The Anonymous Widower

Will Greater Anglia Fit Batteries To Their Class 755 Trains?

Greater Anglia have ordered the following Class 755 trains.

  • 14 x three-car trains with two diesel engines in the power-pack
  • 24 x four-car trains with four diesel engines in the power-pack

The power-pack would appear to have four slots, each of which could take.

  • A V8 16-litre Deutz diesel that can produce 478 kW and weighs 1.3 tonnes.
  • A battery of about 120 kWh, which would probably weigh about 1.2 tonnes.

I estimated the battery size , by using typical battery energy densities for a battery of similar weight to the diesel engine.

The KeolisAmey Wales Tri-Mode Flirts

The Tri-Mode Flirts ordered by KeolisAmey Wales can use either electric, diesel or battery power.

From the pictures it appears that these trains have the same basic structure as the Class 755 trains.

In the July 2018 Edition of Modern Railways, there is an article entitled KeolisAmey Wins Welsh Franchise.

This is said about the Stadler Tri-Mode Flirts on the South Wales Metro.

The units will be able to run for 40 miles between charging, thanks to their three large batteries.

So does this mean that these Flirts have just one Deutz diesel engine of 478 kW and three batteries in the four slots of the power-pack?

These trains will run between Penarth and Rhymney stations.

  • I estimate about half the route will be electrified.
  • Penarth to the electrification at Cardiff is under ten miles.
  • The trains will work on battery power from Ystrad Mynach to Rhymney, which is ten miles up the hill.
  • Coming down from Rhymney, Newton’s friend will give assistance.

This seems a challenging task, but it must be possible, even after an important rugby match in Cardiff.

I think it is true to say, that these Tri-Mode Flirts are no wimps.

Greater Anglia’s Flirts And Batteries

Four-Car Flirts

The four-car Class 755 trains don’t have a spare slot, as they have four engines.

I also suspect the four-car trains will tend to serve the longer routes or those with more passengers.

  • Colchester and Peterborough
  • Stansted Airport and Norwich
  • Ipswich and Cambridge
  • Lowestoft and London via Ipswich
  • Norwich and Lowestoft
  • Norwich and Great Yarmouth


  • These routes are partially-electrified.
  • These routes don’t have challenging terrain.
  • Except for Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth, all end stations are electrified.
  • A short length of electrification could be installed at Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth stations.

I wonder if one of the diesel engines were to be replaced with a battery, by capturing and reusing the regenerative braking energy, this could improve the economics of running the services.

In Tri-Mode Stadler Flirts, I estimated the following.

  • A four-car Tri-Mode Flirt will weigh around 150 tonnes.
  • I will assume 250 passengers at 90 Kg. each with all their baggage, which gives a weight of 22.5 tonnes.
  • This gives a total rain weight  of 172.5 tonnes.
  • The train is running at 100 mph.

This gives a kinetic energy of 48 kWh.

This would mean that a single 120 kWh battery could easily handle the regenerative braking and use the energy for the following purposes.

  • Hotel power, which includes the power to run passenger and train systems.
  • Traction power on sections, where low noise is important.
  • Traction power, if there is overhead electrification failure.
  • Short movements in depots and sidings.

I think that once Stadler have got their Tri-Mode Flirts working, that replacing one diesel with a battery in four-car Class 755 trains may be a sensible decision.

Lowestoft And London Via Ipswich

When the Class 755 trains are running services, there will be four direct trains per day from Lowestoft to London via Ipswich.

I will assume the following.

  • There will also be four trains in both directions.
  • An hourly service operates between Lowestoft and Ipswich
  • Lowestoft to Ipswich will take the current 90 minutes.
  • Greater Anglia will meet their promise of Ipswich to London in 60 minutes.
  • The first train currently leaves Lowestoft just after five in the morning.
  • The last train currently arrives at Lowestoft just before midnight.

For one train to do four round trips between five in the morning and midnight would need a round trip of around four hours and thirty minutes, which would mean that a time of around seventy minutes is needed between Ipswich and Lowestoft.

That is extraordinarily challenging.

But I think that could be Greater Anglia’s ultimate aim.

  • There must be savings of a minute or two at each of the nine stations between Ipswich and Lowestoft.
  • Some trains could be limited stop.
  • The current maximum speed on the East Suffolk Line is just 55 mph and could probably be increased in places.
  • The 100 mph Class 755 trains are quicker and probably accelerate and stop faster, than the current 75 mph Class 150 trains.
  • Trains turn at Liverpool Street in under five minutes.

If it can be done, then the four trains per day between Lowestoft and London can be run with just one train.

Would batteries help the achievement of this aim?

They might do! But they would certainly improve the electrical efficiency and cut the amount of running of the diesel engines.

Three-Car Flirts

The three-car Class 755 trains have two spare slots, as they have two engines.

I would expect that the three-car trains would be used on the shorter routes and those with less passengers.

  • Colchester Town and Sudbury
  • Ipswich and Felixstowe
  • Norwich and Sheringham via Cromer

To my mind the first two routes stand out for battery operation.

Ipswich and Felixstowe

Consider the following about the service between Ipswich and Felixstowe stations.

  • The Felixstowe Branch is just over twelve miles long.
  • There is one train per hour (tph) each way.
  • It takes the current trains abut 26-29 minutes to do the journey.
  • Currently, one train can provide the service.

In The New Trimley Freight Loop And Trimley Station, I talk about how a 1.4 km loop is being built to allow more freight trains to use the branch.

I also feel that there could be a second path in each hour for passenger trains, which would help reliability

But it also might make it possible to run a two tph service with two trains.

I also think, that if it was felt worthwhile, that this route could be run on battery power, charging at Ipswich and possibly with a short length of electrification in Felixstowe.

The advantages would be

  • Diesel-free running.
  • Less noise.
  • The environmentally friendly trains may attract new passengers.

As with the trains on the South Wales Metro, they’d probably have one diesel engine and three large batteries.

Knowing the bicycle-friendly contours of the centre of Ipswich and Felixstowe as I do, the trains would probably need adequate capacity for bikes.

Colchester Town And Sudbury

I am sure that this new route between Colchester Town and Sudbury stations has been designed for a battery train.


  • A direct run between Colchester Town and Sudbury would probably take 45 minutes.
  • Over half the route would be electrified.
  • The Gainsborough Line is just eleven miles long.
  • A silent battery train would be ideal for the rural route.

A Class 755 train could leave the Great Eastern Main Line at Marks Tey with full batteries, go both ways on the branch and then return to Colchester Town using the electrification.

Norwich And Sheringham Via Cromer

At thirty miles, the Bittern Line is probably too long for running totally on batteries.

But one battery handling regenerative braking would make the train more environmentally friendly.


Batteries would make the Class 755 trains more economical and environmentally-friendly to run, but with the exception of the Felixstowe and Sudbury branches, I suspect that the routes are too long for pure battery power.

I do believe that Greater Anglia knew about Stadler’s concept for fitting batteries on Class 755 trains before they ordered the trains.

As this opens up possibilities for the future and the ability to be more environmentally-friendly and fiscally efficient, I suspect it was a factor in their decision to buy the trains.







July 18, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Last Unmodified Rakes Of Mark 3 Coaches In Front Line Service

Greater Anglia runs the last rakes of the unrivalled Mark 3 coaches, with their original doors, on their services between London and Norwich.

This set was going North pushed by an immaculate Class 90 locomotive, which like the coaches is no spring chicken.

The Swiss-built Class 745 trains, will have to be very good, to gain the same hard-won reputation.

One of these rakes of coaches is going to be hauled by 60163 Tornado.

I suspect other rakes will find specialist uses. If not in the UK, then in other countries with standard gauge railways.

July 10, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Is Platform 1 At Ipswich Station Big Enough?

For some years, trains for Felixstowe and Lowestoft have usually shared Platform 1 at Ipswich station.

But with the new longer Class 755 trains replacing the current Class 150 or Class 153 trains, I suspect this will no longer be possible.

I was going to Felixstowe and my train left and returned to Platform 2B, which in the fourth picture is occupied by the back end of Norwich to London Express.

It looks like when all the new trains are in service, Platform 2 will be used by the following trains.

  • Three trains per hour (tph) from Norwich to London.
  • One tph From Peterborough to Colchester
  • One tph to and from Felixstowe

In addition four Lowestoft services per day will go to and from London.

It strikes me, trains will have to keep very much to time or there is a need for an extra platform.

July 9, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Free Water At Ipswich Station

I hope this is the shape of things to come.

Greater Anglia give more details on this page on their web site.



July 9, 2018 Posted by | Food, Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Greater Anglia, The Fen Line And Class 755 Trains

Greater Anglia currently operates two trains per day between King’s Lynn and Liverpool Street stations, in the Morning Peak

  • 05:17 – 07:25 – 2 hr. 8 min.
  • 06:17 – 08:25 – 2 hr. 8 min.

This is matched by three trains a day between Liverpool Street and King’s Lynn, in the Evening Peak.

  • 17:07 – 19:08 – 2 hr. 1 min.
  • 18:-07 – 20:10 – 2 hr. 3 min.
  • 19:07 – 21:05 – 1 hr 58 min.


  1. The two Morning Peak trains stop at Watlington, Downham Market, Littleport, Ely, Cambridge North, Cambridge, Whittesford Parkway, Audley End, Bishops Stortford and Tottenham Hale.
  2. The three Evening Peak trains call similarly, but miss out Cambridge North.
  3. Services are run by Class 317  or Class 379 trains.

All the passenger trains on the Fen Line including Great Northern’s Class 387 trains, are four x twenty metre cars, which can run as four, eight or twelve cars.

Maximum Length Of Trains On The Fen Line

This article in the Eastern Daily Press is entitled Plans For Longer Trains Between King’s Lynn And London Could Be Delayed.

Reading it, I get the following impressions.

  • The Fen Line can currently accept four-car trains.
  • Eight-car trains are needed.
  • Plans have been or are being developed to lengthen all platforms to accept eight car trains.
  • Network Rail are quoted as saying “The King’s Lynn eight car scheme is amongst the CP5 projects that have funding.”

Extending further might well be out of the question, on grounds of cost and inconvenience to passengers, whilst the work is carried out.

Greater Anglia’s Trains And The Fen Line

There is a problem for Greater Anglia, as both the Class 317 and Class 379 trains are being moved on.

Class 745 Trains

The thirty x four-car Class 379 trains, that work the express West Anglia Main Line services are being replaced with ten x twelve-car Stadler Class 745 trains.

These trains will be too long for the Fen Line.

Class 720 Trains

Five-car Class 720 trains would fit the Fen line and as they are 100 mph trains, like the Class 317 and Class 379 trains, they could handle the current service.

Class 755 Trains

Greater Anglia currently have the equivalent of twenty-eight assorted diesel trains in different lengths, which they are replacing with thirty-eight bi-mode Class 755 trains.

These are.

  • 100 mph trains.
  • Bi-mode trains with the ability to run on electric or diesel.
  • Compatible with the Class 745 trains.

Fourteen will be three-car trains and twenty-four will be four-car trains.

Greater Anglia, have already said they will run services to and from Liverpool Street from Lowestoft, so will they use the extra trains to run services to and from Liverpool Street to important East Anglian towns?

It is worth looking at the capacity of the various trains.

  • Class 379 train – four-car – 189 2nd/20 1st
  • Class 755 train – three-car  – 166 2nd
  • Class 755 train – four-car  – 224 2nd
  • Class 720 train – five-car – 430 2nd

Would a four-car Class 755 train have sufficient capacity for a service between  Kings Lynn and Liverpool Street?

I think the answer is probably in the affirmative, but a six or seven car train couple be created, by joining two trains together, if required.

So if the Class 755 trains can provide direct Liverpool Street services for Kings Lynn and Lowestoft, what other towns could get a direct service to London?

  • Bury St. Edmunds – Either via Newmarket and Cambridge or Stowmarket and Ipswich
  • Cromer/Sheringham via Norwich and Ipswich
  • Norwich via Wymondham, Attleborough, Thetford, Ely and Cambridge
  • Peterborough via March and Cambridge
  • Yarmouth via Via Norwich and either Ipswich or Cambridge.

I can remember, when some of these towns had services to Liverpool Street.

Trains could also split and join at Cambridge and Ipswich to save paths on the main lines to London.

Could trains go up to London in the Morning Peak and return in the Evening Peak?

If there was sufficient demand, they could return in mid-morning and come back to Liverpool Street in mid-afternoon, in time for the Evening Peak.

If so, how many trains would be needed?

  • Bury St. Edmunds (35k) – 1
  • Cromer (7k)/Sheringham (7k) – 1
  • King’s Lynn (43k) – 3
  • Lowestoft (70k) – 1
  • Norwich via Cambridge – 2
  • Peterborough – 1
  • Yarmouth (47k)  – 1

The figures in brackets are the population

Considering, that my rough calculation, showed there were ten spare trains, these numbers seem feasible.

I have some questions.

  • How many Class 755 trains will be able to link together?
  • Will platforms needed to be extended at Liverpool Street
  • Could Lincoln be reached from London, via a reopened March to Spalding Line via Wisbech?
  • Could a Yarmouth and Lowestoft service to London be created by reopening the chord at Reedham?
  • Would it be a good idea to have a dozen First Class seats in the Class 755 trains doing the London commute.

I feel that Greater Anglia have ambitious plans.


From this rather crude analysis, it appears that Greater Anglia will be using the Class 755 trains as three and four car electric trains on the electrified lines to Cambridge, Ipswich and Norwich and then using their diesel power to create new direct routes to the capital.

I also suspect, trains will split and join at Cambridge, Ipswich and Norwich to reduce the number of paths needed to and from London. After all one twelve-car  train is cheaper to run than three four-car trains!

Could Greater Anglia be bringing forward a timetable, where any town in East Anglia, with a population of over say 10,000, gets at least one fast train to London in the morning and back in the evening?

As the tracks, signals and stations are already there, away from the main lines, there may be little that needs doing.

If not, Greater Anglia have bought too many trains.







April 10, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The New Ipswich Station Forecourt

These pictures show the new forecourt at Ipswich station.

It is certainly a lot better than it was, especially, if you want to get to Portman Road, as you have a clear route to the pedestrian crossing.

I should think the taxi drivers aren’t pleased, as they are no longer directly in front of the station.

August 26, 2017 Posted by | Travel | | Leave a comment

Work Has Finished Behind Platform 1 At Ipswich Station

In Curious Rail Construction At Ipswich Station, I questioned if construction had started on a Platform 0 at Ipswich station.

When I went through the station yesterday, I took this picture from of Platform 1 and the works behind.


There is still need to create more platforms at Ipswich.

The full length of the main Up Platform 2 will be needed for Greater Anglia’s new and longer, Stadler Flirts, which will call three times an hour on their way to London.

In addition, there will be a Peterborough to Colchester service stopping at Platform 2 once an hour.

So it will be unlikely, that the occasional Lowestoft or Felixstowe can stop at the Norwich end of Platform 2, as they do now.

A Platform 0 has been talked about to solve the problem, but nothing seems to have happened yet.



March 5, 2017 Posted by | Travel | | Leave a comment

Are Greater Anglia Making Ipswich Station A Better Interchange?

Services In A Few Years

By the end of this decade, Greater Anglia will be running the following services through or from/to Ipswich station.

  • 3 trains per hour (tph) Norwich to London, taking sixty minutes to London – Platform 2
  • 3 tph London to Norwich, taking 30 minutes to Norwich – Platform 3
  • 1 tph Peterborough to Colchester – Platform 2
  • 1 tph Colchester to Peterborough – Platform 3
  • 1 tph Ipswich to/from Cambridge – Platform 4
  • 1 tph Ipswich to/from Felixstowe – Platform 0 or Platform 1
  • 1 tph Ipswich to/from Lowestoft – Platform 0 or Platform 1

I have assumed a new Platform 0 is built outside of Platform 1, is as I speculated in A Good Look At Platform 1 At Ipswich Station And The Work On The Far Side.

A Service Pattern

As each of these trains has fairly clear routes in and out of Ipswich station, could we see a sequence like this at the station, at a fixed time in every hour?

  • Trains from Cambridge, Felixstowe and Lowestoft arrive in their respective platforms.
  • London-Norwich and Norwich-London call at the station.
  • Trains leave for Cambridge, Felixstowe and Lowestoft.

As the Peterborough-Colchester service provides a second service between Ipswich and Bury St. Edmunds, this would be scheduled thirty minutes after the Cambridge-Ipswich service.

Services To Nearby Towns

It is worth showing a table of frequencies to nearby towns.

  • Bury St. Edmunds – 2 tph
  • Cambridge – 1 tph
  • Colchester – 4 tph
  • Felixstowe – 1 tph
  • Lowestoft – 1 tph
  • Manningtree – 4 tph
  • Newmarket 1 tph
  • Norwich – 3 tph
  • Stowmarket – 5 tph
  • Woodbridge – 1 tph

There are also places, that lack a direct service from Ipswich, such as Cambridge North, Aldeburgh, Harwich, Sudbury and Yarmouth

Independently-Powered Trains

Services from Ipswich to stations that are not on the Great Eastern Main Line, will need to use independently-powered trains.

Greater Anglia will have three possible types of independently-powered trains.

  • The existing Class 170 trains, some of which may be retained.
  • The new bi-mode Flirts.
  • The new Aventras, which could be fitted with on-board energy storage.

All are modern trains, with at least a 100 mph capability.

Extra Services From Ipswich

Intriguingly, because the current one tph Ipswich-London service has been extended to Norwich, there is probably space to terminate another service from the South.

To the South, there are only two possibilities for extra services.

  • Harwich, which already has a very limited service from Ipswich.
  • Sudbury, which will be served from Colchester Town.

Neither is an obvious terminal for services, So I think it likely, that no Southern services would be added at Ipswich.

The only other possibility for extra services South from Ipswich, would be if it was decided to create a second route across East Anglia connecting Ipswich and Colchester to Cambridge and the East West Rail Link, via Sudbury and Haverhill, using the existing Gainsborough Line and a rebuilt Stour Valley Railway.

But if a Suffolk Circular Railway is ever built, it will be a long time coming.

Services along the Ipswich to Ely Line to Cambridge and Peterborough, will be as follows in a couple of years.

  • Bury St. Edmunds – 2 tph
  • Cambridge – 1 tph
  • Ely – 1 tph
  • Newmarket 1 tph
  • Peterborough – 1 tph
  • Stowmarket – 5 tph

It’s certainly better than it was, when I lived in the area, but there is a big new station at Cambridge North, that needs to be adequately served from Bury St. Edmunds, Ipswich and Suffolk.

Passengers from Bury St. Edmunds and Ipswich to Cambridge North will have a choice of three routes.

  • Take a Peterborough service and change at Ely.
  • Take a Cambridge service and change at Cambridge.
  • Take a Cambridge service and change at Cambridge to the Cambridge Guided Busway.

None is ideal and the last can get stuck in Cambridge’s legendary traffic jams.

Greater Anglia’s full plans have not been disclosed, but Wikipedia says this.

  • 5tph to Cambridge, with 2tph continuing to London King’s Cross; 1tph continuing to London Liverpool Street and 1tph continuing to Stansted Airport.
  • 4tph to Ely, with 1tph continuing to King’s Lynn, 1tph continuing to Birmingham New Street and 1tph continuing to Norwich.

So all stations to Birmingham get a direct service, but Suffolk doesn’t!


  • Norwich-Cambridge services will be extended to Stansted, releasing a bay Platform 5 at Cambridge station.
  • Trains can’t go between Cambridge North and Bury St. Edmunds will have to reverse at Ely station.
  • Kennett to Ely could be double-tracked to improve freight routes between Felixstowe and Peterborough.
  • Soham station could be reopened.
  • This Network Rail document talks of improving connections at Newmarket.
  • The East West Rail Link will connect to Cambridge at a proposed Cambridge South station.

I can see a package of work emerging, that would include.

  • Dualling from Kennett to Ely.
  • Provision for Soham station.
  • Improvements to Ely station and the various lines in the area.
  • Improvements to the junctions between Newmarket and Kennett.
  • Provision for connection to the East West Rail Link.

This would enable more capacity for freight trains.

It would also allow a second Ipswich and Bury St. Edmunds service to Cambridge, via Kennett, Soham, Ely and Cambridge North stations.

  • There would be capacity in Platform 4 at Ipswich and Platform 5 at Cambridge for the service.
  • Between Ipswich and Bury St. Edmunds there would be three tph.
  • The new station at Soham would have excellent connectivity.
  • Kennett station has excellent connectivity, is surrounded by space and is close to the A14 and A11. Could it be developed as a Parkway station?
  • A chord might be built at Ely to connect the lines to Cambridge and Kennett, which would avoid the reverse at Ely.
  • Greater Anglia will have trains for the route.

It will be interesting to see what happens in the next few years, but services to Cambridge will call the tune.





November 29, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

The Definitive Branch Line For An Electric Train With On Board Energy Storage

In Curious Rail Construction At Ipswich Station, I described how the current five-car Platform 1 has been electrified and given an electrified route of a few hundred metres to the Felixstowe Branch Line.

I then outlined how an ow an electric train with on-board energy storage, could work the Ipswich-Felixstowe service.

  • I’ll assume that a fully-charged train starts from the new depot at Manningtree or some other suitable overnight stabling.
  • The train positions early in the morning for the first service from Felixstowe, using  overhead power to Ipswich and on-board power on the branch.
  • Passengers load at Felixstowe and the train proceeds to Ipswich under on-board power to the current Platform 1 at Ipswich.
  • The train would sneak into the platform on the North side of Ipswich Freight Yard, well out of the way of the Great Eastern Main Line and any freight movements.
  • If the platform was busy and the train had to wait at a signal, it could even up pantograph to start the recharging of the on-board energy storage.
  • Once in Platform 1, the train would either start or continue the charging process.
  • The pantograph would be lowered, when the charging was complete or at any time before the train left for Felixstowe.

The process would continue all day.

But things don’t always go to plan, so what happens at Ipswich, if Platform 1 is blocked by a failed train?

As the train will be approaching Ipswich on a dedicated line, it would stop at a signal and wait. As the overhead wire to the station will be continuous, it would immediately up pantograph to start the charging process, to make certain, it wasn’t stuck with a flat battery.

There has been a lot of thought, in how trains with on board storage should be operated.

Similar layouts seem to be being installed at other places.

Maidenhead and the Marlow Branch Line

Maidenhead station is where the Marlow Branch Line connects to the Great Western Main Line.

Platform assignments after Crossrail will probably be.

  1. Down Fast
  2. Up Fast
  3. Down Slow – Crossrail
  4. Up Show – Crossrail
  5. Marlow Branch

Note that Platform 5 has recently been extended to the full Crossrail length of 200 metres, so could this platform be shared between the Marlow Branch trains and the Class 387 trains that will start to shuttle between Maidenhead and Paddington in mid-2017.

These are pictures taken at Maidenhead station.

Note the platform 5 for the Marlow Branch and the first couple of hundred metres of the branch are being electrified.

Trains with on-board energy storage between Maidenhead and Bourne End stations could certainly use the same procedure as the one I outlined for trains between Ipswich and Felixstowe. They would probably come into Platform 5 at Maidenhead, as the Marlow Branch trains currently do.

But they also have the advantage at Maidenhead of a very long two hundred metre Platform 5.

Note that four-car Class 387 trains couldn’t go past Bourne End station, so the remainder of the branch to Marlow would probably be served by a diesel shuttle.

On November 25th, 2016, I took this picture from a passing train.



  • I was looking directly down the Marlow Branch.
  • The two lines join around the position of the last gantry and the nearest one goes into Platform 4, with the farthest one going into Platform 5.
  • You can’t really see it too well in the picture, but the overhead wire appears to be only above the line into Platform 5.

This Google Map shows a close-up of the Western \end of Platforms 4 and 5 and the start of the Marlow Branch.


Hopefully, it will be clearer than mud now!

Note the two-car train in Platform 5.

So why is there no connecting electrification between Platform 4 and the Marlow Branch Line?

It could be that it hasn’t been erected yet, but on the other hand, it could be that it isn’t needed.

  • All trains arriving at Maidenhead from Bourne End would use Platform 5.
  • These trains would only use the wiring to the West of Platform 5, if say the platform was blocked, by say a failed train.
  • Trains between Bourne End and Paddington, after arriving at Platform 5 would up pantograph and  after leaving the platform, they would use an existing crossover to access the Up Slow line for Paddington.
  • Trains between Paddington and Bourne End would probably use the existing crossovers  to stop in Platform 5 after arriving on the Up Slow. Once in Platform 5, they would down pantograph and continue to Bourne End under on-board power.

So a second electrified line not being needed, could be the explanation of only one being created.

Note that when Crossrail starts, Crossrail trains will use Platforms 3 and 4 and will reverse using a reversing siding to the West of the station..

So the Marlow Branch and Crossrail will effectively be two separate systems with their own tracks, trains and arrangements.

Slough And The Slough to Windsor & Eton Line

Slough station is where the Slough to Windsor & Eton Line connects to the Great Western Main Line.

As I passed through Slough station, I noticed that the gantries are such, that just as at Maidenhead, the bay Platform 1 could have a short length of overhead wiring installed, so that the shuttle to Windsor and Eton Central station could be run using an electric train with on-board energy storage.

This small add-on to the electrification, would create a branch line independent of the main line.

  • It would be worked as a single train shuttle.
  • The train would be electric with on-board energy storage.
  • The train would charge at Slough station.
  • It would have dedicated platforms in the two terminal stations; Slough and Windsor and Eton Central.
  • The train could be worked using the principle of only one train on the line at a time or One Train Working.
  • Trains would enter and leave the dedicated branch tracks for servicing and other tasks, as they do now, through a connection to the Fast lines at Slough station.

Unlike the Marlow Branch, it would not need protection for failed trains, as there is only one train.

I would suspect that capacity at the Windsor end of the branch would limit any expansion unless a scheme like the Windsor Link Railway was brought forward and that a four-car electric shuttle train would be sufficient to work the line for many years.

Twyford And The Henley Branch Line

Twyford station is where the Henley Branch Line connects to the Great Western Main Line.

I wrote about using trains with on-board energy storage on the Henley Branch in Twyford Station And The Henley Branch and came to the conclusion, that electric trains of this type could serve this short branch of just four miles in length, with very little change to the infrastructure

Installing a short length of electrification in the bay platform 5 at Twyford station and for a short distance on the branch could be used to charge the trains.

As on the Marlow Branch and the Slough to Windsor and Eton Line, this would create a branch line independent of the main line.

I doubt that this line will ever be fully-electrified.

Certainly, as I passed the line today, there was no sign of any electrification.

West Ealing And Greenford Branch Line

West Ealing station is where the Greenford Branch Line connects to the Great Western Main Line.

But seeing as the last direct train from Greenford to Paddington seems to be on the 23rd of December 2016, the Greenford Branch Line will become an independent branch line with its own bay Platform 5 at West Ealing station, where passengers will have to change to and from Paddington.

In West Ealing Station – 12th October 2016, I showed the progress a couple of months ago and as at Slough gantries are in place, that could be used to electrify the new bay platform.

Once the wires were in place at the platform, all it would need to provide a quality service to Greenford, would be suitable electric train with on-board energy storage.

  • The journey would take around ten minutes.
  • Trains would charge their storage at West Ealing.
  • Two trains per hour would be possible with one train.
  • Four trains per hour would be possible with two trains, as the branch has a lot of double-track to allow passing.

The only infrastructure needed, other than the electrification might be some platform lengthening for the new trains.

As I passed the line today, there was some evidence of wires going up, but they probably can’t be completed until the new station is finished at West Ealing station.

Surely, if the branch was going to be run in perpetuity by diesel trains, there would be no evidence of electrification in the bay platform 5 and at the start of the Greenford Branch.

The Emerging Design

If you look at all these examples, most of which are ongoing projects, they have a series of common features.

  • The branch line is fairly simple, often just a shuttle between two dedicated terminal platforms.
  • The branch line is within the range of an electric train with on-board energy storage, to go out and return.
  • Some branches are worked using the principle of only one train on the line at a time or One Train Working.
  • At least one terminal platform will be electrified, so that the on board energy storage can be charged.
  • The branch line is within the range of an electric train with on-board energy storage.

The only feature not common to all the detailed examples, is where the electrified platform could be shared as at Ipswich and Maidenhead,

In these cases, provision must be made for another train failing in the station.

If Network Rail can get this philosophy right, it has the following advantages.

  • New or refurbished environmentally-friendly electric trains can replace elderly diesel trains on suitable routes.
  • As the electric trains will typically be four-cars or more, there will be large capacity increases.
  • There will be very little infrastructure work, except for platform lengthening and possibly electrifying an extra platform in a station on an already electrified line.
  • Network Rail will gain a bit of credibility.

As an example, Ipswich Felixstowe could go from an hourly single -car Class 153 train to an hourly five-car modern Aventra with Wi-fi and lots of space.










November 27, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Congestion At Ipswich Station

Ipswich station suffers from too much traffic and not enough platforms

This set of pictures was taken as I changed trains for Felixstowe, at around 12:00

In the short time, I was there, I saw the following trains go through the station.

  • A Norwich to London Express.
  • A London to Norwich Express
  • A very long freight train.
  • A train arrive from Lowestoft and wait in Platform 1.
  • My train arrived from Felixstowe.

What made matters worse was a light engine sitting on the avoiding line between the two main lines.

I took these pictures later on my return from Felixstowe.

The two sets of pictures illustrate some of the problems at Ipswich station.

  1. There is a large number of freight and passenger trains, that go through the station.
  2. The platforms available for services to Cambridge, Felixstowe, Lowestoft, Norwich and Peterborough is limited.
  3. Trains sometimes have to terminate in the Through Up Platform 2.
  4. Two long passenger trains per hour between London and Norwich, go through  in each direction.

Unfortunately, 3 and 4 interact badly with each other and this interaction will get worse with the new Flirt trains, which are longer than the current trains.

One solution would be a second bay platform, alongside the current Platform 1.

The new Greater Anglia Franchise has also had a sort out of services through Ipswich. The two most important ones that will be implemented are.

  • Peterborough-Ipswich will be hourly and continues to Colchester. So Colchester has the problem of turning the train.
  • The hourly Liverpool Street to Ipswich service will be extended to Norwich, to increase the Liverpool Street to Norwich frequency to three trains per hour.

These two changes reduce the amount of platform space needed, as these services will stop and hopefully be quickly on their way!



November 26, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 1 Comment