The Anonymous Widower

Safety Message Clear As Leven Work Ramps Up

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

The press release has a positive tone and indicates.

  • Track is starting to be laid at the Thornton end and this track will be used to help build the Levenmouth Rail Link.
  • The connection to the main line at Thornton is complete.
  • Safety is emphasised.
  • Planning permission for the two stations should be submitted this year.
  • The programme is scheduled to complete in Spring 2024.

As it is not much larger than the Okehampton scheme, which Network Rail delivered so well, I would feel that date is feasible.

Rivalry With The Northumberland Line

The Wikipedia entry for the Northumberland Line says this about the line.

The Northumberland Line is a planned passenger rail route connecting the city of Newcastle upon Tyne with Ashington, Blyth and south-east Northumberland. The route of the line uses part of the larger Blyth and Tyne Railway, a network of lines that cover south-east Northumberland. Construction of stations is planned for the summer of 2022, with the opening of the line for passenger services planned for December 2023.

Note, that both projects are planned to be completed within a few months.

Will there be an Anglo-Scottish rivalry, perhaps with pipers on both sides?

August 11, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Piling Work To Get Underway To Electrify Line To Fife

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

These four paragraphs outline the project.

Work to lay foundations that will pave the way for the electrification of the Fife Circle is about to get underway.

The £55million Scottish Government investment in the line between Haymarket and Dalmeny will see the railway transformed to accommodate quieter, more environmentally friendly electric trains.

The first phase of work between Haymarket and Dalmeny will see Network Rail pile the foundations for masts that will carry overhead wires up to the Forth Bridge. In total it will see 25 single track kilometres (STKs) of railway electrified by December 2024.

Subsequent phases of work will see ‘partial’ electrification of lines in Fife – totalling a further 104 STKs, to enable the introduction of Battery Electric Multiple Units (BEMUs) to replace life-expired diesel units which will be phased out.

This map from Wikipedia shows the stations on the Fife Circle Line.

Note.

  1. The route is double-track.
  2. The route is not electrified.
  3. The train service is generally two trains per hour (tph) in both directions.
  4. The distance from Dalmeny to Glenrothes with Thornton via Cowdenbeath is 22.3 miles
  5. The distance from Dalmeny to Glenrothes with Thornton via Kirkcaldy is 21.4 miles
  6. Trains appear to wait between three and seven minutes at Glenrothes with Thornton before returning to Edinburgh by the alternate route.

I have a few thoughts.

Partial Electrification And Battery-Electric Trains

In the Notes To Editors, this is said about what Network Rail means by partial electrification.

The ‘partial’ electrification approach to the decarbonisation of the railway – beyond delivering a reduction in carbon emissions, will also reduce the ongoing net cost to the taxpayer of operating the railway at an earlier point.

Reduced upfront infrastructure and associated capital expenditure makes projects more affordable and enables electrification of key trunk routes to start as a priority so the benefits of electrified railways will be realised earlier. Additionally, it does not preclude full electrification occurring at a future date.

The Fife electrification scheme has been approved for partial electrification, using battery electric multiple units, and further development work is to be undertaken to support this. The project is part of the plan to decarbonise the passenger railway network by 2035.

This map has been downloaded from the Network Rail web site.

The electrification is split into four phases.

  1. Haymarket and Dalmeny – 25 km
  2. Kirkcaldy and Thornton North – 25 km.
  3. Lochgelly and Thornton North – 20 km.
  4. Thornton North and Ladybank – 34 km.

Note that the last three phases of electrification connect to Thornton North.

Thornton North is Thornton North Junction, which is shown in this map from OpenRailwayMap.

Note.

  1. The orange line is the main Edinburgh and Aberdeen Line. South from here, it forms part of the Fife Circle Line and goes over the Forth Bridge.
  2. The yellow lines going West via Glenrothes with Thornton station are the Fife Circle Line via Dunfermline.
  3. The lines form a triangle which is Thornton Junction.
  4. North Thornton Junction is the Northern point of the triangle marked by a blue arrow.
  5. The black hashed line going to the North-East is the Levenmouth Rail Link, which is under construction.

As the Levenmouth Rail Link will be electrified, there will be four electrified lines fanning out from Thornton North Junction.

This must make construction easier.

  • Power supply can be established at Thornton North Junction.
  • The Levenmouth Rail Link can be built and electrified.
  • Phase 1 of the Fife Electrification between Haymarket and Dalmeny can be installed, as an extension of the electrification at Haymarket station.
  • These two sections of electrification could also allow battery-electric trains to run between Edinburgh and Leven stations, as the gap is less than thirty miles.
  • Phase 2, 3 and 4 of the Fife Electrification can then be installed in the preferred order.

It would appear, that someone has designed the electrification to a high standard.

The Forth Bridge

The Forth Bridge will be a nightmare to electrify.

I suspect the engineering problems can be solved, but the Heritage Taliban would probably protest about the desecration of a World Heritage Site.

Electrification Gaps And The Hitachi Regional Battery Train

The gaps in the electrification after all phases of the electrification have been completed, will be as follows.

  • Dalmeny and Lochgelly – 15.2 miles
  • Dalmeny and Kirkaldy – 16.4 miles
  • Ladybank and Perth – 17.8 miles
  • Ladybank and Dundee – 20.1 miles

The performance of the Hitachi Regional Battery Train is shown in this Hitachi infographic.

Note that a battery range of 90 km. is 56 miles.

A battery train of this performance, should be able to handle these routes.

  • Edinburgh and Dundee
  • Edinburgh and Glenrothes with Thornton via Kirkcaldy
  • Edinburgh and Glenrothes with Thornton via Lochgelly
  • Edinburgh and Leven
  • Edinburgh and Perth

With one of more further stretches of electrification North of Dundee, a train with this performance should be able to reach Aberdeen.

But to handle the Fife Circle and Levenmouth Rail Link, would probably need a train with a battery range of about forty miles, to allow for a round trip, if say there were problems like lifestock on the line.

Rolling Stock Procurement

The Network Rail press release also says this about Rolling Stock Procurement.

Approval has also been given hold a procurement competition to identify a preferred manufacturer and financier for new suburban trains to operate decarbonised rail passenger services on the routes covered by East Kilbride, Fife and Borders routes, replacing 42 Class 156 trains and to replace the 55 Class 318 and 320 trains operating in the Strathclyde area.

Note.

  1. It would appear that the East Kilbride, Fife and Borders routes would be worked by battery-electric trains, as they are all routes without electrification.
  2. I wrote about the East Kilbride and Kilmarnock services in East Kilbride Electrification Underway. The largest gap is about 16.8 miles.
  3. I wrote about electrification of the Borders Railway in Scottish Government Is Considering Plans To Electrify The Borders Railway. The largest gap is just under 31 miles.

It looks to me that a Hitachi Regional Battery Train with a battery range of over 40 miles would be suitable for the East Kilbride, Fife and Borders routes’

 

 

 

June 5, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

East Midlands Commuter Programme

The East Midlands Commuter Programme has been launched.

It has its own web site, with this mission statement.

Working Towards A Srosperous East Midlands By Investing In Rail

And this more expansive statement.

East Midlands Commuter Programme is a scheme to introduce a high-frequency and high-quality rail service across the East Midlands with as little new infrastructure as possible, as well as lobbying for the extension of NET trams into Derby, East Midlands Airport and more.

So what is the flesh on the bones?

Four Stages

These are.

It looks to me, that there is the start of good things there, but full information is not on the web site yet.

Every plan put forward must be capable of being built.

I shall not comment further until the plan has been completed, published and handed to the Government.

Liverpool’s Vision For Rail was published by the region in July 2021 and it is a complete and well-thought out plan.

In October 2021, I was able to write Chancellor To Fund £710m Merseyrail Expansion.

Work has already started on the first extension to Headbolt Lane station.

At a very much smaller level, look what happened in Devon with the Dartmoor Line, where a small scheme was delivered quickly.

We now also have two further smaller well-planned schemes underway; the Northumberland Line and the Levenmouth Rail Link in Scotland.

Conclusion

I would suspect, that if the East Midlands can write a plan that is complete, fully-costed and deliverable, then they will get the same result as the Liverpool City Region.

January 17, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Whisky Galore!

The Levenmouth Rail Link has carried freight in the past.

Mainly in the past, it was coal to the now-demolished Methil power station.

But it has been known to carry whisky for Diageo.

This Google map shows the area.

Note.

  1. The blue dot marking Sainsbury’s by the bew Leven station, by the mouth of the River Leven.
  2. The railway follows the river with Cameron Bridge station to the East of the A915 and the two Camero Bridge distilleries.
  3. The silver warehouses at the North side of the map are labelled Diageo Global Supply.

I wonder, if a siding can be provided for the distribution of products stored in the warehouses?

Companies are looking to lower their carbon-footprint and I wouldn’t be surprised, if Diageo were looking at rail distribution.

Modern Rail Freight Distribution

Companies are converting redundant electric multiple units into fast parcel delivery trains to replace diesel trucks.

  • Typically, four-car trains are used.
  • Trains have a 100 mph capability and can be 240 metres in length.
  • Eversholt Rail Group are proposing adding battery power. This would be ideal to reach Cameron Bridge over the Forth Bridge.

These trains would be ideal for the delivery of Scotch Whisky.

They might even be capable of exporting product through the Channel Tunnel.

I don’t think the capacity of the Levenmouth Rail Link would be a problem, as it is a double-track railway, that can probably handle over four trains per hour and there is plenty of capacity for a number of freight trains.

Conclusion

I think freight will play a use in the future of the Levenmouth Rail Link.

Related Posts

The New Leven Station On The Levenmouth Rail Link

The New Cameron Bridge Station On The Levenmouth Rail Link

North From Thornton Junction

Service Provision On The Levenmouth Rail Link

Trains On The Levenmouth Rail Link

July 29, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 7 Comments

North From Thornton Junction

This Google Map shows how all the railways connect at Thornton junction.

Note.

  1. The village of Cameron Bridge is in the North-East corner of the map.
  2. The A 915 running diagonally across the map and to the East of the village of Cameron Bridge.
  3. In The New Cameron Bridge Station On The Levenmouth Rail Link, I showed how Cameron Bridge station was positioned to the East of the A915 and the village.
  4. The Levenmouth Rail Link would appear to pass to the South of the village, according to a Network Rail map in the related post.

Thornton junction is a large triangular junction in the South-West corner of the map.

  • Thornton North junction is close to Thornton Golf Club, which is shown by the green marker.
  • Glenrothes with Thornton station is at the Eastern point of Thornton junction.
  • Trains going West from Glenrothes with Thornton station go through Dunfermline and over the Forth bridge to Edinburgh.
  • Thornton South junction is South of Thornton Golf Club and leads South through Kirkcaldy station and over the Forth bridge to Edinburgh.

This second Google Map shows the main Edinburgh and Dundee rail line between Thornton Golf Club (Thornton North junction) and Markinch station, which is the next station to the North.

Note.

  1. The village of Cameron Bridge in the East of the map.
  2. Markinch station is in the North-West corner of the map.
  3. Thornton Golf Club (Thornton North junction) is in the South-West corner of the map.

Looking at various maps, Thornton Junction appears very complicated.

  • The North-South leg of the junction is at least double-track.
  • The North-East leg of the junction appears to be single-track.
  • The South-East leg of the junction appears to be single-track.
  • The former Levenmouth Rail Link appeared to join the main line at a single-track junction to the North of Thornton North junction
  • There is lots of space.

.I’m sure Network Rail can come up with an efficient track layout, that will enable the following.

  • Trains can go between Glenrothes with Thornton and Kirkcaldy stations in both directions, as they do now.
  • Trains can go between Glenrothes with Thornton and Levenmouth Rail Link in both directions.
  • Trains can go between Kirkcaldy station and Levenmouth Rail Link in both directions.

This would enable the service provision, that was specified in Service Provision On The Levenmouth Rail Link.

What Will Be Electrified At Thornton Junction?

This page on the Network Rail web site, says this about the trains that will run the service on the Levenmouth Rail Link.

And while the line will be electrified with overhead wires, services will be operated initially by battery electric units in order to reduce the number of diesels operating on the network as early as possible.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see full electrification between Glenrothes with Thornton and Leven stations, to make sure that the battery-electric trains had full batteries for the run South to Edinburgh.

  • The other two legs of Thornton junction  would also be fully electrified to give all passing trains a good charge.
  • The distance between Kirkcaldy and Markinch stations is 7.3 miles and trains take about ten minutes. I suspect most of this section of the Edinburgh and Dundee line will be electrified. There looks to be about six overbridges that might need raising, but I suspect it would be nothing too terrible, with about the same degree of engineering difficulty as electrifying the Gospel Oak to Barking Line in London.
  • I feel with good engineering and guile, enough electrification can be added to the route through Kirkcaldy to get the trains to the South.
  • West of Glenrothes with Thornton station, the track looks to be good territory for electrification and enough wires can be added, so that by Cardenden station, there is enough power in the batteries to get the trains to the South.

I have a feeling that by intelligently using the two routes via Kirkcaldy and Dunfermline, Network Rail can increase the frequency of trains over the Forth Bridge.

  • This probably partly explains, why trains to Leven go alternatively via Kirkcaldy and Dunfermline.
  • 100 mph battery-electric trains help too with their sparkling acceleration.
  • Who’d have thought, that at the age of one hundred and thirty, the Forth Bridge will be at the heart of an electrified local train network?

And the only new electrification is based on Thornton junction, over twenty miles to the North.

Electrification Between The Forth Bridge And Edinburgh

Without doubt, the electrification to the South of the Firth of Forth must reach as far North as possible.

Dalmeny station is the most Northerly station South of the bridge and I feel that this could be a practical place for the electrification to end.

Distances from Dalmeny to stations further North include.

  • Leuchars – 41.4 miles
  • Leven – via Dunfermline – 28.2 miles
  • Leven – via Kirkcaldy – 27.3 miles
  • Dundee – 48.8 miles
  • Perth – 47.4 miles

All these destinations would be within range of Hitachi Regional Battery Trains, which are described in this Hitachi infographic.

Note that the range on battery power alone is 90 km or 56 miles.

Given that the battery-electric trains would be able to grab a battery charge as they passed through Thornton junction, I am fairly certain that Hitachi Regional Battery Trains could reach Leuchars, Dundee or Perth.

An Electric Service Between Edinburgh And Dundee

Dundee is a new station and I doubt, that it was rebuilt without provision for full electrification.

It has two through platforms for Aberdeen and Edinburgh services.

There are also two South-facing bay platforms for regional services from the South.

This picture shows the two bay platforms with an Edinburgh-bound train to the left.

Note.

  1. In the picture the two Class 170 diesel trains will be going to Edinburgh or Glasgow.
  2. Scotrail’s plans include an hourly train to both of Edinburgh and Glasgow.

If these two bay platforms were electrified with 25 KVAC overhead wires, these battery-electric services will be possible.

  • Edinburgh and Dundee via Haymarket, Kirkcaldy, Thornton junction and intermediate stations.
  • Glasgow Queen Street and Dundee via Stirling, Dunblane, Perth, Gleneagles and intermediate stations.

I suspect other routes battery-electric will be possible.

An Electric Service Between Dundee And Aberdeen

The distance between Dundee and Aberdeen stations is 72 miles.

In Solving The Electrification Conundrum, I described techniques being developed by Hitachi Rail and Hitachi ABB Power Grids to electrify routes like Dundee and Aberdeen.

With Hitachi looking to give battery-electric trains a range of over forty miles, it could be just two hops between Dundee and Aberdeen.

I suspect Montrose could be the charging point, as it is forty miles South of Aberdeen.

Conclusion

It appears that the proposed electrification of Levenmouth Rail Link creates an electrification island at Thornton junction, that enables battery-electric trains to reach Dundee.

Coupled with plans to electrify between Stirling and Perth, this means that both Perth and Dundee will be connected to Scotland’s electrified rail network.

I suspect it is also possible to easily extend battery-electric trains all the way to Aberdeen, with only short sections of carefully positioned overhead wires.

Related Posts

The New Leven Station On The Levenmouth Rail Link

The New Cameron Bridge Station On The Levenmouth Rail Link

Service Provision On The Levenmouth Rail Link

Trains On The Levenmouth Rail Link

Whisky Galore!

July 29, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Service Provision On The Levenmouth Rail Link

The reinstated Levenmouth Rail Link, will have two stations; Leven and Cameron Bridge.

According to this section in Wikipedia, which is entitled Service Provision, this will be the service.

The expected level of services is two trains per hour between Leven railway station and Edinburgh Waverley. Both will call at Cameron Bridge. One train will travel via Kirkcaldy and along the coast, while the other train will travel via Dunfermline along the inner Fife Circle Line.

In the Wikipedia entry for Leven station, it says that the service will take just over an hour.

Consider.

  • Services between Edinburgh and Glenrothes with Thornton take about an hour whether the go via Kirkcaldy or Dunfermline.
  • The current timings are based on Class 158 or Class 170 diesel trains.
  • If as I surmise in Trains On The Levenmouth Rail Link, the trains are battery-electric Class 385 trains, these trains with their electric power will at least match the schedules of the diesel trains.
  • Network Rail will design the track layout at Thornton junction, so that trains will clear the junction efficiently.
  • Glenrothes with Thornton station is only half a mile from Thornton Junction.
  • Leven station is only 5.9 miles from Thornton Junction.

I can see battery-electric trains moving smoothly and quietly up and down the Levenmouth Rail Line and around Thornton junction to provide a very efficient service to Edinburgh.

Could we even see trains from Edinburgh take this route?

Edinburgh, Haymarket, Edinburgh Gateway, Dalmeny, North Queensferry, Inverkeithing, Dalgety Bay, Aberdour, Burntisland, Kinghorn, Kirkaldy, Cameron Bridge, Leven, Cameron Bridge, Glenrothes with Thornton, Cardenden, Lochgelly, Cowdenbeath, Queen Margaret, Dunfermline,  Dunfermline Town, Rosyth, Inverkeithing, North Queensferry, Dalmeny, Edinburgh Gateway and Haymarket.

Note.

  1. A second service would run in the opposite direction.
  2. Trains would reverse and the drivers would change cabs at Leven station.
  3. Trains would charge batteries on the Levenmouth Rail Link and at Edinburgh.
  4. Every station on the route would get two trains per hour (tph) in both directions.

The hourly service between Edinburgh and Cowdenbeath could continue.

The Bridges Across The Firth Of Forth

There would be a battery-electric train every thirty minutes in both directions  across the Forth Bridge.

This Google Map shows the three bridges across the Firth of Forth.

Note.

  1. The most Westerly bridge is the  Queensferry Crossing, which carries the M90 and was opened in 2017.
  2. The bridge in the middle is Forth Road Bridge, which opened in 1964.
  3. The Forth Bridge is the most Easterly bridge and it opened in 1890.
  4. North Queensberry station is to the North of the bridge and Dalmeny is to the South.

After opening of the Levenmouth Rail Link, there could be a battery-electric train every thirty minutes in both directions  across the Forth Bridge.

This sounds like an opportunity to develop the bridge with its battery trains as a tourist attraction.

Battery-electric trains could run from Edinburgh to the following places.

  • Dundee
  • Perth
  • St. Andrews

And that’s just for starters.

Conclusion

There is a lot more to the Levenmouth Rail Link, than just a double-track railway to Leven, as it enables so much.

Related Posts

The New Leven Station On The Levenmouth Rail Link

The New Cameronbridge Station On The Levenmouth Rail Link

North From Thornton Junction

Trains On The Levenmouth Rail Link

Whisky Galore!

 

 

 

 

 

July 28, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Trains On The Levenmouth Rail Link

This page on the Network Rail web site, says this about the trains that will run the service.

And while the line will be electrified with overhead wires, services will be operated initially by battery electric units in order to reduce the number of diesels operating on the network as early as possible.

The obvious battery-electric trains to be used will be Hitachi Regional Battery Trains, which are described in this Hitachi infographic.

Note that the range on battery power alone is 90 km or 56 miles.

ScotRail currently run a fleet of the following Hitachi  trains.

  • 46 x three-car Class 385 trains.
  • 24 x four-car Class 385 trains.

Hitachi have indicated that these trains can be fitted with batteries

Could some of these trains be fitted with batteries to work the Fife Circle Line and the Levenmouth Rail Link?

Distances involved include.

  • Haymarket and Glenrothes-with-Thornton via Kirkcaldy – 29.6 miles
  • Haymarket and Glenrothes-with-Thornton via Dunfermline – 30.5 miles
  • Leven and Thornton junction – 5.9 miles

If between Haymarket and Dalmeny stations were to be electrified, this would reduce distances on battery power by over eight miles.

It would appear that if between Leven station and Thornton junction were to be electrified, then with a battery range of forty miles, the battery-electric trains could reach Haymarket station with ease.

Conclusion

It looks to me, that Baldrick’s Scottish cousin has developed a cunning plan!

But it does show how one short length of easy electrification on a new track – Leven and Thornton Junction, can avoid a more difficult electrification – Haymarket and Glenrothes-with-Thornton, which goes over the culturally-sensitive World Heritage Site of the Forth Bridge.

North From Thornton Junction

It should be noted that Haymarket and Dundee via Kirkcaldy is 57.9 miles.

  • I have just flown my virtual helicopter on the route and much of it is flat farmland.
  • Electrification to the North of Thornton Junction could use the same power feed as that used for the Levenmouth Rail Link.
  • A good proportion of the battery-electric trains, that are pencilled in for Edinburgh and Aberdeen have been or will be built by Hitachi.

I would expect that Hitachi’s techniques, that I talked about in Solving The Electrification Conundrum could be used to enable battery-electric Class 385 and Class 80x trains to run between Edinburgh and Dundee.

I have a feeling, that electrifying the Levenmouth Rail Link, may only be 5.9 miles of double-track electrification, but that with a few miles of electrification North of Thornton Junction, it can enable electric trains to run the following routes.

  • Edinburgh and Leven via Kirkcaldy.
  • Edinburgh and Leven via Dunfermline.
  • Edinburgh and Dundee
  • Edinburgh and Perth

Note that as Dunblane is electrified, battery-electric trains might be able to reach Dundee from Glasgow with some charging at Perth.

It does appear that electric trains could be serving Dundee.

Related Posts

The New Leven Station On The Levenmouth Rail Link

The New Cameron Bridge Station On The Levenmouth Rail Link

North From Thornton Junction

Service Provision On The Levenmouth Rail Link

Whisky Galore!

 

July 28, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 13 Comments

The New Cameron Bridge Station On The Levenmouth Rail Link

The reinstated Levenmouth Rail Link, will have two stations; Leven and Cameron Bridge.

This Google Map shows the River Leven and the remains of the old railway as they run West from Leven.

Note.

The River Leven runs South-West to North-East across the map.

The track of the old rail link runs towards Leven along the North Bank of the river.

This Map from this page on the Network Rail web site, shows the location of the new Cameron Bridge station.

Note.

  1. The station will be to the East of the A915 road.
  2. Cameron Bridge station will have two platforms.station has two platforms.
  3. There will be 150 car parking spaces.
  4. There is space for a bus stop and turning area.
  5. There will be two waiting shelters.
  6. The platforms look like they could be extended if needed.

Unlike Leven station, there will be a bridge with lifts for passengers.

Related Posts

The New Leven Station On The Levenmouth Rail Link

North From Thornton Junction

Service Provision On The Levenmouth Rail Link

Trains On The Levenmouth Rail Link

Whisky Galore!

 

July 27, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 5 Comments

The New Leven Station On The Levenmouth Rail Link

The reinstated Levenmouth Rail Link, will have two stations; Leven and Cameron Bridge.

This Google Map shows the mouth the the River Leven.

The key point to note is the Sainsbury’s supermarket, which is to the North of the Riven Leven, close to the A955 bridge across the river.

This Map from this page on the Network Rail web site, shows the location of the new Leven station.

Note.

  1. Leven station has two platforms.
  2. There is a car park.
  3. There is space for a bus stop and turning area.
  4. There are two waiting shelters, both on the same platform
  5. The platforms look like they could be extended if needed.

It appears that passengers will cross the line by walking past the end of the line.

This map shows a close-up of the bridge over the River Leven.

It used to connect the railway to the coal-fired Methil power station.

Some of the track is still visible.

Is provision being made in the design of Leven station, so that the rail link can be extended across the River Leven to a second station near the Bayview stadium or to allow the development of housing or industrial sites along the Forth of Firth?

Conclusion

It looks to be a good scheme, which connects to the centre of the town and could be developed with bus and walking links for onward travel.

Related Posts

The New Cameron Bridge Station On The Levenmouth Rail Link

North From Thornton Junction

Service Provision On The Levenmouth Rail Link

Trains On The Levenmouth Rail Link

Whisky Galore!

July 27, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 5 Comments

Electrification Plans For Line Between Fife And Clackmannanshire

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Rail Technology News.

This is the introductory paragraph.

The next stage of development work is due to begin for Network Rail engineers between Alloa and Longannet, which could see passenger services return between Clackmannanshire and Fife.

The article also makes these points.

  • As part of the Scottish Government’s decarbonisation plan, it is hoped the former freight line will be electrified.
  • Engineers will be conducting survey work and site and geological investigations.
  • Three new stations are also hoped to be introduced at Clackmannan, Kincardine and Longannet.
  • The work is also hoping to bring a two trains per hour (tph) passenger service between Alloa and Longannet.

There will be a lot of surveying and planning before work starts.

Existing Rail Routes And Services In The Area

These are the current routes and services in the area.

Alloa Station

Alloa station was closed in October 1968, when Harold Wilson was Prime Minister and re-opened in 2008.

Wikipedia says this about the re-opening.

Under Scottish Executive funding, the line between Stirling and Alloa was reopened to both passenger and freight traffic, with a key benefit being a reduction in congestion on the Forth Railway Bridge.

The basic train service is an hourly service to Stirling and Glasgow run by a Class 385 train.

Journey times are as follows.

  • Alloa and Stirling – 9-15 minutes
  • Alloa and Glasgow Queen Street – 45 minutes

Trains seem to take about twelve minutes to turnround at Alloa station.

This Google Map shows Alloa station.

Note.

  1. The station currently only has one platform.
  2. A second line is already laid through the station and although, it is not electrified, the gantries are positioned to electrify the second track.
  3. The two tracks merge into one to the West of the station.
  4. All passenger trains currently use the Southern platform.

This picture shows the station, just before the electric train services started.

The station also must have one of the largest station shops in the UK, which is an Asda superstore.

The Kincardine Line

The Kincardine Line is the one proposed for electrification.

  • It is currently, a freight-only route, that was re-opened to serve Longannet power station.
  • At Alloa station, it is an extension of the route from Stirling.
  • It may be connected to the new Talgo factory at Longannet, that I wrote about in A Spaniard In The Works!, as the factory will surely need electrified rail access, if any electric trains for the UK are to be built or serviced there.
  • The line passes through Clackmannan, Kincardine and Longannet.

As the route used to handle long coal trains, could it handle a 200 metre long classic-compatible high speed train, that Talgo might build for High Speed Two at Longannet?

The Fife Circle Line

According to Wikipedia, the Fife Circle Line is the local service North from Edinburgh, that goes in a long loop through Fife.

This map from Wikipedia shows the stations on the Fife Circle Line.

Note.

  1. The route is double-track.
  2. The route is not electrified.
  3. The train service is generally two trains per hour (tph) in both directions.
  4. The distance from Dalmeny to Glenrothes with Thornton via Cowdenbeath is 22.3 miles
  5. The distance from Dalmeny to Glenrothes with Thornton via Kirkcaldy is 21.4 miles
  6. Trains appear to wait between three and seven minutes at Glenrothes with Thornton before returning to Edinburgh by the alternate route.

The map doesn’t show the connection with the Kincardine Line at Dunfermline Town station.

This Google Map shows the Fife Circle Line, through Dunfermline Town station.

Note.

  1. Dunfermline Town station at the top of the map, is indicated by a station sign.
  2. The Northbound Fife Circle Line to Cowdenbeath leaves the map in a North-Easterly direction.
  3. The Southbound Fife Circle Line to Rosyth and Dalmeny, runs behind the building that looks strangely like a signpost and leaves the map in a Southerly direction
  4. There is a junction, called Charlestown Junction, where the Kincardine Line joins the Fife Circle Line.

This Google Map shows Charlestown junction.

Note.

  1. The Fife Circle Line is double-track.
  2. The Kincardine Line is only single-track.
  3. Trains must enter and leave the Kincardine Line from a Northerly direction.
  4. There is a cross-over between Charlestown junction and Dunfermline Town station.

The Google Map shows Dunfermline Town station to a larger scale.

It looks like fitting in an additional platform could be difficult.

Hitachi’s Regional Battery Train

I am introducing this train into the discussion, as the train might be an alternative to electrifying the Kincardine Line.

This infographic from Hitachi, describes the train.

Note that 90 kilometres is fifty-six miles.

From what Hitachi have said, it is likely that Class 385 trains, as used by ScotRail could be fitted with batteries and become a version of the Regional Battery Train.

  • They could be three or four cars.
  • They could work in pairs.
  • They would have a 100 mph operating speed.

Even on battery power, they might save time, against the current diesel units working services in Scotland.

Regional Battery Trains And The Fife Circle Line

This map shows the rail system to the West of Edinburgh.

All lines except for the route through South Gyle and Edinburgh Gateway stations are electrified.

A train going round the Fife Circle Route would do the following legs.

  • Edinburgh and South Gyle – 4.5 miles – All but one mile electrified.
  • South Gyle and Dalmeny – 5 miles – Not electrified.
  • Dalmeny and Glenrothes with Thornton via Cowdenbeath – 22.3 miles – Not electrified
  • Glenrothes with Thornton and Dalmeny via Kirkaldy – 21.4 miles – Not electrified
  • South Gyle and Dalmeny – 5 miles – Not electrified.
  • Edinburgh and South Gyle – 4.5 miles – All but one mile electrified.

This gives the following  totals

  • Not electrified via Cowdenbeath – 28.3 miles
  • Not electrified via Kirkcaldy – 27.4 miles
  • Round trip – 62.7 miles
  • Electrified – 7 miles

It would be very tight for a Regional Battery Train to do a round trip of 62.7 miles consistently with a range of just 56 miles, with only seven miles of electrification at the Edinburgh end.

But if charging at Glenrothes with Thornton were added, this would enable the trains to start out on the near thirty miles without electrification with full batteries from both ends. They would be unlikely to run out of power halfway.

Regional Battery Trains And The Levenmouth Rail Link

In Scottish Government Approve £75m Levenmouth Rail Link, I wrote about the five-mile long Levenmouth Rail Link, and how it could be run by battery trains.

Since I wrote that post, Hitachi have announced their Regional Battery Train.

  • If these were used on the route, they would join the Fife Circle at Thornton North Junction.
  • I estimate that the track distance that is not electrified between Leven and Edinburgh via Thornton North junction, is about thirty-five miles, whether the trains go via Glenrothes with Thornton and Cowdenbeath or Kirkcaldy,

As with the Glenrothes with Thornton service, if there was charging at at both ends, the route would be within comfortable range of Hitachi’s Regional Battery Trains.

Regional Battery Trains And The Kincardine Line

Rough distances by road along the Kincardine Line are as follows.

  • Alloa and Longannet – 8 miles
  • Alloa and Dunfermline Town – 15 miles
  • Alloa and Glenrothes with Thornton via Dunfermline Town – 30 miles

This would surely mean that Regional Battery Trains could work all these routes.

  • Trains would leave Alloa with full batteries after charging on the electrification from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling.
  • Longannet and Dunfermline Town could be served by a return trip from Alloa on batteries.
  • Charging at the Fife end would only be needed for the Glenrothes with Thornton route.

Some might think, that this would mean the Kincardine Line needn’t be electrified. But I feel Talgo will want an electrified route to their factory, so trains can move in and out under electric power.

The Design Of The Kincardine Route

These are my thoughts on various topics, taken vaguely from West to East.

Alloa Station

Alloa station already has two tracks, but as the plans envisage two tph between Alloa and Longannet, I am fairly certain a second platform will be needed at Alloa.

There is certainly space, but the station would also need a bridge for passengers.

Perhaps, the architects will use something like this bridge design.

This step-free bridge won the Network Rail/RIBA Footbridge Design Competition, but has yet to be deployed on the UK rail network.

Will the two tph service between Alloa and Longannet continue West to Stirling?

I suspect the track layout with a passing loop at Cambus to add to the one at Alloa station will give sufficient track capacity, so I suspect there will be two tph between Longannet and Stirling.

Would both services terminate at Glasgow or would one go to Glasgow, with the other to Edinburgh?

Clackmannan Station

The small town of Clackmannan has a population of about 3,500 and used to be served by Clackmannan and Kennet station, which closed in 1930.

This Google Map shows the town of Clackmannan.

Note.

  1. The Kincardine Line runs between the North West and South-East corners of the map, through the centre of the town.
  2. The original Clackmannan and Kennet station was to the South-East of this map.

This second Google map shows an enlargement of part of the town.

It would appear that there is space for a station.

  • Only a single platform would be needed.
  • What is the plan for the development site?

It could be designed as a walkway station, as has been proposed for Magor and Undy station in Wales.

Kincardine Station

The Kincardine Line runs between the small town of Kincardine and the River Forth and Kincardine station closed in 1930.

This Google Map shows the railway alongside the river.

Note.

  1. Kincardine Bridge crossing the Firth of Forth.
  2. The bridge can be used by pedestrians and cyclists.
  3. The Kincardine Line running along the river.
  4. It is not a long walk between the town centre and the railway.
  5. The blue dot to the South of the road junction marks the start of the Fife Coastal Path, which is over a hundred miles long.

Will the station be built in this area?

Longannet Station

Longannet power station was at the time of closure in 2016, the third-largest coal-fired power station in Europe.

This Google Map shows the site.

Note.

  1. The actual power station is in the middle.
  2. To the West is the coal store.
  3. The Kincardine Line comes along the river and then loops North of the power station, before curving down to the river to go to the East.
  4. There appears to be two triangular junctions either side of the coal store with a loop around the store to allow delivery of coal.

This second Google Map shows between the power station and the coal store.

Note.

  1. The Kincardine Line running West-East across the map.
  2. The triangular junction connecting it to the loop line around the coal store.
  3. The coal conveyor that used to move coal from the store to the power station.

I’d certainly like to see the plans for the site, as it is one with a lot of potential.

  • There is space for a large rail-connected factory for Talgo.
  • The station could be placed at the most convenient place.
  • There is space for a two platform station to make sure a two tph service is possible.
  • There could be lots of housing and industrial units.
  • there could be waterside housing.
  • There could be a convenient rail service to Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling.

It could be a big development for the Central Belt of Scotland.

Onward To Dunfermline

I have followed the route to Dunfermline Town station in my helicopter and it doesn’t seem the most difficult of lines to reopen.

  • Unlike many lines like this, there doesn’t appear to be too many bridges or level crossings.
  • The connection to the Fife Circle Line looks to be adequate.

I have these thoughts.

  • Cn this section of the line, could more stations be added?
  • As the Fife Circle Line is not electrified, would battery electric trains be ideal?
  • Would turnround facilities be needed at Dunfermline Town stations.

But at the moment, the plan is only to go as far as Longannet.

Thoughts On The Stations

The stations would generally be very simple.

  • Alloa would be a two-platform station.
  • Longannet might need provision for a passing loop and a second platform, so extension to Dunfermline wouldn’t be difficult.
  • All other stations could be single platforms.
  • All stations would be step-free.

Only two-platform stations would need footbridges.

Final Thoughts On Electrification

Consider.

  • All services on the Fife Circle Line, Kincardine Line and the Levenmouth Rail Link could be run using Hitachi’s proposed Regional Battery Train, with a few charging facilities at selected stations.
  • Talgo will need an electrified line to Longannet
  • As Alloa and Dunfermline Town is only about 15 miles, a Regional Battery Train could run a return trip without recharging.

It would appear that only the single-track between Alloa and Longannet needs to be electrified.

Conclusion

This looks to be a good scheme.

September 6, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment