.
  • The single track section, which reaches as far as Ely, will possibly be doubled before 2030.
  • East West Rail are also proposing a new A14 Parkway station at Chippenham Junction, which is close to both the A14 and the A11. I wrote about this in East West Rail Makes ‘Powerful Case’ For Direct Services From Ipswich And Norwich To Oxford.
  • The Mayor of Cambridge has plans for a direct service between the new Soham station and Cambridge.

It’ll all be happening in this part of East Anglia. Most is driven by the expansion and success of Cambridge.

It’s all a bit different to the dark days of the Second World War, when the town suffered from the Soham Rail Disaster.

Will there be a memorial at the new station?

A14 Parkway Station

This report on the East-West Rail web site is entitled Eastern Section Prospectus and gives full details of their proposals for the section of East West Rail to the East of Cambridge.

The report recommends building a new station at Chippenham Junction, which is to the East of Newmarket, close to the junction of the A11 and the A14 . The station is referred to in the report as A14 Parkway station.

This Google Map shows the location of the proposed station.

Note.

  1. The A14 going across the top of the map.
  2. The junction between the A14 and the A11 in the top-right corner.
  3. The triangular Chippenham Junction, pointing North to Ely, South to Newmarket and East to Bury St. Edmunds and Ipswich.

Having lived in that area for nearly thirty years, I believe that this is a much-needed station.

  • Stations in the area, with the exception of Cambridge North are short of car parking.
  • There would be two trains per hour (tph) to/from Bury St. Edmunds and Ipswich.
  • There would be one tph to Cambridge, Cambridge North, Cambridge South , Ely, Peterborough and the new Soham station.

I suspect that there could be shuttle trains to provide extra services to Cambridge and Ely.

A shuttle train could run between A14 Parkway, Cambridge South, Ely, Soham and back to A14 Parkway.

  • The service might be arranged so that trains reverse at Cambridge South, Ely and A14 Parkway stations.
  • As an alternative trains could reverse at Bury St. Edmunds instead of A14 Parkway.
  • Trains would call at all intermediate stations.

I believe that if the A14 Parkway station were to be built, that there would be no need to rebuild the Western track of Chippenham Junction to enable services between Cambridge and Soham via Newmarket.

May 4, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Will A Rail Link Be Built Between Pitsea And Ingatestone?

In Issue 903 of Rail Magazine, there is a long article, which is entitled Felixstowe: Is 47 Trains A Day Achievable?.

The article details a large number of improvements that could be carried out to attain this frequency.

This is an interesting paragraph.

If anything. long-term plans could entail the building of a new rail link between Pitsea and Ingatestone, so that London Gateway traffic can run via Ipswich instead of Stratford.

So could a rail link between Pitsea and Ingatestone stations be built and how would it be used?

The Route

If you look at a map, that shows Pitsea and Chelmsford, you’ll notice that the dual-carriageway A130 links the two places.

  • At the Chelmsford end it joins the A12 at junction 17.
  • At the Pitsea end it joins the A13 to the East of the town.
  • Sections of the road appear to have three-lane carriageways.
  • Much of the road has been improved in recent years.

I feel a lot of the route of the rail link could follow the A130, with the rail link running down the Western side of the road.

Use Of The Shenfield-Southend Line

The Shenfield-Southend Line could be used for part of the route.

  • It already connects to the Great Eastern Main Line (GEML) at Shenfield, though a flying junction.
  • There is no connection between the Shenfield-Southend Line and the GEML to Chelmsford and Ipswich.
  • The Shenfield-Southend Line crosses the A130 in an area of farmland.

Between Shenfield and the A130 are two important stations Billericay and Wickford.

The Connection At Shenfield

This Google Map shows the junction between the GEML and the Shenfield-Southend Line.

Note.

  1. Shenfield station is in the South-West corner of the map.
  2. The GEML goes straight in a North-Easterly direction to Ingatestone and Chelmsford.
  3. Ingatestone and Shenfield stations are about 3.5 miles apart.
  4. The Shenfield-Southend Line goes off to the East and connects to the GEML with a flying junction.

There would appear to be space to convert the flying junction into a full triangular junction by building chords, that allow access between the Shenfield-Southend Line and the GEML to Chelmsford.

Turning South At The A130

This Google Map shows where the Shenfield-Southend Line crosses the A130.

Note.

  1. The two major roads; the A130 and the A127 are clearly labelled.
  2. The Shenfield-Southend Line crosses the A130 from North-West to East.
  3. Billericay and Shenfield are to the North-West.
  4. Southend is to the East.

It looks like there is sufficient space to create a junction, which would allow trains to take a new rail line to and from the South, built alongside the A130.

The Connection At Pitsea Station

This Google Map shows the Southern section of the A130 that connects to the A13.

Note.

  1. Pitsea station is at the Southern side of the map.
  2. The A130 weaves its way North-South down the Eastern side of the map.
  3. The rail link could follow the A130.

The Google Map shows Pitsea station, the A13 and its junction with the A130.

Note.

  1. The A13 going across the Northern side of the map.
  2. The A130 going down the Eastern side of the map.
  3. Pitsea station in the middle of the Western side of the map.
  4. The c2c railway between Pitsea and Southend Central stations going East from Pitsea station and passing to the South of St. Margaret’s Church.

It appears to me, that there would be enough space to build a full triangular junction between the rail link and the c2c railway.

A full triangular junction would enable trains to go between Chelmsford and all stations as far as Shoeburyness.

A Few Questions

These are a few questions.

Will Passenger Trains Use The Rail Link?

Consider.

  • It would make it possible to create a direct train service that connected all the major towns in Essex; Colchester, Chelmsford and Southend.
  • Chelmsford is the county town of Essex.
  • Southend Central station has two West-facing bay platforms.
  • Colchester station has a South-facing bay platform.

I think that the route must be built to perhaps allow an hourly CrossEssex service in both directions, at some date in the future.

Would There Be Any Stations On The Rail Link?

The route goes through Billericay and Wickford stations and also has a connection to the Crouch Valley Line.

How Long Is The Rail Link?

I estimate, it’s just under seventeen miles.

How Long Will Freight Trains Take Between Pitsea And Ingatestone?

The Felixstowe Branch is about twenty miles long and trains take a few minutes over the hour.

Will The Rail Link Be Single Or Double Track?

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, there are still about a dozen trains going in and out of London Gateway on a typical day.

  • This would be a train every ninety minutes in both directions on the rail link if they were all using it.
  • London Gateway will expand.
  • A passenger service on the rail link in the future, is a possibility.
  • The Shenfield-Southend Line is double-track.

I feel that a single track railway would be short on capacity, so for preference, I’d build a double-track railway.

Will The Rail Link Be Electrified?

Consider.

  • All passenger trains run by Greater Anglia and c2c to and from Southend are electric.
  • Essex is a county where all rail lines are electrified, except for the spur that leads into London Gateway.
  • The GEML and the lines to Southend have recently updated electrification.
  • Freight trains can be hauled on the GEML by electric or bi-mode locomotives.
  • Te section between the GEML and the A130 is already electrified.

It would be logical that the rail link should be electrified.

Thoughts About Capacity

Although a rai link between Pitsea and Ingatestone may be feasible, it doesn’t mean that it will be built.

  • Will there be enough capacity across the Midlands or on the various routes to the North?
  • Greater Anglia have ambitions and the trains to run more services.
  • Would digital signalling on the GEML create extra capacity?

Extra Infrastructure

 

 

 

April 22, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hardly Any Passengers – But Greater Anglia’s Trains Are More Reliable

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on the Great Yarmouth Mercury.

This is the introductory paragraph.

It may be operating fewer trains and carrying a fraction of the passengers it was – but Greater Anglia’s trains are now much more reliable for essential workers, figures show.

Greater Anglia’s most punctual route was Manningtree to Harwich at almost 99 %.

April 10, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , | 3 Comments

Greater Anglia Completes Directly-Managed Norwich Victoria Sidings Project

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Greater Anglia has opened four sidings able to stable 12-car trains just outside Norwich station, with its first train using the facility on March 3.

Other information can be found in this and other articles.

  • It was Greater Anglia’s biggest infrastructure investment to date.
  • The sidings are on the South side of the Trowse Swing Bridge, that crosses the River Wensum.
  • The project took nine months to complete.
  • The sidings look to be fully electrified.

I would assume that each siding can take one of the following.

  • A twelve-car Class 745 train, which are 236.6 metres long.
  • A ten-car Class 720 train, which are 240 metres long.
  • Two five-car Class 720 trains, which are 122 metres long.
  • More than one Class 755 trains, which are 65 metres long (3-car) and 81 metres long (4-car)

They will certainly be able to pack in the trains.

 

April 4, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Testing Of Greater Anglia’s New Electric Trains Continues Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

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

These are the first paragraphs of the report.

Greater Anglia is continuing to test it’s new electric trains amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The company says they are following all government guidelines to ensure that the workforce is kept as safe as possible.

One of the new electric trains completed its maiden voyage to Liverpool Street recently – a journey the company says was a success.

Hopefully, the testing program won’t be delayed too long.

March 31, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

LNER To Keep Class 91s Until 2023

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

This is the two introductory paragraphs.

Class 91s hauling Mk 4s will remain with London North Eastern Railway until 2023.

Ten rakes of coaches and ten ‘91s’ will be used, with two additional spare ‘91s’ and a handful of spare Mk 4s also retained.

It looks like LNER are keeping enough Class 91 locomotives and Mark 4 coaches to guarantee having ten trains in service.

Why 2023?

The answer to this question is probably contained in an article in Issue 901 of Rail Magazine, which is entitled ORR Approves New Hitachi Inter-Car Connector Design, which has these two statements.

  • All inter-car connectors will have been updated by Summer 2022.
  • Hitachi has deals for a further 61 trains for three operators and all will be in traffic by the end of 2022.

It looks like Hitachi could have production capability from 2023.

The original Rail Magazine article also says this.

The extension is until the end of 2023 while LNER sources brand new trains, which would take a minimum of around two years to build and deliver. The operator has previously told RAIL it needs around six new trains.

It appears the difference between retaining ten InterCity 225 trains and adding six new trains to the fleet, is to cover for the retrofit of the inter-car connectors.

The Performance Of A Class 91 Locomotive And Five Mark 4 Coaches

I have seen in mentioned that Virgin East Coast were intending to run shortened rakes of Mark 4 coaches.

In the Wikipedia entry for the Class 91 locomotive, there is a section called Speed Record, where this is said.

A Class 91, 91010 (now 91110), holds the British locomotive speed record at 161.7 mph (260.2 km/h), set on 17 September 1989,[ just south of Little Bytham on a test run down Stoke Bank with the DVT leading. Although Class 370s, Class 373s and Class 374s have run faster, all are EMUs which means that the Electra is officially the fastest locomotive in Britain. Another loco (91031, now 91131), hauling five Mk4s and a DVT on a test run, ran between London King’s Cross and Edinburgh Waverley in 3 hours, 29 minutes and 30 seconds on 26 September 1991. This is still the current record. The set covered the route in an average speed of 112.5 mph (181.1 km/h) and reached the full 140 mph (225 km/h) several times during the run.

When you consider, this was nearly forty years ago, there can’t be much wrong with British Rail’s train engineering.

What Average Speed Do You Need  To Achieve London And Edinburgh In Four Hours?

The rail distance between London and Edinburgh is 393 miles, so four hours needs an average speed of 98 mph.

Consider.

  • I have travelled in InterCity 125 and InterCity 225 trains, where I have measured the speed at around 125 mph for perhaps thirty or forty miles.
  • In Norwich-In-Ninety Is A Lot More Than Passengers Think!, I travelled to Norwich and back, at around 100 mph most of the way.
  • Continuous 125 mph running is just as much about the track as the train.
  • I have watched a driver in an InterCity 125 at work and these guys and girls know the route and their charges, like the backs of their hands.

I think it is possible to arrange train pathing, so that trains could run between London and Edinburgh in excess of 100 mph.

I believe, that this would enable London and Edinburgh in under four hours.

Will LNER Run Faster Services With Short Sets?

Virgin East Coast’s original plan, was to run short sets between London and Edinburgh.

Would these short sets have been faster, than full size sets?

  • The power-to-weight ratio is higher, so acceleration would be better.
  • A five-car train would probably need half the power of a ten-car train to cruise at a given speed.
  • It might be possible to save weight to increase performance.
  • There would be no intermediate stops.
  • They know that the Kings Cross and Edinburgh record is three-and-a-half hours, which was set by a five-car train.
  • In-cab digital signalling and other improvements could be fitted.

It should also be noted, that a short set would probably do significantly less damage to the track than a full-size set at 140 mph.

Possible Short InterCity 225 Routes

LNER have only six fully-electrified routes, where they could run short InterCity 225 sets.

  • Kings Cross and Leeds
  • Kings Cross and Doncaster
  • Kings Cross and York
  • Kings Cross and Newcastle
  • Kings Cross and Edinburgh
  • Kings Cross and Stirling

Note.

  1. All routes are fully-electrified, which is a pre-requisite, as InterCity 225 sets have no self-power capability.
  2. Kings Cross and Leeds will probably be run by pairs of Class 800 trains, as LNER looks like it will split trains at Leeds and serve two destinations.
  3. Do Doncaster, York and Newcastle generate enough traffic for a fast service?
  4. The Edinburgh route will have direct competition from East Coast Trains, who will be running five-car Class 803 trains.
  5. The Stirling route at over five hours is probably too long.

It looks to me, that the preferred route for InterCity 225 sets,; short or full-size will be Kings Cross and Edinburgh.

How Many Trains Would Be Needed To Run An Edinburgh Service?

A flagship service between London and Edinburgh might have the following timetable.

  • One tph perhaps leaving at a fixed time in every hour.
  • A timing of under four hours.
  • Minimal numbers of intermediate stops.
  • The service would not be extended past Edinburgh, as the trains need electrified lines.

Suppose, the trains could do a round trip in eight hours, this would mean that eight trains would be needed to provide a service.

Ten trains would allow one train in maintenance and one ready to be brought into service at a moment’s notice.

Does this explain, why ten InterCity 225 sets are being retained.

Would In-Cab Signalling Be Needed?

I suspect that under current rules, in-cab digital signalling might be needed! But as I observed in Partners On Board For In-Cab Signalling Project On East Coast Main Line, this is on its way!

But, as the average speed needed to do London and Edinburgh in four hours is only 98 mph, I wonder what time could be achieved by one of the top drivers, using the following.

  • All their route knowledge and driving skill.
  • A five-car train.
  • Maximum acceleration.
  • A well-thought out pathing structure.
  • A clear track
  • No hold-ups
  • A non-stop run.

If the train were to run at 125 mph all the way without stopping, the journey time would be around three hours and ten minutes.

Wikipedia says this about in-cab digital signalling on the East Coast Main Line.

The line between London King’s Cross and Bawtry, on the approach to Doncaster, will be signalled with Level 2 ERTMS. The target date for operational ERTMS services is December 2018 with completion in 2020.

  • I estimate that that this will mean that 145 miles of the route will have full in-cab digital signalling.
  • Currently, the fastest London and Doncaster times are around 90 minutes, with many taking 97-98 minutes for the 155 miles.

This means the fast train takes 84 minutes between King’s Cross and Bawtry, at an average speed of 103 mph.

Suppose this fast train could go at 125 mph for all but twenty of the distance between King’s Cross and Bawtry, how much time would this save?

  • 125 miles at 125 mph would take 60 minutes.
  • 125 miles at 103 mph would take 72 minutes.

This means that just by running at 125 mph continuously for all but twenty miles could save up to twelve minutes.

If 140 mph running could be maintained on this section, another six minutes would be saved.

As they say, every little helps!

Lessons From Norwich-in-Ninety

In Norwich-In-Ninety Is A Lot More Than Passengers Think!, I travelled to Norwich and back, at around 100 mph most of the way.

Liverpool Street and Norwich is 114 miles and a ninety minute journey is an average of just 76 mph, which is 24 mph below the maximum cruise of a Class 90 locomotive and a rake of eight Mark 3 coaches. Compare this with an average speed of 98 mph needed for London and Edinburgh in four hours and the 125 mph maximum certified cruise of an InterCity 225 train, without in-cab digital signalling.

It should also be noted that Greater Anglia, run an additional stopping train after the Norwich-in-Ninety expresses, that call at several important stations and not just Ipswich.

Will LNER use a similar strategy? It was working well and successfully for Greater Anglia, until services were decimated by COVID-19!

Will LNER Increase Frequency Between London And Edinburgh To Three Trains Per Hour?

It would seem that the current two tph service running nine- or ten-car trains, runs with a high level of occupancy, so to replace some of these trains with faster and shorter trains might cause capacity problems.

But to add, a third faster train in the hour might be possible. Especially, if the Norwich-in-Ninety strategy were to be used. The timetable in both directions could be something like.

  • XX:00 – Four hour express
  • XX:06 – Four-hour plus train to current timing
  • XX:30 – Four-hour plus train to current timing

LNER’s Marketing Department would like it.

Could Hitachi Trains Achieve London and Edinburgh In Four Hours?

The all-electric Class 801 trains most certainly have a performance to match an InterCity 225 in terms of acceleration and maximum operating speed without in-cab digital signalling. After all, the Japanese train was designed as a direct replacement for British Rail’s last high performance train!

So I believe that with a well-designed timetable, electric Hitachi trains will be able to run between London and Edinburgh in under four hours, with a small number of stops.

Note that LNER will have a fleet of thirty nine-car and twelve five-car all-electric Class 801 trains.

But East Coast Trains will have a fleet of five five-car all-electric Class 803 trains, which could get near to a four-hour timing, despite their four stops at Stevenage, Durham, Newcastle and Morpeth.

  • I have timed a Class 800 train leaving Kings Cross and they get up to 125 mph fairly fast, by about Potters Bar, which is reached in eleven minutes.
  • Stops at Stevenage, Durham and Morpeth will probably each add two minutes to the timing, with Newcastle adding five minutes.
  • 125 mph all the way from Kings Cross to Edinburgh would be a timing of three hours and ten minutes.

Add up the stationary times at the stops (2+2+2+5) and that gives a journey time of three hours and twenty-one minutes, which leaves thirty-nine minutes for the five decelerations and accelerations between stationary and 125 mph.

This page on the Eversholt Rail web site, has a data sheet for a Class 802 train, which is a Class 800 train with larger engines.

The data sheet shows that a five-car train can accelerate to 125 mph and then decelerate to a stop in six minutes in electric mode. So five accelerations/deceleration cycles  to 125 mph would take thirty minutes. This gives a journey time between London and Edinburgh of three hours and fifty-one minutes.

Note that Class 801 trains, which don’t lug diesel engines about will have better acceleration, due to the lower weight, so should have better acceleration and deceleration.

Does this time seem reasonable? First Group with their extensive experience of running Class 800 trains on the Great Western Main Line will know the capabilities of the trains, down to the last mph.

I doubt, they’d have bought the trains for East Coast Trains, if they couldn’t do London and Edinburgh in four hours.

I believe that both InterCity 225 and Class 801/803 trains can do London and Edinburgh in four hours and any train company that doesn’t offer this timing, will come second!

A Possible Hitachi-Based Timetable For LNER

I would be very surprised if a service pattern like this wouldn’t be possible.

  • XX:00 – Four hour express – Class 801 train
  • XX:06 – Four-hour plus train to current timing – Class 801 train or InterCity 225
  • XX:30 – Four-hour plus train to current timing – Class 801 train or InterCity 225

Note.

  1. As there is only one extra train per hour, ten extra trains would be the addition to the fleet, needed to run this service pattern.
  2. Class 801 trains could be five-car or nine-car sets as passenger numbers require.
  3. InterCity 225 trains could be as long as are needed.

InterCity 225 trains would only be doing the job, they’ve done for many years.

Targeting The Airline Market

In Trains Ordered For 2021 Launch Of ‘High-Quality, Low Fare’ London – Edinburgh Service, which described the launch of First East Coast Trains, I said this about their target market.

First East Coast Trains is targeting the two-thirds of passengers, who fly between London and Edinburgh. The company are also targeting business passengers, as the first train arrives in Edinburgh at 10:00. Trains will take around four hours.

Note that currently, LNER’s first train arrives at 11:12. In the future, I would envisage that LNER intend to go for four hour journeys.

It would seem to me, that both train companies will be attempting to take passengers from the airlines.

Conclusion

It looks to me that ten InterCity 225 trains could add a third train in each hour between London and Edinburgh for LNER, that would do the journey in under four hours.

The third train could either be an InterCity 225 or a Class 801 train.

 

 

March 24, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

First Of Greater Anglia’s Aventra EMUs On Test

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

This was the introductory paragraph.

Greater Anglia has begun testing the first of the 111 Aventra 25 kV 50 Hz electric multiple-units being supplied by Bombardier Transportation for its London commuter routes.

Hopefully, we’ll be seeing some of these trains in service this year.

March 18, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Cambridge South Station To Be Developed

To me, this was one of the highlights of the 2020 Budget today.

As I lived near Cambridge for over a dozen years and regularly played real tennis at the University, I know the scientific heartbeat of the City better than most.

I have discussed the problems of running a business in the City, with many, who are associated with some of the City’s most successful businesses. I have also funded several ventures in the area.

The same basic problems keep arising.

  • Lack of premises, offices and workshops, of all sizes and qualities.
  • Lack of staff to work in the ventures.
  • Lack of suitable housing, where staff moving to the City can live.
  • Staff are being forced to live further out and the roads, railways and other pubic transport systems don’t have the capacity.
  • Inadequate connections to Stansted Airport.

In the last few years, the transport has improved.

  • A sophisticated and award-winning Park-and-Ride running to five large car parks ringing the City has been developed.
  • The Park-and-Ride also caters for cyclists.
  • Cambridge North station has been opened close to the Cambridge Science Park and the A14 Cambridge Northern By-Pass, with a 450-space car-park and space for a thousand bikes.
  • The Cambridge Guided Busway has been developed across the City from Huntingdon station to Trumpington via Cambridge Science Park, Cambridge North station, Cambridge City Centre, Cambridge bus station, Cambridge station and Addenbrooke’s Hospital.
  • Addwnbrooke’s Hospital is a Major Trauma Centre.
  • The forecourts of Cambridge and Cambridge North stations have been developed to create good interchanges and meeting points.
  • Great Northern now has two fast and two stopping trains per hour (tph) between London Kings Cross and Cambridge and/or Cambridge North stations, with trains continuing alternatively half-hourly to Ely or Kings Lynn.
  • Thameslink has two tph between Brighton and Cambridge.
  • Thameslink also has two tph between Cambridge and London Kings Cross, which will be extended to Maidstone East station, within a couple of years.
  • Greater Anglia run an hourly service between Norwich and Stansted Airport via Ely, Cambridge North and Cambridge stations.
  • Greater Anglia run two tph between London Liverpool Street and Cambridge North stations.
  • Greater Anglia run an hourly service between Ipswich and Cambridge via Bury St. Edmunds and Newmarket stations.
  • All Greater Anglia trains are being replaced with new and much larger Class 755 or Class 720 trains.
  • CrossCountry run an hourly service between Birmingham New Street and Stansted Airport via Peterborough, March, Ely, Cambridge North and Cambridge stations.
  • The A14 and A428 roads are being improved between Cambridge and the A1.
  • The East West Railway between Reading and Cambridge via Oxford, Milton Keynes and Bedford is being developed and should open before the end of the decade.

But Cambridge still needs better links to the surrounding countryside and further.

  • Connections to Peterborough could be doubled to hourly.
  • Cnnections to Haverhill and Wisbech are poor.
  • East West Railway have ideas about improving connections to both East and West of Cambridge.
  • Better connections are needed at Addenbrooke’s to connect the rail system to the hospital and the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.

Cambridge South station would be the icing on the cake.

  • It could be the Southern terminus of a Wisbech service.
  • It could be on a service of at least four tph between Ely and Cambridge South stations via Waterbeach, Cambridge North and Cambridge stations.
  • It would bring Addenbrooke’s and the Cambridge Biomedical Campus within easy commuting of London.
  • It would be well-connected to Bedford, London, Milton Keynes, Oxford, Reading, Stansted Airport and Stevenage.
  • There have also been rumours, that the station could be connected to the Cambridge Autonomous Metro, which would be developed from the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway and the Park-and-Ride.

Cambridge South station would be the hub, that ties all the various routes together,

The station could be a fairly simple station to build, by just building platforms and buildings alongside the existing electrified line.

This Google Map shows the hospital. and the West Anglia Main Line running North-South to the West of the hospital.

Note the West Anglia Main Line running North-South to the West of the hospital.

Station Design

This page on the Network Rail web site gives a basic design.

  • Four platforms with step-free access via a footbridge and lifts;
  • Platforms with seating and shelter for waiting passengers;
  • A ticket office and ticket machines, along with automatic ticket gates;
  • Taxi and passenger drop off facilities:
  • Facilities such as a retail/catering unit, a waiting room and toilets;
  • Blue badge parking; and
  • Cycle parking.

The page then gives various location options.

Services

These are my take on the initial services, based on the current ones and those proposed by the East West Railway.

  • 1 tph – CrossCountry – Birmingham New Street and Stansted Airport, via Coleshill Parkway, Nuneaton, Leicester, Melton Mowbray, Oakham, Stamford, Peterborough, March, Ely, Cambridge North, Cambridge, Cambridge South and Audley End.
  • 1 tph – Greater Anglia – Norwich and Stansted Airport, via Wymondham, Attleborough, Thetford, Brandon, Lakenheath, Ely, Cambridge North, Cambridge, Cambridge South, Whittlesford Parkway and Audley End.
  • 1 tph – Greater Anglia – Ipswich and Cambridge South via Needham Market, Stowmarket, Bury St. Edmunds, A14 Parkway, Newmarket and Cambridge.
  • 2 tph – Greater Anglia – Cambridge North and London Liverpool Street via Cambridge, Cambridge South, Audley End, Bishops Stortford, Harlow, Broxbourne and Cheshunt.
  • 1 tph – Greater Anglia – Wisbech and Cambridge South via March, Ely, Cambridge North and Cambridge.
  • 2 tph – Thameslink – Cambridge and Brighton via Stevenage, London St. Pancras, East Croydon and Gatwick Airport.
  • 2 tph – Thameslink – Cambridge and Maidstone East via Stevenage, London St. Pancras and Blackfriars
  • 2 tph – Great Northern – Ely/Kings Lynn and London Kings Cross via Stevenage.
  • 1 tph – East West Railway – Norwich and Reading or Oxford, via Ely, Cambridge North, Cambridge, Cambridge South, Bedford and Milton Keynes.
  • 1 tph – East West Railway – Manningtree and Reading or Oxford, via Ipswich, Needham Market, Stowmarket, Bury St. Edmunds, A14 Parkway, Newmarket, Cambridge, Cambridge South, Bedford and Milton Keynes

Note.

  1. I have left out a few less important stations.
  2. I have extended the current Ipswich and Cambridge service to Cambridge South.
  3. I have added East West Rail’s proposed A14 Parkway station.
  4. I have added a Wisbech and Cambridge South service.

This simple service gives the following frequencies.

  • 6 tph – Ely and Cambridge North
  • 8 tph – Cambridge North and Cambridge
  • 10 tph – Cambridge and Cambridge South
  • 2 tph – Cambridge/Cambridge South and Stansted Airport
  • 1 tph – Cambridge North/Cambridge/Cambridge South and Kings Lynn
  • 8 tph – Cambridge/Cambridge South and London
  • 2 tph – Cambridge/Cambridge South and Ipswich.
  • 2 tph – Cambridge North/Cambridge/Cambridge South and Norwich.
  • 1 tph – Cambridge North/Cambridge/Cambridge South and Peterborough.
  • 6 tph – Cambridge/Cambridge South and Stevenage.

I feel strongly about the following.

  • If six tph is thought to be ideal between Cambridge/Cambridge South and Stevenage, then surely more services are needed between Cambridge and Ipswich, Kings Lynn, Norwich. Peterborough and Stansted Airport. Perhaps as many as four tph are needed to give a Turn-Up-And-Go service.
  • The frequency through Ely, Cambridge North, Cambridge and Cambridge should be as high as possible. With digital signalling ten tph must be possible.

At least Greater Anglia have plenty of Class 755 trains.

Conclusion

Rishi Sunak is right to build Cambridge South station.

You might even be able to argue, that the work done on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus could be key in fighting diseases like the coronavirus.

March 11, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments