The Anonymous Widower

Werrington Dive-Under – 8th September 2021

I had gone to Peterborough to take pictures of the Werrington Dive Under, from a train between Peterborough and Spalding.

I took these pictures going Peterborough and Spalding.

My train between Peterborough and Spalding stations took the following route.

  • The Class 158 train was a great improvement on the Class 153 train, I took in From Peterborough To Lincoln in 2015.
  • It started in Platform 1b at Peterborough station.
  • It then crossed over to the Down Fast line to go North.
  • Finally, it slowed to cross the Up Fast and Up Slow lines to go towards Spalding.
  • It is surely not an efficient and the safest way to run a railway.

Think about turning right on a busy dual carriageway, by going through a gap in the central reservation.

This diagram shows the new track layout of Werrington Junction.

Note.

  1. My train was going North on Line 5, so it had to use the two crossovers to get to the lines to Spalding.
  2. The Up Stamford (Line 4) can be seen in the pictures after the two lines have disappeared into the dive-under.

It’s a pity the first of my pictures aren’t better, but the sun was in the wrong direction.

I took these pictures going Spalding and Peterborough.

Note.

  1. The train used the Up Slow (line 7) to go between Werrington Junction and Peterborough station.
  2. The last two pictures show the Class 158 train in Platform 1b at Peterborough station.

At least this time, the train didn’t cross the Fast lines.

Will Passenger Trains Use The Werrington Dive-Under?

I’m very sure they will!

  • On the Western side of Peterborough station, there are four platforms 4 to 7 and an avoiding line for freight trains going North.
  • It appears that all of these lines can access the Down Stamford (Line 1) and Up Stamford (Line 4) to go to Werrington Junction.
  • At Werrington Junction, trains either take the route to Stamford or use the dive-under for Spalding.

It looks to me, that if the trains to and from Spalding terminated in one of the Western platforms, then they could use the Stamford Lines to access the dive-under and they wouldn’t cross the Fast Lines of the East Coast Main Line on the flat.

Greengauge 21’s Suggestion, That Thameslink Be Extended To Spalding

In the study by Greengauge 21, which is entitled Connecting East Lincolnshire, this is said.

As noted the Spalding-Peterborough line should be a strong candidate for electrification because of its freight potential, and if so it could also accommodate an extension of Thameslink services from London and the South East to Spalding where interchange would be made with a Spalding–Boston–Louth–Grimsby express bus using the A16.

This proposal may be possible, if instead of using the dive-under, the Thameslink trains were able to use the Up Slow (line 7) to go both ways between Werrington Junction and Peterborough station.

As in the near future, full digital signalling will apply through Peterborough, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Electrification Of The Werrington Dive-Under?

Consider.

  • There is a gap of around ninety miles in the freight route between the comprehensive electrification at Peterborough and Doncaster stations on the Great Northern and Great Eastern Joint Line (GNGE).
  • There are dozens of level crossings.
  • The route goes through the centre of Lincoln, where there are two level crossings.

There are two ways of decarbonising the route.

  • Full electrification
  • Using hydrogen-powered freight locomotives.

Both solutions have their proposers and opponents.

I favour hydrogen-electric hybrid locomotives, that can use electrification where it exists, as it reduces the infrastructure cost on overbridges and in freight depots.

  • Hydrogen-powered locomotives have a go-anywhere capability.
  • There are also a lot of routes in the UK, where freight trains currently run and it would take a long time to electrify all of them.
  • As rail freight companies would have to purchase a lot of new locomotives, I can see them opting for hydrogen-electric hybrid locomotives.

But there are others, who think the only way is full electrification.

London And Lincolnshire By Electric Train

Passenger trains are not a problem, as Alstom, CAF, Hitachi, Stadler and others have demonstrated battery ranges of over fifty miles.

LNER are currently serving Lincoln from London using Hitachi bi-mode Class 800 trains, which use diesel for the 16.5 miles between Newark and Lincoln.

Hitachi’s proposed Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train, is described in this Hitachi infographic.

I believe it would be possible to handle London and Lincoln via Newark without using diesel.

It also looks like it will be possible to convert the LNER’s current Class 800 trains into Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Trains.

But I doubt their range would sufficient to go between London and Lincoln via Peterborough, Spalding and Sleaford, unless there were to be a charging system at Lincoln.

But surely though, the ideal train for Lincolnshire would be a train that ran between London and Cleethorpes via Peterborough, Spalding, Sleaford, Lincoln, Market Rasen and Grimsby Town.

  • Peterborough and Lincoln is 56.9 miles.
  • Lincoln and Cleethorpes is 47.2 miles.
  • The service could be timed for a convenient interchange with the other Lincolnshire train services.
  • The service could run perhaps a few times per day.

With charging systems at Lincoln and Cleethorpes, similar to the Hitachi ABB Power Grids system that I described in Solving The Electrification Conundrum, this service could be run by an Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train.

Peterborough And Lincolnshire By Electric Train

If you could run between Peterborough and major places in Lincolnshire, as part of a London service, I also suspect that a well-designed Peterborough and Lincolnshire service could serve Lincolnshire almost equally well.

It might use Platform 5 to terminate at Peterborough.

  • This is paired with Platform 4, which is the platform generally used by LNER trains from London, so there would be a cross-platform interchange going North.
  • Going South, there would be a need to use the footbridge.

How many people would use an hourly cross-TransLincs service?

 

September 9, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Improving The Cross Country Route

The Cross Country Route is one of the UK’s forgotten railway lines.

  • It runs between York and Bristol Temple Meads.
  • Intermediate stations include Leeds, Wakefield Westgate, Rotherham Central, Meadowhall, Sheffield, Chesterfield, Derby, Burton-on-Trent, Tamworth, Birmingham New Street, University, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire Parkway, Cheltenham Spa and Bristol Parkway.
  • At the Northern end trains can swap to the electrified East Coast Main Line and can extend services to Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
  • At the Southern end trains can swap to the Great Western Main Line and extend services to Taunton, Exeter, Plymouth and Penzance.
  • Trains can also swap to the South Wales Main Line in the Bristol area, to serve Cardiff and South Wales.
  • Operating speeds are generally around 100 mph, but there are sections of 125 mph running.
  • Some sections of the route have 25 KVAC overhead electrification.

I very much believe that it is a route that is ripe for improvement.

These are my thoughts.

Extra And Rebuilt Stations

Recently, Worcestershire Parkway station has been opened on the route.

Bromsgrove station was rebuilt and reopened in 2016.

Derby station was remodelled in 2018.

In addition, there are aspirations for other mew stations and station improvements on the route.

I can see more station improvements and additions on the Cross Country Route.

New Trains

Most services are run by CrossCountry, who only use diesel trains.

Their core services are as follows.

Plymouth And Edinburgh uses the route between York and Bristol Temple Meads. The service runs under wires North of Leeds and at Bristol Parkway and at Birmingham New Street.

Southampton Central And Newcastle uses the route between York and Birmingham New Street. The service runs under wires North of Leeds and at Reading and at Birmingham New Street.

Bournemouth and Manchester Piccadilly uses the route at Birmingham New Street. The service runs under wires North of Birmingham New Street.

Bristol Temple Meads and Manchester Piccadilly uses the route between Bristol Temple Meads and Birmingham New Street. The service runs under wires at Bristol Parkway and North of Birmingham New Street.

Cardiff Central and Nottingham uses the route between Gloucester and Derby. The service runs under the wires West of Bristol Parkway and at Birmingham New Street.

Birmingham New Street and Nottingham uses the route between Birmingham New Street and Derby. The service runs under the wires at Birmingham New Street.

Birmingham New Street and Stansted Airport does not use the route. The service runs under the wires at Birmingham New Street and around Cambridge and Peterborough.

Birmingham New Street and Leicester does not use the route. The service runs under the wires at Birmingham New Street.

Note.

  1. Several services run under wires for sufficient time to charge a battery-electric train.
  2. Several services turn in stations for sufficient time to charge a battery-electric train.
  3. At least six or possibly seven of the services run for at least fifty miles on tracks that can handle 125 mph running. Some of this track will be upgraded to 140 mph with digital signalling.

This Hitachi infographic shows the Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train.

I believe that Hitachi could produce a version of this train, that would partially meet CrossCountry’s need for a new fleet to reduce their carbon footprint.

For the purpose of this analysis, I will assume this about the trains.

  • Battery power will always be used in stations.
  • The trains have a battery range of around forty miles at 100 mph.
  • Running at 125 mph will need 25 KVAC overhead electrification.

This table shows the current electrification status of the Cross Country Route.

  • York and South Kirby junction- 45.4 miles – Electrified
  • South Kirby junction and Birmingham New Street – 96.6 miles – Not Electrified
  • Birmingham New Street and Bromsgrove – 16 miles – Electrified
  • Bromsgrove and Bristol Parkway – 69.8 miles – Not Electrified
  • Bristol Parkway and Bristol Temple Meads – 4.8 miles- Not Electrified

The trains would appear to still need to use diesel on some parts of the route.

Or Hitachi ABB Power Grids could install short lengths of 25 KVAC overhead electrification to top up the trains’ batteries in appropriate places.

I believe CrossCountry could decarbonise this route using battery-electric trains and discontinuous electrification.

This would surely refresh the line and attract passengers, but would the trains speed up the service?

  • Birmingham New Street and Leeds is 116.4 miles and currently takes just under two hours at an average speed of 59.3 mph in a Class 221 train.
  • Several sections of line between Birmingham New Street and Leeds can sustain 125 mph running.
  • London Liverpool Street and Norwich is 114.5 miles and has regularly been achieved by British Rail-era electric trains in ninety minutes on a 100 mph line, which is an average speed of 76 mph.
  • Averaging 76 mph between Birmingham New Street and Leeds would give a time of 92 minutes.

For these and other reasons, I am fairly sure that a battery-electric train capable of running at 125 mph with fast acceleration could run between Birmingham New Street and Leeds in under ninety minutes, with the addition of some discontinuous electrification.

  • There is currently one tph between Birmingham New Street and Leeds, which also serves Sheffield.
  • There is also one tph between Birmingham New Street and Sheffield by a different route.
  • There is two tph between Birmingham New Street and Nottingham.
  • My calculations indicate that the Nottingham and Sheffield services would take under an hour to and from Birmingham New Street, with the Leeds service taking thirty minutes longer.

In normal circumstances no diesel would be used.

Track Improvements And Discontinuous Electrification

This table shows the current electrification status of the Cross Country Route.

  • York and South Kirby junction- 45.4 miles – Electrified
  • South Kirby junction and Birmingham New Street – 96.6 miles – Not Electrified
  • Birmingham New Street and Bromsgrove – 16 miles – Electrified
  • Bromsgrove and Bristol Parkway – 69.8 miles – Not Electrified
  • Bristol Parkway and Bristol Temple Meads – 4.8 miles – Not Electrified

Solutions will have to be found to decarbonise a lot of the route.

I have flown my virtual helicopter from Tamworth to Sheffield and this part of the route seems to the sort of route that could be upgraded to a full 125 mph line, as it is fairly straight and some sections already allow trains to travel at this speed.

As the 15.5 miles between Clay Cross North Junction and Sheffield will be updated and electrified for High Speed Two’s spur into Sheffield sometime in the future, I would feel that as updating this section benefits High Speed Two, the Midland Main Line, the Cross Country Route and the Hope Valley Line, that this section should be rebuilt as necessary and electrified, as soon as is practically possible.

I believe that Clay Cross North Junction and Sheffield is one of the most important routes in the country to be electrified, if not the most important.

This table shows the electrification status of the Cross Country Route after electrification of Clay Cross North Junction and Sheffield.

  • York and South Kirby junction- 45.4 miles – Electrified
  • South Kirby junction and Sheffield – 18.8 miles – Not Electrified
  • Sheffield and Clay Cross North junction – 15.5 miles – Electrified
  • Clay Cross North junction and Birmingham New Street – 62.1 miles – Not Electrified
  • Birmingham New Street and Bromsgrove – 16 miles – Electrified
  • Bromsgrove and Bristol Parkway – 69.8 miles – Not Electrified
  • Bristol Parkway and Bristol Temple Meads – 4.8 miles – Not Electrified

It looks that by electrifying the 15.5 miles between Sheffield and Clay Cross North junction, the gap of 18.8 miles between South Kirby junction and Sheffield could be easily bridged by a battery-electric train.

The section between Clay Cross North junction and Birmingham New Street can be split into three.

  • Clay Cross North junction and Derby – 20.9 miles
  • Derby and Tamworth – 23.9 miles
  • Tamworth and Birmingham New Street – 17.3 miles

If Hitachi ABB Power Grids installed discontinuous electrification at Derby and Tamworth, this should bridge the gap to the electrification at Birmingham.

As some of this section can sustain 125 mph running, it may be better to fully electrify part of the route.

This table shows the electrification status of the route would become

  • York and South Kirby junction- 45.4 miles – Electrified
  • South Kirby junction and Sheffield – 18.8 miles – Not Electrified
  • Sheffield and Clay Cross North junction – 15.5 miles – Electrified
  • Clay Cross North junction and Derby – 20.9 miles – Not Electrified
  • Derby and Tamworth – 23.9 miles – Not Electrified
  • Tamworth and Birmingham New Street – 17.3 miles – Not Electrified
  • Birmingham New Street and Bromsgrove – 16 miles – Electrified
  • Bromsgrove and Bristol Parkway – 69.8 miles – Not Electrified
  • Bristol Parkway and Bristol Temple Meads – 4.8 miles – Not Electrified

I have also flown my virtual helicopter from Bromsgrove to Westerleigh junction, where the Cross Country Route joins the electrified Great Western Main Line, about 4.5 miles East of Bristol Parkway station.

It looks to me that this Southern short section of electrified line would be able to charge a battery-electric train so that it could reach Bristol Temple Meads station.

But the sixty-plus miles of route without electrification between Bromsgrove and Westerleigh junction would be too far to travel without some electrification.

This could either be full electrification or discontinuous using the methods proposed by Hitachi ABB Power Grids.

It certainly looks to me, that Hitachi’s technology or similar, that I talked about in Solving The Electrification Conundrum could be used to run battery-electric trains between York and Bristol Temple Meads on the Cross Country Route.

Digital Signalling

I would assume this will be installed on the route, to give more precise control of trains on the more complicated sections of the route.

East Coast Main Line Improvements

There are several improvements to the North of York, that will reduce journey times on all services using the East Coast Main Line.

These could contribute time saving of up to ten minutes, according to High Speed Two’s Journey Planner and current timetables.

Comparison With The Proposed Eastern Leg Of High Speed Two

With all the talk about possible cancellation of the Eastern Leg of High Speed Two could an improved Cross Country Route be used in the interim?

I will look at a few timings from Birmingham.

Birmingham And Leeds

A fully-developed High Speed Two is claiming forty-nine minutes, as against the one hour and fifty-eight minutes today.

I have stated that ninety minutes is an attainable time on a 116.4 mile journey, where a good proportion of 125 mph running will be possible, sustained by electrification.

But with full electrification, more 125 mph running and even some 140 mph running under the control of digital signalling, I suspect that ninety minutes is only an upper limit to the journey time between Birmingham and Leeds.

High Speed Two are saying they will run two tph between Birmingham and Leeds, which is twice the current frequency.

I could see that an improved frequency on the Cross Country Route could be very convenient, if it increased the frequency between the two cities to four tph.

Is it going to annoy passengers, that services will leave from two different stations in Birmingham and if you go to the wrong one, you’ll have to wait thirty minutes for the next train?

Birmingham And Middlesbrough

Times between Birmingham and Middlesbrough will be determined by adding a Leeds and Middlesbrough time to the Birmingham and Leeds times.

The best time between Leeds and Middlesbrough today is one hour and 23 minutes, which I suspect will lose a few minutes due to East Coast Main Line improvements North of York.

This gives using High Speed Two to Leeds a time of two hours and eight minutes, as against two hours and forty-nine minutes using an improved Cross Country Route.

Birmingham And Newcastle

A fully-developed High Speed Two is claiming one hour and  fifty-seven minutes, as against the three hours and twenty-six minutes today.

Based on the current and possible times between Birmingham at Leeds using CrossCountry, I feel times to stations North of Leeds will be reduced by at least twenty-eight minutes, putting the Birmingham and Newcastle time a few minutes under three hours.

Birmingham And Nottingham

A fully-developed High Speed Two is claiming twenty minutes to East Midlands Hub, which when adding in the tram to Nottingham City Centre will be thirty-five minutes..

,Current services are one hour and ten minutes today.

On an improved Cross Country Route, with with battery-electric trains and some 125 mph running, I can see this time shrink to under an hour, even with the reverse at Derby.

Midlands Connect are also proposing a high speed service between Birmingham Curzon Street and Nottingham station, which will take thirty-three minutes.

High Speed Two are saying they will run three tph between Birmingham and East Midlands Hub, which compares with two tph using the Cross Country Route.

Birmingham And Sheffield

A fully-developed High Speed Two is claiming fifty-seven minutes, as against the one hour and fifteen minutes today.

I have stated that an hour is an attainable time on this route, with battery-electric trains and some 125 mph running.

A time of an hour would be very competitive with the Eastern Leg of High Speed Two.

High Speed Two are saying they will run two tph between Birmingham and Sheffield with a change at East Midlands Hub, which compares with two tph using the Cross Country Route.

Conclusion

A fully developed East Coast Main Line will give High Speed Two a good run for its money on services between London and Yorkshire, North East England and Scotland. I indicated my thoughts and conclusions in What Is Possible On The East Coast Main Line?.

I also believe that an improved Cross Country Route could give the Eastern Leg of High Speed Two a very good run for its money.

Perhaps, we should safeguard the route of Eastern Leg of High Speed Two for building later to increase capacity when it is needed, but in the interim we should upgrade the following routes.

  • Cross Country Route
  • East Coast Main Line
  • Midland Main Line
  • Northern Powerhouse Rail
  • West Coast Main Line

These routes should have at least these minimum standards.

  • All passenger trains electric or battery-electric.
  • All freight locomotives electric, battery-electric or hydrogen-electric.
  • Where possible all lines should allow 125 mph running.
  • Universal in-cab digital signalling
  • There should be sections of 140 mph running, where possible.

We will need the Eastern Leg of High Speed Two in the future, but we don’t need it in the next few years.

 

 

 

 

 

August 26, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Thoughts On The Eastern Leg Of High Speed Two

These are a few thoughts on the Eastern Leg of High Speed Two.

Serving The North-East Quarter Of England From London

In Anxiety Over HS2 Eastern Leg Future, I gave a table of timings from London to towns and cities in the North-East quarter of England from Lincoln and Nottingham Northwards.

I’ll repeat it here.

  • Bradford – Will not be served by High Speed Two – One hour and fifty-four minutes
  • Cleethorpes – Will not be served by High Speed Two – Two hours and fifty-one minutes
  • Darlington – One hour and forty-nine minutes – One hour and forty-nine minutes
  • Doncaster – Will not be served by High Speed Two – One hour
  • Edinburgh – Three hours and forty minutes via Western Leg – Three hours and thirty minutes.
  • Grimsby – Will not be served by High Speed Two – Two hours and thirty-six minutes
  • Harrogate – Will not be served by High Speed Two – One hour and fifty-two minutes
  • Huddersfield – Will not served by High Speed Two – Two hours and eight minutes
  • Hull – Will not be served by High Speed Two – One hour and fifty minutes
  • Leeds – One hour and twenty-one minutes – One hour and thirty minutes
  • Lincoln – Will not be served by High Speed Two – One hour and fifty-one minutes
  • Middlesbrough – Will not be served by High Speed Two – Two hours and twenty minutes
  • Newcastle – Two hours and seventeen minutes – Two hours and sixteen minutes
  • Nottingham – One hour and seven minutes – One hour and fifty minutes
  • Scarborough – Will not be served by High Speed Two – Two hours and fifty-seven minutes
  • Sheffield – One hour and twenty-seven minutes – One hour and twenty-seven minutes
  • Skipton – Will not be served by High Speed Two – Two hours and seven minutes
  • Sunderland – Will not be served by High Speed Two – Two hours and thirty minutes
  • York – One hour and twenty-four minutes – One hour and twenty-four minutes

Note.

  1. I have included all destinations served by Grand Central, Hull Trains and LNER.
  2. I have included Nottingham and Sheffield for completeness and in case whilst electrification is installed on the Midland Main Line, LNER run services to the two cities.
  3. I suspect LNER services to Bradford, Harrogate, Huddersfield and Skipton will split and join at Leeds.

There are a total of nineteen destination in this table.

  • Twelve are not served by High Speed Two.
  • Six are not more than fifteen minutes slower by the East Coast Main Line.

Only Nottingham is substantially quicker by High Speed Two.

Serving The North-East Quarter Of England From Birmingham

Fenland Scouser felt the above table might be interesting to and from Birmingham with or without the Eastern Leg of High Speed Two.

I think, I can give more information than that and it should be possible to give for each destination the following.

  • Whether of not the route exists on High Speed Two.
  • Time on High Speed Two from Birmingham.
  • Time on High Speed Two and Northern Powerhouse Rail from Birmingham via Manchester
  • Time by current trains from Birmingham

In the following table, the fields are in the order of the previous table.

  • Bradford – No direct route – No time – One hour and three minutes – Two hours and twenty-seven minutes
  • Cleethorpes – No direct route – No time – Three hours and eight minutes – Three hours and eighteen minutes
  • Darlington – Route Exists – One hour and twenty-three minutes – One hour and forty minutes – Two hours and fifty-five minutes
  • Doncaster – No direct route – No time – One hour and thirty-six minutes – Two hours and nineteen minutes
  • Edinburgh- Route Exists – Three hours and fourteen minutes – Four hours – Four hours and thirteen minutes
  • Grimsby – No direct route – No time – Two hours and fifty-three minutes – Three hours and three minutes
  • Harrogate – No direct route – No time – One hour and twenty-eight minutes – Three hours
  • Huddersfield – No direct route – No time – Fifty-six minutes – Two hours and eleven minutes
  • Hull – No direct route – No time – One hour and forty-four minutes – Three hours and two minutes
  • Leeds – Route Exists – Forty-nine minutes – One hour and six minutes – One hour and fifty-nine minutes
  • Lincoln – No direct route – No time – Two hours and fifty-three minutes – Two hours and thirteen minutes
  • Middlesbrough – No direct route – No time – Two hours and twenty-nine minutes – Three hours and thirty-two minutes
  • Newcastle – No direct route – No time – Two hours and four minutes – Three hours and twenty-six minutes
  • Nottingham – Route Exists – Fifty-seven minutes – Two hours and fifty-five minutes – One hour and ten minutes
  • Sheffield – Route Exists – Thirty-five minutes – One hour and thirty-four minutes – One hour and fifteen minutes
  • Skipton – No direct route – No time – One hour and forty-three minutes – Two hours and fifty-two minutes
  • Sunderland – No direct route – No time – Two hours and fifty-nine minutes – Three hours and fifty-eight minutes
  • York – Route Exists – Fifty-seven minutes – One hour and twenty-eight minutes – Two hours and twenty-seven minutes

Note.

  1. No time means just that!
  2. One of the crucial times is that Birmingham Curzon Street and Leeds is just an hour and six minutes via High Speed Two and Northern Powerhouse Rail. This time gives good times to all destinations served from Leeds.
  3. Nottingham and Sheffield are both around an hour and fifteen minutes from Birmingham New Street, by the current trains.

I’ll now look at some routes in detail.

Birmingham And Leeds

The time of one hour and six minutes is derived from the following.

  • Birmingham Curzon Street and Manchester Piccadilly by High Speed Two – Forty-one minutes
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Leeds by Northern Powerhouse Rail – Twenty-five minutes

It would be seventeen minutes slower than the direct time of forty-nine minutes.

But it is quicker than the current time of one hour and fifty-nine minutes

Note.

  1. As Manchester Piccadilly will have a time to and from London of one hour and eleven minutes, Leeds will have a time of one hour and twenty-six minutes to London via Northern Powerhouse Rail and Manchester.
  2. If the Eastern Leg is built, The London and Leeds time will be one hour and twenty-one minutes.
  3. The Eastern Leg would therefore save just five minutes.

The Northern Powerhouse route could probably mean that Huddersfield, Bradford and Hull would be served by High Speed Two from London.

Manchester Airport, Manchester Piccadilly and Leeds would be connected by a tunnel deep under the Pennines.

  • Manchester Piccadilly, Huddersfield and Bradford could be underground platforms added to existing stations.
  • Piccadilly and Leeds would have a journey time of under 25 minutes and six trains per hour (tph).
  • The tunnel would also carry freight.
  • It would be modelled on the Gotthard Base Tunnel in Switzerland.

I wrote full details in Will HS2 And Northern Powerhouse Rail Go For The Big Bore?

Birmingham And Nottingham

The time of two hours and fifty-five minutes is derived from the following.

  • Birmingham Curzon Street and Manchester Piccadilly by High Speed Two – Forty-one minutes
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Leeds by Northern Powerhouse Rail – Twenty-five minutes
  • Leeds and Nottingham – One hour and forty-nine minutes

It would be one hour and fifty-eight minutes slower than the direct time of fifty-nine minutes.

The current time of one hour and ten minutes is much quicker.

Birmingham And Sheffield

The time of two hours and thirty-four minutes is derived from the following.

  • Birmingham Curzon Street and Manchester Piccadilly by High Speed Two – Forty-one minutes
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Leeds by Northern Powerhouse Rail – Twenty-five minutes
  • Leeds and Sheffield – One hour and twenty-eight minutes

It would be one hour and fifty-nine minutes slower than the direct time of thirty-five minutes.

The current time of one hour and fifteen minutes is much quicker.

Conclusions On The Timings

I am led to the following conclusions on the timings.

The building of the Eastern Leg of High Speed Two gives the fastest times between Birmingham and Leeds, Nottingham and Sheffield.

But if the Eastern Leg of High Speed Two is not built, then the following is true, if Northern Powerhouse Rail is created between Manchester and Leeds.

The time of an hour and six minutes between Birmingham Curzon Street and Leeds is probably an acceptable time.

This time probably enables  acceptable times between Birmingham Curzon Street and destinations North of Leeds.

But with Nottingham and Sheffield the current CrossCountry service is faster than the route via Manchester.

The speed of the CrossCountry services surprised me, but then there is a section of 125 mph running between Derby and Birmingham, which is used by CrossCountry services between Birmingham New Street and Leeds, Nottingham and Sheffield.

This table gives details of these services.

  • Birmingham New Street and Leeds – 116,4 miles – One hour and 58 minutes – 59.3 mph
  • Birmingham New Street and Nottingham – 57.2 miles – One hour and 14 minutes – 46.4 mph
  • Birmingham New Street and Sheffield – 77.6 miles – One hour and 18 minutes – 59.7 mph

Note.

  1. The Leeds and Sheffield services are run by 125 mph Class 220 trains.
  2. The Notting service is run by 100 mph Class 170 trains.
  3. All trains are diesel-powered.

As there is 125 mph running between Derby and Birmingham, the train performance probably accounts for the slower average speed of the Nottingham service.

CrossCountry And Decarbonisation

Consider.

  • CrossCountry has an all-diesel fleet.
  • All train companies in the UK are planning on decarbonising.
  • Some of CrossCountry’s routes are partially electrified and have sections where 125 mph running is possible.

The only standard train that is built in the UK that would fit CrossCountry’s requirements, would appear to be one of Hitachi’s 125 mph trains like a bi-mode Class 802 train.

  • These trains are available in various lengths
  • Hitachi will be testing battery packs in the trains in the next year, with the aim of entering service in 2023.
  • Hitachi have formed a company with ABB, which is called Hitachi ABB Power Grids to develop and install discontinuous electrification.

When CrossCountry do replace their fleet and run 125 mph trains on these services several stations will be connected to Birmingham for High Speed Two.

The route between Leeds and Birmingham via Sheffield is part of the Cross Country Route, for which electrification appears to have planned in the 1960s according to a section in Wikipedia called Abortive British Rail Proposals For Complete Electrification,

I suspect that the following times could be achieved with a frequency of two tph

  • Birmingham New Street and Leeds – 90 minutes
  • Birmingham New Street and Nottingham – 60 minutes
  • Birmingham New Street and Sheffield – 60 minutes

It is not the Eastern Leg of High Speed Two, but it could do in the interim.

Electrification Of The Midland Main Line

I don’t believe that the Midland Main Line needs full electrification to speed up services to Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield, but I believe that by fitting batteries to Hitachi’s Class 810 trains, that will soon be running on the line and using the Hitachi ABB Power Grids system of discontinuous electrification, that the route can be decarbonised.

I would also apply full digital in-cab signalling to the Midland Main Line.

Conclusion

We will need the Eastern Leg of High Speed Two at some time in the future, but if we do the following we can do more than cope.

  • Create Northern Powerhouse Rail between Manchester and Leeds, so that High Speed Two can serve Leeds and Hull via Manchester.
  • Decarbonise CrossCountry with some 125 mph battery-electric trains.
  • Electrify the Midland Main Line.

I would also deliver as much as possible before Phase 1 and 2a of High Speed Two opens.

 

August 24, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Could High Speed Two Serve Holyhead?

Why?

It could be a way to create a zero- or low-carbon route between the islands of Great Britain and Ireland.

Battery-Electric Trains Could Be The Solution

In Will High Speed Two’s Classic-Compatible Trains Have Battery Operation?, I suggested that it might be feasible for High Speed Two’s Classic-Compatible trains to have batteries.

I said this at the start of that post.

I believe it is very likely, that High Speed Two’s new classic-compatible trains will have battery capabilities.

    • Batteries would handle energy generated by regenerative braking.
    • Batteries would give a train recovery capability in case of overhead catenary failure.
    • Batteries would be used for depot movements.
    • Batteries would probably improve the energy efficiency of the trains.

Effectively, the batteries would power the train and would be topped-up by the electrification and the regenerative braking.

Since I wrote that post in February 2020, Hitachi have launched two battery-electric trains, one of which is the Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train, which is described in this Hitachi infographic.

As diesel (or should I say Stuart) engines are so nineteenth-century. any high speed independently-powered train would probably use batteries, have no diesel engines and be a battery-electric train.

So could Hitachi or any other bidder for the High Speed Two Classic-Compatible trains produce a train, that would be capable of handling the long-distance routes from London, that would be difficult or expensive to electrify, by the use of batteries?

  • Batteries will improve dramatically in the next few years.
  • Batteries will also become more affordable.
  • Engineers will also learn how to package them in better and more innovative ways.

I think it is very likely, that a High Speed Two Classic-Compatible train could be produced with a reliable range of over eighty miles on batteries.

Holyhead And Crewe By Battery-Electric Classic-Compatible High Speed Train

These are the distances between stops on the route between Holyhead and Crewe

  • Holyhead and Bangor – 25 miles.
  • Bangor and Llandudno Junction – 16 miles
  • Llandudno Junction and Colwyn Bay – 4 miles
  • Colwyn Bay and Rhyl – 10 miles
  • Rhyl and Prestatyn – 4 miles
  • Prestatyn and Flint – 14 miles
  • Flint and Chester – 13 miles
  • Chester and Crewe – 21 miles

Note.

  1. It is a route of only 105 miles.
  2. There is no 25 KVAC electrification, except at Crewe.
  3. It is nearly all double-track.
  4. The operating speed is 90 mph
  5. The route is also generally flat and mainly along the coast.

Suppose the following were to be done.

  • Erect traditional electrification between Chester and Crewe.
  • Hitachi ABB Power Grids build a section of their discontinuous electrification around Llandudno Junction.
  • Install a battery charging system at Holyhead.

An alternative might be to put another section of discontinuous electrification through Bangor, if installing the charging station at Holyhead proved to be difficult.

I believe it would be possible to run a High Speed Two Classic-Compatible train equipped with batteries between London Euston and Holyhead.

What Time Would Be Possible?

Consider.

  • High Speed Two are predicting 56 minutes between London Euston and Crewe.
  • Avanti West Coast are showing journey times of one hour and 57 minutes between Crewe and Holyhead.
  • Avanti West Coast are using 125 mph Class 221 trains, but are restricted to a lot less than this speed.
  • The HSC Dublin Swift can sail between Dublin and Holyhead in several minutes under two hours.

I believe that a High Speed Two Classic-Compatible train equipped with batteries could go between London Euston and Holyhead in under three hours.

If this were to be linked to the latest hydrogen-powered fast ferry between Holyhead and Dublin, would  London Euston and Dublin be fast enough to attract passengers from the airlines?

  • The journey time could be under five hours.
  • It would be zero-carbon.
  • By cutting stops to the West of Chester and track improvements train times could be reduced.
  • It would be the sort of adventure, that some families like!

I think that Avanti West Coast and the ferry company could have a rail and ferry service, that would appeal to many travellers.

Would There Be A Path To Euston For Another High Speed Service?

In How Many Trains Are Needed To Run A Full Service On High Speed Two?, I listed the trains that would use the Western leg of High Speed Two.

  • Train 1 – London Euston and Birmingham Curzon Street – 400 metre Full-Size
  • Train 2 – London Euston and Birmingham Curzon Street – 400 metre Full-Size
  • Train 3 – London Euston and Birmingham Curzon Street – 400 metre Full-Size
  • Train 4 – London Euston and Lancaster – Classic Compatible
  • Train 4 – London Euston and Liverpool – Classic Compatible
  • Train 5 – London Euston and Liverpool – Classic Compatible
  • Train 6 – London Euston and Macclesfield – Classic Compatible
  • Train 7 – London Euston and Manchester – 400 metre Full-Size
  • Train 8 – London Euston and Manchester – 400 metre Full-Size
  • Train 9 – London Euston and Manchester – 400 metre Full-Size
  • Train 10 – London Euston and Edinburgh – Classic Compatible
  • Train 10 – London Euston and Glasgow – Classic Compatible
  • Train 11 – London Euston and Edinburgh – Classic Compatible
  • Train 11 – London Euston and Glasgow – Classic Compatible
  • Train 12 – Birmingham Curzon Street and Edinburgh or Glasgow – Classic Compatible
  • Train 13 – Birmingham Curzon Street and Manchester – 200 metre Full-Size
  • Train 14 – Birmingham Curzon Street and Manchester – 200 metre Full-Size

Note.

  1. A lot of the paths into London Euston would appear to be allocated.
  2. Train 4 is a pair of 200 metre long Classic-Compatible trains, that will split and join at Crewe, with one train going to Liverpool and the other going to Lancaster.
  3. Train 5 is only a single 200 metre long Classic-Compatible train.

I suspect it would be possible to make Train 5 a pair of 200 metre long Classic-Compatible trains, that will split and join at Crewe, with one train going to Liverpool and the other going to Chester and Holyhead.

It does appear that the proposed timetable for High Speed Two has been designed so extra trains can be added if the demand is there.

What Times Would Be Possible Between Holyhead And Crewe?

Consider.

  • I have looked at the route from my virtual helicopter and suspect that much of the route can be upgraded to 100 mph running.
  • The current average speed between Holyhead and Crewe is 54 mph.
  • London Liverpool Street and Norwich is 114.5 miles and is regularly achieved in ninety minutes on a 100 mph line, which is an average speed of 76 mph.
  • The number of stops could be reduced.

I can build a table of times for faster average speeds.

  • 60 mph – One hour and 45 minutes – Two hours and 41 minutes
  • 70 mph – One hour and 30 minutes – Two hours and 26 minutes
  • 80 mph – One hour and 19 minutes – Two hours and 15 minutes
  • 90 mph – One hour and 10 minutes – Two hours and 6 minutes
  • 100 mph – One hour and 3 minutes – One hour and 59 minutes

Note.

  1. The first time is Holyhead and Crewe.
  2. The second time is London and Holyhead.

I am fairly certain, that a substantial time improvement is possible.

Why Not Electrify All The Way Between Holyhead And Crewe?

I am seventy-four and can remember several incidents of serious storms and flooding along the North Wales Coast Line.

There was a warning earlier this year according to this article on the BBC.

Perhaps it would be better to spend the money on improving the resilience and operating speed of the track?

Conclusion

London Euston and Holyhead could be a serious proposition.

With some development and a new fast ferry, it could also open up a practical zero-carbon route between Great Britain and Ireland.

Times of four and a half hours between London Euston and Dublin could be possible.

 

August 21, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

LNER To Serve Cleethorpes

Under the proposed new LNER timetable, which will start in May 2022, there will be a new train service between London Kings Cross and Cleethorpes.

According to this article on the Lincolnite, which is entitled Direct Cleethorpes To London Rail Link ‘Close’ To Getting Go Ahead, there will be one service per day.

It will leave Cleethorpes at 06:24 and Grimsby Town at 06:32 before arriving at King’s Cross at 09:25.

The return will leave King’s Cross at 16:10 and arrive in Grimsby Town at 19:05 and Cleethorpes at 19:20.

The August 2021 Edition of Modern Railways makes these points about the service.

  • The larger Azuma fleet makes this extension possible.
  • ,A more regular service would require additional trains.
  • LNER is examining whether other intermediate stations east of Lincoln could be served.

I would have thought, that Market Rasen station could be a possibility for an intermediate stop.

I have a few thoughts.

Extra Services

This single service is ideal for though living in Lincolnshire, but it doesn’t suit those people, who perhaps need to go to the area from London for business or family reasons.

  • Lincoln appears to get around five or six trains per day in each direction to and from King’s Cross.
  • Services are roughly one train per two hours.
  • I suspect the Lincoln service can be run by a single train, that shuttles between King’s Cross and Lincoln stations.

I believe, that Cleethorpes needs at least a pair of services to and from London, so that travellers can spend a day in North-East Lincolnshire.

  • This would probably need more trains.
  • Services would go via Lincoln and Lincoln may get extra services to London.
  • Selected services could stop at intermediate stations, like Market Rasen.

There are surely possibilities for a integrated timetable between King’s Cross and Lincoln, Market Rasen, Grimsby Town and Cleethorpes.

Battery-Electric Operation

Consider.

  • LNER’s Class 800 trains are prime candidates for conversion to Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Trains, so they can run away from the overhead wires of the East Coast Main Line to places like Lincoln, by the use of battery power.
  • These battery trains could charge using the electrification between King’s Cross and Newark North Gate stations.
  • The distance between Lincoln Central station and the East Coast Main Line is 16.6 miles.
  • In Plans To Introduce Battery Powered Trains In Scotland, I quote Hitachi, as saying they expect a sixty mile range for battery trains.

I am sure, that these trains would have sufficient range on battery to be able to work King’s Cross and Lincoln services without using diesel.

But could the Hitachi trains reach Cleethorpes with some well-positioned charging?

  • The distance between Lincoln and Cleethorpes stations is 47.2 miles.
  • In Solving The Electrification Conundrum, I describe Hitachi’s solution to running battery-electric trains, by using well-placed short lengths of 25 KVAC overhead electrification controlled by an intelligent power system.

With a range of sixty miles on batteries and charging at Lincoln and Cleethorpes stations, it would appear that battery electric operation of Class 800 trains between King’s Cross and Cleethorpes is a distinct possibility.

Lincoln Station

Lincoln station has three operational through platforms and I suspect all would need to be electrified, so that trains could be charged as they passed through.

These are distances from Lincoln station.

  • Cleethorpes – 47.2 miles
  • Doncaster – 36.9 miles
  • Nottingham – 33.9 miles
  • Peterborough – 56.9 miles
  • Sheffield – 48.5 miles

It does appear that if Lincoln station were to be electrified, most services from the city could be run using battery-electric trains.

Cleethorpes Station

This picture shows Cleethorpes station with two TransPennine Express Class 185 trains in the station.

Note.

  1. The Class 185 trains are diesel, but could be replaced by Hitachi Class 802 trains, which could be converted to battery-electric operation.
  2. Cleethorpes and Doncaster are 52.1 miles apart, which could be in range of Hitachi’s battery-electric trains.
  3. It doesn’t look to be too challenging to electrify a couple of platforms to charge the battery-electric trains.
  4. Cleethorpes station could surely charge both the LNER and the TransPennine Express trains.
  5. The Cleethorpes and Barton-on-Humber service which is under fifty miles for a round trip could also be replaced with battery-electric trains.

Cleethorpes station could be totally served by battery-electric trains.

Battery-Electric Trains For Lincolnshire

At the present time, there is a surplus of good redundant electrical multiple units and the rolling stock leasing companies are looking for places where they can be used.

Porterbrook are already looking to convert their fleet of Class 350 trains to battery-electric operation and I am certain, that now that Hitachi and others have solved the charging problem, a lot more trains will be converted.

Most would appear to be four-car 100 mph trains, which will be very convenient and should fit most platforms.

Conclusion

Running battery-electric Class 800 trains to Lincoln, Grimsby Town and Cleethorpes could be the start of decarbonisation of Lincolnshire’s railways.

What would battery-electric trains do for the economy of Lincolnshire?

 

 

 

August 7, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

North From Thornton Junction

This Google Map shows how all the railways connect at Thornton junction.

Note.

  1. The village of Cameron Bridge is in the North-East corner of the map.
  2. The A 915 running diagonally across the map and to the East of the village of Cameron Bridge.
  3. In The New Cameron Bridge Station On The Levenmouth Rail Link, I showed how Cameron Bridge station was positioned to the East of the A915 and the village.
  4. The Levenmouth Rail Link would appear to pass to the South of the village, according to a Network Rail map in the related post.

Thornton junction is a large triangular junction in the South-West corner of the map.

  • Thornton North junction is close to Thornton Golf Club, which is shown by the green marker.
  • Glenrothes with Thornton station is at the Eastern point of Thornton junction.
  • Trains going West from Glenrothes with Thornton station go through Dunfermline and over the Forth bridge to Edinburgh.
  • Thornton South junction is South of Thornton Golf Club and leads South through Kirkcaldy station and over the Forth bridge to Edinburgh.

This second Google Map shows the main Edinburgh and Dundee rail line between Thornton Golf Club (Thornton North junction) and Markinch station, which is the next station to the North.

Note.

  1. The village of Cameron Bridge in the East of the map.
  2. Markinch station is in the North-West corner of the map.
  3. Thornton Golf Club (Thornton North junction) is in the South-West corner of the map.

Looking at various maps, Thornton Junction appears very complicated.

  • The North-South leg of the junction is at least double-track.
  • The North-East leg of the junction appears to be single-track.
  • The South-East leg of the junction appears to be single-track.
  • The former Levenmouth Rail Link appeared to join the main line at a single-track junction to the North of Thornton North junction
  • There is lots of space.

.I’m sure Network Rail can come up with an efficient track layout, that will enable the following.

  • Trains can go between Glenrothes with Thornton and Kirkcaldy stations in both directions, as they do now.
  • Trains can go between Glenrothes with Thornton and Levenmouth Rail Link in both directions.
  • Trains can go between Kirkcaldy station and Levenmouth Rail Link in both directions.

This would enable the service provision, that was specified in Service Provision On The Levenmouth Rail Link.

What Will Be Electrified At Thornton Junction?

This page on the Network Rail web site, says this about the trains that will run the service on the Levenmouth Rail Link.

And while the line will be electrified with overhead wires, services will be operated initially by battery electric units in order to reduce the number of diesels operating on the network as early as possible.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see full electrification between Glenrothes with Thornton and Leven stations, to make sure that the battery-electric trains had full batteries for the run South to Edinburgh.

  • The other two legs of Thornton junction  would also be fully electrified to give all passing trains a good charge.
  • The distance between Kirkcaldy and Markinch stations is 7.3 miles and trains take about ten minutes. I suspect most of this section of the Edinburgh and Dundee line will be electrified. There looks to be about six overbridges that might need raising, but I suspect it would be nothing too terrible, with about the same degree of engineering difficulty as electrifying the Gospel Oak to Barking Line in London.
  • I feel with good engineering and guile, enough electrification can be added to the route through Kirkcaldy to get the trains to the South.
  • West of Glenrothes with Thornton station, the track looks to be good territory for electrification and enough wires can be added, so that by Cardenden station, there is enough power in the batteries to get the trains to the South.

I have a feeling that by intelligently using the two routes via Kirkcaldy and Dunfermline, Network Rail can increase the frequency of trains over the Forth Bridge.

  • This probably partly explains, why trains to Leven go alternatively via Kirkcaldy and Dunfermline.
  • 100 mph battery-electric trains help too with their sparkling acceleration.
  • Who’d have thought, that at the age of one hundred and thirty, the Forth Bridge will be at the heart of an electrified local train network?

And the only new electrification is based on Thornton junction, over twenty miles to the North.

Electrification Between The Forth Bridge And Edinburgh

Without doubt, the electrification to the South of the Firth of Forth must reach as far North as possible.

Dalmeny station is the most Northerly station South of the bridge and I feel that this could be a practical place for the electrification to end.

Distances from Dalmeny to stations further North include.

  • Leuchars – 41.4 miles
  • Leven – via Dunfermline – 28.2 miles
  • Leven – via Kirkcaldy – 27.3 miles
  • Dundee – 48.8 miles
  • Perth – 47.4 miles

All these destinations would be within range of Hitachi Regional Battery Trains, which are described in this Hitachi infographic.

Note that the range on battery power alone is 90 km or 56 miles.

Given that the battery-electric trains would be able to grab a battery charge as they passed through Thornton junction, I am fairly certain that Hitachi Regional Battery Trains could reach Leuchars, Dundee or Perth.

An Electric Service Between Edinburgh And Dundee

Dundee is a new station and I doubt, that it was rebuilt without provision for full electrification.

It has two through platforms for Aberdeen and Edinburgh services.

There are also two South-facing bay platforms for regional services from the South.

This picture shows the two bay platforms with an Edinburgh-bound train to the left.

Note.

  1. In the picture the two Class 170 diesel trains will be going to Edinburgh or Glasgow.
  2. Scotrail’s plans include an hourly train to both of Edinburgh and Glasgow.

If these two bay platforms were electrified with 25 KVAC overhead wires, these battery-electric services will be possible.

  • Edinburgh and Dundee via Haymarket, Kirkcaldy, Thornton junction and intermediate stations.
  • Glasgow Queen Street and Dundee via Stirling, Dunblane, Perth, Gleneagles and intermediate stations.

I suspect other routes battery-electric will be possible.

An Electric Service Between Dundee And Aberdeen

The distance between Dundee and Aberdeen stations is 72 miles.

In Solving The Electrification Conundrum, I described techniques being developed by Hitachi Rail and Hitachi ABB Power Grids to electrify routes like Dundee and Aberdeen.

With Hitachi looking to give battery-electric trains a range of over forty miles, it could be just two hops between Dundee and Aberdeen.

I suspect Montrose could be the charging point, as it is forty miles South of Aberdeen.

Conclusion

It appears that the proposed electrification of Levenmouth Rail Link creates an electrification island at Thornton junction, that enables battery-electric trains to reach Dundee.

Coupled with plans to electrify between Stirling and Perth, this means that both Perth and Dundee will be connected to Scotland’s electrified rail network.

I suspect it is also possible to easily extend battery-electric trains all the way to Aberdeen, with only short sections of carefully positioned overhead wires.

Related Posts

The New Leven Station On The Levenmouth Rail Link

The New Cameron Bridge Station On The Levenmouth Rail Link

Service Provision On The Levenmouth Rail Link

Trains On The Levenmouth Rail Link

Whisky Galore!

July 29, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Trains On The Levenmouth Rail Link

This page on the Network Rail web site, says this about the trains that will run the service.

And while the line will be electrified with overhead wires, services will be operated initially by battery electric units in order to reduce the number of diesels operating on the network as early as possible.

The obvious battery-electric trains to be used will be Hitachi Regional Battery Trains, which are described in this Hitachi infographic.

Note that the range on battery power alone is 90 km or 56 miles.

ScotRail currently run a fleet of the following Hitachi  trains.

  • 46 x three-car Class 385 trains.
  • 24 x four-car Class 385 trains.

Hitachi have indicated that these trains can be fitted with batteries

Could some of these trains be fitted with batteries to work the Fife Circle Line and the Levenmouth Rail Link?

Distances involved include.

  • Haymarket and Glenrothes-with-Thornton via Kirkcaldy – 29.6 miles
  • Haymarket and Glenrothes-with-Thornton via Dunfermline – 30.5 miles
  • Leven and Thornton junction – 5.9 miles

If between Haymarket and Dalmeny stations were to be electrified, this would reduce distances on battery power by over eight miles.

It would appear that if between Leven station and Thornton junction were to be electrified, then with a battery range of forty miles, the battery-electric trains could reach Haymarket station with ease.

Conclusion

It looks to me, that Baldrick’s Scottish cousin has developed a cunning plan!

But it does show how one short length of easy electrification on a new track – Leven and Thornton Junction, can avoid a more difficult electrification – Haymarket and Glenrothes-with-Thornton, which goes over the culturally-sensitive World Heritage Site of the Forth Bridge.

North From Thornton Junction

It should be noted that Haymarket and Dundee via Kirkcaldy is 57.9 miles.

  • I have just flown my virtual helicopter on the route and much of it is flat farmland.
  • Electrification to the North of Thornton Junction could use the same power feed as that used for the Levenmouth Rail Link.
  • A good proportion of the battery-electric trains, that are pencilled in for Edinburgh and Aberdeen have been or will be built by Hitachi.

I would expect that Hitachi’s techniques, that I talked about in Solving The Electrification Conundrum could be used to enable battery-electric Class 385 and Class 80x trains to run between Edinburgh and Dundee.

I have a feeling, that electrifying the Levenmouth Rail Link, may only be 5.9 miles of double-track electrification, but that with a few miles of electrification North of Thornton Junction, it can enable electric trains to run the following routes.

  • Edinburgh and Leven via Kirkcaldy.
  • Edinburgh and Leven via Dunfermline.
  • Edinburgh and Dundee
  • Edinburgh and Perth

Note that as Dunblane is electrified, battery-electric trains might be able to reach Dundee from Glasgow with some charging at Perth.

It does appear that electric trains could be serving Dundee.

Related Posts

The New Leven Station On The Levenmouth Rail Link

The New Cameron Bridge Station On The Levenmouth Rail Link

North From Thornton Junction

Service Provision On The Levenmouth Rail Link

Whisky Galore!

 

July 28, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Will Zero-Carbon Freight Trains Be Powered By Battery, Electric Or Hydrogen Locomotives?

These are a few initial thoughts.

We Will Not Have A One-Size-Fits-All Solution

If you consider the various freight and other duties, where diesel locomotives are used, you get a long list.

  • Light freight, where perhaps a Class 66 locomotive moves a few wagons full of stone to support track maintenance.
  • Intermodal freight, where a Class 66 locomotive moves a long train of containers across the country.
  • Stone trains, where a Class 59 or Class 70 locomotive moves a very heavy train of aggregate across the country.
  • Empty stock movements, where a diesel locomotive moves an electrical multiple unit.
  • Supporting Network Rail with trains like the New Measurement Train, which is hauled by two diesel Class 43 power cars.
  • Passenger trains at up to and over 100 mph.

I can see a need for several types of zero-carbon locomotive.

  • A light freight locomotive.
  • A medium freight locomotive, that is capable of hauling many intermodal trains across the country and would also be capable of hauling passenger services.
  • A heavy freight locomotive, capable of hauling the heaviest freight trains.
  • A Class 43 power car replacement, which would probably be a conversion of the existing power cars. Everybody loves InterCity 125s and there are over a hundred power cars in regular service on railways in the UK.

There are probably others.

The UK Hydrogen Network Is Growing

Regularly, there are news items about companies in the UK, who will be providing green hydrogen to fuel cars, vans, buses, trucks and trains.

Hydrogen is becoming a fuel with a much high availability.

The UK Electricity Network Is Growing And Getting More Resilient

We are seeing more wind and solar farms and energy storage being added to the UK electricity network.

The ability to support large numbers of battery-electric buses, cars, trucks and trains in a reliable manner, is getting more resilient and much more comprehensive.

There Will Be More Railway Electrification

This will happen and installation will be more innovative. But predicting where electrification will be installed, will be very difficult.

Hydrogen Fuel Cells Now Have Rivals

Hydrogen fuel cells are normally used to convert hydrogen gas to electricity.

But over the last few years, alternative technology has evolved, which may offer better methods of generating electricity from hydrogen.

Fuel cells will not be having it all their own way.

Batteries Are Improving Their Energy Density

This is inevitable. and you are starting to see improvements in the fabrication of the battery packs to get more kWh into the space available.

In Wrightbus Presents Their First Battery-Electric Bus, I said this about the Forsee batteries used in the new buses from Wrightbus.

The Forsee brochure for the ZEN SLIM batteries gives an energy density of 166 Wh per Kg. This means that the weight of the 454 kWh battery is around 3.7 tonnes.

A one-tonne battery would have a capacity of 166 kWh.

  • It is the highest value I’ve so far found.
  • Technology is likely to improve.
  • Other battery manufacturers will be striving to match it.

For these reasons, in the rest of this post, I will use this figure.

Some Example Locomotives

In this section, I shall look at some possible locomotives.

Conversion Of A Class 43 Power Car

There are two Class 43 power cars in each InterCity 125 train.

  • The diesel engine is rated at 1678 kW.
  • The transmission is fully electric.
  • These days, they generally don’t haul more than five or six intermediate Mark 3 coaches.

I would see that the biggest problem in converting to battery power being providing the means to charge the batteries.

I suspect that these power cars would be converted to hydrogen, if they are converted to zero-carbon.

  • I would estimate that there is space for hydrogen tanks and a small gas-turbine generator in the back of the power car.
  • Much of the existing transmission could be retained.
  • A zero-carbon power car would certainly fit their main use in Scotland and the South-West of England.
  • I doubt hydrogen refuelling would be a problem.

They may even attract other operators to use the locomotives.

A Battery-Electric Locomotive Based on A Stadler Class 88 Locomotive

I am using this Class 88 locomotive as a starting point, as the locomotive is powerful, reliable and was built specifically for UK railways. There are also ten already in service in the UK.

In Thoughts On A Battery Electric Class 88 Locomotive On TransPennine Routes, I started the article like this.

In Issue 864 of Rail Magazine, there is an article, which is entitled Johnson Targets A Bi-Mode Future.

As someone, who has examined the mathematics of battery-powered trains for several years, I wonder if the Age of the Hybrid Battery/Electric Locomotive is closer than we think.

A Battery/Electric Class 88 Locomotive

 After reading Dual Mode Delight (RM Issue 863), it would appear that a Class 88 locomotive is a powerful and reliable locomotive.

    • It is a Bo-Bo locomotive with a weight of 86.1 tonnes and an axle load of 21.5 tonnes.
    • It has a rating on electricity of 4,000 kW.
    • It is a genuine 100 mph locomotive when working from 25 KVAC overhead electrification.
    • The locomotive has regenerative braking, when working using electrification.
    • It would appear the weight of the diesel engine is around seven tonnes
    • The closely-related Class 68 locomotive has a 5,600 litre fuel tank and full of diesel would weight nearly five tonnes.

The locomotive would appear to be carrying between 7 and 12 tonnes of diesel-related gubbins.

Suppose  that the diesel-related gubbins of the Class 88 locomotive were to be replaced with a ten tonne battery.

Using the Forsee figures, that I quoted earlier, this battery would hold 1660 kWh.

At the power level of the 700 kW of the Caterpillar C27 diesel engine in the Class 88 locomotive, that would give more than two hours power.

It looks to me, that a battery-electric Class 88 locomotive could be a very useful locomotive.

It might even be able to haul freight trains in and out of the Port of Felixstowe, which would be a big advantage in decarbonising the port.

Certainly, methods to charge battery trains on the move, are being developed like the system from Hitachi ABB Power Grids, that put up short sections of 25 KVAC overhead electrification, which would be driven by a containerised power system.

These systems and others like them, may enable some battery-electric freight trains to work routes like.

  • Felixstowe and Ipswich.
  • Ipswich and Peterborough
  • Peterborough and Nuneaton.
  • Peterborough and Doncaster via Lincoln
  • Birmingham and Oxford

None of these routes are fully-electrified.

But because of the power limit imposed by the batteries, these locomotives will need to be recharged at points on the route.

This Google Map shows the Ipswich and Peterborough route crossing the Fen Line at Ely station.

Note.

  1. Ely Dock junction in the South-West corner, where the line from Ipswich and Bury St. Edmunds joins the lines through Ely.
  2. Ely station towards the North-East corner of the map.
  3. Passenger trains run through the station.

But freight trains can take a route on the Eastern side of the station, which is not electrified.

At Ely station, a loop like this can be electrified using the existing electrification power supply, but at other places, systems like that from Hitachi ABB Power Grids can be used to electrify the loop or an appropriate section of the route.

These short sections of electrification will allow the train to progress on either electric or battery power.

A Hydrogen-Electric Locomotive Based on A Stadler Class 88 Locomotive

In The Mathematics Of A Hydrogen-Powered Freight Locomotive, I looked at creating a hydrogen-powered locomotive from a Class 68 locomotive.

I decided it was totally feasible to use readily available technology from companies like Rolls-Royce and Cummins to create a powerful hydrogen-powered locomotive.

The Class 68 locomotive is the diesel-only cousin of the electro-diesel Class 88 locomotive and they share a lot of components including the body-shell, the bogies and the traction system.

I suspect Stadler could create a Class 88 locomotive with these characteristics.

  • 4 MW using electric power
  • At least 2.5 MW using hydrogen power.
  • Hydrogen power could come from Rolls-Royce’s 2.5 MW generator based on a small gas-turbine engine.
  • 100 mph on both electricity and hydrogen.
  • It would have power output on hydrogen roughly equal to a Class 66 locomotive on diesel.
  • It would have a range comparable to a Class 68 locomotive on diesel.

This locomotive would be a zero-carbon Class 66 locomotive replacement for all duties.

A Larger And More Powerful Hydrogen-Electric Locomotive

I feel that for the largest intermodal and stone trains, that a larger hydrogen-electric locomotive will be needed.

Conclusion

In the title of this post, I asked if freight locomotives of the future would be battery, electric or hydrogen.

I am sure of one thing, which is that all freight locomotives must be able to use electrification and if possible, that means both 25 KVAC overhead and 750 VDC third rail. Electrification will only increase in the future, making it necessary for most if not all locomotives in the future to be able to use it.

I feel there will be both battery-electric and hydrogen-electric locomotives, with the battery-electric locomotives towards the less-powerful end.

Hydrogen-electric will certainly dominate at the heavy end.

 

 

July 11, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

East-West Rail ‘Must Use Electric Trains’ – Layla Moran MP

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

These are the first three paragraphs.

It is of “paramount importance” that a £5bn direct rail line between Oxford and Cambridge uses electric trains, an MP has said.

The East West Rail project aims to connect the university cities by the end of the decade, but its electrification is yet to be confirmed.

MP Layla Moran said: “We’re in a climate emergency. No rail line should be designed for diesel by default.”

All trains need to be electric, but that doesn’t mean the lines need to be fully-electrified.

And if you design a railway for 100 mph diesel trains, you’ve also designed it for 100 mph electric trains.

In Solving The Electrification Conundrum, I explained how Hitachi Rail and Hitachi ABB Power Grids, have developed a practical solution to running battery-electric trains on railways without full electrification.

Their system would be ideal for the East-West Rail Link and fulfil Ms. Moran’s wish of electric trains.

There just wouldn’t be large numbers of electrification gantries marching all over the countryside.

July 11, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 6 Comments

ORR’s Policy On Third Rail DC Electrification Systems

The title of this post is the same as that of a document I downloaded from this page on the Office of Rail and Road web site.

It is one of the most boring legal documents, that I have ever read and I have read a few in my time.

As I read it, effectively it says that new third-rail electrification is banned because of Health and Safety issues, which take precedence.

But only once in the document is new technology mentioned, that might make third-rail safer and that is a reference to the Docklands Light Railway, where the third rail is shielded.

I am an Electrical Engineer and I was designing safety systems for heavy industrial guillotines at fifteen as a vacation job in a non-ferrous metals factory.

One design of an ideal electric railway would have battery-electric trains, that were charged in stations by third-rail. The third-rail would only be energised, when a train was over the top and needed to be charged. In effect the train would act as an all-enclosing guard to the conductor rail.

Electrification Of The West Of England Main Line

The West of England Main Line runs between Basingstoke and Exeter via Salisbury. It is one of the longest, if not the longest main lines in England, that is not electrified.

It would probably need to be electrified with 750 VDC third-rail electrification, as that standard is used between London Waterloo and Basingstoke.

In Solving The Electrification Conundrum, I described a system being developed by Hitachi, that would use battery-electric trains that were charged by short sections of electrified line every fifty miles or so. For reasons of ease of installation and overall costs, these short sections of electrification could be third-rail, that was electrically dead unless a train was connected and needed charging. These electrified sections could also be in stations, where entry on to the railway is a bit more restricted.

Conclusion

The Office of Rail and Road needs to employ a few more engineers with good technical brains, rather than ultra-conservative risk-averse lawyers.

As a sad footnote, I live in East London, where trespassers are regularly electrocuted on the railway. But usually, it is when idiots are travelling on top of container trains  and inadvertently come into contact with the overhead electrification.

July 10, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments