The Anonymous Widower

EMR Set To Retain Liverpool – Nottingham Service

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

The Department for Transport has confirmed to East Midlands Railway that, for the time being at least, it is no longer planning to transfer the Liverpool Lime Street – Nottingham service to TransPennine Express from the December 2021 timetable change.

My experience of the service is limited these days, but occasionally, I do use the Liverpool and Sheffield section of the service to get across the Pennines on trips North.

In January 2020, I had a horrendous trip on an overcrowded train composed of several one-car Class 153 trains, which I wrote about in Mule Trains Between Liverpool And Norwich.

This is not the way to run a long distance service, which takes over five and a half hours.

The plan to improve the service involves splitting it into two from the December 2021 timetable change.

  • Liverpool and Nottingham
  • Derby and Norwich

It was thought that the Liverpool and Nottingham section would be going to TransPennine Express (TPE).

These points summarise the Railway Gazette article.

  • TPE were training drivers and that has now stopped.
  • EMR have told staff, they will be keeping both services.
  • The service will still be split.
  • EMR  will not have enough trains to run the split service.

This paragraph sums up what could happen to run the service.

One option favoured by industry insiders would see EMR take on 15 Class 185 Desiro trainsets which are due to be released by TPE during 2021 as its fleet renewal programme concludes. These trains are maintained by Siemens at its conveniently located Ardwick depot in Manchester.

I see this splitting, as being a pragmatic solution to the problems of running a long service, with a very varied loading at various parts of the route.

  • As one company runs both sections, the changeover can be arranged to be very passenger-friendly.
  • EMR manage the possible change stations at Derby and Nottingham.
  • Passengers can be given proper care in the changeover.
  • Derby gets a direct connection to Peterborough, Cambridge and Norwich.

With my East Anglian hat on, I can see advantages in the split, as I regularly used to travel as far as Derby or Nottingham, when I lived in the East, but only once took the full service to Liverpool.

I have a few thoughts.

Capacity Between Liverpool And Nottingham

This section of the service is generally run by a pair of Class 158 trains, which have a capacity of around 140 each or 280 in total.

The Class 185 trains have three-cars and a capacity of 180 seats.

Currently, Liverpool and Nottingham takes just under two hours and forty minutes, which would make for a comfortable six-hour round trip. This would mean, that an hourly service between the two cities, will need a fleet of six trains.

Under Future in the Wikipedia entry for Class 185 trains, this is said.

Following the August 2020 decision not to transfer the Liverpool Lime Street to Nottingham route to TransPennine Express, East Midlands Railway could opt to take on the 15 trainsets due to be released from TPE to run this route.

Fifteen trains would be more than enough trains to run a pair on each hourly service and perhaps run some extra services.

Pairs of Class 185 trains between Liverpool and Nottingham would go a long way to solve capacity problems on this route.

Calling At Derby

The current service between Liverpool and Norwich doesn’t call at Derby, as it uses the Erewash Valley Line via Alfreton.

The proposed Eastern portion of the split service has been proposed to terminate at Derby, so passengers would change at Nottingham, if they wanted to travel to Sheffield, Manchester or Liverpool.

As East Midlands Railway, runs both services, they can optimise the service to serve and attract the most passengers.

Preparation For High Speed Two At East Midlands Hub Station

Eventually, the two halves of the Liverpool and Norwich service must surely call at the future East Midlands Hub station for High Speed Two, so future routes must fit in with the plans for High Speed Two.

But there’ll be plenty of time to get that right.

Interchange At Nottingham

I’m sure a quick and easy interchange can be performed at Nottingham.

In the simplest interchange, the two services could share a platform and passengers could just walk between the two trains on the level.

The following sequence could be used at Nottingham.

  • The train from Derby to Norwich would arrive in the platform and stop at the Eastern end of the platform.
  • The train from Liverpool to Nottingham would arrive in the platform and stop close behind it.
  • Passengers on the train from Liverpool, who wanted to take the Norwich train, would simply walk a along the platform and board the train.
  • The Norwich train would leave when ready.
  • The train from Liverpool would stay where it had stopped and be prepared for the return trip to Liverpool.
  • , The next train from Norwich to Derby would pull in behind the Liverpool train.
  • Passengers on the train from Norwich, who wanted to take the Liverpool train, would simply walk a along the platform and board the train.
  • The Liverpool train would leave when ready.
  • Finally, the Norwich to Derby train would leave for Derby.

Only one platform would be needed at Nottingham station, that would need to be long enough to handle the two trains.

Between Norwich And Derby

This is the only section of the Liverpool and Norwich route with any electrification.

  • Currently about thirty miles between Grantham and Peterborough are electrified.
  • The lines around Ely and Norwich are also electrified.

I think that Ely and Peterborough will be electrified earlier than other lines.

  • It would be part of an electrified freight route between Felixstowe and the East Coast Main Line.
  • It would enable electric passenger trains between Cambridge and the North.
  • It would mean the Ipswich and Peterborough services could be run by battery electric trains.
  • It could be a useful electrified diversion route to London, during engineering works.

,This extra electrification, would also mean that Norwich and Derby would probably be within range of battery electric trains.

Stadler have stated that Greater Anglia’s Class 755 trains can be converted from bi-mode into battery electric trains.

So as Greater Anglia and East Midlands Railway are both Abellio companies, could we see battery electric operation on the around 150 miles between Norwich and Derby?

Conclusion

Splitting the Liverpool and Norwich service opens up a lot of possibilities to improve the service.

 

 

November 15, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Beeching Reversal – Reopening Wymondham-Dereham Line

This is one of the Beeching Reversal projects that the Government and Network Rail are proposing to reverse some of the Beeching cuts.

It has looked to me, that for some years, that those in Norfolk’s rail industry and Local Government, have been co-operating with rail problems and developments in the county.

If you read the Wikipedia entry for the Mid-Norfolk Railway, various activities are revealed.

  • Regular steam and diesel services between Wymondham and Dereham stations.
  • Occasional sightseeing services North of Dereham station.
  • Mid-Norfolk Railway facilitates commercial freight trains.
  • Dereham yard has been used as a servicing depot by Direct Rail Services for over ten years.
  • Network Rail store track plant at Dereham.
  • There are facilities to transfer damaged rail vehicles to road vehicles at Dereham.
  • The Army uses the line to transport vehicles by train.
  • Storage of trains for Greater Anglia, who have a chronic lack of space.
  • The line appears to be used for specialist crew and driver training.
  • In Mid Norfolk Railway Completes Work On ‘First For UK’ Railway Level Crossing, I wrote about how the railway company used new Dutch technology to demonstrate how to rebuild a level crossing.

It seems, that if you have a different rail-related need in Norfolk, that the Mid-Norfolk Railway will at least listen to your needs.

The company and volunteers have the ambition to restore the railway as far as Fakenham, which will make it one of the longest heritage railways in England.

I am not surprised that reopening services between Wymondham and Dereham stations, is on the list of Beeching Reversal projects.

Dereham

Dereham is a market town of 18,600 residents.

This Google Map shows the Dereham station complex.

It is the headquarters of the Mid-Norfolk Railway.

Wymondham

Wymondham is a developing market town of 14,400 residents, that has a station on the Breckland Line between Cambridge and Norwich via Ely and Thetford.

The Mid-Norfolk Railway also has a connection to the Breckland Line and access to Wymondham station at Wymondham South junction.

This Google Map shows the town of Wymondham.

Note.

  1. The Breckland Line going SW-NE across the map.
  2. Wymondham station in the middle of the map.
  3. Wymondham Abbey station, which is on the Mid-Norfolk Railway in the North-West corner of the map.
  4. Wymondham South junction, where the branch divides to the South-West of Wymondham station.

The A11 Wymondham Bypass encloses a lot of land, which seems to be being developed into housing.

Breckland Line Train Services

Current train services on the Breckland Line include.

  • Greater Anglia – One train per hour (tph) – Norwich and Stansted Airport via Cambridge
  • East Midlands Railway – One tph – Norwich and Liverpool via Ely and Peterborough

Note.

  1. Both train franchises are Abellio.
  2. Both train franchises use modern diesel or bi-mode trains.

As there is significant development of housing and industry, all along the A11 and the Breckland Line between Cambridge and Norwich, many believe that there is a large opportunity for the growth of passenger train services.

All being well in a few years, Norwich will get a third service in a one tp2h service along the East West Railway to Oxford.

But towns like Wymondham probably will need better and more connections to Cambridge and Norwich, before that, as although the roads are good, the emissions won’t be!

The Trowse Swing Bridge

The single-track Trowse Swing Bridge is a major bottleneck on any service between Norwich and the South.

It does manage to carry up to nine to ten tph, but it appears that for efficient operation of extra services South from Norwich, that the bridge will have to be replaced or by-passed.

This Google Map shows Trowse Bridge.

When the Great Eastern Main Line was being electrified to Norwich station, a temporary station was built in this area, whilst electrification was added to the bridge.

A Station At Trowse

A similar strategy could be used, whilst the bridge is replaced, but I suspect, that a bolder plan might be possible.

  • There is a lot of development going on in Norwich.
  • It is expected that rail traffic South from Norwich to Cambridge and London will grow significantly in the next few years.
  • Removing the requirement for the bridge to open, would require difficult Parliamentary legislation.

This Google Map shows the wider City Centre.

Note.

  1. The River Wensum curving through the City.
  2. The large Norwich station in the middle of the map.
  3. Norwich City Centre to the West of the station.
  4. Norwich City’s Carrow Road ground to the South of the station.
  5. The blue-roofed Norwich Crown Point Depot towards the East of the map.
  6. Trowse bridge crossing the river to the South of Crown Point Depot.

It should also be noted, that to solve some of the chronic overcrowding in Crown Point Depot, Greater Anglia have developed some new sidings South of the Trowse bridge, on the Western side of the Great Eastern Main Line, around the area of the former Trowse station.

Consider.

  • If you look at the rail lines South of the Trowse bridge, the Breckland Line crosses under the Great Eastern Main Line and then joins the main line from the East.
  • Norwich could borrow an idea from other cities like Bristol and run a water bus on the River Wensum.
  • The South Bank of the river looks ripe for development.

I wonder if it would be possible to reopen Trowse station as a modern riverside station.

  • There would be two electrified through platforms.
  • The Southern ends of the through platforms would connect to the Great Eastern Main Line and the Breckland Line, as they do now.
  • The Northern ends of the through platforms would combine and cross the Trowse Bridge, as they do now.
  • On the Eastern side of the station, there would be up to two electrified bay platforms, which could connect to any route to the South.
  • At least one platform would be able to take a full-length Class 745 train.
  • There would be a river bus station, with connections to the main Norwich station, Carrow Road and Norwich City Centre.
  • The station would be fully step-free.

As the infamous bridge is only thirty-three years old, surely it can be refurbished and modernised, so that the major problem of reliability is eliminated.

This new station would give train operators advantages and options.

  • The station would be very handy for office and residential developments along the river.
  • The rail line into Norwich could probably be kept open during the construction, as the bridge is only being refurbished.
  • Some travellers to and from Norwich might prefer to use Trowse, rather than Norwich station and use the water bus.
  • Extra services to Norwich might terminate in the bay platforms at Trowse and would not need capacity on the bridge.
  • I suspect that a four or five tph frequency would operate between Norwich and Trowse station.
  • In times of disruption, the bay platforms can be used to turn trains South of the bridge.

I’m sure there is an innovative solution in there somewhere.

What is Norwich City Council intending to do along the South bank of the river?

Future Train Services Between Norwich And The South

Greater Anglia have bought a lot of new trains and I doubt, that they’ll be leaving them in sidings, if they have a job for them to do.

I can certainly see four tph Turn-Up-And-Go services running on the following routes around Norwich.

  • Norwich and Cambridge
  • Norwich and Ipswich
  • Norwich and Lowestoft
  • Norwich and Yarmouth

Being able to turn some Cambridge and Ipswich trains South of Trowse bridge, may be the better solution, than replacing, rather than refurbishing the bridge.

Norwich And Dereham

  • Norwich and Dereham stations are just over twenty miles apart and I suspect that Class 755 trains can do the trip in about twenty-five minutes.
  • This may open up the possibility of an hour’s round trip between Trowse and Dereham stations.

If the hour trip is possible, this could open up a two tph service, run by just two trains.

A Possible Timetable

I could see something like this being a possible timetable.

  • East West Rail – One tph – Norwich and Oxford via Cambridge
  • Greater Anglia – One tph – Norwich and Stansted Airport via Cambridge
  • Greater Anglia – One tph – Trowse and Stansted Airport via Cambridge
  • Greater Anglia – One tph – Trowse and Cambridge
  • Greater Anglia – Two tph – Trowse and Dereham
  • East Midlands Railway – One tph – Norwich and Liverpool via Ely and Peterborough
  • Greater Anglia – Two tph – Norwich and London Liverpool Street via Ipswich
  • Greater Anglia – One tph – Trowse and London Liverpool Street via Ipswich
  • Greater Anglia – One tph – Trowse and Ipswich

Trowse bridge would be handling five tph in both directions, with six tph terminating in Trowse station.

Obviously, there are a lot of permutations and combinations, that will be determined by customer forecasts and figures.

Conclusion

I’ve thought the route between Norwich and Dereham stations will be a commuter, shopping and leisure rail route for some time.

As I indicate, I think some work will need to be done at the Trowse bridge, but a two tph service should be possible.

 

 

 

August 2, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Could East Midlands Railway’s Liverpool And Norwich Service Avoid A Reverse At Sheffield By Using the Barrow Hill Line?

When East Midlands Railway’s service between Liverpool and Norwich runs between Chesterfield and Stockport stations, the train goes via Sheffield station, where the train reverses.

In Reinstatement Of The Barrow Hill Line Between Sheffield And Chesterfield, I talked about the reinstatement of the Barrow Hill Line, which could be used as an alternative route between Sheffield and Chesterfield.

The Norwich and Liverpool train would enter Sheffield station in the other direction, so there would be no need for the train to reverse direction or the driver to change ends.

There must be a very sensible reason, why the Barrow Hill route is not used.

July 14, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Railway Lines Through East Midlands Hub Station

This Google Map shows the position of High Speed Two‘s East Midland Hub station to the West of Nottingham.

Note.

  1. In the North East Corner of the map, is a label saying Japanese Water Garden. Below that is a blue dot, which marks the Toton Lane tram stop.
  2. Three red arrows relate to Toton Ballast Sidings, Old Toton Sidings (Black Path) and Toton Sidings from North to South.
  3. Running to the West of the arrows is a double-track railway and beyond that are a large number of sidings.

This second Google Map shows some of the sidings.

The double track main line is the Erewash Valley Line.

It is sounds complicated this map from High Speed Two may help.

Note.

  1. High Speed Two is shown in orange, with the blue dot indicating the East Midlands Hub station.
  2. Nottingham station is to the North East.
  3. Attenborough station can be picked out on the line going to Nottingham station.
  4. The water is in the Trent Valley.
  5. Trent Junction is the large triangular junction to the West of High Speed Two.
  6. Two rail lines lead to the West from Trent junction; the northerly one goes to Derby by Long Eaton and the other is a freight line to Castle Donington and East Midlands Gateway.

It is worth looking at how the various passenger services go through the area.

  • CrossCountry – Cardiff and Nottingham goes via Derby, Long Eaton, Attenborough, Beeston and Nottingham
  • CrossCountry – Birmingham and Nottingham goes via Derby, Long Eaton, Attenborough, Beeston and Nottingham
  • East Midlands Railway – Leicester and Lincoln goes via East Midlands Parkway, Attenborough, Beeston and Nottingham
  • East Midlands Railway – Liverpool and Norwich goes via Alfreton, Langley Mill, Ilkeston and Nottingham
  • East Midlands Railway – Matlock and Newark Castle goes via Derby, Long Eaton, Attenborough, Beeston and Nottingham
  • East Midlands Railway – St. Pancras and Sheffield goes via East Midlands Parkway, Long Eaton and Derby
  • East Midlands Railway – St. Pancras and Nottingham goes via East Midlands Parkway, Attenborough, Beeston and Nottingham
  • Northern – Leeds and Nottingham goes via Alfreton, Langley Mill, Ilkeston and Nottingham.

Note.

  1. Not one service goes past the site of the new East Midlands Hub station.
  2. Most services to and from Nottingham seem to use the Attenborough and Beeston route
  3. Services between Derby and Nottingham go via the Long Eaton, Attenborough and Derby route.
  4. Services from the North use the Erewash Valley Line and turn East at Trowell for Nottingham.

It is fairly obvious that there needs to be a sort-out of services to fit in with the location of the new East Midlands Parkway station.

May 31, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Classic-Compatible High Speed Two Trains At East Midlands Hub Station

This article on Rail News, is entitled £2.7bn East Midlands Plan Unveiled For HS2 Links.

This is the first two paragraphs.

A bold plan costed at £2.7 billion for the area around the HS2 hub in the East Midlands has been published by a group of councils, transport bodies and East Midlands Airport.

The core of the scheme is the future East Midlands Hub at Toton, and the plan proposes direct access to the Hub from more than 20 cities, towns and villages in the East Midlands.

If you want to read the original report by Midlands Connect, there’s a download link on this page of their web site.

The original report has a section entitled Midlands Engine Rail, where this is said.

This project is fully integrated with Midlands Engine Rail, a rail improvement plan developed by Midlands Connect to revolutionise connectivity, mobility and productivity across the region. Midlands Engine Rail includes plans for two new HS2 classic-compatible services on an electrified Midland Main Line that will run direct from:

  • Bedford and Leeds via Leicester and East Midlands Hub
  • Nottingham and Birmingham Curzon Street via East Midlands Hub

These services can run on both electrified and high speed tracks, and would join the HS2 network at Toton, the HS2 East Midlands Hub, meaning that Nottingham and Leicester city centres are directly linked to HS2 without the need to change trains.

These improved connections will more than halve current journey times, with Leicester to Leeds dropping from 120 minutes to 46 minutes and Nottingham to Birmingham falling from 72 minutes to 33 minutes.

Note.

  1. Between Bedford and East Midland Hub stations, the Midland Main Line is or soon will be an almost a complete 125 mph rail line.
  2. It is likely, that with digital in-cab signalling, that faster running up to 140 mph may be permitted in places.
  3. Between Birmingham Curzon Street and East Midlands Hub stations, trains will use High Speed Two at up to 205 mph.
  4. Between Leeds and East Midlands Hub stations, trains will use High Speed Two at up to 205 mph.
  5. Leeds and Birmingham Curzon Street station will be new stations for High Speed Two.

The Classic-Compatible Trains

These are described in this section in Wikipedia, by this sentence.

The classic-compatible trains, capable of high speed but built to a British loading gauge, permitting them to leave the high speed track to join conventional routes such as the West Coast Main Line, Midland Main Line and East Coast Main Line. Such trains would allow running of HS2 services to the north of England and Scotland, although these non-tilting trains would run slower than existing tilting trains on conventional track. HS2 Ltd has stated that, because these trains must be specifically designed for the British network and cannot be bought “off-the-shelf”, these conventional trains were expected to be around 50% more expensive, costing around £40 million per train rather than £27 million for the captive stock.

The trains will have the same characteristics as the full-size trains.

  • Maximum speed of 225 mph.
  • Cruising speed of 205 mph on High Speed Two.
  • Length of 200 metres.
  • Ability to work in pairs.
  • A passenger capacity around 500-600 passengers.

It should be noted that one of these trains will be shorter than a pair of East Midlands Railway’s five-car Class 810 trains, which should avoid any serious platform lengthening on existing lines.

Bedford and Leeds via Leicester and East Midlands Hub

A few facts and thoughts.

  • The service is shown as stopping at Wellingborough, Kettering, Market Harborough, Leicester, Loughborough and East Midlands Hub.
  • The service frequency could be hourly.
  • This service could be more important, than it appears, as by the time High Speed Two opens to Leeds, the East West Railway will be open through Bedford.
  • Would a terminal platform need to be added at Bedford station? As the station could be rebuilt for the East West Railway, this shouldn’t be a problem.
  • Leeds will have a new High Speed Two station or at least new platforms in the existing station.
  • The Bedford and Leeds service would join High Speed Two at East Midlands Hub and go North.
  • The Leeds and Bedford service would leave High Speed Two at East Midlands Hub and go South.

Leeds and Leicester will take 46 minutes, with High Speed Two’s journey time calculator, indicating twenty-seven minutes between East Midlands Hub and Leeds stations.

According to an article in the June 2020 Edition of Modern Railways High Speed Two is planning to run the following services on the Eastern leg of High Speed Two between East Midlands Hub and Leeds.

  • Two tph – Birmingham Curzon Street and Leeds
  • Three tph – London Euston and Leeds

There will be a Turn-Up-And-Go six tph service between East Midlands Hub and Leeds stations.

If the Bedford and Leeds service was an hourly service, when added to the current East Midlands Railway Inter-City services, it would give the following calling frequencies.

  • Wellingborough – 2 tph
  • Kettering – 2 tph
  • Market Harborough – 3 tph
  • Leicester – 5 tph
  • Loughborough – 3 tph
  • East Midlands Parkway – 2 tph

The calling pattern can be adjusted to the number of passengers.

Nottingham and Birmingham Curzon Street via East Midlands Hub

A few facts and thoughts.

  • The service is shown as only stopping at East Midlands Hub.
  • The service frequency could be hourly.
  • The service would go between East Midlands Hub and Nottingham using the Trowell Curve route, which I discussed in Access To Toton – Scheme 6 – Trowell Curve.
  • Nottingham station has long terminal platforms that take a full-length Inter-City 125.
  • Birmingham Curzon Street will be a new High Speed Two station.
  • The Nottingham and Birmingham Curzon Street service would join High Speed Two at East Midlands Hub and go South.
  • The Birmingham Curzon Street and Nottingham service would leave High Speed Two at East Midlands Hub and go North.

Nottingham and Birmingham Curzon Street will take 33 minutes, with High Speed Two’s journey time calculator, indicating twenty minutes, between Birmingham Curzon Street and East Midlands Hub stations.

According to an article in the June 2020 Edition of Modern Railways High Speed Two is planning to run the following services on the Eastern leg of High Speed Two from Birmingham Curzon Street.

  • Two tph – East Midlands Hub and Leeds
  • One tph – East Midlands Hub, York, Darlington, Durham and Newcastle.

There will be a Turn-Up-And-Go four tph service between East Midlands Hub and Birmingham Curzon Street stations.

Midland Main Line Electrification

Midlands Connect is calling for full electrification of the Midland Main Line.

The problem is electrification through Leicester station, where there is a low bridge over the track.

In Discontinuous Electrification Through Leicester Station, I showed how the problem might be solved by discontinuous electrification and battery-equipped trains.

The Shared High Speed Two Path

If you look at the two previous sections you’ll see the following.

  • The Birmingham Curzon Street and Nottingham service would leave High Speed Two at East Midlands Hub and go North.
  • The Bedford and Leeds service would join High Speed Two at East Midlands Hub and go North.
  • The Leeds and Bedford service would leave High Speed Two at East Midlands Hub and go South.
  • The Nottingham and Birmingham Curzon Street service would join High Speed Two at East Midlands Hub and go South.

 

The two services are using the same path on High Speed Two.

I would design the East Midlands Hub, so that High Speed Two and classic services going in the same direction shared an island platform.

Southbound services would behave like this.

  • The Nottingham to Birmingham Curzon Street train would arrive in the High Speed Two face of the platform.
  • The Leeds to Bedford train would arrive in the classic face of the platform.
  • Passengers who needed to change would walk across the platform.
  • When ready both trains would go on their way.

Northbound services would do something similar.

It would be an efficient way to organise interchange between services.

  • Train design would have to ensure, that all trains using the island platform had similar and preferably step-free access.
  • If Greater Anglia and Merseyrail, can do step-free access, then no train designer has an excuse not to.
  • Surely every High Speed Two train that arrives at East Midlands Hub, should be paired with a Midland Main Line service, if the timetable allows it.

The money being spent on High Speed Two means that the British public, won’t accept anything less than perfect.

Are There Any Other Possible Destinations For Classic-Compatible High Speed Two Trains From East Midlands Hub Station?

I will put these in alphabetical order.

Bedford

Consider.

  • Bedford is already planned to have one classic-compatible service to and from Leeds.
  • One of East Midlands Railway’s St. Pancras services calls at Bedford.
  • Bedford has a four tph Thameslink service to a large proportion of Central London and the South East of England.
  • Bedford has direct services to Gatwick Airport.
  • Bedford station will be expanded to accommodate the East West Railway.
  • In a few years, Bedford will be connected to Milton Keynes, Oxford and Reading by the East West Railway.
  • When the East Midlands Hub station opens, Bedford will be connected to Cambridge, Ipswich and Norwich by the East West Railway.

I feel there is a need for a Turn-Up-And-Go four tph service between Bedford and East Midlands Hub stations.

I estimate that between Bedford and East Midlands Parkway stations  will have a journey time of around 60 minutes.

Cambridge

I believe that the East West Railway should be built to the same standard as the East Coast, Great Western, Midland and West Coast Main Lines.

  • Digitally signalled
  • 125 mph-capable
  • Electrified

This would enable classic-compatible services to be extended from Bedford to the UK’s Technology Powerhouse; Cambridge.

As Bedford and East Midlands Parkway could be 60 minutes, timings depend on the times of the East West Railway, between Bedford and Cambridge.

Edinburgh

Consider.

  • Edinburgh is an important city; financially and politically.
  • Edinburgh is planned to have a classic-compatible service from London via the West Coast Main Line.
  • Newcastle is planned to have a classic-compatible service from East Midlands Hub

The city must be a possibility for a classic compatible service from East Midlands Hub.

I estimate that Edinburgh and East Midlands Parkway will have a journey time of a few minutes over two hours

Hull

This clip of a map from the Transport for the North report shows a schematic of the rail links in Yorkshire.

Hull is important for various reasons.

  • It is large city.
  • It is the Eastern terminus of an increasing number of routes.
  • It is becoming a manufacturing centre for North Sea wind.
  • The city will be the terminus of Northern Powerhouse Rail across the Pennines from Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds.
  • Some reports have shown the city as a terminus of the Western leg of High Speed Two.

For these reasons, I will add Hull to the list.

I estimate that Hull and East Midlands Parkway will have a journey time of under an hour.

Lincoln

Looking forward to 2040, I wouldn’t bet against Lincoln being a very important city in the UK.

  • It has history.
  • It is becoming an important higher education centre.
  • It has lots of space.
  • Train operating companies like LNER and East Midlands Railway are improving services to the city.

But most importantly, as Aberdeen became Scotland’s centre for North Sea Oil and Gas, I believe that Lincoln could become England’s centre for North Sea renewable electricity and hydrogen.

I estimate that Lincoln and East Midlands Parkway will have a journey time of around an hour.

Milton Keynes

As I said for Cambridge, I believe that the East West Railway should be built to the same standard as the East Coast, Great Western, Midland and West Coast Main Lines.

This would enable classic-compatible services to be extended from Bedford to Milton Keynes.

As Bedford and East Midlands Parkway could be 60 minutes, timings depend on the times of the East West Railway, between Bedford and Milton Keynes.

Newcastle

As Newcastle already has a direct High Speed Two classic-compatible connection to and from East Midlands Hub station, this must be a possibility.

According to High Speed Two’s journey time calculator<, trains between Newcastle and East Midland Hub stations will take 96 minutes.

Northern Powerhouse Rail

The map I showed with Hull could indicate that a train could take High Speed Two to Leeds and then power its way across the Pennines calling at Leeds, Huddersfield, Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Airport and Liverpool.

East Midlands Railway would have found a replacement for the Western part of their Liverpool and Norwich service, which is one of the worst railway services in the UK.

Oxford And Reading

As I said for Cambridge, I believe that the East West Railway should be built to the same standard as the East Coast, Great Western, Midland and West Coast Main Lines.

This would enable classic-compatible services to be extended from Bedford to Oxford and Reading.

As Bedford and East Midlands Parkway could be 60 minutes, timings depend on the times of the East West Railway, between Bedford and Oxford and Reading.

Peterborough

I think Peterborough could be an interesting possibility.

  • It is the gateway to the East of England.
  • It is a fully-electrified station.
  • It has seven platforms with space for more.
  • Most platforms could take a two hundred metre long train.

East Midlands Railway’s Liverpool and Norwich service, links Peterborough with Nottingham.

  • That section of the route is 52 miles long.
  • 29 miles of the route on the East Coast Main Line are electrified.
  • The 100 mph Class 158 trains take 67 minutes and 30 minutes to travel between the two stops at Grantham and Peterborough.
  • Some of LNER’s 125 mph electric Class 800 trains are timetabled to travel between the two stops at Grantham and Peterborough as fast as 18 minutes.

What time will be achievable on this short length of electrified track, when digital signalling is fully-deployed and 140 mph running is possible?

I can certainly see a bi-mode Class 801 train going between Peterborough and Nottingham in under an hour.

I also think that they could equal East Midlands Railway’s times to Nottingham going from Kings Cross via Grantham.

In Access To Toton – Scheme 6 – Trowell Curve, I advocated the following electrification, to allow battery-electric trains to work the Nottingham and Skegness service.

  • The Allington Chord between Bottesford and Ancaster stations.
  • The line linking the chord to Grantham station.

As Nottingham station will surely be electrified to allow classic-compatible High Speed Two trains to run between the station and Birmingham using High Speed Two, there will only be sixteen miles of double-track between Bottesford and Nottingham station without electrification.

I have just flown my helicopter along the route and there are one or two bridges and Netherfield station, that will need a rebuild, but it wouldn’t be the most challenging of electrifications.

Especially, as there is High Speed Two and the East Coast Main Line to provide power at both ends of the route.

But as it is only sixteen miles would they use battery-electric high-speed trains.

Surely, that is a crazy idea?

In Will High Speed Two’s Classic-Compatible Trains Have Battery Operation?, I explain why you would use such a concept to create an efficient train.

  • The batteries drive the train and they are charged from the electrification and regenerative braking.
  • Batteries would give a train recovery capability in case of overhead catenary failure.
  • Batteries would be used for depot movements.

In Will The Trains On High Speed Two Have Batteries For Regenerative Braking?, I do a calculation for the battery size needed for a 250 mph Spanish high speed train and the batteries are surprisingly small, at 100 kWh per carriage.

I firmly believe, that the mathematics say it is possible for a high speed train to use on-board battery power to perhaps do thirty miles at say 90 mph on a line without electrification.

Sheffield

As Sheffield station will have a direct High Speed Two connection to and from East Midlands Hub station, this must be a possibility.

According to High Speed Two’s journey time calculator, trains between Sheffield and East Midland Hub stations will take 27 minutes.

Note.

  1. An article in the June 2020 Edition of Modern Railways shows that the Eastern leg of High Speed Two is planned to have nine tph, against a theoretical limit of 18 tph.
  2. The Leeds-Bedford and Nottingham-Birmingham Curzon Street will use another path.
  3. Not all services would need to be hourly.
  4. Could some CrossCountry services be replaced with classic-compatible services?

I feel there is plenty of scope to develop more classic-compatible services along the Eastern leg of High Speed Two.

 

 

 

 

 

May 31, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Access To Toton – Scheme 6 – Trowell Curve

In £2.7bn East Midlands Plan Unveiled For HS2 Links, a series of schemes are given, which improve access to the High Speed Two East Midlands Hub station.

Scheme 6 is defined like this.

The implementation of a minimum of four direct rail services per hour linking the HS2 East Midlands Hub station to Derby, Nottingham and Leicester stations, as well as Loughborough, Matlock, Mansfield, Newark, Alfreton and Grantham, made possible by the building of a new piece of infrastructure, the Trowell Curve, which will link to the Midland Mainline. These additional connections will also create direct links to Stoke-on-Trent, Crewe, Newark and Lincoln, by extending services on existing routes.

That is a comprehensive set of connections.

The Trowell Curve

This Google Map shows the location of the village of Trowell.

Note.

  1. The M1 Motorway running North-South up the map.
  2. The village of Trowell on the Western side of the motorway.
  3. Many people will have stopped at Trowell services on the motorway, which are just to the North of the top edge of the map.
  4. The North-South railway line  to the West of the village is the Erewash Valley Line, that runs North from the East Midlands Hub station at Toton to Ilkeston, Langley Mill, Alfreton, Clay Cross North Junction, Chesterfield and Sheffield.

There is also another railway line, that runs on the South Western side of the village and across the bottom of the map, that connects the Erewash Valley Line to Nottingham station.

Trains can go between Nottingham and the North, but there is no connection to go between Nottingham and the South.

It looks like the proposed Trowell Curve will add extra connectivity to the junction, so that all these directions are possible.

  • Nottingham to Ilkeston and the North.
  • Ilkeston and the North to Nottingham.
  • Nottingham to East Midlands Hub Station and the South.
  • East Midlands Hub Station and the South to Nottingham

The Trowell Chord will be double-track or bi-directional and must certainly improve connectivity.

East Midlands Hub Station

The East Midlands Hub station will link various bus, tram and train services to High Speed Two.

According to the latest reports in the June 2020 Edition of Modern Railways there will be nine high-speed trains per hour (tph) through the station of which seven tph will stop.

Destinations served would be.

  • Birmingham Interchange – 1 tph
  • Birmingham Curzon Street – 3 tph
  • Chesterfield – 1 tph
  • Darlington – 1 tph
  • Durham – 1 tph
  • Leeds – 5 tph
  • London Euston – 4 tph
  • Newcastle – 1 tph
  • Old Oak Common – 4 tph
  • Sheffield – 2 tph
  • York – 2 tph

As the capacity of High Speed Two has been said to be 18 tph, there must be the possibility for extra services to run on this leg of High Speed Two.

As four tph is considered by many to be a good Turn-Up-And-Go frequency and two tph a sensible minimum frequency, I can see another train between Birmingham Curzon Street and Newcastle with stops at East Midlands Hub, Leeds, Darlington and Durham.

The design has certainly left enough capacity for those that follow us!

Especially, as Wikipedia says that the new East Midlands Hub station will have eight platforms.

  • It would need a minimum of two through platforms for High Speed Two services
  • Would it need a terminating platform for High Speed Two services? Not for the currently proposed timetable.
  • It would need a minimum of two through platforms for East Midlands Railway’s Inter-City services.
  • Would it need a terminating platform for East Midlands Railway’s Inter-City services? Not for the currently proposed timetable.
  • There would probably be a need for two through platforms for local services.

On this crude look, eight platforms would appear to be more than enough.

Current Services Through The Area

In Railway Lines Through East Midlands Hub Station, I detailed where the new East Midlands Hub station is to be built and the rail services in the area.

After listing all the services I said this.

Note.

  1. Not one service goes past the site of the new East Midlands Hub station.
  2. Most services to and from Nottingham seem to use the Attenborough and Beeston route
  3. Services between Derby and Nottingham go via the Long Eaton, Attenborough and Derby route.
  4. Services from the North use the Erewash Valley Line and turn East at Trowell for Nottingham.

It is fairly obvious that there needs to be a sort-out of services to fit in with the location of the new East Midlands Parkway station.

So will the new Trowell Curve give the new station, the rail access it needs?

The Splitting Of The Norwich and Liverpool Service

I wrote about this in Abellio’s Plans For Norwich And Liverpool, where I said this about the basic plan.

Early in the new franchise the Liverpool – Nottingham section will transfer to another operator, which will enable the two halves of the service to better meet the needs of customers.

It will become two services.

  • Norwich and Derby via Nottingham, Trowell Curve, East Midland Hub and Long Eaton.
  • Nottingham and Crewe via Trowell Curve, East Midland Hub, Long Eaton and Derby.

The second service will go to another operator.

I said earlier, this change is for the needs of customers.

It will also have other effects.

  • It will add an extra service between Nottingham and Derby
  • It will remove the Norwich and Liverpool service from the Erewash Valley Line.

Has this change being driven by the need to provide good connections to High Speed Two?

Train Services To East Midlands Hub Station

The following sub-sections detail the service between various stations and the East Midlands Hub station.

Alfreton Station

Alfreton station on the Erewash Valley Line, is going through major changes to train services.

Currently, there are these two hourly services.

  • East Midlands Railway’s Liverpool and Norwich service.
  • Northern’s Leeds and Nottingham service.

Neither service currently goes through the site of East Midlands Hub station and East Midlands Railway will split the Liverpool and Norwich service, so it won’t go anywhere near Alfreton.

Consider.

  • Alfreton station probably needs at least a two tph service to East Midlands Hub station.
  • The Northern service might be able to go via East Midlands Hub station.
  • Both Alfreton and the East Midlands Hub station are on the Erewash Valley Line.
  • Trains could run between Alfreton and Nottingham via Langley Mill, Ilkeston, East Midlands Hub, Attenborough and Beeston.
  • Trains could run between Alfreton and Derby via Langley Mill, Ilkeston, East Midlands Hub, Long Eaton and Spndon.

Or would it be best to put in a bay platform at Alfreton station and run a shuttle service between Alfreton and the East Midlands Hub stations?

  • The minimum frequency would be two tph.
  • Up to four tph could probably be easily run.
  • Trains would call at all stations.
  • Extra stations could be added.
  • The distance between Alfreton and East Midlands Hub stations is around twenty miles, so a battery-electric train could be possible.

This Google Map shows Alfreton station.

I suspect a bay platform could be added. Or failing that, there could be a turnback siding to the North of the station.

Surely, a local train solution would be a spur to development in the area, especially if it connected to High Speed Two at East Midlands Hub station for High Speed Two.

Derby Station

Consider.

  • The current half-hourly East Midlands Railway services between St. Pancras and Sheffield, could not call at both the East Midlands Hub and Derby stations, unless it performed a reverse at East Midlands Hub station.
  • Two  hourly CrossCountry services, that call at both Derby and Nottingham could use a route via Long Eaton, East Midlands Hub and Trowell Curve.
  • An hourly East Midlands Railway service between Newark Castle and Matlock could use a route via Long Eaton, East Midlands Hub and Trowell Curve
  • The split service between Liverpool and Norwich would run two tph between Nottingham and Derby, via Long Eaton, East Midlands Hub and Trowell Curve, in both directions.

Six tph can be provided by existing services calling at the new East Midlands Hub station.

Grantham Station

Consider.

  • The current hourly East Midlands Railway service between Norwich and Liverpool, calls at Grantham station and could call at the East Midlands Hub, if it used the Trowell Curve route.
  • After the service has been split, the two sections will probably both go between Nottingham and Derby via long Eaton, East Midlands Hub and Trowell Curve.
  • The current hourly East Midlands Railway service between Nottingham and Skegness calls at Grantham station, but doesn’t pass the site of the East Midlands Hub station.
  • This service could be extended to the East Midlands Hub station using the Trowell Curve or the Beeston/Attenborough route, where it would terminate.

It appears relatively easy to give Grantham a two tph service to the East Midlands Hub station.

Ilkeston Station

Ilkeston station would be a stop on all services between the East Midlands Hub and Alfreton and Mansfield stations, so would have a frequent service to the East Midlands Hub station.

Langley Mill Station

Langley Mill station would be a stop on all services between the East Midlands Hub and Alfreton and Mansfield stations, so would have a frequent service to the East Midlands Hub station.

Leicester Station

Consider.

  • The current half-hourly East Midlands Railway services between St, Pancras and Nottingham, could call at both the East Midlands Hub and Leicester stations, if the trains used the Trowell Curve.
  • Any Ivanhoe Line services between Lincoln and Leicester, could call at both the East Midlands Hub and Leicester stations, if the trains used the Towell Curve.

Leicester would get a frequent train service from the East Midlands Hub station.

Lincoln Station

Lincoln is the Eastern terminal of Ivanhoe Line services. Currently, they run as far as Leicester, but by the time the East Midlands Hub station opens, the services will probably terminate at Burton-on-Trent. I wrote about this project, which is being promoted by the Restoring Your Railway Fund in Reinstatement Of The Ivanhoe Line.

I can see two tph between Lincoln and Burton-on-Trent.

  • Stations served could be Newark, Nottingham, East Midlands Hub, East Midlands Parkway, Loughborough, Leicester, Coalville and Ashby-de-la-Zouch.
  • The services would use the proposed Trowell Curve.
  • Services could be extended to Grimsby and Cleethorpes at the Lincoln end of the service.
  • Services would co-ordinate with East Midlands Railway’s Inter-City services to and from London with easy interchange at Leicester and or East Midlands Hub stations.
  • Trains could be five-car Class 810 trains to take full advantage of the 125+ mph running between Leicester and Trowell.
  • These trains have a shorter dwell time than many and timings could benefit.

Effectively, East Midlands Railway would have a second main line.

Loughborough Station

Consider.

  • East Midlands Railway currently has two Inter-City and one Ivanhoe Line service, that stop in Loughborough station and could stop at the East Midlands Hub station.

With another service, Loughborough could have four tph to and from the East Midlands Hub station.

Mansfield Station

This is where Maid Marion flashes her lashes and gets the engineers to reopen her line for passenger trains between North of the former Pye Corner station on the Erewash Valley Line and Kirkby-in-Ashfield station on the Robin Hood Line.

This Google Map shows the route.

Note.

  1. The M1 Motorway crossing the map from North-West to South-East.
  2. Pye Corner is in the South-West corner of the map.
  3. The Erewash Valley Line runs North-South through Pye Corner.
  4. Kirkby-in-Ashfield is the urban area in the North-East corner of the map.
  5. Kirkby-in-Ashfield station is shown by the usual red symbol.
  6. The Robin Hood Line runs North-South through Kirkby-in-Ashfeld station.

On a high-resolution screen, it’s possible to pick out the freight line, that will become the Maid Marian Line.

  • The Maid Marian Line is double-track.
  • According to Real Time Trains, the distance between Kirkby-in-Ashfield and Langley Mill stations is around nine miles.
  • A freight train took twenty-two minutes between the two stations.
  • As there are two tph on the Robin Hood Line, I think it would be reasonable to have a similar frequency on the Maid Marian Line.
  • Trains between the East Midlands Hub and Mansfield stations would pass Ilkeston, Langley Mill, Kirkby-in-Ashfield and Sutton Parkway stations.
  • Trains could terminate at Nottingham using the Attenborough route.
  • Trains could terminate at Derby using the Long Eaton route.

The Maid Marian Line could improve services from Derby, Mansfield, Nottingham and Worksop stations to the new East Midlands Hub station.

Matlock Station

Consider.

  • Matlock is currently served by an hourly service between Matlock and Newark Castle via Derby, Spondon, Long Eaton, Attenborough, Beeston, Nottingham and several other smaller stations, which is a service that goes past the site of the East Midlands Hub station.

If this service were to call at the East Midlands Hub station and be doubled in frequency, it would be a very valuable connecting service to and from the East Midlands Hub station.

To call at East Midlands Hub station, it would need to use the Trowell Curve.

Newark Station

Consider.

  • Newark is a calling point on the Ivanhoe Line service between Lincoln and Leicester.
  • Newark is currently served by an hourly service between Matlock and Newark Castle via Derby, Spondon, Long Eaton, Attenborough, Beeston, Nottingham and several other smaller stations, which is a service that goes past the site of the East Midlands Hub station.

Both services could be increased to two tph, so Newark might end up with a four tph service to Nottingham and East Midlands Hub stations with a two tph service to Derby and Lincoln.

Nottingham Station

Consider.

  • The current half-hourly East Midlands Railway services between St. Pancras and Nottingham could use the Trowell Chord route, as this would allow a call at the East Midlands Hub station.
  • Ivanhoe Line services between Lincoln and Leicester could also use the Trowell Chord route, which with a change at the hub station, would give Lincolnshire a faster service to and from London and Birmingham.
  • In Reinstatement Of The Ivanhoe Line, I wrote about plans to extend the Ivanhoe Line to Burton on Trent.
  • The split service between Liverpool and Norwich would run two tph between Nottingham and Derby, via Long Eaton and East Midlands Hub stations, in both directions.
  • If the Nottingham and Skegness service, were to be extended to East Midlands Hub, this would add extra services between Nottingham and East Midlands Hub stations.

The required four tph between the East Midlands Hub and Nottingham station could be provided by the diversion of existing services to call at the East Midlands Hub station and using the Trowell Curve.

Stoke-on-Trent And Crewe Stations

Consider.

  • Currently, there is an hourly East Midlands Railway service between Crewe and Derby, that calls at nine stations including Kidsgrove, Stoke-on-Trent and Uttoxeter.
  • There are also plans to split the Liverpool and Norwich service into two, with the Western half possibly becoming a Crewe and Nottingham service via Derby, East Midlands Hub and Long Eaton.

These two services could be arranged to give a two tph service between Nottingham, Long Eaton, East Midlands Hub and Derby in the South and Stoke-on-Trent and Crewe in the North.

Back-To-Back Services At East Midlands Hub Station

Running services through a station is always more efficient as terminating services in a station will need a bay platform or turnback facility of some sort.

In my analysis, I have proposed that these services might terminate at East Midlands Hub Station.

  • A possible shuttle service between East Midlands Hub and Alfreton stations.
  • The Maid Marian Line service between East Midlands Hub and Mansfield and Worksop stations.
  • The Nottingham and Skegness service could be extended to East Midlands Hub station.
  • The Crewe and Derby service could be extended to Nottingham via East Midlands Hub station.

Note.

  1. The splitting of the Liverpool and Norwich service will result in an overlap between Nottingham and Derby.
  2. Matlock and Newark services already run back-to-back through the area.

So would it be logical to join some services back-to-back through East Midlands Hub station?

s an example, the Maid Marian Line and Skegness services could be joined into one service.

Other services could follow the precedent of the splitting of the Liverpool and Norwich service.

  • Trains coming and going from the East terminate at Derby.
  • Trains coming and going from the West terminate at Nottingham.

If the following were arranged.

  • Grantham and Mansfield were back-to-back.
  • Alfreton and Crewe services terminated at Nottingham.
  • Norwich services terminated at Derby.

There would be seven tph between Nottingham and Derby via Long Eaton and East Midlands Hub stations.

 

Battery-Electric Operation

Consider.

  • Hitachi are claiming, that the battery-electric versions of their AT-300 trains, like the Class 810 trains will have a battery range of 55-65 miles and take ten minutes to recharge.
  • Nottingham and Derby are sixteen miles away and trains between the two cities, take as long as thirty minutes for the trip.
  • There will be high quality electrification at East Midlands Hub station.

In addition, station distances from the East Midlands Hub station are as follows.

  • Alfreton – 17 miles
  • Crewe – 55 miles – 35 miles without electrification (Derby and Stoke Junction)
  • Derby – 6 miles
  • Grantham – 20 miles
  • Ilkeston – 7 miles
  • Langley Mill – 10 miles
  • Lincoln – 43 miles
  • Mansfield – 23 miles
  • Matlock – 23 miles
  • Newark Castle – 26 miles
  • Nottingham – 10 miles
  • Skegness – 80 miles
  • Stoke-on-Trent – 42 miles – 35 miles without electrification (Derby and Stoke Junction)

I think the following would be possible on battery power.

  • Return journeys to Alfreton, Grantham, Ilkeston, Langley Mill, Mansfield, Matlock and Newark Castle.
  • Return journeys to Lincoln with a charge at the destination.
  • Return journeys to Crewe and Stoke using the electrification between Stoke Junction and Crewe.

Running battery-electric trains between East Midlands Hub and Skegness station would need a bit of ingenuity.

The building of the Allington Chord in 2005, may have opened up a way for battery-electric trains to be able to run between Nottingham and Skegness.

Consider.

  • Bottesford station is the station nearest to Grantham on the Western side of the East Coast Main Line and it is 15.3 miles from Nottingham.
  • Ancaster station is the station nearest to Grantham on the Eastern side of the East Coast Main Line and it is 28 miles from Nottingham.
  • The original route between Bottesford and Ancaster station caused delays on the main line, so it was replaced by two routes.
  • A modified version of the original route allows trains to call at Grantham station, where they reverse before continuing. The distance is 18.7 miles and typically takes 33 minutes
  • A double-track short cut under the East Coast Main Line is about 12.7 miles and typically takes 17 minutes.
  • The distance between Ancaster and Skegness is 46.7 miles.
  • The East Coast Main Line is electrified.

I wonder, if it were possibly to electrify the following tracks.

  • The direct double track between Ancaster and Bottesford stations.
  • The access lines from the Allington Chord into Grantham station.

Hopefully, as the tracks, were built in 2005, they shouldn’t be too challenging to electrify.

This would enable a train from East Midlands Hub to Skegness to use the following procedure.

  • Use the electrified line between East Midlands Hub and Nottingham stations, charging the battery en route.
  • Call at Nottingham station and lower the pantograph.
  • Leave Nottingham with a full battery.
  • Run between Nottingham and Bottesford stations on battery power.
  • Call at Bottesford station and raise the pantograph.
  • Use either of the electrified routes between Bottesford and Ancaster stations, charging the battery en route.
  • Call at Ancaster station and lower the paragraph.
  • Run between Ancaster and Skegness stations on battery power.

After charging the train at Skegness, the return would use the following procedure.

  • Leave Skegness with a full battery.
  • Run between Skegness and Ancaster on battery power.
  • Call at Ancaster and raise the paragraph.
  • Use either of the electrified routes between Ancaster and Bottesford stations, charging the battery en route.
  • Call at Bottesford station and lower the pantograph.
  • Run between Bottesford and Nottingham on battery power.
  • Call at Nottingham station and raise the pantograph.
  • Use the electrified line between Nottingham and East Midlands Hub stations, charging the battery en route.

It’s almost as if, the Allington Chord was designed for battery-electric trains.

Conclusion

The Trowell Curve with a little bit of help from a few friends can create a battery-electric network of local lines based on the three important stations of Nottingham, East Midlands Hub and Derby.

 

 

 

 

I

 

 

 

May 30, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Mule Trains Between Liverpool And Norwich

I have done two trips to Liverpool in the last week.

On Saturday, I saw this collection of one-car Class 153 trains with a two-car Class 156 train thrown in.

They were forming one of East Midlands Railway‘s Liverpool and Norwich services.

And then yesterday, I had to travel between Liverpool and Sheffield and this was the collection of trains that took me.

So what was it like?

It started badly, with the driver announcing that because of the late arrival due to an undisclosed problem with the incoming train, that we would be leaving ten minutes after the planned departure time of 1551. He also indicated that our late departure meant that we would be stuck behind one of Northern’s services.

In the end, despite the gloomy faces of passengers we left twelve minutes late at 1603.

It was a bit like one of those classic films, where an ancient train escapes in the nick of time, with a lot of important and assorted passengers.

The asthmatic Cummins diesels under the train could be heard straining.

  • But the driver was at the top of his game and the train was running smoothly towards Manchester at close to 75 mph, which is the maximum speed of a Class 153 train.
  • At Manchester Piccadilly, the driver had pulled back two minutes.
  • There were obviously, no problems on the Dove Valley Line and the driver pulled back another minute before Sheffield, to arrive nine minutes late.

Looking at Real Time Trains, the train ran well until March (The place, not the month!), but there was some form of delay there and sadly it was thirty-four minutes late into Norwich.

The Train Was Clean

I should say there was nothing wrong with the train except for its design and age. It was also as clean as you can get one of these trains. The toilet, that I used was better than many I’ve used on trains and worked as it should.

Customer Service

East Midlands Railway had loaded a trolley and a steward and in the two hours I was on the train, he came through twice. The only problem for me, that he had no card machine, but I did find a fiver in my briefcase.

At least it was very drinkable. Even, if I hate those plastic tubs of milk, as they are difficult to open with one good hand.

Where Did Two Cars Go?

I had been fairly certain, that we had started with six cars, but we only arrived in Sheffield with four Class 153 trains.

I suspect that the trouble that delayed the train, concerned two cars and these were left on the naughty step or the end of Platform 6 in Liverpool Lime Street station.

Being Fair To East Midlands Railway

This service used to be run by a four-car formation of two-car Class 158 trains, but these have been causing trouble lately and they will be replaced by Class 170 trains cascaded from other operators.

But because of late arrivals of new trains the much better Class 170 trains haven’t arrived yet.

The driver, steward and other staff did a good job and I feel that the steward enjoyed it. No-one was abusive and stories were just exchanged, as we climbed across the Pennines in what by Sheffield was a very crowded train.

Class 153 trains may have been built as a stop-gap for short branch lines, but you couldn’t fault their performance.

Unless of course, one caused the delay at March, by expiring in a cloud of blue smoke.

Other Observations

These are other observations.

Scheduled Journey Times

On my journey the scheduled times were

  • Liverpool and Manchester Oxford Road – forty-seven minutes.
  • Liverpool and Sheffield – one hour and forty-eight minutes.
  • Liverpool and Nottingham – two hour and forty minutes.
  • Liverpool and Norwich – Five hours and twenty-seven minutes

The train considering the configuration, nearly achieved them.

It’s probably the motoring equivalent of doing the journey in a Morris Minor!

The Nine Stops Were Executed Perfectly

There were nine stops on my journey and eight took less than a minute, with Sheffield taking four, as the driver and crew changed.

A modern train like a Class 755 train, with fast acceleration and level boarding could probably save up to three minutes a time on each stop.

The Route Is A Genuine 75 mph Railway In Good Condition

I was checking the speed of the train on parts of the route and the driver had his motley crew at a steady 75 mph for long periods.

  • The train was riding well, indicating to me, that both trains and track were in reasonably good condition.
  • Note that 75 mph is the maximum speed of a Class 153 train.
  • The train recovered three minutes on the late departure from Liverpool.

I can see a faster train and improvements to the route, some of which are underway, could reduce the journey time by a few minutes.

Could Merseyrail’s New Class 777 Trains Work To The Bay Platform At Oxford Road?

Merseyrail’s new Class 777 trains will have the following performance.

  • A possible range of perhaps 40-50 miles on battery power.
  • An operating speed of 75 mph.
  • An acceleration rate of 1.1 m/sec², which is faster than a Class 153 or Class 170 train.
  • Fast stops due to regenerative braking, fast acceleration and level boarding.

As Liverpool Lime Street to Oxford Road is thirty four miles of which nine is electrified, I suspect that these new trains could extend Merseyrail’s Northern Line service from Hunts Cross to Manchester Oxford Road.

  • Two trains per hour (tph), but I’m sure four tph would transform the area.
  • I doubt any track modifications would be needed.

But would Liverpool and Manchester be able to sort out the local politics?

The Future Of The Liverpool And Norwich Service

This service will probably be spilt into two services.

  • Liverpool Lime Street and Derby, which could be run by TransPennine Express or Northern Trains.
  • Derby and Norwich, which would be run by East Midlands Railway.

As to the trains to be used, consider the following.

The Liverpool and Derby leg would probably need six trains, with the same number needed for Derby and Norwich, or twelve in total.

Currently, eleven or twelve is needed for the longer service.

Sections of the route like through Manchester and between Grantham and Peterborough are electrified.

There are even sections of route, where 125 mph running is possible.

Run reliably to an hourly frequency, I think that this service could attract passengers, especially, as it would serve Derby and extra stops like Ilkeston and Warrington West could be added.

This leads to the following trains being possibilities.

Class 802 trains – 125 mph bi-mode train of which TransPennine Express have 19 trains.

Class 185 trains – 100 mph diesel train of which TransPennine Express have 51 trains.

Class 810 trains – 125 mph bi-mode train of which East Midlands Railway have ordered 33 trains.

Class 755 trains – 100 mph diesel train of which Greater Anglia have 38 trains, which are based at Norwich.

Alstom Breeze hydrogen trains could be ideal for Liverpool and Derby.

Note.

  1. Greater Anglia and East Midlands Railway are both subsidiaries of Abellio.
  2. Developments of Class 755 trains could include battery and hydrogen versions.
  3. I suspect that 125 mph trains may be required for both legs, to maximise capacity on the East Coast Main Line and Midland Main Line.

The trains will certainly get better.

January 29, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Abellio’s Plans For Norwich And Liverpool

This page on the Department for Transport web site is an interactive map of the Abellio’s promises for East Midlands Railway.

These are mentioned for services between Norwich and Liverpool.

Splitting Of The Service

Early in the new franchise the Liverpool – Nottingham section will transfer to another operator, which will enable the two halves of the service to better meet the needs of customers.

The section remaining with East Midlands Railway will become a Norwich and Derby service via Nottingham.

This has been said for some time by the Department of Transport.

It is also said that limited services will continue to operate via Stamford and Loughborough.

Looking at trains between Nottingham and Norwich., they take these routes.

  • Grantham, Peterborough, Ely, Thetford
  • East Midlands Parkway, Loughborough, Melton Mowbray, Oakham, Peterborough, Ely, Thetford

The service will be extended from Nottingham to Long Eaton, the future East Midlands Hub and Derby.

Refurbished Modern Trains

It is proposed that the service will be run by refurbished modern trains.

Features include.

  • More reliable service
  • Improved comfort
  • Passenger information system displays
  • free on-board Wi-Fi
  • at-seat power sockets
  • USB points
  • Air conditioning
  • Tables at all seats
  • Increased luggage space.
  • No date for introduction is given.

This all sounds fine to me.

The Current Trains On The Route

Before discussing the possible new trains, I will look at the current service, that I have used many times.

Class 158 trains are used,

Normally, a pair of two-car trains run together to make a four-car formation.

  • At times, these trains are very overcrowded.
  • I don’t think, the trains have a universal access toilet.
  • The trains are thirty years old and some detailing is not very good or very last century.
  • The air-conditioning may be a bit dodgy.
  • Nottingham and Norwich is probably about the maximum comfortable range for passenger on these trainss.

I suspect too, that they have operational problems.

  • They are only 90 mph trains and they will share tracks with faster trains.
  • As part of this route could be on the East Coast Main Line, scheduling trains would be easier, if the trains were capable of 125 mph.
  • On board catering is provided by a trolley. Can it be pushed between the two trains?

Abellio are obviously quite right to promise a better train for both passengers, staff and their bottom line.

An Ideal Train For The Route

An ideal train would have a specification something like this.

  • Modern train, built since 2000.
  • Five or six cars
  • 125 mph operating speed.
  • An onboard cafe-bar.
  • Universal-access toilet.

It sounds to me, like a Class 222 train with a high-class refurbishment.

Currently, there are these  Class 222 trains available to the franchise.

  • Four by four-car
  • Seventeen by five-cars
  • Six by seven-cars.

Many of the Class 222 trains, will be replaced in 2022, when the new bi-mode trains are delivered.

The New Trains For The Route

It does look to me, that East Midlands Trains could do a lot worse, than use refurbished Class 222 trains between Norwich and Derby.

  • Their engineers and drivers know the trains well.
  • They could be arranged as four or five coaches for the route.
  • Tory are 125 mph trains, which must bring journey time savings, especially on the East Coast Main Line.
  • Bombardier have proposed, that they could be fitted with batteries to reduce the need to run the engines in stations.

Refurbishing something you know, is probably one of the cheaper options.

How Many Trains Are Needed For An Hourly Service Between Nowich And Derby?

I suspect that running to a well defined timetable that times of around three hours could be achieved between Norwich and Derby.

This would probably mean that a train could go from Norwich to Derby and back in under seven hours.

This would mean that seven trains would be needed for an hourly service running all day.

If the 125 mph trains could use their speed on the East Coast Main Line and perhaps on the Breckland Line, it might be possible to do the round trip in six hours and therefor need a train less.

Would Finding Seven Class 222 Trains Be Possible?

Obviously, once the Midland Main Line routes have been replaced by new bi-mode trains in 2022, there will be a lot of Class 222 trains available and seven trains to run  the Norwich and Derby service will not be a problem.

Some other factors will help.

Trains Will Be Released By The London And Corby Electric Service

In December 2020, when the London and Corby service receives electric trains, the current Class 222 trains on this route will become available.

I think that this service currently needs three trains.

More Mark 4 Coach/Class 43 locomotive Sets Could Be Created

In Abellio’s Plans For The Midland Main Line, I described how interim sets could be built by replacing the non-compliant Mark 3 coaches in an InterCity 125, with the compliant Mark 4 coaches from an InterCity 225.

These trains would be used to release some of the Class 222 trains on the Midland Main Line.

Another five Mark 4 Coach/Class 43 Locomotive sets would probably release the same number of Class 222 trains.

Trains Could Be Reorganised With A Better Plan

I have a feeling that by reorganising the Class 222 trains and bringing in more more Mark 4 Coach/Class 43 Locomotive sets, could mean that a better plan on the Midland Main Line could be developed.

As an example, when boarding a train at St. Pancrass, I often notice two trains are in the platform and you have to walk to the far train. This is not efficient and surely slows down the turnround of trains.

Platforms 1 to 4 are reserved for East Midlands services at St. Pancras station.

  • Two trains per hour to Derby, Chesterfield and Sheffield
  • Two trains per hour to Nottingham
  • One train per hour to Corby, which goes to two trains per hour in December 2020.

Surely, it would be easier, if the station was organised as follows.

  • Sheffield, Nottingham and Corby trains all have their own platform, with one spare for luck!
  • All trains are full length, with First Class at the London end
  • One train per platform.

This would make things easier for passengers and reduce turnround times.

No More Two Trains Running Together

I think that the practice of train companies running two or more trains together to increase capacity is a bad idea, unless you have no other way.

Consider two four-car trains running together as an eight-car train.

  • You have two driving cabs in the middle, which serve no purpose and just take up space. and add useless weight.
  • A buffet car in the train can be available to all passengers.
  • The First Class seats could be in two separate places on the train.
  • With trains like the Hitachi Class 800 trains, onboard staff can only move between trains in a station.
  • Walk-through trains allow passengers to position themselves for a convenient and quick exit.

Anybody who procures trains to run in multiple formations all the time, instead of buying longer trains, is generally incompetent.

A Rough Estimate

I have done a very rough estimate and feel that the Midland Main Line services can be run with the following numbers of trains.

  • Sheffield services – Ten trains
  • Nottingham services – Eight trains
  • Corby services – Six trains

As the Corby services will be run by refurbished twelve-car trains, it looks to me that there is a need for eighteen diesel trains for Sheffield and Nottingham services.

I would go for eighteen Mark 4 Coach/Class 43 locomotive sets, with perhaps a couple of spare sets..

Conclusion

The following services should be run with Mark 4 Coach/Class 43 locomotive sets of an appropriate length.

  • London and Nottingham
  • London and Sheffield

This would release the Class 222 trains for other services like those between Norwich and Derby.

 

 

 

 

April 14, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Direct Trains Between Liverpool Lime Street And Norwich

In my wanderings around the UK, I very often come across this service and use it for short trips between two major towns or cities many miles from both Liverpool and Norwich.

The Current Service

Currently, the service is run by East Midlands Trains and is usually a two-car Class 158 train. Although, I have seen the service worked by a pair of these trains.

The route is very comprehensive with calls at Liverpool South Parkway, Widnes, Warrington Central, Manchester Oxford Road, Manchester Piccadilly, Stockport, Sheffield, Chesterfield, Alfreton, Ilkeston, Nottingham, Grantham, Peterborough, Ely and Thetford.

The service always seems to be full and I suspect that in addition to offering useful routes like Manchester-Sheffield, Liverpool-Nottingham and Nottingham-East Anglia, it is often a convenient route for some long distance business and family travellers.

The major problem for a train operator is that it needs a lot of rolling stock to provide a service.

Liverpool to Norwich takes five and a half hours, so to provide the hourly service probably needs as many as a dozen trains.

This extract comes from the East Midlands Trains section in Wikipedia entry for the Class 158 train.

The hourly Norwich to Liverpool service has been criticised for overcrowding, especially between Liverpool and Nottingham. This resulted from the Department for Transport specifying two-coach units in the EMT franchise starting in November 2007. In the light of persistent and excessive overcrowding, with some passengers being left behind on occasions, the DfT eventually admitted that it had made a mistake. Various cascades of other units enabled more Class 158 stock to be released for this route, and from the December 2011 timetable change the busiest services have been lengthened to four-coach trains between Liverpool and Nottingham, with units splitting and joining at Nottingham as necessary, two-coach trains being regarded as adequate between Nottingham and Norwich. Further services on this route were strengthened from December 2012.

Running a pair of Class 158 trains on the route between Liverpool and Nottingham, does seem to ease problems there, but I’ve encountered bad over-crowding at the Eastern end too.

Improvements On The Route

Several improvements or changes of rolling stock have or are taking place in the next few years.

Increased Capacity At Liverpool Lime Street

This is detailed in the 2017-2018 Station Remodelling section of the Wikipedia entry for Liverpool Lime Street station.

  • Two new platforms are being added.
  • Platforms are being lengthened.

In addition there are improvements on the approaches to the station.

Ordsall Chord And Related Improvements In Manchester

The Liverpool-Norwich service calls at both Manchester Oxford Road and Manchester Piccadilly stations, although it doesn’t use the new Ordsall Chord.

But I can’t believe that the Liverpool-Norwich service won’t be affected by all the works in Manchester.

Hope Valley Line Improvements

This article on Rail Technology Magazine is entitled Long-Awaited Hope Valley Line Plans Given The Green Light.

Improvements to the Hope Valley Line between Manchester and Sheffield include.

  • A loop to allow passenger trains to overtake slow freight trains.
  • Removal of a foot crossing.
  • Improvements around Dore and Totley station.

This is said on this document on the Transport for the North web site, which announces the Hope Valley improvements.

The new passing loops will mean three fast trains can run per hour between Sheffield and Manchester, one every 20 minutes, freight and stopping trains every hour, and a fast Manchester-Nottingham and East of England service every hour.

If nothing else, the extra capacity between Manchester and Sheffield, will reduce reliance on the Liverpool-Norwich service.

Improvements To The Midland Main Line

The Midland Main Line is not being electrified between Nottingham and Sheffield, but other improvements have taken place over the last few years.

  • In particular, the Erewash Valley Line has been improved and a new station at Ilkeston has been added.
  • The Liverpool-Norwich service calls at stations on this by-pass.
  • The line has been resignalled.

Would a train with a 125 mph capability, as opposed to the 90 mph operating speed of the Class 158 train, allow a faster service?

East Coast Main Line Running

The 90 mph Class 158 trains must present pathing problems on the East Coast Main Line, whereas a 125 mph train could mix it easier with the high speed trains.

Greater Anglia’s Plans

Greater Anglia have ordered a fleet of Class 755 trains.

  • The trains are bi-mode.
  • The trains have a 100 mph operating speed.
  • Greater Anglia have ordered fourteen three-car and twenty-four four-car trains.

Greater Anglia will be replacing 27 diesel trains, that consists of  58 carriages, with 38 bi-mode trains, that consist of 138 carriages.

  • There are forty percent more trains.
  • There are a hundred and thirty-eight percent more carriages.
  • Average train length of the diesels is 2.1 carriages, wheres that of the bi-modes is 3.6.

There are two possible reasons for these large number of trains.

  • Abellio have decided to buy a few bi-modes for their other franchises.
  • There is going to be a massive expansion of train services in East Anglia.

Two of the new bi-mode services interact with the Liverpool-Norwich service.

  • Colchester to Peterborough via Ipswich, Bury St. Edmunds and Ely
  • Norwich to Stansted Airport  via Ely and Cambridge.

Both services are thought to be hourly.

Consider the Colchester to Peterborough service.

  • I estimate that trains will take around two hours.
  • The round trip could be under five hours, even with a generous turn-round at both ends and perhaps a wait at Ipswich.
  • The waits would allow connecting passengers to join the train.
  • A five hour round trip would need five Class 755 trains.
  • I would choose four-car trains, as the route can get crowded.

Could the Colchester to Peterborough service be considered as an extension of the Liverpool-Norwich service, that serves Bury St. Edmunds, Ipswich and Colchester?

I think it could if the trains were timed appropriately.

  • Passengers from Liverpool to Ipswich, would change at Peterborough or Ely to the Peterborough to Colchester train, which would arrive a few minutes after the Liverpool to Norwich train.
  • Passengers from Ipswich to Liverpool, would change at Ely or Peterborough to the Liverpool train, which would arrive a few minutes after Colchester to Peterborough train.

Hopefully, the change would not require a platform change.

Consider the Norwich to Stansted Airport service.

  • I estimate trains will take about one hour and fifty minutes.
  • The round trip would be four hours and would need four Class 755 trains.
  • I would choose four-car trains, as the route can get crowded.

Could the Norwich to Stansted Airport service be equally spaced with the Liverpool-Norwich service between Ely and Norwich  to give a clock-face two trains per hour (tph)?

These services call at Ely

  • CrossCountry -Birmingham to Stansted Airport
  • East Midlands Trains – Liverpool to Norwich
  • Greater Anglia – Peterborough to Colchester
  • Greater Anglia – Norwich to Stansted Airport
  • Great Northern – Kings Lynn to Kings Cross

Totalling them up gives the following frequencies to various stations.

  • Bury St. Edmunds/Ipswich/Colchester – 1 tph
  • Cambridge North/Cambridge – 3 tph
  • Kings Lynn – 1 tph
  • Norwich – 2 tph
  • Peterborough – 3 tph
  • Stansted Airport – 2 tph

I suspect that the services will be arranged so there are convenient interchanges. No-one wants to spend an hour on a draughty Ely station waiting for the next train.

I also suspect that Greater Anglia  will use some of their extra trains to improve connectivity at Ely.

Speed Limits On The Route

Speed limits on the route are rather variable.

  • Liverpool to Manchester via Warrington is limited to 85 mph
  • The Hope Valley Line between Manchester and Sheffield is 90 mph
  • The proportion of the Midland Main Line, where 125 mph running is possible, is being increased.
  • Grantham to Peterborough on the East Coast Main Line allows 125 mph running.
  • The Peterborough to Ely Line is limited to 75 mph.
  • The Breckland Line between Ely and Norwich is limited to 75- 90 mph.

I feel that increasing speed limits on some parts of the line would help the Liverpool to Norwich service.

But surely, a train with a 125 mph-capability would help with journey times and train timetabling between Sheffield and Peterborough.

But on the rest of the route, trains with this speed capability, wouldn’t be needed.

Rolling Stock Choices For Liverpool Lime Street And Norwich

Various choices include.

Class 158 Trains

Everything could carry on as now using Class 158 trains

  • Two two-car trains working ass a pair would go from Liverpool Lime Street to Nottingham.
  • The trains would divide at Nottingham.
  • One train would go on its way to Norwich, and the other would wait at Nottingham to join with the train returning from Norwich.

With all the new diesel multiple units arriving in the next few years, I think it is likely that more Class 158 trains could be made available to strengthen the service.

The trouble with the Class 158 trains, is that with only a 90 mph operating speed, they can’t take advantage of the sections of the route where 125 mph running is possible.

Class 170 Trains

These trains were built as successors to the Class 158 trains.

  • They are more modern.
  • They are 10 mph faster.
  • Most  are three cars.

But they are still not fast enough for the 125 mph sections of the route.

A Second Service Between Liverpool And Nottingham

Improvements on the Hope Valley Line and in Liverpool and Manchester, might make it possible to run a much-needed second service between Liverpool and Nottingham via Manchester, Stockport and Sheffield..

This extra service could use the same trains as the full service.

Currently, the direct service between Liverpool Lime Street and Nottingham takes two hours thirty five minutes. In some ways, this is a problem, as if the timing was say two hours twenty minutes, a five hour round trip would be possible.

This would mean that the second service would need just five trains.

I doubt that Class 158 trains could meet this schedule, so more would be needed.

Class 800 Trains

Class 800 trains are 125 mph bi-mode trains, but are they fast enough on diesel to make real differences to the timetable by running fast on the Midland Main Line?

I think not!

So more trains would be needed to run the service.

Bombardier’s Proposed 125 mph Bi-Mode

A genuine 125-mph bi-mode, with that performance on both electricity and diesel, would be a totally different matter.

  • Timings between Liverpool and Nottingham would drop to perhaps two hours twenty, thus allowing a five hour round trip.
  • Timings between Liverpool and Norwich would drop to perhaps four hours fifty, thus allowing a ten hour round trip.

Even so a full service would require fifteen trains.

Bombardier have proposed a train of this type and I wrote about it in Bombardier Bi-Mode Aventra To Feature Battery Power.

In my view, this small exercise shows why some routes in the UK need a 125 mph bi-mode.

If the train can’t do 125 mph, where it is possible on the Midland and East Coast Main Line, the time savings on the route won’t be possible and more trains will be needed to run the service.

One great advantage is that the trains working this route could be the same as those working the main routes of the East Midlands franchise to and from London.

Short Formation InterCity 125 Trains

The forty-year-old InterCity 125 trains have the power and the speed to match the 125 mph bi-mode trains.

Short formation with four or five passenger cars between the two Class 43 locomotives are being used by Scotrail and Great Western Railway, but to use them on Liverpool to Norwich would require another fifteen trains to be updated, which is probably not as cost effective as new 125 mph bi-modes.

Conclusion

If service between the Liverpool Lime Street and Norwich is to continue in its present form, it needs 125 mph bi-more trains.

 

 

 

 

April 29, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

92 Clubs – Day 26 – Norwich, Nottingham Forest, Notts County, Oldham

It was back on the road on Wednesday.  I was actually a five club day, as I passed Ipswich on the way to Norwich and took this picture from the train.

Portman Road From The Train

Not the best, but when I had a very good view, National Express East Anglia decided to put another train in the way. It was only a quick trip to the ground as I wanted to get on my way to Nottingham.

Outside Carrow Road

The Norwich fan, who took the picture wasn’t happy and I think it shows in the quality.

There is a direct train link from Norwich to Nottingham and I was in the city with three major grounds before midday.

Signpost to Forest and County

The picture shows the signage to the grounds. This sign actually solved the problem of whether to to County or Forest first.  So it was Forest.

It is not a safe walk to the grounds, as you walk up a main road, with no pedestrian lights where you cross side roads.  I couldn’t even hitch a life on a bu, as there were no stops until I got to Trent Bridge and all the buses seem to go another way.

Outside Nottingham Forest

But I made it. The Nottingham Forest must have one of only a couple of grounds on a major river.  Fulham being the other obvious example.

It was then back to the station taking in Notts County on the way.

Notts County’s Meadow Lane Stadium

From there it was on to Manchester Piccadilly for Oldham.  Strangely on a train that had started in Norwich.  It was a walk to Piccadilly Gardens for the bus, but as ever the information was extremely useless. There was even a map of the stops, where a You Are Here sticker had been placed so that it obscured the stop I wanted.

Then I bumped into Peter, an Oldham season ticket holder, who escorted me to Oldham on an 81 bus.  Or was it a 181?  Certainly, the bus didn’t know, but eventually with some further help at Oldham Bus Station, I walked to Boundary Park.

Boundary Park in the Dark

As you can see it was now getting dark, so I made a hasty retreat, by means of two buses back to Manchester.

After supper in Carluccio’s, it was on the late train home to London. I actually travelled First Class, as it was only seven pounds more than Standard with a coffee and a banana thrown in.  On the other hand it was about half an Off Peak Standard Class ticket. I know it’s all to do with demand, but certainly not many seem to want to travel First on Virgin after about 21:00.

October 30, 2011 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , , | 3 Comments