The Anonymous Widower

Crossrails For The North

Regularly there are references in the media for Crossrail for the North.

This article in Rochdale Online is entitled Andy Burham calls for ‘Crossrail for North’

Note that the misspelling of Andy Burnham; the Mayor of Manchester’s name is from the web site.

Andy Burnham and many others have a point that West-East connections across the North are not good, but it is not that simple.

Hence the reason, I’ve called this post Crossrails For The North and not Crossrail For The North.

Northern And London Crossrails Compared

If you look at Greater London, the distance between Reading and Shenfield stations, which are two of the termini of London’s Crossrail, is about eighty miles and when Crossrail opens a train will take about one hour forty minutes.

By comparison, Liverpool to Leeds is just over seventy miles and the current fastest trains take ninety minutes with two stops at Manchester Victoria and Huddersfield stations.

Those that live East of Leeds, keep reading.

The differences between the two routes, when Crossrail opens will be mainly down to the number of stops, frequency and connectivity.

  • The Northern Route is shorter and hence marginally faster.
  • The London route has more stops.
  • The London route has a higher frequency.
  • The London route is electrified.
  • The London route will be served by specially-designed Class 345 trains.

But possibly most importantly, the London route connects to a large number of North-South cross-city railways.

It is sensible to think of London’s Crossrail as a loose ball of chunky knitting wool with a big fat needle stuck through it.

The ball of knitting wool is Central London with all its Underground and Overground Lines.

Crossrail is the big fat needle struck right through the middle.

You could actually argue that not just one big fat needle is through the middle, as Crossrail is paralleled by some of London’s historic Underground Lines.

Crossrail is going to be a massive playground for the duckers-and-divers, as they search for the fastest route.

How London Crossrail Will Develop

London Crossrail is not a complete system, with certain connections not of the best.

  • Eurostar from St. Psncras International
  • HighSpeed services from Stratford International
  • HS2
  • Piccadilly Line
  • Scottish and Northern services from Euston and Kings Cross
  • Victoria Line

Several of these connections can be addressed by smaller projects like the necessary rebuilding of tube stations like Bank, Charing Cross, Euston and Oxford Circus.

A lot of London politicians are pushing for Crossrail 2 , but London will be given a big increase in capacity with Crossrail and I think there is an opportunity to redefine the scope of the later project, in the light of what happens after Crossrail opens.

Consider the following, which will happen after Crossrail opens.

  • Huge pedestrianisation will happen in the City of London and the West End.
  • Hopefully, walking in large parts of Central London will improve to the standard of the bus- and car-free Central Liverpool.
  • On foot interchanges like Oxford Circus-Bond Street and Bank-Liverpool Street will be easier and quicker than now.
  • The long-neglected and ill-fated Northern City Line is getting new trains, higher frequencies and hopefully a deep-clean of the stations.
  • Liverpool Street and Moorgate stations will effectively become one station with world class connectivity.
  • The Waterloo and City Line will be improved and probably go 24/7!
  • Waterloo station will get a forty percent capacity increase this summer.
  • The Northern Line Extension to Battersea will open in 2020.
  • New trains will have been delivered for London Overground’s Liverpool Street and Gospel Oak to Barking services.

Londoners will fully exploit the network and importantly Transport for London will have detailed information from the ticketing system on the routes taken and the bottlenecks as they develop.

Access For All

Access for All is a National programme, that is making stations all over the country accessible to as many passengers as possible.

Check the list of stations being updated under Access For All

After the General Election, I would not be surprised to see funding for this programme increased all over the country, as it is both necessary and a quick way to attract more passengers to the railways.

New Stations

Since 2000, seventy-four new stations have opened or reopened.

I can rarely remember stations reopening last century, but the 4-5 new stations every year since the turn of the Millennium, seems to have continued this year with the opening of Cambridge North, Ilkeston and Low Moor

The New Franchises

Five franchises have been awarded lately.

  • Greater Anglia
  • Northern
  • ScotRail
  • South Western Trains
  • TransPennine

A feature of all these franchises is that the operators are introducing a lot of new trains and substantially refurbishing others.

Will this trend continue?

Obviously, the operators have done their sums and find that new trains attract more passengers.

There is a major problem with new trains, in that capacity to build them must be getting very short. I also don’t think that Chinese trains will be welcomed.

If I was Prime Minister, I’d make sure there was enough capacity to build and refurbish trains in the United Kingdom.

Building Crossrail 2

There is no doubt that at some time in the future, Crossrail 2 will be built.

But unlike Crossrail, which is a massive project similar in size to the Channel Tunnel,, the electrification of the Great Western Railway or HS2, it is a collection of smaller projects that can be phased over the years, with each phase giving substantial benefits to London, train companies and passengers, be they Londoners, commuters or tourists.

I would build it in the following sequence of sub-projects.

  1. Four-Tracking Of The West Anglia Main Line – Extra capacity on the West Anglia Main Line is needed for both improved London-Stansted-Cambridge services and Crossrail 2.
  2. New High-Capacity Crossrail-Compatible Trains North of London – Greater Anglia and London Overground have already ordered these trains to replace the current thirty-year-old trains.
  3. Station Improvements North of London – Improvement are much needed and are already planned and underway at Tottenham Hale and Meridian Water.
  4. Improve Connection To Sub-Surface Lines At St. Pancras Station – The current connectivity is terrible between these lines and Thameslink and the HighSpeed lines to Kent.
  5. Connect Euston Square Tube Station To Euston Station To Give Extra Capacity During Euston Rebuilding For HS2
  6. Introduction Of A New Stratford-Tottenham Hale-Angel Road Service – The delivery date for STAR is 2019.
  7. Introduction Of Chingford-Walthamstow-Stratford Services – This would improve access to Crossrail and take pressure from the Victoria Line.
  8. New Stansted And Cambridge Services From Stratford – Greater Anglia have suggested this and there’s even an unused loop at Stratford, that could be used to turn trains and allow them to call at Stratford International for Eurostar to the Continent and HighSpeed services to Kent.
  9. More Terminal Capacity for Trains From North of London – The Stratford loop would increase the terminal capacity for Greater Anglia and also give access to the Jubilee Line for London Bridge, Waterloo and Westminster.
  10. Use Improved Capacity At Waterloo To Increase Services On Proposed Crossrail 2 Southern Branches – The extra capacity should help.
  11. New High-Capacity Crossrail-Compatible Trains South of London – South Western Trains have indicated this will happen.
  12. Station Improvements South of London – Improvement are much needed.
  13. Rebuild Euston Tube Station In Cnjunction With HS2

Only when these phases are completed, would the central tunnel  be bored.

This step-by-step approach has several advantages.

  • The pace of the project can be geared to the finance and resources available.
  • Some developments can have a significant local design and scope input.
  • Much needed stations can be built early to generate passengers and cash flow.
  • Trains can be follow-on orders to Crossrail.
  • The suburban sections of the route will always be available for passenger traffic.

When Crossrail 2 is complete, the second big fat knitting needle has been stuck in the ball of wool.

What Can The North Learn From London?

I would argue that one of the keys to London’s success over the years has been its comprehensive multi-layered public transport system.

  • Crossrail, Crossrail 2, Thameslink and the Overground could be considered the top layer.
  • The Underground, the Docklands Light Railway and the suburban electric trains are the middle layer.
  • Buses form the local and bottom layer.

Underneath a walking and cycling layer is emerging.

The North of England can be considered a series of local transport networks, which are connected by a series of major lines, which are equivalent to London’s Crossrail, Crossrail 2 etc.

Northern Connect

I find it interesting that Northern are introducing a Northern Connect service, which Wikipedia describes as follows.

From December 2019, Northern will operate a network of twelve Northern Connect interurban express services. Eleven of these will be operated by brand-new Class 195 diesel multiple units and Class 331 electric multiple units, whilst the Middlesbrough to Carlisle via Newcastle route will be operated by refurbished Class 158 units.

Places that will be served by Northern Connect routes include Bradford, Chester, Halifax, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Nottingham, Newcastle, Preston, Sheffield, Barnsley, Lincoln, Wakefield and York.

Local Networks In The North

Some of the local Northern networks in places like Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield are certainly better than others.

It could also be argued that the six cities I named, are among the most successful and vibrant cities of the North.

I feel that for the railways to be successful in the North and for some cities to have a major improvement in prosperity, that some of the local networks need substantial improvement.

TransPennine And Feeder Routes

The starting point is to detail the Northern Connect and TransPennine Express services in the North.

The Northern Connect services given in the January 2016 Edition of Modern Railways are as follows.

  • Middlesbrough to Newcastle
  • Newcastle to Carlisle
  • Hull to Sheffield
  • Nottingham to Bradford via Leeds
  • Lincoln to Leeds via Sheffield and Barnsley
  • Liverpool to Manchester Airport via Warrington
  • Chester to Leeds via Warrington, Manchester Victoria and the Calder Valley
  • Blackpool North to York via Preston and Leeds
  • Barrow to Manchester Airport
  • Bradford to Manchester Airport via the Calder Valley.
  • Blackpool to Manchester Airport
  • Windermere to Manchester Airport

I suspect plans have changed since January 2016, but the possible routes are a good start.

According to Wikipedia, TransPennine routes are as follows.

  • Liverpool Lime Street to Newcastle via Manchester Victoria, Huddersfield, Leeds and York
  • Manchester Airport to Middlesbrough via Manchester Piccadilly, Huddersfield, Leeds and York
  • Manchester Airport to York via Manchester Piccadilly, Huddersfield and Leeds
  • Liverpool Lime Street to Scarborough via Manchester Piccadilly, Huddersfield, Dewsbury, Leeds and York
  • Manchester Piccadilly to Hull via Huddersfield, Dewsbury, Leeds and Selby
  • Manchester Airport to Cleethorpes via Manchester Piccadilly, Stockport, Sheffield, Meadowhall and Doncaster
  • Manchester Airport to Edinburgh Waverley/Glasgow Central via Manchester Piccadilly

These routes will change in the next year, when the Ordsall Chord opens.

The opening of the chord, may mean that certain services to Manchester Airport, will not need to reverse at Manchester Piccadilly.

Summarising the East-West routes across the Pennines gives.

  • Newcastle to Carlisle
  • Manchester Victoria to Leeds via the Calder Valley Line
  • Manchester Victoria to Leeds via Huddersfield
  • Blackpool North to Leeds via Preston and the Calder Valley Line
  • Manchester Piccadilly to Doncaster via the Hope Valley Line and Sheffield

None of these lines are fully electrified.

They are also connected to their ultimate destinations by feeder lines.

  • Liverpool to Manchester Airport via Warrington
  • Chester to Manchester Victoria via Warrington
  • Liverpool to Manchester Victoria
  • Leeds to Newcastle via York
  • York to Middlesbrough
  • York to Scarborough
  • Leeds to Hull

Only the following lines will be fully electrified by December 2017.

  • Liverpool to Manchester Victoria
  • The West Coast Main Line
  • The East Coast Main Line
  • Some Suburban Routes in Blackpool, Liverpool, Manchester and Preston
  • Some Suburban Routes in Bradford and Leeds

Most of the routes will have to be run by diesel or bi-mode trains.

The Crossrails For The North

There are five East-West routes across the Pennines used by Northern Connect and TransPennine Express.

  • Newcastle to Carlisle
  • Manchester Victoria to Leeds via the Calder Valley Line
  • Manchester Victoria to Leeds via Huddersfield
  • Blackpool North to Leeds via Preston and the Calder Valley Line
  • Manchester Piccadilly to Doncaster via the Hope Valley Line and Sheffield

To these I would add two extra lines.

  • Leeds to Carlisle via Settle
  • Preston to Leeds via Burnley, Colne and Skipton.

Note

  1. I have added the Settle-Carlisle Line, as it is world-renowned, is in excellent condition and if provided with a decent train service, could be a major attraction, that would bring tourists to the area.
  2. The Skipton to Colne Line should be reinstated, to create a direct connection between the electrified local networks servingLeeds/Bradford and Liverpool/Manchester/Preston.

But there would be seven magnificent routes across the Pennines, which could be updated to the following objectives.

  • Frequent trains on all lines with at least two trains per hour (tph)
  • 100 mph running where possible.
  • As high a frequency as possible on the core section between Manchester Victoria and Leeds. Plans exist for six tph, which is a good start.
  • In the East trains would fan out to Cleethorpes, Grimsby, Hull, Newcastle and Scarborough, as they do now.
  • In the West trains would fan out to Blackpool, Chester, Crewe and Liverpool.
  • Lots of cross-platform connections at stations like Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester Victoria, Newcastle, Preston and York with long distance North-South services to London and the South and Scotland.
  • All stations would be step-free with lifts or ramps.

In addition provision should be made early to make sure that there are good connections to HS2.

Electrification

Obviously, electrification would be an ultimate goal on all these East-West routes.

But there are various problems with the electrification of the Peenine sections of the routes.

  • These lines have large numbers of low bridges and high viaducts.
  • Electrification would need to be robust because of the weather.
  • Electrification gantries might not fit well in the scenery.
  • Installation and servicing of overhead electrification may not be an easy process.

On the other hand, the noise of diesel trains might not be welcomed.

However, I believe that in the next ten years much quieter self-powered trains will be commonplace.

At the present time, if diesel or bi-mode trains are acceptable, then they should be used to provide a service.

Looking at the various feeder routes to the East and West of the Pennine sections, it is a different matter.

  • Routes are less challenging.
  • There are fewer bridges and viaducts.
  • Installation and servicing of overhead electrification would be easier.

There is already a lot of electrification at the East and West, which could be extended to places like Chester, Hull and Middlesbrough.

A Pennine core without difficult electrification, between electrified feeder routes may be the most efficient way to run the routes using bi-mode trains.

It might be sensible to use Class 88 bi-mode locomotives instead of the currently proposed Class 68 locomotives with rakes of coaches, as is planned by TransPennine Express.

A Hull to Liverpool service would run under the following power.

  • Hull to Bradford via Leeds – Electricity
  • Bradford to Stalybridge- Diesel
  • Stalybridge to Liverpool via Manchester Victoria – Electricity.

Around thirty miles would be on diesel and the difficult electrification in the Pennines would be avoided.

Infrastructure

This table is a brief summary of the routes.

  • Newcastle to Carlisle – Double track, 18 stations
  • Manchester Victoria to Leeds via the Calder Valley Line – Double track – 17 stations
  • Manchester Victoria to Leeds via Huddersfield – Double track – 14 stations
  • Blackpool North to Leeds via Preston and the Calder Valley Line – Double track – 14 stations
  • Manchester Piccadilly to Doncaster via the Hope Valley Line and Sheffield – Double track – 18 stations
  • Leeds to Carlisle via Settle – Double track – 10 stations
  • Preston to Leeds via Burnley, Colne and Skipton – Part Single track

Note.

  1. Most routes are double track, which aids train scheduling.
  2. All except Skipton to Colne seems in good condition.
  3. I can’t find much information about speed limits.

I think it is true to say, that none of the routes could be a high speed line, although a large proportion could have substantial speed increases.

From what I have seen in East Anglia, I suspect most routes could be upgraded to 100 mph, which with the train frequencies of say four tph could give a substantial increase in speed.

Stations

Many of the secondary stations on these routes are not blessed with facilities like ticket machines, lifts and step-free access.

If I compare, what I see on the web, with what I have experienced in East Anglia, the quality of the smaller stations is not good.

Services

The services along the lines are not of a high frequency or of a high speed, but Northern and TransPennine Express intend to increase frequencies and speed.

The new trains with their faster stops will help.

This is said about the Future Services of TransPennine Express on Wikipedia.

A twice-hourly service between Manchester and Newcastle will be phased in between December 2016 and December 2017, made up of the existing service from Liverpool and a reinstated service from Manchester Airport. Trains between Liverpool and Newcastle will be extended to Edinburgh via the East Coast Main Line, giving a twice-hourly service between Leeds and Edinburgh together with an hourly CrossCountry service. Trains between Liverpool and Scarborough will be rerouted via Manchester Victoria and Newton-le-Willows to provide a half-hourly fast service between Liverpool and Manchester. It is also planned to operate a six train per hour frequency between Manchester and Leeds, up from five today.

I can’t find anything about timings.

A High Speed Line

Building a new high speed line will be difficult, expensive and may take years, as there will probably be a need for a costly tunnel through solid rock between Manchester and Leeds.

So a prudent Project Management strategy could be phased in the same way I proposed for London’s Crossrail 2.

  • Increase Line Speed – This would probably give the largest benefit, as it would enable more and faster trains.
  • Electrify From Leeds To York  This would enable TransPennine’s Class 802 trains between Liverpool/Manchester Airport and Newcastle/Edinburgh to run more efficiently.
  • Electrify From Liverpool To Manchester Airport Via Warrington – This would tidy up electrification between Liverpool and Manchester.
  • Electrify To Chester From Crewe and Warrington – This would link North Wales to the TransPennine routes.
  • Electrify From Leeds To Hull – This would be a comparatively easy electrification.
  • Create The Skipton To Colne Link – This would link the two Norhern suburban electric networks and become a valuable transport asset for both local residents and visitors.
  • Improve Stations – Better facilities and atep-free access is desperately needed. Especially at secondary stations.
  • Improve Local Networks In Selected Cities – Some are much better than others.
  • Increase Train Frequencies – Run at least two tph on all routes.

Hopefully, a decent service can be provided, until a new high speed route can be built.

One great advantage that this project has compared say to the electrification of the Great Western Railway, is that because there are several current routes, if one needs to be closed for a short time, there is a suitable alternative.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 21, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Will Virgin Trains East Coast Use Class 800/801 Trains?

The following two sections give Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC) current and future fleets.

Current Fleet

VTEC have a current fleet comprising the following locomotives and coaches.

The Class 43 locomotives and the Mark 3 coaches are formed into InterCity 125 trains.

  • Two locomotives and nine coaches per set.
  • 125 mph capability
  • Diesel-powered

Which gives thirteen diesel trains.

The Class 91 locomotives and Mark 4 coaches are formed into InterCity 225 trains.

  • One locomotive, one driving van trailer and nine coaches per set.
  • 140 mph capability
  • Electric-powered.
  • Ability to run London to Edinburgh in under four hours.

Which gives thirty-one electric trains.

Adding the two figures together gives a total of forty-four nine-car trains.

Future Fleet

VTEC’s  future fleet will include.

Adding these together counting the five-car trains as half gives fifty-four nine-car trains.

Or ten more nine-car trains!

In addition six to eight InterCity225 trains could be retained in service to run limited stop trains between London and Edinburgh.

This increase in capacity can only me good for passengers, with more services and destinations.

Questions About Class 800/801 Trains

What is the capacity of a nine-car Class 800/801 train?

I can’t find this on the Internet and I suspect it hasn’t been decided.

Wikipedia gives the capacity of an InterCity 225 train as 406 Standard and 129 First Class seats.

It should also be noted that the car length in a Class 800/801 is twenty-six metres, as opposed to the twenty-three metres of the InterCity 225.

I would hope good design can make excellent use of this space.

Will two Class 800/801 trains be able to work as a pair?

I suspect the answer to this is yes, as the closely-related Class 395 trains regularly do this.

The most common use would be to run two five-car trains as a ten-car set.

This would be a 260 metre long train, which is perhaps fifteen metres longer than an InterCity 225 train.

Some lengthening of platforms may be necessary, but it probably isn’t a major problem.

Will coupling and uncoupling of a pair of Class 800/801 trains be automatic?

In The Impressive Coupling And Uncoupling Of Class 395 Trains, I linked to videos of the closely-related Class 395 trains, doing just this in under a minute.

I would be very surprised if two Class 800/801 trains couldn’t do the same.

Will a Class 800 train and a Class 801 train be able to work as a pair?

There may be circumstances, where this is needed on electrified lines, so I would be very surprised if this is not possible.

At what station will a Class 800/801 train be able to call?

The nine-car trains are 234 metres long and a pair of five car trains will be 260 metres long, so platform length will mean they can’t call at a lot of smaller stations.

But a five-car train will be only 130 metres long, which will be shorter than a pair of four-car multiple-units working together, which are regularly seen on the UK’s rail network.

So the five-car trains will probably be able to serve a surprising number of stations.

Will Class 800/801 trains have a faster turn-round time?

If you look at the times of trains between London and Leeds, this things happen.

  • A few minutes after a train leaves the platform at Leeds and Kings Cross, the next incoming service arrives.
  • It then waits in the station for nearly half-an-hour before going back.

Effectively, an hour must be added to each Out and Back journey between London and Leeds.

This time will enable.

  • Passengers to unload and load.
  • Train to be prepared.
  • Crew to be changed if required.

Any delay of a few minutes can hopefully be recovered.

Train preparation time will probably be better with the Class 800/801 trains, as hopefully automation and better design will speed the process.

But cutting this thirty minutes  substantially would probably require passengers to be marched around like the Brigade of Guards, which is of course not possible.

Hopefully, the new trains will be designed, so that ingress and egress for all passengers will be easier and faster but at some stations like Leeds, the station layout is more of a bottleneck than the train.

A few minutes reduction in turn-round time might be possible, but nothing that would mean a train doesn’t occupy a platform for half-an-hour.

How long will A Class 801 train take between London and Edinburgh?

Currently the fastest journey time using an InterCity 225 is around four hours and twenty minutes, but they have done it in under four hours in test runs.

For marketing reasons, I suspect that VTEC would like to dip under four hours with the fastest trains.

As the Class 800/801 trains have a similar 140 mph performance to the InterCity 225, I suspect that four hours will also be possible.

But the big difference will be that the Class 800/801 trains will probably have faster stop times at any intermediate stations.

So I suspect that the average journey time between London and Edinburgh will drop.

How Will VTEC Use Class 800/801 Trains?

Returning to my original question, I’ll now attempt to answer it in the next few sections.

London-Edinburgh Services

I think we can assume the following.

  • There will be at least two trains per hour (tph)
  • Trains will usually be nine-car trains.
  • Class 800 trains will not normally use diesel power on the route.
  • Some trains could be  two five-car trains running as a pair.
  • A proportion of trains will do the trip in under four hours.
  • Intermediate stops as now will be optimised to the passenger traffic.
  • Intermediate stops will be faster.

I also think, that the InterCity 225 sets will be improved, so they can match the times of the Class 800/801 trains.

I think that once improved signalling on the East Coast Main Line is working and allowing running faster than 125 mph, we could be seeing trains being able to go from London to Edinburgh and back in under nine hours, assuming a thirty minute turn-round at both ends of the route.

This would mean that a dedicated London to Edinburgh fleet of just eighteen trains would be required to run a two tph service. Three tph would need another nine trains.

Speed up the trains so, that a round trip can be done in eight hours and sixteen trains are needed for the two tph service, with eight more trains needed to up the service to three tph.

Under Future in the Wikipedia entry for Virgin Trains East Coast, this is said.

If VTEC’s application to operate extra limited stops services to Edinburgh is successful, it is proposing to operate these by retaining six to eight InterCity 225 sets.

Interesting! So will some or all hours see a third train between London and Edinburgh.

Are the thirty-year-old InterCity 225 trains, showing the same survival instincts of their ten-year-older predecessors; the InterCity 125s?

London-Aberdeen And London-Inverness Services

Currently times on these routes from London are as follows.

  • London-Aberdeen – seven hours and four minutes – three trains per day
  • London-Inverness- eight hours and four minutes – one train per day

So what times could a Class 800 achieve on these routes?

Times North of Edinburgh with an InterCity 125 are as follows.

  • Edinburgh to Aberdeen takes two hours and thirty-six minutes – Fastest ScotRail takes two hours sixteen minutes.
  • Edinburgh to Inverness takes three hours and thirty-one minutes – Fastest ScotRail takes three hours nineteen minutes.

I suspect that a Class 800 train running on diesel power could match the InterCity 125 times and approach the ScotRail times.

But as they would be running on electric power to and from London in four hours, times could be as follows.

  • London-Aberdeen – six hours and sixteen minutes
  • London-Inverness – seven hours and nineteen minutes

So over half-an-hour could be saved on both routes.

Currently trains leave London at these times.

  • 10:00 – Aberdeen
  • 12:00 – Inverness
  • 14:00 – Aberdeen
  • 16:00 – Aberdeen

Note that there is probably no 18:00 train, as that would arrive in Aberdeen at 0110.

That is probably too late, but a well-driven Class 800 train, might get to Aberdeen around 00:30, which could be acceptable.

There is also the possibility of running a pair of five-car Class 800 trains to |Edinburgh, where they split with one train going to Aberdeen and the other to Inverness.

If the 16:00 train were to split, the Inverness portion would finish its journey before midnight.

A schedule like this from London could be possible.

  • 10:00 – Aberdeen and Inverness
  • 12:00 – Inverness
  • 14:00 – Aberdeen and Inverness
  • 16:00 – Aberdeen and Inverness
  • 18:00 – Aberdeen

Both Northern cities would get four trains per day from London, because of two factors.

  • The ability to run on electric power between London and Edinburgh, which knocks time off that section of the route.
  • The ability to split and join trains at Edinburgh, which saves paths on the East Coast Main Line.

It should be noted that any electrification North from Edinburgh will help.

Stirling to Edinburgh and Glasgow could be electrified by 2019 or 2020.

  • Trains would run to the South of Stirling on electric power.
  • Any splitting going North and joining going South would take place at Stirling.
  • Trains would still stop at Edinburgh to load and unload passengers.
  • Crew change currently takes place at Edinburgh, but that could happen at Stirling.

With a well-executed stop at Stirling, electric power between Stirling and Edinburgh and a few other improvements could we see the following?

  • London-Aberdeen – six hours
  • London-Inverness – seven hours

It would certainly please VTEC’s Marketing Department.

Services To St. Andrews

The Open Championship was last held at St. Andrews in 2015, so by the next time it is held at the Home of Golf, it is likely that a station will have been built for the town.

This new station must be able to accept Class 800/801 trains, which during a major event might need to run to the area.

This reasoning must apply to lots of places either on or within fifty miles of the East Coast Main Line.

London-Leeds Services

Leeds is generally served by 2 tph from London in around two hours ten minutes.

These are usually nine-car InterCity 225 trains, with a couple of InterCity 125 trains, that go to places like Harrogate, which are not electrified.

As the speed limits on the East Coast Main Line are increased as trains are fitted with in-can signalling, I suspect that VTEC’s Marketing Department will be pushing for times between London and Leeds to be under two hours.

I can’t believe that VTEC will not extend services from Leeds by making use of five-car trains running to Leeds as a pair, where they would divide and join.

I am assuming that Class 800/801 trains can join as well as the closely-related Class 395 trains, which do so it in under a minute.

Places that could be served include.

  • Bradford
  • Harrogate
  • Horsforth
  • Huddersfield
  • Ilkley
  • Keighley
  • Shipley
  • Skipton

Note.

  1. Some stations like Harrogate and Horsforth are not electrified, so would need Class 800 electro-diesel trains.
  2. Five-car trains could serve a lot of stations on the Leeds-Bradford Metro network, thus opening up the possibility of services to places like Headingley for the cricket and rugby and Saltaire for the culture.
  3. Could a five-car Class 800 electro-diesel train run over the Settle and Carlisle Line to Carlisle and Scotland?
  4. Extending some services from Leeds may mean that platform space is released at the station.

I think that the possibilities to extend services from Leeds using the five-car Class 800/801 trains are large.

London-Edinburgh Via Leeds

 

On the West Coast Main Line, some Scottish services from London, go via Birmingham and Wolverhampton.

So if there was a fully electrified route from Leeds to York, then some Scottish trains could go via Leeds.

At present, I don’t think this is possible with an electric train, as part of the route from Leeds to York is not electrified.

The electrification should be well underway by now, but there is no sign of it.

Other Extended Services

What can be done at Leeds can surely be done at other places.

If the two trains can couple and uncouple within a minute, that means that a pair of trains can arrive in a station and go through the following sequence.

  • 00:00 -A joined pair of Class 800/801 trains arrive in the station and load and unload passengers.
  • 00:03 – Close the train doors
  • 00:04 – Start the automatic decoupling process.
  • 00:05 – The first train leaves the platform.
  • 00:08 – After three minutes the second train leaves the platform.

I believe that the stop could be under ten minutes and the trains would be a safe three minutes apart, as they left the station.

So where could trains be split?

  • Newark or Peterborough for Lincoln and Nottingham
  • Doncaster for Hull and Sheffield
  • York for Scarborough and Harrogate
  • York for Middlesbrough and Sunderland
  • Newcastle for Ashington and Sunderland

Note.

  1. Trains could go in a loop to serve several stations.
  2. Sunderland could be on such a loop.
  3. As trains would only be five cars, they could stop at most stations in need of a service.
  4. Stations like Peterborough, Doncaster, York and Newcastle with more than one through platform in each direction would probably be preferred stations for split and join.
  5. No electrification is needed away from the East Coast Main Line.

Obviously, passenger needs and traffic patterns will decide, where the trains split and join.

Conclusions

The big conclusion will be that more places will receive long distance services to London and the places in between.

But these trains will really put the squeeze on smaller operators like Hull Trains and Grand Central Trains, as VTEC will be serving their station.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

A Walk In Leeds City Centre

I had time to waste, so I took a walk in a wide circle around Leeds station.

I went under the railways through the station and then walked along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal towards the West. I turned North and followed the Kirkstall Viaduct, that used to take the trains into Leeds Central station.

One of the problems of this walk in Leeds, is that you might like to go through the station. But it doesn’t seem to be encouraged.

September 25, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Kirkstall Forge Station

Kirkstall Forge station has recently reopened, after being closed in 1905.

It is certainly an impressive new station and one of the best new stations I’ve seen.

There are certainly some nice touches.

  • A covered bridge with glass sides to give good views.
  • Nice finishes.
  • I liked the crash barriers and seats made out of steel, to emphasise the station’s history.
  • The Braille signs on the handrails. Something I first saw in Italy and wrote about in A Nice Touch On The Milan Underground.

At present, it doesn’t seem that busy and trains are not very numerous, but as the development gets underway in the area and the car parks fill up, this station could get very busy.

Some of the trains are going to and from Skipton, on the Airedale Line. If you read the Future section for that station’s Wikipedia entry, you get the impression that lots of things will happen at Skipton.

  • Direct London trains to Skipton are on the cards and a stop at Kirkstall Forge would be ideal for West Leeds and those that live on the Wharfedale Line to Ilkley, which also call at Kirkstall Forge.
  • But surely, Skipton is one of those places that is a jumping off point for the Pennines and also the Settle-Carlisle Line.
  • In addition, if plans to connect Skipton to Colne to connect Lancashire and Yorkshire through the Pennines come to fruition, Kirkstall Force could be the station, where passengers drive to get their train to the other side.

I don’t think you can accuse Network Rail and Metro of building a station at Kirkstall Forge, that doesn’t have future proofing.

It will be interesting to go in perhaps five years and see how this station has developed.

September 25, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , | 2 Comments

Tram-Trains Recommended For Leeds-Bradford Airport Link

This report on Global Rail News is entitled Tram-train preferred for Leeds Bradford Airport link, which probably says most of it.

This Google Map shows the cities of Bradford and Leeds and the airport to the North.

Bradford, Leeds and Leeds-Bradford Airport

Bradford, Leeds and Leeds-Bradford Airport

And this map shows the airport and the surrounding area from Guiseley in the North West to Horsforth in the South East.

Leeds Bradford Airport

Leeds Bradford Airport

Both towns have stations.

If you need to travel between the two towns by rail, you need to change trains at Leeds.

The consultants report recommends that to link Leeds to the airport a tram-train link be built from Horsforth.

This Google Map shows the countryside between Horsforth station and the southern end of Leeds-Bradord Airport.

Horsforth To Leeds-Bradford Airport

Horsforth To Leeds-Bradford Airport

Horsforth station is in the South East corner of the map.

It would seem to not be the biggest engineering project to construct the airport link.

Although, it should be born in mind, that the area around and between Leeds and Bradford is not by any means flat and pilots of light aircraft are usually cautious on the approach to the airport, because the terrain causes all sorts of winds and updraughts.

This Google map shows the country between Guiseley and the northern end of Leeds-Bradford Airport.

Guiseley To Leeds-Bradford Airport

Guiseley To Leeds-Bradford Airport

Guiseley station is in the North West corner of this map.

It would probably not be as easy to built a link from Guiseley to the airport, that could handle tram-trains, as to build one from Horsforth.

Years ago, the Otley and Ilkey Joint Railway planned to create a railway from Guiseley to Horsforth via Yeadon, but it was never built and the Yeadon Branch was closed to all traffic in 1964.

It would be ironic, if tram-trains were to reconnect Guiseley and Horsforth via Leeds-Bradford Airport, along the route of the Yeadon Branch.

If a route from the airport to Guiseley could be built for tram-trains, then they could carry on to Bradford Forster Square station, thus giving Bradford direct access to the airport.

March 1, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

The Future Of The Calder Valley Line

On Saturday and Sunday, I did four trips on the Calder Valley Line

The pictures aren’t as comprehensive, as I would like, but at times the rain was very heavy.

The Route And Trains

This diagram clipped from Wikipedia, shows the route of the Calder Valley Line.

Calder Valley Line

Calder Valley Line

Note.

There is not much electrification.

  • Leeds to York is either electrified or will be in conjunction with the Huddersfield Line electrification.
  • Other routes between Leeds and the other Bradford station; Forster Square are electrified.
  • Manchester Victoria station is electrified.
  • Preston station is electrified and hopefully will be electrified to Blackpool North station.

The trains are a mixture of diesel Class 150 and Class 158 trains, run by Northern Rail. The Class 150s are a bit small and uncomfortable for the route and the top speeds of 75 mp for the Class 150s and 90 mph for the Class 158s, are probably not fast enough, especially as the two ends of the line have higher speed limits.

The Future

Wikipedia has a section on the Future of the Calder Valley Line. This is said.

Improvements to the line are proposed as part of Network Rail’s Northern Hub plans, which would allow for more frequent services on the line. Some services via Bradford would also be extended to Chester,Crewe, Liverpool and Manchester Airport. The Chester & Liverpool services have since been incorporated into the new Northern Rail franchise agreement – awarded to Arriva Rail North in December 2015 and due to start in April 2016, these will be marketed under the “Northern Connect” brand and operated by new 100mph DMUs once delivered. The Manchester Airport trains will follow one the Ordsall Curve is completed in 2018.

Low Moor station, between Bradford Interchange and Halifax, is due to be re-opened in 2016. A business case is being developed to re-open Elland station between Halifax and Brighouse.

There is no mention of electrification, for which the earliest dates are quoted as somewhere in the period from 2019-2024.

But there is this article is on the Shields Gazette web site, with a title of Electrification of the Calder Valley is ‘top priority’ says Rail Minister.

This article is backed up by other statements, so Network Rail and the Government are thinking seriously about electrification of the Calder Valley Line.

Network development and/or electrification is happening at both ends of the Calder Valley Line and I’ll look at both.

Network Development in Leeds and Bradford

The West Yorkshire Metro has proposed electrification of the Harrogate Line and have performed an extensive new station study.

They have already opened Apperley Bridge station and Kirkstall Forge station will follow in a few weeks.

The new stations survey mentions these new stations.

As I said earlier Low Moor station is being built. It will be on the unelectrified line between Bradford Interchange and Halifax. If Elland station is reopened, then it will be the other side of Halifax towards Brighouse. To serve both these new stations trains will have to serve the following stations.

  • Bradford Interchange
  • Low Moor
  • Halifax
  • Elland
  • Brighouse
  • Huddersfield

This is a modification to the current hourly service from Bradford Interchange to Huddersfield via Brighouse.

In the next few years hopefully, Huddersfield will be electrified, but there is no chance that this route into Bradford Interchange will be electrified at the same time. It would probably be pointless, as Bradford Interchange station, unlike Bradford Forster Square station is not electrified.

To make matters a lot more complicated, the stupid fact that Bradford has two entirely separate stations, means the following.

  • There is no train, that calls at both Leeds and Bradford and goes on to Huddersfield and Manchester.
  • There is no train, that calls at both Leeds and Bradford and goes on to Halifax and Hebden Bridge.
  • There will be no direct train between Leeds and Low Moor.

I think other journeys of less than twenty or thirty miles in the Leeds-Bradford area will probably be either impossible or much more complicated than they should be.

Also, at the moment, two of the Leeds-Bradford routes are electrified and the Calder Valley Line is not.

The only new electrification in the area planned, will be the fast route on the Huddersfield Line from Leeds to Huddersfield via Dewsbury.

To help in comprehension, this is a Google Map, showing how the Calder Valley Line links into Bradford Interchange.

Bradford And The Calder Valley Line

Bradford And The Calder Valley Line

Bradford Forster Square Station is in the North-East corner of the map, with Bradford Interchange below it.

Note how the Calder Valley Line comes in from Leeds in the east,  before doing a turn to the north and Bradford Interchange station. After reversing in the station, trains leave the station in a southerly direction towards the new Low Moor station and onto the West. Because of the dark scar below the line, I wonder if in the past, there has been a connection by-passing the station.

It’s a mess!

The solution needs to be four-fold.

  • Electrify Leeds to Huddersfield via Dewsbury. This is being done.
  • Electrify the Calder Valley Line from Leeds through Bradford and Low Moor as far as Halifax.
  • Electrify the link between the Calder Valley Line and the Huddersfield Line through Brighouse.
  • Sort out the absurd situation of the two Bradford stations.

This would enable the West Yorkshire Metro to expand its network of electric trains in the area. It could even use IPEMUs, which would charge their batteries on the electrified core network and then provide services to other towns and cities.

I’m sure that the West Yorkshire Metro can be ambitious and will have other and better ideas.

Network Development in Lancashire

Currently, there is a lot happening at the other end of the Calder Valley Line.

  • The Todmorden Curve has opened and a new hourly service runs between Blackburn and Manchester Victoria.
  • Manchester Victoria station is becoming a top class station and an electrified hub for services spreading out from Manchester.
  • Manchester Victoria to Liverpool Lime Street is now electrified.
  • Manchester Victoria to Blackpool North via Bolton and Preston is being fully electrified.
  • The Ordsall Curve is finally being built to link Manchester Piccadilly and Victoria stations.
  • Merseyrail is acquiring a new fleet of trains, which may include IPEMUs.

With the devolution of local rail services to local bodies, I suspect other things will happen.

Northern Connect

Northern Connect is a new sub-brand that will be introduced by Arriva Rail North.

Services in the sub-brand using the Calder Valley Line include.

  • Chester to Leeds via Warrington, Manchester Victoria and the Calder Valley
  • Blackpool North to York via Preston and Leeds
  • Bradford to Manchester Airport via the Calder Valley.

Will the first two services call at Bradford Interchange and will the third call at Leeds?

According to the January 2016 Edition of Modern Railways, these routes will be worked by new diesel multiple units.

The Chester and Manchester Airport services may need to be delayed until after the Ordsall Chord is opened.

But whatever happens Arriva Rail North will be running more services on the Calder Valley Line.

For commercial reasons, they would like to do the following.

  • Run faster services.
  • Run more frequent services.
  • Run services with smart new trains.
  • Run services with electric trains.

All except the last could be possible in the next few years.

The Current Infrastructure

The Calder Valley Line between Halifax and Burnley is summed up by Wikipedia like this.

For the section between Halifax and Burnley the line uses the valley of the River Calder, which in fact comprises two separate valleys with rivers of the same name, that of West Yorkshire and the Lancashire River Calder thus giving the services their name; it also follows the Rochdale Canal from Todmorden into Manchester. Since the route crosses the Pennines, there are many tunnels to negotiate en route.

I counted twelve tunnels and at least two major viaducts. The tunnels include at least three over a thousand metres, one of which; the Summit Tunnel is over 2.6 miles long.

The Summit Tunnel is one of the oldest rail tunnels in the world, is lined with 23 million bricks and has been used continuously since it opened in the 1840s.

This Google Map shows the challenging nature of the line.

Between Burnley And Todmorden

Between Burnley And Todmorden

Note how the line threads its way between the hills and houses and uses a tunnel to get through.

It must be a nightmare on which to work.

As if the hills, valleys and rivers wasn’t enough, stuck in the middle of the line is the Grade II Listed Hebden Bridge station. I wrote about it in Hebden Bridge and feel that the heritage lobby will strongly resist any changes to this station.

In fact, electrification across the Pennines could bring out all the environment lobby, who feel views are more important, than jobs and prosperity.

I have a feeling, that any sane electrification engineer will look at this line between Manchester Victoria and Halifax and between Blackburn and Todmorden  and say that electrifying the line is just not on!

He or she would also feel that leaving the sleeping giant of the Summit Tunnel lie would be best.

But apart from that, the line seems sound and in good order.

Electric Trains On The Calder Valley Line

If electrification of the Calder Valley Line is a top priority of politicians how can that be squared with the undoubtedly difficult nature of the work that would be required to electrify the line.

So what can be electrified?

  • As I said earlier, there will be strong pressure to electrify around Leeds and Bradford. to perhaps as far as Halifax and Brighouse.
  • I also suspect that electrifying from the West Coast Main Line at Preston to Blackburn would be relatively easy.

So this would leave the these gaps of lines and routes without electrification.

  • Blackburn to Halifax – Around thirty miles
  • Manchester Victoria to Halifax – Around thirty-five miles
  • Blackburn to Manchester Victoria – Around forty miles

All of these runs would be totally within the range of an IPEMU.

Preston to Blackburn electrification, might also allow IPEMUs to take over the following routes.

  • Blackpool South to Colne and possibly on to Skipton on a new section of track.
  • Blackpool North to Settle
  • Manchester Victoria to Clitheroe via Blackburn

So I believe it is possible for the Calder Valley Line to get electric trains, without the cost and disruption of installing the overhead wires.

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 5, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

An Early Sunday Start From Burnley To Manchester

I started early and took the 08:39 train from Burnley Manchester Road station to Manchester Victoria station.

It is a picturesque ride around the Todmorden Curve, over valleys on high viaducts and through traditional stone-built villages and towns, with the hills of the Pennines in the background and quite a bit of water alongside the rail line.

The line has improved greatly in the last few years and there are lots of tidy stations, with seats, shelters and information boards. The only larger ones are Burnley Manchester Road, Todmorden and Rochdale.

Despite the early hour on a Sunday, there were quite a few passengers and the train was about three-quarters full at Manchester Victoria.

Thinking back to my first time by train to Burnley in 2011, the rail link has improved dramatically.

  • A smart new station has been built.
  • The Todmorden Curve has been opened to provide a direct train service to Manchester.
  • An hourly service links Burnley and Manchester Victoria via the curve.

From reports, I’ve read, the line is well-used.

This question has to be asked – Could the line be electrified?

Look at some of the pictures and they show the challenging nature of electrifying the line.

  • From Burnley to Todmorden, there are a number of well-built Victorian stone over-bridges.
  • Also on this stretch there are at least two high stone viaducts.
  • There are several tunnels, includin the Summit Tunnel, which is 2.6 km. long and has been in continuous use since the 1840s.
  • Many stations have been upgraded or rebuilt recently.
  • Also in this area, some new bridges across the line for new roads and the Metrolink, seem to appear to be rather low.

Also, look as this section of the line between Burnley and Todmorden.

Between Burnley And Todmorden

Between Burnley And Todmorden

Note how the rail line curves between the hills and the houses, using tunnels and viaducts to get go on its way.

It’s one of those lines, where you’d try to find an alternative to traditional electrification. If it’s not space, it’s heritage issues and there would be lots of bridges, viaducts and tunels to rebuild.

Go west from Burnley and the line has a couple of high viaducts and a couple of tunnels, but the East Lancashire Line seems to get easier west of Blackburn station, with a line over mainly flat countryside with plenty of space on either side. At Preston it connects to the electrified West Coast Main Line.

Electrifying from Preston to Blackburn, would open up several routes to the use of IPEMU trains.

  • Blackpool South to Colne – A substantial part of the route of the fifty mile route from Blackpool South to Colne would be electrified and from the performance figures I’ve seen, this route would be an easy one for something like an  IPEMU-variant of a four-car Class 387 train.
  • Burnley to Manchester – The service I rode from Burnley to Manchester starts at Blackburn and finishes in a fully electrified Manchester Victoria.  So to answer my original question about whether the route could be electrified, there is actually no need to electrify, as IPEMUs could easily link two electrified terminals over that distance.
  • Manchester to Clitheroe – Look at the Ribble Valley Line on Wikipedia and there are five viaducts and three tunnels listed, in a line of around thirty miles. However, the good news is three-fold. The line has been well looked after, it’s promoted as a tourist attraction and soon, it will be electrified from Manchester as far as Bolton. I can’t see why with a small top-up at Blackburn, that this route couldn’t be run by an IPEMU.
  • Blackpool North to Settle – This route is run as a tourist train called DalesRail on Sundays in the Summer, when it goes all the way to Carlisle. An IPEMU could certainly run a service between Blackpool North and Settle, but I doubt it could stretch all the way to Carlisle along the Settle-Carlisle Line, as there are some massive gradients on that line.
  • Blackpool North to Leeds – This route along the Calder Valley Line via Hebden Bridge, Halifax and Bradford would be totally within range of an IPEMU, once Blackburn to Preston is electrified. If necessary, Leeds to Bradford could be electrified as well. A train fit for the Northern Powerhouse, powered by batteries and built in Derby!

This all illustrates how an IPEMU can benefit from even short sections of electrification. Blackburn to Preston would be under twenty miles of electrification without troublesome viaducts and tunnels across fairly flat country and it opens up several routes to new electric trains.

It’s funny, but if you are going to use IPEMU trains, you electrify all the lines, that you can electrify and maintain with ease and leave all the difficult bits to the battery feature in the trains.

 

 

January 3, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

From Leeds To Burnley Manchester Road

I’d gone to Burnley for the football via Leeds, as the West Coast Main Line seemed to be partly closed and I also wanted to take a look at the recently-opened Apperley Bridge station, which I wrote about in The New Apperley Bridge Station.

The trains across the Pennines on Saturdays are an hourly service at xx:08 from York to Blackpool North, that calls at New Pudsey, Bradford Interchange, Halifax and Hebden Bridge, on the section of route I would travel.

The train was busy and I was unable to get any decent pictures, but my 12:08 departure dropped me on time in Burnley Manchester Road station at 13:11. I wrote about the scenic qualities of the route before in The Scenic Route From Leeds To Manchester.

Burnley Manchester Road station doesn’t have a taxi rank, but I was able to hi-jack an empty one and the driver took me to my Premier Inn just north of the town centre and Turf Moor for a fiver.

It was a hard-fought match and a goalless draw was a fair result.

The Premier Inn is a useful one, as it is only a few minutes walk down and up the hill to Turf Moor.

One of the staff told me, that they get a lot of walkers and cyclists using the hotel as a half-way point on the nearby Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

 

January 2, 2016 Posted by | Sport, Travel | , , , , | 1 Comment

The New Apperley Bridge Station

Apperley Bridge station  is a new station between Leeds and Shipley on the Leeds to Bradford Lines.

The station is a simple design, based around an existing bridge and uses ramps rather than lifts for step-free access.

It must make for a more affordable design. The new Kirkstall Forge station is reported to be being built using similar principles.

This Google Map shows the Location of Apperley Bridge station.

Apperley Bridge Station Location

Apperley Bridge Station Location

The station has been built by the wetsmost of the two branches. The Avenue leading away to the North doesn’t lead to the country seat of a man of means or breeding, but to what appears to be a large sewage works.

The two stations are reported in this web page as costing sixteen million pounds for the pair.

But judging by the heavyweight construction, the good-sized shelters, Network Rail have future proofed this station for a lot more passengers than they will expect in the next year.

Perhaps this section entitled The Future in the Wikipedia entry for the Airedale Line offers a clue!

This is said.

Recent Network Rail reports have looked at ways of increasing capacity on the line. Because of the difficulty of lengthening platforms at Shipley, it will be hard to introduce longer trains (i.e. 5 or 6 carriages) as is being proposed on the neighbouring Wharfedale Line. It is therefore proposed to run more trains per hour between Leeds and Keighley, with a new platform at Keighley to accommodate this. A new station atApperley Bridge opened in 2015 and Kirkstall Forge is due to open in January 2016, with both stations located between Leeds and Skipton via Shipley.

Could it be that the two new stations will also divert commuters into Leeds from Shipley?

Wikipedia appears to suggest that Shipley station has access problems, so perhaps diverting passengers to a new fully-accessible station increases capacity on the line.

This Google Map shows that Shipley station isn’t your bog-standard two-platform station.

Shipley Station

Shipley Station

I only know of one other station built in the middle of a triangular junction; Liverpool South Parkway. But that station was designed that way.

Incidentally, a guy at Appleby Bridge station told me, that it can take an hour to drive into Leeds in the rush hour from the village, but the train takes less than ten minutes.

January 2, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , | 2 Comments

HS2 Does The Right Thing At Leeds

I don’t like the concept of most of the HS2 stations.

Euston, isn’t too bad, as the HS2 platforms are alongside those for the main station and I suspect that when and if I see it in reality, I will be able to arrive in the station on perhaps a London Midland train from Bletchley or Tring and just walk across to the HS2 platforms.

At some of our better interchange stations like Reading, to change trains, you go up escalators to a wide overbridge and then walk across to the escalator for the platform of your departing train. The design also allows seats and cafes in a totally non-claustrophobic environment. I have a feeling that the new London Bridge will raise the bar of this type of station even higher!

To my mind the designs for HS2 station at Birmingham is absolute rubbish and truly terrible. Birmingham is developing a local train, tram and bus network centred on New Street station, so instead of HS2 arriving into this hub, it arrives at a separate station some distance away and many passengers will have to get a tram to connect to their ongoing service.

As HS2 will run very large trains, imagine say a thousand Chelsea fans arriving on HS2 to go to a match at Villa Park and needing to get a train from New Street. You save masses of time by using HS2 and then waste it queuing for a tram.

But if HS2 arrived directly into New Street, a lot of the problems would be solved with a short walk.

In Birmingham there is no space in New Street itself, but why shouldn’t HS2 arrive in an underground station beneath New Street? Or in my preferred solution, in a giant double-ended station stretching right under the City Centre.

As they’ve got a redundant piece of Grade 1 Listed railway memorabilia, they’ll use that instead. The heritage lobby should crawl back into its hole!

But at Leeds, HS2 have put forward a new proposal, where HS2 meets the existing station in a giant version of the way  trams met the train at Nottingham.

This is the only picture I can find of the proposal. It’s in an article in Global Rail News.

HS2 At Leeds Station

HS2 At Leeds Station

Passengers arriving in Leeds would just walk to the front of the train and then they’d be over the platforms of the existing Leeds station. If that is too difficult, then I’m sure we’ll see a few travalators.

It is a much better layout than that proposed for Birmingham.

Interchange between HS2 and local services must be a short walk, assisted by lifts, escalators or travalators as required.

December 19, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 3 Comments