The Anonymous Widower

Beeching Reversal – To Reinstate The Keswick To Penrith Railway

September 10th – This Beeching Reversal project appears to have been rejected.

Thoughts On The Design Of The Route

Consider.

  • Keswick and Penrith are around 17.3 miles apart by road.
  • The rail distance should be less than 20 miles.
  • There could be perhaps six intermediate stations.
  • A battery electric train typically has a range of 55-65 miles.
  • A quiet battery electric train would be ideal for this route.

I believe that a battery electric train could handle this route.

  • Charging would be mainly in Penrith station, using the existing 25 KVAC overhead electrification in Platform 3.
  • A charging station would be provided in Keswick station to be safe.

A battery electric train could go between the two stations, recharge the battery and be ready to return in under an hour.

The route would be single track, except for a short double track station in the middle to allow trains to pass.

The route would not be electrified.

All stations could be single track, except for the passing station.

Two trains would be needed to work an hourly service.

Four trains would be needed to work an two trains per hour (tph) service.

Could the track could be designed to these criteria?

  • No level crossings.
  • Gentle curves and gradients
  • 80 mph operating speed.

I suspect modern computer technology, which was not available to the Victorians, would ease the design of an efficient track.

  • If a highly-efficient track could be created, it might be possible for a train to do a round trip from Penrith to Keswick, within an hour.
  • This would mean that one train could provide the hourly service.
  • Charging would only be at Penrith, using existing electrification.
  • The passing loop would not be built, but provision would be made to add it later, if the frequency were to be increased.

We could be seeing several of these highly-efficient branch lines run by 100 mph battery-electric trains, that are charged on existing electrified main lines.

The Effect Of High Speed Two

Consider.

  • Currently, there is a roughly hourly service in both directions on the West Coast Main Line at Penrith station.
  • High Speed Two will only provide an hourly service between Birmingham Curzon Street and Edinburgh or Glasgow via Wigan North Western, Preston, Lancaster and Carlisle.
  • Carlisle will have three tph on High Speed Two, between England and Scotland.
  • Carlisle will have scenic services to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Newcastle.
  • Services between Carlisle and Penrith take thirteen minutes.

But most importantly, High Speed Two could bring lots of extra tourists to the area.

So would it be better for the Keswick and Penrith service to terminate at Carlisle?

  • Charging would now be on the West Coast Main Line.
  • Trains would only make a typical two-minute stop in Penrith station.

This would probably mean that an hourly service could be provided with only one train on the branch at a time.

Conclusion

I feel the economics of this project could be transformed by using battery electric trains on this proposed route and terminating them at Carlisle.

 

 

September 10, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

National Trust Looks At Car Ban In Lake District

The title of this post is the same as that as that of this article in yesterday’s Sunday Times.

The secondary headline sums up the article.

Nearly 20m visitors a year are ‘loving the national park to death’, and officials are looking at excluding drivers.

So what is to be done?

Can The Railways Help?

In 2015, I spent Three Days in Preston and explored the area by train.

These problems were apparent on the trains and at the stations.

  • The capacity, quality and frequency of the trains to Windermere is pitiful.
  • The capacity, quality and frequency of the trains along the Cumbrian Coast Line is inadequate.
  • Bus information and interchanges could be better.
  • Getting a train to Penrith North Lakes station was difficult.

The only line with an acceptable train service is the West Coast Main Line.

Everything else needs major improvements.

These are some random thoughts.

Could Carlisle Become The Rail Tourism Centre For The Borderlands And The Lakes?

These rail lines and services are already or will be connected to Carlisle Citadel station, within the next few years.

  • Virgin services on the West Coast Main Line between London and the South and Glasgow and Edinburgh in Central Scotland.
  • TransPennine Express services on the West Coast Main Line between Liverpool and Manchester in the South and Glasgow.
  • Possible Grand Union services on the West Coast Main Line between London and Stirling for the North of Scotland.
  • High Speed Two services between London and the South and Glasgow and Edinburgh in Central Scotland.
  • ScotRail services on the Glasgow South Western Line between Carlisle and Glasgow via Dumfries and Kilmarnock.
  • ScotRail services on an extended Borders Railway between Carlisle and Edinburgh via Hawick and Galashiels.
  • Northern services on the Tyne Valley Line between Carlisle and Newcastle via Hexham and the Metro Centre.
  • Northern services on the Settle and Carlisle Line between Carlisle and Leeds.
  • Northern services on the Cumbrian Coast Line between Carlisle and Carnforth via Workington, Whitehaven and Barrow.

Carlisle sits at the centre of a network of some of the most scenic rail lines, anywhere in the world.

Rail services in the area with the exception of the through services, provided by Virgin and TransPennine Express are probably considered by their operators to be a pain.

  • They are generally not used by commuters.
  • There are regular operational problems like floods and landslips.
  • They are overcrowded at some times of the year and need expensive new rolling stock.
  • Rail tourists from aboard probably complain like mad.

But above all the services probably lose money hand over fist.

What Is The Ideal Train For Scenic Routes?

Two possible trains for scenic routes are now in service in the UK.

The Scottish Solution – Inter7City

ScotRail are now introducing four- and five-car InterCity 125 trains on routes between the seven cities in Scotland.

They will probably do a good job and they have the following.

  • Large windows to enjoy the views.
  • Many seats have tables.
  • An on-board buffet and trolley service.
  • Wi-fi and power sockets for phones and laptops.
  • The trains should be reliable, as there is a vast knowledge base about running these trains.
  • The trains can be easily lengthened, by adding extra cars.
  • The trains were 125 mph trains and are probably slower in this application.

But the trains are forty years old and have two enormous diesel engines on each end.

The Swiss Solution – Class 755 train

Greater Anglia are introducing three- and four-car Class 755 trains on rural routes in East Anglia.

They appear to be doing a good job with high passenger satisfaction and they have the following.

  • Large windows to enjoy the views.
  • A number of seats have tables.
  • Space for bicycles.
  • Wi-fi and power sockets for phones and laptops.
  • The trains have level access between train and platform.
  • Hopefully, the trains will be reliable, as they are brand new and Stadler has been making similar trains for over ten years.
  • The trains can use 25 KVAC overhead electrification, where it is available.
  • The trains can work in multiple formations.
  • The trains can be easily lengthened, by adding extra cars.
  • The trains are 100 mph trains.

But the trains still have a diesel power-pack in the middle for operation independently.

In future, these trains will be used to run new services between London and Lowestoft, which is a distance of 118 miles of which 59 miles is electrified.

Similar trains will be fitted with batteries for the South Wales Metro.

Could a train be built with the best of all the features?

I believe the Class 755 train is a pretty good start, but it would have the following extra features.

  • Ability to run at up to 125 mph on 25 KVAC overhead or 750 VDC third rail, where the track allows.
  • A well-designed buffet.
  • 50 mile battery range.
  • A stand-by generator.
  • The ability to fast-charge the battery at a station stop.

I also think that Hitachi could make a five-car AT-300 train and Bombardier could make an Aventra, that met this specification.

What would a fleet of battery-electric trains do for the rail lines around Carlisle?

  • Hopefully, they would become a tourist attraction in their own right and encourage visitors to corm by train.
  • Frequencies would be at least two trains per hour on all routes.

This could be a starting point for making the area easier to access.

Should Stations Around The Lakes Be Developed With Bus Interchanges?

I’ve seen the bus interchange at Windermere station, but are other stations around the Lakes as well provided with comprehensive bus routes?

The objective surely should be that if a family wanted to have a day out in the Lakes from their home in Liverpool or Manchester, they should be able to get a train to a convenient station and a bus to their final destination.

Surely, if there is a sensible alternative, then visitors might use it.

Could The Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith Railway Be Reopened?

The Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith Railway was finally closed in the 1970s and according to Wikipedia, the track-bed has been used for roads and other developments.

I doubt that the railway could be reopened, but a modern light rail route would probably be a very valuable tourist asset.

But Would Good Train And Bus Routes Cut The Traffic In The Lakes?

I doubt it!

If someone has spent £40,000 or more on an expensive car, they feel they have bought the right to drive it anywhere they want!

The Dutch once talked about road pricing for every vehicle and that government lost the next election.

Conclusion

Traffic congestion in the Lakes, is a problem that threatens other areas, where tourists want to go.

So will as the National Trust are suggesting have to ban cars to restore some sanity?

I suspect so!

But it won’t be popular!

 

 

November 11, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

£82m, 30m High Aerial Tramway Vision Would Link Eden Project North To Lancaster University And M6

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

Proposals for an £82m aerial tramway project linking Lancaster, Morecambe and the university have been drawn up by the man behind the initial plans for Eden Project North.

Standing at more than 30m high, the Aerial Tramway System would link the proposed Eden Project North, the Bay Gateway, Lancaster Railway Station, the University of Cumbria’s Lancaster campus, Lancaster University and junction 33 of the M6 motorway.

Iy is an interesting suggestion.

But I do question the cost.

The Emirates Air Line in London has the following characteristics.

  • I kilometre in length
  • 2 stations
  • 34 gondolas in use at one time.
  • ten-seat gondolas
  • 90 metres maximum height.

The proposed Lancaster and Morecambe aerial tramway has the following characteristics.

  • I0 kilometres in length
  • 5 stations
  • 30 gondolas in use at one time.
  • thirty-five-seat gondolas
  • 30 metres maximum height.

As the cost of the Emirate Air Line is reported at £60million, I’m afraid that £82million for the Lancaster and Morecambe aerial tramway are slightly ambitious.

In Getting To The Proposed Morecambe Eden Project By Train, I laid out how a large zero-carbon rail system could develop around Morecambe.

I also concluded that journeys to and from Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Manchester, could be made zero-carbon.

Conclusion

There could be better ways to acgieve the same local objectives.

 

July 26, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Yorkshire Dales And Lake District National Parks To Be Extended

This article on the BBC gives full details on the extension of these National Parks, which now almost meet along the M6.

Lake District And Yorkshire Dales National Parks

Lake District And Yorkshire Dales National Parks

This map was taken from the BBC article. The extensions are shown in lighter colours.

I haven’t seen an accurate map yet, but it does appear that more of the southern end of the iconic Settle and Carlisle Line is now included in a National Park.

October 23, 2015 Posted by | Transport, World | , | Leave a comment

Ravenglass Station And The Ratty Arms

My choice of Ravenglass station for a pit-stop was a good one, as I was able to get a simple baked potato well-filled with tuna mayonnaise at the Ratty Arms.

The one problem was that there was no train information or mobile signal at the station. But in the end it didn’t matter as the train arrived at the appointed time on the time-table.

To get a better feel of Ravenglass station and the area it serves, this is the Google Earth image of the area.

Ravenglass Station

Ravenglass Station

Note how the Cumbrian Coast Line crosses the River Esk on a viaduct and the Ravenglass amd Eskdale Railway, which has a terminus at the station, curves away up the valley.

April 30, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

From Barrow-in-Furness To Ravenglass

After a brief walk around the town I returned to Barrow-in-Furness station and swapped my smart Class 185 train and headed north to Carlisle on the Cumbrian Coast Line in a more basic Class 156 train.

I was hungry so as there was another train an hour behind, I got off at Ravenglass station to search out some lunch.

April 30, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment