The Anonymous Widower

Northern Powerhouse Rail – A New Line Between Manchester And Leeds Via The Centre Of Bradford

In this article on Transport for the North, which is entitled Northern Powerhouse Rail Progress As Recommendations Made To Government, one of the recommendations proposed for Northern Powerhouse Rail is a new rail line between Manchester and Leeds via the centre of Bradford.

I shall look at a few of the possibilities for various sections of the route.

Current And Proposed Timings Between Manchester And Leeds

These are the current typical timings between Manchester Victoria and Leeds stations.

  • 55 minutes for 43 miles, which is an average speed of 47 mph.

With Northern Powerhouse Rail, a time of 25 minutes is the objective, which is an average speed of 103.2 mph.

  • As my helicopter flies it is just 35.7 miles, so a 25 minutes journey time would require an average speed of 85.7 mph.

It is obvious that a new much straighter line is needed with an operating speed of at least 100 mph.

One of the best 100 mph lines in the UK  is the Great Eastern Main Line between Liverpool Street and Norwich.

  • It is generally only double-track.
  • The fastest services take 90 minutes for the 115 miles, which is an average speed of 77 mph.
  • It is a busy line with lots of suburban services closer to London and freight trains to and from Felixstowe.

But even a line built to the standard of the Great Eastern Main Line wouldn’t be good enough for Northern Powerhouse Rail’s objective of 25 minutes.

The mathematics tell me, that a new line is needed, built as straight as possible between Manchester and Leeds.

High Speed Two’s Approach To Manchester

This map clipped from High Speed Two’s interactive map, shows the route of High Speed Two as it approaches Manchester Piccadilly station.

The colours of High Speed Two indicate the type of construction.

  • Black is a bored tunnel. Only in the South East corner, where it continues to Manchester Airport.
  • Purple is a tunnel portal.
  • Brown is a track between retaining walls. Used through Manchester Interchange or Airport station.
  • Red is a viaduct.
  • Orange is a box structure

This Google Map shows a similar area.

Are High Speed Two serious about demolishing a large area of Manchester to the North and East of Manchester Piccadilly station?

  • It will cause massive disruption all over the centre of Manchester.
  • How many businesses will be ruined by this plan?
  • How many residents are there in the area?
  • How will trains from the new platforms at Piccadilly station continue to Bradford, Huddersfield, Leeds and Sheffield?
  • Mrs. Merton could have said “Let’s all have a reverse!” And she’d have been joking!
  • You can’t go through the new platforms, as that would mean demolishing most of Manchester City Centre.

What High Speed Two are proposing is complete and utter rubbish!

In Whither HS2 And HS3?, which I wrote in May 2015, I said this.

I do think though that our designs for HS2 are rather dated and don’t take things that are happening or have happened into account.

Crossrail in London has shown that putting a large twin rail tunnel under a major city, is not the problem it once was. Crossrail have also been very innovative in creating stations with the minimum disturbance to existing infrastructure. As an example, the new Whitechapel station for Crossrail has also used a technique called uphill excavation, where you create escalator and lift shafts upwards from the tunnels, rather than traditionally from the surface, which is much more disruptive.

These techniques can revolutionise the construction of HS2.

Take cities like Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield, which have developed and are continually developing extensive local rail, tram and bus networks. So why are we in Birmingham still talking about creating an HS2 station at Curzon Street? Surely, we just dig a very deep pair of HS2 tunnels under the city and then uphill excavate into not only New Street, but Moor Street and Snow Hill as well. The tunnels would be only made as long as necessary, although the underground station could be very large. But it probably wouldn’t be much bigger than the enormous double-ended Liverpool Street/Moorgate station being created for Crossrail.

The great advantage of this method of construction is that you can continue to develop your network of local trains, trams and other transport links, untroubled by the construction of the new station deep below. Anybody, who thinks this is not possible, should spend half-an-hour walking around Whitechapel station, where the Hammersmith and City, District and East London Lines are passing untroubled over the giant hole and through the building site for the new station.

To some the example of Crossrail in London, would not be a good one, as Crossrail is years late. But the tunnelling under London and the excavations for the stations have gone well and were delivered on time.

In the related post, I went on to propose a double-ended underground station in Manchester with connections to both Piccadilly and Victoria stations. It could even have other connections to locations in the City Centre like Piccadilly Gardens.

There’s certainly space for a stylish entrance at the busy tram and bus interchange.

By applying the lessons learned in the building of Crossrail and other projects like Stuttgart 21, which I wrote about in Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof, I’m sure that a massive underground station in Manchester could be built successfully, on time and on budget.

I am not alone in thinking this way. In The Rival Plans For Piccadilly Station, That Architects Say Will ‘Save Millions’, I write about a plan from world-class architects Weston Williamson, who designed the superb new London Bridge station.

This visualisation from Weston Williamson, shows their proposed station.

Note.

  1. In the visualisation, you are observing the station from the East.
  2. The existing railway lines into Piccadilly station are shown in red.
  3. Stockport and Manchester Airport are to the left, which is to the South.
  4. Note the dreaded Castlefield Corridor in red going off into the distance to Oxford Road and Deansgate stations.
  5. The new high speed lines are shown in blue.
  6. To the left they go to Manchester Airport and then on to London, Birmingham and the South, Warrington and Liverpool and Wigan, Preston, Blackpool, Barrow-in-Furness, the North and Scotland.
  7. To the right, they go to Huddersfield, Bradford, Leeds, Hull and the North East, and Sheffield, Doncaster and the East.
  8. Between it looks like  a low-level High Speed station with at least four tracks and six platforms.
  9. The Manchester Mretrolink is shown in yellow.
  10. The potential for over-site development is immense. If the Station Square Tower was residential, the penthouses would be some of the most desirable places to live in the North.

This station would enable improvements to rail services in the North and Scotland.

  • It would be a through station, to allow East to West services, like Liverpool and Hull.
  • Fewer services would have to reverse.
  • All services using the underground station, that went to the West would serve Manchester Airport.
  • TransPennine services like Liverpool and Edinburgh and Liverpool and Scarborough, would use the station and also call at Manchester Airport.
  • TransPennine services like Glasgow and Manchester Airport could be extended to Leeds and Hull.
  • TransPennine services would not need to use the overcrowded Castlefield Corridor.
  • All existing services to the main section of the existing Piccadilly station, could continue operation as now, during the construction and operation of the underground station. Some would eventually be replaced by high speed services using the underground station.

Manchester Airport would have one of the best train services of any airport in the world. It would certainly be on a par with Schiphol.

Careful alignment of the tunnels under Manchester, could also ease the building of the new line between Manchester and Leeds.

Huddersfield And Westtown (Dewsbury)

The only part of an upgraded TransPennine route between Manchester and Leeds, that is in the planning and design phase and visible to the public, is the upgrade between Huddersfield to Westtown (Dewsbury), which is described on this page of the Network Rail web site. This is the introductory paragraph.

We’re proposing an upgrade to a section of railway between Huddersfield and Westtown (Dewsbury) to deliver passenger benefits along the TransPennine railway.

Network Rail provide this very useful map.

This article on Rail Technology Magazine is entitled Network Rail Reveals Detailed £2.9bn Upgrade Plans For TransPennine Route, which gives the major details of the upgrade.

  • Improvement between Huddersfield and Westtown
  • Grade separation or a tunnel at Ravensthorpe
  • Rebuilding and electrification of eight miles of track.
  • Possible doubling the number of tracks from two to four.
  • Improved stations at Huddersfield, Deighton, Mirfield and Ravensthorpe.

This project would be a major improvement to the Huddersfield Line, but I have one problem with this project. – It doesn’t go anywhere near Bradford.

This Google Map shows Bradford, Leeds, Brighouse and Dewsbury.

Note.

  1. Bradford is in the North-West corner of the map, with the red arrow marking Bradford Royal Infirmary.
  2. Leeds is in the North-East corner of the map.
  3. Brighouse is in the South-West corner  of the map.
  4. The red arrow at the bottom of the map marks Dewsbury and District Hospital, with the towns of Morley and Dewsbury to the East.

The route Network rail are improving goes South-Westerly from Leeds and through both Morley and Leeds, before turning to the West and then going South to Huddersfield.

I am left with the conclusion, that Network Rail’s plans may do wonders for travel between Leeds and Huddersfield, but they don’t do anything for Bradford.

But the plans will have positive effects on travellers between Leeds and Manchester.

Eight Miles Of Electrification

Eight miles of electrification may not seem much, but to a Hitachi Regional Battery train, travelling at speed it is a few minutes to add some charge to the batteries, especially if the train stops at Dewsbury and/or Huddersfield stations.

This Hitachi infographic gives the specification for the Hitachi Regional Battery train.

Note.

  1. It has a range of 90 km or 56 miles on battery power.
  2. It can travel at up to 100 mph on battery power.
  3. TransPennine’s Class 802 trains can be converted to Regional Battery trains, by simply swapping the diesel engines for battery packs.

If these trains fully-charged their batteries on the eight miles of electrification, they could do the following.

  • Going East they could easily reach Leeds, which is under ten miles from Dewsbury station. At a pinch they could even reach York, which is thirty-five miles from Dewsbury.
  • Going West they could reach Manchester, which is twenty-six miles from Huddersfield station. At a pinch, they could just about reach Liverpool, which is fifty-seven miles from Huddersfield.

Note that North of York and West of Manchester are both fully electrified.

This eight miles of electrification would enable the following.

  • Several of TransPennine Express services run by Class 802 trains to become all-electric services.
  • Other operators like Northern could use battery electric trains for stopping services along the route.
  • It might even enable some freight trains to run through the area, with hybrid power.

It looks to me, that Network Rail have chosen this section to electrify, so that it gives a lot of benefit to battery electric trains.

Will Services Be Faster Between Huddersfield And Leeds?

I estimate the the straightened track, the better acceleration of electric trains and other improvements would save up to perhaps ten minutes.

Timings between Manchester and Leeds, would probably be around 45 minutes, which is nowhere near Northern Powerhouse Rail’s objective of 25 minutes

The Problem Of Bradford

Bradford has two central stations; Bradford Interchange and Bradford Forster Square. which have no connection between them.

This Google Map shows the two stations.

It is an area crowded with buildings between the two stations.

There is a Wikipedia entry called Bradford Crossrail, where this is said about the reasons for the two stations.

These stations were built in the nineteenth century by different railway companies with an individual, rather than a comprehensive plan for rail development in the city.

The Wikipedia entry also says this about Northern Powerhouse Rail and the city.

The Northern Powerhouse Rail project has also mooted a project to link Leeds and Manchester with a through route at Bradford. Whilst this would either involve a bypass line south of the city and a parkway station at Low Moor or a new route tunnelling through the city centre, neither option mentions connecting the lines from both north and south of the city together.

I will look at the two solutions to connect Northern Powerhouse Rail to the City.

Low Moor Station

The diagram shows the connections between Bradford Interchange, Bradford Low Moor, Huddersfield and Leeds stations.

It would appear that if a connection were to be made between Low Moor and New Pudsey stations. that could be a solution.

This Google Map shows where the lines to Huddersfield and Leeds join outside Bradford Interchange station.

Note,

  1. Bradford Interchange station is to the North.
  2. Bradford Low Moor station is to the South.
  3. New Pudsey station is to the East.

I suspect it would be possible to create a curve that allowed trains to go between  Bradford Low Moor and New Pudsey stations, but I doubt it would be a fast route.

A Bradford Tunnel

This would be the bold option, where all sorts of routes could be possible.

  • It could go under the City Centre in such a way, that it had pedestrian connections to both current stations and important places with a large number of visitors.
  • It could connect to Huddersfield in the West and Leeds in the East.
  • It might even loop under the City Centre, as the Wirral Line does under Liverpool.

A tunnel under the City, would be my preferred solution.

A Tunnel Between Manchester And Leeds

So far, various people or organisations have advocated the following tunnels on the route.

  • High Speed Two are proposing a tunnel between Manchester Airport and Manchester City Centre.
  • Weston Williamson are proposing a Manchester High Speed station underneath Manchester Piccadilly station.
  • A tunnel has been proposed to connect to Bradford City Centre.

I feel strongly, that a tunnel can be built under the Pennines to link Manchester and Leeds.

Rail Tunnels through the Pennines have been dug before, notably at Standedge, Totley and Woodhead.

I answered the question in detail in Will HS2 And Northern Powerhouse Rail Go For The Big Bore? and this was the conclusion of that post.

I believe that my naïve analysis in this post shows that a TransPennine tunnel is possible.

But I believe that the right tunnel could have one big advantage.

Suppose it was built to handle the following.

    • A capacity of eighteen tph, which is the same as High Speed Two.
    • An operating speed of 140 mph or more. The Gotthard Base Tunnel has a maximum operating speed of 160 mph.
    • High Speed Two’s Full-Size trains.
    • The largest freight trains

It would be future proofed for longer than anybody could envisage.

There are also other smaller advantages.

    • It would by-pass a lot of difficult areas.
    • It would cause very little aural and visual disruption.
    • IIf it were designed with care, it would not affect the flora and fauna.
    • As with the Swiss tunnel, it could be dug level, which would save energy and allow trains to run faster.
    • It could be running twelve tph between Leeds and Manchester Airport via Bradford, Huddersfield and Manchester Piccadilly.
    • Existing surface railways at the Eastern end could serve Cleethorpes, Darlington, Doncaster, Edinburgh, Hull, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Scarborough, Sheffield and York
    • Existing surface railways at the Western end could serve Barrow, Blackpool, Carlisle, Chester, Glasgow, Liverpool. North Wales, Preston and Wigan.

It would be more like Thameslink for the North turned on its side, rather than Crossrail for the North.

Would such a TransPennine tunnel be realisable?

Consider.

  • 3D design software has improved tremendously over the last decade.
  • The Swiss have shown that these long tunnels can be built through solid rock.
  • There is plenty of space to put the tunnel.
  • It doesn’t have to be one continuous tunnel.
  • It might be possible to built it as a base tunnel, which would be low down and level between two valleys on either side of the Pennines.

I think there could be a lot of flexibility on how the tunnel would be designed and built.

Conclusion

A Manchester and Leeds tunnel via Bradford, could be one of the boldest projects ever undertaken in the UK.

I believe that we have the capabilities to build it.

Project Management Recommendations

This is a large project that will take several years.

  • But the Swiss have dug the Gotthard Base Tunnel of a similar size through solid rock in recent years.
  • It would be a political symbol to the North, that Government is serious about levelling up.
  • In thirty years or so, it won’t be found to have been built with inadequate capacity.

Other projects, such as the Huddersfield and Westtown Improvement wukk old the fort, whilst the tunnel is built.

 

November 22, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Northern Powerhouse Rail – A New Line Between Liverpool And Manchester Via The Centre Of Warrington

In this article on Transport for the North, which is entitled Northern Powerhouse Rail Progress As Recommendations Made To Government, one of the recommendations proposed for Northern Powerhouse Rail is a new rail line between Liverpool and Manchester via the centre of Warrington.

I shall look at a few of the possibilities for various sections of the line starting at the Manchester end.

High Speed Two And Northern Powerhouse Rail Between Warrington/Lymm And Manchester Airport

This map clipped from High Speed Two’s interactive map, shows the route of High Speed Two in the area between Lymm and Manchester Airport.

Note.

  1. High Speed Two is shown in orange
  2. The blue dot is Manchester Interchange station at Manchester Airport.
  3. High Speed Two goes North to Wigan North Western station.
  4. High Speed Two goes South to Crewe station.
  5. High Speed Two goes East to Manchester and the East.
  6. The East-West Motorway is the M56 with Junction 7/8 in the middle of the map and Junction 9 with the M6, at the Western edge of the map.

This enlarged map shows High Speed Two between Manchester Airport and Junction 7/8 of the M56.

 

The colours of High Speed Two indicate the type of construction.

  • Black is a bored tunnel. Only in the North East corner, where it continues to Manchester.
  • Brown is a track between retaining walls. Used through Manchester Interchange or Airport station.
  • Red is a viaduct.
  • Yellow is a cutting.

This Google Map shows a similar area.

High Speed Two’s tracks will be on the South side of the Motorway and will be shared with Northern Powerhouse Rail.

  • There is likely to be up to twelve trains per hour (tph) in both directions.
  • I would think, that with modern signalling that the trains would be running at 140 mph or more.
  • Between Manchester Airport and Warrington could be a line as between St. Pancras and Ebbsfleet on High Speed One.

This map clipped from High Speed Two’s interactive map, shows the M56 and High Speed Two around Junction 7/8 of the M56.

The colours are as before.

  • The obvious way to build a new rail line between Manchester and Warrington, would surely be to create a rail junction just South of the Motorway junction.
  • A line to Warrington could run along the South side of the Motorway.
  • I also believe that there should be a connection between the High Speed Two lines to Manchester and Wigan North Western, to allow high speed services between Manchester and Barrow, Blackpool, Preston, Windermere and Scotland.

Building the rail junctions around the Motorway junctions would be a good idea for environmental and visual reasons.

Northern Powerhouse Rail would then continue to Junction 9 of the M56 Motorway.

This Google Map, shows the M56 around Junction 9 with the M6.

Note.

  1. The M56 running East-West.
  2. The M6 running North-South.
  3. Lymm services to the North-West of the junction.
  4. Lymm is to the North-East and Warrington is to the North-West of the junction.

Would it be possible for to run South of the M56 and then turn North to run along the Western side of the M6 towards Warrington?

I very much feel, that with modern 3D software, an engineer with expertise in extreme knitting could thread a double-track line through to take a North-Western route towards Warrington.

The Bridge Across The Mersey

If you look at maps of the area, there is a big problem of water between Junction 9 of the M56 and Warrington town centre, with its two stations of Warrington Bank Quay and Warrington Central, both of which have services to Liverpool Lime Street station.

The problem is the Manchester Ship Canal.

I then noticed a bridge to the South East of the town centre, which is shown in this Google Map.

It may look like it has got more than a touch of the dreaded iron moths, but it certainly looks like it was once a double track rail line.

The bridge was on the Warrington and Altrincham Junction Railway, which did what you would expect from the name.

This Google Map shows the track of the railway either side of the bridge.

Note the bridge in the centre of the map and the green scar of the former railway running East-West across the map.

To the East the green scar of the railway can be picked out all the way to M6.

Note.

  1. The bridge is at the West over the Manchester Ship Canal.
  2. The green scar of the Warrington and Altrincham Junction Railway can be followed all the way to the M6,
  3. I think the track is now a footpath, as it is marked on the map with a dotted white line.

I would be interested to know, if it could take a modern double track railway.

This Google Map shows an enlarged view of where the green scar of the Warrington and Altrincham Junction Railway goes under the M6.

Note the dotted white line marking the railway, towards the top of the map.

Would it be possible to design a track layout, where Northern Powerhouse Rail came up the Western side of the M6 and was able to connect to Warrington?

I certainly believe it’s a possibility.

Warrington Bank Quay Station

To the West of the bridge over the Manchester Ship Canal, the Warrington and Altrincham Junction Railway ran through low-level platforms at Warrington Bank Quay station.

This Google Map shows Warrington Bank Quay station.

This picture shows a freight train passing under Warrington Bank Quay station.

Note.

  1. There are four North-South platforms on the West Coast Main Line.
  2. The Warrington and Altrincham Junction Railway passes East-West under the four main platforms.
  3. Low levels platforms used to handle passengers on the East-West lines.
  4. I was looking to the East in the picture.
  5. The tracks continue to the West on the route of the former St. Helens Railway, which is now a freight route.
  6. The map shows the tracks curving sharply round one of the meanders of the River Mersey.

Warrington Bank Quay station is on a congested and tight site, but by using some of the spare railway land, I feel it could rebuilt to be an excellent station for Warrington.

Warrington Bank Quay Station As An Interchange

Warrington Bank Quay station could be an excellent and efficient interchange between High Speed Two and Northern Powerhouse Rail.

There are also local services from the station, which could be useful for some travellers.

Between Warrington Bank Quay Station And Widnes

This Google Map shows the Mersey estuary between Warrington Bank Quay station and Widnes.

Note.

  1. Warrington is in the North-East corner of the map, with Warrington Bank Quay station shown by a red station symbol.
  2. The new Mersey Gateway bridge is in the South-West corner of the map.
  3. The River Mersey meanders between the bridge and Warrington.
  4. Fiddlers Ferry power station can be picked out in the nearest meander of the Mersey to the bridge.
  5. The dark straight line below the river is the Manchester Ship Canal.
  6. There is currently a freight line on the North bank of the river.

This Google Map shows Fiddlers Ferry power station, with the railway between the now-decommissioned power station and the River Mersey.

Note.

  1. Fiddlers Ferry will become an employment site.
  2. It could even be a good place for a depot for Northern Powerhouse Rail.
  3. I think there’s scope to increase the operating speed of the railway along the Mersey.

Could it even be an electrified high speed line with a 125 mph operating speed?

Between Widnes And Liverpool Lime Street

The trains coming from Warrington could join the Liverpool Branch of the West Coast Main Line at Ditton East Junction.

The route between Ditton East Junction and Liverpool Lime Street has the following characteristics.

  • It has four tracks.
  • It is 10.6 miles long.
  • Avanti West Coast’s expresses typically take twelve minutes for the trip without stopping.
  • The stations on the route; Liverpool South Parkway; West Allerton, Mossley Hill and Edge Hill, all have one platform per line.
  • It is fully electrified.
  • Lime Street station has recently been updated with longer platforms and a higher capacity approach to the station.
  • Some local services have already been moved to Merseyrail’s Northern Line.
  • Stopping services on the route have their own platforms.

I believe that with the installation of full digital signalling and a degree of automatic train control, as far as Crewe and Warrington Bank Quay stations, that the following services could be handled.

  • Six tph – Northern Powerhouse Rail – Liverpool and Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly
  • One tph – East Midlands Railway – Liverpool and Nottingham
  • Three tph – High Speed Two – Liverpool and London Euston
  • One tph – High Speed Two – Liverpool and Birmingham Curzon Street
  • Two tph – London North Western – Liverpool and Birmingham and London Euston

Note.

  1. This is only 13 tph.
  2. Avanti West Coast services would be replaced by High Speed Two.
  3. TransPennine Express services would be replaced by Northern Powerhouse Rail
  4. The Liverpool and Nottingham service may or may not go via Ditton East junction.

If the capacity on this branch could be raised to 15 tph, that would be only be a train every four minutes, or half the frequency, that will eventually be operational on Crossrail and Thameslink. It would also be less than the 18 tph frequency of High Speed Two.

Conclusion

This simple exercise has proven to me, that a high speed line could be built between Manchester Airport and Liverpool Lime Street station.

  • Several sections of the route could have an operating speed of 125 mph or more.
  • By running the tracks along the M56 and M6, visual and aural intrusion could be minimised.
  • The line along the Mersey through Warrington could be a valuable part of the route.
  • West of Warrington, much of the infrastructure needed, appears to be in place and it would only need to be upgraded.

There was a large and extremely pleasant surprise at the Liverpool end.

The approach to Liverpool Lime Street is two fast and two slow lines, and I believe, that this section of the route could handle up to say 15 fast trains and six stopping trains per hour, with full digital signalling.

Unlike London and Manchester, I doubt that Liverpool will need a tunnel to access the City Centre.

I also believe that after its refurbishment of the last couple of years, Lime Street could be substantially ready for High Speed Two and Northern Powerhouse Rail.

Project Management Recommendations

This project divides neatly into three.

  1. Between Manchester Airport and Warrington along the route of the M56 and M6.
  2. Reconstruction, upgrading and electrification through Warrington and the rebuilding of Warrington Bank Quay station.
  3. Reconstruction, upgrading and electrification between Warrington and Liverpool.

The first project will be a major one, involving the construction of nearly twenty miles of new electrified railway, with numerous viaducts, bridges and a large junction at High Legh with High Speed Two.

The other two projects would be a lot simpler and would involve turning twenty miles of double-track freight line into a modern electrified railway.

I would construct projects 2 and 3 early in the schedule, as it would give Warrington a new Bank Quay station. A passenger service to Liverpool Lime Street, could also be opened if required.

 

 

 

November 20, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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 | , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

How Many Trains Are Needed To Run A Full Service On High Speed Two?

The latest High Speed Two schedule was published in the June 2020 Edition of Modern Railways.

The Two Train Classes

Two separate train classes have been proposed for High Speed Two.

Full-Size – Wider and taller trains built to a European loading gauge, which would be confined to the high-speed network (including HS1 and HS2) and other lines cleared to their loading gauge.

Classic-Compatible – Conventional 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.

The Wikipedia entry for High Speed Two has a section entitled Rolling Stock, where this is said about the design.

Both types of train would have a maximum speed of at least 360 km/h (225 mph) and a length of 200 metres (660 ft); two units could be joined together for a 400-metre (1,300 ft) train. It has been reported that these longer trains would have approximately 1,100 seats.

These are some of my thoughts.

Seating Density

I would assume that this means that a single 200 metre train, will have a capacity of approximately 550 seats or a density of 2.75 seats per metre. How does that compare with other trains?

  • 9-car Class 801 train – 234 metres – 611 seats – 2.61 seats/metre
  • 7-car Class 807 train – 182 metres – 453 seats – 2.49 seats/metre
  • 9-car Class 390 train  – 217.5 metres – 469 seats – 2.16 seats/metre
  • 11-car Class 390 train  – 265.3 metres – 589 seats – 2.22 seats/metre
  • 12-car Class 745/1 train – 236.6 metres – 767 seats – 3.24 seats/metre
  • 16-car Class 374 train – 390 metres – 902 seats – 2.31 seats/metre

What I find strange with these figures, is that I feel most crowded and cramped in a Class 390 train. Could this be because the Pendelino trains are eighteen years old and train interior design has moved on?

But I always prefer to travel in a Hitachi Class 80x train or a Stadler Class 745 train.

I very much feel that a seating density of 2.75 seats per metre, designed using some of the best modern practice, could create a train, where travelling is a very pleasant experience.

Step-Free Access

I have travelled in high speed trains all over Europe and have yet to travel in one with step-free access.

Surely, if Stadler can give their trains step-free access everybody can.

The pictures shows step-free access on Stadler Class 745 and Class 755 trains.

If I turned up pushing a friend in a wheelchair, would I be able to push them in easily? Or better still will they be able to wheel themselves in?

A Greater Anglia driver once said to me, that they never have to wait anymore for wheelchairs to be loaded.

So surely, it is in the train operator’s interest to have step-free access, if it means less train delays.

Double-Deck Trains

In my view double-deck trains only have one only good feature and that is the ability to see everything, if you have a well-designed window seat.

I may be seventy-three, but I am reasonably fit and only ever travel on trains with airline-sized hand baggage. So I don’t find any problem travelling upstairs on a double-deck bus or train!

But it could have been, so very different, if my stroke had been a bit worse and left me blind or in a wheelchair for life.

I have seen incidents on the Continent, which have been caused by double-deck trains.

  • A lady of about eighteen in trying to get down with a heavy case dropped it. Luckily it only caused the guy she was travelling with, to roll unhurt down the stairs.
  • Luggage is often a problem on Continental trains because of the step-up into the train and access is worse on double deck trains.
  • I also remember on a train at Leipzig, when several passengers helped me lift a guy and his wheelchair out of the lower deck of a double-deck train, which was lower than the platform, as they often are with double-deck trains.

I am not totally against double-deck trains, but they must be designed properly.

Consider.

  • High Speed Two’s Full-Size trains will only use London Euston, Old Oak Common, Birmingham Interchange, Birmingham Curzon Street, Manchester Airport, Manchester Piccadilly, East Midlands Hub and Leeds stations.
  • All stations used by Full-Size trains will be brand-new or substantially rebuilt stations.
  • Someone sitting in a wheelchair surely has the same right to a view from the top-deck of a double-deck train as anybody else.
  • Jumbo jets seemed to do very well without a full-length top-deck.
  • The A 380 Superjumbo has been designed so that entry and exit on both decks is possible.

I feel if High Speed Two want to run double-deck trains, an elegant solution can surely be found.

A Crude Estimate On The Number Of Trains

This is my crude estimate to find out how many trains, High Speed Two will need.

Western Leg

These are the services for the Western Leg between London , Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

  • Train 1 – London Euston and Birmingham Curzon Street – 400 metre Full-Size – 45 minutes – 2 hour Round Trip – 4 trains
  • Train 2 – London Euston and Birmingham Curzon Street – 400 metre Full-Size – 45 minutes – 2 hour Round Trip – 4 trains
  • Train 3 – London Euston and Birmingham Curzon Street – 400 metre Full-Size – 45 minutes – 2 hour Round Trip – 4 trains
  • Train 4 – London Euston and Lancaster – Classic Compatible – 2 hours 3 minutes – 5 hour Round Trip – 5 trains
  • Train 4 – London Euston and Liverpool – Classic Compatible – 1 hours 34 minutes – 4 hour Round Trip – 4 trains
  • Train 5 – London Euston and Liverpool – Classic Compatible – 1 hours 34 minutes – 4 hour Round Trip – 4 trains
  • Train 6 – London Euston and Macclesfield – Classic Compatible – 1 hours 30 minutes – 4 hour Round Trip – 4 trains
  • Train 7 – London Euston and Manchester – 400 metre Full-Size – 1 hour and 11 minutes – 3 hour Round Trip – 6 trains
  • Train 8 – London Euston and Manchester – 400 metre Full-Size – 1 hour and 11 minutes – 3 hour Round Trip – 6 trains
  • Train 9 – London Euston and Manchester – 400 metre Full-Size – 1 hour and 11 minutes – 3 hour Round Trip – 6 trains
  • Train 10 – London Euston and Edinburgh – Classic Compatible – 3 hours 48 minutes – 8 hour Round Trip – 8 trains
  • Train 10 – London Euston and Glasgow – Classic Compatible – 3 hours 40 minutes – 8 hour Round Trip – 8 trains
  • Train 11 – London Euston and Edinburgh – Classic Compatible – 3 hours 48 minutes – 8 hour Round Trip – 8 trains
  • Train 11 – London Euston and Glasgow – Classic Compatible – 3 hours 40 minutes – 8 hour Round Trip – 8 trains
  • Train 12 – Birmingham Curzon Street and Edinburgh or Glasgow – Classic Compatible – 3 hours 20 minutes – 7 hour Round Trip – 7 trains
  • Train 13 – Birmingham Curzon Street and Manchester – 200 metre Full-Size – 41 minutes – 2 hour Round Trip – 2 trains
  • Train 14 – Birmingham Curzon Street and Manchester – 200 metre Full-Size – 41 minutes – 2 hour Round Trip – 2 trains

Note.

  1. I have assumed 400 metre Full-Size trains will be a pair of 200 metre trains.
  2. I think that trains 4 and 5 work an intricate dance with appropriate splitting and joining at Crewe.
  3. The full schedule will need 34 Full-Size trains and 56 Classic-Compatible trains

According to Wikipedia, the first order will be for 54 Classic-Compatible trains, so I would assume, that more trains will be ordered.

Eastern Leg

These are the services for the Eastern Leg between London , Birmingham, East Midlands Hub, Leeds, Sheffield, York and Newcastle.

  • Train 15 – Birmingham Curzon Street and Leeds – 200 metre Full-Size – 49 minutes – 2 hour Round Trip – 2 trains
  • Train 16 – Birmingham Curzon Street and Leeds – 200 metre Full-Size – 49 minutes – 2 hour Round Trip – 2 trains
  • Train 17 – Birmingham Curzon Street and Newcastle – Classic Compatible – 1 hour 57 minutes – 5 hour Round Trip – 5 trains
  • Train 18 – London Euston and Sheffield – Classic Compatible – 1 hour 27 minutes – 4 hour Round Trip – 4 trains
  • Train 18 – London Euston and Leeds – Classic Compatible – 1 hour 21 minutes – 3 hour Round Trip – 3 trains
  • Train 19 – London Euston and Leeds – 400 metre Full-Size – 1 hour and 21 minutes – 3 hour Round Trip – 6 trains
  • Train 20 – London Euston and Leeds – 400 metre Full-Size – 1 hour and 21 minutes – 3 hour Round Trip – 6 trains
  • Train 21 – London Euston and Sheffield – Classic Compatible – 1 hour 27 minutes – 4 hour Round Trip – 4 trains
  • Train 21 – London Euston and York – Classic Compatible – 1 hour 24 minutes – 3 hour Round Trip – 3 trains
  • Train 22 – London Euston and Newcastle – Classic Compatible – 2 hour 17 minutes – 5 hour Round Trip – 5 trains
  • Train 23 – London Euston and Newcastle – Classic Compatible – 2 hour 17 minutes – 5 hour Round Trip – 5 trains

Note.

  1. I have assumed 400 metre Full-Size trains will be a pair of 200 metre trains.
  2. Trains 15 and 16 work as a pair
  3. I think that trains 18 and 21 work an intricate dance with appropriate splitting and joining at East Midlands Hub.
  4. The full schedule will need 16 Full-Size trains and 29 Classic-Compatible trains

Adding the two legs together and I estimate that 50 Full-Size trains and 85 Classic-Compatible trains, will be needed to run a full schedule.

Trains Per Hour On Each Section

It is possible to make a table of how many trains run on each section of the High Speed Two network in trains per hour (tph)

  • London Euston (stops) – 1-11, 18-23 – 17 tph
  • London Euston and Old Oak Common – 1-11, 18-23 – 17 tph
  • Old Oak Common (stops) – 1-11, 18-23 – 17 tph
  • Old Oak Common and Birmingham Interchange – 1-11, 18-23 – 17 tph
  • Birmingham Interchange (stops) – 2, 3, 7, 11, 20 – 5 tph
  • Birmingham Curzon Street (stops) – 1-3, 12-14, 15-17 – 9 tph
  • Birmingham and Crewe – 4,5, 7-9, 10-14 – 10 tph
  • Crewe (stops) – 4,5 – 2 tph
  • Crewe and Liverpool – 4,5 – 2 tph
  • Crewe and Lancaster – 4, 10-12 – 4 tph
  • Crewe and Manchester – 7-9, 13, 14 – 5 tph
  • Crewe and Wigan via Warrington – 4 – 1 tph
  • Crewe and Wigan via High Speed Two (new route) – 10-12 – 3 tph
  • Lancaster (stops) 4 – 1 tph
  • Lancaster and Carlisle  – 10-12 – 3 tph
  • Carlisle and Edinburgh – 10-12 – 2.5 tph
  • Carlisle and Glasgow – 10-12 – 2.5 tph
  • Birmingham and Stoke – 6 – 1 tph
  • Stoke (stops) – 6 – 1 tph
  • Stoke and Macclesfield – 6 – 1 tph
  • Macclesfield (stops) – 6 – 1 tph
  • Birmingham and East Midlands Hub – 15-17, 18-20, 21-23 – 9 tph
  • East Midlands Hub (stops) – 15-17, 18-20, 21 – 7 tph
  • East Midlands Hub and Sheffield – 18, 21 – 2 tph
  • Sheffield (stops) – 18, 21 – 2 tph
  • Midlands Hub and Leeds – 15, 16, 18-20 – 5 tph
  • Leeds (stops) – 15, 16, 18-20 – 5 tph
  • East Midlands Hub and York – 17, 21-23 – 4 tph
  • York (stops) – 17, 21-23 – 4 tph
  • York and Newcastle – 17, 22, 23 – 3 tph
  • Newcastle (stops) – 17, 22, 23 – 3 tph

These are a few thoughts.

Capacity Of The Southern Leg

The busiest section is between London Euston and Birmingham Interchange, which handles 17 tph.

As the maximum capacity of High Speed Two is laid down in the Phase One Act as 18 tph, this gives a path for recovery, according to the article.

Trains Serving Euston

The following train types serve London Euston station.

  • Full-Size – 8 tph
  • 400 metre Classic-Compatible – 5 tph
  • 200 metre Classic-Compatible – 4 tph

As a 200 metre long train needs the same track and platform resources as a 400 metre long train, by splitting and joining, it would appear that extra destinations could be served.

Platform Use At Euston

This page on the High Speed Two web site, gives details of Euston High Speed Two station.

HS2 will deliver eleven new 400m long platforms, a new concourse and improved connections to Euston and Euston Square Underground stations. Our design teams are also looking at the opportunity to create a new northerly entrance facing Camden Town as well as new east-west links across the whole station site.

So how will the eleven platforms be used?

Destinations served from London are planned to be as follows.

  • Birmingham Curzon Street – Full-Size – 3 tph
  • Edinburgh/Glasgow – Classic-Compatible – 2 tph
  • Lancaster – Classic-Compatible – 1 tph
  • Leeds – Full-Size – 2 tph – Classic-Compatible – 1 tph

Liverpool – Classic-Compatible – 2 tph

  • Macclesfield – Classic-Compatible – 1 tph
  • Manchester Piccadilly – Full-Size – 3 tph
  • Newcastle – Classic-Compatible – 2 tph
  • Sheffield – Classic-Compatible – 2 tph
  • York – Classic-Compatible – 1 tph

That is ten destinations and there will be eleven platforms.

I like it! Lack of resources is often the reason systems don’t work well and there are certainly enough platforms.

Could platforms be allocated something like this?

  • Birmingham Curzon Street – Full-Size
  • Edinburgh/Glasgow – Classic-Compatible
  • Leeds – Full-Size
  • Liverpool – Classic-Compatible – Also serves Lancaster
  • Macclesfield – Classic-Compatible
  • Manchester Piccadilly – Full-Size
  • Newcastle – Classic-Compatible
  • Sheffield – Classic-Compatible – Also serves Leeds and York

Note.

  1. No  platform handles more than three tph.
  2. There are three spare platforms.
  3. Each platform would only be normally used by one train type.
  4. Only Birmingham Interchange, East Midlands Hub, Leeds, Preston and York are not always served from the same platform.

Platform arrangements could be very passenger- and operator-friendly.

Platform Use At Birmingham Curzon Street

Birmingham Curzon Street station has been designed to have seven platforms.

Destinations served from Birmingham Curzon Street station are planned to be as follows.

  • Edinburgh/Glasgow – Classic-Compatible – 1 tph
  • Leeds – Full-Size – 2 tph
  • London Euston – Full-Size – 3 tph
  • Manchester Piccadilly – Full-Size – 2 tph
  • Newcastle – Classic-Compatible – 1 tph
  • Nottingham – Classic-Compatible – 1 tph

Note.

  1. The Nottingham service has been proposed by Midlands Engine Rail, but will be running High Speed Two Classic Compatible trains.
  2. That is six destinations and there will be seven platforms.

I like it! For the same reason as London Euston.

Could platforms be allocated something like this?

  • Edinburgh/Glasgow – Classic-Compatible
  • Leeds – Full-Size
  • London Euston – Full-Size
  • Manchester Piccadilly – Full-Size
  • Newcastle/Nottingham – Classic-Compatible

Note.

  1. No  platform handles more than three tph.
  2. There are two spare platforms.
  3. Each platform would only be normally used by one train type.
  4. Only East Midlands Hub is not always served from the same platform.

Platform arrangements could be very passenger- and operator-friendly.

Back-to-Back Services via Birmingham Curzon Street

The current plan for High Speed Two envisages the following services between the main terminals served by Full-Size trains.

  • London Euston and Birmingham Curzon Street – 3 tph – 45 minutes
  • London Euston and Leeds – 2 tph – 81 minutes
  • London Euston and Manchester Piccadilly – 3 tph – 71 minutes
  • Birmingham Curzon Street and Leeds – 2 tph – 40 minutes
  • Birmingham Curzon Street and Manchester Piccadilly – 2 tph – 41 minutes

Suppose a traveller wanted to go between East Midlands Hub and Manchester Airport stations.

Wouldn’t it be convenient if the Leeds to Birmingham Curzon Street train, stopped in Birmingham Curzon Street alongside the train to Manchester Airport and Piccadilly, so passengers could just walk across?

Or the two services could be run Back-to-Back with a reverse in Birmingham Curzon Street station?

Note.

  1. The current fastest times between Nottingham and Manchester Airport stations are around two-and-a-half hours, with two changes.
  2. With High Speed Two, it looks like the time could be under the hour, even allowing up to eight minutes for the change at Birmingham Curzon Street.

The design of the track and stations for High Speed Two, has some interesting features that will be exploited by the train operator, to provide better services.

Capacity Of The Western Leg Between Birmingham And Crewe

The section is between Birmingham and Crewe, will be running 10 tph.

As the maximum capacity of High Speed Two is laid down in the Phase One Act as 18 tph, this gives plenty of room for more trains.

But where will they come from?

High Speed One copes well with a few interlopers in the shape of Southeastern’s Class 395 trains, which run at 140 mph, between the Eurostars.

High Speed Two is faster, but what is to stop an operator running their own Classic-Compatible trains on the following routes.

  • Birmingham Curzon Street and Liverpool via Crewe, Runcorn and Liverpool South Parkway.
  • Birmingham Curzon Street and Holyhead via Crewe, Chester and an electrified North Wales Coast Line.
  • Birmingham Curzon Street and Blackpool via Crewe, Warrington Bank Quay, Wigan North Western and Preston.
  • Birmingham Curzon Street and Blackburn and Burnley via Crewe, Warrington Bank Quay, Wigan North Western and Preston.

Note.

  1. If these trains were say 130 metres long, they could call at all stations, without any platform lengthening.
  2. I’m sure that the clever engineers at Hitachi and Hyperdrive Innovation could come up with battery electric Classic-Compatible train, that could run at 225 mph on High Speed Two and had a battery range to reach Holyhead, with a small amount of electrification.
  3. A pair of trains, could work the last two services with a Split/Join at Preston.

The advantages of terminating these service in Birmingham Curzon Street would be as follows.

  • A lot more places get a fast connection to the High Speed Two network.
  • Passengers can reach London with an easy change at Birmingham Curzon Street station.
  • They can also walk easily between the three Birmingham stations.

But the big advantage is the trains don’t use valuable paths on High Speed Two between Birmingham Curzon Street and London Euston.

Crewe Station

In the current Avanti West Coast timetable, the following trains pass through Crewe.

  • London Euston and Blackpool – 4 trains per day (tpd)
  • London Euston and Chester – 1 tph
  • London Euston and Edinburgh/Glasgow – 2 tph
  • London Euston and Liverpool – 1 tph
  • London Euston and Manchester Piccadilly – 1 tph

Most trains stop at Crewe.

In the proposed High Speed Two timetable, the following trains will pass through Crewe.

  • London Euston and Edinburgh/Glasgow – 2 tph
  • London Euston and Lancaster/Liverpool – 2 tph
  • London Euston and Manchester – 3 tph
  • Birmingham Curzon Street and Edinburgh/Glasgow  -1 tph
  • Birmingham Curzon Street and Manchester – 2 tph

Note.

  1. Only the Lancaster and Liverpool trains stop at Crewe station.
  2. North of Crewe there will be a three-way split of High Speed Two routes to Liverpool, Wigan and the North and Manchester Airport and Piccadilly.
  3. High Speed Two will loop to the East and then join the West Coast Main Line to the South of Wigan.
  4. High Speed Two trains will use the West Coast Main Line to the North of Wigan North Western station.

This map of High Speed Two in North West England was captured from the interactive map on the High Speed Two web site.

 

 

Note.

  1. The current West Coast Main Line (WCML) and Phase 2a of High Speed Two are shown in blue.
  2. Phase 2b of High Speed Two is shown in orange.
  3. The main North-South route, which is shown in blue, is the WCML passing through Crewe, Warrington Bank Quay and Wigan North Western as it goes North.
  4. The Western Branch, which is shown in blue, is the Liverpool Branch of the WCML, which serves Runcorn and Liverpool.
  5. High Speed Two, which is shown in orange, takes a faster route between Crewe and Wigan North Western.
  6. The Eastern Branch, which is shown in orange, is the Manchester Branch of High Speed Two, which serves Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly.
  7. The route in the East, which is shown in blue, is the Macclesfield Branch of High Speed Two, which serves Stafford, Stoke-on-Trent and Macclesfield.

The route of Northern Powerhouse Rail between Manchester Airport and Liverpool has still to be finalised.

Liverpool Branch

Consider.

  • The Liverpool Branch will take  two tph between London Euston and Liverpool.
  • In the future it could take up to 6 tph on Northern Powerhouse Rail between Liverpool and Manchester Piccadilly via Manchester Airport.

I believe that Liverpool Lime Street station, after the recent updating can handle all these trains.

Manchester Branch

This document on the Government web site is entitled HS2 Phase 2b Western Leg Design Refinement Consultation.

It indicates two important recently-made changes to the design of the Manchester Branch of High Speed Two.

  • Manchester Airport station will have four High Speed platforms instead of two.
  • Manchester Piccadilly station will have six High Speed platforms instead of four.

These changes will help the use of these stations by Northern Powerhouse Rail..

Consider.

  • The Manchester Branch will be new high speed track, which will probably be built in a tunnel serving Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly stations.
  • The Manchester Branch will terminate in new platforms.
  • The Manchester Branch will take  five tph between Birmingham Curzon Street or London Euston and Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly.
  • In the future it could take up to six tph on Northern Powerhouse Rail between Liverpool and Manchester Piccadilly via Manchester Airport.
  • London Euston and Old Oak Common will be new stations on a tunnelled approach to London and will handle 18 tph.

If London Euston and Old Oak Common can handle 18 tph, I can’t see why Manchester Airport and Piccadilly stations can’t handle somewhere near a similar number of trains.

At the moment eleven tph have been allocated to the Manchester Branch.

I believe that if infrastructure for Northern Powerhouse Rail was designed so that as well as connecting to Manchester and Liverpool, it connected Manchester and the West Coast Main Line running North to Preston, Carlisle and Scotland, services to the following destinations would be possible.

  • Barrow
  • Blackburn
  • Blackpool
  • Edinburgh
  • Glasgow
  • Windermere

Note.

  1. Edinburgh and Glasgow would probably be a service that would alternate the destination, as it is proposed for High Speed Two’s Birmingham and Scotland service.
  2. There would probably be a need for a North Wales and Manchester service via Chester.
  3. All trains would be Classic-Compatible.

If the Manchester Branch were to be built to handle 18 tph, there would be more than enough capacity.

Crewe, Wigan And Manchester

My summing up earlier gave the number of trains between Crewe, Wigan and Manchester as follows.

  • Crewe and Manchester – 5 tph
  • Crewe and Wigan via Warrington  – 1 tph
  • Crewe and Wigan via High Speed Two (new route) – 3 tph

This map of High Speed Two where the Manchester Branch leaves the new High Speed Two route between Crewe and Wigan was captured from the interactive map on the High Speed Two web site.

Note.

  1. The Manchester Branch runs to the South of the M56,
  2. The large blue dot indicates Manchester Airport station.
  3. Wigan is to the North.
  4. Crewe is to the South.
  5. Manchester Piccadilly is to the North East.

I believe this junction will be turned into a full triangular junction, to connect Wigan directly to Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly.

  • Barrow, Blackburn, Blackpool, Preston and Windermere could all have high speed connections to Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly. Trains could be shorter Classic-Compatible trains.
  • A Manchester and Scotland service would take the same route.

Another pair of tracks could leave the junction to the West to create a direct route between Manchester Airport and Liverpool for Northern Powerhouse Rail, by sneaking along the  M56.

Suppose extra services were as follows.

  • Manchester and Barrow – 1 tph
  • Manchester and Blackburn – 1 tph
  • Manchester and Blackpool – 1 tph
  • Manchester and Liverpool – 6 tph
  • Manchester and Scotland – 1 tph
  • Manchester and Windermere – 1 tph

The frequencies from the junction would be as follows.

  • To and from Crewe – High Speed Two (Manchester) – 5 tph – High Speed Two (North) – 3 tph = 8 tph
  • To and from Liverpool – Northern Powerhouse Rail – 6 tph = 6 tph
  • To and from Manchester – High Speed Two – 5 tph – Northern Powerhouse Rail – 6 tph – Local – 4 tph – Scotland – 1 tph = 16 tph
  • To and from Wigan – High Speed Two – 3 tph – Local – 4 tph – Scotland – 1 tph = 8 tph.

Only the Manchester Branch would be working hard.

The Liverpool Connection

I indicated that another pair of tracks would need to extend the Manchester Branch towards Liverpool in the West for Northern Powerhouse Rail.

  • Would these tracks have a station at Warrington?
  • Would there be a connection to allow services between Liverpool and the North and Scotland?

It might even be possible to design a Liverpool connection, that avoided using the current Liverpool Branch and increased the capacity and efficiency of all trains to Liverpool.

Capacity Of The Western Leg Between Wigan And Scotland

The sections between  Crewe and Carlisle, will be running at the following frequencies.

  • Wigan and Lancaster – 4 tph
  • Lancaster and Carlisle  – 3 tph
  • Carlisle and Edinburgh  – 2.5 tph
  • Carlisle and Glasgow – 2.5 tph

Note.

  1. The unusual Scottish frequencies are caused by splitting and joining at Carlisle and alternate services to Edinburgh and Glasgow.
  2. Any local high speed services and a Scotland service from Manchester, will increase the frequencies.

Over this section the services will be running on an improved West Coast Main Line.

But in some cases the trains will be replacing current services, so the increase in total frequencies will be less than it first appears.

Avanti West Coast currently run the following Scottish services.

  • One tph – London Euston and Glasgow via the most direct route.
  • One tph – London Euston and alternately Edinburgh and Glasgow via Birmingham.

This means that effectively Glasgow has 1.5 tph and Edinburgh 0.5 tph from London Euston.

The capacity of the current eleven-car Class 390 trains is 145 First and 444 Standard Class seats, which compares closely with the 500-600 seats given in Wikipedia for High Speed Two trains. So the capacity of the two trains is not that different.

But High Speed Two will be running 2.5 tph Between London Euston and both Edinburgh and Glasgow.

I would expect, that Class 390 services to Scotland will be discontinued and replaced by High Speed Two services.

Capacity Of The Eastern Leg Between Birmingham And East Midlands Hub

The section is between Birmingham and East Midlands Hub, will be running 9 tph

As the maximum capacity of High Speed Two is laid down in the Phase One Act as 18 tph, this gives plenty of room for more trains.

But where will they come from?

Midlands Engine Rail is proposing a service between Birmingham Curzon Street and Nottingham.

  • It will have a frequency of one tph.
  • It will be run by High Speed Two Classic-Compatible trains.
  • The journey will take 33 minutes.
  • It will run on High Speed Two infrastructure between Birmingham Curzon Street and East Midlands Hub.

If High Speed Two has been designed with this service in mind, I doubt it will be a difficult service to setup.

  • There might be enough capacity on High Speed Two  for two tph on the route,
  • It could possibly be extended to Lincoln.

It will also depend on the service timing being consistent with an efficient use of trains and platforms.

  • Thirty-three minutes is not a good timing, as it means twenty-seven minutes wait in a platform to get a round trip time, that suits clock-face time-tabling.
  • The current Lincoln and Nottingham service takes 56 minutes for 34 miles.
  • LNER’s London Kings Cross and Lincoln service travels the 16 miles between Lincoln and Newark in 25 minutes.
  • I estimate that after track improvements,  with a single stop at Newark Castle station, that Nottingham and Lincoln could be achieved in several minutes under fifty minutes.
  • This would enable a sub-ninety minute journey time between Birmingham Curzon Street and Lincoln, with enough time to properly turn the trains at both ends of the route.
  • The three hour round trip would mean that an hourly service would need three trains.

This is probably just one of several efficient time-tabling possibilities.

Are there any other similar services?

The obvious one is surely Cambridge and Birmingham

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

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

Capacity Of The Eastern Leg Between East Midlands Hub And Sheffield

The section between East Midlands Hub and Sheffield, will be running 2 tph

As the maximum capacity of High Speed Two is laid down in the Phase One Act as 18 tph, this gives plenty of room for more trains.

But where will they come from?

This map of High Speed Two where the Sheffield Branch leaves the new High Speed Two route between East Midlands Hub and Leeds was captured from the interactive map on the High Speed Two web site.

Note.

  1. The main route of High Speed Two between East Midlands Hub, is shown in orange and follows the route of the M1 Motorway, towards the East of the map.
  2. The Sheffield Branch is new track to Clay Cross North Junction, where is takes over the Midland Main Line to Sheffield, which is shown in blue.
  3. The line going South in the middle of the map is the Erewash Valley Line, which goes through Langley Mill and Ilkeston stations.

I suspect Clay Cross to Sheffield will be an electrified high speed line, with a maximum speed of at least 140 mph.

Could the Erewash Valley Line have been used as an alternative route to Sheffield?

This map of High Speed Two captured from their interactive map, shows the connection of High Speed Two and the Erewash Valley Line to East Midlands Hub.

Note.

  1. East Midlands Hub is shown by the big blue dot.
  2. High Speed Two is shown in orange.
  3. The route to Leeds vaguely follows the M1 Motorway.
  4. The Erewash Valley Line goes North to the East of Ilkeston.

Would have been quicker and easier to electrify the Erewash Valley Line, as the High Speed Two route to Chesterfield and Sheffield?

  • Network Rail updated the route a few years ago.
  • It does not have the problems of electrification, through a World Heritage Site, as does the route through Derby.
  • It could surely handle two tph, even if they were High Speed Two Classic Compatible trains.
  • Sheffield will be just under ninety minutes from London by High Speed Two, as opposed to two hours now.

I suspect that it all comes down to saving a few minutes to Sheffield and the civic pride of having a High Speed Two connection.

So it looks like we’ll have the following capacity between East Midlands Hub and Sheffield.

  • Between East Midlands Hub and Clay Cross North Junction, there will be the High Speed Two capacity of 18 tph.
  • Between Clay Cross and Sheffield, there will probably be an upgraded capacity of perhaps 8-10 tph.

It seems a lot of capacity for just two tph.

Consider.

  • High Speed Two is planning to run three tph between Birmingham Curzon Street and East Midlands Hub
  • Midlands Rail Engine is planning to run one tph between Birmingham Curzon Street and East Midlands Hub
  • Four tph is considered a Turn-Up-And-Go service, and could exist between Birmingham Curzon Street and East Midlands Hub.
  • Sheffield and Leeds, both probably need a Turn-Up-And-Go service, to and from East Midlands Hub.
  • Semi-fast services between Sheffield and East Midlands Hub, calling at Chesterfield, Alfreton, Langley Mill and Ilkeston would be possible, by using the Erewash Valley Line.
  • The Maid Marian Line will join the Robin Hood Line in adding extra connectivity to East Midlands Hub Station.
  • Leeds and East Midlands Hub could have a six tph service courtesy of High Speed Two and Midlands Rail Engine.

Using High Speed Two’s web site, the following times should be possible.

  • Sheffield and East Midlands Hub – 27 minutes
  • Sheffield and Birmingham Curzon Street – 47 minutes.

Both services allow time for an efficient service.

There are certainly many options to create a Turn-Up-And-Go service between Sheffield and East Midlands Hub and also improve connections to other locations across the area.

Capacity Of The Eastern Leg Between East Midlands Hub And Leeds

The section is between East Midlands Hub and Leeds, will be running 5 tph

High Speed Two between Midlands Hub and Leeds is a totally new high speed line.

  • As the maximum capacity of High Speed Two is laid down in the Phase One Act as 18 tph, this gives plenty of room for more trains.
  • The Southern section of the leg closely follows the M1 Motorway.
  • Leeds, York and Newcastle will be 27, 36 and 93 minutes from East Midlands Hub, respectively.

This map of High Speed Two, which shows the route of the line in Yorkshire, was captured from the interactive map on the High Speed Two web site.

Note.

  1. Sheffield is marked by the blue dot in the South.
  2. Leeds is marked by the blue dot in the North West.
  3. York is marked by the blue dot in the North East.
  4. New routes are shown in orange.
  5. Upgraded routes are shown in blue.

The route seems to open up several possibilities for extra routes.

Leeds and Sheffield will be used by Northern Powerhouse Rail and there will be four tph, taking 28 minutes.

Leeds and Bedford via East Midlands Hub has been proposed by Midlands Rail Engine.

Services between Sheffield and the North via York must be a possibility.

This map of High Speed Two, which shows the routes to the East of Leeds, was captured from High Speed Two’s interactive map.

I think that two things might be missing.

  • A full triangular junction would surely allow services between Leeds and the North via York.
  • A high speed connection to Hull.

We shall see in the future.

Capacity Of The Eastern Leg Between York And Newcastle

The section between  York and Newcastle, will be running at a frequency of 3 tph.

Over this section the services will be running on an improved East Coast Main Line.

Conclusion

I shall split the conclusions into various sections.

Route And Track Layout

I think there may be places, where the route and track layout might need to be improved.

  • The Manchester Branch probably needs a triangular junction with the Western Leg of High Speed Two.
  • How Liverpool is served by Northern Powerhouse Rail needs to be decided.
  • The approach to Leeds probably needs a triangular junction with the Eastern Leg of High Speed Two.
  • It is not clear how services will reach Hull.

Hopefully, these issues will become clear in the next year or so.

Capacity

The sections with the highest levels of capacity would appear to be the following.

  • London Euston and Birmingham Interchange.
  • The Manchester Branch
  • The section shared with the East Coast Main Line between York and Newcastle.
  • The section shared with the West Coast Main Line between Wigan and Scotland.

But on these sections extra trains can be run.

  • Birmingham and North West England
  • Birmingham and East Midlands Hub
  • East Midlands Hub and Leeds
  • East Midlands Hub and Sheffield
  • East Midlands Hub and York

I can see, this capacity being filled by high speed local services, like those proposed by Midlands Rail Engine.

Rolling Stock

The only comment, I will make, is that there could be a need for a shorter Classic-Compatible train to work local services.

 

 

 

October 22, 2020 Posted by | Design, Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Walking Along Moorgate – 30th September 2020

I took these pictures as I walked from North to South along Moorgate today from the bus stop by Finsbury Square.

 

Note.

  1. I did cross the road three times.
  2. The building site behind the blue hoardings in some of the first pictures, looks like it could be another tall building.
  3. The tower looming in the background of several of the pictures is Citypoint, which was originally built in 1967 and refurbished in 2000.
  4. The new looking building, with the Barclays branch at street level, is not new but another refurbished building, that has been finished in the last few months.
  5. The older red and white building is Moorgate station. There is nothing to indicate that this building will be rebuilt.
  6. The odd shaped building to the South of the station is Moor House.
  7. A large new entrance to the station, with an office block on top is being built between the original station entrance and Moor House.
  8. Between the new station entrance and Moorgate, 101 Moorgate is being built.

There is certainly, a lot of all types of property development going on at Moorgate station, which after Crossrail opens will become the Western entrance to the Crossrail station at Liverpool Street station.

This 3D Google Map shows Moorgate.

101 Moorgate is marked with a red arrow.

A Crossrail Video Of Liverpool Street Station

This video shows the design of Crossrail’s Liverpool Street station.

This screen-capture from the video shows a possible future Moorgate.

Note the new buildings at 101 Moorgate and the current Moorgate station.

These are related posts on the design of the Crossrail station at Moorgate and Liverpool Street.

The station could become the major one for the City of London.

Extending the Northern City Line To The South

This was intended by the builders of the Northern City Line and they intended to take the route to just North of Bank station at Lothbury.

In the Wikipedia entry for Moor House, this is said.

Completed in 2004, it was the first building to be designed for the forthcoming Crossrail, with a ventilation shaft to the station underneath the building. When built, it had the deepest foundations in London, which reach down 57 metres (187 ft) and are specifically designed to withstand further tunneling below it in the future.

I suspect that could mean that Moor House won’t get in the way of any further railway development.

In the Wikipedia entry for the Northern City Line, this is said about possible developments planned after World War 2.

After the war there were proposals to extend the Northern City Line north and south. The London Plan Working Party Report of 1949 proposed several new lines and suburban electrification schemes for London, lettered from A to M. The lower-priority routes J and K would have seen the Northern City Line extended to Woolwich (Route J) and Crystal Palace (Route K), retaining the “Northern Heights” extensions to Edgware and Alexandra Palace. The lines would have run in small-diameter tube tunnels south from Moorgate to Bank and London Bridge. The “K” branch would have run under Peckham to Peckham Rye, joining the old Crystal Palace (High Level) branch (which was still open in 1949) near Lordship Lane. Nothing came of these proposals, and the Edgware, Alexandra Palace and Crystal Palace (High Level) branches were all closed to passengers in 1954. As a result, the Northern City Line remained isolated from the rest of the network.

Note.

  • The proposed J branch to Woolwich has been covered by Crossrail calling at both Moorgate and Woolwich.
  • The proposed K branch to Peckham Rye and Crystal Palace has been covered by Crossrail and the London Overground with a change at Whitechapel.

So why bother to open up the possibility by designing Moor House for more tunnels to be bored?

As the London Plan Working Party Report of 1949 indicated several more lines and electrification were proposed.

Also during the war several deep-level shelters were built under Underground stations. Wikipedia says this about the background to the shelters.

Each shelter consists of a pair of parallel tunnels 16 feet 6 inches (5.03 m) in diameter and 1,200 feet (370 m) long. Each tunnel is subdivided into two decks, and each shelter was designed to hold up to 8,000 people. It was planned that after the war the shelters would be used as part of new express tube lines paralleling parts of the existing Northern and Central lines. Existing tube lines typically had 11-foot-8.25-inch (3.56 m) diameter running tunnels and about 21 feet (6.4 m) at stations; thus the shelter tunnels would not have been suitable as platform tunnels and were constructed at stations the new lines would have bypassed. However, they would have been suitable as running tunnels for main-line size trains. (One existing tube, the Northern City Line opened in 1904, used a similar size of tunnel for this reason, although in fact main-line trains did not use it until 1976.)

Shelters were planned on the Northern Line at Belsize ParkCamden TownGoodge StreetStockwellClapham NorthClapham Common, and Clapham South on the Northern Line. Did London Transport do a full survey of the Northern Line before the war and leave documents saying where an express Northern Line could be easily built.

My mother told me about these plans and as her best friend worked in Personnel at London Transport, she probably knew more than the average suburban housewife, who worked part-time for my father as a book-keeper.

After Crossrail opens and Moorgate station and the Bank station Upgrade are completed will it be possible to bore two new full-size tunnels underneath the Northern Line and Moor House and other buildings on the route to create a Northern Line Express service?

Consider.

  • The tunnels would be very deep and suitable for full-size trains.
  • Moorgate, Bank and London Bridge stations will have all been rebuilt in the last twenty years, so hopefully, they have been built to allow tunnels for a Northern Line Express service to pass through.
  • The Northern Line Express would take the pressure off the City Branch of the Northern Line?
  • Initially, the line might terminate under London Bridge station in perhaps a two platform station.
  • Modern digital signalling would allow up to 24 trains per hour (tph) on the section between London Bridge and Alexandra Palace station and 12 tph on the Welwyn Garden City and Stevenage branches

It would be a lot easier to build than Crossrail 2 and would give some of the benefits.

An Extension To North Cheam?

The Wikipedia entry for Morden station has this paragraph.

A post-war review of rail transport in the London area produced a report in 1946 that proposed many new lines and identified the Morden branch as being the most overcrowded section of the London Underground, needing additional capacity. To relieve the congestion and to provide a new service south of Morden, the report recommended construction of a second pair of tunnels beneath the northern line’s tunnels from Tooting Broadway to Kennington and an extension from Morden to North Cheam. Trains using the existing tunnels would start and end at Tooting Broadway with the service in the new tunnels joining the existing tunnels to Morden. The extension to North Cheam would run in tunnel. Designated as routes 10 and 11, these proposals were not developed by the London Passenger Transport Board or its successor organisations.

Perhaps, the solution would be to bore two new deep full-size tunnels from Moorgate to Tooting Broadway.

  • The Northern Line Express trains couldn’t continue to Morden, as they would be too big for the existing tunnels.
  • So they would have to turn back at Tooting Broadway station.
  • The stations between Kennington and Morden, that are in need of improvement could be updated.
  • I would design the interchange between Northern Line Express and Northern Line trains at Tooting Broadway station as a step-free cross-platform interchange.

The Wikipedia entry for North Cheam station, describes the extension to the station.

  • It would have been in tunnel from Morden.
  • There would be an intermediate station at Morden South station.
  • It didn’t think much of the economics.
  • I would suspect that the tunnel would run under the A 24.
  • The tunnel would be just under three miles long.

I wonder, if the extra distance, made operation of the line easier.

I estimate that a train could go from Morden to North Cheam stations and back in under ten minutes.

  • This would allow 6 tph with a single tunnel and track between the two stations.
  • The two new stations; North Cheam and Morden South could be single platform.
  • The signalling could be simplified.

The extension could be more affordable.

 

 

September 30, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Liverpool’s Forgotten Station

Edge Hill station is Liverpool’s forgotten station.

For instance, it could be the only train station in the UK, with a better than two trains per hour (tph) service in both directions, that doesn’t have any displays telling passengers, when the next train is arriving.

These pictures show the station.

Note.

  1. The station is Grade II* Listed.
  2. It does have a good clock.
  3. There are four platforms on two islands.
  4. The only way to get to Platforms 3 and 4, is by one of the worst subways, I’ve seen in many years.

If ever a station needed a good makeover, it is Edge Hill.

This Google Map shows the station.

Note.

  1. The Northern island platform is 1 & 2. All trains using these platforms seem to use platforms 1 to 5 at Liverpool Lime Street station.
  2. The Southern island platform is 3 & 4. All trains using these platforms seem to use platforms 6 to 10 at Liverpool Lime Street station.
  3. The deep four-track cutting, that leads to Lime Street station can be clearly seen to the West of the station.
  4. The lines to the South of the station, that run to the West, lead to the disused Wapping Tunnel. Surprisingly, the tracks still seem to be in place.
  5. The lines to the North of the station, that run to the West, lead to the disused Victoria Tunnel, that used to take freight to and from Liverpool Docks.

There is certainly a lot of space around the station to put in extra platforms and a flyover or two.

Connecting The Wapping Tunnel To The Lines Going To The East

In Liverpool’s Forgotten Tunnel, I talked about a resurrected plan to use the Wapping Tunnel for passenger trains.

This was my opening sentences of the post.

The Wapping Tunnel in Liverpool was designed by George Stephenson and was the first tunnel in the world to be bored under a city.

It used to take goods trains between Liverpool Docks and the Liverpool and Manchester Line.

During the 1970s preparations were made to connect the Wapping Tunnel to Merseyrail’s Northern Line, so that trains could run between the Northern Line and the City Line, which would have connected the North and East of the City.

But the project was never completed.

I also included this recent map of the scheme.

The proposed line through the Wapping Tunnel, is shown as a dotted blue line.

Components of the scheme include.

  • Four to eight tph instead of turning back at Liverpool Central station would use the Wapping Tunnel to access Edge Hill and then continue to Liverpool South Parkway, Manchester Airport, Manchester Oxford Road, St. Helens, Warrington and Wigan.
  • A new station will be built at Liverpool University.
  • A new station could be built at St. James. at a future date.

It looks to be a sensible scheme, providing the engineering isn’t too difficult.

New Platforms On The Wapping Tunnel Lines

This Google Map shows the lines leading to the Wapping Tunnel.

Note.

  1. Platform 4 is just off the Northern side of the map.
  2. There is a double track leading to the Wapping Tunnel.
  3. It looks like the other tracks are the entry to a marshalling yard, that used to serve the Docks, through the Wapping Tunnel.

I can see two platforms on either side or a single island platform between the two tracks being built, that is connected to the current station using a stylish step-free bridge, as at Leeds or Reading stations.

Connecting To The Liverpool South Parkway Route

This Google Map shows the Wapping Tunnel lines, as they pass to the South of the station.

Note.

  1. The Eastern ends of the two island platforms are clearly visible.
  2. Platforms 1 and 2, which connect to Wavertree Technology Park, St. Helens and Wigan are the Northern platform.
  3. Platforms 3 and 4, which connect to Liverpool South Parkway, Runcorn and London are the Southern platform.
  4. The lines through the Wapping Tunnel, are the two closest lines to the station.

It does appear that connecting the Wapping Lines to those to Liverpool South Parkway would probably need a series of well-designed crossovers.

In fact they might already be in place and just need refurbishment or replacement.

Connecting To The Wavertree Technology Park Route

Trains needing to go between the Wapping Tunnel lines and the lines towards Wavertree Technology Park, St. Helens and Wigan would need to cross right over the busy lines into Liverpool Lime Street station.

So I suspect for efficient operation, a flyover or dive-under will need to be built.

Conclusion

I don’t think that the engineering to connect the Wapping Tunnel lines to the Eastern routes from Edge Hill station, will be too challenging, as there is certainly plenty of space.

I also feel, that an innovative architect can create an efficient station with character.

 

August 21, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 14 Comments

It’s A Privilege To Work Here!

I was speaking to a young station assistant at Liverpool Lime Street station, who I suspect could have been a trainee or an apprentice, when he came out with the title of this post.

These pictures show the platforms at the station, since the recent remodelling.

Note.

  1. The platforms are wide and can take an eleven-car Class 390 train.
  2. TransPennine Express’s five-car Class 802 trains are easily handles in the shorter platforms of the Western train shed.
  3. I suspect Avanti West Coast’s new Class 807 trains, which are fifty-two metres longer than the Class 802 trains, could fit into the Western train shed, if needed.

It is certainly a station with a large capacity and I believe, with a few tweaks the station will be able to handle High Speed Two and Northern Powerhouse Rail.

Train Lengths Into Liverpool Lime Street

These are the lengths of the various trains that will be terminating at the station.

  • Class 350 train – eight cars – 160 metres
  • Class 350 train – twelve cars – 240 metres
  • Class 390 train – nine cars – 217.5 metres
  • Class 390 train – eleven cars – 265.3 metres
  • Class 730 train – five cars – 120 metres
  • Class 730 train – ten cars – 240 metres
  • Class 802 train – five cars – 130 metres
  • Class 802 train – ten cars – 260 metres
  • Class 807 train – seven cars – 182 metres
  • High Speed Two Classic-Compatible train – 200 metres

That looks like future-proofing to me!

 

An Almost Absence Of Red

I have looked at arrivals into Liverpool Lime Street over the last couple of days on Real Time Trains and nearly all trains seemed to be on time.

So has all the work to improve the track and signalling on the approaches to the station,  over the last couple of years, resulted in better time keeping?

Certainly, train and passenger flows seemed to be smooth.

Conclusion

Wikipedia says this about Liverpool Lime Street station.

Opened in August 1836, it is the oldest still-operating grand terminus mainline station in the world.

I’ve used Lime Street station for fifty-five years and finally, it is the station, the city needs and deserves.

I’ve been to grand termini all over the world and Lime Street may be the oldest, but now it is one of the best.

August 21, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Possibly One Of The Best Underground Railways In A Smaller City In The World!

I took these pictures, as I took the Wirral Line between James Street and Lime Street stations.

I do compare them with the dingy inside of Essex Road station, which was refurbished by British Rail about the same time.

Merseyrail’s stations and trains are generally immaculate and that can’t be said for the dirty and tired infrastructure on the Northern City Line. As I indicated in the title of this post, t is one of the best underground railways under the centre of a smaller city. Liverpool would probably be regarded as a second size of city as it lacks the several millions of London, Paris or Berlin.

The tunnels of Merseyrail’s Northern and Wirral Lines, would have been probably been used as a model for British Rail’s proposed Picc-Vic Tunnel, that sadly never got to be built!

Manchester would be very different today, if it had an underground railway across the City to the standard of that in Liverpool or Newcastle.

This map clipped from Wikipedia show the proposed route of the Picc-Vic Tunnel.

Some of the other proposals included.

  • The tunnel would be twin bores and jus under three miles long.
  • The tunnel would be electrified with 25 KVAC overhead wires.
  • The rolling stock would have been Class 316 trains, which would have been similar to those on Merseyrail.
  • Train frequency could have been forty trains per hour (tph)

In some ways the specification was more ambitious than Crossrail, which might be able to handle 30 tph, at some time in the future. But Dear Old Vicky, which was designed at the same time, is now handling forty tph.

Wikipedia says the following routes could have run through the tunnel.

Note.

  1. The Styal Line now provides the link to Manchester Airport.
  2. The route map on the Wikipedia entry, shows only Bury and Bolton as Northern destinations. But surely fanning out the trains could have run to Barrow-in-Furness, Blackburn, Blackpool, Burnley, Clitheroe, Colne, Hebden Bridge, Kirkby, Preston, Rawtenstall, Tochdale, Southport, Stalybridge, Todmorden, Wigan and Windermere

The only problem, I could see would be that there would need to be a lot of electrification North of Manchester, some of which has now been done.

There have also been developments in recent years that would fit nicely with a system of lines running through the Picc-Vic Tunnel.

More Services In Manchester Piccadilly And Manchester Victoria Stations

If you look at Liverpool Lime Street station after the remodelling of the last few years, the station is now ready for High Speed Two.

You could argue, that it would be more ready, if the Wapping Tunnel connected services to and from the East to the Northern Line, as I wrote about in Liverpool’s Forgotten Tunnel, as this would remove a lot of local trains from the station.

The Picc-Vic Tunnel would have done the same thing for Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Victoria stations and removed the local services.

This would have left more space for High Speed Two and other long distance services.

Northern Powerhouse Rail

The original plan also envisaged an East-West Tunnel at a later date. – Northern Powerhouse Rail?

But the creation of capacity by the diversion of local services from Manchester Victoria into the Picc-Vic Tunnel, would surely have enabled the station to be developed thirty years ago as a station on an improved TransPennine route.

Tram-Trains

The system would have accepted tram-trains, which hadn’t been invented in the 1970s.

Manchester Airport

Manchester Airport had only one runway in the 1970s and I think only a few would have believed, it would have expanded like it has.

The Picc-Vic Tunnel would create a superb service to the Airport, at a frequency upwards of six tph.

High Speed Two

The Picc-Vic Tunnel would have created the capacity in  for Manchester Piccadilly station and allowed High Speed Two services to use the station.

In The Rival Plans For Piccadilly Station, That Architects Say Will ‘Save Millions’, I talked about a radical plan for extending Manchester Piccadilly station for High Speed Two, that has been put forward by Weston Williamson; the architects.

This sort of scheme would also fit well with the Picc-Vic Tunnel.

Conclusion

Manchester was short-changed and not building the Picc-Vic Tunnel was a major mistake.

It would have created an underground railway in a similar mould to that of Liverpool’s, but it would probably have served a larger network.

They would probably be the best pair of underground railways for smaller cities in the world.

August 20, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Liverpool’s Forgotten Tunnel

The Wapping Tunnel in Liverpool was designed by George Stephenson and was the first tunnel in the world to be bored under a city.

It used to take goods trains between Liverpool Docks and the Liverpool and Manchester Line.

During the 1970s preparations were made to connect the Wapping Tunnel to Merseyrail’s Northern Line, so that trains could run between the Northern Line and the City Line, which would have connected the North and East of the City.

But the project was never completed.

It now appears, the project is on the agenda again.

This article on TransportExtra is entitled Liverpool CR Develops Plan To Boost City Centre Rail Capacity.

The plan outlined is as follows.

  • At present, as many as two thirds of trains on the Northern Line turn back as Liverpool Central station.
  • Between four and eight trains per hour (tph) could be diverted into the Wapping Tunnel to serve places like St. Helens, Warrington Central and Wigan.
  • This would free up platforms in Liverpool Lime Street station for Inter-City and Inter-Regional services.

It is also pointed out, that a 2016 study, didn’t find any serious technical problems with the project.

I do have my thoughts on this project.

Services That Could Be Connected

Local services running from Liverpool Lime Street station include.

Manchester Oxford Road Via Warrington Central

This service is run by Northern.

  • It has a frequency of two tph.
  • One service calls at Edge Hill, Mossley Hill, West Allerton, Liverpool South Parkway, Hunts Cross, Halewood, Hough Green, Widnes, Sankey For Penketh, Warrington West, Warrington Central, Birchwood, Irlam, Urmston and Deansgate.
  • The other service calls at Mossley Hill, West Allerton, Liverpool South Parkway, Hough Green, Widnes, Warrington Central, Padgate, Birchwood, Glazebrook, Irlam, Flixton, Chassen Road (1tp2h), Urmston, Humphrey Park, Trafford Park and Deansgate
  • Both trains appear to take the same route.
  • Some stations like Liverpool South Parkway, Warrington West and Deansgate have lifts, but disabled access is patchy.
  • The service has a dedicated terminal at Manchester Oxford Road, which is without doubt Manchester’s worst central station for location, access to the Metrolink, onward travel and step-free access.
  • It takes seventy-two minutes. which is an inconvenient time for train operators.
  • The route is electrified with 25 KVAC overhead electrification at both ends.

I’ve used this route several times and usually pick it up from Deansgate, as it has a convenient interchange to the Metrolink.

I am fairly certain that Merseyrail’s new Class 777 trains running on battery power in the middle could handle this route.

  • They would charge the batteries at the electrified ends of the route.
  • They would join the route at Edge Hill station.
  • They would offer step-free access between train and platform.
  • These trains are built for fast stops, so could all services call at all stations?
  • On Merseyrail’s principles, the service would probably be at least two tph, if not four tph.

I estimate that these trains are fast enough to do the return trip between the Wapping Tunnel portal at Edge Hill and Manchester Oxford Road in under two hours.

  • A two-four tph stopping service between Liverpool and Manchester City Centres, that took less than an hour, would be very convenient for passengers.
  • The service would be well-connected to local tram, train and bus services in both City Centres.
  • The service would also very easy for train schedulers to integrate with other services.

Liverpool and Manchester would have the world’s first battery-powered inter-city railway.

Other than the connection of the Wapping Tunnel no extra infrastructure works would be needed.

Wigan North Western Via St. Helens Central

This service is run by Northern.

  • It has a frequency of two tph.
  • The service calls at Edge Hill, Wavertree Technology Park, Broad Green, Roby, Huyton, Prescot, Eccleston Park, Thatto Heath, St Helens Central, Garswood and Bryn
  • The route is fully-electrified with 25 KVAC overhead.
  • It takes fifty-one minutes. which is a very convenient time for train operators.

Merseyrail’s new Class 777 trains could handle this route, if fitted with pantographs for 25 KVAC overhead electrification.

  • They would join the route at Edge Hill station.
  • They would offer step-free access between train and platform.
  • On Merseyrail’s principles, the service would probably be at least two tph, if not four tph.

I estimate that these trains are fast enough to do the return trip between the Wapping Tunnel portal at Edge Hill and Wigan North Western in under two hours.

  • A two-four tph stopping service between Liverpool and Wigan, that took less than an hour, would be very convenient for passengers.
  • Wigan North Western has good connections using the West Coast Main Line.
  • The service would also very easy for train schedulers to integrate with other services.

Other than the connection of the Wapping Tunnel no extra infrastructure works would be needed.

Blackpool North

This service is run by Northern.

  • It has an hourly frequency.
  • The service calls at Huyton, St Helens Central, Wigan North Western, Euxton Balshaw Lane, Leyland, Preston, Kirkham & Wesham and Poulton-le-Fylde
  • The route is fully-electrified with 25 KVAC overhead.
  • It takes seventy-seven minutes. which is a reasonable time for train operators.

This is a service that could continue as now, but would probably be timed to fit well with four Merseyrail trains between the Wapping Tunnel and Wigan North Western.

Manchester Airport Via Warrington Central And Manchester Piccadilly

This service is run by Northern.

  • It has an hourly frequency.
  • The service calls at Liverpool South Parkway, Warrington West, Warrington Central, Birchwood, Manchester Oxford Road, Manchester Piccadilly and Mauldeth Road
  • The route is partially-electrified with 25 KVAC overhead.
  • The service is operated by diesel trains.
  • The service uses the overcrowded Castlefield Corridor.
  • It takes sixty-nine minutes, which is an inconvenient time for train operators.

This is one of those services, which I think will eventually be partially replaced by other much better services.

  • Northern Powerhouse Rail is planning six tph between Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Piccadilly via Warrington South Parkway and Manchester Airport, which will take just twenty-six minutes.
  • Two-four tph on the route between Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Oxford Road via Warrington Central would be a better service for the smaller stations. Passengers going to and from Manchester Airport would change at Liverpool Lime Street, Deansgate or Manchester Oxford Road.

Continuing as now, would definitely be possible.

Crewe And Manchester Airport Via Newton-le-Willows And Manchester Piccadilly

This service is run by Northern.

  • It has an hourly frequency.
  • The service calls at Edge Hill, Wavertree Technology Park, Broad Green, Roby, Huyton, Whiston, Rainhill, Lea Green, St Helens Junction, Earlestown, Newton-le-Willows, Patricroft, Eccles, Deansgate, Manchester Oxford Road, Manchester Piccadilly, Mauldeth Road, Burnage, East Didsbury, Gatley and Heald Green.
  • The route is fully-electrified with 25 KVAC overhead.
  • The service uses the overcrowded Castlefield Corridor
  • It takes eighty-five minutes, which is an inconvenient time for train operators.

This is one of those services, which I think will eventually be partially replaced by other much better services.

  • Northern Powerhouse Rail is planning six tph between Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Piccadilly via Warrington South Parkway and Manchester Airport, which will take just twenty-six minutes.
  • Two-four tph on the route between Liverpool Lime Street and Wigan North Western would be a better service for the smaller stations. Passengers going to and from Manchester Airport and Crewe would change at Liverpool Lime Street or Wigan North Western.

Continuing as now, would definitely be possible.

Warrington Bank Quay Via Earlstown

This service is run by Northern.

  • It has an hourly frequency.
  • The service calls at Edge Hill, Wavertree Technology Park, Broad Green, Roby, Huyton, Whiston, Rainhill, Lea Green, St Helens Junction and Earlestown.
  • The route is fully-electrified with 25 KVAC overhead.
  • The service takes forty-three minute, which is a convenient time for train operators.

Merseyrail’s new Class 777 trains could handle this route, if fitted with pantographs for 25 KVAC overhead electrification.

  • They would join the route at Edge Hill station.
  • They would offer step-free access between train and platform.
  • On Merseyrail’s principles, the service would probably be at least two tph, if not four tph.

Other than the connection of the Wapping Tunnel no extra infrastructure works would be needed.

Three Possible Routes Through Wapping

Summing up this section, these are possible routes that could be replaced by services through the Wapping Tunnel.

  • Two tph – Manchester Oxford Road
  • Two tph – Warrington Bank Quay
  • One tph – Wigan North Western

Increasing the Wigan North Western service to two tph, would increase the frequency between Edge Hill and Huyton to a very passenger-friendly four tph.

If eight tph could be accommodated in the Wapping Tunnel, the frequency could also be doubled to Manchester Oxford Road.

This would give the following services through the Wapping Tunnel.

  • Four tph – Manchester Oxford Road
  • Two tph – Warrington Bank Quay
  • Two tph – Wigan North Western

The only local services that would need to run into Liverpool Lime Street would be.

  • One tph – Northern – Blackpool North via Wigan North Western.
  • One tph – Northern – Manchester Airport and Crewe via St. Helens and Newton-le-Willows.
  • One tph – Northern – Manchester Airport via Warrington Central.
  • One tph – Trains for Wales – Chester via Runcorn

I can understand, why so many seem to be enthusiastic about using the Wapping Tunnel to connect the Northern and City Lines.

Echoes Of The Brunels’ Thames Tunnel

George Stephenson’s Wapping Tunnel may be the first tunnel under a city, but the Brunels’ Thames Tunnel was the first under a navigable river.

The Brunels’ tunnel was built for horses and carts, but today it is an important rail artery of the London Overground, handling sixteen tph between Wapping and Rotherhithe.

I would expect that the Wapping Tunnel could do for Liverpool, what the Thames Tunnel has done for East London.

Modern signalling techniques probably mean that the theoretical capacity of the Wapping Tunnel is way in excess of the planned maximum frequency of eight tph.

High Speed Two Between Liverpool And London

The latest High Speed Two plans as laid out in the June 2020 Edition of Modern Railways, say that there will be two tph between Liverpool Lime Street and London Euston.

  • Both trains will call at Old Oak Common, Crewe and Runcorn.
  • Both trains will be 200 metres long classic-compatible High Speed Two trains.
  • One train will split and join with a similar service between London Euston and Lancaster.

Will these High Speed Two services replace the current Avanti West Coast services?

Northern Powerhouse Rail Between Liverpool And Manchester

In Changes Signalled For HS2 Route In North, I looked at Transport for the North’s  report, which is entitled At A Glance – Northern Powerhouse Rail.

This report says that Northern Powerhouse Rail between Liverpool and Manchester Piccadilly will be as follows.

  • Services will go via Manchester Airport.
  • There could be a new Warrington South Parkway station.
  • Six tph between Liverpool and Manchester via Manchester Airport and Warrington are planned.
  • Journey times will be 26 minutes.

I would assume that several of the six tph will continue across the Pennines to Huddersfield, Bradford, Leeds, York and Hull.

Will these Northern Powerhouse Rail services replace the current TransPennine and some of the Northern services?

Northern Powerhouse Rail Trains

Nothing has been said about the trains for Northern Powerhouse Rail.

I suspect they will be versions of the 200 metre long classic-compatible High Speed Two trains.

I do wonder, if Avanti West Coast have already ordered a prototype fleet of these trains,

Look at the specification of the Class 807 trains, they have ordered to boost services on the West Coast Main Line.

  • 7 x 26 metre cars.
  • 182 metres long. Shorter than an eleven-car Class 390 train.
  • All-electric, with no diesel engines or traction batteries. Are they lightweight trains with sparkling acceleration?
  • 125 mph operating speed. All Class 80x trains can do this.
  • 140 mph operating speed with ERTMS digital signalling. All Class 80x trains can do this.
  • Ability to work in pairs. All Class 80x trains can do this, up to a maximum length of twelve cars in normal mode and twenty-four cars in emergency mode. I doubt fourteen cars would be a problem!

To be classic-compatible High Speed Two trains, they would need to be able to cruise at 205 mph, whilst working on High Speed Two. I suspect that Hitachi have got some higher-capacity electrical gear and traction motors with lots more grunt in their extensive parts bin!

If these are a prototype fleet of classic-compatible High Speed Two trains, they will certainly get a lot of in-service testing even before the order is placed for the trains for High Speed Two.

Northern Powerhouse Rail will need trains with a slightly different specification.

  • As they won’t generally work on high speed lines, for most trains an operating speed of 140 mph will be sufficient.
  • For serving some destinations like Cleethorpes, Harrogate, Hull, Middlesbrough and Redcar an independently-powered capability would be desirable. Sixty miles on batteries would probably be sufficient!

Nothing would appear to be out of Hitachi’s current capabilities.

Liverpool Lime Street Station After Remodelling

Liverpool Lime Street station has two groups of platforms.

  • Platforms 1-5 on the Western side
  • Platforms 6-10 on the Eastern side.

These pictures show some views of the platforms at Liverpool Lime Street station after the remodelling of 2017-2019.

Note,

  1. The platforms are not narrow!
  2. It appears that the five platforms in the Eastern group are all long enough to take an eleven-car Class 390 train, which is 265.3 metres long.
  3. TransPennine Express trains can use the Western group.

I have looked at a whole day’s traffic on Real Time Trains and it appears that the new track layout allows almost all services to use any available platform.

This flexibility must make operation of the station much easily than it was!

Liverpool Lime Street Station As A High Speed Station

It would appear that the Eastern Group of Platforms 6-10 will all be capable of the following.

  • Handling a 182 metre long Avanti West Coast Class 807 train.
  • Handling a 200 metres long classic-compatible High Speed Two train.
  • Handling a 130 metre long TransPennine Express Class 802 train.
  • In the future, handling a Northern Powerhouse Rail train, which will probably be less than 200 metres long.

But they won’t be able to handle High Speed Two’s full-size trains.

Currently, these services capable of over 125 mph are running or are planned from Liverpool Lime Street station.

  • 2 tph – Avanti West Coast – Liverpool Lime Street and London Euston
  • 1 tph – TransPennine Express – Liverpool Lime Street and Newcastle
  • 1 tph – TransPennine Express – Liverpool Lime Street and Scarborough
  • 3 trains per day(tpd) – TransPennine Express – Liverpool Lime Street and Glasgow

This totals to four tph.

High Speed Two will add two classic-compatible High Speed Two trains.

Will these replace the two Avanti West Coast services?

  • They will be run by the same company.
  • They will take different routes.
  • The current service takes 134 minutes.
  • The High Speed Two train will take 94 minutes.

I can see Avanti West Coast running a  one tph slower train via stations with difficult connections to Liverpool Lime Street. Think Watford Junction, Milton Keynes, Rugby, Stafford and Stoke-on-Trent.

This would bring the total to five tph.

Northern Powerhouse Rail will run six high speed trains to Manchester and beyond.

If they replaced the two TransPennine Express services, that would bring the maximum number of 200 metre long high speed trains to nine tph.

Could Liverpool Lime Street station handle nine high-speed tph?

Comparison With Birmingham Curzon Street Station

Birmingham Curzon Street station on High Speed Two will handle high speed trains from three directions, as will Liverpool Lime Street station.

The Birmingham station will handle nine tph on seven platforms.

As Liverpool Lime Street station will have ten platforms and also need to handle nine tph, I think it will be able to handle the trains.

Will There Be A Station In The Wapping Tunnel?

Just as London has its clay, which makes excavating for the Underground easy, the Centre of Liverpool has its sandstone, which has been honeycombed with tunnels. In addition to the Wapping Tunnel, there are two other tunnels from Edge Hill station to the Docks; the Waterloo Tunnel and the Victoria Tunnel.

Liverpool has plans for a Knowledge Quarter based on the Universities on Brownlow Hill.

As part of the development, it is intended to develop an area called Paddington Village.

Wikipedia says this about the village.

Paddington Village is a site at the eastern gateway to the city centre and has been earmarked as 1.8m sq ft of science, technology, education and health space.

This is also another paragraph.

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson announced that the council were looking into a new Merseyrail station to serve the site. A mention of a station is made in the October 2017 Liverpool City Region Combined Authority update to the Long Term Rail Strategy. Merseytravel commissioned a feasibility report into re-opening the Wapping Tunnel in May 2016 which found that it was a valid proposal which would allow for a new station to be built that could serve the Knowledge Quarter.

Someone has thought up a proposal for a Lime Line, which would be a tram or bus system, linking the Knowledge Quarter and the City Centre.

This map shows how their proposal fits in with all the other rail systems in Liverpool City.

Note the Wapping Tunnel is shown on the map, as a dotted blue line.

  • It connects to the Northern Line to the South of Liverpool Central station.
  • It connects to the City Line to the West of Edge Hill station.
  • A station named University/KQ is shown.

A new St. James station is also shown

Conclusion

Using the Wapping Tunnel to increase capacity in Liverpool City Centre could be used if required to improve capacity for the high speed network in the city, by removing local trains from Liverpool Lime Street station.

August 8, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Electrifying Wales

I would not be surprised to learn that Wales wants to decarbonise their railways.

At present, Wales only has the following electrified railways either in operation or under construction.

  • The South Wales Main Line between the Severn Tunnel and Cardiff.
  • The South Wales Metro based on local railways around Cardiff and Newport is being created and will be run by electric trains.

There is no more electrification planned in the future.

Hitachi’s Specification For Battery Electric Trains

Recently, Hitachi have released this infographic for their Regional Battery Train.

This gives all the information about the train and a definitive range of 90 km or 56 miles.

The Welsh Rail Network

If you look at the network of services that are run by Transport for Wales Rail Services, they connect a series of hub stations.

Major hubs include the following stations.

  • Cardiff Central – Electrified
  • Chester
  • Hereford
  • Shrewsbury
  • Swansea

Smaller hubs and termini include the following stations.

  • Aberystwyth
  • Birmingham International – Electrified
  • Birmingham New Street – Electrified
  • Blaenau Ffestiniog
  • Carmarthen
  • Crewe – Electrified
  • Fishguard Harbour
  • Hereford
  • Holyhead
  • Llandudno Junction
  • Manchester Airport – Electrified
  • Manchester Piccadilly – Electrified
  • Machynlleth
  • Milford Haven
  • Newport – Electrified
  • Pembroke Dock

Running Welsh Routes With Electric Trains

These routes make up the Welsh rail network.

Chester And Crewe

Consider.

  • The route between Chester and Crewe is without electrification.
  • Crewe and Chester are 21 miles apart.

I believe that if a battery-electric train, with a range of 56 miles, can leave Chester and Crewe with full batteries, that it will be possible to run between Chester and Crewe stations.

Chester And Holyhead via Llandudno Junction

Consider.

  • All services between Llandudno Junction and England call at Chester.
  • All services running to and from Holyhead call at Llandudno Junction.
  • The route between Chester and Holyhead is without electrification.
  • Chester and Llandudno Junction are 54 miles apart.
  • Llandudno Junction and Holyhead are 40 miles apart.

I believe that if a battery-electric train with a range of 56 miles can leave Chester, Llandudno Junction and Holyhead with full batteries, that it will be possible to run between Chester and Holyhead stations.

Chester And Liverpool Lime Street

Consider.

  • The route between Runcorn and Liverpool Lime Street is electrified.
  • The route between Chester and Runcorn is without electrification.
  • Chester and Runcorn are 14 miles apart.

I believe that if a battery-electric train, with a range of 56 miles, can leave Chester and Runcorn with full batteries, that it will be possible to run between Chester and Liverpool Lime Street stations.

Chester And Manchester Airport

Consider.

  • The route between Warrington Bank Quay and Manchester Airport is electrified.
  • The route between Chester and Warrington Bank Quay is without electrification.
  • Chester and Warrington Bank Quay are 18 miles apart.

I believe that if a battery-electric train, with a range of 56 miles, can leave Chester and Warrington Bank Quay with full batteries, that it will be possible to run between Chester and Manchester Airport stations.

Chester And Shrewsbury

Consider.

  • The route between Chester and Shrewsbury is without electrification.
  • Chester and Shrewsbury are 42 miles apart.

I believe that if a battery-electric train with a range of 56 miles, can leave Shrewsbury and Chester with full batteries, that it will be possible to run between Chester and Shrewsbury stations.

Llandudno And Blaenau Ffestiniog

Consider.

  • The route between Llandudno and Blaenau Ffestiniog is without electrification.
  • Llandudno and Blaenau Ffestiniog are 31 miles apart.

I believe that if a battery-electric train with a range of 56 miles, can leave Llandudno and Blaenau Ffestiniog with full batteries, that it will be possible to run between Llandudno and Blaenau Ffestiniog stations.

Machynlleth And Aberystwyth

Consider.

  • The route between Machynlleth and Aberystwyth is without electrification.
  • Machynlleth and Aberystwyth are 21 miles apart.

I believe that if a battery-electric train with a range of 56 miles, can leave Machynlleth and Aberystwyth with full batteries, that it will be possible to run between Machynlleth and Aberystwyth stations.

Machynlleth And Pwllheli

Consider.

  • The route between Machynlleth and Pwllheli is without electrification.
  • Machynlleth and Pwllheli are 58 miles apart.

I believe that if a battery-electric train with a range of upwards of 58 miles, can leave Machynlleth and Pwllheli with full batteries, that it will be possible to run between Machynlleth and Pwllheli stations.

Machynlleth And Shrewsbury

Consider.

  • The route between Machynlleth and Shrewsbury is without electrification.
  • Machynlleth and Shrewsbury are 61 miles apart.

I believe that if a battery-electric train with a range of upwards of 61 miles, can leave Machynlleth and Shrewsbury with full batteries, that it will be possible to run between Machynlleth and Shrewsbury stations.

Shrewsbury and Birmingham International

Consider.

  • The route between Birmingham International and Wolverhampton is electrified.
  • The route between Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton is without electrification.
  • Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton are 30 miles apart.

I believe that if a battery-electric train, with a range of 56 miles, can leave Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton with full batteries, that it will be possible to run between Shrewsbury and Birmingham International stations.

 Shrewsbury And Cardiff Central via Hereford

Consider.

  • All services between Cardiff Central and Shrewsbury call at Hereford.
  • The route between Cardiff Central and Newport is electrified.
  • The route between Newport and Shrewsbury is without electrification.
  • Shrewsbury and Hereford are 51 miles apart.
  • Hereford and Newport are 44 miles apart.

I believe that if a battery-electric train, with a range of 56 miles, can leave Shrewsbury, Hereford and Newport with full batteries, that it will be possible to run between Shrewsbury and Cardiff Central stations.

Shrewsbury And Crewe

  • The route between Shrewsbury and Crewe is without electrification.
  • Shrewsbury and Crewe are 33 miles apart.

I believe that if a battery-electric train with a range of upwards of 61 miles, can leave Shrewsbury and Crewe with full batteries, that it will be possible to run between Shrewsbury and Crewe stations.

Shrewsbury and Swansea

Consider.

  • The Heart of Wales Line between Shrewsbury and Swansea is without electrification.
  • Shrewsbury and Swansea are 122 miles apart.
  • Trains cross at Llandrindod and wait for up to eleven minutes, so there could be time for a charge.
  • Shrewsbury and Llandrindod are 52 miles apart.
  • Swansea and Llandrindod are 70 miles apart.

It appears that another charging station between Swansea and Llandrindod is needed

I believe that if a battery-electric train, with a range of 56 miles, can leave Shrewsbury, Swansea and the other charging station, with full batteries, that it will be possible to run between Shrewsbury and Swansea stations.

Swansea And Cardiff Central

Consider.

  • The route between Swansea and Cardiff Central is without electrification.
  • Swansea and Cardiff Central are 46 miles apart.

I believe that if a battery-electric train, with a range of 56 miles, can leave Swansea and Cardiff Central with full batteries, that it will be possible to run between Swansea and Cardiff Central stations.

Swansea And Carmarthen

Consider.

  • The route between Swansea and Carmarthen is without electrification.
  • Swansea and Carmarthen are 31 miles apart.

I believe that if a battery-electric train, with a range of 56 miles, can leave Swansea and Carmarthen with full batteries, that it will be possible to run between Swansea and Carmarthen stations.

Swansea And Fishguard Harbour

Consider.

  • The route between Swansea and Fishguard Harbour is without electrification.
  • Swansea and Fishguard Harbour are 73 miles apart.
  • Tramins could top up the batteries during the reverse at Carmathen.
  • Swansea and Carmarthen are 31 miles apart.
  • Carmarthen and Fishguard Harbour are 42 miles apart.

I believe that if a battery-electric train, with a range of 56 miles, can leave Swansea, Carmathen and Fishguard Harbour with full batteries, that it will be possible to run between Swansea and Fishguard Harbour stations.

Swansea And Milford Haven

Consider.

  • The route between Swansea and Milford Haven is without electrification.
  • Swansea and Milford Haven are 72 miles apart.
  • Tramins could top up the batteries during the reverse at Carmathen.
  • Swansea and Carmarthen are 31 miles apart.
  • Carmarthen and Milford Haven are 41 miles apart.

I believe that if a battery-electric train, with a range of 56 miles, can leave Swansea, Carmathen and Milford Haven with full batteries, that it will be possible to run between Swansea and Milford Haven stations.

Swansea And Pembroke Dock

Consider.

  • The route between Swansea and Pembroke Dock is without electrification.
  • Swansea and Pembroke Dock are 73 miles apart.
  • Tramins could top up the batteries during the reverse at Carmathen.
  • Swansea and Carmarthen are 31 miles apart.
  • Carmarthen and Pembroke Dock are 42 miles apart.

I believe that if a battery-electric train, with a range of 56 miles, can leave Swansea, Carmathen and Pembroke Dock with full batteries, that it will be possible to run between Swansea and Pembroke Dock stations.

Other Routes

I have not covered these routes.

  • Borderlands Line
  • Cardiff Valley Lines, that will be part of the South Wales Metro
  • Routes on the electrified South Wales Main Line, that are to the East of Cardiff.

The first will run between Chester and the electrified Merseyrail system and the others will be electrified, except for short stretches.

Stations Where Trains Would Be Charged

These stations will need charging facilities.

Aberystwyth

Aberystwyth station only has a single terminal platform.

I’ve not been to the station, but looking at pictures on the Internet, I suspect that fitting a charging facility into the station, wouldn’t be the most difficult of engineering problems.

Birmingham International

Birmingham International station is fully-electrified and ready for battery-electric trains.

Blaenau Fflestiniog

Blaenau Ffestiniog station has a single terminal platform.

My comments would be similar to what, I said for Aberystwyth station. I would hope a standard solution can be developed.

Cardiff

Cardiff station is fully-electrified and ready for battery-electric trains.

Chester

Chester station has two through platforms and one bay platform, that are used by Trains for Wales.

  • The through platforms are bi-directional.
  • The bay platform is used by services from Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Airport and Piccadilly.
  • The station is a terminus for Merseyrail’s electric trains, which use 750 VDC third-rail electrification.
  • Some through services stop for up to seven minutes in the station.

This Google Map shows the station.

There is plenty of space.

The simplest way to charge trains at Chester would be to electrify the two through platforms 3 and 4 and the bay platform 1.

I would use 750 VDC third-rail, rather than 25 KVAC overhead electrification.

  • I’m an engineer, who deals in scientifically-correct solutions, not politically-correct ones, devised by jobsworths.
  • Maintenance staff at the station will be familiar with the technology.
  • Station staff and passengers will know about the dangers of third-rail electrification.
  • Trains connect and disconnect automatically to third-rail electrification.
  • Trains don’t have to stop to connect and disconnect, so passing trains can be topped-up.
  • Hitachi with the Class 395 train and Alstom with the Class 373 train, have shown even trains capable of 140 mph can be fitted with third-rail shoes to work safely at slower speeds on lines electrified using third-rail.
  • Modern control systems can control the electricity to the third-rail, so it is only switched on, when the train completes the circuit.

I have a vague recollection, that there is an avoiding line at Chester station, so trains can go straight through. Perhaps that should be electrified too.

Carmarthen

Carmarthen station is a two platform station, with a rather unusual layout, that I wrote about in Changing Trains At Carmarthen Station.

I took these pictures when I passed through in 2016.

Note the unusual step-free crossing of the tracks.

This Google Map shows the layout at the station.

I believe it is another station, where third-rail electrification could be the solution.

  • Most trains seem to reverse at the station, which gives time for a full charge.
  • Others terminate here.

but would they still allow passengers to cross the line as they do now, whilst trains are being charged?

Crewe

Crewe station is fully-electrified.

  • Trains for Wales seem to use Platform 6 for through trains and the bay Platform 9 for terminating trains.
  • Both platforms appear to be electrified.
  • Terminating trains appear to wait at least 9-11 minutes before leaving.

It does appear that Crewe station is ready for battery-electric trains.

Fishguard Harbour

Fishguard Harbour station only has a single terminal platform.

My comments would be similar to what, I said for Aberystwyth station. I would hope a standard solution can be developed.

Hereford

Hereford station has four through platforms.

This Google Map shows the station.

There is plenty of space.

As with Chester, I would electrify this station with 750 VDC third-rail equipment.

But the electrification wouldn’t be just for train services in Wales.

  • West Midlands Trains, run an hourly service to Birmingham New Street and there is only a forty-one mile gap in the electrification between Hereford and Bromsgrove.
  • Great Western Railway’s service to London, has a massive ninety-six mile run to the electrification at Didcot Junction, which could be bridged by installing charging facilities at Worcestershire Parkway and/or Honeybourne stations.

Both services have generous turnround times at Hereford, so would be able to leave fully-charged.

Distances from Hereford station are as follows.

  • Abergavenny – 24 miles
  • Bromsgrove – 41 miles
  • Great Malvern – 21 miles
  • Honeybourne – 48 miles
  • Ludlow – 13 miles
  • Newport – 44 miles
  • Shrewsbury – 51 miles
  • Worcester Parkway – 33 miles

Hereford station could be a serious battery-electric train hub.

Holyhead

Holyhead station has three terminals platforms.

My comments would be similar to what, I said for Aberystwyth station. I would hope a standard solution can be developed.

Liverpool Lime Street

Liverpool Lime Street station is fully-electrified and ready for battery-electric trains.

Llandrindod

Llandrindod station has two through platforms.

I took these pictures at the station as I passed through in 2016.

The Heart of Wales Line is certainly a route, that would benefit from larger trains. Zero-carbon battery-electric trains would surely fit well in the area.

This Google Map shows the station.

It would appear that, it is another station, that could be fitted with third-rail electrification to charge the trains.

Distances from Llandrindod station are as follows.

  • Shrewsbury – 52 miles
  • Llandovery – 27 miles
  • Llanelli – 59 miles
  • Swansea – 70 miles

It would appear that a second station with charging facilities or bigger batteries are needed.

Llandudno Junction

Llandudno Junction station has four platforms.

This Google Map shows the station.

There is plenty of space.

As at Chester, the simple solution would be to electrify the platforms used by trains, that will need charging.

Butb there may also be a wider plan.

Llandudno Junction station is at the Western end of a string of five closely-spaced stations with Prestatyn station in the East.

  • Llandudno Junction and Prestatyn are eight miles apart.
  • Trains take twenty-three minutes to pass through this section.
  • Some trains do a detour to Llandudno station before continuing.
  • For part of the route, the railway lies between the dual-carriageway A55 road and the sea.

So why not electrify this section of railway between Llandudno Junction and Prestatyn stations?

  • Either 750 VDC this-rail or 25 KVAC overhead electrification could be used.
  • Prestatyn and Chester are 46 miles apart.
  • Llandudno Junction and Holyhead are 40 miles apart.

If third-rail electrification were to be used, it might be advantageous to electrify to Llandudno station.

  • It would be less intrusive.
  • It would be quieter in an urban area.
  • It would give the trains to Blaenau Ffestiniog trains a good charge.

But above all third-rail electrification might cost a bit less and cause less disruption to install.

Machynlleth

Machynlleth station is where the Aberystwyth and Pwllheli services split and join.

This Google Map shows the station.

Consider.

  • There is a train depot by the station.
  • Will there be a good power supply at the station to charge the trains?
  • Machnylleth and Pwllhelli are 58 miles apart.
  • Machynlleth and Shrewsbury are 61 miles apart.

I think that Machynlleth might be pushing things too far, without extra stations with charging facilities.

One solution might be to develop the Riding Sunbeams concept and electrify the route between Newtown and Dovey Junction via Machynlleth, using third-rail technology powered-by solar or wind power.

Another solution would be batteries with a larger capacity.

Manchester Airport

Manchester Airport station is fully-electrified and ready for battery-electric trains.

Manchester Piccadilly

Manchester Piccadilly station is fully-electrified and ready for battery-electric trains.

Milford Haven

Milford Haven station only has a single terminal platform.

My comments would be similar to what, I said for Aberystwyth station. I would hope a standard solution can be developed.

Pembroke Dock

Pembroke Dock station only has a single terminal platform.

My comments would be similar to what, I said for Aberystwyth station. I would hope a standard solution can be developed.

Pwllheli

Pwhelli station is a only has a single terminal platform.

This Google Map shows the location of the station.

The stsation is at the North West corner of the bay.

My first reaction, when I saw this was that I have to go.

So I took a closer look at the station instead.

I suspect that fitting a charging facility into the station, wouldn’t be the most difficult of engineering problems. Although, there might be a problem getting a good enough connection to the National Grid.

Shewsbury

Shrewsbury station is a five-platform station.

This Google Map shows the station’s unusual location over the River Severn.

It must be one of few stations in the world, where trains enter the station from three different directions.

  • From Crewe and Chester to the North.
  • From Hereford and Wales to the South.
  • From Birmingham and Wolverhampton in the East.

Adding electrification to all or selected platforms should allow trains to recharge and be on their way.

  • Under current timetables, dwell times in Shrewsbury are up to eight minutes.
  • I would suspect the train times could be adjusted, so that trains left the station with full batteries.

With battery-electric services to Aberystwyth, Birmingham International, Birmingham New Street, Cardiff Central, Chester, Crewe, Hereford, Holyhead, London Euston, Manchester, Pwllheli and Swansea, it will be a very important station.

Swansea

Swansea station has four terminal platforms.

A charging facility could be added to an appropriate number of platforms.

Or perhaps, the last few miles of track into the station should be electrified, so trains could charge on the way in, charge in the station and charge on the way out.

Third Rail Electrification

I have suggested in this post, that 750 VDC third-rail electrification could be used in several places.

I will repeat what I said earlier, when discussing Chester station.

  • I’m an engineer, who deals in scientifically-correct solutions, not politically-correct ones, devised by jobsworths.
  • Maintenance staff at the station will be familiar with the technology.
  • Station staff and passengers will know about the dangers of third-rail electrification.
  • Trains connect and disconnect automatically to third-rail electrification.
  • Trains don’t have to stop to connect and disconnect, so passing trains can be topped-up.
  • Hitachi with the Class 395 train and Alstom with the Class 373 train, have shown even trains capable of 140 mph can be fitted with third-rail shoes to work safely at slower speeds on lines electrified using third-rail.
  • Modern control systems can control the electricity to the third-rail, so it is only switched on, when the train completes the circuit.

Third-rail electrification should be seriously considered.

A Standardised Terminal Solution

In this post, I mentioned that the following stations could be powered by a scandalised solution, as they are all one platform, terminal stations.

  • Aberystwyth
  • Blaenau Ffestiniog
  • Fishguard Harbour
  • Holyhead
  • Milford Haven
  • Pembroke Dock
  • Pwllheli

The system might also be applicable at Carmarthen and Swansea.

My view is that Vivarail’s Fast Track charging based on third-rail technology would be ideal. I discussed this technology in Vivarail Unveils Fast Charging System For Class 230 Battery Trains.

Conclusion

With a bit of ingenuity, all train services run by Transport for Wales, can be run with battery-electric trains.

 

July 9, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments