The Anonymous Widower

Greater Anglia: First Class Seats Scrapped On Most Trains

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

This is the first three paragraphs.

First class travel is being scrapped on all Greater Anglia trains except intercity services from January 2020, the firm has announced.

The rail operator said it was also bringing in new longer trains from the end of next year.

Both measures would provide 20% more standard seats, it said.

I travel on Greater Anglia a lot and generally travel in the Off Peak.

I always buy a Standard Class ticket, although sometimes on Saturday or Sunday, I’ll add a Weekend First Upgrade on the InterCity train, which I buy onboard.

Why anybody would use First Class on their Class 321 or Class 360 trains, I can’t understand.

The InterCity trains are worth a selective upgrade to First, when they are busy, but the long-distance suburban trains are just a bigger seat and of a standard well below Standard on some excellent Standard Class services.

Now, that Greater Anglia are bringing in new trains, hopefully Standard Class will be up there with the best!

I wonder if Disgusted- in-Frinton will be complaining!

 

December 19, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Testing Of New Greater Anglia Trains Underway

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

This is the first paragraph.

The first Stadler bi-mode unit for Greater Anglia made its main line debut in the early hours of December 15, when it ran between Diss and Trowse Junction (near Norwich).

I looked on Real Time Trains and found that the train did five trips between Diss and Trowse Junction. After the last trip, the train went back to Crown Point Depot.

It does seem that Greater Anglia have a plan to do the testing.

 

December 17, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Could London Overground Extend To Hertford East Station?

London Overground’s Future Plans

This table summarises London Overground’s improvements and future plans

Note that in 2019, it is proposed that two extra trains per hour (tph) are added to services between Liverpool Street and Enfield Town stations.

I was also told at the weekend, a strong rumour, that in 2020, London Overground will be taking over the following services.

The first has been mooted for some time, but is supposedly stalled because of differences between Chris Grayling and Sadiq Khan. The second was rather a surprise.

So what will be the result of the Hertford East services being the responsibility of the London Overground?

Greater Anglia’s Services

Greater Anglia‘s current services along the West Anglia Main Line (WAML) are as follows.

  • Two tph between Liverpool Street and Hertford East stations.
  • Two tph between Stratford and Bishops Stortford stations.
  • Two tph between Liverpool Street and Cambridge/ambridge North stations.
  • Four tph between Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport.

In the past Greater Anglia have run Stansted services to and from Stratford and have said they may do so again.

This means that Greater Anglia run ten tph along the WAML between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne stations.

Compare this with the measly two tph, that run between Edmonton Green and Cheshunt stations using the alternative Southbury Loop. The only other movements on this line appear to be a few empty stock movements and freight trains. But not many!

Judging by some of the empty stock movements, I suspect that Greater Anglia have problems positioning their extra trains before and after the Peak.

Rolling Stock To Hertford East

Currently, Greater Anglia run eight-car Class 317 trains to Hertford East station. These are 160 metres long and seat nearly 600 passengers in two classes.

Their new Class 720 trains come in two sizes.

  • Five cars – 122 metres long, seating 540
  • Ten cars – 243 metres long, seating 1100

Could it be that the five-car trains are too small and the ten-car trains are too long for the platforms on the Hertford East Branch?

On the other hand, London Overground’s four-car Class 710 trains are the same length as Class 317 trains.

So could it be that Greater Anglia would prefer that they didn’t have a service to Hertford East station?

Liverpool Street Or Stratford?

Crossrail will have one big effect on the planning of services on the WAML and the Lea Valley Lines, in that the new line will call at both Liverpool Street and Stratford stations, when it eventually opens.

Connectivity

It will be a two-stop journey between the two stations, which in addition are both well-connected to the Underground.

There is very little difference in connectivity between the two stations.

Capacity

Liverpool Street is getting to be full and given more services will be run along the Great Eastern Main Line, it could do with some capacity enhancement.

Stratford though has only two platforms connected to the WAML.

But there is the little-used High Meads Loop under the Eastfield Shopping Centre, which has been used in the past to turn Stansted Express trains, when they served Stratford.

Loops like this can easily handle at least 12 tph, as they do in Liverpool with the Wirral Line.

The High Meads Loop was well-designed to accept a lot of trains.

  • It is double-track.
  • Both tracks have a platform at Stratford capable of accepting a twelve-car Class 745 or Class 720 train.
  • Both platforms are wide and step-free with lifts.
  • The driver doesn’t have to change ends, when using the loop, so the loop will be efficient.
  • An extra stop could be added at Stratford International station.

It is London’s forgotten terminal station.

Operators Would Get Extra Capacity

The two train operators; London Overground and Greater Anglia would gain extra capacity in London.

Travellers Would Choose

If travellers were able to have a choice of London terminals, I suspect that most would choose the one they liked best, but because of Crossrail, it wouldn’t matter if they ended up at the wrong terminal.

Sorting Out West Anglia Main Line And Lea Valley Lines Local Services

I know there needs to be a bit of a sort-out on the WAML to run four tph between Stratford and Meridian Water stations, but could something more radical be on the cards.

Reasonable objectives based on London Overground’s principles would see the following stopping services.

  • Four tph between Seven Sisters and Cheshunt stations via Edmonton Green station.
  • Four tph between Seven Sisters and Enfield Town stations
  • Four tph between Tottenham Hale and Cheshunt stations via Waltham Cross station
  • Four tph between Cheshunt and Hertford East stations.

At the Northern end of the route, there would be three terminal platforms controlled by London Overground, one at Cheshunt and two at Hertford East.

The Aventra Effect

The high-performance Aventras, used by London Overground and Greater Anglia, are ready for digital signalling and designed around fast station stops.

The trains should be able to stop at all stations and maintain the current timetable on the route.

So the timetable could become more passenger friendly, with everything station getting four tph in both directions!

Broxbourne Station Could Be Key

The key at the Northern end could be Greater Anglia’s Broxburne station.

  • It has four platforms.
  • There would be space for an extra platform and/or a turnback for trains from the South.
  • Overground services to and from Hertford East station will call.
  • It is planned to be the terminal of Crossrail 2.

Services between Liverpool Street and Stratford stations and Bishops Stortford, Cambridge and Stansted Airport generally stop at Broxbourne.

So could we see cross-platform interchanges between London Overground’s local services calling at all stations to London and Greater Anglia’s fast services?

The Hertford East Difficulty!

At present one difficulty, is that the Hertford East Branch can only handle three tph, which it does in the Peak, so running the required four tph might need dualling the single-track section through Ware station.

These pictures show Ware station and the level crossing.

Note.

  1. The platform can accept a twelve-car train.
  2. There would be space to install a second platform.
  3. To the East the single track becomes double after the bridge at the end of the platform and is double all the way to the WAML.
  4. To the West the single track becomes double after the level crossing at the end of the platform and is double all of the way to Hertford East station.

Laying a second track and adding a second platform at Ware station, is probably the ultimate solution, to provide four tph all day between London and Hertford East.

But I also feel that with precision driving, the nimble Aventras will be able to do four tph, with a procedure something like this.

  • The level crossing closes to road traffic.
  • A Westbound train arrives in the station and an Eastbound train stops at a signal at the end of the Eastbound track from Hertford East station.
  • When the Westbound train has unloaded and loaded the passengers, it leaves the station and takes the Westbound track to Hertford East station.
  • When the Westbound train has safely passed the stationary Eastbound train, the points are changed and the Eastbound train moves into the station.
  • The level crossing opens to road traffic.

There would be four level crossing closures per hour, which is the same as now, but they could be slightly longer.

I suspect there is a better absolutely safe operating procedure than my naive example.

Eight Tph At Cheshunt Station

As eight tph will be going South from Cheshunt station; four each via Edmonton Green and Waltham Cross, Broxbourne station could turn any that couldn’t be handled at Cheshunt and Hertford East stations.

So we might see the following Northern terminals, if the four tph can run to Hertford East station.

  • Four tph at Hertford East; two via Edmonton Green and two via Waltham Cross.
  • Two tph at Cheshunt via Edmonton Green
  • Two tph at Broxbourne; via Waltham Cross.

All stations between London and Hertford East will get four tph.

Cheshunt station needs a certain amount of rebuilding to make it step-free and possibly remove the level crossing.

A step-free station is essential.

  • The station is not a sleepy rural halt.
  • Changes between trains from the North to London Overground services mean crossing the footbridge.
  • It would give pedestrians, wheelchair users, buggy pushes and others an easy way across the railway, when the level crossing in closed.

Southbound trains from Cheshunt could be.

  • Two tph from Cheshunt via Edmonton Green
  • Two tph from Hertford East via Edmonton Green
  • Two tph from Broxbourne via Waltham Cross
  • Two tph from Hertford East via Waltham Cross

Northbound trains from Cheshunt could be.

  • Four tph to Hertford East.
  • Two tph to Broxbourne.

Judicious timing of Northbound trains could mean that passengers arriving via Edmonton Green at Cheshunt could change to a Hertford East train by walking across the platform.

There are a lot of possibilities to get the best connectivity at the Northern end.

The Southern End

At the Southern End, there will be the following services.

  • , Tottenham Hale station will receive four tph from Cheshunt.
  • Seven Sisters station will receive four tph from Cheshunt and four tph from Enfield Town.

Both stations will be able to send trains to either Stratford or Liverpool Street.

Seven Sisters Services

Seven Sisters station is easier to sort.

  • Half of each group of trains go in each direction.
  • Four tph go direct to Liverpool Street stopping at all stations en route.
  • Four tph go to Stratford via South Tottenham and Lea Bridge stations.

,Trains to Stratford should turn in the  High Meads Loop under Eastfield.

South Tottenham Interchange

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines at South Tottenham station.

Note.

  1. The orange line going across the from left to right is the Gospel Oak to Barking Line
  2. The blue line is the Victoria Line.
  3. The orange line going down the map is the Lea Valley Line, between Liverpool Street in the South and Cheshunt and Enfield Town stations in the North.
  4. The single-track; Seven Sisters Chord, which connects the two Overground lines.
  5. The black line going down the map on the right is the WAML, between Stratford and Lea Bridge stations in the South and Tottenham Hal station in the North.

What is not shown on the map is the massive double-ended Crossrail 2 station, that will link South Tottenham and Seven Sisters stations, which are about five hundred metres apart.

This Google Map shows the area of the two stations.

Note how much green space there is alongside the tracks.

If four tph went via South Tottenham and Lea Bridge stations, this would mean that South Tottenham station has the following services.

  • Four tph to Barking
  • Four tph to Gospel Oak
  • Four tph to Stratford
  • Two tph to Enfield Town
  • Two tph to Broxbourne, Cheshunt or Hertford East.

Timings could be arranged to give a user-friendly interchange at South Tottenham station, which is a step-free station.

Note that it is probably likely, that the Seven Sisters Chord shown in the first map, would need to be improved.

But there is certainly enough space to do it properly!

Tottenham Hale Services

These are trickier, but I believe they could be sorted if the new third track from Meridian Water station was used exclusively for Southbound services going to Stratford.

This would mean that platform usage at Tottenham Hale station would be as follows.

  • Existing Platform 1 – Services to Liverpool Street station.
  • Existing Platform 2 – Services to Cheshunt, Broxbourne, Stansted Airport and Cambridge.
  • New Platform 3 – Services to Stratford station.

Platforms 1 and 3 would be a cross-platform interchange to allow passengers to change terminal.

Splitting Of Stratford And Liverpool Street Services

Stratford and Liverpool Street services would split somewhere North of the new Meridian Water station.

Services to Liverpool Street would include.

  • London Overground – Two tph from Cheshunt, Broxbourne or Hertford East.
  • Greater Anglia – Two tph from Cambridge/Cambridge North
  • Greater Anglia – Four tph from Stansted Airport.

This is much the same as the current timetable, with a change of operator on the Hertford East service.

Services to Stratford would include.

  • London Overground – Two tph from Cheshunt, Broxbourne or Hertford East.
  • Greater Anglia – Two tph from Bishops Stortford.

If all these services stopped at Meridian Water, Northumberland Park, Tottenham Hale and Lea Bridge stations, the STAR service has been implemented.

These Stratford services would be turned in the High Meads Loop.

As there would be four tph coming to Stratford from Seven Sisters station, this would mean that eight tph were being turned in the loop.

I can see two problems with this arrangement.

  • The merging of Northbound trains South of Tottenham Hale station could be tricky.
  • The Cambridge and Stansted expresses use the same route to Liverpool Street as London Overground’s Chingford services, as they do now!

Both problems could be lessened by perhaps running half of the Cambridge and Stansted services to Stratford.

This would mean the following.

  • Five tph that served the WAML would use Liverpool Street station.
  • Seven tph that served the WAML would use Stratford station.
  • Eleven tph would need to be turned in the High Meads Loop.

Trains on the High Mead Loop would be as follows.

  • London Overground – Two tph to Enfield Town
  • London Overground – Two tph to Broxbourne, Cheshunt or Hertford East via Edmonton Green
  • London Overground – Two tph to Broxbourne, Cheshunt or Hertford East via Waltham Cross
  • Greater Anglia – Two tph to Bishops Stortford
  • Greater Anglia – One tph to Cambridge/Cambridge North
  • Greater Anglia – Two tph to Stansted Airport

It could be that the expresses could use one track of the High Meads Loop, with the local services using the other.

I also think, that there is sufficient capacity in the High Meads Loop to terminate all services on the WAML at Stratford.

But would that be a step too far?

Possibly for some passengers, but I suspect it would be liked by train operators.

Services Between Tottenham Hale And Broxbourne

Currently, the following services run between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne stations on the WAML.

  • Two tph between Liverpool Street and Hertford East stations.
  • Two tph between Stratford and Bishops Stortford stations.
  • Two tph between Liverpool Street and Cambridge/Cambridge North stations.
  • Four tph between Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport.

This gives a total of ten tph in both directions.

If you go to my first scenario of providing four tph to Cheshunt/Broxbourne/Hertford East, this gives the following services between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne stations.

  • Two tph between Liverpool Street and Hertford East stations.
  • Two tph between Stratford and Bishops Stortford stations.
  • Two tph between Liverpool Street and Cambridge/Cambridge North stations.
  • Four tph between Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport.
  • Two tph between Stratford and Broxbourne stations.

The extra service between Stratford and Broxbourne is to ensure that all stations on the route get four stopping services, of which two tph go to either Liverpool Street or Stratford at the Southern end.

This gives a total of twelve tph in both directions.

By adding just two tph, there is a vastly improved stopping service along the WAML, with all stations getting at least a four tph service.

Could The West Anglia Main Line Handle Twelve Tph?

In 2020, Greater Anglia will be running Class 745 and Class 720 trains on this route.

  • They will both be 100 mph trains.
  • They will have fast station dwell times.
  • They may even have level access between platform and train, which will help speed boarding.
  • They will have a quality Driver Assist System.
  • Electronic in-cab digital signalling is a possibility.
  • The WAML may allow some 100 mph running.
  • Removing the remaining level crossings would surely speed up services.

The Greater Anglia trains will be limited stop and most will only stop at Tottenham Hale, Cheshunt and Broxborne.

London Overground will also be running Class 710 trains, which will be faster than current trains, with very good dwell times.

So I expect that with new trains, some improvement to the infrastructure, the following will be possible.

  • Four tph, which stop at all stations between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne.
  • Six tph, which are limited stop expresses, only stopping at Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne and a couple of other occasional stations.
  • Time saving for all services.
  • I suspect that the current Stratford to Bishops Stortford service will become limited stop North of Meridian Water station.

It would hopefully be a timetable, that appealed to both passengers and train companies.

Services At Meridian Water

Meridian Water station has been promised four tph to Stratford, that call at Northumberland Park, Tottenham Hale and Lea Bridge stations.

So what services will call at Meridian Water station, in the scenario I have outlined, that follows from four tph between London and Hertford East being transferred from Greater Anglia to London Overground.

It could be something like this.

  • Two tph to Hertford East, calling at all stations.
  • Two tph to Bishops Stortford, calling at selected stations.
  • Two tph to Cheshunt or Broxbourne, calling at all stations.
  • Four tph to Stratford, calling at all stations.
  • Two tph to Liverpool Street, calling at all stations.

It’s certainly better and more comprehensive than promised.

As Meridian Water will be such an important station, could some of the Cambridge and Stansted services call?

Four-Tracking Of The West Anglia Main Line

This project is needed to both increase capacity to Cambridge and Stansted Airport and in the future for Crossrail 2, which will reach as far as Broxbourne station.

But it will be a very disruptive project, not just for rail users, but for road users, when they close several level crossings.

The Underused Southbury Loop

The limited triple-tracking around Tottenham Hale station has been moderately disruptive at weekends and services have run using the Southbury Loop.

The Southbury Loop is underused and I believe that if services were increased permanently on the diversion route, that it would have the beneficial effects on the WAML.

Extra services could be added to the existing double-track route.

Between Cheshunt and Broxbourne

There is one section that could be easier than most to four-track and that is the section between Cheshunt and Broxbourne stations.

This Google Map shows the line North of Cheshunt station.

I have flown my helicopter along this route and just as in the map, the two-tracks sit on a wide site, with space for extra tracks.

I am fairly certain,that four-tracking this section would not be difficult.

South Of Cheshunt 

If the Southbury Loop were to be used to handle some trains, I think the four-tracking could be done in a more relaxed series of small projects over a longer period of time.

There are various problems.

  • Waltham Cross station
  • Enfield Lock station and level crossing.
  • Brimsdown station and level crossing.

But South from Ponders End station should be a lot easier,

  • There are no buildings in the way.
  • There will already be a third-track between Tottenham Hale and Meridian Water stations.
  • Northumberland Park and Meridian Water stations will be fourth-track ready.

I very much feel, that the four-tracking can be done piecemeal without too much disruption to rail pr road traffic.

Other Issues

Over the years, other issues have been raised with the WAML and Crossrail 2.

A Turnback At Enfield Lock Station

I’ve read in a couple of places, that there could be a bay platform at Enfield Lock station, which could turnback trains to the South..

Under the current plans for the STAR service, this will terminate at Meridian Water station and I’ve heard station staff, say it will be a bi-directional shuttle between Tottenham Hale and Meridian Water stations.

The bi-directional shuttle would.

  • Not be using the new infrastructure in a worthwhile manner.
  • Bring more passengers to the overloaded Victoria Line.
  • Not take passengers to the transport hub at Stratford with Crossrail.
  • Not be an efficient use of a train and crew.

I also think, it would struggle for passengers until the building of housing at Meidian Water gets under way.

But supposing, two tracks were built North from Meridian Water to Enfield Lock station, where there would be a bay platform.

  • A fourth track would need to be added alongside the third-track between Lea Bridge and Meridian Water stations.
  • Another platform would be needed at Tottenham Hale station.
  • There is a lot of space on the Eastern side of the WAML, between Meridian Water and Ponders End station.
  • Two extra tracks through Brimsdown station, should be possible with the purhase of some low-grade commercial property.

Note that currently a train from Enfield Lock to Stratford takes twenty-four minutes, if it stops at the little-used Angel Road station.

If a train turned in the High Meads Loop at Stratford, it could be back at Enfield Lock within the hour.

  • Four tph would be possible.
  • This would provide a much needed service for all those who do and will live, work and enjoy themselves allow the Lea Valley.
  • Four trains would be needed for a four tph service.

I can understand, why Enfield Lock station has been talked about as a place for a possible bay platform.

There would also be the possibility of extending to Enfield Lock, without closing the level crossing at the station, if a step-free bridge were to be provided.

The station could become a valuable interchange between Greater Anglia’s Bishop’s Stortford services  and the four tph to Stratford, stopping at all stations.

Eventually, though, the level crossing will be removed and four tracks will be extended Northwards.

Hackney Downs Issues

If as I proposed the following trains run through Seven Sisters station.

  • Two tph between Liverpool Street and Cheshunt/Broxbourne or Hertford East.
  • Two tph between Stratford and Cheshunt/Broxbourne or Hertford East.
  • Two tph between Liverpool Street and Enfield Town.
  • Two tph between Stratford and Enfield Town.

This means that Hackney Downs would have the following services.

  • Two tph between Liverpool Street and Cheshunt/Broxbourne or Hertford East.
  • Two tph between Liverpool Street and Enfield Town.
  • Four tph between Liverpool Street and Chingford.

Would it not be more efficient, if all of these services used the slow tracks into Liverpool Street?

This would give the expresses exclusive use of the fast lines into Liverpool Street.

Conclusion

This post has been speculation on a rumour.

But I now believe that Hertford East services will transfer to the London Overground.

  • London Overground have trains suitable for the service and Greater Anglia don’t!
  • Greater Anglia services may be simpler to operate.
  • Ware station needs to be rebuilt to enable a decent service and Funding the work might be easier for London Overground in partnership with Hertfordshire County Council, than for Greater Anglia.
  • Large numbers of stations in the London Borough of Enfield get a four tph service.
  • By using the Southbury Loop, extra services can be run, without adding to traffic on the West Anglia Main Line.

In a few years time operation of the West Anglia Main Line will be very different.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 14, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Nervous Operators Force Network Rail To Defer King’s Cross Plan

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

King’s Cross station has to be closed for three months, so that tracks, electrification and signalling can be replaced and modernised for about 1.5 miles from the buffer stops at the station.

The original dates of the closure were to have been between December 2019 and March 2020, but now it looks like it could be delayed by up to a year.

The article on the web site, is a shortened version of the article in the magazine, where this is said.

Closure dates have yet to be announced, and NR is still developing a passenger handling strategy which could include long-distance services at Finsbury Park or some services terminating at Peterborough. Some trains could even be rerouted into London Liverpool Street.

I wonder, if Network Rail’s planners are cursing that the around thirty miles between Peterborough and Ely is not electrified.

If it were electrified, it would allow electric trains as well as diesel and bi-mode trains to access Liverpool Street station via the West Anglia Main Line.

What Benefits Would There Be From Electrifying Peterborough To Ely?

I can imagine Oxford-educated civil servants in the Department of Transport and The Treasury dismissing calls for more electrification in the backwater of East Anglia, after the successful electrification to Norwich in the 1980s.

But now Cambridge is powering ahead and East Anglia is on the rise, with the massive Port of Felixstowe needing large numbers of freight trains to other parts of mainland UK.

This East Anglian success gives reasons for the electrification of the Peterborough-Ely Line.

Direct Electric Trains Between Peterborough And Cambridge

I have met Cambridge thinkers, who believe that Peterborough is the ideal place for businesses, who need to expand from Cambridge.

Peterborough has the space that Cambridge lacks.

But the transport links between the two cities are abysmal.

  • The A14 is only a two-lane dual-carriageway, although a motorway-standard section is being added around Huntingdon.
  • Peterborough station has been improved in recent years.
  • The direct train service is an hourly three-car diesel service between Birmingham and Stansted Airport, which doesn’t stop at the increasingly-important Cambridge North station.

The road will get better, but the rail service needs improvement.

  • There needs to be at least two direct trains per hour (tph) between Cambridge and Peterborough.
  • They would stop at Cambridge North, Waterbeach, Ely and March.
  • End-to-end timing would be under an hour.
  • Greater Anglia will have the four-car bi-mode Class 755 trains, which would be ideal for the route from next year.

If the Peterborough- Ely Line was electrified, Greater Anglia could use five-car Class 720 trains.

An Electric Diversion Route For The East Coast Main Line

The works at Kings Cross station, and the possible proposal to run some trains into Liverpool Street station, show that an electric diversion route would be useful, when there are closures or problems on the East Coast Main Line.

In the case of the Kings Cross closure, if Peterborough were to be used as the terminal for some trains from the North, then I suspect some high-capacity Class 800 trains could shuttle passengers to Liverpool Street.

If the date of the Kings Cross closure is 2020, then certain things may help.

  • Crossrail will be running.
  • Extra trains will be running from Finsbury Park to Moorgate.
  • Hull Trains will be running bi-mode Class 802 trains.
  • There could be more capacity on the West Anglia Main Line.
  • There could be more capacity and some longer platforms at Liverpool Street.

What would really help, is the proposed four-tracking of the West Anglia Main Line.

The latter could prove extremely useful, when Network Rail decide to bite the bullet and four-track the Digswell Viaduct.

Extending Greater Anglia’s Network

Greater Anglia have bought new bi-mode Class 755 trains.

This would appear to be more than enough to covering the current services, as they are replacing twenty-six trains with a total of fifty-eight coaches with thirty-eight trains with a total of one hundred and thirty-eight coaches.

That is 46 % more trains and 137 % more coaches.

The new trains are also genuine 100 mph trains on both electricity and diesel.

Obviously, Greater Anglia will be running extra services, but with the explosive growth around Cambridge, coupled with the new Cambridge North station, I feel they will be running extra services on the Peterborough to Cambridge route and perhaps further.

The new Werrington Grade Separation will make a difference.

  • It will open in a couple of years.
  • Trains between Peterborough and Lincoln won’t block the East Coast Main Line.
  • The Leicester route could also be improved.

So services to and from Lincoln and Leicester would probably be easier to run from Cambridge and Stansted Airport.

CrossCountry run a service between Birmingham New Street and Stansted Airport stations.

  • The service stops at Coleshill Parlway, Nuneaton, Leicester, Melton Mowbray, Oakham, Stamford, Peterborough, March, Ely and.Cambridge and Audley End stations.
  • The service doesn’t stop at Cambridge North station.
  • The service is run by an inadequate Class 170 train, which sometimes is only two coaches and totally full.
  • Trains take just over three hours ten minutes for the journey.

Will Greater Anglia take over this route? Or possibly run a second train as far as Leicester?

Their Class 755 trains with better performance and specification would offer the following.

  • Electric running between Ely and Stansted Airport stations.
  • Greater passenger capacity.
  • wi-fi, plugs and USB sockets.
  • A three hour journey both ways.
  • The extra performance would probably allow an extra important stop at Cambridge North station.

The new trains would certainly offer what passengers want.

CrossCountry run an extra train between Birmingham New Street and Leicester, so perhaps at the Western end, the Greater Anglia service need only go as far as Leicester.

At the Stansted end of the route, there will be an hourly train between Stansted Airport and Norwich, so there could be scope for perhaps cutting one the services back to Cambridge.

Obviously, time-tabling would sort it out to the benefit of the train operators and passengers, but I can envisage a set of services like this.

  • Norwich and Stansted Airport – Greater Anglia – 1 tph
  • Birmingham New Street and Stansted Airport – CrossCountry – 1 tph
  • Leicester and Cambridge – Greater Anglia – 1 tph
  • Colchester and Peterborough – 1 tph
  • Norwich and Nottingham (Currently Liverpool Lime Street) – 1 tph

Adding these up you get.

  • Stansted Airport and Cambridge – 2 tph – As now!
  • Stansted Airport and Cambridge North – 2 tph – New service!
  • Cambridge and Ely – 4 tph – At least!
  • Ely and Peterborough – 4 tph – At least!
  • Cambridge and Peterborough – 2 tph – Up from 1 tph
  • Stansted Airport and Peterbough – 1 tph – As now!
  • Cambridge and Leicester – 2 tph = Up from 1 tph.

This pattern or something like it would be much better for all.

If the Ely-Peterborough section of the were to be electrified then it would enable the following.

  • A reduced journey time for electric or bi-mode trains.
  • If required Greater Anglia could run an extra electric service using Class 720 trains between Stansted Airport and Peterbough.

I said earlier that the Werrington Grade Separation will make it easier to run services between Peterborough and Lincoln.

So why not add an hourly service between Cambridge and Lincoln?

I can envisage, when the West Anglia Main Line is four-tracked at the southern end, that there might be enough capacity for a Liverpool Street to Lincoln service via Cambridge, Cambridge North, Ely, Peterborough, Spalding and Sleaford.

But whatever happens Greater Anglia’s choice of bi-mode Class 755 trains, seems to give them the flexibility to match services to passengers needs.

Electro-Diesel and Battery-Electric Freight Locomotives

The Class 88 locomotive is an electro-diesel freight locomotive, that can use either power from overhead electrification or an pnboard diesel engine.

I believe that locomotives like this will become more common and that eventually, we’ll see a battery-electric heavy freight locomotive.

I wrote about the latter in Thoughts On A Battery/Electric Replacement For A Class 66 Locomotive.

The Peterborough-Ely Line will see increasing numbers of trains hauled by these powerful electric locomotives, with either diesel or battery power to propel them over the gaps in the electrification.

Electrifying the line would speed these hybrid trains through and increase the capacity of the route.

Conclusion

Network Rail have annoyed the train operators with their planning and timing of the upgrade at Kings Cross station.

It looks to me, that the part of the problem, is that there is no viable electrified secondary route to London.

Bi-mode trains can use the Peterborough-Ely Line to go to Liverpool Street via Cambridge.

This line is one of those routes that sits in a sea of electrification, which carries a lot of traffic, that would bring several benefits if it were to be electrified.

  • Direct electric trains between Cambridge and Peterborough, would greatly improve the spasmodic service between the two cities, with large economic benefits to the county.
  • An electric diversion route would be created from Peterborough to Liverpool Street via Ely and Cambridge.
  • It would allow Greater Anglia to develop routes West of Cambridge to places like Lincoln and Leicester using their future fleet of Class 755 trains.
  • It would also make it easier for battery-electric freight locomotives to cover the busy freight route between Felixstowe and Peterborough.

I also feel that it wouldn’t be the most difficult route to electrify.

The Fens are flat.

There is no history of mining.

The track is fairly straight and simple.

I suspect that it could become a high-quality 90-100 mph, electrified line.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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December 8, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SuperSaturday On Southeastern

This article on IanVisits is entitled Cheap Train Tickets On Southeastern Railway This Weekend.

This is the first three paragraphs.

This weekend is SuperSaturday on Southeastern railway and they’re offering unlimited travel across their entire network for just £20. You can also add up to four children for £1 each.

You have to book a ticket from a set departure station, but beyond that, you are free to travel to as many stations as you like on the day.

It also includes travel on High Speed One out of St Pancras.

What a brilliant marketing idea!

Perhaps other train operating companies should do the same thing.

If Greater Anglia did it on a day when several of Cambridge United, Colchester United, Ipswich Town, Norwich City, Peterborough United and Southend were at home, what would it do to gates and travel around East Anglia.

Obviously, Northern couldn’t do it, as the RMT strike on Saturdays.

 

 

October 6, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

A Greater Anglia Train In An Unexpected Place

I took these pictures from Drayton Park station of a Greater Anglia train, which  consisted of a Class 90 locomotive, Mark 3 coaches and a DVT going South on the line above the station that leads to the Canonbury Curve.

I wonder what it had been doing?

 

October 1, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Are Greater Anglia Buying So Many Class 755 Trains, So They Can Run A Better Service During Constant Works On The Great Eastern?

Yet again, they were rebuilding the Great Eastern Main Line, so I didn’t get to football at Ipswich yesterday.

It’s not that I mind the buses, but it means two things.

  • I have to leave so early, that I can’t do my weekly shop before I go.
  • I also get back so late that I will miss Strictly on the television.

There is also the problem, that Ipswich is one of the worst places to find a gluten-free meal, unless you go to Pizza Express.

I often have my lunch before I travel or take it on the train from Leon or M & S.

For some time now, I’ve suspected that Greater Anglia have ordered a lot more Class 755 trains, than they need, based on a train-for-train replacement basis

It now becomes obvious why!

At weekends, they will link four-car trains together and run four trains per hour on the following routes.

  • Norwich to Cambridge
  • Ipswich to Cambridge

One train in four will continue to and from London after Cambridge.

On the other hand, it could be a plot by Norwich fans in Greater Anglia’s headquarters in Norwich to annoy Ipswich fans!

 

 

September 23, 2018 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where Will Greater Anglia Deploy The First Class 745 Trains?

This article on Railway Gazette is entitled ‘Gorgeous Beast’ Will Change Perception Of Rail Travel.

This is unusual language, when you’re talking about modern diesel and electric trains, especially when it comes from the CEO of a financial company investing in trains, as a safe long-term investment for money like pension funds.

But if the Class 755 trains cause Mark Swindell to use such language, they must have something about them.

Perhaps, it’s the fact that they follow the layout of the legendary and much-loved by some, Class 442 train, which also had a power-car in the middle. It is informative to compare the Class 442 train with a four-car Class 755/4 train.

  • The 442’s power-car is electric, whilst the 755/4’s is diesel/electric and can be diesel/electric/battery.
  • The 442 has seats for 346 in two classes, whilst the 755/4 has 229 in a single class.
  • The 442 has 1200 kW of power, whilst the 755/4 has 2600 kW on electric power and 1920 kW on diesel-electric power
  • Both are 100 mph trains, although the 442 holds the World Record for a third-rail train at 108 mph.

I am drawn to the following conclusions about the Class 755 train.

Passenger Comfort

Passengers will have plenty of space, in addition to the customer comforts, which appear to be of a high standard.

Some passengers might miss First Class, but will the extra space compensate.

Power

The power figures quoted in the Railway Gazette show the following.

  • In electric mode, the train will have more than double of the power of the 442.
  • In diesel-electric mode, the train has sixty percent more power, than the 442.

This will mean that the train should have superb acceleration.

Top Speed

With all this power, the planned operating speed of 100 mph will be determined more by the track, signalling and other trains, rather than any limitations of the trains.

There are three improvements in Network Rail’s Improvement Pipeline, that will allow faster running by Class 755 trains.

  • Trowse Swingbridge
  • Haughley Junction doubling
  • Ely Area service improvements

The improvement will help these services by Class 755 trains.

  • Norwich to Stansted Airport via Ely, Cambridge North and Cambridge.
  • Peterborough to Colchester via Ely, Bury St. Edmunds and Ipswich
  • Cambridge to Ipswich

I could also see the operating speed on the Breckland Line raised.

Routes

How will the routes be affected by trains with a better performance?

Norwich To Stansted

Currently, the two legs take.

  • Norwich to Cambridge – 1:24
  • Cambridge to Stansted – 0:39

Which adds up to a convenient 2:03.

With the faster trains and eight stops, it looks like this route could be done several minutes under two hours, with a round trip of four hours, which would need four trains for a one train per hour (tph)service.

Ipswich to Cambridge

Currently, this route takes 1:16 with eight stops.

This is not very convenient and the time savings needed to get the route under an hour will not be easy.

Colchester to Peterborough

Currently, the two legs take.

  • Colchester to Ipswich – 0:19
  • Ipswich to Peterborough – 1.41

Which adds up to a convenient 2:00.

With the faster trains, it looks like this route could be done several minutes under two hours, with a round trip of four hours, which would need four trains for a one tph service.

Ipswich to Lowestoft

Currently, this route takes 1:26 with nine stops.

With the faster trains, it looks like this route could be done several minutes under one-and-a-half hours, with a round trip of three hours, which would need three trains for a one tph service.

It also looks like up to three trains per day will run from London to Lowestoft.

So Which Route Will Get The New Trains First?

Greater Anglia will obviously deploy them, where there is the greatest need for extra capacity or there is the greatest return to be made!

I think, we’ll see them on the Lowestoft route or between Cambride and Norwich first.

They’ll certainly be worth waiting for, if Mark Swindell is right.

September 22, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Swiss-Style Wheelchair Ramp

I took this picture of a wheelchair ramp at Interlaken Ost station

At least I noticed several low-floor trains with gap fillers.

I think most of these pictures were taken of trains built by Swiss train manufacturer; Stadler.

I think that this is the way to go.

Stadler are using gap fillers on their Class 777 trains for Merseyrail. This is said in Wikipedia about the design of the trains.

The trains will also have platform gap fillers so wheelchair users will not have to use ramps to board the train.

Will there be step-free access on Greater Anglia’s Class 745 and Class 755 trains?

It’s obviously good for passengers, but what’s in it for train operators?

It’s all about making the dwell time in a station as short as possible.

September 16, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

Greater Anglia Shows Off First Aventra Carriages

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

This is said.

Greater Anglia said the trains’ underfloor heating and air conditioning units will do away with the need for heating vents and create more legroom for passengers.

It does appear that Bombardier are trying very hard to create a more efficient and extremely passenger-friendly train.

September 15, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment