The Anonymous Widower

New ‘HS3’ Link To Yorkshire Proposed By Thinktank After Region’s HS2 Axe

The title of this post, is the same as this article in the Yorkshire Post.

This is the introductory paragraph.

A new “HS3” high-speed rail line between Yorkshire and the Nottinghamshire town of Newark could help make up for the loss of the HS2 eastern leg from Yorkshire, a report by transport think-tank; Greengauge 21 has suggested.

There is also this map from Greengauge 21.

I clipped my copy of the map from this report on Greengauge 21, which is entitled East, West, North And South.

Note.

  1. As in the Integrated Plan For The North And Midlands, Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield have direct connections to London via High Speed Two.
  2. The Derby leg is extended to Sheffield via the existing Midland Main Line.
  3. The Nottingham leg is extended to Newark, where it joins the East Coast Main Line.
  4. A new High Speed Line, which is shown in white and labelled HS3 links Newark to the East Coast Main Line and the line between Leeds and York at a new triangular junction South of Colton Junction.
  5. Part of the current route between Doncaster and Colton Junction is the Selby Diversion, which according to Wikipedia was built for speeds upward of 140 mph.
  6. The route splits in the region of Colton Junction with the Western leg going to Leeds and Bradford and he Northern leg going to York and Newcastle.

I feel this is a better plan than the previous one from High Speed Two.

  • It adds Bradford, Derby and Nottingham to the High Speed Two network.
  • There is a connection to Birmingham and possibly the South West and Wales.
  • The East Coast Main Line is effectively four-tracked between Newark North Gate and York.

I have a few thoughts.

Colton Junction

This junction will feature a lot in this post, so I had better explain where it is.

The Selby Diversion was built in the 1980s to create a new route, which avoided the newly-discovered Selby coalfield.

Colton Junction is about six miles South of York and is at the Northern end of the Selby Diversion.

This Google Map shows the junction.

Note.

  1. The East Coast Main Line going between South-West and North-East across the map.
  2. The railway going North-East leads to York.
  3. The village of Colton is at the top of the map.
  4. Colton Junction is South of the village, where the East Coast Main Line splits.
  5. The line going South-West is the route without electrification to Leeds, used by TransPennine Express and others.

The line going South is the Selby Diversion, used by all trains on the East Coast Main Line.

East Midlands Hub Or East Midlands Parkway

Some reports indicate that a new Birmingham and Nottingham High Speed Line will go via East Midland Parkway station.

  • East Midland Parkway is a fully-functioning four-platform station.
  • It is already operating.
  • There will soon be a large brownfield site next door, when the coal-fired Radcliffe-on-Soar power-station is demolished.
  • It has connections to Nottingham and Sheffield via Derby and Chesterfield.
  • Platforms are probably long enough to handle splitting and joining.
  • An advanced passenger shuttle could be built to East Midlands Airport.

This map from High Speed Two shows the route of the Eastern leg of High Speed Two, where it passes East Midland Parkway station and Radcliffe-on-Soar power-station.

Note.

  1. The coloured line is the route of High Speed Two.
  2. Red indicates viaduct
  3. Yellow indicates cutting.
  4. Green indicates green tunnel.
  5. There is a curious clover-leaf shape  to the East of High Speed Two.

This Google Map shows the same area.

Note

  1. The River Soar and Remembrance Way can be picked out on both maps.
  2. The Midland Main Line runs North-South in the Google Map and passes through East Midlands Parkway station.
  3. It is possible to pick out the curious clover leaf shape to the North of the railway station, where the rail line goes into the power station.
  4. Returning to the High Speed Two map it is possible to pick out the railway and power stations.

This map from High Speed Two shows the route of the Eastern leg of High Speed Two, to the South-West of East Midlands Parkway station.

Note.

  1. The coloured line is the route of High Speed Two.
  2. Red indicates viaduct.
  3. East Midlands Parkway station is in the North-East corner of the map.
  4. The Midland Main Line runs North-South down the Eastern side of the map.

Could the route of High Speed Two be adjusted so that it runs through East Midlands Parkway station?

This Google Map shows a similar area as the second High Speed Two map.

With the exception of the village of Radcliffe-on-Soar, there aren’t many, who would get in the way of the development of a connection between High Speed Two and the Midland Main Line to the South of East Midlands Parkway station.

  • High Speed Two crosses Remembrance Way  in the South West corner of the map, where there is a junction with the M1 and runs diagonally across the map.
  • High Speed Two could probably sneak up the North side of Remembrance Way.
  • The station might need to be moved to the North a bit to give space.
  • The map also shows the space to the East, that will be created with the demolishing of the power station.

Developing East Midlands Parkway instead of East Midlands Hub could be the more affordable option.

High Speed Two’s Eastern Leg Services

This graphic shows High Speed Two’s services before the Eastern Leg was deleted.

Note.

  1. Western Leg services are to the left of the vertical black line.
  2. Eastern Leg services are to the right of the vertical black line.
  3. Blue indicates a full-size service.
  4. Yellow indicates a Classic-Compatible service.

Destinations on the former Eastern Leg get the following services.

  • Chesterfield – 1 tph
  • Darlington – 2 tph
  • Durham – 1 tph
  • East Midlands Hub – 7 tph
  • Leeds – 5 tph
  • Newcastle – 3 tph
  • Sheffield – 2 tph
  • York – 6 tph

Note.

  1. Two trains will split and join at East Midlands Hub or East Midlands Parkway. But given what I said earlier, the split will take place at East Midlands Parkway.
  2. Derby, Chesterfield and Sheffield could get two tph.
  3. If the pattern of the currently proposed High Speed Two service is followed, that would mean that 5tph to Leeds and four tph to York and further North would go through Nottingham.

I suspect that there could be a reduction in either High Speed Services on the Eastern Leg or on the East Coast Main Line.

Splitting And Joining At East Midlands Parkway

Consider.

  • All Northbound services on High Speed Two and the Midland Main Line pass through East Midlands Parkway station in the same direction.
  • All Southbound services on High Speed Two and the Midland Main Line pass through East Midlands Parkway station in the same direction.
  • The four platforms at East Midlands Parkway station will give a lot of flexibility.

If trains split and joined at East Midlands Parkway, there would be no need to reverse to serve Derby, Chesterfield and Sheffield. I can’t see how this could be performed at East Midlands Hub without the Sheffield train reversing. This probably explains why in the original plans for High Speed Two, Sheffield and Chesterfield had their own spur and Derby was not served directly by High Speed Two.

The redesign in the Integrated Rail Plan For The North And Midlands, which abandons the Sheffield spur, probably reduces the costs significantly.

Nottingham

Nottingham will be an extremely busy station with these services running through.

  • High Speed Two – 2 tph – Birmingham Curzon Street and Leeds HS2 via Nottingham – Full-Size – 200 metres
  • High Speed Two – 1 tph – Birmingham Curzon Street and Newcastle via Nottingham, York, Darlington and Durham – Classic-Compatible – 200 metres
  • High Speed Two – 1 tph – London and Leeds HS2 via Nottingham – Classic-Compatible – 200 metres
  • High Speed Two – 1 tph – London and Leeds HS2 via Nottingham – Full-Size – 400 metres
  • High Speed Two – 1 tph – London and Leeds HS2 via Birmingham Interchange and Nottingham  – Full-Size – 400 metres
  • High Speed Two – 1 tph – London and York via Nottingham – Classic-Compatible – 200 metres
  • High Speed Two – 1 tph – London and Newcastle via Nottingham and York – Classic-Compatible – 200 metres
  • High Speed Two – 1 tph – London and Newcastle via Nottingham, York and Darlington – Classic-Compatible – 200 metres
  • East Midlands Railway – 1 tph – London St. Pancras and Nottingham via Kettering, Market Harborough and Leicester  – Class 810
  • East Midlands Railway – 1 tph – London St. Pancras and Nottingham via Kettering, Market Harborough, Leicester, Loughborough, East Midlands Parkway and Beeston – Class 810
  • East Midlands Railway – 1 tph – Liverpool Lime Street and Norwich via Chesterfield, Alfreton, Nottingham, Grantham, Peterborough and several other stations – Class 158/170
  • East Midlands Railway – 1 tph – Crewe and Newark Castle via Nottingham and several other stations – Class 158/170
  • East Midlands Railway – 1 tph – Leicester and Lincoln via East Midlands Parkway, Attenborough, Beeston, Nottingham, Carlton and several other stations – Class 158/170
  • CrossCountry – 1 tph – Cardiff Central and Nottingham via Derby, Spondon, Long Eaton, Beeston and several other stations – Class 170
  • CrossCountry – 1 tph – Birmingham New Street and Nottingham via Derby – Class 170
  • Midlands Connect – 1 tph – Leeds and Bedford via Nottingham and Leicester – Classic-Compatible – 200 metres

Note.

  1. With High Speed Two services London means London Euston and Old Oak Common.
  2. Two High Speed Two services do not stop in Nottingham
  3. With several of these routes I have only put in a few intermediate stations to show the routing of the train at Nottingham.

These services total up to  twelve tph going through Nottingham and four tph terminating at Nottingham from London St. Pancras and Birmingham New Street.

Nottingham station would need to be able to handle the following with respect to through trains.

  • A train every five minutes.
  • Some trains would be 400 metres long.

But there is plenty of space in Nottingham station and High Speed Two’s digital signalling will be able to handle 18 tph.

Nottingham And Newark

The Nottingham and Lincoln Line between Nottingham and Newark appears from my helicopter to be fairly straight.

  • The line is double track.
  • There are eight stations between Nottingham and the East Coast Main Line.
  • The maximum speed of the line is 70 mph.
  • It is 18.1 miles between Nottingham and the East Coast Main Line.
  • I suspect that it could be upgraded to a 100 mph between Nottingham and the East Coast Main Line.

Typical services in tph will be the same as at Nottingham, which is 12 tph.  But there are also occasional freight trains and Peak services to and from London St. Pancras.

With digital signalling on this relatively-simple section, if it were to be fitted with High Speed Two digital signalling, that will have to be able to handle 18 tph, what would you do with the other six tph?

  • Some paths would be used to handle the occasional freight trains and Peak services to and from London St. Pancras.
  • Some of the capacity could also be used by the stopping trains.

The amount of traffic would probably be less than on the Great Eastern Main Line, which is capable of 100 mph running.

Newark

Newark has the notorious flat crossing, where the Nottingham and Lincoln Line crosses the East Coast Main Line.

This Google Map shows the track layout at Newark.

Note.

  1. Newark Castle station is on the Nottingham and Lincoln Line and is in the South-West corner of the map.
  2. Newark North Gate station is on the East Coast Main Line and is in the South-East corner of the map.
  3. The two rail lines run diagonally across the map and cross near the top of the map towards the right.
  4. Nottingham lies in a South-Westerly direction from this map.
  5. Lincoln lies in a North-Easterly direction from this map.
  6. Doncaster, Leeds and York lie in a North-Westerly direction from this map.
  7. Grantham, Peterborough and London lie in a South-Easterly direction from this map.

Under the Greengauge 21 plan, trains will need to run in the following directions.

  • In both directions on the East Coast Main Line.
  • In both directions on the Nottingham and Lincoln Line.
  • Coming South on the East Coast Main Line, trains will need to be able to go towards Nottingham on the Notting and Lincoln Line.
  • Coming from Nottingham on the Nottingham and Lincoln Line, trains will need to be able to go Leeds and York on the East Coast Main Line.

It would be a complicated set of junctions and flyovers for a railway, but not impossible to design and build.

Newark North Gate And Colton Junction

I’ll repeat the map I showed earlier, that shows the routes between Newark North Gate and Colton Junction.

Note.

  1. The current East Coast Main Line via Doncaster is shown dotted in black.
  2. The proposed new route, which is called HS3 is shown in white.
  3. Colton Junction is at the Northern end of the new track.

I suspect that the new route would be built to the same operating standards as High Speed Two.

  • Operating speed of 205 mph.
  • High specification electrification.
  • Signalling capable of handling 18 tph.
  • All classic and Classic-Compatible high speed trains would be able to take both routes, but would be limited to 125 mph or 140 mph with in-cab digital signalling on the East Coast Main Line.
  • Trains needing to call at Doncaster and freight trains, would use the East Coast Main Line.
  • Full-Size High Speed Two trains would generally use the new high speed line.

It looks to be a good way to increase capacity between Newark and Leeds and York.

Timings Between Newark North Gate And Colton Junction

Consider.

  • Newark North Gate and Colton Junction are 63 miles apart.
  • Trains take 39 minutes.
  • There is a stop at Doncaster.

This is an average speed of 97 mph.

If trains went non-stop on the new ‘HS3’ route, there would be these timings at different average speeds.

  • 100 mph – 37.8 minutes
  • 125 mph – 30.2 minutes
  • 140 mph – 27 minutes
  • 160 mph – 23.6 minutes
  • 180 mph – 22.2 minutes
  • 200 mph – 18.9 minutes

Note.

  1. I have assumed the distance is the same as via the East Coast Main Line.
  2. I have made no allowance for longer acceleration and deceleration times to and from higher line speeds.
  3. High Speed Two Classic Compatible Trains could handle up to 205 mph if the track could support it.

It does appear that savings of upwards of fifteen minutes could be possible on all services that could use the new route.

Both East Coast Main Line and High Speed Two services would get time savings.

Colton Junction And York

As I saw and wrote about in London To Edinburgh On Lumo, the route between Leeds and York is being fully electrified.

The East Coast Main Line is already fully electrified, so I doubt the connection between ‘HS3’  and York will be difficult.

Trains will just exchange a 205 mph track for the East Coast Main Line’s 125 mph or 140 mph with in-cab digital signalling.

Colton Junction And Leeds

This High Speed Two Map shows the original planned track layout for High Speed Two to the East of Leeds.

Note.

  1. The large blue dot indicates Leeds HS2 station.
  2. The orange lines indicate the new high speed tracks for High Speed Two.
  3. The track going North-East is High Speed Two’s connection to the East Coast Main Line in the area of Colton Junction.
  4. The track going South is the Eastern Leg of High Speed Two to East Midlands Hub station, which has now been deleted.

Would it be possible to modify the route of High Speed Two to create a link between the Norther end of Newark and Colton Junction High Speed Line, which Greengauge 21 called HS3 and the proposed Leeds HS2 station?

This map from High Speed Two shows the area, where the High Speed Two Lines were originally proposed to run.

Note.

  1. The village of Swillington to the East of the proposed route of the Eastern Leg of High Speed Two.
  2. Junction 45 of the M1 in the North-West corner of the map.
  3. The River Aire and the Aire and Calder Navigation Canal on the route of High Speed Two to Leeds HS2 station.

This Google Map shows the same area.

I’m no expert, but I do believe that it would be possible to create a chord to allow trains to access Leeds HS2 station from the York direction.

I would suspect that High Speed Two looked seriously at this chord, as it would enable the proposed Leeds HS2 station to have services to York, Newcastle and Edinburgh using the East Coast Main Line.

But there is one problem with this route – It doesn’t allow and easy solution to serve Bradford.

This map from High Speed Two, shows the Leeds HS2 station and the last bit of the approach from the East.

This article on the Architects Journal is entitled Foster + Partners behind designs for Leeds HS2 Station. The article shows.

  • Leeds HS2 station is being designed as a terminal station.
  • It shares a common concourse with the current Leeds station.

It appears from the pictures in the Architects Journal article, that passengers would have to change trains to get to Bradford.

The alternative would be for trains into Leeds to take the route used by Northern’s service between York and Blackpool North, which goes via Church Fenton, Micklefield, East Garforth, Garforth, Leeds, Bramley, New Pudsey and Bradford Interchange.

But judging by the times of other services, Colton Junction and Leeds would take over twenty minutes and it would be a further twenty minutes to Bradford Interchange.

I can’t think that this is a viable alternative.

Conclusion

I am led to the conclusion, that to get a decent service into Leeds from the East using Greengaige 21’s ‘HS3’ between Newark and Colton junction, would necessitate the building of a new Leeds HS2 station and a new route between the new station and Colton junction.

December 7, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Integrated Rail Plan For The North And Midlands And The East Coast Main Line

Note that this is not a finished post.

To read the The Integrated Rail Plan For The North And Midlands (IRP), click this link.

There is a section in the IRP called Serving Leeds, York and North East England.

It is a section of six paragraphs and I shall describe their contents in detail separately.

Paragraph 3.41

This is said in the IRP.

Under the original plans, HS2 trains would have served Leeds, York and North East England via the West Midlands, with the Eastern Leg branching off from the Phase One line just north of Birmingham Interchange.

This is a significantly longer route than the current East Coast Main Line from King’s Cross, which goes directly up the eastern side of the country.

Due to capacity constraints north of Doncaster HS2 trains to Newcastle and York could also only be accommodated at the expense of existing services, potentially reducing or removing connections between the North East and Doncaster, Newark and Peterborough.

Unlike the West Coast Main Line, there is also potential to lengthen existing trains by up to three carriages, increasing the number of seats on those trains by around 40%.

Geography wins and I’ll discuss the train lengthening later.

Paragraph 3.42

This is said in the IRP.

The IRP has concluded in favour of a significant package of upgrades to the East Coast Main Line which could deliver similar journey times to London and capacity improvements for York and the North East as the original proposals – but many years sooner, and with operational carbon savings because trains will be taking a shorter route.

Speed is important in both project delivery and running of the trains.

Paragraph 3.43

This is said in the IRP.

We are therefore taking forward a substantial package of investment for the East Coast Main Line between London and Leeds and the North East, subject to future business case. Development work will consider interventions from both NPR designs undertaken by Network Rail, mainly focussed on York and northwards, and work undertaken by Mott MacDonald for the Department for Transport focused on the line south of York. North of York we will look to increase the number of paths for long distance high speed trains from 6 to 7 or 8 per hour. In addition to the already planned roll-out of digital signalling, work is expected to include looking at opportunities to improve rolling stock performance; power supply upgrades to allow longer and faster trains; route upgrades to allow higher speeds, including of up to 140mph on some sections; measures to tackle bottlenecks, for example south of Peterborough and at stations and junctions such as Newark, Doncaster, York, Northallerton, Darlington and Newcastle all of which limit speed and capacity; and to replace level crossings where needed.

We will ask Network Rail to now take forward these proposals, including considering any alternatives which may deliver better outputs and/or more cost-effective solutions.

I’ll discuss a lot of this later in more detail.

Paragraph 3.44

This is said in the IRP.

This package is intended to:

    • Cut journey times from London to a range of destinations, including Leeds, Darlington, Northallerton, Durham, and Newcastle by up to 28 minutes, bringing journey times closer to those proposed by HS2, much earlier than previously planned;
    • Allow the introduction of longer trains, increasing the number of seats;
    • Provide 7–8 long distance high speed paths per hour north of York to Newcastle, compared to the current 6 paths (and so allowing a minimum of two fast Manchester to Newcastle services each hour alongside other ambitions);
    • Improve performance and reliability, enabling faster and more reliable services for passengers.

I’ll discuss a lot of this later in more detail.

Paragraph 3.45

This is said in the IRP.

Journey times from London to Newcastle under this plan could be as little as 2 hrs 25-28 minutes (subject to stopping pattern), about 21-24 minutes faster than now and 8 minutes slower than under the full HS2 plans.

Journey times to York and Darlington under this plan would be about 15 minutes faster than now and 12-14 minutes slower than under the full HS2 plans.

Journey times from London to Leeds, at around 1 hour 53, would be about 20 minutes faster than now, but 32 minutes slower than under the full HS2 plans.

I’ll discuss a lot of this later in more detail.

Paragraph 3.46

This is said in the IRP.

Journey times from Birmingham to Leeds would be around 30 minutes faster than the current typical time, and, subject
to further analysis, York and the North East could be would be around 30 minutes faster than the current typical time,
via HS2 Western Leg, Manchester and NPR (based on indicative train service).

I’ll discuss a lot of this later in more detail.

My Thoughts

These are my thoughts.

Longer Trains

This is said in Paragraph 3.41

Unlike the West Coast Main Line, there is also potential to lengthen existing trains by up to three carriages, increasing the number of seats on those trains by around 40%.

The Hitachi Class 800, Class 801, Class 802 and Class 803 trains, that run the routes out of King’s Cross come in lengths of five, nine and ten coaches.

  • The maximum length of an individual train is twelve cars according to this Hitachi document.
  • All destinations with the possible exception of Harrogate, Lincoln and Middlesbrough can handle the current nine-car trains.
  • Lengthening a five-car train by three cars would increase capacity by 60 %. You’d just run a current nine-car train.
  • Lengthening a nine-car train by three cars would increase capacity by 33.3 %. Poor maths but possible.
  • Lengthening a ten-car train by three cars would increase capacity by 30 %. Two trains would have to be lengthened, as ten-car trains are a pair of five-car trains.

It looks to me that the IRP is talking about running twelve-car trains.

  • The Hitachi trains are all plug-and-play.
  • The main stations on the route are Doncaster, Edinburgh, King’s Cross, Leeds, Newcastle and York.
  • Some platforms would need to be lengthened, but some like Edinburgh, Leeds and York are probably already long enough.

But what about the important London terminus at King’s Cross?

These pictures show the Northern ends of the platforms at King’s Cross station.

The two trains are both nine-car Hitachi Class 800 or Class 801 trains and I was standing in line with their noses.

I wonder what is the maximum length of trains that can be handled in these platforms.

  • They can certainly handle ten-car trains, as LNER run these to Leeds.
  • Looking at maps, I suspect that eleven-car trains could be the largest that can be handled.

I suspect it will be tight, but I suspect with a simple platform extension, twelve car trains could be accommodated in King’s Cross station.

Journey Times

These times come from High Speed Two’s Journey Planner and the IRP.

  • London and Edinburgh – Three hours and forty-eight minutes – Four hours and nineteen minutes – Three hours and fifty-eight minutes – My estimate based on IRP figures
  • London and Newcastle – Two hours and seventeen minutes – Two hours and forty-nine minutes – Two hours and 25-28 minutes
  • London and Durham – Two hours and sixteen minutes – Two hours and fifty-five minutes – Two hours and forty minutes
  • London and Darlington – One hour and fifty minutes – Two hours and twenty-two minutes – Two hours and seven minutes
  • London and York – One hour and twenty-four minutes – Two hours and ten minutes – One hour and fifty-five minutes – My estimate based on IRP figures
  • London and Leeds – One hour and twenty-one minutes – Two hours and thirteen minutes – One hour and fifty-three minutes

Note.

  1. The first time is that from High Speed Two, which assumes the Eastern Leg of High Speed Two has been built.
  2. The second time is the current best time via the East Coast Main Line.
  3. The third time is the IRP’s estimate via an upgraded East Coast Main Line.
  4. Where the estimates are mine it is noted.

London and York and London and Leeds are under two hours, London and Newcastle is under three hours and London and Edinburgh is under four hours.

Are these times fast enough for modal shift from the Air and Roads to Rail?

Project Delivery

Rail projects in the UK have a variable record in the delivering of projects on time and on budget.

I haven’t done the full analysis, but I do believe that smaller projects have a better record of delivery, based on media reports.

In Railway Restored: Regular Trains To Run On Dartmoor Line For First Time In 50 Years, Network Rail have delivered an important smaller project, for which I said.

Network Rail have set themselves a good precedent to open the line in nine months and £10 million under budget.

As the improvement of the East Coast Main Line is more of a succession of smaller projects, rather than one large project does this mean it is more likely to be delivered on time and on budget?

Extra Paths

This is said in Paragraph 3.43

North of York we will look to increase the number of paths for long distance high speed trains from 6 to 7 or 8 per hour.

One of the min reasons for building High Speed Two, but here we have extra capacity being created on the East Coast Main Line.

One extra path would be very good, but two would be excellent.

Power Supply Upgrades

In the last eighteen months, I’ve written two articles about updating of the power supply on the East Coast Main Line.

The second article talks about the involvement of the University of Leeds to get the power supply to a high standard.

It does appear that Network Rail are doing all they can to enable the East Coast Main Line to handle the eight electric trains per hour

140 mph Running

There are several elements to the successful achievement of 140 mph running on a railway.

  • The trains must be capable of running safely at 140 mph.
  • The track must be able to support trains at that speed.
  • The signalling must be in-cab and fully tested.
  • The electrification must be designed for running at the required speed.
  • The drivers must be fully trained.

Note.

  1. There are certainly 140 mph trains in service and there are tracks in the UK, where they can be tested at that speed.
  2. I wouldn’t be surprised as we have been running 140 mph InterCity 225 trains on the East Coast Main Line for thirty years, that a lot of the track is already profiled for 140 mph running.
  3. The digital signalling is being installed.
  4. The electrification on the East Coast Main Line has been dodgy for years, but is now being upgraded.
  5. Drivers are probably the least to worry about, as they probably know the route well and are honing their skills in simulators.

I can see 140 mph running being delivered in stages and on time.

Darlington Improvements

In First Phase Of ‘Transformational’ Darlington Rail Station Upgrade Approved, I said this about the improvements at Darlington station.

This upgrade is on the Eastern side of the current station and will include a new entrance, station building, concourse and three new platforms.

This design should allow the following.

    • LNER, High Speed Two and other expresses not stopping at the Darlington station to pass through at speeds of up to 125 mph or more.
    • Expresses stopping in the station will slow and accelerate in less time than they do now.
    • It will probably allow more local trains to Bishops Auckland, Middlesbrough and Saltburn

A seventy-five percent increase in platforms probably offers other advantages.

This could knock several minutes off journey times.

York Improvements

I describe this problem and my solution in Improving The North Throat Of York Station Including Skelton Bridge Junction.

My solution won’t happen, as I advocate replacing the historic Skelton Bridge with a modern four-track bridge.

Effects On Lincoln Service

It will be interesting to see how the improvements to the East Coast Main Line effect LNER’s service between King’s Cross and Lincoln.

Any time improvements South of Newatk will surely be reflected in the time between King’s Cross and Lincoln.

Conclusion

The plan seems feasible to me.

November 24, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Could The Standedge Tunnels Be Part Of A High Speed Line?

This article on Rail Technology Magazine is entitled Warrington Borough Council React To Integrated Rail Plan, where this is said about improvements between Liverpool and Manchester via Warrington.

One such promise is the delivery of a new high-speed line between Warrington, Manchester and Marsden as part of NPR.

The IRP will also introduce a fully electrified upgraded line between Liverpool and Warrington as part of NPR.

Note NPR is Northern Powerhouse Rail.

Where Is Marsden?

This Google Map shows the rail line between the Standedge Tunnels and Marsden station.

Note.

  1. Standedge Tunnels and the Visitor Centre in the West.
  2. Marsden station in the South-East corner of the map.
  3. The railway between them is the Huddersfield Line.
  4. The distance between Marsden station and the Eastern Portals of the Standedge Tunnels is about a mile.

Huddersfield station is seven miles to the East of Marsden station.

The Eastern End Of The Standedge Tunnels

This Google Map shows the Eastern end of the Standedge tunnels.

Note.

  1. This is a 3D image tilted to give a possibly better view.
  2. Only a double-track railway and a canal tunnel are in daily use.
  3. There are two other disused but intact single-track rail tunnels.
  4. I suspect that the Tunnel End Reservoir keeps the canal water at the right level.

It looks to me that the Standedge Tunnels will be part of the proposed high speed route.

Greenfield Station

Greenfield station is to the West of the Western portal of the Standedge tunnels.

The distance between Greenfield and Marsden stations is six miles.

The Standedge Tunnels

Wikipedia has a very comprehensive description of the canal tunnel and the three rail tunnels that form the Standedge tunnels complex.

These are points from the entry.

  • The canal tunnel is the oldest and was opened in 1811.
  • The two single-track rail tunnels were opened in 1848 and 1871
  • The double-track rail tunnel opened in 1894.
  • The rail tunnels were all built using the canal tunnel for access.
  • All the tunnels are parallel to each other.
  • The tunnels are level.
  • All tunnels appear to be connected together with cross passages.
  • For safety reasons some diesel-powered boats are towed through the canal tunnel using electric tugs.
  • The railway tunnels were the only level section of the route and were fitted with water troughs for steam engines.
  • Drainage of the rail tunnels appears to be good, with water draining into the canal.
  • Only the 1894 tunnel is in use by trains, but all three rail tunnels are maintained.
  • The 1848 tunnel can be used for emergency access and is accessible to fire engines and ambulances.

The complex appears to be a masterpiece of nineteenth century engineering.

There are several factors that could enable the conversion of the rail tunnels into a high-capacity modern railway with speeds up to at least 100 mph.

  • The tunnels are level.
  • The tunnels are well-drained.
  • The access to the tunnels is good.
  • Slab track, which allows higher speeds could be installed in the tunnels, as it was in the Bowshank Tunnel on the Borders Railway.

But the biggest factor could be the possibility of using battery-electric trains to avoid electrification of the main lines, which as now would probably be in the double-track tunnel.

This Hitachi infographic describes their Intercity Battery Hybrid Train, which is based on a Class 802 train and they are developing in partnership with TransPennine Express.

Note.

  1. Greenfield and Marsden stations are only six miles apart.
  2. The tunnels are only a few metres longer than 5000 metres.
  3. The train may only be able to cover 5 km now, but I believe this could be increased.

I also wonder, if the electrification on either side could get as close to the tunnel as possible.

This would enable trains to drop pantograph at speed and switch to battery power a few metres from the tunnel and get to the other side using a mix of battery-power and kinetic energy. Once under the wires at the other side of the tunnel and they had slowed to a safe speed at which they could raise the pantograph, it would be raised and trains would continue using the electrification.

The operating speed would probably be determined by any curves at the ends of the straight and level tunnel.

This method of operation may be OK for expresses, but what about other passenger and freight trains?

I wonder, if it would be possible to put a third track in one of the other rail tunnels.

  • Slab-track would probably be installed.
  • This third track could be electrified.
  • It would be signalled to allow bi-directional running.

This by-pass tunnel could keep the main lines free for the expresses.

Conclusion

I am fairly sure that the Standedge Tunnels could be incorporated in a high speed line.

 

November 23, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

The Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands

See this link

November 18, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

What Will Be The Fastest Times Possible Between London King’s Cross And Leeds?

According to media reports, it is likely that the Eastern Leg of High Speed Two will be scrapped on kicked into the long grass.

So out of curiosity, what times can be achieved between London King’s Cross and Leeds.

Wikipedia says this about digital signalling on the line.

Increasing maximum speeds on the fast lines between Woolmer Green and Dalton-on-Tees up to 140 mph (225 km/h) in conjunction with the introduction of the Intercity Express Programme, level crossing closures, ETRMS fitments, OLE rewiring and the OLE PSU – est. to cost £1.3 billion (2014). This project is referred to as “L2E4” or London to Edinburgh (in) 4 Hours. L2E4 examined the operation of the IEP at 140 mph on the ECML and the sections of track which can be upgraded to permit this, together with the engineering and operational costs.

Note.

  1. Woolmer Green is 23.8 miles North of King’s Cross and a short distance to the North of the Digswell Viaduct.
  2. Dalton-on-Tees is North of Doncaster, where the line to Leeds leaves the East Coast Main Line.

The 186 mile journey to Leeds can be broken down into these sections.

  • King’s Cross and Woolmer Green – 23.8 miles – 16 minutes – 89.3 mph
  • Woolmer Green and Doncaster – 132.2 miles – 85 minutes – 93.3 mph
  • Doncaster and Leeds – 29.9 miles – 32 minutes – 56 mph

In Will Avanti West Coast’s New Trains Be Able To Achieve London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street In Two Hours?, I estimated that each stop in an electric Hitachi Class 802 train takes eight minutes, which includes six minutes accelerating and decelerating and a two minute dwell time in the station.

  • Services between London Euston and Leeds typically stop three times, so this means there are four acceleration/deceleration cycles, if you add in the one split between London Kings Cross and Leeds.
  • There are also three dwell times of perhaps two minutes in the intermediate stations.
  • This would mean that a total of thirty minutes must be added to calculate the journey time.

If the train averaged these speeds over 186 miles, the following times would be achieved.

  • 125 mph – 89 minutes
  • 130 mph – 86 minutes
  • 140 mph – 80 minutes
  • 150 mph – 74 minutes
  • 160 mph – 70 minutes

Adding in the thirty minutes for stops gives some reasonable timings for between London King’s Cross and Leeds.

There are ways that times could be reduced.

Removal Of Level Crossings

This course of action always brings results, but is hated by the local users.

This article in The Times is entitled HS2 Eastern Leg To Leeds Axed, where there is said.

The government’s long-awaited Integrated Rail Plan also commits to full electrification of the Midland Main Line from London St Pancras to Sheffield, as well as upgrades to the East Coast Main Line. The Times understands this includes removing level crossings, which will help reduce journey times.

Every little helps!

More Running At Higher Speeds

From my figures, it appears that roughly a ten mph increase in average speed reduces journey time by up to six minutes.

So the more running at 140 mph or even faster the better.

It should be noted that the Selby Diversion on the East Coast Main Line was designed by British Rail for 160 mph The Wikipedia entry says this.

The line was the first purpose-built section of high-speed railway in the UK having a design speed of 125 mph; however, research by British Rail in the 1990s indicated that the route geometry would permit up to 160 mph operation, subject to the necessary overhead line equipment and signalling upgrades.

Upgrading the line for higher speeds would be a way of reducing the journey time.

  • Curves could be better profiled.
  • Full digital signalling with perhaps even some degree of automatic control could be introduced.
  • More robust overhead line equipment could be installed.
  • Some sections of slab track could be laid.
  • Level crossing removal.

I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the new Hitachi trains within a few years could be able to average 140 mph between London King’s Cross and Leeds, with a possible 160 mph average speed in the future.

Faster Acceleration And Deceleration

If the three-minute acceleration and deceleration times can be reduced to two minutes this will save eight minutes on the journey.

Quicker Dwell Times

Why not?

High-Speed Two Classic Compatible Trains

These faster trains could bring the time down further, if they were to run the service.

Sample Times

I wouldn’t be surprised to see with full digital signalling and a 125 mph average between London King’s Cross and Leeds.

  • 125 mph Base Time – 89 minutes.
  • Four Acceleration/Deceleration section at 6 minutes each – 24 minutes.
  • Three Dwell Times at 2 minutes each – 6 minutes

This would mean a total time of one hour and 59 minutes.

Uprate that to 140 mph and faster acceleration and deceleration.

  • 140 mph Base Time – 80 minutes.
  • Four Acceleration/Deceleration section at 4 minutes each – 16 minutes.
  • Three Dwell Times at 2 minutes each – 6 minutes

This would mean a total time of one hour and 42 minutes.

Up that to 160 mph.

Uprate that to 140 mph and faster acceleration and deceleration.

  • 160 mph Base Time – 70 minutes.
  • Four Acceleration/Deceleration section at 4 minutes each – 16 minutes.
  • Three Dwell Times at 2 minutes each – 6 minutes

This would mean a total time of one hour and 32 minutes.

These compare with a proposed time of one hour and 21 minutes on the original plan to High Speed Two.

November 18, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments