The Anonymous Widower

Middlesbrough To London LNER Trains To Run From 13 December

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

The title is clear and these paragraphs give details of the train service.

The daily weekday service in each direction will also connect nearby Thornaby with London King’s Cross.

The services will depart Middlesbrough at 07:08 and Thornaby at 07:15, arriving at King’s Cross at 10:22.

Northbound from London will leave at 15:25, stopping at York, to Thornaby at 18:08 and Middlesbrough at 18:18.

This is obviously not a complete service.

  • It will be impossible to use direct trains to spend a day on Teesside from London, as I have done many times over the years, usually with a change at Darlington station.
  • It needs to run seven days a week.

But as the article says, more work needs to be done at Middlesbrough to turn the trains.

Currently, LNER run one train per two hours (1tp2h) to York, which alternates with a service to Lincoln at the same frequency.

LNER have said, that the Middlesbrough service will be an extension of the York service.

  • As York trains can be nine-car trains, this could explain the need for works at Middlesbrough station.
  • As York and Middlesbrough are 51 miles and an hour apart, it looks to me, that once Middlesbrough station has been updated, LNER can extend services to Middlesbrough according to passenger demand.

I suspect that eventually, the London and Middlesbrough service will have a similar frequency as the Harrogate and Lincoln services of five trains per day (tpd).

What Real Time Trains Says About The Service

Although it’s exactly four months before the service starts, it has already been entered into Real Time Trains.

The following information is given about the services.

  • One seven-minute stop at York going South and a five-minute stop going North.
  • Changeover between diesel and electric at Longlands junction, where the Teesside trains leave and join the East Coast Main Line.
  • Services do not appear to pass through Northallerton station.

Train times are as given by the BBC.

Splitting And Joining At Newark

I think it would be possible to combine the Lincoln, Middlesbrough and York services into one service.

  • A pair of five-car Azumas would run between Kings Cross and Newark North Gate, with stops at Stevenage, Peterborough and Grantham.
  • They would split at Newark North Gate station.
  • The front train would continue Northwards to Middlesbrough, with stops at Retford, Doncaster, York and Thornaby.
  • The rear train would continue Eastwards to Lincoln, with a possible extension to Grimsby Town and Cleethorpes.

Returning South the trains would join at Newark North Gate.


  1. As TransPennine Express services to and from Middlesbrough, call at Northallerton, LNER services could do the same.
  2. As with splitting and joining at Newark, only a five-car train runs to and from Middlesbrough, this could be used before the new platform at Middlesbrough is constructed.
  3. if this service ran at a frequency of 1tp2h, there would be space in the timetable for a new 1tp2h service to perhaps Newcastle and Edinburgh.

There are a lot of possibilities.

Battery-Electric Trains Between London And Middlesbrough

Only the twenty miles between Northallerton and Middlesbrough on the route are without electrification.

Hitachi have announced the Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train, which is described in this Hitachi infographic.

I believe that a version of this train could be given sufficient battery range to be able to achieve a round trip to Middlesbrough station from the electrification of the East Coast Main Line, without any need for charging at Middlesbrough.

It could be one of the first InterCity services in the world, run by battery-electric trains.

August 13, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 5 Comments

A New Timetable For The East Coast

The title of this post, is the same as that of an article in the August 2021 Edition of Modern Railways.

The Modern Railways article describes in detail the thinking behind the proposed timetable for the East Coast Main Line, that will be introduced in May 2022.

The new titletable would appear to be a compromise and judging by the number of complaints that have appeared in the media, the compromise doesn’t suit everyone.

A lot of my programming was concerned with the allocation of resources in large projects and that expertise convinces me, that the East Coast Main Line doesn’t have enough capacity to accommodate all the services that passengers need and train companies want to run.

These are my thoughts.

High Speed Two

When High Speed Two is completed to Leeds, it will add the following services to Leeds.

  • Three trains per hour (tph) between London Euston and Leeds in a time of one hour and twenty-one minutes.
  • Two tph between Birmingham Curzon Street and Leeds in a time of forty-nine minutes.
  • One tph between Bedford and Leeds, run by Midlands Connect, in a time of one hour and thirty-six minutes.

Leeds will benefit from these services from the South on the new High Speed Two.

But the High Speed Two network has been designed to need to run three tph between York and Newcastle, which will have to share with other East Coast Main Line services.

Both High Speed Two and the aspiration of providing more services on the East Coast Main Line mean that more capacity must be provided between York and Newcastle.

High Speed Two is not mentioned in the Modern Railways article.

I know the Eastern Leg of High Speed Two is many years away, but surely, it should have an influence on the design of East Coast Main Line services.

For instance, destinations like Bradford, Cleethorpes, Doncaster, Harrogate, Huddersfield, Hull, Lincoln, Middlesbrough, Peterborough, Redcar, Scarborough, Skegness and Sunderland are unlikely to be served by High Speed Two services, so how does that determine our thinking, when planning train services to  these destinations.

Perhaps, there should be lists of secondary destinations, that should be served by the various operators.

London And Leeds In Two Hours

This is mentioned in the Modern Railways article as being an aspiration of Virgin Trains East Coast, when they ran the franchise.

In Thoughts On Digital Signalling On The East Coast Main Line, I did a few rough calculations and said this.


    • The fastest current trains between London Kings Cross and Leeds take between two hours and twelve minutes and two hours and fifteen minutes.
    • I suspect that the extra tracks into Kings Cross, that are currently being built will save a few minutes.
    • There must be some savings to be made between Doncaster and Leeds
    • There must be some savings to be made between London Kings Cross and Woolmer Green.
    • There could be a rearrangement of stops.

I think it is highly likely that in the future, there will be at least one train per hour (tph) between London Kings Cross and Leeds, that does the trip in two hours.

It is my view, that any new East Coast Main Line timetable should include services between London Kings Cross and Leeds in a few minutes under two hours.

London And Edinburgh In Four Hours

This must be another objective of the train companies, as it is competitive with the airlines.

But it is not a simple process as cutting stops to save time, often annoys the locals.

So achieving the objective of a four-hour trip between London and Edinburgh probably needs some major upgrades to the East Coast Main Line.

Some of the improvements needed are detailed in Northern Powerhouse Rail – Significant Upgrades Of The East Coast Main Line From Leeds To Newcastle (Via York And Darlington) And Restoration Of The Leamside Line.

Projects in the related article include.

  • Phase 2 Of The East Coast Main Line Power Supply Upgrade
  • York to Church Fenton Improvement Scheme
  • Darlington Station Remodelling
  • The North Throat Of York Station Including Skelton Bridge Junction
  • Use Of The Leamside Line
  • Full Digital ERTMS signalling.

It would appear there’s a lot of work to do, but all of it, will be needed for High Speed Two.

The Modern Railways article does point out, that the new Hitachi trains have superior acceleration to the InterCity 225 trains, that they have replaced. So that will help!

Although it is a worthwhile objective, I think it will be some years before London and Edinburgh times of under four hours are obtained on the East Coast Main Line.

Hitachi’s Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train

These trains are described in this Hitachi infographic.

Within a couple of years these trains will start to be seen on the East Coast Main Line serving destinations like Cleethorpes, Grimsby, Harrogate, Huddersfield,  Hull, Lincoln, Middlesbrough and Sunderland.

Although, it says batteries will replace one engine in the infographic, I believe the standard five-car train for the East Coast Main Line will have two battery packs and an emergency diesel engine. Before the end of the decade, they will be fully-decarbonised with three battery packs.

Splitting And Joining

Although the Hitachi trains can accomplish splitting and joining with ease, it is only mentioned once in the Modern Railways article and that is concerned with a service to Huddersfield, which will split and join at Leeds.

I can see this being used to make sure that each train running into Kings Cross is either a nine-car or a pair of five-car trains, as this would maximise capacity on the route.

Currently, trains to York and Lincoln share a path into Kings Cross, with trains alternating to each destination, so each destination gets one train per two hours (1tp2h).

It would surely be possible for a pair of trains to leave Kings Cross, that split at Newark, with one train going to York and the other to Lincoln.

  • The Modern Railways article says that the Middlesbrough service will be an extension of the 1tp2h York service.
  • This means Kings Cross and Middlesbrough would call at Stevenage, Peterborough, Grantham, Newark North Gate, Retford, Doncaster and York.
  • So at some time in the future could the Middlesbrough and Lincoln services share a path, with a split and join at Newark?

If the Lincoln and Middlesbrough services were to be run at a frequency of 1tp2h, the intervening paths could be used for other destinations.

Theoretically, by using pairs of five-car trains and splitting and joining, four destinations can be given a service of 1tp2h to and from London, that all use the same path.

I think the following splits and joins would be feasible.

  • Lincoln/Middlesbrough splitting and joining at Newark North Gate.
  • Lincoln/Scarborough splitting and joining at Newark North Gate.
  • Nottingham/Sheffield splitting and joining at Newark North Gate.
  • Harrogate/Huddersfield splitting and joining at Leeds.
  • Bradford/Skipton splitting and joining at Leeds.
  • Hull/Leeds splitting and joining at Doncaster.


  1. The two Lincoln splits and joins at Newark North Gate could possibly be arranged, so that Middlesbrough got roughly 1tp2h and Scarborough got perhaps two trains per day (tpd).
  2. Hull would be a very useful destination, as it is a large station to the East of the East Coast Main Line.
  3. Nottingham and Sheffield could be useful destinations during any disruption on the Midland Main Line, perhaps due to installation of full electrification.

The permutations and combinations are endless.

All Fast Trains Must Have Similar Performance

East Coast Trains, Hull Trains, LNER and TransPennine Express all use trains with similar performance.

But other operators like Great Northern use slower trains on the East Coast Main Line.

As the Hitachi trains will be running at up to 140 mph under the control of full digital signalling, it strikes me that for safe, fast and efficient operation, the other operators will need faster trains, where they run on the fast lines of the East Coast Main Line.

Grand Central

Grand Central‘s fleet of Class 180 trains will need to be replaced to decarbonise the operator and will surely be replaced with more 140 mph trains to take advantage of the digitally-signalled East Coast Main Line.

As their routes are not fully-electrified, I suspect they’ll be using similar Hitachi battery-electric trains.

The Cambridge Effect

Cambridge is becoming one of the most important cities in the world, let alone England and the UK.

It is generating new businesses at a tremendous rate and it needs an expanded rail network to give access to housing and industrial premises in the surrounding cities and towns.

  • Peterborough is in the same county and is developing alongside Cambridge.
  • Bury St. Edmunds, Norwich and other towns are being drawn into Cambridge.
  • East West Rail to Bedford, Milton Keynes and Oxford is coming.

Cambridge is well-connected to London, but needs better connections to the North and Midlands.

King’s Cross And King’s Lynn

Currently, this route is run by 110 mph Class 387 trains.

These trains are just not fast enough for Network Rail’s 140 mph digitally signalled railway between King’s Cross and Hitchin.

In Call For ETCS On King’s Lynn Route, I examine how 125 mph trains and full digital signalling could be used to run between King’s Cross and King’s Lynn via Cambridge.

This would allow the trains to use the fast lines into King’s Cross.

I also feel, that to maximise the use of paths into King’s Cross, that the King’s Lynn service could be paired with a new Norwich service. The two trains would split and join at Cambridge.

Liverpool Lime Street And Norwich

This service is currently run by Class 156 trains and needs decarbonising. It also runs on 125 mph lines between.

  • Peterborough and Grantham
  • Nottingham and Sheffield

It certainly needs a thorough redesign and modern rolling stock to replace the current rolling road blocks.

East West Rail will certainly increase Cambridge and Norwich services to two tph, so why not terminate this Liverpool service at Cambridge rather than Norwich?

  • Cambridge station has a lot of space to add extra platforms.
  • The service would not need to reverse at Ely.
  • It would add much-needed capacity to the Cambridge and Peterborough route.
  • The service could even terminate at the new Cambridge South station.
  • There have been plans for some time to split this service at Nottingham.

As between Peterborough and Grantham is a fully-electrified four-track line, I suspect that a Cambridge and Nottingham service could be handled by a 110 mph battery-electric train based on a Class 350 or Class 379 train.

Similar battery-electric trains could probably handle the Northern section between Nottingham and Liverpool Lime Street.

Stansted Airport And Birmingham Via Cambridge

After the work to the North of Peterborough at Werrington, this service has a clear route away from the East Coast Main Line, so it can be ignored.

The service does need decarbonisation and I suspect that it could be run by a 110 mph battery-electric train based on a Class 350 or Class 379 train.

CrossCountry And TransPennine Express Services

CrossCountry and TransPennine Express also run services on the Northern section of the East Coast Main Line.

  • CrossCountry – 1 tph – Leeds and Edinburgh via York, Darlington, Durham, Newcastle, Alnmouth, Berwick-upon-Tweed and Dunbar (1tp2h)
  • CrossCountry – 1 tph – Sheffield and Newcastle via Doncaster, York, Darlington and Durham.
  • TransPennine Express – 1 tph – Liverpool Lime Street and Scarborough via Leeds, Garforth and York
  • TransPennine Express – 1 tph – Manchester Airport and Redcar via Leeds, York, Thirsk, Northallerton, Yarm, Thornaby, and Middlesbrough.
  • TransPennine Express – 1 tph – Liverpool Lime Street and Edinburgh via Leeds, York, Darlington, Durham, Newcastle and Morpeth.
  • TransPennine Express – 1 tph – Manchester Airport and Newcastle via Leeds, York, Northallerton, Darlington, Durham and Chester-le-Street (1t2h)

In addition LNER and East Coast Trains also run these services on the same section.

  • LNER – 1 tp2h – London Kings Cross and York
  • LNER – 1 tph – London Kings Cross and Edinburgh via York, Darlington, Newcastle, Berwick-upon-Tweed
  • LNER – 1 tph – London Kings Cross and Edinburgh via York, Northallerton (1tp2h), Darlington, Durham, Newcastle and Alnmouth (1tp2h)
  • East Coast Trains – 5 tpd – London Kings Cross and Edinburgh via Newcastle and Morpeth.

Aggregating the stops gives the following.

  • York – 8.5 tph
  • Darlington – 6 tph
  • Durham – 5 tph
  • Chester-le-Street – 0.5 tph
  • Newcastle – 6 tph and 5 tpd
  • Morpeth – 1 tph and 5 tpd
  • Almouth – 1.5 tph
  • Berwick-on-Tweed – 2 tph
  • Dunbar – 0.5 tph


  1. 1 tp2h = 0.5 tph
  2. Scotland is building two new stations at Reston and East Linton.
  3. Northern run trains between Newcastle and Morpeth.

It does appear from comments in the Modern Railways article, that the various train companies and passenger groups can’t agree on who calls where to the North of York.

Perhaps the Fat Controller should step in.

Between Newcastle and Berwick-on-Tweed

With the reopening of the Northumberland Line between Newcastle and Ashington, there may be an opportunity to reorganise services between Newcastle and Berwick-on-Tweed.

  • Morpeth could be served via the Northumberland Line.
  • Britishvolt are building a large gigafactory for batteries at Blyth.
  • It would probably be a good idea to remove slow diesel services from the East Coast Main Line.
  • Reston station will need a train service.
  • Morpeth and Newcastle are under twenty miles apart on the East Coast Main Line and the route via Ashington is perhaps only ten miles longer.

It looks to me that local services on the Northumberland Line and between Newcastle and Reston on the East Coast Main Line could be run by a 110 mph battery-electric train.


There would appear to be a lot of scope to create a very much improved timetable for the East Coast Main Line.

I do think though that the following actions must be taken.

  • Ensure, that all the long-distance train companies have trains capable of running at 140 mph under the control of digital signalling.
  • Develop a 110 mph battery-electric train to work the local routes, that run on the East Coast Main Line.
  • Get agreement between passengers and train companies about stopping patterns to the North of York.
  • Use splitting and joining creatively to squeeze more trains into the available paths.

LNER would also need to increase their fleet.



August 9, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

LNER To Serve Cleethorpes

Under the proposed new LNER timetable, which will start in May 2022, there will be a new train service between London Kings Cross and Cleethorpes.

According to this article on the Lincolnite, which is entitled Direct Cleethorpes To London Rail Link ‘Close’ To Getting Go Ahead, there will be one service per day.

It will leave Cleethorpes at 06:24 and Grimsby Town at 06:32 before arriving at King’s Cross at 09:25.

The return will leave King’s Cross at 16:10 and arrive in Grimsby Town at 19:05 and Cleethorpes at 19:20.

The August 2021 Edition of Modern Railways makes these points about the service.

  • The larger Azuma fleet makes this extension possible.
  • ,A more regular service would require additional trains.
  • LNER is examining whether other intermediate stations east of Lincoln could be served.

I would have thought, that Market Rasen station could be a possibility for an intermediate stop.

I have a few thoughts.

Extra Services

This single service is ideal for though living in Lincolnshire, but it doesn’t suit those people, who perhaps need to go to the area from London for business or family reasons.

  • Lincoln appears to get around five or six trains per day in each direction to and from King’s Cross.
  • Services are roughly one train per two hours.
  • I suspect the Lincoln service can be run by a single train, that shuttles between King’s Cross and Lincoln stations.

I believe, that Cleethorpes needs at least a pair of services to and from London, so that travellers can spend a day in North-East Lincolnshire.

  • This would probably need more trains.
  • Services would go via Lincoln and Lincoln may get extra services to London.
  • Selected services could stop at intermediate stations, like Market Rasen.

There are surely possibilities for a integrated timetable between King’s Cross and Lincoln, Market Rasen, Grimsby Town and Cleethorpes.

Battery-Electric Operation


  • LNER’s Class 800 trains are prime candidates for conversion to Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Trains, so they can run away from the overhead wires of the East Coast Main Line to places like Lincoln, by the use of battery power.
  • These battery trains could charge using the electrification between King’s Cross and Newark North Gate stations.
  • The distance between Lincoln Central station and the East Coast Main Line is 16.6 miles.
  • In Plans To Introduce Battery Powered Trains In Scotland, I quote Hitachi, as saying they expect a sixty mile range for battery trains.

I am sure, that these trains would have sufficient range on battery to be able to work King’s Cross and Lincoln services without using diesel.

But could the Hitachi trains reach Cleethorpes with some well-positioned charging?

  • The distance between Lincoln and Cleethorpes stations is 47.2 miles.
  • In Solving The Electrification Conundrum, I describe Hitachi’s solution to running battery-electric trains, by using well-placed short lengths of 25 KVAC overhead electrification controlled by an intelligent power system.

With a range of sixty miles on batteries and charging at Lincoln and Cleethorpes stations, it would appear that battery electric operation of Class 800 trains between King’s Cross and Cleethorpes is a distinct possibility.

Lincoln Station

Lincoln station has three operational through platforms and I suspect all would need to be electrified, so that trains could be charged as they passed through.

These are distances from Lincoln station.

  • Cleethorpes – 47.2 miles
  • Doncaster – 36.9 miles
  • Nottingham – 33.9 miles
  • Peterborough – 56.9 miles
  • Sheffield – 48.5 miles

It does appear that if Lincoln station were to be electrified, most services from the city could be run using battery-electric trains.

Cleethorpes Station

This picture shows Cleethorpes station with two TransPennine Express Class 185 trains in the station.


  1. The Class 185 trains are diesel, but could be replaced by Hitachi Class 802 trains, which could be converted to battery-electric operation.
  2. Cleethorpes and Doncaster are 52.1 miles apart, which could be in range of Hitachi’s battery-electric trains.
  3. It doesn’t look to be too challenging to electrify a couple of platforms to charge the battery-electric trains.
  4. Cleethorpes station could surely charge both the LNER and the TransPennine Express trains.
  5. The Cleethorpes and Barton-on-Humber service which is under fifty miles for a round trip could also be replaced with battery-electric trains.

Cleethorpes station could be totally served by battery-electric trains.

Battery-Electric Trains For Lincolnshire

At the present time, there is a surplus of good redundant electrical multiple units and the rolling stock leasing companies are looking for places where they can be used.

Porterbrook are already looking to convert their fleet of Class 350 trains to battery-electric operation and I am certain, that now that Hitachi and others have solved the charging problem, a lot more trains will be converted.

Most would appear to be four-car 100 mph trains, which will be very convenient and should fit most platforms.


Running battery-electric Class 800 trains to Lincoln, Grimsby Town and Cleethorpes could be the start of decarbonisation of Lincolnshire’s railways.

What would battery-electric trains do for the economy of Lincolnshire?




August 7, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Network Rail’s Big Push

The title of this press release on the Network Rail web site is 11,000 Tonne Tunnel To Be Installed On The Railway In First For UK Engineering.

They have also released this aerial photograph of the tunnel, before it is pushed into place.


  1. The tunnel, which is just a curved concrete box is in the middle of the picture.
  2. To its left is the double-track Peterborough-Lincoln Line.
  3. Running across the far end of the tunnel are the multiple tracks of the East Coast Main Line.
  4. Peterborough is a few miles to the left, with the North to the right.

This Google Map shows the same area from directly above.


  1. The double-tracks of the Stamford Lines closest to the South-West corner of the map.  These link the Peterborough-Birmingham Line to Peterborough.
  2. Next to them are the triple tracks of the East Coast Main Line.
  3. The third rail line is the double-track of the Peterborough and Lincoln Line.
  4. The new tunnel can be seen at the top of the map.

This map from Network Rail, shows the new track layout.

The map shows that the Stamford Line will divide with two tracks (1 and 4) going North to Stamford as now. Two new tracks (2 and 3) will dive-under the East Coast Main Line to join the  existing Peterborough and Lincoln Line.

The tracks will run through the tunnel in the pictures, after it has been pushed under the East Coast Main Line.

  • This will mean that the many freight trains between Peterborough and Lincoln will not have to cross the East Coast Main Line on the flat.
  • This in turn could allow faster running of trains on the East Coast Main Line, that are not stopping at Peterborough.

This second Google Map shows the area to the North of the first map.


  1. The East Coast Main Line in the South-West corner of the map.
  2. The Peterborough and Lincoln Line curving from North-South across the map.
  3. A bridge would appear to be being constructed to take the A15 road over the new tracks, that will go through the tunnel.
  4. Another bridge will be constructed to take Lincoln Road over the new tracks.

It is certainly not a small project.

That is emphasised by this third Google Map, which is to the North of the previous map.

This map would appear to show space for more than a pair of tracks.

It looks to me, that space is being left for future rail-related development.

  • Could it be for a small freight yard, where trains could wait before proceeding?
  • If it were electrified, it could be where freight trains to and from London, switched between electric and diesel power.
  • Could it be passing loops, so that freight trains can keep out of the way of faster passenger trains?
  • Would it be a place for a possible new station?

If it is to be a full rail freight interchange, I can’t find any mention of it on the Internet.

The Big Push

Summarising, what is said in the press release, I can say.

  • Major works to occur over nine days between 16 and 24 January
  • It will be pushed at 150cm per hour.
  • A reduced level of service will operate.
  • It will take several weekends.

I hope it’s being filmed for later broadcasting.

Thoughts On Services

I have a few thoughts on passenger services.

London And Lincoln Via Spalding And Sleaford


  • Peterborough and Lincoln is 57 miles.
  • The route has lots of level crossings.
  • Much of the route between Peterborough and Lincoln has an operating speed of 75 mph
  • There is a 50 mph limit through Spalding. Is this to cut down noise?
  • Trains between Peterborough and Lincoln take a shortest time of one hour and twenty-three minutes, with four stops.
  • Peterborough and Lincoln is 57 miles.
  • This is an average speed of 41 mph.

I wonder what time a five-car Class 800 train would take to do the journey.

  • At an average speed of 50 mph, the train would take 68 minutes and save 15 minutes.
  • At an average speed of 60 mph, the train would take 57 minutes and save 26 minutes.
  • At an average speed of 70 mph, the train would take 49 minutes and save 18 minutes.

As the fastest London Kings Cross and Peterborough time is 46 minutes, this would mean that with an average speed of 60 mph, a time between London Kings Cross of one hour and forty-three minutes could be possible.

  • There could be additional time savings by only stopping at Peterborough, Spalding and Sleaford.
  • The Werrington Dive Under looks to be built for speed and could save time.
  • If the 50 mph limit through Spalding is down to noise, battery electric trains like a Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train might be able to go through Spalding faster.
  • Could some track improvements save time between Peterborough and Lincoln?

As the fastest journeys via Newark to Lincoln take one hour and fifty-six minutes, it looks to me, that LNER might be able to save time by going via Spalding and Sleaford after the Werrington Dive Under opens.

London And Skegness

If there were a fast London train from Sleaford, it will take under an hour and thirty minutes between London Kings Cross and Sleaford.

  • Currently, the connecting train between Skegness and Sleaford takes an hour for the forty miles.
  • The service is currently run by Class 158 trains.
  • With some 100 mph trains on the Skegness and Sleaford service, it might be possible to travel between London and Skegness in two hours and fifteen minutes with a change at Sleaford.

There would appear to be possibilities to improve the service between London and Skegness.

Lincoln And Cambridge

I used to play real tennis at Cambridge with a guy, who was a Cambridge expansionist.

He believed that Cambridge needed more space and that it should strongly rcpand high-tech research, development and manufacturing all the way across the fens to Peterborough and beyond.

I listened to his vision with interest and one thing it needed is a four trains per hour express metro between Cambridge and Peterborough.

  • Ely and Peterborough should be electrified for both passenger and freight trains.
  • March and Spalding should be reopened.
  • Cambridge has the space for new services from the North.

Extending the Lincoln and Peterborough service to Cambridge could be a good start.


The Werrington Dive Under will certainly improve services on the East Coast Main Line.

I also feel, that it could considerably improve rail services between London and South Lincolnshire.

It certainly looks, like Network Rail have designed the Werrington Dive Under to handle more traffic than currently uses the route.

Towns like Boston, Skegness, Sleaford and Spalding aren’t going to complain.






January 11, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Trip To Grantham Station – 4th November 2020

I hadn’t intended to go to Grantham station, but that’s what I did on the last day before lockdown.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been talking to a guy in Lincolnshire, who read Energy In North-East Lincolnshire, on this blog.

Last week, we both realised that we’d worked together in the 1970s, when he worked at a bank in the City, and I did some data analysis for the section, where he worked.

He is unwell with cancer at the moment and suggested I come down and see him in Skegness, where he now lives with his wife.

So I arrived at Grantham and found that the connecting train was running nearly an hour late and even then it was terminating at Boston.

After a quick exchange of texts, I told him the bad news and he gave me the good news, that his condition had improved and would be able to see me after Christmas and/or lockdown.

Luckily, I was able to change my ticket and took the next train back to London, after taking these pictures of the station.

I just had time to have a last drink of Aspall cyder before lockdown, in the station bar.

These are some thoughts.

Platform Layout At Grantham

The Wikipedia entry for Grantham station says this about the platforms.

It is composed of four platforms; platforms 1 and 2 are on the East Coast Main Line and are responsible for express services between London and Scotland. Platform 1 serves exclusively London King’s Cross via Peterborough and Stevenage; Platform 2 serves cities of northern England and Edinburgh. Platform 2, 3 and 4 are formed from a large island platform structure. Platform 3 is a bay platform at the northern end of the station that is used to allow local trains to reverse, while Platform 4 is a two-way platform that is used by East Midlands Railway. Only Platform 1 has amenities, including toilets, refreshments and a buffet.

This Google Map shows the station.


  1. Platforms are numbered 1 to 4 from East to West.
  2. Platforms 1 and 2 are long enough to take two five-car Class 800 trains working as a pair.
  3. Platform 4 may be long enough for these pairs of trains or could be made so.
  4. All trains to and from Nottingham call in Platform 4.
  5. Trains from Nottingham to Peterborough call in Platform 4 before crossing over to the down lines.
  6. There would appear to be no easy way for a Southbound train on the East Coast Main Line to access Platform 4.
  7. Platform 3 didn’t get much use on the day I visited.

There is also an avoiding line to allow freight and other passing trains to avoid going through the platforms.

Services Through Grantham Station

Services stopping at Grantham are as follows.

  • LNER – One tp2h – London Kings Cross and Harrogate via Stevenage, Grantham, Doncaster, Wakefield Westgate, Leeds
  • LNER – One tp2h – London Kings Cross and Bradford Forster Square via Stevenage, Grantham, Doncaster, Wakefield Westgate, Leeds
  • LNER – One tp2h – London Kings Cross and Lincoln via Stevenage, Peterborough, Grantham and Newark North Gate
  • LNER – One tp2h – London Kings Cross and York via Stevenage, Peterborough, Grantham, Newark North Gate, Retford and Doncaster.
  • Hull Trains – Five tpd – London Kings Cross and Hull via Stevenage, Grantham, Retford, Doncaster, Selby, Howden and Brough
  • Hull Trains – Two tpd – London Kings Cross and Beverley via Stevenage, Grantham, Retford, Doncaster, Selby, Howden, Brough, Hull and Cottingham.
  • East Midlands Railway – One tph – Liverpool Lime Street and Horwich via Peterborough and Nottingham
  • East Midlands Railway – One tph – Nottingham and Skegness


  1. tph is trains per hour
  2. tp2h is trains per two hours.
  3. tpd is trains per day.

Adding the services together, there is a frequent service between Stevenage, Peterborough, Grantham and Newark North Gate.

Train Timings Between London Kings Cross and Grantham

The fastest trains take 67 minutes between London Kings Cross and Grantham.

  • The distance is 105.5 miles
  • This would be an average speed of 94.5 mph.
  • The East Coast Main Line is being upgraded with in-cab digital ERTMS signalling, which will allow 140 mph running.
  • The works at Kings Cross station will have increased the station’s capacity.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a time between London Kings Cross and Grantham, of under an hour, time-tabled in the near future.

Could There Be A London Kings Cross and Nottingham Service Via Grantham?

On this page on UK Rail Forums, this was posted in 2010.

According to today’s East Midlands news on BBC1, Network Rail is considering inviting tenders to run a faster service from Nottingham to London King’s Cross via Grantham, from 2014. The present service of around 1hr 45m is considered too slow by passengers.

How would this new service be reconciled with the much-publicised capacity constraints at Welwyn and at King’s Cross itself? Will the proposed possible service be diesel-powered under the wires from Grantham, or will the Grantham-Nottingham stretch be electrified? Interesting times.

Technology has changed since 2010 and the East Coast Main Line has improved.

  • King;s Cross station is being sorted.
  • Digital ERMTS signalling is coming to the East Coast Main Line
  • Hatachi’s new Class 800 trains have arrived and could go between Grantham and Nottingham on diesel power.
  • Grantham and Nottingham takes 35 minutes on a service with three stops, that’s timed for a Class 153 train.
  • Grantham and Nottingham is just over twenty miles.

As I said earlier, that I believe Grantham and London could be inside an hour, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Nottingham and London Kings Cross service in under an-hour-and-a-half.

But it could be better than that?

Hitachi’s Regional Battery Train

This is the train that could unlock the potential of a London Kings Cross and Nottingham service.

This Hitachi infographic gives details of the train.

Note that the train has a range of 90 kilometres or 56 miles, at speeds of up to 100 mph.

The trains would be ideal for a London Kings Cross and Nottingham service.

  • They would charge the batteries, whilst using the electrification on the East Coast Main Line.
  • The battery range is such, that it would not need any charging between leaving Grantham and returning there from Nottingham.
  • They could travel at speeds of up to 140 mph on the East Coast Main Line, once the digital ERTMS  signalling is installed.
  • Stops could be at Stevenage, Peterborough and Grantham.

LNER’s five-car Class 800 trains, which are branded Azumas can be turned into Regional Battery Trains, by replacing the three diesel engines with battery packs.

I would suspect that times of around eighty minutes, between London Kings Cross and Nottingham, could be in order.

A Park-And-Ride For Nottingham And London

Nottingham has several Park-and-Ride sites, that are served by the trams. of the Nottingham Express Transit, which already calls at Nottingham station.

Would another site on the rail line between Grantham and Nottingham be useful?

This map shows. where the rail line crosses the A46, near its junction with the A52.

Note the Grantham and Nottingham line running across the top of the map and the big junction between the A52 and the A46.

It looks to be a good place for a Park-and-Ride station, if it was decided one needed to be built.

There might also be sites further in towards Nottingham, close to the racecourse or the Holme Pierpoint National Watersports Centre.

A Combined Nottinghamshire And Lincolnshire Service

I originally called this section a Combined Nottingham And Lincoln Service, but I don’t see why it can’t serve most of both counties.


  • Birmingham, Brighton, Cambridge, Oxford and Southend get two services from the capital by different routes.
  • Hitachi’s Class 800 trains can Split/Join in around two minutes.
  • Running five-car Class 800 trains all the way between London Kings Cross and Lincoln is not a good use of a valuable train path on the East Coast Main Line.
  • Lincoln is just 16.5 miles and 24 minutes from the East Coast Main Line.
  • Nottingham is 22 miles and could be 20 minutes from the East Coast Main Line.
  • Both Lincoln and Nottingham would be in battery range for a return trip from the East Coast Main Line.
  • Platforms 1, 2 and 4, at Grantham are long enough to handle two Class 800 trains, running as a pair and regularly pairs call in Platforms 1 and 2.

I believe it would be possible for a pair of Regional Battery Trains to do the following.

  • Leave London Kings Cross and run to Grantham in an hour, stopping at Stevenage and Peterborough.
  • Stop in Platform 4 at Grantham station, where the trains would split.
  • One train would continue on the East Coast Main Line to Newark North Gate station, where it would leave the East Coast Main Line and go to Lincoln.
  • The other train would continue to Nottingham.


  1. Coming back, the process would be reversed with trains joining in Platform 1 or Platform 4 at Grantham.
  2. There may need to be some track and signalling modifications, but nothing too serious or challenging.

Connections to other parts of Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire would be as follows.

  • Nottingham and Nottinghamshire would be connected using the Nottingham Express Transit and the Robin Hood and Maid Marian Lines from Nottingham station.
  • All stations between Grantham and Nottingham would be reached from either Grantham or Nottingham.
  • All stations to Boston and Skegness would be reached from Grantham.
  • All stations between Newark and Lincoln would be reached from either Lincoln or Newark.
  • All stations between Doncaster and Lincoln would be reached from either Doncaster or Lincoln.
  • All stations between Peterborough and Lincoln would be reached from either Lincoln or Peterborough.
  • All stations to Market Rasen, Grimsby Town and Cleethorpes would be reached from Lincoln.


  1. I feel that some Lincoln services could be extended to Cleethorpes via Market Rasen and Grimsby Town.
  2. Hopefully, a timetable could be developed, so that no connection was overly long.

Most of the distances are not unduly long and I would hope that most secondary services could be battery electric trains, which would be charged in the larger stations like Boston, Cleethorpes, Doncaster, Grantham, Lincoln, Mansfield, Nottingham, Peterborough, Sleaford, Spalding and Worksop.

Doncaster, Grantham and Peterborough already have 25 KVAC overhead electrification and this could be used to charge the trains, with possibly some small extensions.

The other stations will need a number of systems to charge the trains, as they pass through.

Some stations will be suitable for the installation of the standard 25 KVAC overhead electrification, but others will need specialised charging systems.

It appears that Adrian Shooter of Vivarail has just announced a One-Size-Fits-All Fast Charge system, that has been given interim approval by Network Rail.

I discuss this charger in Vivarail’s Plans For Zero-Emission Trains, which is based on a video on the Modern Railways web site.

There is more about Vivarail’s plans in the November 2020 Print Edition of the magazine, where this is said on page 69.

‘Network Rail has granted interim approval for the fast charge system and wants it to be the UK’s standard battery charging system’ says Mr. Shooter. ‘We believe it could have worldwide implications.’

Vivarail’s Fast Charge system must surely be a front-runner for installation.

What frequency of the Combined Nottinghamshire And Lincolnshire service would be needed and could be run?


  • Currently, Lincoln is served with one tp2h with a five-car Class 800 train running the service.
  • The Lincoln service alternates with a one tp2h service to York, which also calls at Retford and Doncaster.
  • Work is progressing on increasing the number of high speed paths on the East Coast Main Line.

Obviously, an hourly service to both Nottingham and Lincoln would be ideal and would give most of the two counties an hourly service to and from London Kings Cross with a single change at either Doncaster, Grantham. Lincoln, Newark, Nottingham or Peterborough.

  • An hourly service might be difficult to timetable because of the York service.
  • But I don’t believe it would be impossible to setup.

Especially if after, the Eastern leg of High Speed Two opens, East Coast Main Line services from London Kings Cross to North of York are replaced in part, by High Speed Two services.

The Effect Of High Speed Two

High Speed Two will build a new station at Toton called East Midlands Hub station.

  • The station will be situated about halfway between Nottingham and Derby, with frequent connections to both cities.
  • There will be frequent services to Birmingham, Leeds, London, Newcastle and Sheffield.
  • I wouldn’t be surprised to see a direct service to Edinburgh and Glasgow from the station.
  • There will be a lot of economic growth around the station.

I very much feel, that a lot of passengers were travel to East Midlands Hub station for both long distance trains and to access the Derby-Nottingham area.

A Cambridge And Birmingham Service

In How Many Trains Are Needed To Run A Full Service On High Speed Two?, I proposed a Cambridge and Birmingham Curzon Street service.

This is what I said.

The obvious one is surely Cambridge and Birmingham

  • It would run via Peterborough, Grantham, Nottingham and East Midlands Hub.
  • It would connect the three big science, engineering and medical centres in the Midlands and the East.
  • It would use High Speed Two between Birmingham Curzon Street and East Midlands Hub.
  • It could be run by High Speed Two Classic-Compatible trains.

It might even be a replacement for CrossCountry’s Stansted Airport and Birmingham service.

Timings for the various legs could be.

  • Cambridge and Peterborough – CrossCountry – 49 minutes
  • Peterborough and Grantham – LNER – 19 minutes
  • Grantham and Nottingham -Best Estimate – 20 minutes
  • Nottingham and Birmingham Curzon Street – Midlands Rail Engine – 33 minutes


  1. This totals to two hours and one minute.
  2. The current service takes two hours and forty-four minutes.
  3. The Ely and Peterborough and Grantham and Nottingham legs are not electrified.

If the route were to be fully electrified or the trains were to be fitted with batteries, the time via High Speed Two, would surely be several minutes under two hours.


These objectives are possible.

  • An hourly service between London Kings Cross and Grantham, Lincoln, Newark and Nottingham.
  • A very much more comprehensive train service for Nottingham and Lincolnshire.
  • A two hour service between Cambridge and Birmingham.

Most of the services would be zero carbon.

No major infrastructure would be needed, except possibly completing the electrification between Nottingham and Ely, some of which is probably needed for freight trains anyway.

Alternatively, the High Speed Two Classic-Compatible trains could be fitted with batteries.


November 9, 2020 Posted by | Health, Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments