The Anonymous Widower

Thoughts On Extending The Northern Line To Clapham Junction

As I wrote in Northern Line Could Be Extended To Clapham Junction In Regeneration Plans, the extension of the newly-built extension to Battersea Power Station station could be further extended to Clapham Junction station.

Railways Between Battersea And Clapham

This map from OpenRailwayMap shows the tracks that run between the two stations.


  1. Battersea Power Station station is in the North-East corner of the map.
  2. The orange and yellow lines going North from that corner go to Victoria station.
  3. The orange and yellow lines going North-East from that corner go to Waterloo station.
  4. The yellow line going West is the West London Line to Shepherds Bush and Willesden Junction stations.
  5. Clapham Junction station is in the South-West corner of the map.

I estimate that the distance between Battersea Power Station and Clapham Junction stations is about three kilometres.

This map from OpenRailwayMap shows an enlargement of the tracks around Battersea.


  1. The tracks going North over the River to Victoria station.
  2. The tracks going East to Waterloo station.
  3. The tracks going South West to Clapham Junction station.
  4. The tracks from Victoria pass over and then join the tracks from Waterloo to continue to Clapham Junction station.

Battersea Power Station station can be seen to the North-East of the junction.

This map from OpenRailwayMap shows an enlargement of the tracks around Battersea Power Station station.

Note how the tracks go through Battersea Power Station station and terminate just before the lines into Victoria station.

It should also be noted that the platforms at Battersea Power Station station are reached using two sets of escalators, so they could be over forty metres below the surface. This would surely make the construction of tower blocks with deep foundations easier over the Northern Line.

But the depth would also enable an extended Northern Line to be below any existing or future construction.

This map from OpenRailwayMap shows the approaches to Clapham Junction station.

There are certainly a lot of tracks through Clapham Junction station.

Reasons For The Extension Of The Northern Line To Clapham Junction

These reasons come to mind.

To Enable Development In The Area

This is always a good reason.

In Network Rail To Outline Business Case For Clapham Junction Redevelopment, I said this.

The Rail Technology Magazine article talks of decking over the whole station and putting two million square feet of development on top. But it also cautions, it would be very expensive.

With that amount of development, there would be a need for as many transport links as possible.

To Improve Access To The Elizabeth Line For Passengers On Trains To And From Victoria

Victoria station does not have an Underground Line, that connects to easily the Elizabeth Line.

The best route to use is described in The Lizzie Line And Circle/District Line Interchange At Paddington – 1st July 2022, where you use the Circle to Paddington.

  • To go to the West on the Elizabeth Line, take the Circle/District Line to Paddington.
  • To go to the East on the Elizabeth Line, take the District Line to Whitechapel.
  • To go to Liverpool Street take the Circle Line all the way.

Getting to the stations between Paddington and Liverpool Street means a change at either of those stations.

At Waterloo, you can use the Northern Line, which has a direct connection to Tottenham Court Road on the Elizabeth Line.

Connecting to the Northern Line at Clapham Junction will give Victoria-bound passengers, the advantages of those going to Waterloo.

An Alternative Way Of Connecting Victoria To The Elizabeth Line

The lack of an easy connection between the Victoria and the Elizabeth Line is a pain and I believe that it was a major omission in the design of the Elizabeth Line.

  • Dear Old Vicky has a frequency of upwards of thirty trains per hour (tph)
  • With some improvements at stations like Oxford Circus, Highbury & Islington and Walthamstow Central, the line could handle some more passengers.
  • More step-free access would also help increase capacity.
  • Engineers are a competitive bunch and I could see the day, when Vicky is running at 40 tph.

If Vicky was running at forty full tph, it would be moving 45120 passengers per hour.

This would mean that to match the passenger capacity of the older line, the Elizabeth Line would have to be running at a frequency of thirty tph.

As passengers at the ends of the line have difficulty getting to places like Paddington and Heathrow, a connection between the two Queens would really help.

Vicky was universe-class in the 1960s and now she needs updating to the 21st Century.

This map from cartometro shows the Lines through Bond Street and Oxford Circus stations.


  1. The Bakerloo Line is shown in brown.
  2. The Central Line is shown in red.
  3. The Elizabeth Line is shown in purple.
  4. The Victoria Line is shown in light blue.
  5. The Elizabeth Line is the deepest line.

In addition, consider.

The Eastern exit of the Elizabeth Line at Bond Street station has three escalators and lifts. It also opens onto Hanover Square, so it won’t suffer from overcrowding problems outside.

  • Hanover Square is just a garden, with no car park underneath, so pedestrian tunnels could pass under it
  • I also suspect there are no existing or planned buildings between the two stations with deep foundations that would block a pedestrian tunnel.
  • With the capability and ingenuity of three-D design software, I can see wide tunnels being created that would link Oxford Circus and the two Bond Street stations.
  • The new wide tunnels at Bank station have opened up the station’s capacity and all the tunnels were dug traditionally.
  • If it was felt to be needed, moving walkways could be added, just as they have been at Bank station.

I am absolutely sure, that by using the ideas and methods, that have worked so well in the upgrade of Bank station, that Oxford Circus and Bond Street stations could be turned into a London Superhub Station, that connects all the Underground lines together and has entrances all over the area.

The benefits of such a station would be.

  • It would provide a high-capacity link between London’s two highest-capacity Underground Lines; Elizabeth and Victoria.
  • It would provide a high-capacity link between the Elizabeth Line and Euston, St. Pancras and King’s Cross.
  • It would provide a high-capacity link between the Elizabeth Line and Victoria.
  • It would provide a high-capacity link between the Elizabeth Line and High Speed Two.
  • Areas like Brixton, Haringey and Walthamstow would gain a much needed link to the Elizabeth Line for Heathrow and Paddington.

Wikipedia says this about the building of the Bank Station Upgrade.

As part of the development of the scheme, TfL worked with potential bidders to improve the design of the station from TfL’s original design. The design proposed in the winning bid by Dragados was 9.7% cheaper than the original design (saving TfL £60m), took 10 months less time to construct than the original design (the proposed closure of the Northern line was also 5 weeks shorter), and the layout of the station was more efficient. This substantially improved the benefit–cost ratio by 45% to 3.5:1.

The Mayor should be knocking on the door of Dragados and asking them for a price for a design and build for a West End Superhub station.

A Possible Route For The Extension Of The Northern Line To Clapham Junction

I suspect that the simplest route for the extension of the Northern Line would be to bore or dig a twin-track railway underneath the numerous other railways in the area.

It could terminate in two underground platforms at Clapham Junction station.

This is the first map of this post and it shows the tracks that run between the two stations.


  1. Battersea Power Station station is in the North-East corner of the map.
  2. Clapham Junction station is in the South-West corner of the map.

The Western of the pair of orange Lines going off the map in the North-East corner of the map is the Brighton Main Line.

It passes through Battersea Park station.

It passes over the South Western Main Line out of Waterloo.

It then loops to the West and joins the lines to Clapham Junction on the Southern side.

It serves four platforms at Clapham Junction; 12 and 14 are up platforms and 13 and 15 are down platforms.

This Google Map shows an overview of Clapham Junction station.


  1. Platforms 1 and 2 at the top of the map, handle London Overground services.
  2. Platforms 3 to 11 handle South Western Train services.
  3. Platforms 12 to 17 handle Southern services.
  4. Platforms 9 and 10 have a Delice de France cafe.
  5. Platforms 11 and 12 have a Cuppacino cafe.
  6. Platforms 13 and 14 have the logos.
  7. All platforms have full step-free access with lifts to the wide footbridge that connects all platforms.

The platforms don’t seem to be very wide and putting stairs and escalators down to underground platforms could be a difficult proposition.

This map from OpenRailwayMap shows shows the platforms at Clapham Junction station and the track layout to the West of the footbridge.


  1. The tracks through the platforms are shown in orange.
  2. The blue dots are platform numbers.
  3. The bridge connecting all the platforms is shown shaded in the middle of the map.
  4. To the West of the bridge are Clapham Junction Sidings and Clapham Traincare Depot.

These pictures were taken from the bridge.


  1. The top row of pictures were taken looking West.
  2. The bottom row of pictures were taken looking East.
  3. Many of the tracks are electrified.
  4. There is a lot of space to park trains.

Will all the space be needed now, that a new depot has been built at Feltham.

Could Two New Surface Platforms Be Built For The Extension Of The Northern Line To Clapham Junction?


  • The step-free bridge across all the platforms at Clapham Junction station works well.
  • It is connected to the streets around the station at both ends.
  • Clapham Junction station will be redeveloped and surplus depot land could be used for housing.
  • As the maps show, there is a large gap in the platforms between the South Western Railway and the Southern sides of the station.
  • As Battersea Power Station station can turn services on the Northern Line with only two platforms, there would only need to be the same number of Northern Line platforms at Clapham Junction.

So could an extra pair of platforms be built under the bridge, with stairs and a lift similar to the existing platforms?

  • The platform would have full step-free access.
  • The platforms could be long enough for any future trains.
  • There could be sidings for a few trains.
  • The tunnels from Battersea Power Station would surface just outside the station.
  • There would need to be a crossover or a turnback siding for operational reasons.

I also think, that once the depot and sidings at Clapham Junction have released the space, the new platforms and tracks could be installed without interrupting main line services through the station.

Would The Extension Of The Northern Line Be Electrified?


  • Merseyrail were not allowed to use third-rail electrification to Headbolt Lane station and had to use batteries.
  • The Northern Line was extended to Battersea Power Station station using London’s four-rail electrified system.
  • Clapham Junction station has third-rail electrification everywhere.

I think that the authorities would be very churlish not to allow electrification to Clapham Junction.


I believe it is possible to extend the Northern Line to two new surface platforms at Clapham Junction station.

But I also believe that using similar methods to those used in the Bank Station Upgrade, that a full interchange between the Elizabeth and Victoria Lines can be built at Oxford Circus and Bond Street.




February 4, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Long Journey Home

A friend had booked between London and Edinburgh today on the 13:00 LNER train from King’s Cross. She was also travelling with her miniature Schnauzer.

.We had arranged to meet at Marylebone, so I could help them across London to King’s Cross and have a much-needed hot chocolate in King’s Cross before they caught the train North and I went to a meeting organised by my cardiologist.

I had checked out King’s Cross earlier and there was trouble with srveral delayed and cancelled trains.

It wasn’t strikes or bad management from LNER and the problem is explained in this article from the Yorkshire Evening Post, which is entitled Trains From Leeds To London Cancelled Or Delayed After Thieves Steal Signalling Cables From Railway Tracks.

In the end we made the train in time and also had time to have a hot chocolate in LEON, whilst we sat out the back with the dog.

We were texting each other most of the afternoon and with assistance from Real Time Trains, the journey went as follows.

  • The train left King’s Cross at 13:08, which was eight minutes late.
  • By Peterborough, the train was running seventeen minutes late. 
  • The driver kept this delay until Retford, where he lost another eighty minutes.
  • The train was now running 97 minutes late and this grew by four more minutes by Newcastle.
  • My friend reported that they stopped at Newcastle, as they had no driver.
  • In the end, LNER found a driver or a way for the current driver to continue to Edinburgh and the train left Newcastle after a thirty minute stop.
  • The train was now two hours and ten minutes late.
  • Eventually, it pulled into Edinburgh, two hours and five minutes late, after the driver had picked up a few minutes on the approach to Edinburgh.


  1. The incoming train that formed this service arrived in King’s Cross from Edinburgh seventy two minutes late, mainly because of the cable theft. It should have arrived and returned to Edinburgh an hour earlier. But it arrived conveniently to form the 13:00 to Scotland.
  2. As the train presentation team turned the train in nineteen minutes instead of twenty-one, they saved a couple of minutes.
  3. I suspect the delay at Retford was getting through the area without any signalling.
  4. Had the driver run out of hours by Newcastle, as he had been in the cab for four-and-a-half hours?
  5. Normally, four-and-a-half hours would have enabled the driver to have driven to Edinburgh.

These are my thoughts.

Cable Theft

In the days of British Rail, I did some work for British Rail using my software called Daisy, which led to a report entitled Failure Reporting And Analysis On British Rail, which was written by J. S. Firth CEng, MIEE, MIRSE, who worked for SigTech, which was a Business Unit of the British Railways Board.

If anybody who has a legitimate reason to read the report, I still have the complimentary copy sent to me by Mr. Firth and would be happy to provide a copy.

I did flag up a project called Unauthorised Cable Removal And Fault Triage, as one of the winners in the First Of A Kind 2022 competition organised by the Dept of BEIS.

If there is anything I can do to help, let me know.

Problems In France

A friend in France told me that there is a problem with stealing overhead electrification cables in France.

This article on RFI is entitled Copper Wire Thieves Force France’s High-Speed TGV To Go Slow.

There are several similar stories on French and other European web sites.

Signalling Using Radio

The East Coast Main Line is being signalled using modern ERTMS digital signalling, where drivers read the signals on an in-cab display, which is connected by radio to the signalling system.

This extract from Wikipedia describes the first project.

In June 2020 it was reported that the UK government would provide £350 million to fund the UK’s first digital signalling system on a long-distance rail route. The signalling is to be fitted on a 100-mile (161 km) section of the East Coast Main Line between Kings Cross, London, and Lincolnshire, which will allow trains to run closer together and increase service frequency, speed and reliability. No date for when the new technology, already in use on the Thameslink lines at London Bridge and some London Underground lines, has been given.

If the cables are removed will this reduce crime?

LNER Delay Repay

My friend will be entitled for a full refund of her single ticket.

This page on the LNER web site gives full details.


  1. You have 28 days to claim.
  2. If you have a return ticket, you may be entitled to something for that leg of the journey.

I would add, that you should always keep all your tickets, in case the return journey goes belly-up.

December 5, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

‘Ryanair Of Rail’ Lights Up The East Coast On Fast Track To Profit

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

This is the first paragraph.

A cut-price rail service between London and Edinburgh, dubbed the Ryanair of rail, is on track to turn a profit after a year in service and has helped to reverse the airlines’ previous dominance of the travel market between the capitals.

Other points from the article.

  • Lumo will carry its millionth passenger in November.
  • The average one-way fare has been less than £40.
  • Rail is now claiming 63 % of the London and Scotland travel market.

Will this success lead to more trains attracting more rail travellers between England and Scotland?

Can Lumo Carry More Passengers?

Lumo use five-car Hitachi Class 803 trains for their services.

  • Their fleet consists of five cars.
  • Each five-car train can carry 402 passengers.
  • Lumo run five trains per day (tpd) in both directions.

There are various ways that the number of passengers could be increased.

Could Lumo Run More Services?

This may seem to be a solution, but only a fixed number of trains can be run in every hour, between England and Scotland.

  • Other train operators may also want to run more services.
  • It would also mean Lumo would need to buy more trains.

On the other hand it may be possible to squeeze in perhaps one extra service.

Could Lumo Run Longer Trains?

Lumo’s Class 803 trains are unusual among the Hitachi AT 300 trains, that handle long distance services all over the UK, in that they have no diesel engines and rely on battery power for emergencies.

As the trains’ computer work out which cars are present, I wouldn’t be surprised that these trains can be lengthened or even run as a pair, as GWR’s and LNER’s five-car Hitachi trains often do.

Platforms at King’s Cross, Stevenage, Newcastle, Morpeth and Edinburgh are probably already longer than is needed for a five-car train.

I could even see Lumo adding coaches as required to satisfy the need of the day. On a day like the Calcutta Cup, they might even run ten or twelve car trains, which is the longest formation possible with the Hitachi trains. But they’d have to have enough coaches!

Lumo use a very simple catering option, which I suspect can be modified to serve a longer train.

I am fairly certain, that LUMO’s fleet has been designed for gradual lengthening to expand capacity.

Would The Lumo Model Work On The West Coast Main Line?

As the Lumo model seems to work to Edinburgh, would it work to Glasgow?

I don’t see why not! And it might improve the service from Avanti West Coast?

Grand Union have lodged an application to run four tpd between London and Stirling via at Milton Keynes Central, Nuneaton, Crewe, Preston, Carlisle, Lockerbie, Motherwell, Whifflet, Greenfaulds and Larbert with InterCity 225s.

This proposal seems to be stalled at the moment, but I do feel it is a good idea.

I would certainly use it, as the air-conditioning on the Class 390 trains, used by Avanti West Coast, makes me ill!




October 25, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Advance Single From London To York For £32.90 Bought An Hour Before The Train Left

I went to York and Manchester yesterday.

I had been planning to do this trip for a week or so, but as I have lots of other things to do, I didn’t want to decide on a date.

So on Monday, I went to King’s Cross and investigated how much a London to York single ticket would cost.

I was surprised to find, that if I bought it last minute from a ticket machine with a Senior Railcard, that travelling about eleven in the morning I could get a ticket for £55 on the 11:06, which is a service that terminates at York, but is a few minutes slower.

Everything was clear for a trip yesterday and just after ten, I turned up at King’s Cross.

The machine offered me tickets at £81.90 on the 10:30 and 11:00 services, but I was able to get a ticket for £32.90 on the 11:06.

I was also able to ask for and get a forward-facing window seat with a table.

It looks like LNER are trying to sell as many seats as possible and they have developed, an algorithm that does this.

If I look at buying a ticket for today on the 11:06 on the Internet, I’m offered the following prices.

  • Advance Single – £32.90
  • Super Off-Peak Single – £81.90
  • Anytime Single – £94.35

There is even a First Class Advance Single at £45.90.


It pays to do your research.

It looks like a one-way journey by an electric car would take four hours and cost around £20.

August 10, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 5 Comments

Is This One Of The Most Useful Lifts In London?

This lift at King’s Cross station must be one of the most useful lifts in London’s extensive public transport system.

At the top-level it comes out into King’s Cross Square and it is a level walk to the following.

  • All the platforms in King’s Cross National Rail station.
  • The shops, which include Leon, Marks and Spencer, Waitrose and W H Smith, in King’s Cross National Rail station.
  • The taxi rank.
  • The Eastbound buses, which line up at their stops along the side of King’s Cross Square.

I was using it yesterday, to get a bus to Boots at the Angel, as I had a prescription to pick up. The 30 or 73 bus is quicker than the Northern Line, as that is a long walk and a road crossing at the Angel.

I’d arrived at King’s Cross on the Circle Line from Paddington and the bottom level of this lift is by the ticket gates under King’s Cross Square, that give access to all lines through King’s Cross Underground station.

There is also a middle level on the lift, that takes you under Euston Road to get a Westbound bus or gives you access to a step-free route to St. Pancras station.

May 5, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 3 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


  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.


  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.


The plan seems feasible to me.

November 24, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Lumo: Why The Latest Edinburgh-London Train Service Could Wean Us Off Planes And Roads

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

It is an interesting read and it appears that Lumo’s message is getting through.

November 22, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 3 Comments

Would A Lumo-Style Service Work Between King’s Cross And Norfolk?

This is a bit of a fantasy and you’ll never know the real reason why I have written it!

With the upgrade of the East Coast Main Line to full digital signalling, there will be a problem South of Hitchin with 140 mph Azumas and Hitachi Class 802 trains and similar from Grand Central , Hull Trains and Lumo hogging the fast lines to and from King’s Cross. I first wrote about it in Call For ETCS On King’s Lynn Route.

One solution would be to replace the current Class 387 trains with a 140 mph train , such as a Hitachi Class 802 variant. This would enable these fast King’s Lynn and Cambridge trains to join the 140 mph trains on a fast run to and from King’s Cross.

The Future Of Cambridge

Cambridge is one of the UK’s four world cities, with its heritage and lately its high position in any technology league table.

The Current Rail Service Between London And Cambridge

Currently, it has a good service into King’s Cross, Liverpool Street and St. Pancras.

  • Great Northern – two tph to King’s Cross – A stopping train using Class 700 or Class 387 trains.
  • Great Northern – one tph between Ely and King’s Cross – A fast train using Class 387 trains.
  • Great Northern – one tph between King’s Lynn and King’s Cross – A fast train using Class 387 trains.
  • Thameslink  – two tph to Brighton – A semi-fast train using Class 700 trains.
  • Greater Anglia – two tph to Liverpool Street – A semi-fast train using Class 720 or Class 379 trains.


  1. tph means trains per hour.
  2. The similar Class 387 and Class 379 trains are both late-model Bombardier Electrostars with sensible seats and a large number of tables. Both train types can or could be modified to run at 110 mph.
  3. The Class 700 trains are unsuitable for the route, as they have ironing-board seats and no tables. These are only 100 mph trains.
  4. The Queen’s bottom doesn’t like the Class 700 trains.

A large proportion of the passengers and commuters between to and from Cambridge work in high-tech or information-rich businesses and I believe if the trains were more geared to this market they would attract passengers away from the roads.

The Cambridge Employment Problem

Fast-growing Cambridge is taking over the region and it is always looking for towns and villages to develop as places for dormitories and to build premises for the hundreds of high-tech businesses.

This is one of the reasons why Greater Anglia acquired new Stadler Class 755 trains to run services from Cambridge to Bury St. Edmunds, Ipswich, Norwich, Peterborough and Stansted Airport.

If you’re going to lure Cambridge’s well-paid high-tech commuters out of their cars, you must give them an equivalent seat to their car. The Class 379, 387 and 755 trains do this.

Living In Norfolk And Suffolk And Working In Cambridge

This has always been the choice of many who work in Cambridge, but using rail into Cambridge didn’t really take-off seriously until modern three-car Class 170 trains replaced the single-car Class 153 trains.

Greater Anglia have followed the upward trend in passenger numbers, by running hourly  four-car Class 755 trains from Cambridge to both Ipswich and Norwich.

Before the pandemic, it was starting to look like Norwich and Cambridge would soon need a second service, especially with the planned opening of the new Cambridge South station in 2025.

Addenbrooke’s Hospital And The Cambridge Biomedical Campus

Cambridge South station is being built to serve Addenbrooke’s Hospital and Cambridge Biomedical Campus, which intend to be create the foremost medical research cluster in the world.

Staycations And Holiday Homes In East Anglia

Life is changing because of the covids and more people are taking staycations or buying holiday homes.

And many are following the example of the Queen and going to Norfolk for their relaxation.

The Undoubted Need To Improve Rail Services Between London King’s Cross And Norfolk Via Cambridge

These factors convince me that there is a need for a new or repurposed rail service  between London King’s Cross and Norfolk via Cambridge.

  • The need to provide a high-class commuter service between London and Cambridge.
  • The need to bring workers into Cambridge from Norfolk.
  • The need to provide a fast high-class rail link to Cambridge South station with all its medical research.
  • The need to provide a comprehensive working environment on the trains.
  • The need to cater for all those people relaxing in Norfolk after a hard week in London.

It is my view, that a radical design of train is needed for this route.

  • It would need to have a high-class interior.
  • It would need at least a 125 mph capability, so that it can use the fast lines between Hitchin and King’s Cross.
  • The train may need the ability to split and join.
  • It would need an independent power capability for running on the Breckland Line between Ely and Norwich.
  • Because of Cambridge and because East Anglia is easy country for cycling, it would need a sensible capacity for cycles.

I also believe that because of the need to decarbonise, the train should be zero-carbon.

These are my thoughts.

Operating Speed

Because of running on the fast lines between Hitchin and King’s Cross with the 140 mph trains from the North, I suspect that an operating speed of at least 125 mph is needed. But if the Hitachi trains of LNER, Hull Trains, Lumo and in the future possibly other operators like Grand Central, will be capable of 140 mph, this speed could be desirable.

Speed limits once the trains have left the East Coast Main Line at Hitchin North junction are as follows.

  • Hitchin and Cambridge – 90 mph
  • Cambridge and King’s Lynn – 90 mph
  • Ely and Norwich – 75-90 mph

I can see Network Rail using their expertise to raise the speed limit on sections of these lines.

Flighting Of Trains On The East Coast Main Line

To increase capacity on the East Coast Main Line, I believe that at some point in the not too distant future that trains will be flighted. This will involve two or more trains leaving King’s Cross in a sequence and proceeding with all trains at a safe distance from each other.

I can envisage a flight like this from King’s Cross.

  • An Edinburgh train with York as the first stop – Leaves at XX.00
  • A Leeds train with Doncaster as the first stop – Leaves at XX.03
  • A Lincoln train with Peterborough as the first stop – Leaves at XX.06
  • A Cambridge train with Stevenage as the first stop – Leaves at XX.09


  1. The Edinburgh train would set the speed.
  2. Trains would maintain their time behind the lead train.
  3. Everything could be controlled by the digital signalling.
  4. Gaps between the trains would be sufficient for a safe stop.
  5. No train in the flight would make a station stop unless it was the last train in the flight.
  6. The last train in the flight would drop off and go to their destination.

As there are at least two tph to Edinburgh, Leeds and Cambridge, there would be two main flights per hour leaving King’s Cross, with the second flight perhaps incorporating a service to Hull.

Digital signalling and precise driving would enable the flights to be built in the opposite direction into King’s Cross.

The big advantage would be that instead of needing eight paths per hour on the East Coast Main Line, only two would be needed.

All trains would need to have similar performance, so this is another reason why the Cambridge trains need to be at least 125 mph trains.

Train Interiors

Lumo has broken new ground in train interiors.

  • It is one class.
  • Everybody gets a decent seat.
  • Everybody gets good legroom.
  • Everybody gets some form of table.
  • There are decent-sized overhead racks for hand-baggage and coats.
  • There is space for bicycles and heavy luggage appropriate to the route.

This can be built on to provide a good working and playing environment suited to the passengers who would use a fast King’s Cross and Norfolk service via Cambridge.

  • Lots of tables for four, as in the high-class Electrostars.
  • Better bicycle storage.
  • Better alignment of seats with windows.

Hitachi could obviously produce a train to this specification.

But what about other manufacturers.

Stadler’s Class 755 trains are surely a possibility.

  • A senior driver from Greater Anglia told me that the design speed for a Class 755 train is 200 kph or 125 mph.
  • They have good seats.
  • They have flat floors.
  • They have large windows.
  • They have step-free access between train and platform.
  • Like the Hitachi trains, they are in service.

I believe the closely-related Class 745 trains are probably the best commuter trains in the UK and are the only alternative to the Hitachi trains on a125 mph fully-electrified route.

Bridging The Electrification Gap Between Ely And Norwich

Between Norwich and Ely stations is 53.8 miles and this section is not electrified, although both stations have full electrification.

The line is not heavily used with typically only two passenger trains and the occasional freight trains in each direction in an hour.

This Hitachi infographic describes the Hitachi Regional Battery Train.

A 90 km. range could be sufficient to cover the gap between Norwich and Ely.

Could Hitachi build a Class 802 train or similar with a battery range of 90 km or 56 miles?

Certainly, a speed of 100 mph would probably be sufficient to bridge the gap in a decent time.

Improving The Breckland Line

The Breckland Line is the route between Cambridge and Norwich.

  • Cambridge and Norwich is 68.5 miles
  • Only the sixteen miles between Cambridge and Ely North junction is electrified.
  • There are thirteen stops between the two cities.
  • A typical time is 79 minutes
  • This is an average speed of just 52 mph.
  • The operating speed is 75-90 mph.

I am sure that Network Rail can squeeze a few minutes here and there to get the operating speed up to the 100 mph of the Great Eastern Main Line.

But the big problem at Norwich is the Trowse swing bridge.

It is only single track and it is likely that this bridge will be replaced soon.

This Google Map shows Trowse junction, a short distance South of the swing bridge.


  1. The electrified double-track of the Great Eastern Main Line goes across the map from North East to South West.
  2. The double-track railway to the East of the main line is the unelectrified Breckland Line to Cambridge, which turns West and goes under the main line.
  3. On the West of the main lines are the Victoria sidings that I wrote about in Greater Anglia Completes Directly-Managed Norwich Victoria Sidings Project.

As the replacement of the swing bridge will require some work to be done to the electrification, I wonder if at the same time Network Rail would electrify the Norwich end of the Breckland Line.

There must be a balance point adding electrification or batteries to the trains.

As the Breckland Line has few freight trains, electrification is not needed for freight.


A high-speed high-capacity service as I’m proposing must be easy to use.

It is a classic route, where nothing short of London-style contactless ticketing will do, as I’m certain this encourages people to use the trains.

As East Anglia is self-contained and has few services that don’t terminate in the area or in London, I am certain that this could be achieved.

If you remove First Class as Greater Anglia has done on many services, you actually simplify the ticketing, so a Lumo-style mid-class is ideal.

High Speed Train Services

Currently Great Northern run two tph from King’s Cross to Ely via Cambridge.

  • One service is extended to King’s Lynn.
  • I could see the second service extended to Norwich.

Both services would need to be run by 125 mph trains because of the speed of other trains on the East Coast Main Line.


I think duch a system would be possible.

November 21, 2021 Posted by | Health, 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.


  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?

Automatic Train Control Through The Newark Crossing

I proposed this in Could ERTMS And ETCS Solve The Newark Crossing Problem? and I believe it would allow trains on the East Coast Main Line at full speed if they didn’t stop at Newark station.

Automatic Train Control Through The Welwyn North

As at the Newark Crossing, I believe ERTMS and ETCS could increase speeds over the Digswell Viaduct and through Welwyn North station.

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.

Uprate that to 160 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.

A Non-Stop Service

This would speed up the service.

With a 125 mph average between London King’s Cross and Leeds.

  • 125 mph Base Time – 89 minutes.
  • One Acceleration/Deceleration section at 6 minutes each – 6 minutes.

This would mean a total time of 95 minutes.

Uprate that to 140 mph and faster acceleration and deceleration.

  • 140 mph Base Time – 80 minutes.
  • One Acceleration/Deceleration section at 4 minutes each – 4 minutes.

This would mean a total time of 84 minutes.

Uprate that to 160 mph and faster acceleration and deceleration.

  • 160 mph Base Time – 70 minutes.
  • One Acceleration/Deceleration section at 4 minutes each – 4 minutes.

This would mean a total time of 74 minutes.

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


It looks like a non-stop service between London and Leeds running at 140 mph, with perhaps some sections at perhaps a bit faster, could be able to match the High Speed Two times.

November 18, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

London To Edinburgh On Lumo

Yesterday, I took the 10:45 Lumo service from King’s Cross to Edinburgh.

I took some pictures on the way.

I have split them into sepate topics.

Lumo’s Class 803 Train Arrives


  1. The train is in Platform 10 in the old suburban station.
  2. This has now been reduced to just two platforms.
  3. In the other platform is a Grand Central service to Bradford Interchange station.

At least it appears, that there could be space to reinstate a third platform, if it should prove necessary.

Seating On Lumo


  1. I didn’t get a seat with a proper window.
  2. The seat-back table is generously-sized.
  3. There is a light over the table.
  4. The luggage racks were well used.
  5. There is more than normal leg-room. My neighbour, who was taller than my 1.70 metres, also liked the leg-room.

Both of us, thought the seats were more comfortable than LNER.

I have a spine that curves outwards at the bottom and it often objects to train and car seats. But after four-and-a-half hours on Lumo, it wasn’t protesting.

York to Church Fenton Improvement Scheme

When the York To Church Fenton Improvement Scheme and the closely related Huddersfield To Westtown (Dewsbury) Upgrade are completed, the TransPennine route between Huddersfield and York will be fully-electrified.

These pictures show the electrification is underway.

York to Huddersfield will be over forty miles of electrified line, with a remaining gap of just eighteen miles to the electrification being installed between Stalybridge and Manchester Victoria.

Work At Reston Station

Reston station is being built North of Berwick-on-Tweed. I took these pictures as we passed through.

I describe the station in a post called A New Reston Station.

Arrival In Edinburgh

I took these pictures when we arrived in Edinburgh.

Note Edinburgh is not short of platforms that can take five- and ten-car trains.

These are a few other thoughts about the journey.

Non-Stop Between King’s Cross And Newcastle

It seemed to me, that a lot of passengers left the train at Newcastle.

  • Times between King’s Cross And Newcastle are comparable betyween LNER and Lumo.
  • Lumo is non-stop until Newcastle.
  • Lumo is probably more affordable.

I can see Lumo picking up a lot of business on this leg.

Football At Newcastle

I have come across several Newcastle United season ticket holders in London.

Looking at Lumo’s full timetable, there are these two trains on a Saturday.

  • A train leaves King’s Cross at 10:25 and arrives in Newcastle at 13:25.
  • A train leaves Newcastle at 19:35 and arrives in King’s Cross at 22:29.

These could be ideal to see the match and get back to London.


The full food service isn’t in operation yet, but we the trolley did come through twice.

Passenger Loading

Most seats were taken, as we left King’s Cross, but due to high number, who left at Newcastle, there were a few gaps as we ran between Newcastle and Edinburgh.

But then this is a shorter leg and perhaps travellers are more likely to drive.

I suspect that Lumo can’t wait to build up their service to the full five trains per day, as it does look like the demand is there.

Morpeth Station

There wasn’t many boarders and leavers at Morpeth station, but as services build up and travellers realise the system is there, will business increase?


I shall take another trip in the New Year, when the full service is implemented.

October 28, 2021 Posted by | Sport, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments