The Anonymous Widower

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

Note.

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

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

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

Project Delivery

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

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

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

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

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

Extra Paths

This is said in Paragraph 3.43

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

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

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

Power Supply Upgrades

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

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

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

140 mph Running

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

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

Note.

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

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

Darlington Improvements

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

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

This design should allow the following.

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

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

This could knock several minutes off journey times.

York Improvements

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

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

Effects On Lincoln Service

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

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

Conclusion

The plan seems feasible to me.

November 24, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 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.

Note.

  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

Note.

  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.

Note.

  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.

Ticketing

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.

Conclusion

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.

Note.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There are ways that times could be reduced.

Removal Of Level Crossings

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

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

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

Every little helps!

More Running At Higher Speeds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Faster Acceleration And Deceleration

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

Quicker Dwell Times

Why not?

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.

Conclusion

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

Note.

  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

Note.

  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.

Food

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?

Conclusion

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

COP26 And Lumo Branding At King’s Cross Station

I took these pictures as I passed through King’s Cross station today.

Note.

  1. Wilston Samuel Jackson was the first black train driver in the UK.
  2. Lumo seem to have taken over all of the branding at the station.

There was a generally upbeat atmosphere at the station.

October 25, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Northern Ends Of The Platforms At Kings Cross Station

These pictures show the Northern ends of the platforms at Kings 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.
  • Hitachi have designed the trains, so they can be up to twelve-cars, which are 312 metre long trains.
  • Looking at maps, I suspect that eleven-car trains would be the largest that can be handled.

But surely to maximum the number of passengers handled in the station, the platforms should be able to handle the longest Hitachi trains.

  • Unless, the capacity of an individual train is limited by the gate-lines and Network Rail have said that ten-car trains are the longest allowed.
  • Or would twelve-car trains be two far to walk with lots of luggage.

But ten-car trains would allow Lumo to double-up trains to increase capacity selectively, when perhaps, there is an important sporting event.

So when say the Culcutta Cup is taking place, an early morning train to the match and a late evening return could be doubled to add another four hundred seats.

But the current Lumo timetable only shows just two trains on a Saturday.

  • London King’s Cross – Edinburgh, which leaves at 10:25 and arrives at 14:57.
  • Edinburgh – London King’s Cross, which leaves at 08:49 and arrives at 13:17.

Not very good to go to the rugby or a birthday lunch with your mum.

But realtimetrains reveals two early morning paths allocated to Lumo.

  • London King’s Cross – Edinburgh, which leaves at 05:45 and arrives at 10:06.
  • Edinburgh – London King’s Cross,  which leaves at 05:36 and arrives at 10:04.

So you can get to the other capital, but is there a later last train back?

Oh! Yes there is! And again they are revealed by realtimetrains.

  • London King’s Cross – Edinburgh, which leaves at 18:27 and arrives at 22:56.
  • Edinburgh – London King’s Cross, which leaves at 17:56 and arrives at 22:29.

Is the Southbound service earlier, as Murrayfield is closer to Waverly station, than Twickenham is to King’s Cross?

If the return was fifty pounds and the trains were doubles, that could be revenue of around  £ 40,000. There would be more electricity and track access charges, and they’d need extra train crew, but Lumo would surely be quids in!

Lumo’s financial model has several nice little earners.

 

October 25, 2021 Posted by | Finance, Sport, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 4 Comments

The First Lumo Service Arrives In London

These pictures show the first Lumo service as it arrives in Platform 5 at King’s Cross station.

Note.

The clock showed the train arrived five minutes early.

The train appeared to be about ninety percent full!

How close is the train colour to LNER blue?

The picture shows two iconic A4 Pacifics; Mallard and Dominion of Canada at the National Railway Museum.

Not very is the probable answer!

October 25, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 2 Comments

Is Lumo The Ryanair Of Rail?

Someone had to draw the comparison between Lumo and Ryanair and it was The Times, that used a headline of Lumo, The Ryanair Of Rail, Gets The Green Light On East Coast, for their article about the new London and Edinburgh rail service in their article today.

But how alike are the two business models?

Standard Planes And Trains

The Boeing 737 and the Airbus A 320, as used by Ryanair and easyJet  are the two workhorses of short haul airlines.

It can also be said, that Hitachi’s AT-300 train is becoming the workhorse of long-distance rail services in the UK.

Customised Interiors

Ryanair and easyJet do customise the interiors of their aircraft to a certain extent and from pictures on the Internet Lumo appear to have done the same.

If you look at the widths of the planes and trains on Wikipedia, you find these values.

  • Airbus A 320 – 3.95 metres
  • Boeing 737 – 3.8 metres
  • Class AT-300 train – 2.7 metres

Dividing by the number of seats across, which is six for the planes and four for the train gives these figures.

  • Airbus A 320 – 0.66 metres
  • Boeing 737 – 0.63 metres
  • Class AT-300 train – 0.67 metres

I know there is an aisle down the middle, so let’s say that it is 0.60 metres. This gives these spaces for each seat.

  • Airbus A 320 – 0.56 metres
  • Boeing 737 – 0.53 metres
  • Class AT-300 train – 0.53 metres

I think that is adequate space for a designer to do a good job.

This picture shows the interior of a Great Western Railway Class 802 train, which use a similar body shell to the trains used by Lumo.

Note.

  1. The aisle looks to be similar in width to a seat.
  2. There is a bag shelf above the windows and lots of coat hooks.

As both Lumo and Great Western Railway are both First Group companies, is it likely that the interior dimensions are similar, so that standard trolleys could be used and training could be eased and shared between companies in the group.

This picture shows a trolley fitting in between the tables on a Great Western Railway service.

I suspect, if they design everything together, Lumo could make best use of a narrow aisle to give the seats a bit more width.

This last picture shows TransPennine Express Class 802 train at Willesden Junction station.

Note how the lower part of the side of the train is curved. Is this to get a bit more room for the seat squab?

Passengers Per Metre

This is only a rough calculation and shows typical passengers, fuselage or car length and passengers per metre.

  • Airbus A 320 – 164 passengers – 37.57 metres – 4.4 px/metre
  • Boeing 737 – 160 passengers – 37.0 metres – 4.3 px/metre
  • Class AT-300 train – 96 passengers – 26 metres – 3.7 px/metre

Passenger density in the train is about fourteen percent less.

Toilets

In The Definitive Seating Layout Of Lumo’s Class 803 Trains, I said this.

This article on Economy Class and Beyond is entitled Enter Lumo – The New East Coast Railway Competitor.

It contains a drawing from Lumo,  which shows the layouts of the seats on the train.

    • Coach A – 44 Standard seats – 8 Priority seats – 2 Wheelchair spaces – 2 Tip up seats – Accessible toilet – 56 Total seats
    • Coach B – 84 Standard seats – 12 Priority seats – Bike store – Toilet – 96 Total seats
    • Coach C – 84 Standard seats – 12 Priority seats – 96 Total seats
    • Coach D – 84 Standard seats – 12 Priority seats – Bike store – Toilet – 96 Total seats
    • Coach E – 52 Standard seats – 8 Priority seats – 2 Tip up seats – Accessible toilet – 62 Total seats

Note.

    1. This is a total of 406 seats.
    2. Judging by the position of the tip-up seats they are for staff and perhaps emergency use, if say a coffee gets spilled on a seat.
    3. Each car has a pair of tables, where four can sit. As Lumo’s business model allows early booking, if you and your partner want to take the kids to see granny on her birthday, you should be able to get a table, by booking early.
    4. There are two bike stores in Coaches B and D.

These are some further thoughts.

Toilet Provision

I was on an LNER Class 800 train earlier this week and needed to go to the toilet.

    • I wasn’t sure which way I needed to go, as I couldn’t see a sign pointing me to the toilet, but in the end I struck lucky.
    • You don’t have that problem with Lumo’s trains, as there appears to be a toilet at both ends of the three middle coaches, either in your car or the next.
    • If you’re in one of the driver cars, there is an accessible toilet at the blunt end.

I don’t think anybody will argue with the toilet provision on Lumo’s trains.

Typically a Boeing 737 or an Airbus A320 will have two toilets for about 160 passengers.

Lumo’s trains have two accessible toilets and two ordinary ones for 406 passengers.

Ease Of Boarding

If you want to catch a train at virtually any station in the UK, in most cases, you just turn up something like fifteen minutes before the departure time, present your ticket and get on the train.

Planes used to be like that in the UK, but they aren’t any more.

Catering

In the article in The Times, Matt Lee, who is Lumo’s customer experience director, said they have been free to develop their own systems. He says this about the catering.

Catering will be a Deliveroo-style service: passengers can order M&S or Pret sandwiches in advance and have them delivered to their seat. “We are a testbed for other FirstGroup train operators.

Will they do gluten-free?

Luggage

Lumo have a luggage courier service called LumoLuggage.

Service Expansion

Suppose an airline or a train operating company wants to run additional services to add capacity to a route.

With an airline, they will need to obtain additional take-off and landing slots to fly the route.

But Lumo are running five-car trains on a route, where all the stations can handle nine-car trains and possibly a pair of five-car trains.

So Lumo just add extra cars to the fleet, so that they match the number of cars running on the route to the demand.

The only costs to increase the capacity are those of the extra cars and a proportionate number of extra staff.

Conclusion

I can see this service model being copied by other train operators in other countries.

I’m looking forward to going North on Wednesday.

October 22, 2021 Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments