The Anonymous Widower

DB Cargo UK Successfully Trials The Use Of ‘Combi-Consists’

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release on DB Cargo UK.

This is the first paragraph.

DB Cargo UK is trialling the use of ‘combi-consists’ to increase capacity, improve customer service and improve its efficiency.

The next four paragraphs describe the trial.

This month the UK’s largest rail freight operator ran a unique jumbo train from Belmont Yard in Doncaster to Barking, East London, carrying a mix of wagons for two altogether different types of customers.

The train consisted of two sets of empty wagons – 21 x MBA wagons for Ward Recycling and 18 x JNA wagons for FCC Environment – with an isolated DIT (dead-in-train) locomotive – in the middle.

The MBA wagons had previously been discharged at Immingham in North Lincolnshire and the JNA wagons discharged at FCC Environment’s new waste transfer facility at Tinsley in South Yorkshire.

Both sets of wagons were then taken to DB Cargo UK’s Belmont Yard depot in Doncaster where the jumbo train was assembled. The train travelled from Belmont Yard to Barking via Lincoln Central, Spalding, The East Coast Mainline, Hertford North and Canonbury Tunnel.

There is also a video embedded in the press release, which shows the formation of the train in detail.

This train is certainly efficient, as it uses less train paths, crew and fuel.

DB Cargo UK now intend to trial the concept on a greater portion of the East Coast Main Line and the Midland Main Line.

I have a few thoughts.

Could The Concept Work With Loaded Trains?

This trial was with empty trains, but would it be possible to use the concept with two shorter loaded trains?

Would there be advantages in terms of efficiency, if the following were done?

  • Two container trains leave Felixstowe as a pair, with one going to Plymouth and the other going to Cardiff.
  • They split at say Swindon and then proceed independently.

Obviously, all the weights would have to be in order and the locomotive would need to be able to pull the combined train.

Other possibilities might be.

  • Stone trains running from the Mendips and the Peak District to London.
  • Biomass trains running from import terminals to power stations in the Midlands.
  • Trains delivering new cars.
  • Trains delivering goods for supermarkets. Tesco are certainly increasing their use of trains.

I would suspect that DB Cargo UK have several ideas.

Could An Electric Locomotive Go In The Middle?

A Class 90 locomotive weighs 84.5 tonnes, as against the 129.6 tonnes of the Class 66 locomotive used in the trial.

So if the electric locomotive can be run dead-in-train, the weight would be slightly less.

But this might give a big advantage, if they ever wanted to run a pair of trains from Felixstowe to Plymouth and Cardiff, as per my earlier example.

  • The trains would split anywhere on the electrified section of the Great Western Main Line.
  • The lead train would go to Plymouth.
  • The second train would go to Cardiff, which is now fully electrified.

There would appear to be possibilities to save carbon emissions.

Could An Electric Locomotive Go On The Front?

Some routes out of Felixstowe are fully-electrified from the Great Eastern Main Line.

It could be possible for the following.

  • Two diesel-hauled trains to leave Felixstowe with ubiquitous Class 66 locomotives and form up as a combi-consist train in Ipswich yard.
  • The Class 66 locomotive on the front is replaced by an electric locomotive.
  • Both Class 90 and Class 92 electric locomotives have twice the power of a Class 66 locomotive, so both should be able to haul the combi-consist train.

The trains would split en-route with the electric locomotive hauling a train to an electrified destination.

This picture shows, what could be an experiment by Freightliner at Shenfield.

 

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to ask the driver, if the Class 66 locomotive was running dead-in-train or helping the Class 90 locomotive with a very heavy load.

The picture shows, that the electric and diesel locomotives can work together, at the front of a train.

Since I took this picture, I’ve never seen a similar consist again.

Could A Bi-Mode Locomotive Go On The Front?

In GB Railfreight Plans Order For Future-Proofed Bi-Mode Locomotives, I talked about how GB Railfreight had started negotiations to purchase a fleet of powerful bi-mode locomotives from Stadler.

  • Provisionally, they have been called Class 99 locomotives.
  • The locomotives will be Co-Co bi-modes.
  • The diesel engine will be for heavy main line freight and not just last-mile operations.
  • I suspect that on diesel the power will be at least 2.5 MW to match a Class 66 locomotive.

These locomotives could be ideal for hauling combi-consist trains.

Would Combi-Consist Trains Save Energy?

This could be a big driver of the use of combi-consist trains and may push DB Cargo UK to acquire some powerful bi-mode locomotives.

Conclusion

Combi-consist trains seem to be an excellent idea.

 

March 16, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Avanti West Coast Looks To Recover

The title of this post is the same as an article in the March 2022 Edition of Modern Railways.

These are some points from the article.

Passengers Numbers Are Recovering

This is a paragraph.

Mr. Wittingham says the recovery has been strongest on the Anglo-Scottish and Liverpool corridors, while Manchester have begun to bounce back. Slowest to recover is the London to West Midlands market; ‘there’s several operators here and we were the main carrier of business passengers, and that sector has been recovering more slowly than leisure’ says Mr. Whittingham.

Phil Whittingham is MD of Avanti West Coast.

Train Numbers Are Recovering

Avanti are building up train numbers from Euston after the pandemic.

Frequencies are as follows in trains per hour (tph)

  • Pre-Covid – 9
  • During the pandemic – 4
  • From December 2021 – 7
  • Omicron – 4
  • From February 2022 – 6
  • From May 2022 – 6+

Avanti have reacted to demand.

Three Classes Of Travel

This is a paragraph.

Avanti’s business has historically been driven by leisure travel – before Covid this accounted for broadly 60 % of passengers, with most of the rest travelling for business plus a smaller number of commuters. ‘The demand is there, and we think by next year we’ll be on the way to full recovery’ says Mr. Whittingham. ‘Leisure has been strong, especially at weekends, but the missing bit is the corporate market.’

Avanti have been running a marketing campaign and it appears to have been successful.

This paragraph describes Avanti’s new Standard Premium class.

Last year, Avanti West Coast launched a new class of travel – Standard Premium. This was first introduced in May on an upgrade-only basis before going fully live in September with the option to book online in advance. The new class sits between Standard and First, giving passengers larger seats and greater space but without some of the extras that come with First Class Travel such as complimentary refreshments and lounge access.

These are Mr. Whittingham’s comments on the three classes.

The current split of passengers is 84% Standard, 12 % First and 4 % Standard Premium, but given the latter has been in place for less than a year there is clearly scope for growth. ‘Our research shows people have been upgrading to Standard Premium rather than downgrading from First’.

I have yet to try Standard Premium, but I will next time I use Avanti.

Refreshments

Avanti have decided to serve different refreshments in Standard Premium and First classes.

  • In Standard Premium, they are now offering At Seat Orders.
  • In First, they have updated the menu.

Both seem to have been well-received.

I like this statement from Mr. Whittingham.

We’ve tried to make it a more personalised service with a less rigid structure, so we give customers what they want, when they want it, rather than when we want to give it to them.

A Consistent Offer

This is a paragraph.

Mr. Whittingham says Avanti has not yet confirmed whether t will offer three classes of travel on the new Hitachi trains it has ordered, but says the aim is to provide a more consistent offer. Assisting this will be changes in the ongoing Pendolino refurbishment, where 11-car sets are having Coach G converted from First to Standard accommodation, meaning all Pendolinos, whether nine-car or 11-car, will have three coaches for First and Standard Premium passengers.

My instinct says that the four trains will be something like.

  • Class 390 train – Pendolino – Nine-car – three First/Standard Premium cars – six Standard cars
  • Class 390 train – Pendolino – Eleven-car – three First/Standard Premium cars – eight Standard cars
  • Class 805 train – Hitachi – Five-car – one First/Standard Premium car – four Standard cars
  • Class 807 train – Hitachi – Seven-car – two First/Standard Premium car – five Standard cars

Note.

  1. The Class 805 and Class 807 Hitachi trains are very much plug-and-play and can be lengthened or shortened as required.
  2. A regular passenger between London and Liverpool, who regularly upgrades from Standard to Standard Premium in a Class 390 train could be a bit miffed if he couldn’t, because the service was being run by a Class 807 train.
  3. Hitachi would probably be very happy to add extra cars to the Class 805 and Class 807 trains.

As the Class 390 Pendolino trains are being refurbished, I do wonder if they will be receiving some fittings from the Hitachi trains to make sure the trains are consistent to both on-board staff and passengers.

Pendolino Investment

The Pendolino refurbishment is comprehensive.

  • It is one of the largest such programmes ever undertaken in the UK.
  • Leasing company; Angel Trains are funding the work.
  • Alstom are doing the work at Widnes.
  • There appears to be a smooth plan to refurbish all trains.
  • Coach G will be converted from First to Standard accommodation in eleven-car trains.
  • Mr. Whittingham says that all trains will come out looking like a new train.

The eleven-car trains are being converted first, as the conversion of Coach G gives a capacity benefit of around thirty seats.

The awful seats in Standard Class will be replaced with Lumo-style seats and laptop-friendly fold-down tables.

These seats will be a big improvement!

New Trains Coming

This paragraph introduces the new trains.

The second major fleet investment from Avanti is the £350 million for new trains from Hitachi, financed by Rock Rail. These comprise 13×5-car Class 805 bi-modes, ordered for destinations off the electrified route including North Wales and Shrewsbury and 10×7-car Class 807 electrics. Deployment plans for the latter are still being worked through but are likely to include services to Birmingham and Liverpool, and potentially to Blackpool.

What is not said in this paragraph, is that all trains have a redesigned front end, which I suspect is more aerodynamic.

The all-electric Class 807 trains have no diesel engines or batteries, so have they been put on a diet, to improve the acceleration?

In Will Avanti West Coast’s New Trains Be Able To Achieve London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street In Two Hours?, I came to these conclusions.

  • A two hour service between London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street will be possible with Avanti West Coast’s new Class 807 trains.
  • The current Class 390 trains could go a bit faster and if they cut out a couple of stops could probably break two hours.

I also calculated that a two tph service between London and Liverpool in two hours would need nine trains.

Timetable Changes

This paragraph introduces the article’s section on timetable changes.

The project in turn feeds into a major timetable change planned by Avanti and other West Coast main line operators. This will be the first significant change to West Coast main line schedules since 2008; ‘the world has changed, and we need to think about how we best serve our markets’ says Mr Whittingham.

This paragraph sums up the major changes.

Of note are the planned changes to the pattern of London to West Midlands services; the pre-Covid 20-minute interval would be amended to offer faster journey times and greater connectivity. Also featuring in the new timetable aspirations would be additional Trent Valley calls in some Liverpool and Manchester services; Mr Whittingham cites as one benefit of this the potential for improved journey times between the North West and the East Midlands via a change of train at Nuneaton. The Hitachi trains, with their better acceleration, will be particularly useful on services with more frequent stops.

The next three sections will look at some timetable changes in a bit more detail.

London And West Midlands Services

Replacement of twenty diesel Class 221 trains with thirteen bi-mode Class 805 trains will mean a major reorganisation of services to the West Midlands.

  • Some current diesel services will now be electric.
  • All services between Birmingham New Street and Euston will now be electric.
  • No services will run on diesel under live electrification.
  • Avanti have promised to serve Walsall.
  • There will be extra services to Shrewsbury and other places.

The electric services will also speed up some services to the West Midlands.

North West And East Midlands Services

I will look at train times for services between the North West (Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Piccadilly) and the East Midlands (Leicester, Nottingham and Lincoln), where passengers change at Nuneaton.

These are the current fastest possible times according to the National Rail journey planner.

  • Liverpool Lime Street and Leicester -2:24 with changes at Crewe and Nuneaton,
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Leicester – 2:11 with change at Sheffield
  • Liverpool Lime Street and Nottingham – 2:42 with no changes
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Nottingham – 1:51 with no changes
  • Liverpool Lime Street and Lincoln- 3:42 with changes at Sheffield and Doncaster
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Lincoln – 2:38 with change at Sheffield

Note that times are in hours:minutes.

These are all current times for the various legs if the route is via Nuneaton.

  • Avanti West Coast – Liverpool Lime Street and Nuneaton – 1:18
  • Avanti West Coast – Manchester Piccadilly and Nuneaton – 1:13
  • CrossCountry – Nuneaton and Leicester – 0:27
  • East Midlands Railway – Leicester and Nottingham – 0:48 – Time from Leicester and Lincoln service.
  • East Midlands Railway – Leicester and Nottingham – 0:20 – Time from St. Pancras and Nottingham service.
  • East Midlands Railway – Leicester and Lincoln -1:42 – Time from Leicester and Lincoln service.
  • East Midlands Railway – Nottingham and Lincoln -0:52 – Time from Leicester and Lincoln service.

Note that the two Avanti West Coast times have been estimated by taking the time from Real Time Trains and adding three minutes for the acceleration or deceleration at Nuneaton.

These would be possible times between the North West and the East Midlands via Nuneaton.

  • Liverpool Lime Street and Leicester – 1:47
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Leicester – 1:42
  • Liverpool Lime Street and Nottingham – 2:37
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Nottingham – 2:32
  • Liverpool Lime Street and Lincoln- 3:31
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Lincoln – 3:26

Note that I am assuming changes at Nuneaton and Leicester are cross-platform or same platform changes that take two minutes.

But there is another level of improvement possible.

Suppose that East Midlands Railway’s Lincoln and Leicester service were to be extended to Nuneaton and run by a train with this specification.

  • 125 mph operating speed.
  • Battery-electric power.
  • 100 mph operating speed on battery power.
  • Range of 56 miles on battery
  • Ability to use the Midland Main Line electrification, when it is erected.

Charging stations would be needed at Nuneaton and Lincoln.

These would be possible times between the North West and the East Midlands via Nuneaton with the one change at Nuneaton.

  • Liverpool Lime Street and Leicester – 1:45
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Leicester – 1:40
  • Liverpool Lime Street and Nottingham – 2:05
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Nottingham – 2:00
  • Liverpool Lime Street and Lincoln- 2:57
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Lincoln – 2:52

Note.

I am assuming that the timings for the Nuneaton and Leicester and the Nottingham and Lincoln legs are as for the current trains.

I am assuming the change at Nuneaton is a cross-platform or same platform change that takes two minutes.

Trains run on battery where tracks are not electrified.

I can build a table of current times, times via Nuneaton and savings.

  • Liverpool Lime Street and Leicester -2:24 – 1:45 – 0:39
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Leicester – 2:11 – 1:40 – 0.31
  • Liverpool Lime Street and Nottingham – 2:42 – 2:05 – 0:37
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Nottingham – 1:51 – 2:00 – 0.09 slower
  • Liverpool Lime Street and Lincoln- 3:42 – 2:57 – 0.45
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Lincoln – 2:38 – 2:52 – 0:14 slower

It does appear that by using the 125 mph speed of the West Coast Main Line has a positive effect on some times from the North West to the East Midlands.

But times could be reduced further.

  • Installing full digital signalling, that would enable 140 mph running between Crewe and Nuneaton, could save ten minutes.
  • Improving the Nuneaton and Leicester and the Nottingham and Lincoln legs could allow faster running.

The more I look at changing at Nuneaton, I feel it is a good idea.

  • It improves the connections between East Midlands Parkway and Loughborough and the North West.
  • It improves the connections between Cambridge, Peterborough and Stansted Airport and the North West, if the change at Nuneaton is to CrossCountry’s Stansted Airport and Birmingham New Street service.
  • It improves the connections between Coventry and Leamington Spa and the North West.

Avanti have come up with a cunning plan, worthy of Baldrick at his best.

A Second Hourly Service Between London And Liverpool

A paragraph talks about the second hourly service between London and Liverpool.

Avanti still has ambitions to introduce a second hourly service between Euston and Liverpool, but when this will come in will depend on demand recovery.

Consider.

  • If would be desirable if some or all trains running on the route could achieve a timing of two hours between London and Liverpool.
  • It is felt that the second service should stop at Liverpool South Parkway station, where the platforms are too short for eleven-car Class 390 trains.
  • Avanti have stated they would like more stops in the Trent Valley, especially at Nuneaton, where they would connect to services to the East Midlands.
  • Nuneaton is almost exactly halfway between London and Liverpool.
  • Running two tph with Class 807 trains would need nine trains and Avanti have only ordered ten in total.

I believe that a practical timetable like this could work.

  • Class 390 train – one tph – Non-stop or perhaps a single stop in the Midlands – Under two hours
  • Class 705 train – one tph – Stopping at Nuneaton, Stafford, Crewe, Runcorn and Liverpool South Parkway – Current time or better

An hourly service between London and Liverpool in under two hours would surely be a passenger magnet.

February 23, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

New Station Proposed For National Arboretum

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

It has been revealed that a new station is being proposed at Alrewas between Lichfield Trent Valley high level and Wichnor Junction, which is on the line linking Tamworth and Burton-on-Trent. The original station serving the village of Alrewas was closed in 1965, although the line remained open.

A new Alrewas station would serve the National Memorial Arboretum, which is visited by more than 300,000 people a year and stages 250 events, including services of remembrance. It includes a Railway Industry Memorial, which was unveiled in May 2012, and also a memorial commemorating the thousands of prisoners of war who were forced to work on the infamous Burma Railway in the Second World War.

I first wrote about this proposed station in Everybody Could Do Better For Rail In South Staffordshire.

Two totally unrelated events had happened.

  • I heard the exchange during Prime Minister’s Questions and Michael Fabricant was passionate about creating the rail service on the freight-only line to give passenger train access to the National Memorial Arboretum and Alrewas.
  • Burton were playing Manchester City in the League Cup, so the Police thought it would be a good idea to shut the M6. Nothing moved for hours and many Burton supporters missed the match.

Note.

  1. Quite frankly, it is a disgrace, that the National Memorial Arboretum, has been designed for most visitors to come by car.
  2. The M6 incident was caused by illegal immigrants stuffed into the back of a truck, but surely the Police reaction to shut the motorway for so long was over the top?
  3. I have been to Burton by train a couple of times and it is one of those places, you wouldn’t go to by train, unless it was absolutely essential.

It would appear that after a quick glance, Michael Fabricant’s proposal could be one of those ideas, that would benefit a lot of travellers.

These are a few thoughts on the new service.

Services To And From Burton-on-Trent Station

I said this about services to and from Burton-on-Trent in Everybody Could Do Better For Rail In South Staffordshire.

If you look at the train services from the town, you can go to faraway places like Glasgow and Plymouth, but services to practical local places like Lichfield, Stoke and Derby are rare. There used to be a service to London, but that was discontinued in 2008.

A regular service between Burton and Lichfield, running at a frequency of two trains per hour (tph) could connect at Lichfield to the following services.

  • Hourly services on the West Coast Main Line
  • Half-hourly services across Birmingham on the Cross-City Line.

If a decent service via Lichfield had existed, how many fans on that League Cup night, would have used the trains to get to Manchester?

Not many probably, as there would not have been a late train home, as is particularly common in The Midlands. Try getting back to London from Derby, Nottingham or Sheffield, after 21:30 for example!

I am certain, that with a station at Alrewas and a well-designed train service between Burton-on-Trent and Birmingham stations via Alrewas for the National Memorial Arboretum and Lichfield would be a positive addition to the transport system of the area.

Electrification Between Litchfield Tent Valley And Burton-on-Trent Stations

This map from Open Railway Map shows the track between Litchfield Tent Valley and Burton-on-Trent stations.

Note.

  1. Burton-on-Trent station is in the North-East corner of the map.
  2. Lichfield Trent Valley station is in the South-West corner of the map.
  3. Burton-on-Trent and Lichfield Trent Valley stations are probably less than fifteen miles apart.
  4. The orange line is the Burton-upon-Trent and Birmingham line via Tamworth.
  5. The yellow line is the Burton-upon-Trent and Birmingham line via Lichfield.

The National Memorial Arboretum is just South of the junction between the orange and yellow lines.

This second map from Open Railway Map shows this junction to a larger scale.

Note.

  1. The National Memorial Arboretum can be seen between the two tracks.
  2. The village of Alrewas and the site of the proposed Alrewas station are to the West of the arboretum.
  3. Central Rivers depot, where CrossCountry trains are serviced, is in the North-East corner of the map.
  4. I have found a twelve car formation of Class 220 trains running between Birmingham New Street station and Central Rivers depot.

There is electrification at Lichfield Trent Valley station as this picture shows.

This electrification could be extended as far as required.

I would extend the electrification all the way to Burton-on-Trent.

  • This would mean that the Class 730 trains used on the Cross-City Line could terminate at Burton-on-Trent station, rather than Lichfield Trent Valley station, after extra stops at Alrewas for the National Memorial Arboretum and possibly another new station at Barton-under-Needwood.
  • Excursion trains for the National Memorial Arboretum could be electric-hauled.
  • It would also mean that electric trains could reach Central Rivers depot under their own power.
  • It would probably require less than fifteen miles of double-track electrification.
  • I suspect that the West Coast Main Line electrification could provide enough power for the branch electrification to Burton-upon-Trent.

I doubt that this would be considered a major electrification scheme.

Electric Services Between Birmingham New Street And Leicester Stations Via Burton-on-Trent

Consider.

  • Leicester and Burton-on-Trent stations are under thirty miles apart on the Ivanhoe Line.
  • The Ivanhoe Line is an existing freight line, that could be opened to passenger trains.
  • Leicester is to be electrified in the Midland Main Line electrification.

A battery-electric service could be run between Birmingham New Street and Leicester stations via Burton-on-Trent, Alrewas and Lichfield Trent Valley stations.

It should also be noted that East Midlands Railway run a service between Lincoln and Leicester.

  • Nottingham and Leicester will probably electrified with the rest of the Midland Main Line.
  • Only thirty-four miles of the route between Leicester and Lincoln is not electrified.

If it were felt to be needed, a battery-electric service could be run between Birmingham New Street and Lincoln stations.

Heritage Rail Excursions To The National Memorial Arboretum

Type “Coach Trips To The National Memorial Arboretum” and you get a good selection of trips from all over the UK.

I believe that the National Memorial Arboretum, would make the ideal destination for steam- or diesel-hauled heritage rail excursions with all the trimmings.

  • They could even be hauled by a Class 90 electric locomotive, dating from the late 1980s, if the route between Alrewas and Lichfield were to be electrified.
  • Rakes of comfortable Mark III coaches could be used.
  • A long platform at Alrewas station would be needed, so that the maximum size of heritage train could be handled.
  • For steam locomotives, there may need to be a runround loop.

Track improvements at Lichfield Trent Valley station, may allow direct services from London.

This page on the West Midlands Rail Executive web site is entitled Steam Engine Rolls Into Moor Street Station To Launch New Vintage Trains Partnership.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Historic steam engines are set to play a greater role in the region’s rail network following the signing of a ground-breaking new partnership.

The West Midlands Rail Executive (WMRE) has teamed up with Tyseley-based Vintage Trains in a bid to establish the Shakespeare Line as Britain’s premier mainline heritage railway.

Perhaps, it would be possible to run a heritage train like a short-formation InterCity 125 between Stratford-om-Avon and the National Memorial Arboretum.

Conclusion

Opening up of the Lichfield Trent Valley and Burton route to passenger trains opens up a lot of possibilities.

 

 

 

January 21, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is A High Capacity Freight Route Being Created On The Midland Main Line?

In the January 2022 Edition of Modern Railways, there is a section, which is entitled Mixed Fortunes For Freight In IRP, where IRP is short for Integrated Rail Plan For The North And Midlands.

In the section, this is said about freight on the Midland Main Line.

Whilst HS2 does relieve the MML, electrification of the route north from Kettering via Derby to Sheffield is of relatively limited use to freight, which is generally routed via Corby and Toton to Chesterfield and Rotherham. That said, assuming electrification of the passenger route includes the slow lines from Leicester to Trent and through Chesterfield, it does provide a base on which freight electrification can be built.

This would involve wiring Corby to Syston Junction (north of Leicester), Trent Junction to Clay Cross (south of Chesterfield) and Tapton Junction (north of Chesterfield) to Rotherham Masborough and Doncaster.

As with the ECML, this ‘freight’ electrification would provide a diversionary route and thus greater resilience for East Midlands Railway services.

In addition, gauge clearance throughout from Corby as part of this package would also be highly beneficial in creating a direct route from the ‘Golden Triangle of Logistics’ in the East Midlands to the North East and Scotland for consumer goods supply chains, boosting modal shift to rail and decarbonisation.

It does seem to be a cunning plan worthy of Baldrick at his best.

So is it feasible?

Which Routes Do Freight Trains Use Now?

Christmas in a pandemic, is not a particularly good time to look at the routes freight trains take.

But by looking at Real Time Trains, I can say this.

  • Many trains take the route via Corby and Syston Junction, rather than the direct route via Market Harborough and Leicester.
  • Leicester is quite busy with freight as trains between Felixstowe and places on the West Coast Main Line, go through the station.
  • Very few freight trains seem to take the route via Derby and the Derwent Valley Mills.
  • Most freight trains between East Midlands Parkway and Chesterfield seem to take the Erewash Valley Line via Toton and Ilkeston.

I don’t think the pattern will change much, if I look at the trains around the end of January.

What Do I Mean By European-Size Freight Trains?

The Wikipedia entry for loading gauge says this about about the route through the Channel Tunnel and up the Midland Main Line.

UIC GC: Channel Tunnel and Channel Tunnel Rail Link to London; with proposals to enable GB+ northwards from London via an upgraded Midland Main Line.

Note.

  1. . GC is 3.15 metres wide by 4.65 metres high.
  2. GB+ is 3.15 metres wide by 4.32 metres high.
  3. GB+ is intended to be a pan-European standard, that allows piggy-back services.
  4. British gauging is so complicated, it isn’t specified in standard units. It must be a nightmare for rolling stock designers.

I’ll take an easy way out and assume that by European-Size Freight Trains, I mean that the route must be cleared for GB+ gauge.

Could Kettering and Syston Junction Via Corby Be Cleared For European-Size Freight Trains?

According to a Network Rail Map from February 2010, the current clearance is as follows.

  • Kettering and Oakham – W7
  • Oakham and Syston Junction – W8

Note.

  1. Oakham and Peterborough is also W8
  2. The main problem seems to be that between Corby and Oakham, there are five tunnels; Corby, Glaston, Manton, Seaton and Wing.
  3. There are also a few overbridges and several level crossings, but they don’t look too challenging.
  4. Between Corby and Oakham, there is the magnificent Welland viaduct, which has eighty-two arches and is Grade II Listed.
  5. Ideally, freight operators would like to run European gauge piggy-back services, with road trailers travelling on flat wagons, as they do in CargoBeamer services.

It would be a tough call to satisfy my last point, but if it can be done it would allow all Midland Main Line freight trains to take the Corby diversion and this would remove the problems of running European gauge trains through Leicester station.

This Google Map shows a section of the Welland viaduct.

It could be key, as it is fully double-track.

But could it support two heavy freight trains at the same time?

But it would be some sight to see, long European-sized freight trains running over the viaduct.

Could The Midland Main Line Between Syston And Trent Junctions Be Cleared For European-Size Freight Trains?

The route is cleared to W7 or W8 between the two junctions and on inspection with my virtual helicopter, I suspect it wouldn’t be that challenging to upgrade.

It would also be sensible to clear the Castle Donnington Line for European-size freight trains, so that they could reach the East Midlands Gateway freight terminal.

This Google Map shows the location of the East Midlands Gateway.

Note.

  1. East Midlands Parkway station is marked by the red arrow in the North-East corner of the map.
  2. Castle Donnington circuit is in the South West corner of the map.
  3. The long East-West runway of East Midlands Airport is clearly visible.
  4. East Midlands Gateway is to the North of the airport.

This second Google Map shows East Midlands Gateway in more detail.

Note.

  1. In the North-East corner is Maritime Transport’s rail freight terminal.
  2. The M1 runs North-South at the Eastern edge of the map.
  3. East Midlands Gateway Logistics Park with two Amazon sheds is in the middle.
  4. The runway at East Midlands Airport is clearly visible.

The Integrated Rail Plan for the North And Midlands has already announced that High Speed Two will join the Midland Main Line to the South of East Midlands Parkway station to serve Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield.

  • This new line will have to go past the airport, either to the North of the Logistics Park or South of the Airport.
  • Could there be a station here, both for passengers and the workers at a very busy freight airport and Logistics Park?
  • Currently, trains between the rail terminal and London, London Gateway and the Port of Felixstowe have to reverse North of the rail terminal to access the terminal.
  • All the rail links between the Midland Main Line and East Midlands Gateway would need to be built to accept European-size freight trains, to ensure maximum flexibility.

It strikes me, that there are a lot of extra features that could be added to the rail network between the Midland Main Line and East Midlands Gateway.

Could The Erewash Valley Line Via Ilkeston Be Cleared For European-Size Freight Trains?

Consider.

  • According to a Network Rail Map from February 2010, the Erewash Valley Line is cleared to W8.
  • According to Wikipedia, it is the second busiest freight route in the East Midlands.
  • Network Rail have spent £250 million on the line in recent years to improve junctions and improve signalling.
  • The route doesn’t have a large number of passenger services.

These pictures show Ilkeston station on the Erewash Valley Line.

Note.

  1. The recently rebuilt bridge and the separate avoiding line.
  2. The Class 158 train under the bridge is 3.81 metres high.

As the European gauge; GB+ is 4.32 metres high, I would feel that Ilkeston station can handle European-size freight trains.

I have flown my virtual helicopter all the way over the Erewash Valley Line from Toton to Clay Cross North junction.

  • It looks as if most of the not many bridges are either recent or could be updated to handle the large European-sized freight trains.
  • It should also be noted that in many places there is a third track or space for them.
  • There are three stations and the Alfreton tunnel.

After this quick look, I feel that the Erewash Valley Line will be able to handle European-size freight trains.

Could Tapton Junction to Rotherham Masborough and Doncaster Be Cleared For European-Size Freight Trains?

This route has very few bridges and I doubt updating wouldn’t cause too many problems.

CargoBeamer

Would it be possible for one of CargoBeamer’s piggy-back trains carrying trailers to run between the Channel Tunnel and the rail terminal at East Midlands Gateway Logistics Park or perhaps another terminal further up the Midland Main Line?

If they could use the Gospel Oak and Barking Line to access the Midland Main Line, I don’t see why not!

Conclusion

It appears that it should be possible to allow European-size freight trains to run between the North of England and the Channel Tunnel.

 

 

January 9, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Transformer Deliveries Mark Major Milestone For Braybrooke Substation Project And The Midland Main Line Upgrade

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from National Grid.

The press release says this.

Since early 2021 National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET) has been building a new electricity substation near Braybrooke, on the outskirts of Market Harborough in Leicestershire.

The new substation, once complete, will form a vital part of electrical infrastructure to support Network Rail’s electrification of the Midland Main Line.

Following months of hard work, the project has reached a major milestone, as the engineering team have taken delivery of two new transformers.

The transformers arrived during November and were delivered via an access road off Kettering Road built to ensure construction traffic avoids the areas of Market Harborough and Braybrooke. Weighing an impressive 100 tonnes, they will now be installed at the substation over the coming months.

This Google Map shows the access road.

Note.

The main A6 road running across the top of the map.

Kettering road leads off it into Market Harborough.

The Midland Main Line running across the bottom of the map.

The access track runs between the two.

This enlargement of the South East corner of the map shows the 400 kV overhead transmission line.

Note that the shadows give away two 400 kV pylons.

Will the sub-station be built in the smaller rectangular field?

How Many Sub-Stations Will Be Needed For The Midland Main Line Electrification?

I seem to remember that the Great Western Main Line to Cardiff was electrified with just three sub-stations, London, Cardiff and one in the middle and the London one is shared with Crossrail.

So I suspect that the feed of electricity may only need one further substation at the Northern end.

Conclusion

It does seem that National Grid have planned this well.

I suspect, bringing in the transformers didn’t cause too much disruption and the route gives good access to the overhead line.

January 5, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Midland Main Line Electrification – 4th Jan 2022

I took these pictures from the train today, as I went to Leicester.

Note.

  1. We overtook the Class 360 train to Corby, just before it left the main line at Kettering North junction.
  2. Once past Kettering North junction, the Midland Main Line is only two tracks as far as Leicester station.
  3. A lot of the gantries on the two slow lines seem tall.
  4. At least twenty gantries had been installed North of the junction.

Some of the new gantries looked to be lighter than those South of the junction, but then they are only supporting electrification for two tracks, rather than four.

This Google Map shows the junction.

In this section, my train overtook the train to Corby.

  • The track going North-West goes to Leicester.
  • The track going North-East goes to Corby.
  • The track going South goes to Kettering.
  • It looks like to the West of the Midland Main Line is a large electricity sub-station.

In the tenth of my pictures you can see the three vertical poles opposite the sub-station, which can be picked out in the map.

 

January 4, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 27 Comments

Discontinuous Electrification Through Derwent Valley Mills

One big problem area of electrification on the Midland Main Line could be North of Derby, where the railway runs through the World Heritage Site of the Derwent Valley Mills. There might be serious objections to electrification in this area.

But if electrification were to be installed between Leicester and Derby stations, the following would be possible.

  • The Midland Main Line would be electrified at East Midlands Hub station.
  • Power could be taken from High Speed Two’s supply at East Midland Hub station, even if High Speed Two is not built in full.
  • Battery-electric trains could do a return trip to Nottingham from an electrified East Midlands Parkway station, as it’s only sixteen miles in total.

I am sure, that Hitachi’s Class 810 trains could be upgraded to have a of perhaps twenty-five miles on battery power, as this fits with Hitachi’s statements.

North of Derby, there would be electrification on the following sections.

  • Derby station and South of the heritage-sensitive section at Belper station.
  • Sheffield station and North of the heritage-sensitive section at Duffield station.

Milford Tunnel, which has Grade II Listed portals and is part of the World Heritage Site would not be electrified.

Belper and Duffield stations are 2.6 miles or 4.8 kilometres apart.

I believe it could be arranged that there would be no electrification in the sensitive section, where the Heritage Taliban might object.

The Hitachi Intercity Battery Hybrid Train

Hitachi will start testing their Intercity Battery Hybrid Train next year.

The train is described in this Hitachi infographic.

Note that is has a gap-jumping range of 5 km, which would handle the gap between Belper and Duffield stations.

CrossCountry Services Between Derby And Sheffield

CrossCountry operate the following services between Derby and Sheffield through Milford Tunnel and the World Heritage Site.

  • Plymouth and Edinburgh Waverley/Glasgow Central
  • Southampton/Reading and Newcastle

CrossCountry would need new trains and one of the current Hitachi Class 802 trains could handle this route and use electrification where it exists.

A five kilometre gap will be no big obstacle to designing a battery-electric train for these CrossCountry services.

Freight Trains

In Will Zero-Carbon Freight Trains Be Powered By Battery, Electric Or Hydrogen Locomotives?, I came to this conclusion.

In the title of this post, I asked if freight locomotives of the future would be battery, electric or hydrogen.

I am sure of one thing, which is that all freight locomotives must be able to use electrification and if possible, that means both 25 KVAC overhead and 750 VDC third rail. Electrification will only increase in the future, making it necessary for most if not all locomotives in the future to be able to use it.

I feel there will be both battery-electric and hydrogen-electric locomotives, with the battery-electric locomotives towards the less powerful end.

Hydrogen-electric will certainly dominate at the heavy end.

These locomotives would be able to handle the section of the Midland Main Line through Derwent Valley Mills.

 

December 30, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

New ‘HS3’ Link To Yorkshire Proposed By Thinktank After Region’s HS2 Axe

The title of this post, is the same as this article in the Yorkshire Post.

This is the introductory paragraph.

A new “HS3” high-speed rail line between Yorkshire and the Nottinghamshire town of Newark could help make up for the loss of the HS2 eastern leg from Yorkshire, a report by transport think-tank; Greengauge 21 has suggested.

There is also this map from Greengauge 21.

I clipped my copy of the map from this report on Greengauge 21, which is entitled East, West, North And South.

Note.

  1. As in the Integrated Plan For The North And Midlands, Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield have direct connections to London via High Speed Two.
  2. The Derby leg is extended to Sheffield via the existing Midland Main Line.
  3. The Nottingham leg is extended to Newark, where it joins the East Coast Main Line.
  4. A new High Speed Line, which is shown in white and labelled HS3 links Newark to the East Coast Main Line and the line between Leeds and York at a new triangular junction South of Colton Junction.
  5. Part of the current route between Doncaster and Colton Junction is the Selby Diversion, which according to Wikipedia was built for speeds upward of 140 mph.
  6. The route splits in the region of Colton Junction with the Western leg going to Leeds and Bradford and he Northern leg going to York and Newcastle.

I feel this is a better plan than the previous one from High Speed Two.

  • It adds Bradford, Derby and Nottingham to the High Speed Two network.
  • There is a connection to Birmingham and possibly the South West and Wales.
  • The East Coast Main Line is effectively four-tracked between Newark North Gate and York.

I have a few thoughts.

Colton Junction

This junction will feature a lot in this post, so I had better explain where it is.

The Selby Diversion was built in the 1980s to create a new route, which avoided the newly-discovered Selby coalfield.

Colton Junction is about six miles South of York and is at the Northern end of the Selby Diversion.

This Google Map shows the junction.

Note.

  1. The East Coast Main Line going between South-West and North-East across the map.
  2. The railway going North-East leads to York.
  3. The village of Colton is at the top of the map.
  4. Colton Junction is South of the village, where the East Coast Main Line splits.
  5. The line going South-West is the route without electrification to Leeds, used by TransPennine Express and others.

The line going South is the Selby Diversion, used by all trains on the East Coast Main Line.

East Midlands Hub Or East Midlands Parkway

Some reports indicate that a new Birmingham and Nottingham High Speed Line will go via East Midland Parkway station.

  • East Midland Parkway is a fully-functioning four-platform station.
  • It is already operating.
  • There will soon be a large brownfield site next door, when the coal-fired Radcliffe-on-Soar power-station is demolished.
  • It has connections to Nottingham and Sheffield via Derby and Chesterfield.
  • Platforms are probably long enough to handle splitting and joining.
  • An advanced passenger shuttle could be built to East Midlands Airport.

This map from High Speed Two shows the route of the Eastern leg of High Speed Two, where it passes East Midland Parkway station and Radcliffe-on-Soar power-station.

Note.

  1. The coloured line is the route of High Speed Two.
  2. Red indicates viaduct
  3. Yellow indicates cutting.
  4. Green indicates green tunnel.
  5. There is a curious clover-leaf shape  to the East of High Speed Two.

This Google Map shows the same area.

Note

  1. The River Soar and Remembrance Way can be picked out on both maps.
  2. The Midland Main Line runs North-South in the Google Map and passes through East Midlands Parkway station.
  3. It is possible to pick out the curious clover leaf shape to the North of the railway station, where the rail line goes into the power station.
  4. Returning to the High Speed Two map it is possible to pick out the railway and power stations.

This map from High Speed Two shows the route of the Eastern leg of High Speed Two, to the South-West of East Midlands Parkway station.

Note.

  1. The coloured line is the route of High Speed Two.
  2. Red indicates viaduct.
  3. East Midlands Parkway station is in the North-East corner of the map.
  4. The Midland Main Line runs North-South down the Eastern side of the map.

Could the route of High Speed Two be adjusted so that it runs through East Midlands Parkway station?

This Google Map shows a similar area as the second High Speed Two map.

With the exception of the village of Radcliffe-on-Soar, there aren’t many, who would get in the way of the development of a connection between High Speed Two and the Midland Main Line to the South of East Midlands Parkway station.

  • High Speed Two crosses Remembrance Way  in the South West corner of the map, where there is a junction with the M1 and runs diagonally across the map.
  • High Speed Two could probably sneak up the North side of Remembrance Way.
  • The station might need to be moved to the North a bit to give space.
  • The map also shows the space to the East, that will be created with the demolishing of the power station.

Developing East Midlands Parkway instead of East Midlands Hub could be the more affordable option.

High Speed Two’s Eastern Leg Services

This graphic shows High Speed Two’s services before the Eastern Leg was deleted.

Note.

  1. Western Leg services are to the left of the vertical black line.
  2. Eastern Leg services are to the right of the vertical black line.
  3. Blue indicates a full-size service.
  4. Yellow indicates a Classic-Compatible service.

Destinations on the former Eastern Leg get the following services.

  • Chesterfield – 1 tph
  • Darlington – 2 tph
  • Durham – 1 tph
  • East Midlands Hub – 7 tph
  • Leeds – 5 tph
  • Newcastle – 3 tph
  • Sheffield – 2 tph
  • York – 6 tph

Note.

  1. Two trains will split and join at East Midlands Hub or East Midlands Parkway. But given what I said earlier, the split will take place at East Midlands Parkway.
  2. Derby, Chesterfield and Sheffield could get two tph.
  3. If the pattern of the currently proposed High Speed Two service is followed, that would mean that 5tph to Leeds and four tph to York and further North would go through Nottingham.

I suspect that there could be a reduction in either High Speed Services on the Eastern Leg or on the East Coast Main Line.

Splitting And Joining At East Midlands Parkway

Consider.

  • All Northbound services on High Speed Two and the Midland Main Line pass through East Midlands Parkway station in the same direction.
  • All Southbound services on High Speed Two and the Midland Main Line pass through East Midlands Parkway station in the same direction.
  • The four platforms at East Midlands Parkway station will give a lot of flexibility.

If trains split and joined at East Midlands Parkway, there would be no need to reverse to serve Derby, Chesterfield and Sheffield. I can’t see how this could be performed at East Midlands Hub without the Sheffield train reversing. This probably explains why in the original plans for High Speed Two, Sheffield and Chesterfield had their own spur and Derby was not served directly by High Speed Two.

The redesign in the Integrated Rail Plan For The North And Midlands, which abandons the Sheffield spur, probably reduces the costs significantly.

Nottingham

Nottingham will be an extremely busy station with these services running through.

  • High Speed Two – 2 tph – Birmingham Curzon Street and Leeds HS2 via Nottingham – Full-Size – 200 metres
  • High Speed Two – 1 tph – Birmingham Curzon Street and Newcastle via Nottingham, York, Darlington and Durham – Classic-Compatible – 200 metres
  • High Speed Two – 1 tph – London and Leeds HS2 via Nottingham – Classic-Compatible – 200 metres
  • High Speed Two – 1 tph – London and Leeds HS2 via Nottingham – Full-Size – 400 metres
  • High Speed Two – 1 tph – London and Leeds HS2 via Birmingham Interchange and Nottingham  – Full-Size – 400 metres
  • High Speed Two – 1 tph – London and York via Nottingham – Classic-Compatible – 200 metres
  • High Speed Two – 1 tph – London and Newcastle via Nottingham and York – Classic-Compatible – 200 metres
  • High Speed Two – 1 tph – London and Newcastle via Nottingham, York and Darlington – Classic-Compatible – 200 metres
  • East Midlands Railway – 1 tph – London St. Pancras and Nottingham via Kettering, Market Harborough and Leicester  – Class 810
  • East Midlands Railway – 1 tph – London St. Pancras and Nottingham via Kettering, Market Harborough, Leicester, Loughborough, East Midlands Parkway and Beeston – Class 810
  • East Midlands Railway – 1 tph – Liverpool Lime Street and Norwich via Chesterfield, Alfreton, Nottingham, Grantham, Peterborough and several other stations – Class 158/170
  • East Midlands Railway – 1 tph – Crewe and Newark Castle via Nottingham and several other stations – Class 158/170
  • East Midlands Railway – 1 tph – Leicester and Lincoln via East Midlands Parkway, Attenborough, Beeston, Nottingham, Carlton and several other stations – Class 158/170
  • CrossCountry – 1 tph – Cardiff Central and Nottingham via Derby, Spondon, Long Eaton, Beeston and several other stations – Class 170
  • CrossCountry – 1 tph – Birmingham New Street and Nottingham via Derby – Class 170
  • Midlands Connect – 1 tph – Leeds and Bedford via Nottingham and Leicester – Classic-Compatible – 200 metres

Note.

  1. With High Speed Two services London means London Euston and Old Oak Common.
  2. Two High Speed Two services do not stop in Nottingham
  3. With several of these routes I have only put in a few intermediate stations to show the routing of the train at Nottingham.

These services total up to  twelve tph going through Nottingham and four tph terminating at Nottingham from London St. Pancras and Birmingham New Street.

Nottingham station would need to be able to handle the following with respect to through trains.

  • A train every five minutes.
  • Some trains would be 400 metres long.

But there is plenty of space in Nottingham station and High Speed Two’s digital signalling will be able to handle 18 tph.

Nottingham And Newark

The Nottingham and Lincoln Line between Nottingham and Newark appears from my helicopter to be fairly straight.

  • The line is double track.
  • There are eight stations between Nottingham and the East Coast Main Line.
  • The maximum speed of the line is 70 mph.
  • It is 18.1 miles between Nottingham and the East Coast Main Line.
  • I suspect that it could be upgraded to a 100 mph between Nottingham and the East Coast Main Line.

Typical services in tph will be the same as at Nottingham, which is 12 tph.  But there are also occasional freight trains and Peak services to and from London St. Pancras.

With digital signalling on this relatively-simple section, if it were to be fitted with High Speed Two digital signalling, that will have to be able to handle 18 tph, what would you do with the other six tph?

  • Some paths would be used to handle the occasional freight trains and Peak services to and from London St. Pancras.
  • Some of the capacity could also be used by the stopping trains.

The amount of traffic would probably be less than on the Great Eastern Main Line, which is capable of 100 mph running.

Newark

Newark has the notorious flat crossing, where the Nottingham and Lincoln Line crosses the East Coast Main Line.

This Google Map shows the track layout at Newark.

Note.

  1. Newark Castle station is on the Nottingham and Lincoln Line and is in the South-West corner of the map.
  2. Newark North Gate station is on the East Coast Main Line and is in the South-East corner of the map.
  3. The two rail lines run diagonally across the map and cross near the top of the map towards the right.
  4. Nottingham lies in a South-Westerly direction from this map.
  5. Lincoln lies in a North-Easterly direction from this map.
  6. Doncaster, Leeds and York lie in a North-Westerly direction from this map.
  7. Grantham, Peterborough and London lie in a South-Easterly direction from this map.

Under the Greengauge 21 plan, trains will need to run in the following directions.

  • In both directions on the East Coast Main Line.
  • In both directions on the Nottingham and Lincoln Line.
  • Coming South on the East Coast Main Line, trains will need to be able to go towards Nottingham on the Notting and Lincoln Line.
  • Coming from Nottingham on the Nottingham and Lincoln Line, trains will need to be able to go Leeds and York on the East Coast Main Line.

It would be a complicated set of junctions and flyovers for a railway, but not impossible to design and build.

Newark North Gate And Colton Junction

I’ll repeat the map I showed earlier, that shows the routes between Newark North Gate and Colton Junction.

Note.

  1. The current East Coast Main Line via Doncaster is shown dotted in black.
  2. The proposed new route, which is called HS3 is shown in white.
  3. Colton Junction is at the Northern end of the new track.

I suspect that the new route would be built to the same operating standards as High Speed Two.

  • Operating speed of 205 mph.
  • High specification electrification.
  • Signalling capable of handling 18 tph.
  • All classic and Classic-Compatible high speed trains would be able to take both routes, but would be limited to 125 mph or 140 mph with in-cab digital signalling on the East Coast Main Line.
  • Trains needing to call at Doncaster and freight trains, would use the East Coast Main Line.
  • Full-Size High Speed Two trains would generally use the new high speed line.

It looks to be a good way to increase capacity between Newark and Leeds and York.

Timings Between Newark North Gate And Colton Junction

Consider.

  • Newark North Gate and Colton Junction are 63 miles apart.
  • Trains take 39 minutes.
  • There is a stop at Doncaster.

This is an average speed of 97 mph.

If trains went non-stop on the new ‘HS3’ route, there would be these timings at different average speeds.

  • 100 mph – 37.8 minutes
  • 125 mph – 30.2 minutes
  • 140 mph – 27 minutes
  • 160 mph – 23.6 minutes
  • 180 mph – 22.2 minutes
  • 200 mph – 18.9 minutes

Note.

  1. I have assumed the distance is the same as via the East Coast Main Line.
  2. I have made no allowance for longer acceleration and deceleration times to and from higher line speeds.
  3. High Speed Two Classic Compatible Trains could handle up to 205 mph if the track could support it.

It does appear that savings of upwards of fifteen minutes could be possible on all services that could use the new route.

Both East Coast Main Line and High Speed Two services would get time savings.

Colton Junction And York

As I saw and wrote about in London To Edinburgh On Lumo, the route between Leeds and York is being fully electrified.

The East Coast Main Line is already fully electrified, so I doubt the connection between ‘HS3’  and York will be difficult.

Trains will just exchange a 205 mph track for the East Coast Main Line’s 125 mph or 140 mph with in-cab digital signalling.

Colton Junction And Leeds

This High Speed Two Map shows the original planned track layout for High Speed Two to the East of Leeds.

Note.

  1. The large blue dot indicates Leeds HS2 station.
  2. The orange lines indicate the new high speed tracks for High Speed Two.
  3. The track going North-East is High Speed Two’s connection to the East Coast Main Line in the area of Colton Junction.
  4. The track going South is the Eastern Leg of High Speed Two to East Midlands Hub station, which has now been deleted.

Would it be possible to modify the route of High Speed Two to create a link between the Norther end of Newark and Colton Junction High Speed Line, which Greengauge 21 called HS3 and the proposed Leeds HS2 station?

This map from High Speed Two shows the area, where the High Speed Two Lines were originally proposed to run.

Note.

  1. The village of Swillington to the East of the proposed route of the Eastern Leg of High Speed Two.
  2. Junction 45 of the M1 in the North-West corner of the map.
  3. The River Aire and the Aire and Calder Navigation Canal on the route of High Speed Two to Leeds HS2 station.

This Google Map shows the same area.

I’m no expert, but I do believe that it would be possible to create a chord to allow trains to access Leeds HS2 station from the York direction.

I would suspect that High Speed Two looked seriously at this chord, as it would enable the proposed Leeds HS2 station to have services to York, Newcastle and Edinburgh using the East Coast Main Line.

But there is one problem with this route – It doesn’t allow and easy solution to serve Bradford.

This map from High Speed Two, shows the Leeds HS2 station and the last bit of the approach from the East.

This article on the Architects Journal is entitled Foster + Partners behind designs for Leeds HS2 Station. The article shows.

  • Leeds HS2 station is being designed as a terminal station.
  • It shares a common concourse with the current Leeds station.

It appears from the pictures in the Architects Journal article, that passengers would have to change trains to get to Bradford.

The alternative would be for trains into Leeds to take the route used by Northern’s service between York and Blackpool North, which goes via Church Fenton, Micklefield, East Garforth, Garforth, Leeds, Bramley, New Pudsey and Bradford Interchange.

But judging by the times of other services, Colton Junction and Leeds would take over twenty minutes and it would be a further twenty minutes to Bradford Interchange.

I can’t think that this is a viable alternative.

Conclusion

I am led to the conclusion, that to get a decent service into Leeds from the East using Greengaige 21’s ‘HS3’ between Newark and Colton junction, would necessitate the building of a new Leeds HS2 station and a new route between the new station and Colton junction.

December 7, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands

See this link

November 18, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

Electrifying Derwent Valley Mills

Under the latest plans the Midland Main Line will be electrified.

One problem is electrifying the line through the World Heritage Site of Derwent Valley Mills.

This Google Map shows the Midland Main Line between Belper and Duffield stations.

Note.

  1. Belper with its station is at the North of the map.
  2. Duffield station is at the South of the map.

In the middle of the map the railway line disappears into Milford Tunnel.

Wikipedia says this about the portals of the tunnel.

Both portals are grade II listed, being part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.

I doubt that the Heritage Taliban would allow the tunnel to be electrified, as they wouldn’t want wires near the tunnels.

But between Belper and Duffield stations is only 4.2 kilometres.

This Hitachi infographic shows their Intercity Battery Hybrid Train, which I described in Hitachi Rail And Angel Trains To Create Intercity Battery Hybrid Train On TransPennine Express.

Note that the train can cover gaps of 5 km.

The Class 810 trains, that will be used by East Midlands Railways will have four diesel engines and I’m certain these trains will be able to be retrofitted to be Intercity Battery Hybrid Trains.

The electrification of the line will be discontinuous with no wires between Belper and Duffield stations.

Express trains going between Derby and Sheffield will go through the following procedure.

  • Arrive at Duffield station with a full battery, after using the electrification from Derby and the South.
  • Drop the pantograph in the area of Duffield station and switch to battery power.
  • Proceed through Milford tunnel at an appropriate speed.
  • Once under the electrification again at Belper station, they would raise the pantograph and switch to using the electrification.

The problem of electrification of Milford tunnel in the area of the World Heritage Site has been neatly side-stepped.

 

 

November 18, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment