The Anonymous Widower

Dancing Azumas At Leeds

This picture shows the 1749 arrival at Leeds from London Kings Cross.

Train details were as follows.

  • The train had left Kings Cross at 1533.
  • It was formed of two five-car trains working as a pair.
  • The train was perhaps a couple of minutes late, arriving in Leeds.
  • The train arrives in Platform 6.
  • The complete ten-car formation left for Harrogate at 1800.

My train for London, which was another pair of five-car trains arrived in Platform 8 at Leeds at 1806 from Harrogate. The train left on time at 1815.

At present there is no joining and splitting, but if this is used by LNER, the following timings are possible.

  • 1533 – Two five-car trains working as a pair leave Kings Cross.
  • 1749 – The train arrives in Platform 6 at Leeds and the two trains are uncoupled.
  • 1800 – A second driver gets into the rear train and he drives it towards Harrogate.
  • 1800 – The front train stays in the platform.
  • 1806 – The Harrogate to London service arrives from Harrogate and couples to the train in Platform 6.
  • 1815 – The pair of five-car trains leave for London.

I think it is all rather elegant.

  • Harrogate gets a five-car Azuma service, which is probably sufficient for the town’s need.
  • Five-car trains probably fit all platforms easily on the Harrogate Line, where stops are planned.
  • Will platforms at Headingley station be extended, so that London trains can stop during Test matches?
  • The inbound and outbound services to and from Harrogate pass each other on the double track.
  • The rear train from London reverses and goes to Harrogate..
  • The front train just fills up with new passengers and after coupling with the train from Harrogate goes back to London.
  • As Class 800 trains are supposed to be able to couple and uncouple in under two minutes, there should be only a small delay.
  • LNER are running two trains per hour between London and Leeds, but they could be running four separate services per hour Between London and Yorkshire.

But the biggest advantage is that the front train from London can go somewhere else! Bradford? Huddersfield?

Possible Destinations

These are possible destinations, distances and times.

  • Bradford – 13 miles – 25 minutes
  • Harrogate – 18 miles – 30 minutes
  • Huddersfield – 17 miles – 35 minutes
  • Hull – 20 miles – 60 minutes
  • Ilkley – 16 miles – 26 minutes
  • Middlesbrough – – 76 miles – 84 minutes
  • Scarborough – 67 miles – 75 minutes
  • Skipton – 26 miles – 43 minutes
  • York – 25 miles – 30 minutes

Harrogate would probably pair well with Bradford, Huddersfield, Skipton or York

Note.

  1. I have added Ilkley although it doesn’t have a service to London.
  2. Bradford Forster Square and Skipton already have one train per day (tpd) from London via Leeds.
  3. Routes to Bradford Forster Square, Ilkley and Skipton are electrified.
  4. Network Rail has plans to electrify the routes to Huddersfield and York.
  5. There are at least thirty tpd between London and Leeds in both directions run by LNER.

Six tpd, as are now running to Harrogate and Lincoln to all six destinations would need just eighteen tpd to split and join at Leeds.

Stations That Could Be Served

All these stations could be given a direct service to and from London.

I have included every station, which the LNER trains pass, in this list.

But why not?

  • These modern trains can make a station stop much quicker than older trains.
  • They would improve the local service to Leeds.
  • Some stations might be too small for five-car Azumas, that are 130 metres long.
  • No electrification would be needed, but it could be added.

Leeds could become an even more important rail hub for North Yorkshire.

 

December 30, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Gluten-Free Afternoon Tea In Bettys

Bettys of Harrogate is one of the best-known traditional tea rooms in Yorkshire, if not the whole of the North of England.

As today was the first weekday of LNER’s new Harrogate service, with six trains per day in both directions, I emailed an old friend and we agreed to meet up for an early afternoon tea, which is actually served from eleven in the morning.

These pictures show my tea, which was gluten-free.

It was certainly some of the best gluten-free sandwiches, cakes and scones, I’ve ever had.

Sadly,, my friend only had time for a coffee, as she was running late, due to a horse problem. But she did show me around Harrogate.

I have been before with C, but I didn’t remember anything except that we had a coffee in Bettys.

The Outward Journey To Harrogate

I took the 09:33 from Kings Cross and we arrived in Harrogate station a minute early at 12:16.

  • The journey took two hours and 43 minutes.
  • The train reversed direction at Leeds
  • The only problem appeared to be that the seat allocation system on the train wasn’t working. Could this be becuae, the service appeared to be timetabled for two five-car trains working as a pair and a nine-car turned up?
  • As it was only the second day of the service, I would expect some teething troubles.

These pictures show the Azuma train at Harrogate station.

On the train, I met a lady who was going to see her son and his family near Thirsk. She was saying that Harrogate has better bus connections than Thirsk, so it is a more convenient station.

Train Length And Horsforth Station

As you can see from the pictures a nine-car train is a tight fit in Harrogate station.

Two trains call at Horsforth station, where a Google Map appesrs to show a platform only long enough for a five-car train.

The Return Journey From Harrogate

My return train was a five-car Azuma train.

  • It left Harrogate at 15:36
  • It arrived at Kings Cross at 18:32, which was a couple of minutes late.
  • The journey time was two hours and 56 minutes.

I was also in Furst, so I got a delicious snack meal.

These Deli-Boxes certainly work as a snack for me.

As Adnams now do the 0.5% version of their Ghost Ship in cans, I would love to see trains carrying these beers or something similar.

Splitting And Joining At Leeds

My train didn’t split at Leeds on the way up, but according to one of the staff at Leeds, this is part of the final plan.

Consider.

  • Nine-car trains are a tight fit at Harrogate.
  • Nine-car trains don’t fit into Horsforth.
  • Nine-car trains are needed for capacity reasons to and from Leeds.

So two five-car trains, running as a pair to Leeds, would be ideal. One train would serve Harrogate and the other perhaps Bradford or Huddersfield.

As I was tired and in a hurry, when we arrived in Kings Cross, I forgot to check if we were five- or ten-cars.

Ticket Costs

I have just looked up prices for the 14th of January 2020 for going North on the 0933 and South on the 17:36.

  • Outbound in Standard costs £15.50
  • Return in Standard costs £12.20
  • First Class is £35 both ways.

All prices are with a Railcard.

Conclusion

The new Harrogate service is more than just a second destination in the Leeds Area.

  • As the lady told me, Harrogate has good connections to a large part of Yorkshire.
  • A difficult change, that can be slow is avoided at Leeds station.
  • Another lady told me, that her husband used to commute to London from Harrogate three days a week and often missed the connection at Leeds.
  • If you needed to go for say a business meeting in Harrogate or take your mother for lunch at Bettys on her birthday, the train service is ideal.
  • The Azumas add style to a route that will also appreciate it.

I am certain that LNER have a winner.

Bettys

I would certainly recommend, their gluten-free afternoon tea.

I wonder how many will come up from London to have lunch or a meeting in Bettys and the other cafes and restaurants in Harrogate?

Note that Bettys and several other cafes and restaurants are an easy walk from Harrogate station.

My friend and I said that we’ll meet up again in the Spring. It will be interesting to see how the service is behaving.

December 17, 2019 Posted by | Food, Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Chaos Between London And Leeds

On Tuesday, I had booked myself between Kings Cross and Leeds on the 11:03 LNER train. My idea was to do a short round trip to Harrogate from Leeds before going across the Pennines to Manchester and sign in to my hotel, before going to see Ipswich play at Rochdale in the evening.

But it all went wrong, as someone decided to commit suicide and was hit by a train at Grantham.

Finally, I got to Leeds at around two, which was too late to carry out my plan.

  • I just missed a Harrogate train and it was getting too dark for photographs.
  • I eventually got a very crowded TrainsPennine Express to Manchester Victoria.
  • My supper was just a gluten-free egg and waterfresh sandwich from Marks and Spencer.

At least, I’d only paid just under thirty pounds for my First Class ticket to Leeds, which was only six pounds more than I paid to cross the Pennines.

Conclusion

This is the second time recently, after Did Someone Try To Steal The Electrification?, when I’ve been seriously delayed by problems on the railways, which are nothing to do with the trains or train companies.

Staff at LNER told me that suicides are common in November, as Christmas approaches.

Short of putting a security guard every hundred metres along the railway, I don’t think there’s a certain way of stopping these incyursions.

November 5, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 5 Comments

Thoughts On LNER’s New Harrogate Service

I wrote about LNER’s improved service to Harrogate station in New Harrogate-London Rail Times Revealed.

If you look at each service, they have a very rel;axed stop at Leeds.

Northbound services are scheduled to take the following times.

  • 0733 – 8 minutes
  • 0933 – 7 minutes
  • 1133 – 7 minutes
  • 1333 – 7 minutes
  • 1533 – 11 minutes
  • 1733 – 13 minutes.

Sorthbound services are scheduled to take the following times.

  • 0736 – 11 minutes
  • 0936 – 10 minutes
  • 1136 – 8 minutes
  • 1336 – 9 minutes
  • 1536 – 8 minutes
  • 1736 – 9 minutes.

It seems a long time to pass through Leeds station.

But this is because the train reverses direction at Leeds station, so the driver has to change ends.

Will Azumas make any difference?

Azumas were designed around forty years after the current InterCity 125 trains that work the service. A five-car Azuma is also half the length of a two+eight InterCity 125.

So I wouldn’t be surprised to see in the new timetable, the 7-9 minutes reverse are timed for Azumas and the longer times are to allow InterCity 125 trains to run the service.

The Azuma services to Leeds seem to be run by two five-car trains, running as a pair.

Could this be, so that the train can split and join at Leeds?

  • A pair of five-car Azumas would arrive in Leeds from London.
  • A second driver gets in the rear cab of the rear train.
  • The two trains automatically uncouple.
  • The rear train drives off to the West to Bradford, Harrogate, Huddersfield, Skipton or wherever.
  • The front train can drive off to the East to perhaps Hull, Middlesbrough, Scarborough, Scotland or Sunderland.
  • If required the driver could change ends and continue to the East.

The process would be reversed when going South.

Possible Destinations

These are possible destinations, distances and times.

  • Bradford – 13 miles – 25 minutes
  • Harrogate – 18 miles – 30 minutes
  • Huddersfield – 17 miles – 35 minutes
  • Hull – 20 miles – 60 minutes
  • Middlesbrough – – 76 miles – 84 minutes
  • Scarborough – 67 miles – 75 minutes
  • Skipton – 26 miles – 43 minutes
  • York – 25 miles – 30 minutes

It looks to me that Leeds will become a very important station for LNER.

Their timetabling team will certainly be having a large amount of mathematical fun!

I can certainly see.

  • Bradford,, Chesterfield and Skipton having similar service levels to those starting to and from Harrogste in December.
  • Battery-electric Azumas handling the last few miles on battery power.
  • Journey times of under two hours between Leeds and Kings Cross.

I also feel that LNER and TransPennine Express will create an integrated network between Leeds and Scotland along the East Coast Main Line.

Conclusion

This arrangement gives a large range of destinations from London and the South.

Passengers and train operators would like it.

October 31, 2019 Posted by | Transport, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Shape Of Train Services To Come

Today, I went to Lincoln, which as I reported in LNER To Put Lincoln On The Rail Map, is now a city, that has five trains per day to and from London.

It actually appears that from the timetable change on December 15th, 2019, the LNER timetable will be as follows.

  • On Mondays to Saturdays, there will be six trains per day (tpd) in both directions.
  • On Sundays, there will be five tpd in both directions.
  • Services stop at Stevenage, Peterborough, Grantham and Newark Northgate.
  • All direct services are under two hours, by at least a couple of minutes.
  • Indirect services with a change at Newark are generally no more than ten minutes over two hours, with some under two hours.
  • All direct trains would appear to be five-car Class 800 trains.

I can’t see any cause for passenger complaint.

On The 10:06 To Lincoln

Today is a Friday and I had expected more people on this direct service to Lincoln Central station.

As this was the first direct Friday service at this time to Lincoln, perhaps the word has been slow to get around?

The train arrived on time in Lincoln, although it had been a few minutes late at Grantham.

I asked several people, including a knowledgeable journalist, if Lincoln had ever had a two-hourly service from London and all said the answer was never!

On The 13:23 From Lincoln

This train was very close to maximum capacity with only a few empty seats.

The only problem was a young Lady, although I hasten to add she didn’t behave like a lady, who was sitting on the other side of the carriage.

She was constantly shouting into her phone and using the F-word to boot.

An elderly gentleman politely asked her to calm it down and it made no difference.

I did say to the very large guy, who looked like a prop forward opposite me, that will you ram her phone down her throat or shall I? All it got was a few laughs all round.

Perhaps her mother, didn’t wash her mouth out with soap often enough?

Catering

The train had a buffet and we had a visit from the trolley on the way to Lincoln.

Coming back, there was no trolley, but the train might have been too busy to get it through.

First Class

Five-car Class 800 trains have forty-five First Class and two hundred and seventy Standard Class seats.

Given that some train companies are reducing the number of First Class seats, I wonder if LNER will follow suit on the service to and from Lincoln and perhaps replace them with Second Class seats.

Performance And Train Times

The journey is effectively in two parts.

  • 120 miles between Kings Cross and Newark, which is electrified.
  • 16 miles between Newark and Lincoln, which is not electrified.

A two hour trip between Kings Cross and Lincoln is an average of around sixty-eight mph.

The current two hour schedule is not a convenient time for an operator running a service. Something more under two hours would make timetabling easier.

Suppose, the train took an hour and forty minutes to do the trip and that twenty minutes were to be allowed for turnround and any short delays of a few minutes. This would enable a two-hourly clockface timetable, with a train both ways every two hours.

This would need an overall average speed of 81 mph, including all the stops.

Would this average speed be possible?

In the next few aub-sections, I’ll discuss various factors.

The Class 800 Trains

Consider.

  • The Class 800 trains have fast acceleration and deceleration.
  • Each stop currently takes about two minutes and probably with better systems and staff training could be improved.
  • Most of the time on the electrified East Coast Main Line, the trains are running at speeds in excess of 110 mph and at times up to 125 mph.
  • The trains can run at 140 mph with in-cab digital signalling, as their cousins; the Class 395 trains do on High Speed One.
  • Between Newark and Lincoln, the trains will be slowed by the maximum linespeed.
  • The trains will be running on diesel between Newark and Lincoln.
  • The next generation of AT300 trains are being designed for the Midland Main Line.

These trains will only get better.

In Thoughts On The Next Generation Of Hitachi High Speed Trains, I laid out my thoughts about how they will develop.

One development will be battery-electric trains and these will use battery power between Newark and Lincoln. This will mean that the trains would only need one diesel engine for emergencies like overhead line failure.

The 140 mph East Coast Main Line

Digital in-cab signalling is planed to be installed on the East Coast Main Line between London and Doncaster.

This will allow the following.

  • Closer control of the trains.
  • 140 mph running, where track and traffic allow.
  • More trains per hour (tph)

It was originally planned to be operational by 2020.

It should be noted that High Speed Two is planned to run at eighteen tph. Surely, the slower East Coast Main Line could allow an increase in frequency.

I estimate that this higher speed running could save upwards of ten minutes between Kings Cross and Newark.

Improvements Between Newark And Lincoln

Wikipedia says this about the line between Newark and Lincoln.

The line between Newark and Lincoln is currently only cleared for 50–70-mile-per-hour (80–100 km/h) speeds. Nottinghamshire County Council has paid for a study into 90-mile-per-hour (140 km/h) running.

From my helicopter, the line looks to be all double-track, fairly straight, in good condition, with signs of recent improvements. But there are also up to a dozen level crossings.

With improvements, I suspect that a 90 mph linespeed will be possible.

Summing Up Performance

My mathematical nous, feels that with the digital signalling and other improvements, that the required four hour round trip would be possible.

If this can be achieved, then just two trains would be needed to run a one train every two hours and between Kings Cross and Lincoln.

Other Services

The Wikipedia entry for LNER, says this about the services to Lincoln and other new destinations in the North.

An expanded service to Lincoln began on 21 October 2019 when four terminating services at Newark Northgate were extended into Lincoln. This is in addition to the sole one train per day service, which in all, now provides five out and back workings to and from London King’s Cross. LNER also plans for December 2019 timetable change that a sixth return service to London from Lincoln will be introduced and 5 extra services on a Saturday will begin from 7 December 2019. From December 2019, LNER will introduce a Harrogate to London service 6 times a day. LNER expects to introduce two-hourly services to Bradford and a daily service to Huddersfield in May 2020 when more Azuma trains have been introduced. The Middlesbrough service is expected to begin in December 2021 after infrastructure work required to run the service is completed.

That looks like a comprehensive increase in service to Bradford, Harrogate, Huddersfield and Middlesbrough

Conclusion

LNER seem to have made a good start on the increased service levels to Lincoln.

Harrogate would appear to be next!

It will be interesting to follow both places, to see if they benefit from an improved train service.

But I can certainly see a day in the not too distant future, when LNER’s or other operator’s Azumas and other 140 mph trains are running to multiple destinations via the East Coast Main Line.

 

 

October 25, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

New Harrogate-London Rail Times Revealed

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

This section details the six trains per day.

Factfile: New Harrogate-London train times
The new direct services between Harrogate and London Kings Cross are due to begin on December 8.
The planned timings for the new services Monday-Friday are as follows:
From Harrogate to Kings Cross: 07.34, 09.34, 11.34, 14.34, 15.34, 17.34.
From Kings Cross to Harrogate: 07.33, 09.33, 11.33, 13.33, 15.33, 17.33.
Similarly on Saturday and Sunday – making it a total of six trains each way every day.

Currently, there is just one train per day in both directions.

  • The 17:33 from Kings Cross arrives in Harrogate at 20:32 taking a minute under three hours.
  • The train calls at Stevenage, Grantham, Doncaster, Wakefield Westgate, Leeds and Horsforth.
  • The trains must have some form of independent power, as Leeds to Harrogate is not electrified.

The Harrogate service is an extension of the Leeds service, which takes two hours and twenty eight minutes between Kings Cross and Leeds.

Note that there are two trains per hour between Kings Cross and Leed and a total of around thirty trains per day (tpd)

So six tpd extending to Harrogate is not a big deal, as if the capacity exists between Leeds and Harrogate, there’s plenty more other trains that can be extended.

I will look at the timings of the first train from Kings Cross.

  1. It will leave King’s Cross at 07:33.
  2. It will arrive in Harrogate at 08:32.
  3. It will leave  Harrogate at 09:34.
  4. It will arrive in Leeds at 10:05.
  5. It will leave Leeds at 10:15.

It will arrive back in King’s Cross at 12:30.

Note.

  1. The 09:33 from Kings Cross to Harrogate will return as the 11:34 from Harrogate to Kings Cross.
  2. The 11:33 from Kings Cross to Harrogate will return as the 14:34 from Harrogate to Kings Cross.
  3. The 13:33 from Kings Cross to Harrogate will return as the 15:34 from Harrogate to Kings Cross.
  4. The 15:33 from Kings Cross to Harrogate will return as the 17:34 from Harrogate to Kings Cross.
  5. The 17:33 from Kings Cross to Harrogate will go to the depot from Harrogate for a well-earned service.

It looks to be very neat, with a n hour wait at Harrogate for service recovery.

Conclusion

What will six fast tpd do for the economy of Harrogate and Horsforth?

September 28, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment