The Anonymous Widower

Community Leaders Add Their Voices To Demand For Railway Extensions In Nottinghamshire To Be A ‘Top Priority’

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

The opportunity to make ‘isolated’ rural areas more “attractive to investors” is one reason why campaigners and local politicians think it should be a “top priority” to extend railways in Nottinghamshire.

It does seem to me that arguments for new or reopened rail lines are getting more professional, as more arguments prevail.

I think that the extension of the Robin Hood Line through the Sherwood Forest to Warsop, Edwinstowe and Ollerton, is one of those projects, that will get approved in the next few years.

  • The track is already in place and used for such purposes as driver training.
  • The route could link a large number of people to High Speed Two, if the closely-related Maid Marian Line were to be reopened.
  • The Robin Hood Line also links up to the High Marnham Test Track, which could be extended further East.

I do wonder, if an extended Robin Hood Line would be an ideal route for introducing Alstom’s Class 321 Breeze hydrogen trains.

 

March 9, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Plan To Reopen Maid Marian Train Line Takes Step Forward

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Nottinghamshire Live.

This is the introduction to the article.

A long-awaited plan to reopen the disused Maid Marian line for passenger trains has progressed.

It is hoped the train line could link with the proposed HS2 station at Toton, meaning travellers in Kirkby and Sutton could access the high-speed route.

I wrote about this route before in After The Robin Hood Line Will Nottingham See The Maid Marian Line?

This was one of my comments on the Maid Marian Line.

But the clincher is that it would provide connectivity for HS2 all the way from Worksop and Mansfield to Lincoln and Grimsby.

HS2 is needed, but we must make sure that the benefits of the line are spread to all parts of the country.

With High Speed Two under way, we should make sure that we provide maximum connectivity to the new high speed route.

In the case of the Maid Marian Line between the East Midland Hub station on High Speed Two and Grimsby, Lincoln, Mansfield and Worksop, I’m sure Hitachi or another manfacturer can design a 100 mph zero-carbon train to speed travellers through the Nottinghamshire countryside.

February 26, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Nottinghamshire MPs Pressing Government For Robin Hood Line Rail Extension

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

This is an extract.

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

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

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

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

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

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

It appears to be that the major costs would be.

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

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

The New Fanchise And Rolling Stock

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

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

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

HS2

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

 

 

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

Ilkeston Station Opens

I went to the new Ilkeston station this morning and took these pictures.

It is not the most sophisticated of stations and it is worth comparing the design with Lea Bridge station.

This picture is from A Look At Lea Bridge Station, which shows the station in detail.

 

Alongside Lea Bridge Station

 

Comparing Ilkeston and Lea Bridge stations, there are similarities and differences.

  • Both stations are built adjacent to existing road bridges.
  • Both road bridges have some good brickwork and a utilitarian span over the railway.
  • Both stations have two platforms on the outside of a double-track main line.
  • Both stations don’t have ticket barriers.
  • Lea Bridge has lifts and Ilkeston has long ramps for step-free access.
  • Lea Bridge is fitted with comprehensive CCTV for Driver Only Operation (DOO). Ilkeston is not!
  • Ilkeston has car parking and Lea Bridge has none.

Both stations cost around ten million pounds, with perhaps Lea Bridge slightly more because of the lifts and DOO cameras.

My Overall View

I think that Ilkeston station is a job well-done by the architect to keep costs to a minimum for a well-functioning station, that meets all current and future regulations.

These are more details on various features.

The Station Entrance

One of my gripes with Lea Bridge station, is that when I use that station, I take a bus to it, which drops me just before the road bridge over the station. I then have to walk past the station footbridge, with no possible access and in a great circle to get to the station entrance at the side.

At Ilkeston, those walking to the station by the side of the road that crosses the bridge, just walk over the station footbridge, from which they walk down to their chosen platform.

This is a much better arrangement and will surely suggest to passers-by, that using the train isn’t a hassle.

When I went to Ilkeston, some months ago, I remember that the area between the Town Centre had what developers call potential and perhaps could be turned into a green walking and cycling route.

This Google Map shows the relationship between the town and the station.

It certainly isn’t as desolate as the Town Centre was on my last visit. There’s even a Marks and Spencer’s Simply Food store in a retail park, just a couple of hundred metres from the station.

I made a mistake in not exploring that way today, as it looked not to be finished.

I shall return!

Car Parking

The car parks are on both sides of the tracks, which is good for the able-bodied passengers, as if space allows they can park where is best for their personal circumstances.

My one worry about the car parking, is that 150 spaces might not be enough.

On the other hand car ownership is low in the Erewash Valley! So perhaps they expect a lot of passengers to walk to the station.

Access To The Platforms

At present, the landscaping is not finished on the Nottingham-bound side (Platformk 2) of the station and I suspect the walking route to the platform will be improved.

But supposing you are a passenger with a touch of arthritis and failing eyesight. Whatever side you park your car, you will have to negotiate both  long ramps to cross the tracks, when you catch a train out of Ilkeston or on your return.

But saying that several London Overground stations near me use long ramps and there doesn’t appear to be too many protests.

Lifts would of course be better. But a lot more costly!

Picking Up And Dropping Off Passengers

The drop-off/pick-up point is by the Chesterfield-bound Platform 1, but I suspect that when the station is completed, drivers will be able to do the drop-off/pick-up in the car park by Platform 2.

Taxi Rank

The taxi rank is  by the Chesterfield-bound Platform 1, so passengers arriving on Platform 2 will have to cross the tracks on the footbridge.

I did talk to a taxi driver called Paul Kitchener,  who is one half of a taxi company called Paul and Jackie Taxi. I was able to find them on Fscebook, so if you have special needs for a taxi and you don’t live in Ilkeston, you could always contact them first.

Shelters and Ticket Machines

As expected a shelter is provided on both platforms, but perhaps more surprisingly, there is a ticket machine on both platforms as well.

Thjs duplication of ticket machines is to be welcomed, as is placing them in an obvious place on the platform.

The Germans make their ticket machines very easy to find, which is not often the policy of some of our train operators.

Two ticket machines by stairs to the footbridge, which pedestrians will use as access to the station, is an idea, that might result in more revenue for the train operator.

Bike And Motor-Cycle Parking

I didn’t see much, although there were a few hoops outside Platform 1

Coffee Kiosks

A guy from London Overground, told me that if you have a coffee kiosk on the platform, it may attract more passengers.

The platforms at Ilkeston might not be quite big enough for a kiosk, but I’m certain the architect has ideas.

Future Proofing

There have been troubles recently, where stations have been built without enough clearance for future electrification.

Without getting out a measure, it appears that the two existing road bridges and the new foot-bridge at Ilkeston, may have enough clearance to satisfy the most nit-picking of inspectors. The bridge that could be dodgy is the rusty road bridge and that would not be the most difficult bridge to replace with a new one.

Perhaps, as it has not been given a coat of paint, the new bridges are being constructed, as I write.

The design of the station, would also allow the following.

  • Two fast lines through the station, between Platform 2 and the boundary fence, where there is already an avoiding line.
  • The possibility of putting a second face on Platform 2, so that a bay platform or a platform on a fast line could be created.
  • The addition of lifts.

I also suspect that the platforms are long enough for a Class 222 train to call.

A Good Local Reaction

One of the staff told me that he reckoned about five hundred people had come to have a look at the new station, which he felt was more than expected.

Several, that I spoke to seemed enthusiastic.

One couple, I spoke to, said forty-eight pounds each was a lot to get see their daughter and her family. But yet again, they hadn’t heard of the Two Together Railcard. They felt thirty-two pounds was a lot more reasonable.

Services

Current services through the station are an hourly train between Leeds and Nottingham via Sheffield and a two-hourly service between Liverpool and Nottingham via Manchester.

This gives an impressive list of destinations from Ilkeston, that includes Barnsley, Chesterfield, Ely (for Cambridge), Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Norwich, Nottingham and Sheffield.

But what is missing are connections to Birmingham, Derby, London and Mansfield.

London will be solved in the future, when passengers by their journey hsbits put sufficient pressure on the train operator.

A solution for Derby and Mansfield was proposed in this article in the Nottingham Post which is entitled Hopes HS2 could see ‘Maid Marian Line’ opened to passengers.

There is a freight-only line between Kirkby-in-Ashfield station on the Robin Hood Line and Pye Bridge on the Erewash Valley Line, on which Ilkeston is situated.

The proposal would allow trains to go between Kirkby-in-Ashfield via Pinxton and Selston to Langley Mill and Ilkeston and then on to Toton for HS2.

From there services could go on to Nottingham or Derby and also give access to the Nottingham Express Transit at Toton.

In my view, the ideal service would be Mansfield to Derby via Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Langley Mill, Ilkeston, Toton (when built), Long Eaton and Spondon.

At Derby, there is also up to four trains per hour to Birmingham.

Conclusion

This is a fine station, which has been built at a keen price, which with more services will be a big asset to Ilkeston.

 

April 2, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

Plans For East Midlands Hub Station For HS2 Are Beginning To Emerge

East Midlands Hub (Toton) station depending on who’s writing the words is beginning to emerge from HS2’s plans. (I shall use Toton HS2 in this post, to emphasise I mean the HS2 station.) Wikipedia says this about the station.

It is intended to be located on the existing railway sidings in Toton, situated between Nottingham and Derby. A connection to the Nottingham tram system and new connections to existing rail services are proposed, to link the station to Nottingham, Derby and Leicester railway stations. The station would be located adjacent to the M1 motorway in Nottinghamshire, close to the border with Derbyshire.

This Google Map shows the location.

toton

The red arrow marks Toton Lane Tram Stop, which is a Psrk-and-Ride terminus of the Nottingham Express Transit. Between the tram stop and the M1, the Erewash Valley Line passes through in a North-South alignment. South of the East-West A52 is the site of Toton Sidings, which is proposed for the new Toton HS2 station.

I think that HS2 have made a good start in the planning of the connections at this station.

Link To Nottingham Express Transit

Extension of route 1 to serve HS2 at Toton and Derby is a section in the Wikipedia entry for the Nottingham Express Transit.

This is said.

News that a station for the proposed HS2 line (the East Midlands Hub) is likely to be built on the site of Toton sidings, only a short distance from the Toton Lane terminus has fuelled speculation that the line could be extended to the new station. In November 2015 there was a proposal for the tram network to be extended from Toton to Derby. Two routes were later proposed by the D2N2 local enterprise partnership for the route to Derby. The first route would be via the A52 while the second would be via Borrowash and Spondon.

This is not a cheapskate extension to connect Nottingham to HS2, but a proper solution, that creates a high-capacity link running from Nottingham to Derby via the new Toton HS2 station.

  • The A52 is the East-West road connecting Derby and Nottingham, which is clearly shown on the Google Map.
  • Borrowash is a village at the Western edge of the Google Map, with Spondon, which has a station on the Midland Main Line to Derby, just off the map to the West.

I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of extending the trams from Toton HS2 using tram-trains to go via Long Eaton and Spondon to Derby.

  • Tram-trains could use existing track between Toton HS2 and Derby, provided it was electrified.
  • Daul-voltage tram-trains would be needed to work on main line and tramway electrification.
  • Journey time from Derby to Toton HS2 could be around 20 minutes.
  • Network Rail’s plan to move Long Eaton station should make this easier.
  • A high frequency service could be run.
  • Extra stops could be introduced.
  • There are tram-train versions of the Alstom Citadis trams used in Nottingham.

Tram-trains would need 25 KVAC electrification along the route between Toton HS2 and Derby stations. But surely the Midland Main Line electrification will have got to these two stations by 2026 or so!

Nottingham To Derby Via Toton HS2

Nottingham and Derby are two very different cities, but both are successful in their own ways.

Currently, there are about three direct trains per hour (tph) between the two cities.

  • Birmingham-Coventry has 7 tph
  • Birmingham-Wolverhampton has 9 tph and the Midland Metro.
  • Manchester-Leeds has 8 tph
  • Leeds-Bradord has 6 tph

Nottingham and Derby get a very raw deal and working on the London Overground/Merseyrail principle of Turn-Up-And-Go , Derby and Nottingham need a four tph connecting service to give passengers something that is acceptable.

As with Birmingham-Woverhampton, a mix of heavy rail, tram and perhaps tram-train might give the two cities the service to Toton HS2 and between themselves, that they need.

Bssed on good practice in London, Birmingham and Liverpool, I would provide the following minimum service.

  • 4 tph – Express heavy rail stopping at Beeston, Toton HS2, Long Easton and Spondon.
  • 4 tph – Tram-train stopping everywhere between Hucknall and Derby via Beeston, Toton HS2, Long Eaton and Spondon.
  • 3 tph – Extra long distance trains calling at both, which would probably also stop at Toton HS2.

It would be a darn site better than what is currently provided.

A Notts/Derbys Crossrail

There might even be a case for a Newark to Burton-on-Trent service via Nottingham, Toton HS2, Long Eaton and Derby. It would be Notts/Derbys version of Crossrail, feeding passengers from all over the area to HS2.

Nottingham City Centre To London In Under 90 Minutes

Currently Nottingham to London takes one hour forty minutes by the fastest trains. But after HS2 opens, it would take 30 minutes from Nottingham to Toton HS and the 52 minutes by HS2 to London.

So even if the classic service to St. Pancras gets faster and more frequent, will passengers opt for the quicker HS2 from Toton HS2?

If say Toton HS2 to London was four tph and run on almost a Turn-Up-And-Go basis, and the connections to Derby and Nottingham were upwards of six tph, the classic trains will have to work hard to maintain market share.

Derby to London wouldn’t show the same improvement as Nottingham to London, but the service could be more frequent and probably well under ninety ,minutes.

The big winners would be the passengers from the Far West of Derby to the Far East of Nottingham.

Using The Erewash Valley Line

Network Rail is improving the Erewash Valley Line. Under Future  is a section in the Wikipedia entry for the line.

This is said.

Network Rail as part of a £250 million investment in the regions railways has proposed improvements to the junctions at each end, resignalling throughout, and a new East Midlands Control Centre.

As well as renewing the signalling, three junctions at Trowell, Ironville and Codnor Park will be redesigned and rebuilt. Since the existing Midland Main Line from Derby through the Derwent Valley has a number of tunnels and cuttings which are listed buildings and it is a World Heritage Area, it seems that the Erewash line is ripe for expansion.

It would seem that Network Rail are creating a 125 mph-plus line between East Midlands Parkway and Chesterfield stations. Is this part of a pragmatic philosophy to improve services from London to Chesterfield and Sheffield.

  • Derby to Chesterfield along the Derwent Valley will not be electrified because of heritage and engineering reasons.
  • Derby to Sheffield via Chesterfield will be served by bi-mode or other independently-powered trains.
  • The Erewash Valley Line will be electrified and could even be cleared to allow 140 mph running.
  • London to Sheffield trains would go via East Midlands Parkway, Long Eaton, Toton HS2 and Chesterfield.

Even if HS2 isn’t built, Chesterfield and Sheffield would get a vastly improved service to London.

When HS2 is built to Toton HS2,  HS2 can take advantage of the Erewash Valley Line to create faster services to the North.

Extending HS2 To Sheffield

If HS2 can get to Toton HS2 in 52 minutes, surely this could mean a London-Sheffield time of well under two hours once the Erewash Valley Line is electrified, even if passengers had to change trains.

But I think we know enough about the dynamics of High Speed Trains, that can run at 225 mph on High Speed Lines to get them to run at 125 or even 140 mph on high standard main lines, like the Midland Main Line.

After HS2 opens to Toton HS2, Chesterfield and Sheffield would get a better service from London in three ways.

  • Direct from London on the Midland Main Line.
  • By HS2 with a change at Toton HS2 to a classic service.
  • By HS2 direct.

All services would use the electrified Erewash Valley Line to get to Chesterfield.

It should be noted that from 2020, London-Norwich will be on a frequency of 3 tph. Surely, the much larger Sheffield needs 4 tph to and from London.

Using The Robin Hood Line

The Robin Hood Line goes between Nottingham in the South to Mansfield Woodhouse and Worksop in the North.

  • It is an underdeveloped line with diesel multiple units running to a frequency of 2 tph.
  • The Southern end of the line connects to the tracks through Toton HS2, so it wouldn’t be difficult to use the new station as an additional terminus for the Robin Hood Line.
  • At the Northern end, there is scope to develop new branches.

I can envisage Nottingham developing the Robin Hood Line into a suburban network feeding passengers to both the City Centre and Toton HS2.

Extending HS2 to North Nottinghamshire And Lincoln

In  After The Robin Hood Line Will Nottingham See The Maid Marian Line?, I wrote about an article in the Nottingham Post is entitled Hopes HS2 could see ‘Maid Marian Line’ opened to passengers.

There is a freight only line, that if reopened to passenger traffic would allow trains to connect from Toton HS2, through Ilkeston and Langley Mill to North Nottinghamshire and all the way across Lincolnshire to Lincoln, thus giving a large area direct access to HS2.

Lincoln to London would be under two hours with a change at Toton HS2.

Will All Sorts Of Towns And Cities Get The Benefit Of Direct HS2 Trains?

I have mentioned a lot of stations at various town and cities in this post.

To take Langley Mill station as an example, currently this gets at least one fast train a day to and from St. Pancras.

When the new HS2 trains are running between London, Chesterfield and Sheffield via Toton HS2, will they do the same thing?

If they do, then stations like Ilkeston, Langley Mill and Alfreton could get a direct HS2 service to and from Birmingham and London.

One of the things to note, is that the new trains will be much faster at stopping and getting on their way again, than the current generation of trains, so adding stops between Toton HS and Sheffield. won’t delay the service like it does today.

As I said earlier, I believe there could be a similar connecting service from Toton HS2 to Lincoln, calling at Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Mansfield, Gainsborough, Lincoln and Cleethorpes.

The train to Lincoln would probably be a short five can train and it would couple and uncouple with a similar train at Toton for the express journey South.

Other destinations from Toton HS, might include Doncaster, Doncaster Airport and Hull.

It’s one thing for a short train to trundle round Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire at 100 mph, but when on HS2, you probably need two trains coupled together to maximise the use of a limited number of train paths.

Connections could also be created using slower trains! But they wouldn’t be so sexy!

A New City At Toton

The Sunday Times has an article this week, which was entitled Next Arrival On The HS2 Line: A Brand New City.

It is an interesting proposition.

  • There’s certainly space between Derby and Nottingham.
  • Birmingham will be 19 minutes away by HS2.
  • London will be within the hour.
  • The M1 will pass right through the city.

But above all we need more housing.

Conclusion

The HS2 station at East Midlands Hub or Toton HS2, is a lot more than a HS2 station for Nottingham and Derby.

I would do the following.

  • Electrify to Sheffield on the Erewash Valley Line and between Derby and Nottingham.
  • Extend the Nottingham Express Transit to Derby via Toton HS2 using tram-train technology.
  • Run a 4 tph express local service between Derby and Nottingham via Toton HS2.
  • Make sure that HS2  reaches Toton HS2 as soon as possible.
  • Build the new city at Toton.

Surely because the Nottingham-Derby area has a lot to gain from HS2, it would probably be very beneficial for HS2’s revenue.

 

 

 

February 13, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 1 Comment

After The Robin Hood Line Will Nottingham See The Maid Marian Line?

This article in the Nottingham Post is entitled Hopes HS2 could see ‘Maid Marian Line’ opened to passengers.

There is a freight only line between Kirkby-in-Ashfield station on the Robin Hood Line and Pye Bridge on the Erewash Valley Line.

The proposal would allow trains to go between Kirkby-in-Ashfield via Pinxton and Selston to Langley Mill and Ilkeston and then on to Nottingham.

I’ve been here before in September 2015 in a post called Expanding The Robin Hood Line.

But the new baby elephant in the room is the new Ilkeston station, which hopefully opens on the 2nd of April 2017.

Given Chris Grayling’s thoughts, that I wrote about in Government Focuses On New Stations And Trains, could it be that if extra trains can be found, that to provide a second train per hour  between Nottingham and Ilkeston, a second route to Kirkby-in-Ashfield and on to to Mansfield and Worksop, is opened up the Erewash Valley Line.

The route could even terminate on the proposed extension of the Robin Hood Line to Ollerton.

The route from Nottingham to Ollerton would be.

  • Nottingham
  • Toton for HS2
  • Ilkeston
  • Langley Mill
  • Selston – New station
  • Pinxton- New station
  • Kirkby-in-Ashfield
  • Sutton Parkway
  • Mansfield
  • Mansfield Woodhouse
  • Shirebrook
  • Warsop- New station
  • Edwinstowe – New station
  • Ollerton – New station

I think it is likely that this route could be developed.

  • The track is all there and is used by freight trains and/or for driver training.
  • An hourly service on this route would mean additional services for many of the stations on the route.
  • The only problem would be finding some suitable diesel trains for the route.
  • It could probably be trialled to Mansfield or with a simple station at Ollerton.
  • The track from Ollerton appears to be intact all the way to Lincoln.

But the clincher is that it would provide connectivity for HS2 all the way from Worksop and Mansfield to Lincoln and Grimsby.

HS2 is needed, but we must make sure that the benefits of the line are spread to all parts of the country.

If this route to Lincoln could be developed as a 100 mph line, the time from Lincoln to London with a change to HS2 at Toton could be likely to be under two hours.

In Government Focuses On New Stations And Trains, Chris Grayling mentioned the route from Grimsby to Sheffield. Surely creating this route from Lincoln to Toton via Ollerton for HS2, is what really improves train transport in North Lincolnshire.

 

 

 

 

January 28, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 3 Comments