The Anonymous Widower

Morley’s New Accessible Station Set To Open In Summer 2023

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Network Rail.

These paragraphs outline the work to be done to create the new Morley station.

A new, fully accessible station is set to open in Morley, Leeds in summer 2023 to make way for longer trains, more seats, and better journeys as part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade.

As a multi-million-pound investment, the new station will boast longer platforms to provide space for faster, more frequent, greener trains with more seats available for passengers travelling between Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds and York.

The new, remodelled station will sit 75 metres away from the existing station and be fully accessible, with a footbridge and lifts connecting the two platforms.

Moving the station opens up opportunities to transform the platforms and track layout while installing the overhead wires needed to power electric and hybrid trains in the future. It also means that the current station can largely remain open for passengers whilst the new one is built.

It is not often, that a station upgrade, is such a comprehensive demolish and rebuild of a not very large station as this.

But rarely have I seen such a long list of problems as the one in this section in the Wikipedia entry for the station.

It looks like the Government is having a go, at levelling-up Morley.

Network Rail seem to be attempting to do the rebuild in under a year.

November 28, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Levelling Up Freight

This project was one of the winners in the First Of A Kind 2022 competition run by Innovate UK.

In this document, this is said about the project.

Project No: 10037240

Project title: Levelling Up Freight
Lead organisation: 3SQUARED LTD.
Project grant: £393,271

Public description:

Background

Rail freight is vital to Britain. It contributes almost £2.5bn to the economy and plays a big part in reducing congestion and emissions. Rail is more environmentally friendly than road, with every tonne of freight transported by rail producing 76% less emissions compared to road (RDG “Levelling Up Britain” 2021). The green benefits of rail freight are being driven heavily by the DfT with incentive schemes such as Modal Shift Revenue Support (MSRS) – a £20m grant, which
freight carriers can bid for a share of to support modal shift to rail.

Despite widescale use of MSRS, finding new freight routes for additional trains is challenging because:

  • Road haulage is seen as easier and more accessible than rail freight, especially at short
    notice, for short journeys and for single containers.
  • Highways are less regulated with no significant barriers to commercial participation, and
    therefore are free to use the latest technologies to develop and evolve solutions at a faster
    pace.
  • Railway planning systems and processes limit the availability and visibility of freight paths
    (slots in the timetable which can accept a freight train) resulting in under-utilisation of
    network capacity.

Our innovative freight planning solution (PathPlanner) will make the use of rail for freight as
accessible and easy to use as the road network. PathPlanner is specifically designed to overcome
the current operational challenges and blockers that make moving to rail prohibitive.

Proof-of-Concept Demonstration

In 2021, NR completed a £17m upgrade around Southampton to enable longer trains in/out of the docks. Completing April 2023, Solent Stevedores is investing c.£3m to strengthen their capability to receive and dispatch longer and more trains – from 9 to 16 per day.

However, NR’s business case did not include any understanding of capacity in/out of the port, so
Solent Stevedores is currently unsighted as to how, or if, they can find the additional paths.
There are significant gains to be made if they can; 7 extra trains equate to:

  • £12.6m additional revenue p.a.
  • A reduction of 55,000 HGVs.
  • A reduction of carbon by 1,165 tonnes.

Our project will demonstrate a Proof-of-Concept solution at Southampton Docks that will facilitate
Solent Stevedores, and Eddie Stobart Logistics (ESL) – 2 off our project partners – to find additional
freight paths and transfer containers from HGVs to trains.

My Thoughts And Conclusions

As I programmed scheduling and resource allocation systems for forty years, I am probably one of the most experienced programmers at writing this type of system.

That experience suggests that their objectives are possible.

November 17, 2022 Posted by | Computing, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Battery EMUs Envisaged In Southeastern Fleet Procurement

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

This is the first paragraph.

Southeastern has invited expressions of interest for the supply of new electric multiple-units with an optional battery capability for operation away from the 750 V DC third-rail network.

This article on bidstats is entitled Supply Of And Maintenance Support For New Rolling Stock For Southeastern, and gives more details.

These are my thoughts.

Southeastern HighSpeed Services

There would appear to be no changes in this contract to the Class 395 trains, that work on High Speed One, as this is said in the bidstats article.

Full compatibility with Southeastern infrastructure (excluding High Speed 1 infrastructure)

which appears to rule out running on High Speed One.

In addition, this article on Rail Magazine is entitled Southeastern’s Class 395 Javelin Train Sets Are To Receive A £27 million Facelift.

Southeastern Have Both 75 and 100 mph Trains

In addition to their Class 395 trains, Southeastern have the following trains in their fleet.

Note.

  1. Running a mixed fleet of 75 and 100 mph trains can’t be very efficient.
  2. The Class 465 and 466 trains are the oldest trains and date from 1991-1994.
  3. They are often to be seen in ten-car formations of 2 x 465 trains and a Class 466 train.
  4. Another twelve Class 707 trains are planned to join Southeastern.

I would expect the Class 465 and Class 466 trains to be replaced first.

What Length Will The New Trains Be?

If you look at the new suburban electric trains, they have the following lengths.

Note.

  1. Southeastern already run five-car trains as pairs.
  2. A significant proportion of existing suburban trains are five-car trains.
  3. Great Western, Hull Trains, LNER, Lumo and TransPennine Express run five-car Hitachi trains, with more companies  to follow.
  4. A pair of five-car trains make a pair of a convenient length for most platforms.

I would be fairly confident, that the new trains will be five-car trains, with the ability to run as pairs.

What Will Be The Operating Speed Of The New Trains?

To match the speed of the Class 375 and Class 707 trains, I would expect them to be 100 mph trains.

The Quietness Of Battery-Electric Trains

All of the battery-electric trains I have ridden, have been mouse-quiet, with none of the clunking you get for a lot of electric trains.

This is said in the bidstats article says this about the interiors

Interiors suitable for metro & mainline operation.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot of these trains on commuter routes to attract passengers.

Battery Power

This is said in the bidstats article about battery power.

Inclusion of options for traction batteries with capability for operation in depots and sidings without the need for external power supply, and with the capability to operate on the main line where power supply is not available due to isolations or incidents, or for non-electrified line sections of up to 20 miles.

Although Merseyrail’s new Class 777 trains are not in service yet, I find it interesting that the proposed Southeastern trains will be similarly-fitted with a small battery for depot and siding operation.

The twenty mile battery range is specific and I wonder if it will be used innovatively. I suspect it could be a bit longer in the future, as battery technology improves.

Possible Electrified Routes Using Battery Power

These are a few possibilities.

The Hoo Branch

In Effort To Contain Costs For Hoo Reopening, I discussed running electric trains to a proposed Hoo station.

I made these two points.

  • Hoo junction to Hoo station is no more than five or six miles.
  • There are also half-a-dozen level crossings on the route, which I doubt the anti-third rail brigade would not want to be electrified.

It would appear that a battery-electric train with a range of twenty miles would handle this route easily.

  • Charging would be on the nearly thirty miles between Hoo junction and Charing Cross station.
  • No charging would be needed at Hoo station.

There may be other possibilities for new routes locally to open up new housing developments.

The Sheerness Line

The Sheerness Line has the following characteristics.

  • It is double-track
  • It is electrified
  • It is less than eight miles long.
  • For most of the day, the service is one train per hour (tph)
  • There are two tph in the Peak.
  • Would two tph attract more passengers to the line?
  • Does the power supply on the Sheerness Line limit the size and power of trains that can be run on the line?
  • Is there a need for one train per day to London in the morning and a return in the evening?
  • Could the Sheerness Line be run more economically with battery trains. providing a two tph service all day?

The Isle of Sheppey needs levelling up, perhaps 100 mph trains to London using battery power on the Sheerness Line, might just make a difference.

The Medway Valley Line

The Medway Valley Line has the following characteristics.

  • It is double-track
  • It is electrified
  • It is less than twenty-six and a half miles long.
  • For most of the day, the service is two tph.
  • In the Peak there are HighSpeed services between Maidstone West and St.Pancras International stations.

If electrification was removed between Paddock Wood and Maidstone West stations, the HighSpeed services could still be run and battery-electric trains with a twenty mile range could still run the Tonbridge and Strood service.

The Marshlink Line

The Marshlink Line has the following characteristics.

  • It is mainly single-track with a passing loop at Rye station.
  • It is not electrified
  • It is 25.4 miles between the electrified Ashford International and Ore stations.
  • Services are irregular and less than one tph.

If the proposed battery-electric train had a range of thirty miles, it should be able to handle the Marshlink Line.

The service between Eastbourne and Ashford International stations would need to be moved between the Southern and Southeastern operations.

The Uckfield Branch

The Uckfield Branch has the following characteristics.

  • It is a mixture of single- and double-track.
  • It is not electrified South of Hurst Green Junction.
  • It is 24.7 miles between the electrified Hurst Green Junction and Uckfield station
  • Services are one tph.

If the proposed battery-electric train had a range of thirty-miles, it should be able to handle the Uckfield Branch, with a charging system at Uckfield station.

Will Battery-Electric Trains Allow Some Lines To Have Their Electrification Removed?

There are several reasons, why electrification might be removed.

  1. It is on a line, where the electrification needs upgrading.
  2. It is on a line, where there are lots of trespassers.
  3. Possibly at a level-crossing or a stretch of track with several.
  4. Possibly in a tunnel, with a large inflow if water.
  5. It is a depot or siding, where safety is important to protect the workforce.

Obviously, the electrification would not be removed unless  battery-electric trains can handle all possible services.

These are surely some possibilities for electrification removal.

The Hayes Line

The Hayes Line has the following characteristics.

  • It is double-track
  • It is electrified
  • It is less than eight miles to Ladywell Junction, where the branch joins the main line at Lewisham.
  • It is currently run by Class 465 and Class 466 trains, which will likely be changed for the new trains with a battery capability.
  • Services are four tph.

If the proposed battery-electric train had a range of twenty-miles, it would be able to handle the route between Ladywell junction and Hayes station.

Erith Loop, Crayford Spur and Slade Green Depot

This map from Cartometro.com shows the Erith Loop, the Crayford Spur and the Slade Green Depot.

Note.

 

Not many trains take the Erith Loop or the Crayford Spur.

  • The distance between Slade Green and Barnehurst is less than a mile-and-a-half.
  • Dartford station is off the South-East corner of the map.
  • The distance between Barnehurst and Dartford is less than three miles.
  • The distance between Slade Green and Crayford is less than two miles-and-a-half.
  • The distance between Crayford and Dartford is less than two miles.
  • The main line through Slade Green would need to remain electrified, as electric freight trains use the line.

I suspect, that quite a lot of electrification could be removed here, much to the disgust of the copper thieves.

It might even be possible to build on top of the depot.

 

 

November 14, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Blackpool Needs A Diamond

Every year there are more and more depressing reports about Blackpool and there was another today.

Something dramatic needs to be done.

One of the successful scientific weapons that has been deployed on any number of problems, including the Covid-19 and malaria, has been the impressive Diamond Light Source at Harwell.

When I talk to researchers at universities in the North, they would love to able to use it more, but it is fully booked and getting access is difficult. There is also the travel problem.

I believe that the solution is to build Diamond 2 in the North. And what better place to build it than Blackpool. The city has good rail and tram links and plenty of accommodation.

Now, that’s what I call levelling-up.

November 4, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel, World | , , , , , | 3 Comments

A New Garden Bridge Proposed For London

This article on Ian Visits is entitled Plans Open A Disused Railway Bridge To Pedestrians.

This is the introductory paragraph.

A section of the Thames with few bridges could become a lot easier for pedestrians and cyclists to cross if plans to convert a disused railway bridge for pedestrian use go ahead.

The disused railway bridge to be used is the original 1849 Barnes Railway Bridge, which was closed to trains, when a new stronger bridge was built alongside in 1890.

This Google Map shows the two bridges.

Note.

  1. The railway tracks in the centre on the 1890 three-arch bridge.
  2. The Thames flows from South-West to North-East under the bridge.
  3. A walkway on the North-Eastern side of the is still in use.
  4. The original 1849 bridge is on the South-Western side of the bridge.

The pedestrian garden bridge will be built on the 1849 bridge, which will be refurbished.

This second Google Map shows the bridge and Barnes Bridge station.

Note.

  1. Barnes Bridge in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. Barnes Bridge station in the South-East corner of the map.

Part of the plan envisages connecting the South-Western platform to the pedestrian garden bridge.

It looks a plan with a lot of good possibilities.

The Project

It appears that Network Rail, the London Boroughs of Richmond and Hounslow are all supportive and Moxon Architects have been appointed to the project.

The project now appears to be called The View at Barnes Bridge and it has an impressive web site, with lots of information and pictures.

I have a few thoughts.

I Am Not Surprised That Network Rail Are Supportive

Network Rail must be pleased to be getting a Grade II Listed structure off their hands.

Could Barnes Bridge Station Be Made Step-Free?

I suspect that Moxon will produce designs for this and it will probably be a question of money, if they are implemented.

But as the garden bridge will attract more visitors, this will surely increase the need for full step-free access at Barnes Bridge station.

Could A Refurbished Bridge Carry Utilities?

I suspect that this will be looked at, as it could be a nice little earner.

Could This Project Be An Example Of a Levelling-Up Project?

In my travels around the UK and Europe, I’ve seen several disused railway bridges that could be reused as footbridges to provide walking and cycling.

Many are being converted, but this high-profile bridge could inspire architects to create other worthwhile bridges.

 

 

 

July 28, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Northumberland Line On Track As Approval Granted

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

These are the first three paragraphs.

A new rail line in Northumberland – including six new stations – is on track after getting ministers’ support.

The aim is to open the stations and upgrade track between Newcastle and Ashington by December 2023.

Following an inquiry, the government has granted a Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO) authorising the closure of level crossings and purchase of land.

Northumberland Council said it was a “key milestone”.

These two paragraphs describe the project.

Construction work on the line is due to start this summer.

It is planned to run a half-hourly passenger service along the 18-mile line, stopping at Bedlington, Blyth, Bebside, Newsham, Seaton Delaval and Northumberland Park Metro station.

We need more rail reopening like this to level-up the country.

June 29, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Levelling Up – The Marks & Spencer Way

When I first moved to Dalston, there were three convenient Marks and Spencer stores within a few bus stops.

 

  • Angel, which is a basically a food store with a floor of clothes above, where my grandmother used to shop before the First World and C and I used to shop in the 1970s, when we lived in the Barbican.
  • Moorgate, which is a small department store, with a medium-sized food department in the basement, which I use regularly.
  • Hackney, which was a very small department store with a poor food department, was convenient as on some of my journeys, I would get a bus home  from outside the store.

Over the last ten years, more Marks and Spencer stores have sprung up, Archway, Camden Town, Dalston, Eastfield, Hampstead, Liverpool Street, Old Street and West Hampstead, which I use occasionally, as they are on routes home.

This morning I went to the eye hospital in Colindale and coming home, I got a 32 bus to Brondesbury for the Overground.

As I needed some food, I had various choices of journey home.

  • Get off at West Hampstead and do my shopping there, and then get back on the train.
  • Get off at Hampstead Heath and do my shopping there, with a light lunch in le Pain Quotidien.
  • Get off at Dalston Kingsland and do my shopping there, with a bus home.
  • Get off at Hackney Central and do my shopping there, with a bus home.

Unusually, I chose the last option and got a big surprise.

I had been worried that Marks and Spencer in Hackney would close, but now it has been turned into the most upmarket Marks and Spencer food store, I’ve ever seen.

  • It’s more Knightsbridge. than Hackney
  • It’s large and spacious.
  • There are large ranges of tea and coffee, that you normally don’t see in the store.
  • The decor is localised to the store.
  • It is only about a hundred metres from Hackney Central station and fifty metres on the flat from my bus home.
  • It’s even just called Marks & Spencer Food

Now that’s what I call levelling up!

 

December 13, 2021 Posted by | Design, Food, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment