The Anonymous Widower

Middlesbrough Station – 16th December 2021

Middlesbrough station is a Grade II Listed building and I took these pictures as I passed through.

Note.

  1. The station is being upgraded.
  2. Some of the details are impressive.
  3. The station has a good cafe.

Every time that I visit the station seems to have improved.

 

December 18, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Tees Newport Bridge – 16th December 2021

My train from Middlesbrough To Huddersfield passed the Tees Newport Bridge.

Notice that it is a different colour in this picture from 2010.

The Newport Lifting Bridge

In The Tees Bridges and Barrage, I wrote about Middlesbrough’s bridges.

December 18, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Stalybridge Station – 16th December 2021

In my meandering along the TransPennine Route brought me to Stalybridge station.

This Google Map shows the station.

As the pictures and the maps show, there is space at Stalybridge station.

Timings Between Manchester Victoria And Huddersfield

There are these trains between Manchester Victoria and Huddersfield.

  • Liverpool Lime Street and Scarborough – stops at Stalybridge
  • Manchester Airport and Redcar Central
  • Liverpool Lime Street and Edinburgh
  • Manchester Airport and Newcastle.

That is four trains per hour (tph) between Manchester Victoria and Huddersfield.

  • They take around 9-14 minutes between Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge.
  • They take around 31-32 minutes between Manchester Victoria and Huddersfield.
  • As Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge is 7.7 miles, the average speed on this section is 33-51 mph
  • As Manchester Victoria and Huddersfield is 25.7 miles, the average speed on this section is 48-50 mph

In this Transport for the North report , which is entitled At A Glance – Northern Powerhouse Rail, an objective of twenty-five minutes is given for Manchester and Leeds.

One possible way to achieve this time stated in the report is stated as.

Diggle upgrades akin to a new line.

Diggle is between Greenfield station and the Standedge tunnels.

Assuming a constant average speed between Manchester Victoria and Leeds, the twenty-minutes objective for this route means a timing of fifteen minutes between Manchester Victoria and Huddersfield.

I estimate that this would need an average speed of well over 100 mph to get anywhere near the required fifteen minutes.

But by rebuilding the line between Manchester Victoria and Huddersfield to High Speed Two construction standards, it appears to be possible.

Timings Between Manchester Piccadilly And Huddersfield

There are these trains between Manchester Piccadilly and Huddersfield.

  • Manchester Piccadilly and Huddersfield – stops at Stalybridge, Mossley, Greenfield, Marsden and Slaithwaite.
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Hull – stops at Stalybridge

That is two tph between Manchester Piccadilly and Huddersfield.

The direct train is a few minutes slower, but the stopping train is nearly ten minutes slower.

I feel some time improvements will be possible, but the Manchester Victoria services will probably be faster.

Conclusion

It is possible, there could be a unique high speed line between Manchester Victoria and Huddersfield through the Victorian tunnels at Standedge.

  • One possibility, I can see is to have two fast tracks for the main TransPennine expresses and a third bi-directional third-track to accommodate the stopping services.
  • The double track express route could probably handle six tph, as the only stops between Manchester Victoria and Huddersfield is two tph that stop at Stalybridge.
  • Operating speeds on the fast tracks could be up to perhaps 160 mph on slab track.
  • All trains stop at Huddersfield.
  • A single bi-directional track between Stalybridge and Huddersfield could easily handle two tph.

There would be engineering challenges, but I feel it would be possible.

December 18, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Greenfield Station – 16th December 2021

Greenfield station is the nearest station to the West of the Standedge tunnels. In my meanderings between Middlesbrough and Mirfield, I went to have a look.

As the pictures show, this is a modern station with its own pub and an excellent cafe on the other side of the road.

But the access to the Huddersfield-bound platform is not step-free.

This Google Map shows the station.

It is a cramped site, but the road didn’t appear to be very busy.

Could A High Speed Line Go Through Greenfield Station?

As I said it is a cramped site, but if the platform by the road were to be made bi-directional, the station would be converted into a two train per hour (tph) step-free station.

This is possible as has been shown on the Borders Railway at Galashiels station.

Look at this picture taken from the bridge.

I feel that by removing the second platform and rebuilding the retaining wall and the road bridge, that two 125 mph tracks could be squeezed through.

Step-Free Access

If after two high speed lines through, will it be possible to have full step-free access?

It will certainly be the same for both directions, but what will the access be like between platform and train?

The picture shows a train in the current Huddersfield-bound platform.

It is not bad, but it could be better, as has been demonstrated at the recently-opened Soham station.

But with only one class of train calling in the station it could be a lot better.

The Station Brew Cafe

I had a late breakfast at the Station Brew Cafe opposite the station.

Excellent! And gluten-free too!

Note the small cup, which I assumed they used to microwave the beans.

Conclusion

It would be difficult but not impossible engineering to squeeze a high speed line through Greenfield station.

December 18, 2021 Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Marsden Station – 16th December 2021

On my meanderings yesterday I visited Marsden station, which has been suggested that it could be the Eastern end of a high speed route to Manchester and Liverpool.

This Google Map shows the station.

Note.

  1. The station has three platforms. but trains seem to only use the two Northern platform.
  2. Access to the platforms is up and down dreadful iron stairs.
  3. There is a new housing development by the station.

The station needs improvement.

Could A High Speed Line Go Through Marsden Station?

Having looked at the station, I wouldn’t be surprised if Network Rail have a plan to put two fast and one or possibly two slow tracks through this station.

My preference would be to run 125 mph or faster trains on the current pair of Northern lines and create a new station on a single bi-directional line or a pair of lines to the South.

  • Trains on the fast line wouldn’t stop.
  • There would be a capacity of two trains per hour (tph) in both directions through the station.

It might even be possible to extend high speed running to Slaithwaite station. I didn’t visit that station, but from the Wikipedia entry, I didn’t seem to miss much.

 

This Google Map shows Slaithwaite station.

After the station, the tracks would merge into two tracks to go the 4.5 miles to Huddersfield, where all trains appear to stop.

Step-Free Access

If after two high speed lines through, will it be possible to have full step-free access?

It will certainly be the same for both directions, but what will the access be like between platform and train?

 

The picture shows a train in the current Huddersfield-bound platform.

It is not bad, but it could be better, as has been demonstrated at the recently-opened Soham station.

But with only one class of train calling in the station it could be a lot better.

Conclusion

I believe two high speed tracks can be built through Marsden station.

 

 

December 17, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mirfield Station – 16th December 2021

To get the Grand Central Trains’s service back to London, I had to travel to Mirfield station. As the ticket was just £11.85, it was probably worth it.

I took these pictures of the station.

Note.

  1. The station has an unusual layout with a main island platform, where Eastbound trains call and a separate platform for Westbound trains.
  2. The platform can take a six-car train.
  3. Facilities are just a rudimentary shelter and a train information board.
  4. There is a lot of promotion for Mirfield in Bloom.
  5. Access to the station is up a staircase from the road under the station.

I took shelter in the nearby Navigation Tavern, which was a welcoming pub with lots of beer and food.

These pictures show the underpass and the pub.

This Google Map shows the station and the area.

Note.

  1. The wide island platform marked with the station symbol.
  2. Station Road running under the railway.
  3. The Navigation Tavern between the canal and the railway.

All this is going to change.

With the TransPennine Upgrade, the station will be turned into a modern station.

This diagram clipped from this article on Modern Railways shows the current layout at Mirfield station.

And this shows the future layout.

Note.

  1. The wide platform will serve both slow lines and all trains stopping at Mirfield station.
  2. Two fast lines will be created in the space to the South of the current platform.
  3. I would assume that the fast lines will be electrified with a much higher speed limit.
  4. Will the slow lines be electrified or will battery-electric power be used?
  5. There is certainly space on the island platform for some much better facilities.

I also think, that the station can be rebuilt without disrupting services.

Conclusion

As Roy Brooks, who was an infamous estate agent in London in the 1960s, would have said, this is a station with potential.

 

 

December 17, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Grand Central DMU To Be Used For Dual-Fuel Trial

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

An Alstom Class 180 Adelante diesel-hydraulic multiple-unit is to be converted to run on a combination of diesel and liquefied natural gas in a dual-fuel technology demonstration project.

One car of the DMU which Arriva-owned open access inter-city operator Grand Central leases from Angel Trains is to be equipped with dual-fuel technology company G-volution’s Optimiser system, which is used in the road sector. The modifications are expected to be straightforward, enabling trials on the national network to start later this year.

The article dates from May 2019 and I suspect the small matter of the pandemic and Grand Central’s resulting three closures due to lockdowns are the reason this development hasn’t been heard of since.

But this was the London end of the Class 180 train, that I rode from Mirfield to King’s Cross.

I haven’t ridden in a Class 180 train for some years and there was nothing to indicate from the performance, that it was not a standard train.

There are fourteen of these 125 mph trains.

This explanatory video of G-volution’s technology is on the G-volution web site.

Note that in the video, one of G-volution’s Managing Director; Chris Smith says that the technology is fuel agnostic and will work with a range of fuels including ammonia, biodiesel, bio-LPG, hydrogen and methanol.

Conclusion

It will be very interesting to see what is decided to be the ideal fuel-combination and how much reduction is possible for the various emissions.

I’ll end with two questions.

Will Passengers Like The New Trains?

What is there not to like! Same train and performance with lower emissions.

Will Cummins Like What G-volution Have Done To Their Engines?

Cummins might be a bit miffed, as they built the QSK19 engines for the Class 180 trains and may have their own plans for them. But they are a practical and flexible company in my experience and generally they do what the customer needs or wants. Decarbonisation is surely in everybody’s interest.

Incidentally, the same Cummins diesel engines are used in the TransPennine Express, Class 185 trains, I’ve been riding in most of today.

There are fifty-one of these 100 mph trains in use in the UK. They could be ideal for some long routes, if they could be converted to low-emission.

 

 

December 16, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments