The Anonymous Widower

The Proposed Mid-Cornwall Metro

In the January 2022 Edition of Modern Railways, there is this description of the Mid-Cornwall Metro.

This would see an hourly service shuttling between the north and south coasts of the county and linking the main population centres at Newquay, St Austell, Truro and Falmouth. This would become the main service on the Newquay branch, and it would take over one of the twice-hourly services on the Falmouth branch, with the other service being a Truro to Falmouth shuttle as now.

Facilitating the Metro idea will be the latest phase of the modernisation of signalling in Cornwall, which will see the upgrade of a level crossing near Truro. Other infrastructure work required is a new passing loop on the Newquay branch at Tregoss Moor and restoration of a second platform face at the terminus at Newquay.

A business case was due to be submitted to the Department for Transport before Christmas 2021.

These are a few thoughts.

The Current Timings

If you look at the distances and timings of the various sections they are as follows.

  • Newquay and Par – Five stops – 20.8 miles – 49-52 minutes
  • Par and Truro – One stop – 19 miles – 22 minutes
  • Truro and Falmouth Docks – Four stops – 11.8 miles – 24 minutes

Note.

  1. It appears that the Newquay to Par service is three minutes quicker than the other way.
  2. There will be a reverse at Par, which could take three minutes.
  3. The Par and Truro times were either GWR Castles or Class 802 trains.

The total time is 98-101 minutes and the total distance is 51.6 miles

Possible Timing

Consider.

  • For the ease of timetabling and operation, it is probably best that a round trip between the two Newquay and Falmouth Docks takes an exact number of hours.
  • The operating speed between Par and Truro is 75 mph and it is only 50 mph elsewhere.
  • Turnround time at Newquay is five minutes.
  • Turnround time at Falmouth Docks is 4-6 minutes

For these reasons, I doubt that much improvement could be made on the fastest time of 98 minutes. Certainly, a round trip of three hours would appear impossible.

But a round trip time of four hours would be very sensible.

However, there would be a turnround time of between 19-22 minutes at each end of the route.

This time might seem overly long, but it would be ideal for charging a battery-electric train.

How Many Trains Would Be Needed?

As the round trip will be four hours and an hourly service is needed, there will be a need for four trains to run the service, with the addition of probably two extra trains to allow for one in maintenance and one covering for any breakdowns.

Could The Mid-Cornwall Metro Use Battery-Electric Trains?

This Hitachi infographic shows the specification of the Hitachi Regional Battery Train.

Note

  1. The range of ninety kilometres is fifty-six miles and a longer distance than Newquay and Falmouth Docks.
  2. The operating speed of 90-100 mph is ideal.
  3. The time needed for a full charge at either end is within the timetable, I calculated earlier.

Hitachi Regional Battery Trains would be ideal for working the Mid-Cornwall Metro with a full charge at both ends of the route.

I have used my virtual helicopter to explore the Cornish Main Line between Par and Truro.

If it was decided to electrify the Cornish Main Line between Truro and Par, this could be an alternative way to charge the trains.

  • The Mid-Cornish Metro trains should be able to do a return trip to Newquay and Falmouth Docks from the main line without charging at the two terminal stations.
  • The electrification would be able to charge battery-electric Class 802 trains between Plymouth and Penzance.

But the extra infrastructure works to raise nine road bridges and several footbridges might blow the budget.

Where Would The Trains Be Serviced?

Great Western Railway has depots at both Penzance and Plymouth and with perhaps a charger at Truro and/or Par stations, the trains should be able to get to either depot at the end of the day.

Trains To Newquay

Wikipedia says this about the services to Newquay station.

The service is irregular with typically one train around every two hours.

As well as the local service, the station handles a number of long-distance trains in the summer. These services include Great Western Railway trains from London Paddington and CrossCountry trains from the North of England and the Scottish Lowlands, which do not stop at intermediate stations between Par and Newquay. On Sundays, there are some local trains and a small number of intercity services. As well as the weekend through trains, in peak summer months there is also a Monday-Friday through Great Western Railway intercity service to and from London, but local trains continue on these days too. Traditionally, there was no Sunday service in the winter, even in the ‘golden age’ between both of the 20th century’s world wars, but the line has a service of three trains each way on Sundays from 11 December 2011.

The Mid-Cornwall Metro will at least come with an hourly service.

But this will mean, that to run other services to the station with the hourly Metro will mean that a second platform will be needed.

I discuss the improvements needed in Beeching Reversal – Transforming The Newquay Line.

This is a quirky video, which describes an architect’s plans for the station.

It is the sort of simple solution, that I like.

Conclusion

I believe that a small fleet of Hitachi Regional Battery Trains could create an iconic Metro for Cornwall, that would appeal to both visitors and tourists alike.

 

January 3, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Beeching Reversal – Mid-Cornwall Metro

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

This is a strange project, as I can’t find a detailed description of what it entails.

All I can think, is that it is a general project to run all the local lines in Cornwall as a unified whole.

Great Western Railway runs these services in Cornwall.

  • Cornish Main Line – London Paddington and Penzance – One train per two hours (tp2h) – Calling at Plymouth, Liskeard, Bodmin Parkway, Lostwithiel, Par, St Austell, Truro, Redruth, Camborne and St Erth
  • Cornish Main Line – Exeter St. Davids and Penzance – One train per hour (tph) – Calling at Newton Abbot, Totnes, Ivybridge, Plymouth, Devonport, Dockyard, Keyham, St Budeaux Ferry Road, Saltash, St Germans, Menheniot, Liskeard, Bodmin Parkway, Lostwithiel, Par, St Austell, Truro, Redruth, Camborne, Hayle and St Erth
  • Looe Valley Line – Liskeard and Looe – One tph – Calling at Coombe Junction Halt, St Keyne Wishing, Well Halt, Causeland and Sandplace.
  • Atlantic Coast Line – Par and Newquay – One tp2h – Calling at Luxulyan, Bugle, Roche, St Columb Road and Quintrell Downs
  • Maritime Line – Truro and Falmouth Docks – Two tph – Calling at Perranwell (1tph), Penryn, Penmere and Falmouth Town
  • St. Ives Bay Line – St. Erth and St. Ives – Two tph – Calling at Lelant Saltings, Lelant and Carbis Bay

Could frequencies and connectivities be improved?

Other Beeching Reversal projects are also aiming to improve the railways in Cornwall.

Transforming the Newquay Line
Reinstatement of Bodmin-Wadebridge Railway and associated works
Increased service provision Bodmin General-Bodmin Parkway

I think the first might increase frequencies on the Newquay to one tph or even two tph and the Bodmin General station improvements should create a useful new platform.

Wikipedia mentions this project.

Reopening The Lostwithiel And Fowey Railway To Passengers

Are there any other lines, stations or platforms, that could be reopened, given a passenger service or or an increase in frequency?

Conclusion

Someone must have a plan somewhere! So can they please disclose it?

 

August 1, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment