The Anonymous Widower

South Lincolnshire, West Norfolk And The North Netherlands

These three areas are very similar.

This sentence comes from the Wikipedia entry for The Fens, which are found where Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire and Norfolk come together.

Most of the Fenland lies within a few metres of sea level. As with similar areas in the Netherlands, much of the Fenland originally consisted of fresh- or salt-water wetlands. These have been artificially drained and continue to be protected from floods by drainage banks and pumps.

I have heard it said, that The Fens owe a lot of their landscape to the Dutch, as it was the Dutch, who originally had a lot to do with draining the land.

It should also be noted, that one of the most famous people from the area is Commander George Vancouver of the Royal Navy, who was the son of John Jasper Vancouver, a Dutch-born deputy collector of customs in King’s Lynn. He gave his name to the Canadian city of Vancouver.

The Dutch have returned in that two of the three rail franchises in the area, are under the control of the Dutch company; Abellio; Greater Anglia (GA) and East Midlands Railway (EMR).

Current and future services through the area include.

  • GA – Stansted Airport and Norwich via Ely and Cambridge
  • GA – Liverpool Street and King’s Lynn via Ely and Cambridge
  • GA – Colchester and Peterborough via Ipswich, Bury St. Edmunds and Ely
  • EMR – Norwich and Nottingham
  • EMR – Peterborough and Doncaster via Spalding, Sleaford and Lincoln
  • EMR – Nottingham and Skegness via Grantham, Sleaford and Boston
  • CrossCountry – Birmingham and Stansted Airport via Peterborough, Cambridge and Ely.
  • Great Northern – King’s Cross and King’s Lynn via Ely and Cambridge
  • Thameslink – King’s Cross and Peterborough
  • Thameslink – King’s Cross and Cambridge

Note.

Most services are hourly, with some London services at a higher frequency.

  1. EMR are planning to increase certain early, late and Sunday services, so there may be improvements.
  2. GA are planning to introduce new Class 755 trains pn diesel services and new Class 720 trains on electric services.
  3. The Ely, Cambridge North and Cambridge corridor can have a frequency as high as eight trains per hour (tph)

Will EMR and GA work together to improve services in the area they jointly serve?

These are a few of my thoughts.

A Look At The North Of The Netherlands

In The Train Station At The Northern End Of The Netherlands, I looked at what the Dutch are doing in the North of the country, near to the city of Groningen.

  • Groningen is a city of around 200,000 people and a major rail hub, with services fanning out through the flat landscape.
  • The trains are mainly Stadler GTWs, which are the forerunners of GA’s Class 755 trains.
  • The Dutch are developing a hydrogen-based economy in the area, which I described in The Dutch Plan For Hydrogen.

Are Abellio looking to bring some of the ideas from the Netherlands to the UK?

I think to a certain extent, we’re going the same way. For instance, in the North of Lincolnshire a lot of development is going on to develop an energy economy based on offshore wind and energy storage.

The Cambridge Effect

Cambridge effects the whole of the area, in its demand for housing and premises for research, development and manufacture.

The Cambridge And Peterborough Problem

I used to play tennis, with a guy, who was promoting Peterborough as an expansion area for Cambridge. Peterborough is a city, with space and good connections to London and the North, by rail and the A1 road.

,But the problem is that the road and rail links between the two cities are atrocious, with a two-lane dual-carriageway and an hourly three-car diesel train.

It is my view, that the gap in the electrification between Ely and Peterborough should eventually be removed.

  • The land is flat.
  • The route is thirty miles long.
  • The route was recently upgraded to take the largest container trains, so electrification, surely wouldn’t be too difficult.
  • The biggest problem would probably be dealing with the numerous level crossings.

Electrification would allow.

  • More frequent and faster passenger trains between Cambridge, Ely and Peterborough.
  • Freight trains between Felixstowe and the North would be easier to haul using electro-diesel locomotives like the Class 88 and Class 93.
  • It would create an electrified diversion route for trains on the East Coast Main Line.

After electrification, it would be possible to have a much-needed four tph service between Cambridge and Peterbough with stops at Cambridge North, Waterbeach, Ely, Manea, March and Whittlesea.

  • Cambridge and Peterborough sstations both have several platforms, that could be used to terminate extra services.
  • The service could be extended to Cambridge South station, when that is built in a few years.

GA’s Class 755 trains could even provide the service without electrification.

What About Wisbech?

Wisbech is a town of 33,000 people without a passenger rail link.

But it does have the Bramley Line.

This is the introductory paragraph in Wikipedia.

The Bramley Line is a railway line between March and Wisbech in Cambridgeshire, England. A number of proposals are currently being investigated relating to the possible restoration of passenger services along the route.

The Association of Train Operating Companies and various politicians have supported creating a passenger service between Wisbech and Cambridge via March and Ely.

The service could be as follows.

It would use an existing single-track line, which would probably just need upgrading.

  • Cambridge and Wisbech would take around forty-five minutes.
  • A train would take two hours for the round trip.
  • An hourly service would take two trains.

What is useful, is that the length of the branch line is short enough, that it may be possible to be run the service using One Train Working.

Improvements Between Cambridge And King’s Lynn

This article on Rail Technology Magazine is entitled Work On £27m East of England Upgrades Set To Begin.

It lists the work to be done and the benefit in these two paragraphs.

The upgrades, between Cambridge and King’s Lynn, will include two platform extensions at Waterbeach and a platform extension at Littleport.

This will allow the introduction of eight-car services during peak times, providing passengers with more seats and a better experience.

The works will certainly add capacity for commuters to and from Cambridge and London.

Will the upgrade at Waterbeach station allow Greater Anglia’s four-car Class 755 trains to call.?

There is a section in the Wikipedia entry for Waterbeach station, which is entitled Future Plans, where this is said.

Plans to develop a New Town of 8,000 to 9,000 homes on the former Waterbeach Barracks site have been outlined by South Cambridgeshire District Council. As part of the proposal, there are plans to relocate the station to a new site and extend the platforms to accommodate 12 car trains.

This is more housing for Cambridge and I’m sure that the promised Norwich and Stansted Airport service will call.

Will Services Be Joined Back-To-Back At Peterborough?

Train companies sometimes find that joining two services together in a busy station is a good idea.

  • It may use less trains and drivers.
  • It uses a through platform rather than two bay platforms.
  • Trains could be turned in a more convenient station.

A proportion of passengers don’t have to change trains.

Note.

  1. |East Midlands Railway are joining the Doncaster and Lincoln, and Lincoln and Peterborough services into one service.
  2. Greater Anglia are extending the Peterborough and Ipswich service to Manningtree.
  3. Greater Anglia are extending the Norwich and Cambridge service to Stansted Airport.

But East Midlands Railway are also splitting the Norwich and Liverpool service into two.

These are the services that are planned to terminate at Peterborough.

  • Peterborough and Colchester via Ipswich, Bury St. Edmunds and Ely
  • Peterborough and Doncaster via Spalding, Sleaford and Lincoln

As I said earlier, I would’ve be surprised to see extra Cambridge and Peterborough services to increase capacity between the two cities.

Current timings of the various sections are as follows.

  1. Peterborough and Lincoln – one hour and twenty-three minutes
  2. Lincoln and Doncaster – fifty-four minutes
  3. Peterborough and Ipswich – one hour and thirty-nine minutes
  4. Ipswich and Colchester – nineteen minutes
  5. Peterborough and Cambridge – fifty minutes

Adding up 3 and 4 gives a Colchester and Peterborough timing of one hour and fifty-eight minutes. But the new Class 755 trains are faster and will be running at full speed on electrification for sections of the journey.

With the turnround at both ends, a round trip would be under four hours. This would mean that four trains would be needed for an hourly service.

Adding up 1 and 2 gives a Peterborough and Doncaster timing of two hours and seventeen minutes.

With the turnround at both ends, a round trip would be under five hours. This would mean that five trains would be needed for an hourly service.

Could these two services be run back-to-back to create a Colchester and Doncaster service?

It would take four hours and fifteen minutes or nine hours for a round trip. This would mean that nine trains would be needed for an hourly service.

This is the same number of trains that would be needed for the two separate services.

The two companies might decide to run a joint service, but!

  • In whose colours would the train run?
  • Would there be crewing difficulties?
  • If a train fails, it would probably be a long way from home.
  • It has been felt sensible to split the five hour and thirty-five minute Norwich and Liverpool services.

Would it be possible to run a service between Cambridge and Lincoln?

  • Adding up 1 and 5 gives a timing of two hours and thirteen minutes.
  • With the turnround at both ends, a round trip would be under five hours.
  • This would mean that five trains would be needed for an hourly service.

It would be possible, but would the convenience attract enough passengers to make the service viable?

Would It Be Worth Reinstating March And Spalding?

There used to be a railway between March and Spalding.

Wikipedia says this about the closure of the route.

When the line closed between March and Spalding in 1982,[3] freight traffic was diverted through Peterborough station instead of cutting across the western edge of the Fens to avoid the line through Peterborough station

Some have called for the route to be reinstated to enable freight trains to by-pass Peterborough, when travelling between Felixstowe and the route to the North through Spalding, Sleaford, Lincoln and Doncaster.

  • It is not a long route.
  • It could provide a passenger route between Cambridge and Lincoln.

I suspect that Network Rail looked at this scheme as an alternative to the Werrington Dive Under, which has been costed at £200 million.

Wikipedia says this about the Werrington Dive Under.

The project will see the construction of 1.9 miles (3 km) of new line that will run underneath the fast lines, culverting works on Marholm Brook and the movement of the Stamford lines 82 feet (25 m) westwards over the culverted brook. The project, coupled with other ECML improvement schemes (such as the four tracking from Huntingdon to Woodwalton) will improve capacity on the line through Peterborough by 33% according to Network Rail. This equates to two extra train paths an hour by 2021, when the work is scheduled to be completed.

A thirty-three percent capacity increase seems a powerful reason to build the Werrington Dive Under.

Would it also enable a faster route for trains between King’s Cross and Lincoln?

As to whether the direct route between March and Spalding will ever be reinstated, this will surely depend on several factors.

  • The number of freight trains needing to go between Felixstowe and Doncaster.
  • The maximum number of freight trains, that can use the freight route, through Spalding, Sleaford and Lincoln.
  • Whether a passenger service on the route is worthwhile.

There are also protests about the number of freight trains already using the route.

I can see the capacity of the freight route being increased and the route being made a more friendly neighbour, after the opening of the Werrington Dive Under.

  • Level crossings will be replaced by bridges.
  • Adoption of zero-carbon locomotives.
  • Installation of noise-reduction measures.

The line might even be electrified.

Peterborough After Werrington

If we assume that the services stay as currently proposed, the following trains will stop at Peterborough on their way to either Cambridge or Lincoln.

  • GA – Peterborough and Ipswich or Colchester – Platform 6
  • EMR – Peterborough and Lincoln or Doncaster- Platform 1 or 2
  • EMR- Norwich and Nottingham – Platform 7
  • EMR- Nottingham and Norwich – Platform 6
  • CrossCountry – Stansted Airport and Birmingham – Platform 7
  • CrossCountry – Birmingham and Stansted Airport- Platform 6

Note.

  1. Trains going to Cambridge use Platform 6.
  2. Trains coming from Cambridge  use Platform 7
  3. The Ipswich or in the future; Colchester service uses Platform 6 to turnback.
  4. The Lincoln or in the future; Doncaster service uses Platform 1 or 2 to turnback.
  5. Platform 6 and 7 is a new island platform with direct access to the Stamford Lines and the tracks in the Werrington Dive Under that connect to Spalding, Sleaford and Lincoln.

This means that after the Werrington Dive Under opens in a couple of years, the Peterborough and Doncaster service will stop in the wrong side of the station.

So it is likely, that Doncaster services will continue from the Werrington Dive Under into Platform 6 or 7 in Peterborough station.

As the Colchester service will probably still turnback in Platform 6 could we see the Doncaster and Colchester services timed to be in the island platform 6 & 7 at the same time.

Passengers would just walk a few metres between the two trains.

This Google Map shows the lines South of the station.

The Peterborough-Ely Line can be seen running East-West, to the South of the River Nene and then going under the East oast Main Line, before connecting to Platforms 6 and 7 on the West side of the station.

This Google Map shows the station.

Note the three island platforms, which are numbered 6 & 7, 4 & 5 and 2 & 3 from West to East.

The Wikipedia entry for Peterborough station, says this about Platforms 6 & 7.

Platforms 6 & 7: These new platforms were commissioned over the Christmas break 2013, and are now used by CrossCountry services between Stansted Airport/Cambridge via Ely and Birmingham New Street via Leicester; East Midlands Trains services between Norwich and Liverpool; and Greater Anglia services to Ipswich.

North from Peterborough station and just South of the site of the Werrington Dive Under is the Cock Lane Bridge. I took these pictures in November 2018.

Note the three fast lines of the East Coast Main Line on the Eastern side and the two Stamford Lines on the Western side.

Just North of thie bridge, the Stamford Lines will split and trains will be able to continue to  Stamford or cross under the East Coast Main Line towards Lincoln.

As there is a loop for freight trains through Peterborough station, the Werrington Dive Under will be able to handle sufficient trains.

Conclusion

The layout of Peterborouh station and the Werrington Dive Under will give Abellio a lot of flexibility to improve services in South Lincolnshire and West Norfolk.

Network Rail gets a lot of criticism, but you can’t fault the design and what lies behind it, in this instant!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 8, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nottinghamshire MPs Pressing Government For Robin Hood Line Rail Extension

The title of this post is the same as that as an article on Notts TV.

This is an extract.

Besides the six mile-plus extension from Warsop to Ollerton, the plan would involve re-opening existing stations in Warsop, and Edwinstowe and building a new station in Ollerton.

The existing line is operated on a franchise held by East Midlands Trains, which is due for renewal in the coming months.

A Department for Transport spokesman said the extension is being consulted on as part of the franchise renewal, with a decision expected next month.

I have always liked this rail project and linking it to the new franchise will surely push it up the list of new projects.

It is actually, a low-cost project, as the track  already exists and is regularly used by both Network Rail and East Midlands Trains for test purposes and to train drivers.

I have flown my virtual helicopter over the route and between the Robin Hood Line and Ollerton, there is a lot of double-track with the Eastern end single track, Part of the line is the High Marnham Test Track. The track-bed would appear to lead all the way to Lincoln.

It appears to be that the major costs would be.

  • Replacing the track.
  • Adding new signalling to replace the previous system destroyed by vandals.
  • Building three new stations.
  • Finding a few extra trains.

Surely, some good engineers and designers could turn this at an affordable cost into a worthwhile and well-used passenger rail line between Mansfield and Ollerton.

The New Fanchise And Rolling Stock

East Midlands Trains’ current fleet is diesel-only and includes the following units from the last century.

Many routes are run by inadequate trains and with the East Midlands franchise up for renewal, there is likely to be a reorganisation of rolling stock.

All recent new franchise awards have involved fleets of new trains and I doubt this one will be any different.

HS2

Although HS2 doesn’t arrive at East Midlands Hub station at Toton until 2032, I feel that the over the next few years, rail lines in the Nottingham and |Derby areas will be developed to make this new station a focus.

In After The Robin Hood Line Will Nottingham See The Maid Marian Line?, I discussed possible rail development between Toton and Mansfield based on this article in the Nottingham Post.

Conclusion

What the planners decide about HS2 will decide whether the Robin Hood Line is extended to Ollerton.

Development of Lincoln to Toton as a 90 mph route, with proportions of 100 mph running, would certain transform the area.

 

 

September 10, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Government Focuses On New Stations And Trains

This is the title of an article in Rail Magazine.

This is the opening paragraph.

Passenger numbers rising fast, new stations, improved facilities and new trains are the result of policies followed by the current Government and not what Labour wants to follow, claims Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling.

As an example about what is needed Gayling talks about the Cleethorpres to Sheffield Line.

It is an interesting insight to some of Mr. Grayling’s thinking.

But I agree we need more stations and trains.

I also feel that wit the right innovation and design, we may be able to provide services in places that previously have been thought not to be viable..

January 21, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 4 Comments

Improving Services To Lincoln

Lincoln is one of those places, where, companies have promised better train services for years and they’ve never appeared.

The Wikipedia entry for Lincoln station under Future Services reads like a catalogue of broken promises and very little progress.

I think that it is time to think out of the box to provide a better service for the City.

Sorting Out Newark

Newark is an important interchange to get good services to and from Lincoln.

Because of the notorious Newark Flat Crossing, the railways around the town need improving.

Currently there are two fast trains to and between Lincoln and London a day in both directions, an hourly service to Newark and various other random services.

To make matters worse, the change at Newark Northgate station is often fifteen minutes or so.

These pictures were taken as I changed trains at the station for Lincoln on a fine day.

Is an hourly single coach Class 153 train between Lincoln and Newark Northgate an adequate service?

There are other services to Newark Castle station, but the two stations are separated by the notorious flat junction at Newark, which slows services on the East Coast Main Line.

I think in a well-thought out solution, the following will be achieved.

  • Trains on the Nottingham to Lincoln  Line will pass Newark without inconveniencing trains on the East Coast Main Line, possibly by means of a flyover or a dive-under.
  • These trains would ideally call at both Newark stations.
  • Hopefully lifts and stairs will make the changebetween the two lines step-free.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a very unconventional solution to the problem.

Newark Northgate station could be closed and a flyover could take the Nottingham to Lincoln Line over the East Coast Main Line to the North of the town, where a new out-of-town station could be built, which had platforms on all lines and they were connected by lifts. I have called this arrangement A Four-Poster Station in the past.

The new station could also be a transport hub, with lots of car parking.

I changed twice at Newark Northgate today and in both instances I waited nearly fifteen minutes.

So why not just build a simple single-track flyover or dive-under and provide a comfortable electric shuttle bus between Northgate and Castle stations, that meets all trains and does the journey in less time, than the current wait?

Remember that Castle station is closer to the town centre.

It would be a cheaper flyover and the money saved might purchase some bigger new trains.

The service from Nottingham could even be run by tram-trains or like in Zwickau by diesel multiple units, which left the Nottingham to Lincoln Line at Castle station and then went walkabout in Newark.

The only certainty about the sorting of Newark, is that there are innumerable ways to do it and some could be unusual.

I doubt though, that we’ll see much improvement at Newark until after 2020.

The Great Northern And Great Eastern Joint Line

In Project Managers Having Fun In The East, I talked about hoe the Great Northern And Great Eastern Joint Line (GNGE) has been upgraded to be a valuable diversion route for freight trains travelling up and down the East Coast Main Line.

£230million has been spent to create a high-quality railway from Werrington Junction just North of Peterborough to Doncaster via Spalding, Sleaford and Lincoln.

Given the increasing traffic on the East Coast Main Line and the long wait for any relief in the shape of HS2 to Leeds, the North East and Scotland, I think we will see further development of the GNGE.

  • I reported in To Dive Or Fly At Werrington, how plans are ongoing to improve the Southern connection of the line to the East Coast Main Line.
  • The latest details on Werrington Junction are here on the Network Rail web site and talk about a 2020 completion.
  • Could a new Lincoln Avoiding Line be built, so that freight trains avoid going through Lincoln Central station and the level crossings?
  • The GNGE has lots of closed stations and some have been reopened in the last few years. Could more be reopened?

All these developments lead me to the conclusion, that there will be improved passenger services on the Peterborough to Doncaster route via Lincoln.

As the GNGE is now a high-class modern route, the single coach Class 153 train will be replaced by something like a two-car Class 158 train or Class 170 train.

The speeds of the three trains are.

  • Class 153 – 120 kph
  • Class 158 – 140 kph
  • Class 170 – 160 mph

As Inter-City 125s are released by the arrival of new Class 800 trains, could we even see shortened versions running between Kings Cross and Yorkshire via Peterborough, Lincoln and Doncaster? These magnificent trains certainly perform well on secondary routes, as anybody, who has ridden in the cab between Edinburgh and Inversion can testify.

I wonder what times a well-driven Class 170 train could achieve. Currently Peterborough to Lincoln takes eighty minutes and Lincoln to Doncaster takes two hours.

I estimate that a Class 170 train could do the journey between Lincoln and Peterborough in about an hour, which is about the fastest time that can be achieved changing at Newark.

An estimate for the time between Lincoln and Doncaster could be about ninety minutes.

All of this speed improvement could probably be obtained without any major infrastructure improvements, but updating Werrington Junction and creating a new Lincoln Avoiding Line would improve things further.

Faster connections to Doncaster and Peterborough would bring various benefits.

  • At Doncaster, it would give access to the East Coast Main Line services to the North East and Scotland.
  • From 2018, at Doncaster, it would give access to the the improved TransPennine services to Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Manchester Airport.
  • At Peterborough, it would give access to services to London, East Anglia and the South Midlands.
  • From 2018, at Peterborough, there will be a connection to Thameslink, to take passengers all over London and the South East.

Surely these connections will benefit Lincoln most, but a fast service to Peterborough would also do something to improve connectivity at places like Sleaford and Spalding.

I suspect that when the new East Midlands Franchise is announced next year or when suitable trains are procured, we will see significant speed, frequency and comfort improvements on this route.

Reinstating The Complete Great Northern And Great Eastern Joint Line

With the next East Anglian Franchise, it is rumoured that there will be a marked improvement in train services in the region with new and refurbished trains everywhere, running many more services.

One possibility, is that the Bramley Line to Wisbech will be served by passenger trains, as a network of local services are improved and created around Cambridge with expansion and development needs and its soon-to-be-two stations.

I think that the possibility exists that the line between March and Sleaford might be reinstated to give freight trains to and from Felixstowe, direct access to the GNGE to get to Doncaster, avoiding Peterborough and the East Coast Main Line South of Yorkshire.

If you look at Google Maps, then the old rail line is clearly visible for most of the way between March and Sleaford. However, Whitemoor Prison has been build over the route.

If this Southern part of the GNGE were to be reinstated, could we see passenger services between Cambridge and Lincoln?

I think we would, as the engine of growth that is Cambridge, would then be directly connected by train to all the cities and larger towns of East Anglia and Lincolnshire.

I should say, that just as London dominates the South East, I believe that Cambridge with all its skills, ambition and success will dominate the East of England.

Lincoln to Cambridge could be about ninety minutes using a fully developed GNGE, as opposed to two hours now.

Conclusions

I have come to the following occlusions.

  • The record of train companies in getting more direct services to Lincoln says a lot and I’d be very surprised if Lincoln sees more direct services to London.
  • Newark is a basket case and sorting it will be difficult and probably expensive
  • The best bet for improved services is to put faster trains on the upgraded Great Northern And Great Eastern Joint Line between Peterborough and Doncaster, which could mean Peterborough in an hour and Doncaster in ninety minutes from Lincoln.
  • The trains for this should be available in 2018.

In the long term, I can see benefits in connecting March and Sleaford.

Ironically, the GNGE was built to bring coal to East Anglia from Yorkshire and it could be used to bring freight between Felixstowe and the North, in an efficient ,manner.

The Victorians seem to have got the route of the GNGE correct.

Just as they did the Varsity Line and the Borders Railway.

 

 

August 4, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lincoln’s Tower Bridge

I took these pictures of the new bridge over the railway by one of Lincoln’s notorious level crossings.

Note.

  • The bridge may mean that pedestrians can get across easily when the level crossing is closed, but it doesn’t do anything for the vehicles.
  • One of the reasons for the height, is to clear the wires, if the line should be electrified.
  • This article in Rail Engineer describes how it was built.
  • Reportedly, the bridge is the first part of a £12million scheme, which includes a second bridge over another nearby level crossing.

It’s certainly a striking footbridge.

 

August 3, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

A High Speed Brew

I took this picture, as my train to Newark for Lincoln was somewhere around New |Southgate. We were just twelve minutes out of Kings Cross

A High Speed Brew

A High Speed Brew

The steward had served it almost before we moved off at Kings Cross, with a very full train of passengers.

August 3, 2016 Posted by | Food, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

A Very Wet Stop At Lincoln

I had intended to have a good lunch at Lincoln and go up the hill to look at the cathedral.

But the weather put a stop to that and I just went to see the progress on the two level crossings in the area. This Google Map shows the area of the station and the two crossings that are being given step-free footbridges.

Lincoln Level Crossings

Lincoln Level Crossings

These are some of the pictures I tried to take.

Progress doesn’t seem to be very fast.

It will be interesting to see if Network Rail’s solution makes things easier. This Google Map shows the southern part of Lincoln.

Lines Through Lincoln

Lines Through Lincoln

The lines come into the City and through the station on an East-West axis. You can just make out the scar of the Lincoln Avoiding Line, which used to allow trains to by-pass the level crossings. Together with Lincoln St. Marks station, it closed in the 1980s.

According to Wikipedia, train services run between Lincoln and

Most of these services operate on an hourly or two-hourly basis although some services to places like Nottingham might go to two trains per hour.

There are also once daily services Monday to Saturday to London St Pancras operated by East Midlands Trains and to London Kings Cross operated by Virgin Trains East Coast.

Lines to Doncaster, Newark, Nottingham and Sheffield run to the West and lines to Grimsby, Peterborough, Skegness, Sleaford and Spalding are to the East.

You can understand, why the Route Utilisation Strategy (RUS) for the East Midlands felt that services could be improved by joining services together in Lincoln to free up platform space. At present some Grimsby Town services go though Lincoln to Newark North Gate.

It’s certainly a tricky problem at Lincoln and I can’t help feeling that at some time in the future, there’s going to have to be a solution that takes freight trains away from Lincoln High Street.

September 15, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

From Peterborough To Lincoln

The Peterborough to Lincoln Line is part of the Great Northern and Great Eastern Joint Railway, from Doncaster to Peterborough, which is increasingly used as a by-pass for freight and other trains from the East Coast Main Line.

The line leaves the East Coast Main Line at Werrington Junction and then runs through the flat Lincolnshire countyside to Lincoln via Spalding and Sleaford.

These pictures show the character of the line.

I’ve never seen so many level crossings and so much featureless countryside.

Surprisingly, I only saw one other train which was another single carriage Class 153 train going the other way.

It would appear that the line generally has an hourly service between Peterbrough and Lincoln and the Nottingham to Skegness Line has an hourly service through Sleaford.

This Google Map shows the lines around Sleaford.

Sleaford

Sleaford

The line from Peterborough comes in at the South East corner with Lincoln to the North and Grantham and Nottingham to the West. The map clearly show the avoiding line connecting Lincoln to Peterborough, so that freight trains can by-pass the town.

The Route Utilisation Strategy (RUS) for the East Midlands felt that services could be improved by joining services together in Lincoln to free up platform space. Perhaps too the trains on the two lines should be more co-ordinated so that changing trains at Sleaford was easier. If you want to go from Skegness to Lincoln by train, some trains have only a few minutes wait, whilst changing at Sleaford, but others the wait is half an hour. I don’t know Sleaford station, but it may be a nice place to wait for a train!

This report on the BBC is entitled Cornwall rail network to get £146m investment.

So could the railways of Lincolnshire be improved, by giving more local control to the county?

September 15, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

What Will A Reopened March And Wisbech Railway Mean?

It was mentioned in the blog on Rail News, that a study will look at the reopening of the route from March through Wisbech.

The main reason is that it will allow freight trains between Felixstowe and the North to totally bypass the East Coast Main Line by using the upgraded GNGE.

But will it create better opportunities for passenger services around East Anglia and the Fens?

Getting between Ipswich, Norwich and Cambridge and the North of England and Scotland is not easy, as it means a slow train across East Anglia to Peterborough or a long detour via London.

As an example, going from Ipswich to Manchester takes over four hours and routing is via London. I know a lot of keen Ipswich fans use that route to get to away matches, as the cross country routes are totally inadequate and very crowded.

In a few years time, the TransPennine routes will be electrified, so to get to Liverpool and Manchester from Ipswich, it might be quicker to travel via Doncaster, perhaps changing at Peterborough.

Opening up the route from March to the GNGE would allow direct passenger trains from Ipswich and Norwich to go via Ely and Lincoln to Doncaster.

Lincoln is getting better connections to Nottingham according to the blog in Rail News, so these direct trains might give East Anglia better connections to the East Midlands as well.

But of course, all of this thinking is pie-in-the-sky, as where is the money for shiny new trains?

On the other hand, there might be a glut of hand-me-down InterCity 125s from the Great Western and East Coast Main Lines, as they get replaced by Class 800/801 trains.

So will we see these trains working cross country routes and giving much needed extra capacity out of East Anglia and the Fens?

It’ll be a bit like your mini-cab company saying we couldn’t send the new Nissan, so we sent this immaculate 1970s Jaguar instead. Although the lines wouldn’t be high speed ones, they wouldn’t be slow and mountainous ones, like those through the North of Scotland, where these trains show how good they are.

Repening the line through Wisbech could be unlocking a real box of delights for the East.

July 23, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 4 Comments

Will The Updated GNGE Affect Lincolnshire?

I ask this question because my Crossrail Google Alert picked up this article from Geoff Ford in the Grimsby Telegraph. He starts by saying this.

Have you noticed that most major transport projects are concentrated in the South, the West Midlands and the North West? And then berates the Chancellor for leaving Lincolnshire off the list of those getting big transport projects!

He has a point

If I have a bone to pick with Geoff, then it is that he doesn’t talk about The Great Northern and Great Eastern Joint Railway (GNGE) , that I talked about in this post. But then I hadn’t heard that such a large project with a value of £330million was taking place in Lincolnshire, until a couple of weeks ago.

The project is certainly an unexpected place to bury that sum of cash.

But the project will be completed before the end of the year and will hopefully stop most of the freight trains on the East Coast Main Line from imposing lower speed limits on passenger trains on the line.

People in Lincolnshire, should be asking the question of “What will the GNGE do for us?”

I’ll start with a negative, as all those freight trains will create noise and also increase congestion at some of the level crossings on the route. Lincoln will still be a problem and there are probably a few old British Rail employees, who cautioned against the closing of Lincoln St. Mark’s station and the associated by-pass line in 1985. But hopefully some clever engineers have got an affordable scheme that will help get the endless camels through the eye of Lincoln.

If I was a Logistics Manager for a company that was importing loads of stuff from China, that was destined for my company’s shops in Scotland and the North and I needed a distribution centre, then Lincolnshire is now on the list of acceptable places to build it. Especially, if the site is close to the GNGE and a decent road to the M62. But that is rather hypothetical, until the first company takes the decision and I think I know a lot more about project management, than I do about logistics.

Some things that the upgraded GNGE will offer is faster journey times for both passenger and freight, through higher speed limits, fewer level crossings and much improved signalling. So will these improvements allow more passenger trains up and down the various parts of the line from Peterborough to Doncaster, via Spalding, Sleaford,  and Lincoln?

Currently, on the southern part of the line from Peterborough to Lincoln, there seems to be about one train every hour or so, which takes about ninety minutes to do the trip.

Perhaps more interestingly, is that it takes two hours from Lincoln to London if you change at Newark and thirty minutes longer if you change at Peterborough. So if nothing else is done, with judicious timetabling, the upgraded GNGE might even give extra two hour train journeys to London from Lincoln via Peterborough. It might even open up the market for an easier route for a direct train to London from Lincoln, which has been promised for years.

In one area though there may be an improvement. Wikipedia says this about Sunday services between Peterborough and Lincoln.

The line has a regular weekday daytime service but is closed between Sleaford & Spalding in the evenings (due to the high staffing costs associated with the large number of manned level crossings on this section) and has no Sunday service.

So as there will be fewer level crossings, will the line see an evening and a Sunday service?

Going between Lincoln and Doncaster seems more difficult, but hopefully after the line is finished, journeys will all take the quickest time achieved now.

Those that work out the timetables are going to have a complicated problem on their hands.

June 27, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment