The Anonymous Widower

The New Underground Station Entrance At Euston Station

The entrance to Euston Underground station has been moved to the piazza outside station.

It appears there have been two objectives.

  • To create more seating space in the cramped main station.
  • To separate travellers walking to and from the Underground from those standing in the station forecourt.

Compared to Kings Cross, London Bridge and Waterloo, Euston has rather complicated pedestrian flows, which hopefully will be simplified, when the station is rebuilt for High Speed Two.

May 13, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Could Rail Access To Heathrow Be Formed Of The Best Bits Of Various Schemes, But Discounting HS4Air And Windsor Link Railway?

This post is an updated version of Could Rail Access To Heathrow Be Formed Of The Best Bits Of Various Schemes?, which has been written to fit with the situation as it exists in April 2019.

  • HS4Air has not been accepted.
  • Windsor Link Railway has not been accepted.
  • The scheme is Heathrow-only.

Various schemes have been proposed to improve rail access to Heathrow.

There are also two schemes in progress, that will improve rail access to Heathrow.

  • Crossrail, which will open to Heathrow  in 2019.
  • Piccadilly Line Upgrade, which will be complete in 2025.

I also believe that if the West London Orbital Railway is created, then this could have a positive affect on travelling to and from Heathrow.

Heathrow In The Future

Heathrow are disclosing a master plan, for rebuilding a lot of the airport to make it more efficient and up with the best.

  • There will be two main terminals; Heathrow West and Heathrow East with satellites in between handling the actual planes.
  • These two terminals and the satellites will be between the two existing runways, with a passenger and baggage transport system beneath.
  • Terminal Five will become Heathrow West.
  • An extended Terminal Two will become Heathrow East.
  • Crossrail, Heathrow Express and the Underground will serve both main terminals.

I believe that this rebuilding will happen, whether or not a third runway is built and it could start in the next few years.

Heathrow’s Pollution Footprint

Heathrow is a big polluter, but it is not so much the planes, as the diesel cars, buses and trucks serving the airport.

Heathrow’s Third Runway

Heathrow’s third runway and another terminal could be built North of the current two runways.

These factors would effect the chance of it being built and the eventual opening  date.

  • The development of extra services on High Speed One.
  • The opening of High Speed Two.
  • The building of a second runway at Gatwick.
  • Extra capacity at other London airports, like City, Luton, Southend and Stansted.
  • Politics, as many possible leaders of the Conservative and Labour parties don’t want it built.

I have a feeling that Heathrow’s Third Runway could be a back-burner project for decades.

I do think though, that the space underneath the third runway could be used as a rail terminal.

Uses For Improved Rail Access

There are several uses for improved rail access to Heathrow.

Passengers

Many passengers feel they must drive to and from Heathrow.

Next year, Crossrail will connect Heathrow directly to the City of London, Canary Wharf, the West End and to the heart of London’s Underground, Overground and National Rail system.

An example journey will be Bond Street to Heathrow Central in twenty-six minutes.

New trains on the Piccadilly Line are planned to enter service in 2023 and will offer more capacity and more pleasant journeys.

Currently, Piccadlly Circus to Heathrow Central takes fifty-two minutes and I would hope that this time is reduced to perhaps 40-45 minutes.

I think, these two upgrades will change the way many in Central, North East, East and South East London access the airport.

  • Trains will be more comfortable.
  • Trains will be frequent.
  • Crossrail will be completely step-free.
  • The Piccadilly Line will have more step-free stations.
  • The Crossrail trains will have masses of space.
  • Trains will take passengers to all the terminals

But Crossrail and the Piccxadilly Line upgrade, will do little for those in North West and South West London and those living to the West of the airport.

Workers

Workers at Heathrow, range from highly-paid pilots down to  lowly-paid cleaners, with a full spectrum in between.

Many though have a problem, in that they need to get to and from the airport at times, that are inconvenient for public transport.

A station guy at Staines said that getting between there and Heathrow for an early start or after a late finish is difficult.

The lower-paid workers also need good links to areas of lower-cost housing.

In an ideal world, Crossrail and Piccadilly Line services, should run on a twenty-four hour basis, with appropriate frequencies.

Supplies For The Airport And The Aircraft

I wonder what percentage of the supplies for Heathrow is brought in by diesel truck.

In the Heathrow of the Future, surely many supplies could be loaded onto smart trolleys and taken on electric freight trains to delivery points under the airport.

Air Cargo

Heathrow is an important air cargo terminal, but as with supplies, surely the cargo can be collected outside of the airport and delivered by electric shuttle trains.

Could Heathrow Go Diesel-Free?

I believe that if a well-designed rail-terminal was built under a new third runway, the extra rail capacity could enable, Heathrow to go substantially zero-carbon on the ground!

  • All vehicles bringing passengers to the Airport would have to be zero-carbon powered.
  • Hybrid vehicles would have to use battery power within a few miles of the Airport.
  • Air cargo and airport supplies would be shuttled into the Airport by electric train to the rail terminal under the third runway.
  • All vehicles serving the planes would be zero-carbon powered.
  • Even giant aircraft tugs for Boeing 747s and Airbus A380s can be battery-powered.
  • We are probably talking several years before a third runway would open! So why not?

It is disruptive innovation on a grand scale!

Airports built to these principles and there will be several before 2030, will have a massive marketing advantage.

The Best Bits Of The Various Actual And Proposed Rail Routes Into Heathrow

Crossrail

  • Connectivity to large parts of London and the East.
  • Connectivity to lower-cost housing areas in East and West London.
  • High capacity.
  • Frequent trains
  • Modern trains
  • All terminals served
  • Extra trains could be added.

The capability for 24 hour operation has hopefully been built in.

Heathrow Southern Railway

  • Connectivity to Waterloo, Clapham Junction, South and South West London
  • Extends Heathrow Express to Woking and Basingstoke
  • Adds a new route for commuters into Paddington.
  • Extends Crossrail from Heathrow to Staines.
  • It will be built alongside the M25 with a tunnel to Terminal Five.
  • All terminals served
  • Provides a freight route into the airport from the South West.
  • Privately funded.

Heathrow Southern Railway would also be able to serve any future rail terminal under a new third runway.

Piccadilly Line Upgrade

  • Connectivity to West and North London
  • Connectivity to lower-cost housing areas in West London
  • Frequent trains
  • All terminals served.
  • No new infrastructure

The Piccadilly Line probably needs 24 hour operation.

Western Rail Approach To Heathrow

  • Connectivity to Slough and Reading and further West with a change.
  • All terminals served.
  • Provides a freight route into the airport from the West.
  • Network Rail’s proposed scheme.
  • Government funded (?)

As with the Heathrow Southern Railway, Western Rail Approach To Heathrow would also be able to serve any future rail terminal under a new third runway.

West London Orbital Railway

  • Connectivity to North West London with a change at Old Oak Common.
  • Connectivity to low-cost hosting areas in West London.
  • Created as part of the Overground.
  • Eight trains per hour (tph) through Old Oak Common.
  • Connectivity for high-value passengers in affluent parts of North London.
  • Connectivity for important workers in less-affluent parts of North West London.
  • Probably, Transport for London funded.
  • No difficult construction.

The West London Orbital Railway should go ahead, because it connects so much of West London to Crossrail, Old Oak Common and High Speed Two.

Conclusions

I have seen railway stations and airports all over Europe.

Many airport stations are cramped, as they have been built as an afterthought.

But some like Schipol and Frankfurt have a comprehensive station, where you can get trains to a very long list of places without a change.

Heathrow Connectivity

Heathrow needs a very high level of connectivity, for passengers, workers and freight.

The two major schemes, that are left,  provide that.

  • Heathrow Southern Railway, which extends Heathrow Express to the South West and provides links to Waterloo and Greater South London.
  • Western Rail Approach To Heathrow does what it says in the name.

Both schemes would share the same Western access route to Terminal 5 station and this could be extended to also serve a new rail terminal under the proposed third runway.

What About The Workers?

Heathrow’s other big need is rail access for the increasing numbers of people, who work at the airport and live locally.

  • Heathrow Southern Railway links the airport to South West London.
  • Western Rail Approach To Heathrow links the airport to Reading and Slough.
  • Crossrail links the airport to Old Oak Common with its housing developments and rail connections with High Speed 2 and the London Overground.
  • West London Orbital Railway will bring more workers and passengers to Old Oak Common from all over North West and South West London.

Old Oak Common will be important for many working at the airport.

Pollution Solution

As the airport develops, Heathrow Southern Railway and Western Rail Approach To Heathrow could together make a substantial reduction in the pollution emitted by the airport.

Old Oak Common station

Old Oak Common station will become an important interchange for workers and passengers travelling to and from Heathrow.

  • It must be totally step-free.
  • Some of the long interchange walks on current plans should be augmented by travelators.
  • Crossrail is planning six tph between Old Oak Common and Heathrow. Is that enough?

Get Old Oak Common right and all those needing to go to and from Heathrow will benefit.

Heathrow And Gatwick

The connection between Heathrow and Gatwick Airports is tortuous at present.

  • It will get better, as Crossrail and Thameslink improve.
  • As the airports grow, with a third runway at Heathrow and a second one at Gatwick, how many people will want to travel quickly between the two airports, as increasingly, both airports will offer services to more destinations?
  • As a Londoner, I also believe that we will see more split flights, where passengers stopover in London for a night or two, when they are going halfway around the world.

Terminal London will be the best airport transfer terminal in the world.

Heathrow And High Speed One

I will be very surprised if many travellers need to go quickly between Heathrow and High Speed One.

For those that need to do it, using an extended Crossrail between Heathrow and Ebbsfleet will probably be good enough.

Heathrow And High Speed Two

For all sorts of reasons Heathrow needs good connectivity to High Speed Two.

With the elimination of direct access to the airport by High Speed Two, a short journey between Heathrow Airport and Old Oak Common stations will have to be acceptable.

 

 

April 28, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hydrogen Trains To Be Trialled On The Midland Main Line

This article on Railway Gazette is entitled Bimode And Hydrogen Trains As Abellio Wins Next East Midlands Franchise.

Abellio will be taking over the franchise in August this year and although bi-mode trains were certain to be introduced in a couple of years, the trialling of hydrogen-powered trains is a surprise to me and possibly others.

This is all that is said in the article.

Abellio will also trial hydrogen fuel cell trains on the Midland Main Line.

It also says, that the new fleet will not be announced until the orders are finalised.

In this post, I’m assuming that the hydrogen trial will be performed using the main line trains.

Trains for the Midland Main Line will need to have the following properties

  • 125 mph on electric power
  • 125 mph on diesel power
  • Ability to go at up to 140 mph, when idigital n-cab signalling is installed and the track is improved.
  • UK gauge
  • Ability to run on hydrogen at a future date.

I think there could be three types of train.

  • A traditional bi-mode multiple unit, with underfloor engines like the Hitachi Class 800 series, is obviously a possibility.
  • An electrical multiple unit, where one driving car is replaced by a bi-mode locomotive with appropriate power.
  • Stadler or another manufacturer might opt for a train with a power pack in the middle.

The second option would effectively be a modern InterCity 225.

  • South of Kettering, electricity would be used.
  • North of Kettering, diesel would be used
  • Hydrogen power could replace diesel power at some future date.
  • Design could probably make the two cabs and their driving desks identical.
  • The locomotive would be interchangeable with a driver car.

Bi-modes would work most services, with electric versions working to Corby at 125 mph.

Which manufacturer has a design for a 125 mph, hydrogen-powered train?

Alstom

Alstom have no 125 mph UK multiple unit and their Class 321 Hydogen train, is certainly not a 125 mph train and probably will still be under development.

Bombardier

In Mathematics Of A Bi-Mode Aventra With Batteries, I compared diesel and hydrogen-power on bi-mode Aventras and felt that hydrogen could be feasible.

In that post, I wrote a section called Diesel Or Hydrogen Power?, where I said this.

Could the better ambience be, because the train doesn’t use noisy and polluting diesel power, but clean hydrogen?

It’s a possibility, especially as Bombardier are Canadian, as are Ballard, who produce hydrogen fuel-cells with output between 100-200 kW.

Ballard’s fuel cells power some of London’s hydrogen buses.

The New Routemaster hybrid bus is powered by a 138 kW Cummins ISBe diesel engine and uses a 75 kWh lithium-ion battery, with the bus being driven by an electric motor.

If you sit in the back of one of these buses, you can sometimes hear the engine stop and start.

In the following calculations, I’m going to assume that the bi-mode |Aventra with batteries has a power source, that can provide up to 200 kW, in a fully-controlled manner

Ballard can do this power output with hydrogen and I’m sure that to do it with a diesel engine and alternator is not the most difficult problem in the world.

So are Bombardier designing the Bi-Mode Aventra With Batteries, so that at a later date it can be changed from diesel to hydrogen power?

All an Aventra needs to run is electricity and the train, the onboard staff and passengers don’t care whether it comes from overhead wires, third-rail, batteries, diesel or hydrogen.

Bombardier  also have the technology for my proposed locomotive-based solution, where one driver-car of an Aventra is replaced by what is effectively a locomotive.

If Bombardier have a problem, it is that they have no small diesel train to replace Abellio’s small diesel trains. Could the longer services use the bi-mode Aventras and the shorter ones Aventras with battery power?

CAF

CAF probably have the technology, but there would be a lot of development work to do.

Hitachi

Hitachi have the bi-mode trains in the Class 802 trains, but haven’t as yet disclosed a hydrogen train.

Siemens

They’ve made a few noises, but I can’t see them producing a bi-mode train for 2022.

Stadler

In a few weeks time, I will be having a ride in a Stadler-built Class 755 train, run by Abellio Greater Anglia.

The Class 755 train is a bi-mode 100 mph train, from Stadler’s Flirt family.

Could it be stretched to a 125 mph train?

  • Stadler have built 125 mph electric Flirts.
  • It is my view, that Stadler have the knowledge to make 125 mph trains work.
  • Flirts are available in any reasonable length.
  • I’ve read that bi-mode and electric Flirts are very similar for drivers and operators.

These could work the Midland Main Line.

If the mainline version is possible, then Abellio could replace all their smaller diesel trains with appropriate Class 755 trains, just as they will be doing in East Anglia.

Stadler with the launch of the Class 93 locomotive, certainly have the technology for a locomotive-based solution.

East Midlands Railway would be an all-Stadler Flirt fleet.

As to hydrogen, Stadler are supplying hydrogen-powered trains for the Zillertalbahn, as I wrote in Zillertalbahn Orders Stadler Hydrogen-Powered Trains.

Talgo

Talgo could be the joker in the pack. They have the technology to build 125 mph bi-mode trains and are building a factory in Scotland.

My Selection

I think it comes down to a straight choice between Bombardier and Stadler.

It should also be noted, that Abellio has bought large fleets from both manufacturers for their franchises in the UK.

Zero-Carbon Pilots At Six Stations

This promise is stated in the franchise.

Once the electrification reaches Market Harborough in a couple of years, with new bi-mode trains, running on electricity, the following stations will not see any passenger trains, running their diesel engines.

  • St. Pancras
  • Luton Airport Parkway
  • Luton
  • Bedford
  • Wellingborough
  • Kettering
  • Corby
  • Market Harborough

These are not pilots, as they have been planned to happen, since the go-ahead for the wires to Market Harborough.

Other main line stations include.

  • Beeston
  • Chesterfield
  • Derby
  • East Midlands Parkway
  • Leicester
  • Long Eaaton
  • Loughborough
  • Nottingham
  • Sheffield

Could these stations be ones, where East Midlands Railway will not be emitting any CO2?

For a bi-mode train to be compliant, it must be able to pass through the station using battery power alone.

  • As the train decelerates, it charges the onboard batteries, using regernerative braking.
  • Battery power is used whilst the train is in the station.
  • Battery power is used to take the train out of the station.

Diesel power would only be used well outside of stations.

How would the trains for the secondary routes be emission-friendly?

  • For the long Norwich to Derby and Nottingham to Liverpool routes, these would surely be run by shorter versions of the main line trains.
  • For Stadler, if secondary routes were to be run using Class 755 trains, the battery option would be added, so that there was no need to run the diesel engines in stations.
  • For Bombardier, they may offer battery Aventras or shortened bi-modes for the secondary routes, which could also be emission-free in stations.
  • There is also the joker of Porterbrook’s battery-enhaced Class 350 train or BatteryFLEX.

I think that with the right rolling-stock, East Midlands Railway, could be able to avoid running diesel engines in all the stations, where they call.

Why Are Abellio Running A Hydrogen Trial?

This is a question that some might will ask, so I’m adding a few reasons.

A Train Manufacturer Wants To Test A Planned Hydrogen Train

I think that it could be likely, that a train manufacturer wants to trial a hydrogen-powered variant of a high-speed train.

Consider.

  • The Midland Main Line is about 160 miles long.
  • A lot of the route is quadruple-track.
  • It is a 125 mph railway for a proportion of the route.
  • It has only a few stops.
  • It is reasonably straight with gentle curves.
  • Part of the route is electrified.
  • It is connected to London at one end.

In my view the Midland Main Line is an ideal test track for bi-mode high speed trains.

A Train Manufacturer Wants To Sell A Fleet Of High Speed Trains

If a train manufacturer said to Abellio, that the fleet of diesel bi-mode trains they are buying could be updated to zero-carbon hydrogen bi-modes in a few years, this could clinch the sale.

Helping with a trial, as Abellio did at Manningtree with Bombardier’s battery Class 379 train in 2015, is probably mutually-beneficial.

The Midland Main Line Will Never Be Fully Electrified

I believe that the Midland Main Line will never be fully-electrified.

  • The line North of Derby runs through the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. Would UNESCO allow electrification?
  • I have been told by drivers, that immediately South of Leicester station, there is a section, that would be very difficult to electrify.
  • Some secondary routes like Corby to Leicester via Oakham might be left without electrification.

But on the other hand some sections will almost certainly be electrified.

  • Around Toton, where High Speed Two crosses the Midland Main Line and the two routes will share East Midlands Hub station.
  • Between Clay Cross Junction and Sheffield, where the route will be shared with the Sheffield Spur of High Speed Two.
  • The Erewash Valley Line, if High Speed Two trains use that route to Sheffield.

The Midland Main Line will continue to need bi-mode trains and in 2040, when the Government has said, that diesel will not be used on UK railways,

It is my view, that to run after 2040, there are only two current methods of zero-carbon propulsion; on the sections without overhead electrification battery or hydrogen power.

So we should run trials for both!

Abellio Know About Hydrogen

Abellio is Dutch and after my trip to the Netherlands last week, I wrote The Dutch Plan For Hydrogen, which describes how the Dutch are developing a green hydrogen economy, where the hydrogen is produced by electricity generated from wind power.

So by helping with the trial of hydrogen bi-mode trains on the Midland Main Line, are Abellio increasing their knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of hydrogen-powered trains.

In Thoughts On Eurostar To North Netherlands And North West Germany, I  proposed running bi-mode trains on the partially-electrified route between Amsterdam and Hamburg via Groningen and Bremen, which would be timed to connect to Eurostar’s services between London and Amsterdam. These could use diesel, hydrogen or battery power on the sections without electrification.

If hydrogen or battery power were to be used on the European bi-mode train, It would be possible to go between Sheffield and Hamburg on a zero-carbon basis, if all electric power to the route were to be provided from renewable sources.

Abellio Sees The PR Value In Running Zero-Carbon Trains

In My First Ride In An Alstom Coradia iLint, I talked about running hydrogen-powered trains on a hundred mile lines at 60 mph over the flat German countrside

The Midland Main Line is a real high speed railway, where trains go at up to 125 mph between two major cities, that are one-hundred-and-sixty miles apart.

Powered by hydrogen, this could be one of the world’s great railway journeys.

If hydrogen-power is successful, Abellio’s bottom line would benefit.

Conclusion

This franchise will be a big improvement in terms of  carbon emissions.

As I said the choice of trains probably lies between Bombardier and Stadler.

But be prepared for a surprise.

 

 

 

 

 

April 11, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Isleworth Station To Go Step-Free

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

Isleworth station is on the list.

These pictures show the station.

It is a double track station on a viaduct with the platforms on either side.

Currently, services are four trains per hour (tph) in both directions. The trains, that I rode to and from the station were ten cars.

If the West London Orbital Railway should be created, then this would add another four tph in both directions.

With the extra services, step-free access could be important, as the West London Orbital Railway will link this station to both Crossrail and High Speed Two.

Installing The Lifts

Space is tight and Isleworth station is one without ticket barriers.

It should be possible to install Subway-to-Platform lifts, but if they can’t be fitted, then as the station doesn’t have barriers, outside lifts might be a solution.

April 8, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

University Buys Land For ‘Game-Changing’ High-Speed Rail Institute In Leeds

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

I have read the article and feel it is an important development, as it will be co-located with High Speed Two’s rolling stock depot in Leeds.

April 8, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Should The Borders Railway Be Extended To Carlisle Before The Opening Of High Speed Two?

The UK and Governments seem to be moving on extending the Borders Railway.

This article on the BBC is entitled Borders Railway Extension Study Supported.

This is the first two paragraphs.

The UK government has announced its backing for a feasibility study into extending the Borders Railway.

It could see the line from Edinburgh to Tweedbank taken to Hawick and Newcastleton and then on to Carlisle.

The promoters of High Speed Two have insisted that the High Speed Rail Line, is a line for all the UK.

By High Speed Two Between London And Carlisle

High Speed Two will have one train per hour between London and Glasgow, which will use the West Coast Main Line, to the North of Crewe.

This page on The Guardian is entitled How Will HS2 Change Journey Times To And From London?

The current time between Euston and Preston is two hours and eight minutes, which High Speed Two will reduce to one hour and twenty-four minutes.

Currently, the fastest trains between Preston and Carlisle take an hour and five minutes, so Carlisle is reached in three and a quarter hours.

I think it is a reasonable assumption to make that when High peed Two opens, Carlisle could be reached in two and a half hours, either direct or with a change at Preston.

West Coast Main Line Improvements

At the present time, the maximum speed on the West Coast Main Line, which is used by all trains between Preston, Carlisle and Glasgow is 125 mph.

But Virgin’s Class 390 trains could run at 140 mph with digital in-cab signalling. This improvement could reduce the time between Preston and Carlisle to an hour.

It is likely that before High Speed Two opens to Crewe in 2027, the Class 390 trains will be replaced.

As the West Coast Main Line and High Speed Two, will have the same operator, It would surely be sensible to replace the Pendolinos, with the High Speed Two classic-compatible rolling stock.

This is said in Wikipedia about High Speed Two rolling stock.

Alstom, one of the bidders for the contract to build the trains, proposed in October 2016 tilting HS2 trains to run on HS2 and classic tracks to increase overall speeds when running on classic tracks.

I wouldn’t be surprised  to see the following.

  • A single class of trains on High Speed Two handling all services.
  • Classic services on the West Coast Main Line using High Speed Two rolling stock.

This approach has advantages.

  • One type of train, must be more economic to operate.
  • There would be timing improvements on West Coast Main Line services, due to the faster trains running under digital signalling.
  • Trains could be introduced on West Coast Main Line services first.

, The trains might cost more, as Wikipedia points out.

But this will be a very large and important order for whoever wins the contract to build trains for High Speed Two and the West Coast Main Line!

So expect the bidders to submit some very innovative solutions for these trains!

No-one would change the fleet on the West Coast Main Line for a new fleet of faster trains, without doing the following.

  • Removing some or all of the known problems with junctions and stations on the route.
  • Installing digital signalling on the whole route and all trains.
  • Introducing 100 mph freight locomotives and trains.

What would happen to timings to Carlisle?

I think the following would not be impossible, with new trains, digital signalling and selective route improvements.

  • London and Carlisle in three hours using the West Coast Main Line.
  • London and Carlisle in two hours using the High Speed Two to Crewe and then the West Coast Main Line.

Considering, that these trains could probably go between Carlisle and Glasgow in an hour, there could be some impressive times to Glasgow.

Extending The Borders Railway To Carlisle

As I said in the previous section, there will be a lot of improvement in the times between London and Carlisle in the next few years, with times possibly dropping to around two hours in 2027, when High Speed Two opens to Crewe.

Before 2027, it looks like there will be a steady reduction in journey times between London and Carlisle.

This will mean that increasingly  the residents of the Borders will go to Carlisle, when they want to go South.

So I come to the conclusion, that it is absolutely essential, that the Borders Railway be extended to Carlisle as soon as is possible.

Improving The West Coast Main Line North Of Carlisle

To make best use of the new trains between Carlisle and Glasgow, there will probably be improvements to the West Coast Main Line through and to the North of the City.

The old MOD Depot at Longtown has been proposed as a new freight depot and this too will also require improvements, to the West Coast Main Line.

As the rebuilt Borders Railway will join the West Coast Main Line in the Longtown area, it looks to me, that a proper plan, would incorporate the Borders Railway connection in the West Coast Main Line improvements, that probably must be done.

Conclusion

High Speed Two will turn Carlisle into an important rail hub with links all over the Borderlands.

I believe it is essential that the Borders Railway should be extended to Carlisle as soon as possible and certainly before 2027.

With good planning, the Southern section could even be done as part of West Coast Main Line improvements for High Speed Two.

 

 

 

April 3, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | 2 Comments

Heat From HS2 Trains Will Warm 500 New Homes

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in today’s copy of The Times.

This is the third paragraph.

HS2 Ltd, the company building the  £56 billion high-speed line, has produced plans to recycle waste heat from the electric motors and brakes of trains approaching and departing from a £1 billion “super hub” station at Old Oak Common, near Willesden, North West London.

Other points from the article include.

  • Five air source heat pumps will be used.
  • , Each heat pump costs around £11,400.
  • The carbon footprint of each house could be reduced by a fifth.
  • Plans are at an early stage, but the technology is proven.
  • Similar technology could be applied to tunnels on the Northern routes to Leeds and Manchester.

I can only see one problem with the idea.

The companies bidding to make the trains for HS2, will design trains with the following features.

  • Highly-efficient aerodynamics of both trains and tunnels, to reduce energy losses and power required to move the train.
  • Regenerative braking to onboard electricity storage.
  • Train systems like air-conditioning, lighting and toilets that use smaller amounts of electricity.

HS2 will also draw heavily on proven  innovative ideas from similar projects, to reduce the energy used by the trains, whether in the tunnels or the open.

But, I would also suspect that HS2’s proposal is based on a good assessment of the energy dissipated by the trains.

 

March 16, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Is Wigan North Western Station Ready For High Speed Two?

Wigan North Western station will be a stop used by High Speed Two and according to the Proposed Service Pattern in the Wikipedia entry, it will have at least one train per hour (tph).

I took these pictures at the station during my overnight stay.

A few thoughts about the station.

Platform Lengths

According to a stationman, they can handle eleven-car Class 390 trains in the following platforms.

  • The Northbound platforms 5 and 6.
  • The South bound platform 4.

As I arrived from Euston in an eleven-car train in Platform 5, I feel that he was correct. These eleven-car trains are over two hundred and fifty metres long.

Wikipedia says this about trains for High Speed Two.

Both types of train would have a maximum speed of at least 350 km/h (220 mph) and length of 200 metres (660 ft). Two units could be joined together for a 400-metre (1,300 ft) train.

Wigan North Western station would accept a single-train now, but the platforms would need lengthening to handle a double-train.

February 24, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

A406 North Circular Road ‘Most Congested’ In The UK

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

This is the first paragraph.

Motorists on the UK’s most congested road spend an average of two and a half days a year sitting in traffic.

The section of the A406 between the Hangar Lane Gyratory and Chiswick Roundabout has always been a dreadful road to drive on, as long as I can remember.

These pictures show typical traffic around eleven o’clock in the morning.

There does seem to be rather a lot of private cars and small commercial vehicles, with only a few HGVs and buses.

I would love to see an analysis of where these journeys start and finish.

Converting the road to a multi-lane dual carriageway wouldn’t be possible, as much of it is lined with private houses and even if it could be built it would just attract more traffic and would need to be widened even more.

There are circular routes further out of London like the M25 and the A412, but this road is an intractable problem.

Perhaps, it needs to be in a Congestion Charge Zone?

But is a solution at hand?

Crossrail

Crossrail, if and when it opens, will not be a direct solution, as it goes East-West and not North-South like the A406 through the area.

But it will give better access to Heathrow, which is a large traffic generator in West London.

Crossrail will link the following to the Airport.

  • Canary Wharf
  • The City of London
  • East London and Essex
  • South-East London and Kent
  • West End and Paddington

It will do little to help those in North and South London to travel to and from the Airport.

Old Oak Common Station And High Speed Two

The connection of High Speed two and Crossrail could make a difference.

  • Passengers using High Speed Two travelling to and from Heathrow, would have an easy route.
  • North and North-East Londoners will be able to use the North London Line with a change at Old Oak Common.
  • South Londoners will be able to use the West London Line with changes at Old Oak Common and Clapham Junction stations.

But Old Oak Common station won’t open under 2026 at the earliest.

It is needed now.

It also does nothing for those travellers in wide swathes of North-West London.

The West London Orbital Railway

If there is a trusty knight on an immaculate white charger, coming to the rescue, it could be the West London Orbital Railway, although as it would be stitched together from parts of existing and underused infrastructure, it has more of the Dirty Dozen about it.

There would be two routes.

  • West Hampstead Thameslink and Hounslow via Cricklewood, Gldstone Park, Neasden, Harlesden, Old Oak Common, Acton Central, South Acton, Brentford, Syon Lane and Isleworth.
  • Hendon and Kew Bridge via Brent Cross West, Gldstone Park, Neasden, Harlesden, Old Oak Common, Acton Central and South Acton.

The project has various advantages.

  • No substantial amount of new track will be needed.
  • It could be run using battery-powered trains.
  • Costs would be well under half a billion pounds.
  • It would connect to Thameslink and Bakerloo, Jubilee and North London Lines.

When Old Oak Common and High Speed Two open, it would have a direct connection.

I wrote about this railway in detail in New Railway Line For West London Proposed.

North Acton Station

As stated under Development in the Wikipedia entry for North Acton station, there may be reasons to rebuild the station to create a connection between the North London and Central Lines.

This Google Map shows the area around North Acton station.

Note.

  1. North Acton station in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. The North London Line running North-South to the right of the map.
  3. The Dudding Hill Line branches off the North London Line at the top of the map.
  4. The Central Line running East-West through North Acton station and under the North London Line.
  5. Threading its way through North of the Central Line is the Acton-Northolt Line.
  6. The Acton-Northolt Line could be developed by Chiltern Railways to give access to a second London terminal at Old Oak Common.

To develop a successful station at North Acton, that tied everything together would be a hard ask.

  • The bridge carrying the North London Line is very high.
  • The height would make step-free access expensive.
  • The frequency of trains on both the North London and Central Lines could be twelve trains per hour (tph).
  • At least, there does appear to be plenty of space from the map.

On the other hand, an architect with vision might be able to create a station that was affordable and provided high benefits for passengers.

Conclusion

There’s certainly potential in West London to improve the rail routes, although I’m not sure whether rebuilding North Acton station would be viable.

But, we should start building the West London Orbital Railway immediately.

 

 

 

February 13, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Should High Speed Two Use Contactless Ticketing?

Ask Londoners what they think of contactless ticketing and the views, will generally be positive.

Londoners are also increasingly travelling with their credit and debit cards instead of London’s Oyster Card.

Other city’s like New York, are also going London’s way and are basing ticketing around bank cards.

High Speed Two’s Phase One Network

IWhen Phase One hopefully opens in 2025, according to this section in Wikipedia, this could be the service pattern in trains per hour (tph)

  • 3 tph – Birmingham Curzon Street calling at Old Oak Common (OOC) and Birmingham Interchange
  • 3 tph – Birmingham Interchange calling at OOC
  • 2 tph – Liverpool Lime Steet calling at OOC, Stafford (1tph), Crewe (1tph) and Runcorn
  • 3 tph – Manchester Piccadilly calling at OOC, Wilmslow (1tph) amd Stockport
  • 1 tph – Preston calling at OOC, Crewe, Warrington Bank Quay and Wigan North Western
  • 1 tph – Glasgow calling at OOC and Preston

This is a very simple network and consists of the following stations.

  • 3 tph – Birmingham Curzon Street
  • 5 tph – Birmingham Interchange
  • 2 tph – Crewe
  • 2 tph – Liverpool Lime Street
  • 3 – tph – Manchester Piccadilly
  • 13 tph – Old Oak Common
  • 2 tph – Preston
  • 2 tph – Runcorn
  • 1 tph – Stafford
  • 3 tph – Stockport
  • 1 tph – Warrington Bank Quay
  • 1 tph – Wigan North Western
  • 1 tph – Wilmslow

This is just thirteen stations..

Fitting these large and medium-sized stations with ticket barriers able to accept all forms of ticketing, that can handle hundreds of passengers is the sort of operation, that Transport for London has been doing for years.

High Speed Two’s Phase Two Stations

After completion of Phase Two, these stations will be added to the High Speed Two Network.

  • Carlisle
  • Carstairs
  • Chesterfield
  • East Midlands Parkway
  • Edinburgh
  • Edinburgh Haymarket
  • Leeds
  • Manchester Airport
  • Newcastle
  • Sheffield
  • York

This is another eleven stations.

Fares On High Speed Two

Wikipedia has a Section called Fares in their entry for High Speed Two.

This is said.

There has been no announcement about how HS2 tickets will be priced, although the government said that it would “assume a fares structure in line with that of the existing railway” and that HS2 should attract sufficient passengers to not have to charge premium fares. Paul Chapman, in charge of HS2’s public relations strategy, suggested that there could be last minute tickets sold at discount rates. He said, “when you have got a train departing on a regular basis, maybe every five or ten minutes, in that last half hour before the train leaves and you have got empty seats…you can start selling tickets for £5 and £10 at a standby rate.

I also have my views.

Capacity

I will look at current and future capacity to Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester

Note the following capacities of the various trains.

  • Class 390/0 – 9 cars – 469 seats
  • Class 390/1 – 11 cars  589 seats
  • High Speed Two – 1000 seats.

I am not making any class distinction.

Capacity To Birmingham

Currently, Virgin run three tph to Birmingham, which if they were all eleven car trains, which they aren’t would be a capacity of 1,767 seats per hour.

Phase One of High Speed Two will have six tph to the two Birmingham stations, which would be a capacity of 6,000 seats per hour.

This will be an increase in capacity of over three times.

Capacity to Liverpool

Currently, Virgin run one tph to Liverpool, which if it is an eleven car train, this would be a capacity of 589 seats per hour.

Phase One of High Speed Two will have two tph to Liverpool, which would be a capacity of 2,000 seats per hour.

This will be an increase in capacity of over three times.

Capacity to Manchester

Currently, Virgin run three tph to Manchester, which if they were all eleven car trains, it would be a capacity of 1,767 seats per hour.

Phase One of High Speed Two will have three tph to Manchester, which would be a capacity of 3,000 seats per hour.

This will be an increase in capacity of nearly twice.

Is Manchester Missing Out?

Mancunians will probably say they are being short-changed as their capacity increase is less than Birmingham and Liverpool.

But it should also be noted that Preston will have a High Speed Two service of two tph from London and Warrington Bank Quay and Wigan North Western, will each have one tph.

So travellers will be able to use High Speed Two without going to Manchester Piccadilly.

Fares And Ticketing

If I want to buy an Off Peak Return ticket on Virgin between Euston and Birmingham for a few days in the future, it will cost me £56.70 without a railcard.

Off Peak Returns to Liverpool and Manchester are £89.60 without a railcard.

Paper And E-Tickets

The current ticketing systems will probably still be available and just as you do with airlines, you will probably be able to buy tickets over the Internet and douwnload to your phone or print a paper ticket.

Contactless Cards

I would think, that it would be very likely that an Off Peak Single ticket to Birmingham will be under the contactless payment limit.

We don’t know how contactless is going to advance in the next few years, but, I suspect certain companies will be allowed a higher limit, if they take some of the risk.

I also think systems will get more sophisticated, so your bank might allow a railcard to be associated with your bank card.

This would reduce your Liverpool/Manchester fare to £59.15, which means each way is under the current contatless limit.

The longest Off Peak Return journey from Euston to Glasgow is only £98.00 with a raiicard.

Given these current ticket prices, I believe that contactless ticketing could be used to sell tickets on High Speed Two.

What Advantages Would Contactless Tickets Have For Passengers?

Convenience would be at a high level. You would do the following.

  • Turn up at the gate, where a display might say, that the current Single fare to Birmingham is £20 and the train leaves at 10:20.
  • Touch in at the gate.
  • Go through the gate, after your bank card had been checked.
  • Get on the train and find your seat.
  • Travel to Birmingham
  • Get off the train.
  • Touch out at the gate.
  • Go through the gate, after your bank card has been successfully debited with the fare.

What could be simpler?

Earlier, I indicated that Wikipedia says that standby fares will be available.

But imagine, if High Speed Two’s computer, adjusted the fares, so that the trains attracted a high level of passengers. Ryanair and EasyJet have been doing something similar for years.

So I think, that if High Speed Two get this right, they will do that difficult trick of making money and giving passengers low prices.

But the biggest advantages for passengers, is that they won’t have to plan their journeys in advance.

So supposing you work for a software company and one of the company’s clients in Birmingham, needs an urgent visit.

You can just go and know you’ll get the cheapest fare.

What Advantages Would Contactless Tickets Have For High Speed Two?

Contactless ticketing is so much more affordable than using paper or e-tickets.

IIt should also attract more passengers to use the train.

Conclusion

There are winners all round.

 

 

p

February 3, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | 2 Comments