The Anonymous Widower

Northern Powerhouse Rail – A New Line Between Manchester And Leeds Via The Centre Of Bradford

In this article on Transport for the North, which is entitled Northern Powerhouse Rail Progress As Recommendations Made To Government, one of the recommendations proposed for Northern Powerhouse Rail is a new rail line between Manchester and Leeds via the centre of Bradford.

I shall look at a few of the possibilities for various sections of the route.

Current And Proposed Timings Between Manchester And Leeds

These are the current typical timings between Manchester Victoria and Leeds stations.

  • 55 minutes for 43 miles, which is an average speed of 47 mph.

With Northern Powerhouse Rail, a time of 25 minutes is the objective, which is an average speed of 103.2 mph.

  • As my helicopter flies it is just 35.7 miles, so a 25 minutes journey time would require an average speed of 85.7 mph.

It is obvious that a new much straighter line is needed with an operating speed of at least 100 mph.

One of the best 100 mph lines in the UK  is the Great Eastern Main Line between Liverpool Street and Norwich.

  • It is generally only double-track.
  • The fastest services take 90 minutes for the 115 miles, which is an average speed of 77 mph.
  • It is a busy line with lots of suburban services closer to London and freight trains to and from Felixstowe.

But even a line built to the standard of the Great Eastern Main Line wouldn’t be good enough for Northern Powerhouse Rail’s objective of 25 minutes.

The mathematics tell me, that a new line is needed, built as straight as possible between Manchester and Leeds.

High Speed Two’s Approach To Manchester

This map clipped from High Speed Two’s interactive map, shows the route of High Speed Two as it approaches Manchester Piccadilly station.

The colours of High Speed Two indicate the type of construction.

  • Black is a bored tunnel. Only in the South East corner, where it continues to Manchester Airport.
  • Purple is a tunnel portal.
  • Brown is a track between retaining walls. Used through Manchester Interchange or Airport station.
  • Red is a viaduct.
  • Orange is a box structure

This Google Map shows a similar area.

Are High Speed Two serious about demolishing a large area of Manchester to the North and East of Manchester Piccadilly station?

  • It will cause massive disruption all over the centre of Manchester.
  • How many businesses will be ruined by this plan?
  • How many residents are there in the area?
  • How will trains from the new platforms at Piccadilly station continue to Bradford, Huddersfield, Leeds and Sheffield?
  • Mrs. Merton could have said “Let’s all have a reverse!” And she’d have been joking!
  • You can’t go through the new platforms, as that would mean demolishing most of Manchester City Centre.

What High Speed Two are proposing is complete and utter rubbish!

In Whither HS2 And HS3?, which I wrote in May 2015, I said this.

I do think though that our designs for HS2 are rather dated and don’t take things that are happening or have happened into account.

Crossrail in London has shown that putting a large twin rail tunnel under a major city, is not the problem it once was. Crossrail have also been very innovative in creating stations with the minimum disturbance to existing infrastructure. As an example, the new Whitechapel station for Crossrail has also used a technique called uphill excavation, where you create escalator and lift shafts upwards from the tunnels, rather than traditionally from the surface, which is much more disruptive.

These techniques can revolutionise the construction of HS2.

Take cities like Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield, which have developed and are continually developing extensive local rail, tram and bus networks. So why are we in Birmingham still talking about creating an HS2 station at Curzon Street? Surely, we just dig a very deep pair of HS2 tunnels under the city and then uphill excavate into not only New Street, but Moor Street and Snow Hill as well. The tunnels would be only made as long as necessary, although the underground station could be very large. But it probably wouldn’t be much bigger than the enormous double-ended Liverpool Street/Moorgate station being created for Crossrail.

The great advantage of this method of construction is that you can continue to develop your network of local trains, trams and other transport links, untroubled by the construction of the new station deep below. Anybody, who thinks this is not possible, should spend half-an-hour walking around Whitechapel station, where the Hammersmith and City, District and East London Lines are passing untroubled over the giant hole and through the building site for the new station.

To some the example of Crossrail in London, would not be a good one, as Crossrail is years late. But the tunnelling under London and the excavations for the stations have gone well and were delivered on time.

In the related post, I went on to propose a double-ended underground station in Manchester with connections to both Piccadilly and Victoria stations. It could even have other connections to locations in the City Centre like Piccadilly Gardens.

There’s certainly space for a stylish entrance at the busy tram and bus interchange.

By applying the lessons learned in the building of Crossrail and other projects like Stuttgart 21, which I wrote about in Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof, I’m sure that a massive underground station in Manchester could be built successfully, on time and on budget.

I am not alone in thinking this way. In The Rival Plans For Piccadilly Station, That Architects Say Will ‘Save Millions’, I write about a plan from world-class architects Weston Williamson, who designed the superb new London Bridge station.

This visualisation from Weston Williamson, shows their proposed station.

Note.

  1. In the visualisation, you are observing the station from the East.
  2. The existing railway lines into Piccadilly station are shown in red.
  3. Stockport and Manchester Airport are to the left, which is to the South.
  4. Note the dreaded Castlefield Corridor in red going off into the distance to Oxford Road and Deansgate stations.
  5. The new high speed lines are shown in blue.
  6. To the left they go to Manchester Airport and then on to London, Birmingham and the South, Warrington and Liverpool and Wigan, Preston, Blackpool, Barrow-in-Furness, the North and Scotland.
  7. To the right, they go to Huddersfield, Bradford, Leeds, Hull and the North East, and Sheffield, Doncaster and the East.
  8. Between it looks like  a low-level High Speed station with at least four tracks and six platforms.
  9. The Manchester Mretrolink is shown in yellow.
  10. The potential for over-site development is immense. If the Station Square Tower was residential, the penthouses would be some of the most desirable places to live in the North.

This station would enable improvements to rail services in the North and Scotland.

  • It would be a through station, to allow East to West services, like Liverpool and Hull.
  • Fewer services would have to reverse.
  • All services using the underground station, that went to the West would serve Manchester Airport.
  • TransPennine services like Liverpool and Edinburgh and Liverpool and Scarborough, would use the station and also call at Manchester Airport.
  • TransPennine services like Glasgow and Manchester Airport could be extended to Leeds and Hull.
  • TransPennine services would not need to use the overcrowded Castlefield Corridor.
  • All existing services to the main section of the existing Piccadilly station, could continue operation as now, during the construction and operation of the underground station. Some would eventually be replaced by high speed services using the underground station.

Manchester Airport would have one of the best train services of any airport in the world. It would certainly be on a par with Schiphol.

Careful alignment of the tunnels under Manchester, could also ease the building of the new line between Manchester and Leeds.

Huddersfield And Westtown (Dewsbury)

The only part of an upgraded TransPennine route between Manchester and Leeds, that is in the planning and design phase and visible to the public, is the upgrade between Huddersfield to Westtown (Dewsbury), which is described on this page of the Network Rail web site. This is the introductory paragraph.

We’re proposing an upgrade to a section of railway between Huddersfield and Westtown (Dewsbury) to deliver passenger benefits along the TransPennine railway.

Network Rail provide this very useful map.

This article on Rail Technology Magazine is entitled Network Rail Reveals Detailed £2.9bn Upgrade Plans For TransPennine Route, which gives the major details of the upgrade.

  • Improvement between Huddersfield and Westtown
  • Grade separation or a tunnel at Ravensthorpe
  • Rebuilding and electrification of eight miles of track.
  • Possible doubling the number of tracks from two to four.
  • Improved stations at Huddersfield, Deighton, Mirfield and Ravensthorpe.

This project would be a major improvement to the Huddersfield Line, but I have one problem with this project. – It doesn’t go anywhere near Bradford.

This Google Map shows Bradford, Leeds, Brighouse and Dewsbury.

Note.

  1. Bradford is in the North-West corner of the map, with the red arrow marking Bradford Royal Infirmary.
  2. Leeds is in the North-East corner of the map.
  3. Brighouse is in the South-West corner  of the map.
  4. The red arrow at the bottom of the map marks Dewsbury and District Hospital, with the towns of Morley and Dewsbury to the East.

The route Network rail are improving goes South-Westerly from Leeds and through both Morley and Leeds, before turning to the West and then going South to Huddersfield.

I am left with the conclusion, that Network Rail’s plans may do wonders for travel between Leeds and Huddersfield, but they don’t do anything for Bradford.

But the plans will have positive effects on travellers between Leeds and Manchester.

Eight Miles Of Electrification

Eight miles of electrification may not seem much, but to a Hitachi Regional Battery train, travelling at speed it is a few minutes to add some charge to the batteries, especially if the train stops at Dewsbury and/or Huddersfield stations.

This Hitachi infographic gives the specification for the Hitachi Regional Battery train.

Note.

  1. It has a range of 90 km or 56 miles on battery power.
  2. It can travel at up to 100 mph on battery power.
  3. TransPennine’s Class 802 trains can be converted to Regional Battery trains, by simply swapping the diesel engines for battery packs.

If these trains fully-charged their batteries on the eight miles of electrification, they could do the following.

  • Going East they could easily reach Leeds, which is under ten miles from Dewsbury station. At a pinch they could even reach York, which is thirty-five miles from Dewsbury.
  • Going West they could reach Manchester, which is twenty-six miles from Huddersfield station. At a pinch, they could just about reach Liverpool, which is fifty-seven miles from Huddersfield.

Note that North of York and West of Manchester are both fully electrified.

This eight miles of electrification would enable the following.

  • Several of TransPennine Express services run by Class 802 trains to become all-electric services.
  • Other operators like Northern could use battery electric trains for stopping services along the route.
  • It might even enable some freight trains to run through the area, with hybrid power.

It looks to me, that Network Rail have chosen this section to electrify, so that it gives a lot of benefit to battery electric trains.

Will Services Be Faster Between Huddersfield And Leeds?

I estimate the the straightened track, the better acceleration of electric trains and other improvements would save up to perhaps ten minutes.

Timings between Manchester and Leeds, would probably be around 45 minutes, which is nowhere near Northern Powerhouse Rail’s objective of 25 minutes

The Problem Of Bradford

Bradford has two central stations; Bradford Interchange and Bradford Forster Square. which have no connection between them.

This Google Map shows the two stations.

It is an area crowded with buildings between the two stations.

There is a Wikipedia entry called Bradford Crossrail, where this is said about the reasons for the two stations.

These stations were built in the nineteenth century by different railway companies with an individual, rather than a comprehensive plan for rail development in the city.

The Wikipedia entry also says this about Northern Powerhouse Rail and the city.

The Northern Powerhouse Rail project has also mooted a project to link Leeds and Manchester with a through route at Bradford. Whilst this would either involve a bypass line south of the city and a parkway station at Low Moor or a new route tunnelling through the city centre, neither option mentions connecting the lines from both north and south of the city together.

I will look at the two solutions to connect Northern Powerhouse Rail to the City.

Low Moor Station

The diagram shows the connections between Bradford Interchange, Bradford Low Moor, Huddersfield and Leeds stations.

It would appear that if a connection were to be made between Low Moor and New Pudsey stations. that could be a solution.

This Google Map shows where the lines to Huddersfield and Leeds join outside Bradford Interchange station.

Note,

  1. Bradford Interchange station is to the North.
  2. Bradford Low Moor station is to the South.
  3. New Pudsey station is to the East.

I suspect it would be possible to create a curve that allowed trains to go between  Bradford Low Moor and New Pudsey stations, but I doubt it would be a fast route.

A Bradford Tunnel

This would be the bold option, where all sorts of routes could be possible.

  • It could go under the City Centre in such a way, that it had pedestrian connections to both current stations and important places with a large number of visitors.
  • It could connect to Huddersfield in the West and Leeds in the East.
  • It might even loop under the City Centre, as the Wirral Line does under Liverpool.

A tunnel under the City, would be my preferred solution.

A Tunnel Between Manchester And Leeds

So far, various people or organisations have advocated the following tunnels on the route.

  • High Speed Two are proposing a tunnel between Manchester Airport and Manchester City Centre.
  • Weston Williamson are proposing a Manchester High Speed station underneath Manchester Piccadilly station.
  • A tunnel has been proposed to connect to Bradford City Centre.

I feel strongly, that a tunnel can be built under the Pennines to link Manchester and Leeds.

Rail Tunnels through the Pennines have been dug before, notably at Standedge, Totley and Woodhead.

I answered the question in detail in Will HS2 And Northern Powerhouse Rail Go For The Big Bore? and this was the conclusion of that post.

I believe that my naïve analysis in this post shows that a TransPennine tunnel is possible.

But I believe that the right tunnel could have one big advantage.

Suppose it was built to handle the following.

    • A capacity of eighteen tph, which is the same as High Speed Two.
    • An operating speed of 140 mph or more. The Gotthard Base Tunnel has a maximum operating speed of 160 mph.
    • High Speed Two’s Full-Size trains.
    • The largest freight trains

It would be future proofed for longer than anybody could envisage.

There are also other smaller advantages.

    • It would by-pass a lot of difficult areas.
    • It would cause very little aural and visual disruption.
    • IIf it were designed with care, it would not affect the flora and fauna.
    • As with the Swiss tunnel, it could be dug level, which would save energy and allow trains to run faster.
    • It could be running twelve tph between Leeds and Manchester Airport via Bradford, Huddersfield and Manchester Piccadilly.
    • Existing surface railways at the Eastern end could serve Cleethorpes, Darlington, Doncaster, Edinburgh, Hull, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Scarborough, Sheffield and York
    • Existing surface railways at the Western end could serve Barrow, Blackpool, Carlisle, Chester, Glasgow, Liverpool. North Wales, Preston and Wigan.

It would be more like Thameslink for the North turned on its side, rather than Crossrail for the North.

Would such a TransPennine tunnel be realisable?

Consider.

  • 3D design software has improved tremendously over the last decade.
  • The Swiss have shown that these long tunnels can be built through solid rock.
  • There is plenty of space to put the tunnel.
  • It doesn’t have to be one continuous tunnel.
  • It might be possible to built it as a base tunnel, which would be low down and level between two valleys on either side of the Pennines.

I think there could be a lot of flexibility on how the tunnel would be designed and built.

Conclusion

A Manchester and Leeds tunnel via Bradford, could be one of the boldest projects ever undertaken in the UK.

I believe that we have the capabilities to build it.

Project Management Recommendations

This is a large project that will take several years.

  • But the Swiss have dug the Gotthard Base Tunnel of a similar size through solid rock in recent years.
  • It would be a political symbol to the North, that Government is serious about levelling up.
  • In thirty years or so, it won’t be found to have been built with inadequate capacity.

Other projects, such as the Huddersfield and Westtown Improvement wukk old the fort, whilst the tunnel is built.

 

November 22, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Hull Issues New Plea For Electrification

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Residents and businesses in Hull are being urged to support electrification of the railway to Selby and Sheffield.

This paragraph is about the difficulty of electrifying the route.

“Unlike elsewhere on the trans-Pennine routes, work here can start straightaway and would be a quick win. Our plans involve few extra land purchases, no tunnel widening, and no re-routing,” said Daren Hale, Hull City Council and Hull’s representative on the Transport for the North board.

Services to Hull station are as follows.

  • Hull Trains – London Kings Cross and Hull via Selby, Howden and Brough.
  • Hull Trains – Beverley and Hull via Cuttingham
  • LNER – London Kings Cross and Hull via Selby and Brough
  • Northern Trains – Halifax and Hull via Bradford Interchange, New Pudsey, Bramley, Leeds, Cross Gates, Garforth, East Garforth, Micklefield, South Milford, Selby and Brough
  • Northern Trains – Sheffield and Hull via Meadowhall, Rotherham Central, Swinton, Mexborough, Conisbrough, Doncaster, Kirk Sandall, Hatfield & Stainforth, Thorne North, Goole, Saltmarshe, Gilberdyke, Broomfleet, Brough, Ferriby and Hessle,
  • Northern Trains – Bridlington and Hull via Nafferton, Driffield, Hutton Cranswick, Arram, Beverley and Cottingham.
  • Northern Trains – Scarborough and Hull via Seamer, Filey, Hunmanby, Bempton, Bridlington, Nafferton, Driffield, Hutton Cranswick, Arram, Beverley and Cottingham.
  • Northern Trains – York and Hull via Selby, Howden, Gilberdyke and Brough.
  • TransPennine Express – Manchester Piccadilly and Hull via Stalybridge, Huddersfield, Leeds, Selby, Brough

Note.

  1. Some services are joined back-to-back with a reverse at Hull station.
  2. I have simplified some of the lists of intermediate stations.
  3. Services run by Hull Trains, LNER or TransPennine Express use bi-mode Class 800 or Class 802 trains.
  4. All routes to Hull station and the platforms are not electrified.

Trains approach Hull by three routes.

  • Selby and Brough
  • Goole and Brough
  • Beverley and Cottingham

Could these three routes be electrified?

I have just flown my helicopter along all of them.

I’ve also had a lift in the cab of a Class 185 train between Hull and Leeds, courtesy of Don Coffey.

Hull And Selby via Brough

There is the following infrastructure.

  • Several major road overbridges, which all seem to have been built with clearance for overhead wires.
  • There are also some lower stone arch bridges, which may need to be given increased clearance.
  • No tunnels
  • The historic Selby Swing Bridge.
  • Four farm crossings.
  • Fourteen level crossings.

Hull And Goole via Brough

There is the following infrastructure.

  • Several major road overbridges, which all seem to have been built with clearance for overhead wires.
  • No tunnels
  • A swing bridge over the River Ouse.
  • A couple of farm crossings
  • Six level crossings

Hull And Beverley via Cottingham

There is the following infrastructure.

  • A couple of major road overbridges, which all seem to have been built with clearance for overhead wires.
  • No tunnels
  • A couple of farm crossings
  • Six level crossings

All of the routes would appear to be.

  • At least double track.
  • Not in deep cuttings.
  • Mainly in open countryside.
  • Built with lots of level crossings

I feel that compared to some routes, they would be easy to electrify, but could cause a lot of disruption, whilst the level crossings and the two swing bridges were electrified.

Speeding Up Services To And From Hull

What Are The Desired  Timings?

The Rail Magazine article says this about the desired timings.

Should the plans be approved, it is expected that Hull-Leeds journey times would be cut from 57 minutes to 38, while Hull-Sheffield would drop from 86 minutes to 50 minutes.

These timings are in line with those given in this report on the Transport for the North web site, which is entitled At A Glance – Northern Powerhouse Rail,

The frequency of both routes is given in the report as two trains per hour (tph)

The Performance Of An Electric Class 802 Train

As Hull Trains, LNER and TransPennine Express will be using these trains or similar to serve Hull, I will use these trains for my calculations.

The maximum speed of a Class 802 train is 125 mph or 140 mph with digital in-cab signalling.

This page on the Eversholt Rail web site, has a data sheet for a Class 802 train.

The data sheet shows the following for a five-car Class 802 train.

It can accelerate to 100 mph and then decelerate to a stop in 200 seconds in electric mode.

The time to 125 mph and back is 350 seconds.

Thoughts On Hull And Leeds

Consider.

  • The Hull and Leeds route is 52 miles long, is timed for a 75 mph train and has an average speed of 55 mph
  • There are three intermediate stops for fast services, which means that in a Hull and Leeds journey, there are four accelerate-decelerate cycles.
  • A 38 minute journey between Hull and Leeds would be an average speed of 82 mph
  • A train travelling at 100 mph would take 31 minutes to go between Hull and Leeds.
  • A train travelling at 125 mph would take 25 minutes to go between Hull and Leeds.

I also have one question.

What is the speed limit on the Selby Swing Bridge?

I have just been told it’s 25 mph. As it is close to Selby station, it could probably be considered that the stop at Selby is a little bit longer.

These could be rough timings.

  • A train travelling at 100 mph would take 31 minutes to go between Hull and Leeds plus what it takes for the four stops. at 200 seconds a stop, which adds up to 43 minutes.
  • A train travelling at 125 mph would take 25 minutes to go between Hull and Leeds plus what it takes for the four stops. at 350 seconds a stop, which adds up to 48 minutes.

Note how the longer stopping time of the faster train slows the service.

I think it would be possible to attain the required 38 minute journey, running at 100 mph.

Thoughts On Hull And Sheffield

Consider.

  • The Hull and Sheffield route is 61 miles long, is timed for a 90 mph train and has an average speed of 43 mph
  • There are five intermediate stops, which means that in a Hull and Sheffield journey, there are six accelerate-decelerate cycles.
  • A 50 minute journey between Hull and Leeds would be an average speed of 73 mph.
  • A train travelling at 100 mph would take 36 minutes to go between Hull and Sheffield.
  • A train travelling at 125 mph would take 29 minutes to go between Hull and Sheffield.

I also have one question.

What is the speed limit on the swing bridge over the River Ouse?

As there is no nearby station, I suspect it counts as another stop, if it only has a 25 mph limit.

These could be rough timings.

  • A train travelling at 100 mph would take 36 minutes to go between Hull and Sheffield plus what it takes for the six stops. at 200 seconds a stop, which adds up to 56 minutes.
  • A train travelling at 125 mph would take 29 minutes to go between Hull and Sheffield plus what it takes for the six stops. at 350 seconds a stop, which adds up to 64 minutes.

Note how the longer stopping time of the faster train slows the service.

I think it would be possible to attain the required 50 minute journey, running at 100 mph.

Conclusions From My Rough Timings

Looking at my rough timings, I can conclude the following.

  • The trains will have to have  the ability to make a station stop in a very short time. Trains using electric traction are faster at station stops.
  • The trains will need to cruise at a minimum of 100 mph on both routes.
  • The operating speed of both routes must be at least 100 mph, with perhaps 125 mph allowed in places.
  • I feel the Hull and Leeds route is the more difficult.

I also think, that having a line running at 100 mph or over, with the large number of level crossings, there are at present, would not be a good idea.

What Does Hull Want?

Hull wants what Northern Powerhouse Rail is promising.

  • Two tph between Hull and Leeds in 38 minutes and Hull and Sheffield in 50 minutes.

They’d probably also like faster electric services between Hull and Bridlington, London Kings Cross, Manchester, Scarborough and York.

When Do They Want It?

They want it now!

Is There An Alternative Solution, That Can Be Delivered Early?

This may seem to be the impossible, as electrifying between Hull and Leeds and Hull and Sheffield is not an instant project, although full electrification could be an ultimate objective.

Consider.

  • Hull and Brough are 10.5 miles apart.
  • Brough and Leeds are 41 miles apart.
  • Brough and Doncaster are 30 miles apart and Doncaster and Sheffield are 20 miles apart.
  • Brough and Temple Hirst Junction are 26 miles apart.
  • Brough and York are 42 miles apart.
  • Hull and Beverley are 8 miles apart.
  • Beverley and Bridlington are 23 miles apart.
  • Beverley and Seamer are 42 miles apart.

Note that Doncaster, Leeds and Temple Hirst Junction are all electrified.

Hitachi’s Regional Battery Train

Hitachi have just launched the Regional Battery Train, which is described in this Hitachi infograpic.

It has a range of 56 miles and an operating speed of 100 mph.

Class 800 and Class 802 trains could be converted into Regional Battery Trains.

  • The three diesel engines would be exchanged for battery packs.
  • The trains would still be capable of 125 mph on fully-electrified routes like the East Coast Main Line.
  • They would be capable of 100 mph on routes like the 100 mph routes from Hull.
  • The trains would have full regenerative braking to batteries, which saves energy.
  • Below 125 mph, their acceleration and deceleration on battery power would probably be the same as when using electrification. It could even be better due to the simplicity and low impedance of batteries.

But they would need some means of charging the batteries at Hull.

A Start To Electrification

If the ultimate aim is to electrify all the lines, then why not start by electrifying.

  • Hull station.
  • Hull and Brough
  • Hull and Beverley

It would only be 18.5 miles of electrification and it doesn’t go anywhere near the swing bridges or about six level crossings.

Battery Electric Services From Hull

I will now look at how the various services could operate.

Note in the following.

  1. When I say Regional Battery Train, I mean Hitachi’s proposed train or any other battery electric train with a similar performance.
  2. I have tried to arrange all power changeovers in a station.
  3. Pantograph operation can happen at line-speed or when the train is stationary.

I have assumed a range of 56 miles on a full battery and an operating speed of 100 mph on a track that allows it.

Hull And London Kings Cross

The legs of the service are as follows.

  • Hull and Brough – 10.5 miles – Electrified
  • Brough and Temple Hirst Junction – 26 miles – Not Electrified
  • Temple Hirst Junction and London Kings Cross – 169 miles – Electrified

Note.

  1. Hull and Brough takes about 11 minutes, so added to the time spent in Hull station, this must be enough time to fully-charge the batteries.
  2. Regional Battery Trains will be able to do 56 miles on a full battery so 26 miles should be easy.
  3. One changeover between power sources will be done in Brough station.
  4. The other changeover will be done at line speed at Temple Hirst Junction, as it is now!

Hull Trains and LNER would be able to offer an all-electric service to London.

A few minutes might be saved, but they would be small compared to time savings, that will be made because of the introduction of full ERTMS in-cab signalling South of Doncaster, which will allow 140 mph running.

Hull And Leeds

The legs of the service are as follows.

  • Hull and Brough – 10.5 miles – Electrified
  • Brough and Leeds – 41 miles – Not Electrified.

Note.

  1. Hull and Brough takes about 11 minutes, so added to the time spent in Hull station, this must be enough time to fully-charge the batteries.
  2. Regional Battery Trains will be able to do 56 miles on a full battery so 41 miles should be easy.
  3. One changeover between power sources will be done in Brough station, with the other in Leeds station.

If Leeds and Huddersfield were to be electrified, TransPennine Express will be able to run an all-electric service between Manchester and Hull, using battery power in the gaps.

Hull And Sheffield

The legs of the service are as follows.

  • Hull and Brough – 10.5 miles – Electrified
  • Brough and Doncaster – 30 miles – Not Electrified
  • Doncaster and Sheffield – 20 miles – Not Electrified

Note.

  1. Hull and Brough takes about 11 minutes, so added to the time spent in Hull station, this must be enough time to fully-charge the battery.
  2. Regional Battery Trains will be able to do 56 miles on a full battery so 30 miles should be easy.
  3. Trains would charge using the electrification at Doncaster.
  4. Doncaster and Sheffield both ways should be possible after a full charge at Doncaster station.
  5. One changeover between power sources will be done in Brough station, with the others in Doncaster station.

An easier alternative for the Doncaster and Sheffield part of the route, might be to electrify between the two stations.

Hull And York

The legs of the service are as follows.

  • Hull and Brough – 10.5 miles – Electrified
  • Brough and York- 42 miles – Not electrified

Note.

  1. Hull and Brough takes about 11 minutes, so added to the time spent in Hull station, this must be enough time to fully-charge the batteries.
  2. Regional Battery Trains will be able to do 56 miles on a full battery so 42 miles should be easy.
  3. One changeover between power sources will be done in Brough station, with the other in York station.
  4. Trains would be fully charged for the return in York station.

This journey will also be effected by the York to Church Fenton Improvement Scheme, which is described on this page on the Network Rail web site. According to the web page this involves.

  • Replace old track, sleepers, and ballast (The stones which support the track)
  • Install new signalling gantries, lights, and cabling
  • Fully electrify the route from York to Church Fenton – extending the already electrified railway from York.

There will be another five miles of electrification., which will mean the legs of the Hull and York service will be as follows.

  • Hull and Brough – 10.5 miles – Electrified
  • Brough and Church Fenton – 31.5 miles – Not Electrified
  • Church Fenton and York – 10.5 miles – Electrified

It is a classic route for a battery electric train.

Note.

  1. Church Fenton and York takes about 19 minutes, so added to the time spent in York station, this must be enough time to fully-charge the batteries.
  2. There will be a changeover between power sources in Church Fenton station.

This appears to me to be a very sensible addition to the electrification.

If you look at a Leeds and York, after the electrification it will have two legs.

  • Leeds and Church Fenton – 13 miles – Not Electrified
  • Church Fenton and York – 10.5 miles – Electrified

It is another classic route for a battery electric train.

Hull And Bridlington

The legs of the service are as follows.

  • Hull and Beverley – 13 miles – Electrified
  • Beverley and Bridlington – 23 miles – Not Electrified

Note.

  1. Hull and Beverley takes about 13 minutes, so added to the time spent in Hull station, this must be enough time to fully-charge the batteries.
  2. Regional Battery Trains will be able to do 56 miles on a full battery so 46 miles to Bridlington and back to Beverley, should be possible.
  3. The changeovers between power sources would be in Beverley station.

If necessary, there is a bay platform at Bridlington, that could be fitted with simple electrification to charge the trains before returning.

Hull And Scarborough

The legs of the service are as follows.

  • Hull and Beverley – 13 miles – Electrified
  • Beverley and Seamer- 42 miles – Not Electrified
  • Seamer and Scarborough – 3 miles – Not Electrified

Note.

  1. Hull and Beverley takes about 13 minutes, so added to the time spent in Hull station, this must be enough time to fully-charge the batteries.
  2. Regional Battery Trains will be able to do 56 miles on a full battery so 45 miles to Scarborough should be easy.
  3. The changeovers between power sources would be in Beverley station.

There would need to be charging at Scarborough, so why not electrify between Scarborough and Seamer?

  • Power changeover would be in Seamer station.
  • The electrification could also charge battery electric trains running between York and Scarborough.
  • Seamer and York are 39 miles apart.
  • All Northern Trains and TransPennine Express services appear to stop in Seamer station.

This could be three very useful miles of electrification.

Could This Plan Based On Battery Trains Be Delivered Early?

The project could be divided into sub-projects.

Necessary Electrification

Only these double-track routes would need to electrified.

  • Hull and Brough
  • Hull and Beverley
  • Seamer and Scarborough
  • Doncaster and Sheffield might be sensible but optional.

This also install electrification at Hull and Scarborough stations to charge terminating trains.

In total it would be under twenty-five double-track miles of electrification.

Note.

  1. There are no swing bridges on the routes to be electrified.
  2. There are no tunnels
  3. Many of the overbridges appear to be modern with adequate clearance for electrification.
  4. I don’t suspect that providing adequate power will be difficult.
  5. Hull and Scarborough are larger stations and I believe a full service can be provided, whilst the stations are being electrified.

It would not be a large and complicated electrification project.

Conversion Of Class 800 And Class 802 Trains To Regional Battery Trains

Whilst the electrification was being installed, the existing Class 800 and Class 802 trains needed by Hull Trains, LNER and TransPennine Express could be converted to Regional Battery Trains, by the replacement of some or all of the diesel engines with battery power-packs.

I suspect LNER or GWR could be the lead customer for Hitachi’s proposed conversion of existing trains.

  • Both train companies have routes, where these trains could be deployed without any electrification or charging systems. Think London Kings Cross and Harrogate for LNER and  Paddington and Oxford for GWR.
  • Both train companies have large fleets of five-car trains, that would be suitable for conversion.
  • Both train companies have lots of experience with Hitachi’s trains.

It should be noted that GWR, Hull Trains and TransPennine Express are all part of the same company.

What About Northern Trains?

Northern Trains will need some battery electric trains, if this plan goes ahead, to run routes like.

  • Hull and Bridlington – 46 miles
  • Hull and Leeds – 41 miles
  • Hull and Scarborough – 42 miles
  • Hull and Sheffield – 40 miles
  • Hull and York – 42 miles
  • Scarborough and York – 31.5 miles
  • The distances are the lengths of the route without electrification.

I suspect they will need a train with this specification.

  • Four cars
  • Ability to use 25 KVAC overhead electrification.
  • Battery range of perhaps 50 miles.
  • 100 mph operating speed.

There are already some possibilities.

  • CAF are talking about a four-car battery electric version of the Class 331 train.
  • Hitachi have mentioned a battery electric Class 385 train.
  • Porterbrook have talked about converting Class 350 trains to battery electric operation.
  • Bombardier have talked about battery electric Aventras.

There are also numerous four-car electric trains, that are coming off lease that could be converted to battery electric operation.

When Could The Project Be Completed?

There are three parts to the project.

  • Under twenty-five double-track miles of electrification.
  • Adding batteries to Class 800 and Class 802 trains.
  • Battery electric trains for Northern.

As the sub-projects can be progressed independently, I can see the project being completely by the end of 2024.

Across The Pennines In A Regional Battery Train

By providing the ability to run Class 802 trains on battery power to Hull and Scarborough, the ability to run Regional Battery Trains from Liverpool in the West to Hull, Middlesbrough and Scarborough in the East under electric power, could become possible.

Looking at Liverpool and Scarborough, there are these legs.

  • Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Victoria – 32 miles – Electrified
  • Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge – 8 miles – Not Electrified
  • Stalybridge and Huddersfield – 18 miles – Not Electrified
  • Huddersfield and Leeds – 17 miles – Not Electrified
  • Leeds and York – 26 miles – Not Electrified
  • York and Scarborough – 42 miles – Not Electrified

Note.

  1. East of Manchester Victoria, there is electrification in Leeds and York stations, which could charge the train fully if it were in the station for perhaps ten minutes.
  2. Currently, stops at Leeds and York are around 4-5 minutes.
  3. Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge is being electrified.
  4. In this post, I have suggested that between Seamer and Scarborough should be electrified to charge the trains.
  5. I have also noted that between Church Fenton and York is being fully electrified.

This could mean power across the Pennines between Liverpool and Scarborough could be as follows.

  • Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Victoria – 32 miles – Electrification Power and Charging Battery
  • Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge – 8 miles – Electrification Power and Charging Battery
  • Stalybridge and Huddersfield – 18 miles – Battery Power
  • Huddersfield and Leeds – 17 miles – Battery Power
  • Leeds station – Electrification Power and Charging Battery
  • Leeds and Church Fenton – 13 miles – Battery Power
  • Church Fenton and York – 10.5 miles – Electrification Power and Charging Battery
  • York and Seamer – 39 miles – Battery Power
  • Seamer and Scarborough – 3 miles – Electrification Power and Charging Battery

There are three stretches of the route, where the train will be run on battery power.

  • Stalybridge and Leeds – 35 miles
  • Leeds and Church Fenton – 13 miles
  • York and Seamer – 39 miles

There will be charging at these locations.

  • West of Stalybridge
  • Through Leeds Station
  • Through York Station
  • East of Seamer Station

I feel it could be arranged that trains left the charging sections and stations with a full battery, which would enable the train to cover the next section on battery power.

To make things even easier, Network Rail are developing the Huddersfield And Westtown Upgrade, which will add extra tracks and eight miles of new electrification between Huddersfield and Dewsbury.

This would change the power schedule across the Pennines between Liverpool and Scarborough to this.

  • Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Victoria – 32 miles – Electrification Power and Charging Battery
  • Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge – 8 miles – Electrification Power and Charging Battery
  • Stalybridge and Huddersfield – 18 miles – Battery Power
  • Huddersfield and Dewsbury – 8 miles – Electrification Power and Charging Battery
  • Fewsbury and Leeds – 9 miles – Battery Power
  • Leeds station – Electrification Power and Charging Battery
  • Leeds and Church Fenton – 13 miles – Battery Power
  • Church Fenton and York – 10.5 miles – Electrification Power and Charging Battery
  • York and Seamer – 39 miles – Battery Power
  • Seamer and Scarborough – 3 miles – Electrification Power and Charging Battery

There are now four stretches of the route, where the train will be run on battery power.

  • Stalybridge and Huddersfield – 18 miles
  • Dewsbury and Leeds – 9 miles
  • Leeds and Church Fenton – 13 miles
  • York and Seamer – 39 miles

I can envisage the electrification being extended.

But battery power on this route gives all the advantages of electric trains, with none of the costs and installation problems of electrification.

Conclusion

I believe a limited electrification of lines for a few miles from the coastal terminals at Hull and Scarborough and battery electric trains can deliver zero-carbon and much faster electric trains to the railways of Yorkshire to the East of Leeds, Sheffield and York.

If this approach is used, the electrification will be much less challenging and if skates were to be worn, the scheme could be fully-implemented in around four years.

The scheme would also deliver the following.

  • Faster, all-electric TransPennine services.
  • An all-electric Hull and London service.
  • A substantial move towards decarbonisation of passenger train services in East Yorkshire.

It is also a scheme, that could be extended South into Lincolnshire, across the Pennines to Lancashire and North to Teesside and Tyneside.

 

 

September 13, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Manchester Piccadilly ‘Super Hub’ Proposed

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

This is the introductory sentence.

A Manchester Piccadilly ‘super hub’ has been proposed as part of the High Speed North rail project.

And these two paragraphs lay out the proposed design.

To create the super hub, the report suggests a new tunnel from Ordsall into Manchester Piccadilly from the west, which could connect to High Speed 2 (HS2) and Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR).

Fast trains from Chester and North Wales, Liverpool, Blackpool, Barrow and Glasgow could travel through the super hub with services emerging eastwards and across the Pennines to Leeds/Bradford, Sheffield, Hull, York and Newcastle.

Five years ago, I wrote Whither HS2 And HS3?, which argued for greater integration of the two routes and more tunnelled stations under major cities to build High Speed Two and Northern Powerhouse Rail with less disruption.

Part of that post was deliberately over the top, but it seems that others have been thinking in a similar way.

Last year, I wrote Changes Signalled For HS2 Route In North, which was an attempt to add detail to this report on the Transport for the North web site, which is entitled At A Glance – Northern Powerhouse Rail.

The proposed Manchester Piccadilly ‘Super Hub’ fits very well with the Transport for the North report.

  • The station, could have entrances and exits were all over Manchester City Centre
  • The main platforms could be long East-West through platforms, that would have direct tunnelled approaches from both directions.
  • There could also be terminating platforms to take services from North Wales, Blackpool, Barrow and Glasgow.
  • According to the Wikipedia entry for High Speed Two, the Western tunnel would be 7.5 miles long and link Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Airport stations at speeds of up to 142 mph.
  • As a High Speed Two size tunnel will be needed on the Eastern approach, if High Speed Two trains eventually use the route, could this tunnel extend for perhaps five miles with speeds of up to 142 mph, to speed up journey times?
  • Journey times between Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Airport stations could be under four minutes.

The Manchester Piccadilly ‘Super Hub’, High Speed Two And Liverpool

This clip of a map from the Transport for the North report shows a schematic of the current and possible rail links in the area.

High Speed Two would appear to come North and split into two routes.

  • One continues North to join the existing West Coast Main Line just South of Wigan.
  • Another goes through Crewe station.

North of Crewe, the two routes join and then split into three at the Junction labelled 6.

  • To Warrington and Liverpool
  • To Wigan, Preston and Scotland
  • To Manchester Airport and Manchester.

A second Junction labelled 5, allows Northern Powerhouse Rail trains to run Liverpool-Warrington-Manchester Airport-Manchester.

The Transport for the North report, also says the following.

  • There could be a new Warrington South Parkway station.
  • Six trains per hour (tph) between Liverpool and Manchester via Warrington are planned.
  • Journey times will be 26 minutes.

Will a Liverpool and Manchester time of 26 minutes be possible with two stops?

  • I estimate Liverpool and Manchester will be a distance of 43 miles.
  • As the will be a newly-built railway high speed railway, I suspect it will be at least a 125 mph line between Liverpool and Manchester Airport.
  • But it is perfected feasible, that this section could be designed for speeds up to 140 mph or even the High Speed Two speed of 186 mph.
  • TransPennine Express‘s current Class 802 trains, can run at up to 140 mph, so could take advantage of the higher speed.
  • In addition, the Wikipedia entry for High Speed Two says that trains will use the Manchester Airport to Manchester City Centre tunnel at speeds of up to 142 mph.

Calculating journey times for various average speeds, including the two stops at Warrington South Parkway and Manchester Airport stations gives the following.

  • 100 mph – 26 minutes
  • 125 mph – 21 minutes
  • 140 mph – 18 minutes

If the Liverpool and Manchester Airport section were to be built to High Speed Two standards, I can see a very comfortable Liverpool and Manchester time of under twenty minutes.

The Twenty-First Century will finally get a modern and fast Liverpool and Manchester Railway.

Going East From The Manchester Piccadilly ‘Super Hub’

The principle long-distance destinations to the East of Manchester Piccadilly station use one of two routes.

The Huddersfield Line to Leeds and beyond.

The Hope Valley Line to Sheffield and beyond.

Both routes leave the Manchester Branch of the West Coast Man Line out of Manchester Piccadilly station at Ardwick Junction.

This Google Map shows Ardwick Junction, Ardwick station and the Siemens Train Care Facility.

It would appear that the Eastern portal of the tunnels that lead to the proposed underground platforms of the Manchester Piccadilly ‘Super-Hub’ could emerge in this area.

Note.

  1. Ardwick station is about a mile from Manchester Piccadilly station.
  2. The Sheffield and Leeds routes split about a mile to the East of Ardwick station.
  3. The large site of the Train Care Facility, could surely be used for the tunnel portal.

The Transport for the North report says this about the services to the East from Manchester.

  • Sic tph between Manchester and Leeds are planned.
  • Four tph between Manchester and Sheffield are planned.

Ten tph through the underground platforms is surely possible, when Crossrail will handle 24 tph with full digital signalling.

A Manchester And Leeds High Speed Line

This clip of a map from the Transport for the North report shows a schematic of the rail links to the East of Manchester.

Two alternative routes are proposed between Manchester and Leeds.

  • The black route would be created by upgrading the Huddersfield Line.
  • The yellow route would be a new route via Bradford.

The Transport for the North report says this about the Leeds-Manchester service.

  • There will be six tph.
  • The journey will take 25 minutes.

In Is There Going To Be Full Electrification Between Leeds And Huddersfield?, I detailed Network Rail’s £2.9 billion proposal to upgrade the existing route between Huddersfield and Leeds. This is the black route.

If this project results in the full electrification between Leeds and Hudderfield, the Leeds and Manchester route will have these characteristics.

  • It will be about forty-two miles long
  • All except the sixteen mile section between Stalybridge and Huddersfield is electrified or is planned to be so.
  • Network Rail have published plans to upgrade Huddersfield station.
  • The section between Huddersfield and Dewbury will be upgraded to four tracks.
  • The approach to the underground platforms at Manchester Piccadilly station could be in a two-mile 100 mph tunnel.
  • Twenty-five minutes between Leeds and Manchester will need an average speed of 100 mph.

I don’t think it is unreasonable to assume that with a few other improvements, that the twenty-five minute time between Leeds and Manchester is possible.

New 140 mph Trains Will Be Needed

Consider a Blackpool and Leeds service via Preston, Wigan North Western, Warrington, Manchester Airport, Manchester and Huddersfield.

  • It could be a fully-electrified route, if between Stalybridge and Huddersfield were to be electrified.
  • Much of the route would be cleared for at least 140 mph running including the West Coast Main Line and the new route between Warrington and Manchester Piccadilly via Manchester Airport.
  • Some sections of the route would allow more than 140 mph, but most would be 140 mph or less.

Without doubt, trains capable of running at 140 mph would be needed to make full use of the operating speeds available.

 

May 5, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Could Battery-Electric Hitachi Trains Work TransPennine Express’s Services?

Before I answer this question, I will lay out the battery-electric train’s specification.

Hitachi’s Proposed Battery Electric Train

Based on information in an article in Issue 898 of Rail Magazine, which is entitled Sparking A Revolution, the specification of Hitachi’s proposed battery-electric train is given as follows.

  • Based on Class 800-802/804 trains or Class 385 trains.
  • Range of 55-65 miles.
  • Operating speed of 90-100 mph
  • Recharge in ten minutes when static.
  • A battery life of 8-10 years.
  • Battery-only power for stations and urban areas.
  • Trains are designed to be created by conversion of existing Class 80x trains

For this post, I will assume that the train is five cars long. This is the length of TransPennine Express’s Class 802 trains.

TransPennine Express’s Services

These are TransPennine Express services that run in the North of England and to Scotland.

I shall go through all the services and see how they would be affected by Hitachi’s proposed battery-electric train.

Liverpool Lime Street And Edinburgh

  • The service runs at a frequency of one train per hour (tph)
  • Intermediate stations are Newton-le-Willows, Manchester Victoria, Huddersfield, Leeds, York, Darlington, Durham, Newcastle and Morpeth

The service is 305 miles long and takes four hours and 25 minutes.

The route can be divided into sections, some of which are electrified and some of which are not!

  • Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Victoria – 32 miles – Electrified
  • Manchester Victoria and Huddersfield  – 26 miles – Not Electrified
  • Huddersfield and Dewsbury – 8 miles – Not Electrified
  • Dewsbury and Leeds – 9 miles – Not Electrified
  • Leeds and Colton Junction – 20 miles – Not Electrified
  • Colton Junction and Edinburgh – 220 miles – Electrified

Note that the distance between Manchester Victoria and Colton Junction, which is the only section of the route without electrification is sixty-three miles, which is just within the 55-65 mile battery range of Hitachi’s proposed battery-electric train.

That is too close for my liking, as what happens, if the train gets delayed by an operational incident.

In this article on the BBC, which was published in August 2019 and is entitled Detailed TransPennine £2.9bn Rail Upgrade Plans Unveiled, the following is said.

  • The route between Huddersfield and Dewsbury will be electrified.
  • Parts of this route will have two extra tracks.
  • The plans will be going to full consultation, later in the year.

This would mean that a route summary would be like this.

  • Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Victoria – 32 miles – Electrified
  • Manchester Victoria and Huddersfield  – 26 miles – Not Electrified
  • Huddersfield and Dewsbury – 8 miles – Electrified
  • Dewsbury and Colton Junction – 29 miles – Not Electrified
  • Colton Junction and Edinburgh – 220 miles – Electrified

The two sections without electrification are well within the 55-65 mile battery range of Hitachi’s proposed battery electric train.

It should also be noted that the electrification between Newcastle and Edinburgh is rather down on power and needs upgrading.

I would suspect that Hitachi’s proposed battery electric train could handle this power deficiency by using the batteries.

Liverpool Lime Street And Scarborough

  • The service runs at a frequency of one tph
  • Intermediate stations are Lea Green, Manchester Victoria, Stalybridge, Huddersfield, Leeds, Garforth, York, Malton and Seamer

The service is 142 miles long and takes two hours and 58 minutes.

The route can be divided into sections, some of which are electrified and some of which are not!

  • Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Victoria – 32 miles – Electrified
  • Manchester Victoria and Huddersfield  – 26 miles – Not Electrified
  • Huddersfield and Dewsbury – 8 miles – Not Electrified
  • Dewsbury and Leeds – 9 miles – Not Electrified
  • Leeds and Colton Junction – 20 miles – Not Electrified
  • Colton Junction and York – 6 miles – Electrified
  • York and Scarborough – 42 miles – Not Electrified

Between Liverpool Lime Street and Colton Junction, the route is identical to the Liverpool Lime Street and Edinburgh service.

The improvement of the section between Huddersfield and Dewsbury will also benefit this service and mean that a route summary would be like this.

  • Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Victoria – 32 miles – Electrified
  • Manchester Victoria and Huddersfield  – 26 miles – Not Electrified
  • Huddersfield and Dewsbury – 8 miles – Electrified
  • Dewsbury and and Colton Junction – 29 miles – Not Electrified
  • Colton Junction and York – 6 miles – Electrified
  • York and Scarborough – 42 miles – Not Electrified

As Hitachi’s proposed battery-electric train has a range of 55-65 miles on battery power, it looks to me that this service could be handled by the train.

It would need a Fast Charge system at Scarborough to recharge the batteries to be able to return to York.

But, as the timetable allows a generous turn-round, fully-charging the batteries shouldn’t be a problem.

Manchester Airport And Newcastle

  • The service runs at a frequency of one tph
  • Intermediate stations are Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Oxford Road, Manchester Victoria, Huddersfield, Dewsbury, Leeds, York, Northallerton, Darlington, Durham and Chester-le-Street

The service is 162 miles long and takes three hours and one minute.

The route can be divided into sections, some of which are electrified and some of which are not!

  • Manchester Airport and Manchester Victoria – 13 miles – Electrified
  • Manchester Victoria and Huddersfield  – 26 miles – Not Electrified
  • Huddersfield and Dewsbury – 8 miles – Not Electrified
  • Dewsbury and Leeds – 9 miles – Not Electrified
  • Leeds and Colton Junction – 20 miles – Not Electrified
  • Colton Junction and Edinburgh – 86 miles – Electrified

Between Manchester Victoria and Colton Junction, the route is identical to the two Liverpool Lime Street services, that I discussed previously.

The improvement of the section between Huddersfield and Dewsbury will also benefit this service and mean that Hitachi’s proposed battery-electric train could handle this route with ease.

Manchester Airport And Redcar Central

  • The service runs at a frequency of one tph
  • Intermediate stations are Gatley, Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Oxford Road, Manchester Victoria, Huddersfield, Dewsbury, Leeds, York, Thirsk, Northallerton, Yarm, Thornaby and Middlesbrough

The service is 162 miles long and takes three hours and fifteen minutes.

The route can be divided into sections, some of which are electrified and some of which are not!

  • Manchester Airport and Manchester Victoria – 13 miles – Electrified
  • Manchester Victoria and Huddersfield  – 26 miles – Not Electrified
  • Huddersfield and Dewsbury – 8 miles – Not Electrified
  • Dewsbury and Leeds – 9 miles – Not Electrified
  • Leeds and Colton Junction – 20 miles – Not Electrified
  • Colton Junction and Northallerton – 35 miles – Electrified
  • Northallerton and Redcar Central – 29 miles – Not Electrified

Between Manchester Victoria and Colton Junction, the route is identical to the previously discussed services.

The improvement of the section between Huddersfield and Dewsbury will also benefit this service and mean that Hitachi’s proposed battery-electric train could handle this route with ease.

As with the Scarborough service, a Fast-Charge system would probably be needed at Redcar Central.

Manchester Piccadilly And Hull

  • The service runs at a frequency of one tph
  • Intermediate stations are Stalybridge, Huddersfield, Leeds, Selby and Brough

The service is 94 miles long and takes two hours and four minutes.

The route can be divided into sections, some of which are electrified and some of which are not!

  • Manchester Piccadilly and Huddersfield  – 25 miles – Not Electrified
  • Huddersfield and Dewsbury – 8 miles – Not Electrified
  • Dewsbury and Leeds – 9 miles – Not Electrified
  • Leeds and Hull – 52 miles – Not Electrified

Between Huddersfield and Leeds, the route is identical to the previously discussed services.

The improvement of the section between Huddersfield and Dewsbury will also benefit this service and mean that Hitachi’s proposed battery-electric train should be able to handle this route.

As with the Scarborough and Redcar Central services, a Fast-Charge system would probably be needed at Hull.

Manchester Piccadilly And Huddersfield

  • The service runs at a frequency of one tph
  • Intermediate stations are Stalybridge, Mossley, Greenfield, Marsden and Slaithwaite

The service is 25 miles long and takes forty-three minutes.

The route is without electrification.

Hitachi’s proposed battery-electric train should be able to handle this route with ease.

The train could charge at either end using the electrification.

Huddersfield And Leeds

  • The service runs at a frequency of one tph
  • Intermediate stations are Deighton, Mirfield, Ravensthorpe, Dewsbury, Batley, Morley and Cottingley

The service is 17 miles long and takes thirty-six minutes.

Hitachi’s proposed battery-electric train should be able to handle this route with ease.

The train could charge at Leeds using the electrification.

Manchester Airport And Cleethorpes

  • The service runs at a frequency of one tph
  • Intermediate stations are Manchester Piccadilly, Stockport, Sheffield, Meadowhall Interchange, Doncaster, Scunthorpe, Barnetby, Habrough and Grimsby Town

The service is 124 miles long and takes two hours and fifty-eight minutes.

he route can be divided into sections, some of which are electrified and some of which are not!

  • Manchester Airport and Stockport – 16 miles – Electrified
  • Stockport and Sheffield  – 37 miles – Not Electrified
  • Sheffield and Doncaster – 19 miles – Not Electrified
  • Doncaster and Cleethorpes – 52 miles – Not Electrified

There would need to be some en route charging and surely the easiest way to achieve this would be to extend the electrification at Doncaster to Sheffield.

As with the other services, a Fast-Charge system would probably be needed at Cleethorpes.

Manchester Airport And Glasgow Central Or Edinburgh Waverley Via Preston

This service is all-electric.

Conclusion

Hitachi’s proposed battery-electric train can handle all of TransPennine’s routes without using one drop of diesel.

What I have found interesting, is that the eight miles of electrification between Huddersfield and Dewsbury appears to make the operation of a battery-electric train a lot easier.

It looks like someone at Hitachi and Network Rail have taken a calculator to a decent hostelry and worked out a cunning plan!

 

 

 

February 25, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Upgrading Mirfield Station

Mirfield station is due to be upgraded as part of Network Rail’s £2.9billion project to upgrade the Huddersfield Line between Huddersfield and Dewsbury stations, that I wrote about in Network Rail Reveals Detailed £2.9bn Upgrade Plans For TransPennine Route.

This Google Map shows the station and the surrounding land.

These pictures show the station.

Currently, it is a three-station platform, with a wide island Platform 1/2 and a separate platform 3. The platforms are used as follows.

  • Platform 1 for all Eastbound trains.
  • Platform 2 for Westbound through trains.
  • Platform 3 for Westbound stopping trains.

This document on the Digital Railway web site is entitled Transpennine Route Upgrade SDO1 ETCS – Analysis.

It is mainly about using digital signalling called ETCS on the Transpennine Route, but it does give these track layouts between Huddersfield and Dewsbury.

This is the current layout.

This is a reduced four-track layout.

In Proposed Track Layouts Between Huddersfield And Dewsbury, I came to the conclusion, that the reduced four-track layout or something better could handle the current trains through the area.

If the reduced four-track layout is used, the requirements for a new Mirfield station can now be stated.

  • Platforms 1/2 sharing an island on the slow tracks.
  • Platforms 3/4 sharing an island on the fast tracks.
  • Some better shelters than at present.
  • Step-free footbridges or a tunnel

In Winner Announced In The Network Rail Footbridge Design Ideas Competition, I wrote how the competition was won by this bridge.

So could a factory-built bridge like this be installed at Mirfield station?

  • There is plenty of space.
  • The bridge would have the correct clearance for the electrification.

It could also replace the subway to Platform 1/2.

August 29, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Upgrading Ravensthorpe Station

Ravensthorpe station is due to be upgraded as part of Network Rail’s £2.9billion project to upgrade the Huddersfield Line between Huddersfield and Dewsbury stations, that I wrote about in Network Rail Reveals Detailed £2.9bn Upgrade Plans For TransPennine Route.

This Google Map shows the station and the surrounding land.

Note.

  1. The lines through the station go between Huddersfield in the East and Dewsbury in the North-East.
  2. The line going East goes to Wakefield.

These pictures show the station.

I did try to get a picture of the bridges over the River Calder, but I was unable to find the route and the weather was about to deteriorate.

The station is currently just two platforms on the lines between Huddersfield and Dewsbury, with a terrible overbridge, a poor shelter and a couple of seats.

The Wikipedia entry for Ravensthorpe station says this.

Ravensthorpe station is adjacent to Thornhill LNW (London North Western) Junction, where a line branches to Wakefield Kirkgate. There are plans to extend the station by building new platforms on this line, which was built by the former Manchester and Leeds Railway.

This document on the Digital Railway web site is entitled Transpennine Route Upgrade SDO1 ETCS – Analysis.

It is mainly about using digital signalling called ETCS on the Transpennine Route, but it does give these track layouts between Huddersfield and Dewsbury.

This is the current layout.

This is a reduced four-track layout.

In Proposed Track Layouts Between Huddersfield And Dewsbury, I came to the conclusion, that the reduced four-track layout or something better could handle the current trains through the area.

If the reduced four-track layout is used, the requirements for a new Ravensthorpe station can now be stated.

  • Two platforms on the tracks to and from Dewsbury.
  • Two platforms on the tracks to and from Wakefield.
  • Some better shelters than at present.
  • Step-free footbridges.

In Winner Announced In The Network Rail Footbridge Design Ideas Competition, I wrote how the competition was won by this bridge.

So could a factory-built bridge like this be installed at Ravensthorpe station?

  • The platforms from Dewsbury and to Wakefield, could probably be arranged as a walk-across interchange.
  • This would mean that the flexible nature of the bridge design would enable a single bridge with three lifts and three sets of stairs to be erected to join all the platforms together.
  • The bridge would have the correct clearance for the electrification.

I doubt it would be the most complicated of stations.

 

August 29, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Proposed Track Layouts Between Huddersfield And Dewsbury

Tracks between Huddersfield and Dewsbury stations are due to be upgraded as part of Network Rail’s £2.9billion project to upgrade the Huddersfield Line between the two stations, that I wrote about in Network Rail Reveals Detailed £2.9bn Upgrade Plans For TransPennine Route.

This document on the Digital Railway web site is entitled Transpennine Route Upgrade SDO1 ETCS – Analysis.

It is mainly about using digital signalling called ETCS on the Transpennine Route, but it does give these track layouts between Huddersfield and Dewsbury.

This is the current layout.

This is a full four-track layout.

This is a reduced four-track layout.

As I see it, if the reduced layout can handle the required number of services, it has major advantages over the full scheme.

  • There are no changes to track  layout between Ravensthorpe and Dewsbury stations.
  • Rebuilding Ravensthotpe station should be a smaller project.
  • The current and reduced layout have three tracks between Mirfield and Ravensthorpe stations.
  • There are no expensive new bridges to be built.

By using bi-directional running on the centre track between Ravensthorpe and Mirfield stations, which is controlled by ETCS, the track layout is simplified, with three tracks instead of four.

  • Slow trains from Huddersfield to Dewsbury will dive under the Brighouse lines and call in/pass Platform 1 at Mirfield station before going straight on to Ravensthorpe and Dewsbury. This is as trains do now.
  • Slow trains from Dewsbury to Huddersfield will use the centre track from East to West and call in/pass Platform 2 at Mirfield station before turning South-West  on to Huddersfield. This is as trains do now.
  • Fast trains from Huddersfield to Dewsbury will call in/pass Platform 3 at Mirfield station and then cross over to the top track and go straight on to Ravensthorpe and Dewsbury.
  • Fast trains from Dewsbury to Huddersfield will use the centre track from East to West and call in/pass Platform 4 at Mirfield station before turning South-West  on to Huddersfield.
  • Trains from Brighouse  to Wakefield will call in/pass Platform 1 at Mirfield station and then cross to the centre track and go straight on to Wakefield. This is as trains do now.
  • Trains from Wakefield to Brighouse will use the centre track from East to West and call in/pass Platform 2 at Mirfield station and go straight on to Brighouse.

Note.

  1. Platforms at Mirfield station are numbered 1 to 4 from the North
  2. The slow lines between Mirfield and Huddersfield are shown in black.
  3. The fast lines between Mirfield and Huddersfield are shown in blue.
  4. Passengers can use Platforms 1/2 as a cross-platform interchange between slow Huddersfield-Leeds and Brighouse-Wakefield services.

I also think it likely, that the proposed layout will improve the timetable.

Conclusion

I think it is highly likely that the reduced four-track layout will be used.

Unless of course something better is devised.

 

 

 

August 29, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Network Rail Reveals Detailed £2.9bn Upgrade Plans For TransPennine Route

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

It is planned to be a comprehensive upgrade to the Huddersfield Line that includes.

  • Improvement between Huddersfield and Westtown
  • Grade separation or a tunnel at Ravensthorpe
  • Rebuilding and electrification of eight miles of track.
  • Possible doubling the number of tracks from two to four.
  • Improved stations at Huddersfield, Deighton, Mirfield and Ravensthorpe.

This project should be a major improvement to the Huddersfield Line.

Here are my thoughts on the upgrade.

Where Is Westtown?

Westtown is a difficult place to find on Google Maps.

This Google Map is the best I can do.

Note that Dewsbury station is at the North-East of the map and Ravensthorpe station is in the South-West corner, with the Huddersfield Line going through both stations.

  • To the South-West the line goes to Mirfield, Deighton and Huddersfield.
  • To the North-East the line goes to Batley, Morley, Cottingley and Leeds.

Westtown can be seen indicated to the West of the Huddersfield Line, North of the River Calder.

Railways Between Dewsbury And Huddersfield

This map clipped from the Wikipedia entry for the Huddersfield Line, shows the route between Dewsbury and Huddersfield stations.

Note the Leeds New Line, which was built by the London and North Eastern Railway and opened in 1900.

It appears to have been closed between 1960 and 1990.

Everybody blames Beeching for the closure of railways, but this closure started before he reported.

But it does seem, that LNER decided that four tracks were needed between Leeds and Huddersfield and that British Railways felt that two was enough.

It now appears that part of the solution to increasing capacity is to create a four-track section of the Huddersfield Line between Huddersfield and Westtown.

We often blame the state of our railways on poor Victorian planning and engineering, but it does appear that they got it right here and British Rail got it wrong, in the 1960s.

A Very Busy Line

If you look at the traffic through Dewsbury station, it is a busy train-spotters paradise, with five scheduled trains per hour (tph) typically stopping at the station and several more passing through.

Four-Tracking Between Huddersfield And Westtown

This is Network Rail’s preferred solution to providing more capacity between Huddersfield and Desbury.

It is not going to be simple engineering all the way.

This Google Map shows the Huddersfield Line crossing the River Calder and the Calder and Hebble Navigation Canal South of Dewsbury station and to the North of Ravensthorpe station.

Note the two double-track bridges over the waterways.

This page on Georgraph has a picture of the bridge over the River Calder. It looks an excellent example of a Victorian wrought iron bridge.

Depending on their condition, these might need to be replaced, but they will certainly need to be upgraded to four tracks.

This Google Map shows Ravensthorpe station and the rail lines in the area in more detail.

The line going East from Ravensthorpe goes to Wakefield Kirkgate station, although there are no platforms at Ravensthorpe.

The Wikipedia entry for Ravensthorpe station says this.

Ravensthorpe station is adjacent to Thornhill LNW (London North Western) Junction, where a line branches to Wakefield Kirkgate. There are plans to extend the station by building new platforms on this line, which was built by the former Manchester and Leeds Railway.

It looks to me that there are possibilities to rebuild Ravensthorpe station and the lines in the area to meet the following objectives.

  • Two fast lines and two slow lines through the station.
  • Platforms for Dewbury and Leeds services.
  • Platforms for Wakefield Kirkgate services.
  • Four tracks to as close to Dewsbury station as possible.

It must help that a lot of the land North of the line to Wakefield Kirkgate, appears to be devoid of buildings.

The engineering would not be difficult, but probably extensive and expensive.

It should be noted that the Werrington Diver Under near Peterborough, which is a similar scale of project, was costed at £200 million.

West of Ravensthorpe station, there appears to be plenty of space to fit in two extra tracks alongside the current pair.

This Google Map shows Ravensthorpe station and the tracks to the West.

Note that there is space on both sides of the current tracks and a bridge.

But between Ravensthorpe and Mirfield stations, there are at least three more bridges.

This Google Map shows Mirfield station and the tracks to the West.

There could be problems adding extra tracks here.

  • The track and platform layout is unusual.
  • There may be a lack of space at the station.

But the biggest problem will probably be four-tracking the bridge over the River Calder.

This Google Map shows the bridge in more detail.

It does appear that the bridge currently has three tracks and might have at some time had four tracks.

If the two extra tracks could be added to this bridge, it would probably be heroic engineering at a high cost, given the difficulty of the site.

But I think engineers have replaced similar bridges on UK railways in recent years.

After Mirfield, the tracks take a wide loop to the North to go to Deighton station.

The tracks were probably built to follow the contours above the River Calder, so hopefully despite the terrain, they could be fairly level.

This Google Map shows the tracks through Deighton station.

It certainly looks that there should be room for two extra tracks.

Between Deighton and Huddersfield stations, it would appear that four-tracking would be as easy as any part of the route.

Looking at the stations from the air from my helicopter (i.e. Google Maps), I suspect that one way to four-track the line would be to proceed in something like this way.

  • Rebuild and four-track the bridge over the River Calder at Mirfield station.
  • Build the junction and the bridges to the North-East of Ravensthorpe station.
  • Create a pair of fast lines on the South side of the current tracks.
  • Move all traffic onto these new fast lines.
  • Rebuild the existing railway and the stations.

There may be a need for replacement buses, whilst the stations are rebuilt, but hopefully through services could continue.

Electrification

The Rail Technology Magazine opens with this paragraph.

Major station upgrades and plans to rebuild and electrify an 8-mile stretch of track have been put forward by Network Rail as part of a public consultation on a major upgrade to the TransPennine route.

As it is eight miles between Huddersfield and Dewsbury stations, it would seem likely that the electrification will stretch between the two stations.

This would enable TransPennine Express’s Class 802 trains to switch between electric and diesel power in the stations, if this is preferred by the operator.

Line Speed

The eight miles section of track will never have a particularly high speed, given the not very straight route and the terrain.

Currently, trains that stop at both Huddersfield and Dewsbury stations take eight minutes for the trip. Even trains going at speed through both stations seem no faster.

Four-tracking will surely allow fast expresses to pass local services and freight trains, but will the improvement save much time?

If trains could average 100 mph between Huddersfield and Dewsbury, just over three minutes could be saved.

Station Upgrades

The three stations between Huddersfield and Dewbury will all be upgraded, as will Hudderfield station.

The three smaller stations will probably be rebuilt as four platform stations or two platform stations with two through lines for fast services.

In Huddersfield And High Speed Two, I showed several pictures of Huddersfield station.

  • It will not be easy to upgrade to a full four-track station.
  • There are three through tracks and some bay platforms.

The two main through platforms are on the South side of the station, so if the two fast lines were on the South side of the route between Huddersfield and Ravensthorpe, this could enable an efficient station at Huddersfield.

I also think, there could be a problem at Huddersfield station, with trains to Sheffield on the Penistone Line, if more and faster trains were going through the station.

A New Timetable

I suspect that, if and when the upgrade is finished, that a new timetable will be brought in.

A possibility could be. that TransPennine Express trains run non-stop between Huddersfield and Leeds.

Now that Northern are getting new trains, perhaps these could run a Turn-Up-And-Go service of a train every fifteen minutes between Huddersfield and Leeds.

Heritage Issues

Huddersfield station is a Grade I Listed building and I suspect that the three bridges I have noted are lListed as well.

Will the Heritage lobby object to electrification in these sensitive areas?

Onward To Manchester

I have flown my helicopter between Huddersfield and Stalybridge and if the proposed improvement is successful, I suspect that the route to the West can be improved as far as Stalybridge.

  • The route is at least double track.
  • It looks like in places, it once had more tracks.
  • The trackside margins are fairly generous.
  • There doesn’t seem to be too many bridges.
  • Electrification will soon be as far as Stalybridge from Manchester.

After my quick look, I don’t think that electrifying between Huddersfield and Manchester would be too challenging, except for possibly, the Standedge Tunnel.

Onward To Leeds

The route between Dewsbury and Leeds is double track, with the only complication of the Morley Tunnel.

Conclusion

It looks to me, that all the difficult bits to creation of an electrified route between Manchester and Leeds via the Huddersfield Line, are in the stretch between Huddersfield and Dewsbury.

So perhaps it makes sense to sort out the difficult bits first, with this £2.9billion project.

 

 

 

 

 

August 26, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 10 Comments