The Anonymous Widower

Beeching Reversal – Reconnecting Ashfield Communities Through The Maid Marian Line

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

Around the turn of the Century, I started to use the Robin Hood Line fairly regularly, as I had clients in both Nottingham and Mansfield and found it easier to drive up from Suffolk and park in Nottingham and get the train to Mansfield. When the Nottingham Express Transit opened in 2004 to Hucknall station, I would change there for Mansfield.

I can remember thinking at the time and discussing it with my client, that British Rail had certainly been mistaken to close the rail line between Hucknall and Worksop via Mansfield.

I first talked about the Maid Marian Line in Expanding The Robin Hood Line, which I wrote in 2015, although, it hadn’t been named at the time.

In 2015, there was talk of two extensions.

A Proposed Branch To Ollerton

In my investigations into Ilkeston station, the Robin Hood Line kept cropping up and especially talk of a branch from the line to Ollerton.

Search Google News for Robin Hood Line and articles with titles like Chancellor backs Robin Hood line passenger plans are found in the Mansfield and Ashfield Chad. This is the start to the article.

The Chancellor George Osborne, has confirmed his backing for plans to open a passenger service on the Robin Hood line, from Shirebrook to Ollerton, including passenger stations at Ollerton and Edwinstowe.

Other Government figures like David Cameron and Patrick McLoughlin and important local councillors are also quoted saying similar things.

What is not said is that the line will serve the CentreParcs Sherwood Forest and that the rail line needed is currently fully maintained for driver training.

This Google Map shows the area.

The Ollerton branch turns off from the Robin Hood Line just North of Shirebrook station in the top left hand corner of the map and then makes it way to Ollerton by way of the South of Warsop and Edwinstowe and North of the CentreParcs Sherwood Forest.

The line probably illustrates the only environmentally-friendly use for coal, which is to keep rail lines open and in good condition, until we can find a better use for them.

There is an interesting section called Branch Lines in the Wikipedia entry for Shirebrook station. This is said.

Two branch lines are plainly visible veering off north of the bridge at the north end of Shirebrook station.

The double tracks branching off eastwards (i.e. to the right as viewed from the station) to the side of the signalbox joined the LD&ECR’s one-time main line to Lincoln, next stop Warsop. The branch only ever carried a regular passenger service for a few years in Edwardian times. It did, however, carry Summer holiday trains such as the Summer Saturdays Radford to Skegness in at least 1963. The branch’s main purpose was always freight traffic, with coal being overwhelmingly dominant.

In 2013 the line gives access to Thoresby Colliery and to the High Marnham Test Track.

There is some hope of reopening the line as a branch off the Robin Hood Line and reopening Warsop, Edwinstowe and Ollerton stations, providing an hourly service to Mansfield and Nottingham.

This Google Map shows Shirebrook station and the railway lines around it.

The junction of the Ollerton branch would appear to allow access to trains from or to either Nottingham and Mansfield in the South and Worksop in the North

It appears that there could be three stations; Warsop, Edwinstowe and Ollerton on a double-track branch.

Services To Derby

The area between Chesterfield, Mansfield and Nottingham is not very well connected to Derby.

If you want to go from Mansfield or Kirkby-in-Ashfield on the Robin Hood Line to Derby, you always have to change at Nottingham, with sometimes an extra change at East Midlands Parkway.

The Erewash Valley Line runs North-South a few miles to the West of the Robin Hood Line.

Despite being partially in Derbyshire, getting from stations like AlfretonLangley Mill and the soon-to-be-opened Ilkeston stations to Derby, you have to change at either Nottingham or Chesterfield.

Look at this Google Map of the area


There must be a better way of getting to Derby, than by changing trains in Nottingham or Chesterfield.

But what?

There are four main North-South routes in the area.

What seems to be missing is high-capacity East-West routes for both rail and road.

The Erewash Valley Line goes South to Long Eaton, which has several trains per hour direct to Derby, so this could be the key to getting to Derby.

In a Notes on Current Station section on the Wikipedia entry for Long Eaton station, this is said.

It is planned that both platforms will be extended by up to 10 metres by no later than 2012.

It is anticipated that developments along the Erewash line will result in changes for Long Eaton station. A plan drawn up in 2011 recommended a new Derby to Mansfield service via new stations at Breaston & Draycott, Long Eaton West (renamed from Long Eaton), Long Eaton Central, Stapleford & Sandiacre, Ilkeston, Eastwood & Langley Mill (renamed from Langley Mill), Selston & Somercotes and then to Pinxton via new trackbed connecting with the Mansfield line from Nottingham at Kirkby in Ashfield.

It strikes me that work at Long Eaton, the several new stations and improvements North of Langley Mill would enable direct services from Alfreton, Ilkeston and Langley Mill to both Derby and Mansfield. This service would also improve services from stations stations North of Mansfield to Derby.

A trackbed from Langley Mill to Kirkby in Ashfield is shown on Google Maps.

Langley Mill to Kirkby-in-Ashfield

Alfreton is the station at the top left and Kirkby-in-Ashfield is at the top right. The Erewash Valley Line from Langley Mill, enters at the bottom and splits with one branch going to Alfreton and the other going East to cross the M1 and join the Robin Hood Line south of Kirkby-in-Ashfield.

On an Ordnance Survey map, dated 2009, the railway is shown as a multiple track line, probably serving collieries and open cast coalfields.

It all sounds very feasible too! Especially, as the Erewash Valley is an area of high unemployment, low car ownership and a dependence on public transport.

Would Both Branches Of the Robin Hood Line Form The Maid Marian Line?

Consider.

  • The Ollerton Branch joins the Robin Hood Line to the North of Shirebrook station.
  • The Pye Bridge Branch joins the Robin Hood Line to the South of Kirkby-in-Ashfield station.
  • There are three statations between Shirebrook and Kirkby-in-Ashfield stations; Mansfield Woodhouse, Mansfield and Sutton Parkway.
  • The Pye Bridge Branch joins the Erewash Valley Line to the North of Langley Mill station.
  • From Langley Mill station, there are direct services to Nottingham station.
  • I am also fairly certain that a passenger train can travel between Langley Mill and Derby via Ilkeston and Long Eaton.

It would certainly be possible for a passenger service to run between Ollerton and Ilkeston.

  • It could terminate at either Derby or Nottingham.
  • When High Speed Two is built, it could call at East Midlands Hub station.

As Shirebrook, Mansfield Woodhouse, Mansfield, Sutton Parkway, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Langley Mill, Ilkeston and Long Eaton, all have connections to Nottingham, I suspect the core service would terminate at Derby.

One MP Is Not Happy

This article on NottinghamshireLive is entitled Leaders In Row Over Plans To Reopen Maid Marian Line.

This is said.

A row has erupted over proposals to reopen the disused Maid Marian Line in Nottinghamshire.

Lee Anderson, MP for Ashfield, has hit out at Ashfield District Council saying residents in areas like Selston will be “left behind” under plans to reopen the line.

From reading the article, it looks like an extra station at Selston might defuse the row.

Conclusion

Consider.

  • This is a sound plan, that has been talked about for some years.
  • Except for three or four stations, there is little serious construction needed.
  • The line connects a large area to High Speed Two.

I feel that this could be one of the first schemes to be given the go-ahead to be built.

 

August 22, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Access To Toton – Scheme 6 – Trowell Curve

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

Scheme 6 is defined like this.

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

That is a comprehensive set of connections.

The Trowell Curve

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

Note.

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

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

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

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

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

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

East Midlands Hub Station

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

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

Destinations served would be.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Current Services Through The Area

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

After listing all the services I said this.

Note.

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

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

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

The Splitting Of The Norwich and Liverpool Service

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

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

It will become two services.

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

The second service will go to another operator.

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

It will also have other effects.

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

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

Train Services To East Midlands Hub Station

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

Alfreton Station

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

Currently, there are these two hourly services.

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

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

Consider.

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

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

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

This Google Map shows Alfreton station.

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

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

Derby Station

Consider.

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

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

Grantham Station

Consider.

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

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

Ilkeston Station

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

Langley Mill Station

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

Leicester Station

Consider.

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

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

Lincoln Station

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

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

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

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

Loughborough Station

Consider.

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

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

Mansfield Station

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

This Google Map shows the route.

Note.

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

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

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

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

Matlock Station

Consider.

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

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

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

Newark Station

Consider.

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

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

Nottingham Station

Consider.

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

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

Stoke-on-Trent And Crewe Stations

Consider.

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

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

Back-To-Back Services At East Midlands Hub Station

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

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

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

Note.

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

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

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

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

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

If the following were arranged.

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

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

 

Battery-Electric Operation

Consider.

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

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

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

I think the following would be possible on battery power.

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

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

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

Consider.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

 

 

 

 

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

£2.7bn East Midlands Plan Unveiled For HS2 Links

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

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

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

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

The project is in three phases.

Phase One

Phase One is to be operational within ten years.

  • Scheme 1 – The extension of the Nottingham tram system (Nottingham Express Transit or NET light rail system) from the Toton Lane Park and Ride site to Long Eaton via two new stops at the planned Innovation Campus development and HS2 East Midlands Hub station.
  • Scheme 2 – New bus services between the HS2 East Midlands Hub and Amber Valley, West Bridgford and Clifton.
  • Scheme 3 – Bus Rapid Transit between the HS2 East Midlands Hub and Derby city centre via Pride Park and Derby railway station.
  • Scheme 4 – Extension of the HS2 East Midlands Hub A52 highway access route to the A6005 Derby Road in Long Eaton.
  • Scheme 5 – Capacity enhancements to M1 Junction 25, increasing road capacity and improving access to the HS2 East Midlands Hub station and Innovation Campus site.
  • Scheme 6 – The implementation of a minimum of four direct rail services per hour linking the HS2 East Midlands Hub station to Derby, Nottingham and Leicester stations, as well as Loughborough, Matlock, Mansfield, Newark, Alfreton and Grantham, made possible by the building of a new piece of infrastructure, the Trowell Curve, which will link to the Midland Mainline.
  • Scheme 7 – New rail service between Mansfield, Derby and Leicester with stops at Ilkeston, Langley Mill, Kirkby in Ashfield, Sutton Parkway and HS2 East Midlands Hub via the Kirkby Freight Line (Maid Marian line).

Note.

  1. These schemes will be built before the HS2 East Midlands Hub station opens.
  2. I discussed Scheme 7 – The Maid Marian Line in After The Robin Hood Line Will Nottingham See The Maid Marian Line?.

The most important part of Phase One is that all these seven schemes will be built before High Speed Two reaches the East Midlands. So hopefully, there will be a continuous stream of improvements in the East Midlands.

Phase Two

Phase Two will be operational within twenty years.

  • Scheme 8 – Extension of the NET light rail system or enhanced Bus Rapid Transit from the HS2 East Midlands Hub station to Derby.
  • Scheme 9 – The construction of a railway station at East Midlands Airport, connected to the Midland Mainline via a spur to the south of Kegworth village, allowing new direct rail services to the airport from Derby, Nottingham, Leicester and Mansfield as well as some intermediate stations including HS2 East Midlands Hub and East Midlands Parkway. This intervention will vastly improve public transport access to East Midlands Airport for passengers and staff.

Phase Three

Phase Three will be operational within twenty-five years.

  • Scheme 10 – A new rail line between East Midlands Airport (opened during Phase 2) and Derby via the South Derby Growth Zone residential and employment developments and the Rolls Royce site, designed to support local housing and employment growth.
  • Scheme 11 – A tram-train service connecting into the NET light rail network (Phase 1) to a proposed development site (11,000 houses and other associated development) to the west of East Midlands Airport. This scheme would also serve stops within the Ratcliffeon-Soar power station development site and could also serve Kegworth village and the East Midlands Gateway Logistics Park.

It is comprehensive project and I will discuss the various schemes in separate posts.

 

 

May 28, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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 | , , , , | 4 Comments

Expanding The Robin Hood Line

The Robin Hood Line, runs between Nottingham and Worksop. It had been closed to passenger trains in the 1960s and reopened to passengers in the 1990s. I used to use it regularly to see a client in Mansfield in the years soon after it opened.


A Proposed Branch To Ollerton

In my investigations into Ilkeston station, the Robin Hood Line kept cropping up and especially talk of a branch from the line to Ollerton.

Search Google News for Robin Hood Line and articles with titles like Chancellor backs Robin Hood line passenger plans are found in the Mansfield and Ashfield Chad. This is the start to the article.

The Chancellor George Osborne, has confirmed his backing for plans to open a passenger service on the Robin Hood line, from Shirebrook to Ollerton, including passenger stations at Ollerton and Edwinstowe.

Other Government figures like David Cameron and Patrick McLoughlin and important local councillors are also quoted saying similar things.

What is not said is that the line will serve the CentreParcs Sherwood Forest and that the rail line needed is currently fully maintained for driver training. This Google Map shows the area.

Proposed Ollerton Branch

Proposed Ollerton Branch

The branch turns off from the Robin Hood Line just North of Shirebrook station in the top left hand corner of the map and then makes it way to Ollerton by way of the South of Warsop and Edwinstowe and North of the CentreParcs Sherwood Forest .

The line probably illustrates the only environmentally-friendly use for coal, which is to keep rail lines open and in good condition, until we can find a better use for them.

There is an interesting section called Branch Lines in the Wikipedia entry for Shirebrook station. This is said.

Two branch lines are plainly visible veering off north of the bridge at the north end of Shirebrook station.

The double tracks branching off eastwards (i.e. to the right as viewed from the station) to the side of the signalbox joined the LD&ECR’s one-time main line to Lincoln, next stop Warsop. The branch only ever carried a regular passenger service for a few years in Edwardian times. It did, however, carry Summer holiday trains such as the Summer Saturdays Radford to Skegness in at least 1963. The branch’s main purpose was always freight traffic, with coal being overwhelmingly dominant.

In 2013 the line gives access to Thoresby Colliery and to the High Marnham Test Track.

There is some hope of reopening the line as a branch off the Robin Hood Line and reopening Warsop, Edwinstowe and Ollerton stations, providing an hourly service to Mansfield and Nottingham.

This Google Map shows Shirebrook station and the railway lines around it.

Shirebrook Station

Shirebrook Station

The junction of the Ollerton branch would appear to allow access to trains from or to either Nottingham and Mansfield in the South and Worksop in the North

So there could be three stations; Warsop, Edwinstowe and Ollerton on a double-track branch.

From Ollerton To Lincoln

Interestingly, after Ollerton the line goes all the way to Lincoln. But I doubt that it would ever be part of the plans for passenger trains in the area.

But who knows?


Services To Derby

The area between Chesterfield, Mansfield and Nottingham is not very well connected to Derby.

If you want to go from Mansfield or Kirkby-in-Ashfield on the Robin Hood Line to Derby, you always have to change at Nottingham, with sometimes an extra change at East Midlands Parkway.

The Erewash Valley Line runs North-South a few miles to the West of the Robin Hood Line.

Despite being partially in Derbyshire, getting from stations like Alfreton, Langley Mill and the soon-to-be-opened Ilkeston stations to Derby, you have to change at either Nottingham or Chesterfield.

Look at this Google Map of the area

Between Derby, Nottingham, Mansfield And Chesterfield

Between Derby, Nottingham, Mansfield And Chesterfield

 

There must be a better way of getting to Derby, than by changing trains in Nottingham or Chesterfield.

But what?

There are four main North-South routes in the area.

What seems to be missing is high-capacity East-West routes for both rail and road.

The Erewash Valley Line goes South to Long Eaton, which has several trains per hour direct to Derby, so this could be the key to getting to Derby.

In a Notes on Current Station section on the Wikipedia entry for Long Eaton station, this is said.

It is planned that both platforms will be extended by up to 10 metres by no later than 2012.

It is anticipated that developments along the Erewash line will result in changes for Long Eaton station. A plan drawn up in 2011 recommended a new Derby to Mansfield service via new stations at Breaston & Draycott, Long Eaton West (renamed from Long Eaton), Long Eaton Central, Stapleford & Sandiacre, Ilkeston, Eastwood & Langley Mill (renamed from Langley Mill), Selston & Somercotes and then to Pinxton via new trackbed connecting with the Mansfield line from Nottingham at Kirkby in Ashfield.

It strikes me that work at Long Eaton, the several new stations and improvements north of Langley Mill would enable direct services from Alfreton, Ilkeston and Langley Mill to both Derby and Mansfield. This service would also improve services from stations stations North of Mansfield to Derby.

A trackbed from Langley Mill to Kirkby in Ashfield is shown on Google Maps.

Langley Mill to Kirkby-in-Ashfield

Langley Mill to Kirkby-in-Ashfield

Alfreton is the station at the top left and Kirkby-in-Ashfield is at the top right. The Erewash Valley Line from Langley Mill, enters at the bottom and splits with one branch going to Alfreton and the other going East to cross the M1 and join the Robin Hood Line south of Kirkby-in-Ashfield.

On an Ordnance Survey map, dated 2009, the railway is shown as a multiple track line, probably serving collieries and open cast coalfields.

It all sounds very feasible too! Especially, as the Erewash Valley is an area of high unemployment, low car ownership and a dependence on public transport.

The Future Of Railways In North Nottingham And South Yorkshire

Look at any map of the area between Nottingham and Derby in the South to Sheffield, Doncaster and Barnsley in the North and you will see rail lines criss-crossing everywhere. Many are now disused and show up as green scars on the landscape.

Also on the maps, you will see quite a few large power stations. Most were originally coal-fired and merry-go-round trains transported the coal from the mines to the power stations.

So most of the rail lines in the area, were built to take the coal away from the mines to where it was needed. Passengers were almost an afterthought. The railway companies even built the Great Northern Great Eastern Joint Line from Doncaster to East Anglia to take coal to where it could profitably be used.

After the Second World War, the railways contracted and cut passenger services. As an example, the Robin Hood Line closed in the 1960s.

The passenger services were suffering because of car ownership, so most were withdrawn, except on the main routes. Mansfield before the Robin Hood Line reopened, was one of the largest towns in England without a rail station, an honour now held by Ilkeston a few miles away.

In recent years, coal use has in my view rightly declined. Everybody knows the poor environmental record of coal, with its creation of CO2 and other pollutants. On the other hand, I have met people whose fathers worked in the mines and the general advice they received is don’t go underground!

So as the need to move coal by rail has declined, many of these railway lines have ceased to carry much freight traffic and have fallen into disuse.

But some are coal’s last legacy, in that until comparatively recently, they were still used to get coal to the power stations. Like the line from Shirebrook to Ollerton, they are in good condition and only need stations to bring them back into use as passenger lines. Just as the Robin Hood Line was reused twenty years ago!

Because these lines serves the coalfields and the mines, they also serve the mining communities and the small towns, that need improved public transport links.

Network Rail’s plans seem to be going some way to be addressing some of the problems in the area.

I don’t think that the reopening of the Ollerton Branch and the connection between the vErewash Valley and Robin Hood Lines, will be the last lines to reopen in the area.

 

September 11, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 3 Comments