This is the title of an article in Rail Technology Magazine.
Rail and road connectivity is not a simple matter.
Although there is a need for East-West routes across the North, there is also the need for better High Speed Rail connections between pairs of cities like.
- Newcastle and Leeds
- Leeds and Nottingham
- Sheffield and Nottingham
- Birmingham and Manchester
- Leeds and Sheffield
- Birmingham and Leeds.
- Birmingham and Preston
All these connections will be provided by HS2.
Of the other major links that are needed.
- Manchester and Sheffield
- Manchester and Leeds
- Blackpool and Leeds
- Leeds and Hull
- Liverpool and Manchester
The first three are very difficult because of the terrain.
Because Leeds has good High Speed Rail connectivity to the cities East of the Pennines via HS2, the Leeds-Manchester route is probably the most important.
As High Speed Rail is a long term project, it will tend to grow, where the returns and needs are greatest.
This article on Rail Technology Magazine is entitled Delayed Sheffield tram-train completion date finally set.
This project was announced in 2015 and the Class 399 tram-trains were delivered in 2016. So you’d think it would be nearing completion, with the tram-trains tested and the track complete. But no! The link will open in Summer 2018.
But the West Anglia Four-Tracking has not even been announced and the Orange Army is already hard at work to squeeze in the extra tracks along the West Anglia Main Line.
Both construction projects have one important thing in common. They need new track to be laid on land already owned by Network Rail or supporting local authorities, with modifications to the overhead electrification and signalling.
So why has one started before it has been announced and the other has taken for ever to get out of the starting blocks?
Wrst Anglia Four-Tracking has been talked about seriously for over ten years, so Network Rail have had a long time to finalise their design.
So do Network Rail need something like a dozen years to go from the start of design to full on construction?
Perhaps they were caught on the hop with the Gospel Oak to Barking Electrification and hadn’t got a design together?
If a project takes a long time to go from initial design to construction, all of the good engineers, managers and workers move on to something they might see completed in their lifetime. So the project has to be restarted time and time again with new people.
Crossrail was different in that when the politicians said build it, the team was created, who will see it through from design to the trains running throyugh the tunnels.
Let’s hope HS2 gets the same treatment as Crossrail, so that in 2026 we can all experience London to Birmingham in the blink of an eye.
Two possible routes have been proposed foe extending the Docklands Light Railway to the West
Whether either is worth developing, I don’t know.
- The Thameslink Programme will improve access between London Bridge and Charing Cross stations, which could take pressure off the Jubilee Line.
- The Thameslink Programme will improve Southeastern services into Cannon Street and Charing Cross stations.
- Charing Cross station has a couple of spare platforms, that some would like to re-use.
- Euston and St. Pancras stations have bad access to Canary Wharf and South East London.
- The Bakerloo Line Extension has been given the green light.
- Crossrail connects Canary Wharf to Bond Strreet, Heathrow, Liverpool Street and Paddington.
But the big issue, is what happens about Crossrail 2.
I feel that the more likely extension to the West is to go from Bank to Euston via City Thameslink and Holborn and/or Tottenham Court Road stations and finish by going on to St. Pancras.
It could link HS2 at Euston and European services at St. Pancras to the following.
- Thameslink at City Thameslink station.
- Crossrail at Tottenham Court Road station.
- Bank and Canary Wharf stations.
It would also provide a decent link between the long distance services at Euston, Kings Cross and St. Pancras.
These factors would also influence the design of the DLR Extension.
- The DLR has all the agility of a mountain coat to climb hills and turn sharply, so it might be possible to squeeze it through places impossible for a Crossrail or an Underground line.
- 3D-design techniques are getting better every year.
- Tunnel boring machines are getting more accurate.
- Escalators are getting longer.
So could we see the extension going from Bank to City Thameslink as a traditional extension and then going in a long double-track loop via some or all of the following stations.
- Tottenham Court Road
- Oxford Circus
- Regents Park
- St. Pancras
- Covent Garden
It would all depend on where they could squeeze the tracks through.
- Stations could be island platforms between the tracks.
- Platform edge doors could be fitted.
- Escalators and lifts could link the platforms to existing station.
There’s no reason why the line should be designed traditionally for the DLR.
There is a by-election in the Copeland constituency, if you haven’t noticed and this is the BBC’s guide to the election.
When I was at Liverpool University in the 1960s, one of C’s friends used to live near Barrow-in-Furness. I remember we had a drink with her once and she told us how she used to have to take five trains and umpteen hours to get between Barrow and Liverpool.
Liverpool to Barrow-in-Furness now takes just over two and a half hours with a single change at Preston.
So when I heard someone from UKIP say that HS2 wouldn’t benefit Copeland on the BBC, I thought I’d check the times.
HS2 opens to Crewe in 2027 and I suspect that trains going to the North of Crewe will use HS2 to Crewe and then run on the classic lines to go North.
Euston to Crewe currently takes 90 minutes, but after HS2 opens this time will reduce to 58 minutes. Times are from this page in The Guardian.
The fastest trains to Barrow-in-Furness currently take three hours fifty-three minutes with a change at either Preston or Lancaster.
So just reducing this time by the thirty two minutes saved South of Crewe, brings the time down to three hours twenty-one minutes.
But I think we’ll see innovation in HS2’s trains.
It seems to be the policy now for a company to have short and long trains, as both the Class 800 trains and Greater Anglia’s Aventras come in both short and long versions, where two short trains can join together for flexibility of operation.
Could Hs2 take this further and say have five-car short trains, three of which could join together for the fast run to and from London?
So will we see five-car trains that can serve places like Barrow-in-Furness, Blackpool and Burnley, joining at Preston for a fast run on HS2 to London?
I also think that by the mid-2020s, all electric trains will have the capability to fit onboard energy storage to give them access to places like Barrow-in-Furness, which may not be electrified.
So could we see a high speed train serving Barrow-in-Furness in 2027? After all Barrow-in-Furness to the West Coast Main Line is just twenty-nine miles, which by that date, will be totally in range of a train with onboard energy storage.
If you look at the provisional timetable for Phase 1 of HS2 on Wikipedia, you will see that there is one train per hour (tph) to Preston. Could this be a train created by bringing together portions from Barrow-in-Furness, Blackpool and Burnley? I don’t know, but the French do similar things with TGVs.
I wouldn’t be surprised and with selective improvements to the route North of Preston and on the Furness Line, the time from London to Barrow could be under three hours, when HS2 opens to Crewe.
Effectively, by building HS2 to Crewe and using specially-designed trains, towns like Barrow-in-Furness get a high speed connection to Birmingham and London.
Cancel HS2 and Copeland will still be deep in the past, as far as rail travel is concerned.
I ask this question as after writing Plans For Toton Station For HS2 Are Beginning To Emerge, I started to think about the specification of the trains that will work on HS2.
Extending North |From Toton Or East Midlands Hub Station
Extending HS2 to Sheffield from Toton will eventually be via a dedicated High Speed Line, where the trains can run at their design speed of 225 mph.
But Toton HS2 to Sheffield via Chesterfield will be linked by the Erewash Valley Line, where trains will be able to travel at least as fast as 125 mph.
The Erewash Valley Line will probably be electrified before HS2 opens to Toton HS2 around 2030, to bring Sheffield consistently under two hours from London.
Extending North From Crewe
Similarly Crewe to Liverpool will not be getting a dedicated High Speed Line, but there is already a route where at least 125 mph is possible.
As passengers won’t want to change trains, Liverpool will get two trains per hour (tph)from London on HS2.
The only work needed North of Crewe would be to create extra and longer platforms at Liverpool Lime Street, provided that the new HS2 trains can work on classic high speed lines like the West Coast Main Line.
These improvements at Liverpool Lime Street are actually underway and knowing Scousers as I do, you could bet your house on it being ready in 2027, as they would want to have HS2 services at the same time as Manchester, if not a couple of years before.
Learning From The French
We should also look at how the French do things.
If you travel from Biarritz to Paris via a TGV, the service runs on both High Speed and classic lines.
From the Liverpool and Sheffield examples, I suspect that we will adopt a similar philosophy.
Consider when HS2 opens, the places that could be served directly from Crewe.
- Runcorn and Liverpool
- Manchester Piccadilly, if there is platform space.
- Warrington, Preston, Carlisle, Glasgow and Edinburgh – Why not?
- Chester and Holyhead – If the North Wales Coast Line is electrified, as has been threatened!
Note most of the West Coast Main Line routes are covered.
Can this explain the decision to combine the HS2 and West Coast Main Line franchises and the early extension of HS2 to Crewe?
The new franchise could even use the same 225 mph trains for HS2 at a slower speed on the West Coast Main Line to replace the Pendelinos.
The only disadvantage would be that the new trains couldn’t take advantage of the more generous HS2 loading gauge, unless of course the classic lines, where they are to run have their gauges enhanced. This may already be the case, as many of these routes have a loading gauge of W10 to take large freight containers.
The Trains For HS2 And West Coast Main Line
I think we’ll be seeing a very interesting specification for the HS2 trains.
- 225 mph capability on High Speed Lines
- 140 mph Pendolino performance on classic lines where possible.
- Short and long trains. Class 800 trains and others seem to be ordered this way, as five and ten car units.
- Automatic coupling and uncoupling of units, just as Class 395 trains do now!
As the trains won’t be delivered for nearly ten years, wouldn’t be surprised to see that they have a 100 mph independently-powered capability of perhaps 100 miles. This would enable the trains to reach places like Aberdeen, Barrow in Furness, Blackpool, Inverness and Lincoln from the West Coast Main Line or Phase 1 of HS2.
Expanding The High Speed Network
It may seem strange to use perhaps onboard energy storage to extend services away from HS2. But this capability would probably only be given to the shorter trains that can join and split at Crewe or Birmingham International for fast running to and from London. Generally, when operating on onboard energy storage, the trains will be travelling at slower speeds. so less energy is needed.
This would mean that places like Barrow-in-Furnace, Blackpool, Cleethorpes and Lincoln could be easily added to the high speed network.
The High Speed network could also be expanded by improving the current network with selective electrification and the capability for higher line speeds.
All of these improvements on the classic lines, would mean that local and freight trains were able to provide a better service too!
Coupled with HS2, they would make a wonderful marketing opportunity.
I estimate the following using new trains and HS2 from Crewe, when Phase 2a of HS2 is complete.
- Glasgow-London would take under four hours for the journey as opposed to just over four and a half hours now.
- Liverpool-London would come down from two hours twelve minutes to one hour 33 minutes.
- Preston-London would down from two hours fifteen minutes to under a hundred minutes.
- Wigan-London would come down from just over two hours to just 87 minutes.
And some commentators and politicians doubt HS2 is needed.
Certainly, the decision to extend as fast as possible to Crewe was a very good idea.
Consider going from Euston to Glasgow in say 2028.
- The train would run from Euston to Crewe at full speed of 225 mph stopping if required at Old Oak Common and Birmingham International in a time of 58 minutes.
- From Crewe to Glasgow, the train would run at least at 125 mph stopping as appropriately.
- Selective improvements and in-cab signalling would reduce journey times from those of today to the North of Crewe.
Ten years or so later, the journey time will be even faster as the High Speed line was extended past Crewe.
East Midlands Hub (Toton) station depending on who’s writing the words is beginning to emerge from HS2’s plans. (I shall use Toton HS2 in this post, to emphasise I mean the HS2 station.) Wikipedia says this about the station.
It is intended to be located on the existing railway sidings in Toton, situated between Nottingham and Derby. A connection to the Nottingham tram system and new connections to existing rail services are proposed, to link the station to Nottingham, Derby and Leicester railway stations. The station would be located adjacent to the M1 motorway in Nottinghamshire, close to the border with Derbyshire.
This Google Map shows the location.
The red arrow marks Toton Lane Tram Stop, which is a Psrk-and-Ride terminus of the Nottingham Express Transit. Between the tram stop and the M1, the Erewash Valley Line passes through in a North-South alignment. South of the East-West A52 is the site of Toton Sidings, which is proposed for the new Toton HS2 station.
I think that HS2 have made a good start in the planning of the connections at this station.
Link To Nottingham Express Transit
Extension of route 1 to serve HS2 at Toton and Derby is a section in the Wikipedia entry for the Nottingham Express Transit.
This is said.
News that a station for the proposed HS2 line (the East Midlands Hub) is likely to be built on the site of Toton sidings, only a short distance from the Toton Lane terminus has fuelled speculation that the line could be extended to the new station. In November 2015 there was a proposal for the tram network to be extended from Toton to Derby. Two routes were later proposed by the D2N2 local enterprise partnership for the route to Derby. The first route would be via the A52 while the second would be via Borrowash and Spondon.
This is not a cheapskate extension to connect Nottingham to HS2, but a proper solution, that creates a high-capacity link running from Nottingham to Derby via the new Toton HS2 station.
- The A52 is the East-West road connecting Derby and Nottingham, which is clearly shown on the Google Map.
- Borrowash is a village at the Western edge of the Google Map, with Spondon, which has a station on the Midland Main Line to Derby, just off the map to the West.
- Tram-trains could use existing track between Toton HS2 and Derby, provided it was electrified.
- Daul-voltage tram-trains would be needed to work on main line and tramway electrification.
- Journey time from Derby to Toton HS2 could be around 20 minutes.
- Network Rail’s plan to move Long Eaton station should make this easier.
- A high frequency service could be run.
- Extra stops could be introduced.
- There are tram-train versions of the Alstom Citadis trams used in Nottingham.
Tram-trains would need 25 KVAC electrification along the route between Toton HS2 and Derby stations. But surely the Midland Main Line electrification will have got to these two stations by 2026 or so!
Nottingham To Derby Via Toton HS2
Nottingham and Derby are two very different cities, but both are successful in their own ways.
Currently, there are about three direct trains per hour (tph) between the two cities.
- Birmingham-Coventry has 7 tph
- Birmingham-Wolverhampton has 9 tph and the Midland Metro.
- Manchester-Leeds has 8 tph
- Leeds-Bradord has 6 tph
Nottingham and Derby get a very raw deal and working on the London Overground/Merseyrail principle of Turn-Up-And-Go , Derby and Nottingham need a four tph connecting service to give passengers something that is acceptable.
As with Birmingham-Woverhampton, a mix of heavy rail, tram and perhaps tram-train might give the two cities the service to Toton HS2 and between themselves, that they need.
Bssed on good practice in London, Birmingham and Liverpool, I would provide the following minimum service.
- 4 tph – Express heavy rail stopping at Beeston, Toton HS2, Long Easton and Spondon.
- 4 tph – Tram-train stopping everywhere between Hucknall and Derby via Beeston, Toton HS2, Long Eaton and Spondon.
- 3 tph – Extra long distance trains calling at both, which would probably also stop at Toton HS2.
It would be a darn site better than what is currently provided.
A Notts/Derbys Crossrail
There might even be a case for a Newark to Burton-on-Trent service via Nottingham, Toton HS2, Long Eaton and Derby. It would be Notts/Derbys version of Crossrail, feeding passengers from all over the area to HS2.
Nottingham City Centre To London In Under 90 Minutes
Currently Nottingham to London takes one hour forty minutes by the fastest trains. But after HS2 opens, it would take 30 minutes from Nottingham to Toton HS and the 52 minutes by HS2 to London.
So even if the classic service to St. Pancras gets faster and more frequent, will passengers opt for the quicker HS2 from Toton HS2?
If say Toton HS2 to London was four tph and run on almost a Turn-Up-And-Go basis, and the connections to Derby and Nottingham were upwards of six tph, the classic trains will have to work hard to maintain market share.
Derby to London wouldn’t show the same improvement as Nottingham to London, but the service could be more frequent and probably well under ninety ,minutes.
The big winners would be the passengers from the Far West of Derby to the Far East of Nottingham.
Using The Erewash Valley Line
Network Rail is improving the Erewash Valley Line. Under Future is a section in the Wikipedia entry for the line.
This is said.
Network Rail as part of a £250 million investment in the regions railways has proposed improvements to the junctions at each end, resignalling throughout, and a new East Midlands Control Centre.
As well as renewing the signalling, three junctions at Trowell, Ironville and Codnor Park will be redesigned and rebuilt. Since the existing Midland Main Line from Derby through the Derwent Valley has a number of tunnels and cuttings which are listed buildings and it is a World Heritage Area, it seems that the Erewash line is ripe for expansion.
It would seem that Network Rail are creating a 125 mph-plus line between East Midlands Parkway and Chesterfield stations. Is this part of a pragmatic philosophy to improve services from London to Chesterfield and Sheffield.
- Derby to Chesterfield along the Derwent Valley will not be electrified because of heritage and engineering reasons.
- Derby to Sheffield via Chesterfield will be served by bi-mode or other independently-powered trains.
- The Erewash Valley Line will be electrified and could even be cleared to allow 140 mph running.
- London to Sheffield trains would go via East Midlands Parkway, Long Eaton, Toton HS2 and Chesterfield.
Even if HS2 isn’t built, Chesterfield and Sheffield would get a vastly improved service to London.
When HS2 is built to Toton HS2, HS2 can take advantage of the Erewash Valley Line to create faster services to the North.
Extending HS2 To Sheffield
If HS2 can get to Toton HS2 in 52 minutes, surely this could mean a London-Sheffield time of well under two hours once the Erewash Valley Line is electrified, even if passengers had to change trains.
But I think we know enough about the dynamics of High Speed Trains, that can run at 225 mph on High Speed Lines to get them to run at 125 or even 140 mph on high standard main lines, like the Midland Main Line.
After HS2 opens to Toton HS2, Chesterfield and Sheffield would get a better service from London in three ways.
- Direct from London on the Midland Main Line.
- By HS2 with a change at Toton HS2 to a classic service.
- By HS2 direct.
All services would use the electrified Erewash Valley Line to get to Chesterfield.
It should be noted that from 2020, London-Norwich will be on a frequency of 3 tph. Surely, the much larger Sheffield needs 4 tph to and from London.
Using The Robin Hood Line
- It is an underdeveloped line with diesel multiple units running to a frequency of 2 tph.
- The Southern end of the line connects to the tracks through Toton HS2, so it wouldn’t be difficult to use the new station as an additional terminus for the Robin Hood Line.
- At the Northern end, there is scope to develop new branches.
I can envisage Nottingham developing the Robin Hood Line into a suburban network feeding passengers to both the City Centre and Toton HS2.
Extending HS2 to North Nottinghamshire And Lincoln
In After The Robin Hood Line Will Nottingham See The Maid Marian Line?, I wrote about an article in the Nottingham Post is entitled Hopes HS2 could see ‘Maid Marian Line’ opened to passengers.
There is a freight only line, that if reopened to passenger traffic would allow trains to connect from Toton HS2, through Ilkeston and Langley Mill to North Nottinghamshire and all the way across Lincolnshire to Lincoln, thus giving a large area direct access to HS2.
Lincoln to London would be under two hours with a change at Toton HS2.
Will All Sorts Of Towns And Cities Get The Benefit Of Direct HS2 Trains?
I have mentioned a lot of stations at various town and cities in this post.
To take Langley Mill station as an example, currently this gets at least one fast train a day to and from St. Pancras.
One of the things to note, is that the new trains will be much faster at stopping and getting on their way again, than the current generation of trains, so adding stops between Toton HS and Sheffield. won’t delay the service like it does today.
As I said earlier, I believe there could be a similar connecting service from Toton HS2 to Lincoln, calling at Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Mansfield, Gainsborough, Lincoln and Cleethorpes.
The train to Lincoln would probably be a short five can train and it would couple and uncouple with a similar train at Toton for the express journey South.
Other destinations from Toton HS, might include Doncaster, Doncaster Airport and Hull.
It’s one thing for a short train to trundle round Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire at 100 mph, but when on HS2, you probably need two trains coupled together to maximise the use of a limited number of train paths.
Connections could also be created using slower trains! But they wouldn’t be so sexy!
A New City At Toton
The Sunday Times has an article this week, which was entitled Next Arrival On The HS2 Line: A Brand New City.
It is an interesting proposition.
- There’s certainly space between Derby and Nottingham.
- Birmingham will be 19 minutes away by HS2.
- London will be within the hour.
- The M1 will pass right through the city.
But above all we need more housing.
The HS2 station at East Midlands Hub or Toton HS2, is a lot more than a HS2 station for Nottingham and Derby.
I would do the following.
- Electrify to Sheffield on the Erewash Valley Line and between Derby and Nottingham.
- Extend the Nottingham Express Transit to Derby via Toton HS2 using tram-train technology.
- Run a 4 tph express local service between Derby and Nottingham via Toton HS2.
- Make sure that HS2 reaches Toton HS2 as soon as possible.
- Build the new city at Toton.
Surely because the Nottingham-Derby area has a lot to gain from HS2, it would probably be very beneficial for HS2’s revenue.
This article in the Nottingham Post is entitled Hopes HS2 could see ‘Maid Marian Line’ opened to passengers.
I’ve been here before in September 2015 in a post called Expanding The Robin Hood Line.
But the new baby elephant in the room is the new Ilkeston station, which hopefully opens on the 2nd of April 2017.
Given Chris Grayling’s thoughts, that I wrote about in Government Focuses On New Stations And Trains, could it be that if extra trains can be found, that to provide a second train per hour between Nottingham and Ilkeston, a second route to Kirkby-in-Ashfield and on to to Mansfield and Worksop, is opened up the Erewash Valley Line.
The route could even terminate on the proposed extension of the Robin Hood Line to Ollerton.
The route from Nottingham to Ollerton would be.
- Toton for HS2
- Langley Mill
- Selston – New station
- Pinxton- New station
- Sutton Parkway
- Mansfield Woodhouse
- Warsop- New station
- Edwinstowe – New station
- Ollerton – New station
I think it is likely that this route could be developed.
- The track is all there and is used by freight trains and/or for driver training.
- An hourly service on this route would mean additional services for many of the stations on the route.
- The only problem would be finding some suitable diesel trains for the route.
- It could probably be trialled to Mansfield or with a simple station at Ollerton.
- The track from Ollerton appears to be intact all the way to Lincoln.
But the clincher is that it would provide connectivity for HS2 all the way from Worksop and Mansfield to Lincoln and Grimsby.
HS2 is needed, but we must make sure that the benefits of the line are spread to all parts of the country.
If this route to Lincoln could be developed as a 100 mph line, the time from Lincoln to London with a change to HS2 at Toton could be likely to be under two hours.
In Government Focuses On New Stations And Trains, Chris Grayling mentioned the route from Grimsby to Sheffield. Surely creating this route from Lincoln to Toton via Ollerton for HS2, is what really improves train transport in North Lincolnshire.
I ask this question as I have just read this article on the New Civil Engineer web site which is entitled Old Oak Common Megadeck Momentum Slows.
This is said.
Momentum for the 7ha deck to be built over the Crossrail depot in the new Old Oak and Park Royal development in west London has slowed according to the chief executive of the regeneration body in charge of the work.
Sadiq Khan is blaming Boris, as any politician would.
It is truly a massive site, as this Google Map shows.
The two stations at the top of the map is Willesden Junction station.
Running across the map is the Great Western Main Line, with the various depots and Cargiant to the North.
This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines in the area.
This aerial view of the area is from Crossrail.
The megadeck is needed to go over much of this area, so that housing and other developments can be built.
This is the headline on an article in today’s Sunday Times.
It’s all about people in wheel-chairs having level access to the trains. This is possible on many trains in the UK, but on the Continent, it is generally impossible.
It is probably, yet more fall-out from the different ways the UK and everybody else built their railways.
We went for a small loading gauge, which was probably logical to the engineers at the time, except for Brunel, who wanted a broader track gauge and bigger tunnels and bridges.
Everybody else coming several years later went for their own gauges, many of which were larger.
We even built larger gauge railways in Ireland and India.
So everywhere you are getting problems to create a standard that is acceptable to all.
In the December 2016 Edition of Modern Railways, there is an article by Roger Ford entitled Electrical Clearances: The Plot Thickens. This would appear to be another manifestation of the same problem.
We will have to find a solution, as otherwise places like Liverpool, which will not have a dedicated high speed station, will not get a high speed service, as the high speed trains will always have to stop at high speed platforms.
In my view, this is a problem, where politicians should be banned from having an opinion. We need to have platform heights at x, y and z and be xx away from any electrical wires.
Give a simple standard to the train building companies and the engineers and see what they come up with!
I have just found this document on the European Parliament web site, which is entitled Reducing Railway Noise Pollution.
It is a fascinating document and this is the abstract.
12 million EU inhabitants are affected by railway noise during the day and 9 million during the night. This study lists measures, funding and regulations to reduce it. The introduction of modern rolling stock will lower noise most significantly. In the short run, the replacement of cast iron by composite brake blocks on rail freight cars is most important. Developing a regulation scheme for a staged process towards low-noise rolling stock is the heart of a rail noise abatement strategy.
Many of us in the UK, would think that we suffer badly from the noise of trains, but it would appear that Germany and other Central European countries suffer badly from all freight trains passing through. The Rhine Valley which has over 400 freighs trains a day, suffers badly from noise.
So how can we reduce noise?
- As the abstract says new rolling stock is the best way to reduce noise and many of our trains have been replaced with new or refurbished ones in the last few years.
- The report says that most (approximately 75%) of UK freight wagons have disc brakes or composite brake blocks. So that is good.
- In my view one of things that gets most complaints is noisy and smelly diesel locomotives, like the dreaded Class 66 locomotives. They may be liked by the freight companies, but they are not favourites of drivers and those living by the railway. More friendly types of diesel locomotives like the Class 68 are starting to appear and it can’t be too soon.
- Surprisingly, with electric trains, pantograph noise is a problem. I’d hand that and any other aerodynamic problems over to the engineers in Formula One and aircraft design. I have read that Bombardier’s new Aventra will be very clean aeodynamically, which must make for a reduction in noise.
Let’s hope that these small improvements continue to reduce the noise by trains.
The report also says this about physical noise barriers.
Noise barriers are a visual intrusion, particularly since they are a target for graffiti; they have a high cost, and cause problems for track access. Their effectiveness depends on their absorption properties, their height, and the proximity of the barrier to the noise source and/or to the receiver.
I am not a fan, as they ruin my taking of photographs.