The Anonymous Widower

Composite Footbridge Under Development

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Network Rail has become a Tier 1 member of the National Composites Centre as part of the Futura project to develop a composite footbridge based on a concept designed by Marks Barfield Architects and COWI.

This picture shows the concept.

Network Rail seem to spend a lot of time and money on footbridge designs.

There was the Network Rail/RIBA Footbridge Design Competition, which resulted in this winning design.

I wrote Winner Announced In The Network Rail Footbridge Design Ideas Competition in April 2019.

All now seems to be very quiet on this footbridge design.

Are Network Rail engineers members of the Institute of Meetings Engineers?

I was first introduced to the existence of this august body around 1971.

I am very Marxist (Groucho tendency) on the subject of clubs and institutes and would never join any, that would have me as a member.

Let’s Get Busy!

Both these bridges can be fitted into many stations, by the following sequence of simple operations.

  • Create a level space on either side of the tracks.
  • Add any necessary services like an electricity supply for lift and lighting and any necessary drainage.
  • Lift the bridge into place from a spcial train with a crane.
  • Connect any electrical supply for lifts and test.

These types of bridges can surely be installed quickly in scores of locations.

In Garforth Station To Go Step-Free, I discuss how such a bridge could be installed quickly at Garforth station.

This is surely, the sort of project we need to stimulate the economy after we give the covids, the proverbial boot.

 

 

 

 

 

September 21, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Electrification Plans For Line Between Fife And Clackmannanshire

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

The next stage of development work is due to begin for Network Rail engineers between Alloa and Longannet, which could see passenger services return between Clackmannanshire and Fife.

The article also makes these points.

  • As part of the Scottish Government’s decarbonisation plan, it is hoped the former freight line will be electrified.
  • Engineers will be conducting survey work and site and geological investigations.
  • Three new stations are also hoped to be introduced at Clackmannan, Kincardine and Longannet.
  • The work is also hoping to bring a two trains per hour (tph) passenger service between Alloa and Longannet.

There will be a lot of surveying and planning before work starts.

Existing Rail Routes And Services In The Area

These are the current routes and services in the area.

Alloa Station

Alloa station was closed in October 1968, when Harold Wilson was Prime Minister and re-opened in 2008.

Wikipedia says this about the re-opening.

Under Scottish Executive funding, the line between Stirling and Alloa was reopened to both passenger and freight traffic, with a key benefit being a reduction in congestion on the Forth Railway Bridge.

The basic train service is an hourly service to Stirling and Glasgow run by a Class 385 train.

Journey times are as follows.

  • Alloa and Stirling – 9-15 minutes
  • Alloa and Glasgow Queen Street – 45 minutes

Trains seem to take about twelve minutes to turnround at Alloa station.

This Google Map shows Alloa station.

Note.

  1. The station currently only has one platform.
  2. A second line is already laid through the station and although, it is not electrified, the gantries are positioned to electrify the second track.
  3. The two tracks merge into one to the West of the station.
  4. All passenger trains currently use the Southern platform.

This picture shows the station, just before the electric train services started.

The station also must have one of the largest station shops in the UK, which is an Asda superstore.

The Kincardine Line

The Kincardine Line is the one proposed for electrification.

  • It is currently, a freight-only route, that was re-opened to serve Longannet power station.
  • At Alloa station, it is an extension of the route from Stirling.
  • It may be connected to the new Talgo factory at Longannet, that I wrote about in A Spaniard In The Works!, as the factory will surely need electrified rail access, if any electric trains for the UK are to be built or serviced there.
  • The line passes through Clackmannan, Kincardine and Longannet.

As the route used to handle long coal trains, could it handle a 200 metre long classic-compatible high speed train, that Talgo might build for High Speed Two at Longannet?

The Fife Circle Line

According to Wikipedia, the Fife Circle Line is the local service North from Edinburgh, that goes in a long loop through Fife.

This map from Wikipedia shows the stations on the Fife Circle Line.

Note.

  1. The route is double-track.
  2. The route is not electrified.
  3. The train service is generally two trains per hour (tph) in both directions.
  4. The distance from Dalmeny to Glenrothes with Thornton via Cowdenbeath is 22.3 miles
  5. The distance from Dalmeny to Glenrothes with Thornton via Kirkcaldy is 21.4 miles
  6. Trains appear to wait between three and seven minutes at Glenrothes with Thornton before returning to Edinburgh by the alternate route.

The map doesn’t show the connection with the Kincardine Line at Dunfermline Town station.

This Google Map shows the Fife Circle Line, through Dunfermline Town station.

Note.

  1. Dunfermline Town station at the top of the map, is indicated by a station sign.
  2. The Northbound Fife Circle Line to Cowdenbeath leaves the map in a North-Easterly direction.
  3. The Southbound Fife Circle Line to Rosyth and Dalmeny, runs behind the building that looks strangely like a signpost and leaves the map in a Southerly direction
  4. There is a junction, called Charlestown Junction, where the Kincardine Line joins the Fife Circle Line.

This Google Map shows Charlestown junction.

Note.

  1. The Fife Circle Line is double-track.
  2. The Kincardine Line is only single-track.
  3. Trains must enter and leave the Kincardine Line from a Northerly direction.
  4. There is a cross-over between Charlestown junction and Dunfermline Town station.

The Google Map shows Dunfermline Town station to a larger scale.

It looks like fitting in an additional platform could be difficult.

Hitachi’s Regional Battery Train

I am introducing this train into the discussion, as the train might be an alternative to electrifying the Kincardine Line.

This infographic from Hitachi, describes the train.

Note that 90 kilometres is fifty-six miles.

From what Hitachi have said, it is likely that Class 385 trains, as used by ScotRail could be fitted with batteries and become a version of the Regional Battery Train.

  • They could be three or four cars.
  • They could work in pairs.
  • They would have a 100 mph operating speed.

Even on battery power, they might save time, against the current diesel units working services in Scotland.

Regional Battery Trains And The Fife Circle Line

This map shows the rail system to the West of Edinburgh.

All lines except for the route through South Gyle and Edinburgh Gateway stations are electrified.

A train going round the Fife Circle Route would do the following legs.

  • Edinburgh and South Gyle – 4.5 miles – All but one mile electrified.
  • South Gyle and Dalmeny – 5 miles – Not electrified.
  • Dalmeny and Glenrothes with Thornton via Cowdenbeath – 22.3 miles – Not electrified
  • Glenrothes with Thornton and Dalmeny via Kirkaldy – 21.4 miles – Not electrified
  • South Gyle and Dalmeny – 5 miles – Not electrified.
  • Edinburgh and South Gyle – 4.5 miles – All but one mile electrified.

This gives the following  totals

  • Not electrified via Cowdenbeath – 28.3 miles
  • Not electrified via Kirkcaldy – 27.4 miles
  • Round trip – 62.7 miles
  • Electrified – 7 miles

It would be very tight for a Regional Battery Train to do a round trip of 62.7 miles consistently with a range of just 56 miles, with only seven miles of electrification at the Edinburgh end.

But if charging at Glenrothes with Thornton were added, this would enable the trains to start out on the near thirty miles without electrification with full batteries from both ends. They would be unlikely to run out of power halfway.

Regional Battery Trains And The Levenmouth Rail Link

In Scottish Government Approve £75m Levenmouth Rail Link, I wrote about the five-mile long Levenmouth Rail Link, and how it could be run by battery trains.

Since I wrote that post, Hitachi have announced their Regional Battery Train.

  • If these were used on the route, they would join the Fife Circle at Thornton North Junction.
  • I estimate that the track distance that is not electrified between Leven and Edinburgh via Thornton North junction, is about thirty-five miles, whether the trains go via Glenrothes with Thornton and Cowdenbeath or Kirkcaldy,

As with the Glenrothes with Thornton service, if there was charging at at both ends, the route would be within comfortable range of Hitachi’s Regional Battery Trains.

Regional Battery Trains And The Kincardine Line

Rough distances by road along the Kincardine Line are as follows.

  • Alloa and Longannet – 8 miles
  • Alloa and Dunfermline Town – 15 miles
  • Alloa and Glenrothes with Thornton via Dunfermline Town – 30 miles

This would surely mean that Regional Battery Trains could work all these routes.

  • Trains would leave Alloa with full batteries after charging on the electrification from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling.
  • Longannet and Dunfermline Town could be served by a return trip from Alloa on batteries.
  • Charging at the Fife end would only be needed for the Glenrothes with Thornton route.

Some might think, that this would mean the Kincardine Line needn’t be electrified. But I feel Talgo will want an electrified route to their factory, so trains can move in and out under electric power.

The Design Of The Kincardine Route

These are my thoughts on various topics, taken vaguely from West to East.

Alloa Station

Alloa station already has two tracks, but as the plans envisage two tph between Alloa and Longannet, I am fairly certain a second platform will be needed at Alloa.

There is certainly space, but the station would also need a bridge for passengers.

Perhaps, the architects will use something like this bridge design.

This step-free bridge won the Network Rail/RIBA Footbridge Design Competition, but has yet to be deployed on the UK rail network.

Will the two tph service between Alloa and Longannet continue West to Stirling?

I suspect the track layout with a passing loop at Cambus to add to the one at Alloa station will give sufficient track capacity, so I suspect there will be two tph between Longannet and Stirling.

Would both services terminate at Glasgow or would one go to Glasgow, with the other to Edinburgh?

Clackmannan Station

The small town of Clackmannan has a population of about 3,500 and used to be served by Clackmannan and Kennet station, which closed in 1930.

This Google Map shows the town of Clackmannan.

Note.

  1. The Kincardine Line runs between the North West and South-East corners of the map, through the centre of the town.
  2. The original Clackmannan and Kennet station was to the South-East of this map.

This second Google map shows an enlargement of part of the town.

It would appear that there is space for a station.

  • Only a single platform would be needed.
  • What is the plan for the development site?

It could be designed as a walkway station, as has been proposed for Magor and Undy station in Wales.

Kincardine Station

The Kincardine Line runs between the small town of Kincardine and the River Forth and Kincardine station closed in 1930.

This Google Map shows the railway alongside the river.

Note.

  1. Kincardine Bridge crossing the Firth of Forth.
  2. The bridge can be used by pedestrians and cyclists.
  3. The Kincardine Line running along the river.
  4. It is not a long walk between the town centre and the railway.
  5. The blue dot to the South of the road junction marks the start of the Fife Coastal Path, which is over a hundred miles long.

Will the station be built in this area?

Longannet Station

Longannet power station was at the time of closure in 2016, the third-largest coal-fired power station in Europe.

This Google Map shows the site.

Note.

  1. The actual power station is in the middle.
  2. To the West is the coal store.
  3. The Kincardine Line comes along the river and then loops North of the power station, before curving down to the river to go to the East.
  4. There appears to be two triangular junctions either side of the coal store with a loop around the store to allow delivery of coal.

This second Google Map shows between the power station and the coal store.

Note.

  1. The Kincardine Line running West-East across the map.
  2. The triangular junction connecting it to the loop line around the coal store.
  3. The coal conveyor that used to move coal from the store to the power station.

I’d certainly like to see the plans for the site, as it is one with a lot of potential.

  • There is space for a large rail-connected factory for Talgo.
  • The station could be placed at the most convenient place.
  • There is space for a two platform station to make sure a two tph service is possible.
  • There could be lots of housing and industrial units.
  • there could be waterside housing.
  • There could be a convenient rail service to Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling.

It could be a big development for the Central Belt of Scotland.

Onward To Dunfermline

I have followed the route to Dunfermline Town station in my helicopter and it doesn’t seem the most difficult of lines to reopen.

  • Unlike many lines like this, there doesn’t appear to be too many bridges or level crossings.
  • The connection to the Fife Circle Line looks to be adequate.

I have these thoughts.

  • Cn this section of the line, could more stations be added?
  • As the Fife Circle Line is not electrified, would battery electric trains be ideal?
  • Would turnround facilities be needed at Dunfermline Town stations.

But at the moment, the plan is only to go as far as Longannet.

Thoughts On The Stations

The stations would generally be very simple.

  • Alloa would be a two-platform station.
  • Longannet might need provision for a passing loop and a second platform, so extension to Dunfermline wouldn’t be difficult.
  • All other stations could be single platforms.
  • All stations would be step-free.

Only two-platform stations would need footbridges.

Final Thoughts On Electrification

Consider.

  • All services on the Fife Circle Line, Kincardine Line and the Levenmouth Rail Link could be run using Hitachi’s proposed Regional Battery Train, with a few charging facilities at selected stations.
  • Talgo will need an electrified line to Longannet
  • As Alloa and Dunfermline Town is only about 15 miles, a Regional Battery Train could run a return trip without recharging.

It would appear that only the single-track between Alloa and Longannet needs to be electrified.

Conclusion

This looks to be a good scheme.

September 6, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Trip On The East Suffolk Line In A New Stadler Class 755 Train

Today, I took a round trip between Ipswich and Lowestoft stations, along the East Suffolk Line, in one of Greater Anglia’s new Class 755 trains.

These are my observations and comments.

Stations

The stations vary between the very good and the very basic.

  • I don’t think that any station has a step-free bridge to cross the line.
  • Many stations are just a single platform.
  • Crossing the line often involves a nearby level crossing.
  • Westerfield, Woodbridge, Saxmundham, Darsham, Halesworth and Beccles have two platforms.
  • Lowestoft and Ipswich are both step-free from the street to the platforms.
  • There also appears to be step-free access between the new trains and the platforms.

Overall, from what I could see from the train, each stop was fairly efficient, although I do think that when the drivers and train staff, fully get to grips with the trains, that there is time to be saved on each of the ten stops.

Consider.

  • These trains have much better acceleration and deceleration, than the trains for which the timetable was written.
  • The trains have level access between train and platform. At Lowestoft, I saw an electric wheelchair roll out of the train at a smart speed.
  • These trains set the Gold Standard for step-free access.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see at least a minute and possibly two minutes saved at each station.

That would reduce the current journey time of one hour and thirty minutes between Lowestoft and Ipswich by perhaps ten minutes.

Level Crossings

Consider.

  • Over the years, Greater Anglia and its predecessors right back teyond British Rail have been plagued by accidents at level crossings.
  • Network Rail would like to close them all,
  • But there are always a lot of local objections especially in rural counties like Suffolk.
  • Removal is often expensive, as a new toad of several miles needs to be constructed.

I noticed perhaps ten crossings on my trip.

A big problem is that at many stations on the East Suffolk Line, there is a level crossing and it is often the only way to cross the line.

This Google Map shows Saxmundham station.

This is typical of the line. But here at Saxmundham, there is probably enough space to squeeze in a step-free bridge like this one, that won the Network Rail/RIBA Footbridge Design Competition.

There are lots of rural stations like Saxmundham in the country, so why should suburban stations get all the investment?

How long will it be before one of the new Class 755 trains hits a vehicle on an East Anglian level crossing?

Other Traffic

The only other trains that I saw on the route were Greater Anglia trains going the other way, which we passed in stations like Beccles and Saxmundham.

Checking on realtrimetrains.co.uk, there appears to have been no trains other than the Lowestoft and Ipswich service all day.

It appears that although parts of the route are only single track, that a well-designed timetable operated by well-trained and well-performing staff can provide a reliable hourly service.

Line Speed

I brought my personal dynamometer car with me and the train trundled along at a very easy and leisurely 55-60 mph, which is around the operating speed of the line of 55 mph.

Consider.

  • The train gave me the impression, that all those 2,920 kW in the diesel engines could go a bit faster.
  • The timetable was probably designed around a Class 156 train, which has just 425 kW per car, as opposed to the 730 kW per car of the Stadler train.
  • I estimate that the Stadler train is about sixty percent heavier per car, but it does have a lot of electrical gubbins to carry around.
  • The weight of the Stadler train does appear to be lighter per car than a Class 170 train.

I would expect that a well-driven Class 755 train has the power and speed to skip from station to station along the East Suffolk Line at several minutes faster than the timetable.

The line is 49 miles long and trains typically take 90 minutes between Lowestoft and Ipswich. That is an average speed of just under 33 mph.

The leg between Saxmundham and Darsham is just over four miles long and it takes nine minutes. This is an average speed of 27 mph.

Consider

  • The acceleration of a Class 755 train is 0.9 m/s², which means to get up to a line speed of 60 mph takes thirty seconds.
  • Four miles at 60 mph takes four minutes.
  • Driver assistance software can tell the driver exactly where to start slowing for the next station.

It might be possible to do the Saxmundham and Darsham leg in perhaps three or four minutes less than the current timetable.

How much time could be saved on the whole route between Lowestoft and Ipswich?

Trains Needed

Look at a typical Off Peak pattern.

  • An Off Peak train is the 1007 from Lowestoft, which arrives at Ipswich at 1136.
  • This train returns from Ipswich at 1217, which arrives in Lowestoft at 1343.
  • It then leaves Lowestoft for Ipswich at 1407.

The train takes four hours to do a round trip on the route, with forty-one minutes wait at Ipswich and twenty-four minutes wait at Lowestoft.

As trains are scheduled from Lowestoft at 1107, 1207 and 1307, four trains will be needed to provide the service.

This is very inefficient.

I feel that it is totally possible for the new trains to run between Lowestoft and Ipswich in around an hour and fifteen minutes, which would mean a saving of between one-two minutes on each leg of the journey.

Suppose though the trains could achieve this time, with an allowance of fifteen minutes to turn the trains at the two end stations.

This would mean that the round trip is now three hours and only three trains will be needed to provide the service.

The Possibility Of A Half-Hourly Service

The current timetable waits for awkward times in each of the end stations.

But my proposed hour and fifteen minute journey with a fifteen minute turnround could offer the possibility of a half-hourly service.

  • Suppose two trains left Ipswich and Lowestoft at identical times on the hour.
  • They would arrive at their destination an hour and fifteen minutes later at a quarter past the hour.
  • By the half-hour, they would be ready to return to the other station.
  • They would arrive back at the start at a quarter to the hour and fifteen minutes they would be ready to repeat the cycle.

The only problem would be to make sure all trains met each other at a place, where they could pass.

The half-hourly service would need six trains. or two more than the current service.

I don’t think that any major engineering works will be needed, although , there might be a need to adjust a passing loop or the signalling.

This is probably only one of many possibilities to provide a half-hourly services.

A Service Between Ipswich And Leiston And Aldeburgh

As I passed this branch the orange army was clearing the track of years of tree and other plant growth.

I’ve always thought that this would be a good idea and I wrote about it in A Station For Leiston.

  • A half-hourly service would need two trains.
  • It would add extra capacity between Ipswich and Saxmundham.
  • It would certainly be needed if Sizewell C is built.
  • Much of the route is double-track between Saxmundham and Ipswich.

It should also be noted that Sizewell has a high-capacity electricity grid connection and with the growtyh of offshore wind, Sizewell might be the ideal place for a large energy storage facility,

Cambridge And Lowestoft?

I took a train recently between Cambridge and Norwich and I noticed it went on to Cromer and Sheringham.

This was just Greater Anglia’s way of scheduling the trains for their convenience.

But could the same joining be done between these two services.

  • Lowestoft and Ipswich
  • Ipswich and Cambridge

It would do the following.

  • Make better use of Platform 1 at Ipswich.
  • Improve train utilisation.
  • It might encourage day trippers to the coast to use the trains.
  • It would improve the link from East Suffolk to Stabsted Airport.
  • Create a comprehensive service, that connects all the major towns in Suffolk.
  • It would connect these Suffolk towns; Lowestoft, Beccles, Saxmundham, Woodbridge, Ipswich, Needham Market, Stowmarket, Bury St. Edmund’s and Newnarket.
  • It would serve the proposed A14 Parkway station.
  • It would be an excellent feeder sewrvice for the East-West Rail Link.

It would be a true TransSuffolk railway.

Could There Be A Lowestoft And Great Yarmouth Service?

There has been talk of a new service between Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth stations.

There are two options to provide a service.

  • Reinstatement of the Reedham Curve that was closed in 1880.
  • By reversing the train in Reedham station.

I describe these options in Norfolk Rail Line To Remain Closed As £68m Upgrade Project Overruns.

As the second option does not need any extra infrastructure, I think it is more likely.

This was my conclusion about the route with a reverse.

Typical timings appear to be.

  • Between Reedham and Yarmouth – 14-16 minutes
  • Between Reedham and Lowestoft – 24-26 minutes

Given that the Class 755 trains have the following characteristics.

  • They are 100 mph trains.
  • They are optimised for fast stops.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a sub-forty minute time between Lowestoft and Yarmouth.

It would appear that one train could run an hourly shuttle between Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth.

A Scenic Route Between Norwich And Ipswich

Using the current times between Ipswich and Lowestoft and Norwich and Yarmouth, it also looks like a sub-three hour scenic route is possible between Ipswich and Norwich.

It could be East Anglia’s version of the Cumbrian Coast Line.

Onboard Catering

The East Suffolk Line service currently takes ninety minutes.

I feel that this service is one that could benefit from a coffee service from a trolley.

The service could be provided by Greater Anglia or as on the Settle & Carlisle Line, by the local Community Rail Partnership.

Conclusion

The arrival of Class 755 trains on the East Suffolk Line could be the start of something special!

 

December 4, 2019 Posted by | Food, Transport | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Truro Station – 19th November 2019

I took these pictures as I changed trains at Truro station yesterday.

Note.

  1. The station has two footbridges, neither of which are step-free.
  2. There are two through platforms and a bay platform for the Maritime Line service to Falmouth Docks.
  3. The frequency of the main lines is two trains per hour (tph).
  4. As the frequency of the Maritime Line is rge same services should connect.

But I had to wait thirty minutes on both my changes at the station.

In some ways for people like me, the lack of a step-free bridge at Truro station is a pain.

In one of my waits, at the station, I was on a cold platform with the coffee shop on the other.

So I skipped coffee, as I didn’t want to spill it getting back over the footbridge.

This Google Map shows Truro station.

Note the level crossing at the Eastern end.

In Winner Announced In The Network Rail Footbridge Design Ideas Competition, I wrote how the competition was won by this bridge.

So could a factory-built bridge like this be installed at Truro station?

There could be possibilities at the Eastern end, especially, if the level crossing were to be improved.

November 19, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Upgrading Mirfield Station

Mirfield station is due to be upgraded as part of Network Rail’s £2.9billion project to upgrade the Huddersfield Line between Huddersfield and Dewsbury stations, that I wrote about in Network Rail Reveals Detailed £2.9bn Upgrade Plans For TransPennine Route.

This Google Map shows the station and the surrounding land.

These pictures show the station.

Currently, it is a three-station platform, with a wide island Platform 1/2 and a separate platform 3. The platforms are used as follows.

  • Platform 1 for all Eastbound trains.
  • Platform 2 for Westbound through trains.
  • Platform 3 for Westbound stopping trains.

This document on the Digital Railway web site is entitled Transpennine Route Upgrade SDO1 ETCS – Analysis.

It is mainly about using digital signalling called ETCS on the Transpennine Route, but it does give these track layouts between Huddersfield and Dewsbury.

This is the current layout.

This is a reduced four-track layout.

In Proposed Track Layouts Between Huddersfield And Dewsbury, I came to the conclusion, that the reduced four-track layout or something better could handle the current trains through the area.

If the reduced four-track layout is used, the requirements for a new Mirfield station can now be stated.

  • Platforms 1/2 sharing an island on the slow tracks.
  • Platforms 3/4 sharing an island on the fast tracks.
  • Some better shelters than at present.
  • Step-free footbridges or a tunnel

In Winner Announced In The Network Rail Footbridge Design Ideas Competition, I wrote how the competition was won by this bridge.

So could a factory-built bridge like this be installed at Mirfield station?

  • There is plenty of space.
  • The bridge would have the correct clearance for the electrification.

It could also replace the subway to Platform 1/2.

August 29, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Upgrading Ravensthorpe Station

Ravensthorpe station is due to be upgraded as part of Network Rail’s £2.9billion project to upgrade the Huddersfield Line between Huddersfield and Dewsbury stations, that I wrote about in Network Rail Reveals Detailed £2.9bn Upgrade Plans For TransPennine Route.

This Google Map shows the station and the surrounding land.

Note.

  1. The lines through the station go between Huddersfield in the East and Dewsbury in the North-East.
  2. The line going East goes to Wakefield.

These pictures show the station.

I did try to get a picture of the bridges over the River Calder, but I was unable to find the route and the weather was about to deteriorate.

The station is currently just two platforms on the lines between Huddersfield and Dewsbury, with a terrible overbridge, a poor shelter and a couple of seats.

The Wikipedia entry for Ravensthorpe station says this.

Ravensthorpe station is adjacent to Thornhill LNW (London North Western) Junction, where a line branches to Wakefield Kirkgate. There are plans to extend the station by building new platforms on this line, which was built by the former Manchester and Leeds Railway.

This document on the Digital Railway web site is entitled Transpennine Route Upgrade SDO1 ETCS – Analysis.

It is mainly about using digital signalling called ETCS on the Transpennine Route, but it does give these track layouts between Huddersfield and Dewsbury.

This is the current layout.

This is a reduced four-track layout.

In Proposed Track Layouts Between Huddersfield And Dewsbury, I came to the conclusion, that the reduced four-track layout or something better could handle the current trains through the area.

If the reduced four-track layout is used, the requirements for a new Ravensthorpe station can now be stated.

  • Two platforms on the tracks to and from Dewsbury.
  • Two platforms on the tracks to and from Wakefield.
  • Some better shelters than at present.
  • Step-free footbridges.

In Winner Announced In The Network Rail Footbridge Design Ideas Competition, I wrote how the competition was won by this bridge.

So could a factory-built bridge like this be installed at Ravensthorpe station?

  • The platforms from Dewsbury and to Wakefield, could probably be arranged as a walk-across interchange.
  • This would mean that the flexible nature of the bridge design would enable a single bridge with three lifts and three sets of stairs to be erected to join all the platforms together.
  • The bridge would have the correct clearance for the electrification.

I doubt it would be the most complicated of stations.

 

August 29, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Trip To Kingham Station

I visited Kingham station on a trip to have lunch with friends nearby.

The station is not step-free, by any means.

Commuters or shoppers going to London, Reading or Oxford must use the bridge without lifts on the Outward journey, but at least when returning, it’s a level walk to the car park.

All services are run by Class 800/801/802 trains, which as the first picture shows don’t have step-free access between train and platform.

But there are many stations that are worse and more difficult to make step-free.

This Google Map shows Kingham station, with London to the South and Worcester to the North.

If you look at my pictures taken in 2019 and the Google Map, you’ll notice that the stairs on the bridge point the other way and that the bridge is the other side of the station building, which is indicated by the red logo.

This sentence in the Wikipedia entry for the station, indicates what is happening.

In 2015, a car park extension has been added with 100 car spaces, and a new footbridge is being added, with provision for passenger lifts.

This probably means the Google Map was created before 2015 and that lifts can be added on the Worcester side of the new footbridge.

It also gives Network Rail an unusual dilemma.

In Winner Announced In The Network Rail Footbridge Design Ideas Competition, I wrote how the competition was won by this bridge.

A factory-built bridge would be ideal for Kingham station and it could have easily been fitted in the space taken by the new bridge.

But in 2015, when the current bridge was installed, the new style of step-free bridge hadn’t even been designed.

Network Rail have two choices.

  • Add traditional lifts to the current bridge.
  • Swap the current bridge for one of the new design with lifts.

There may even be a third choice.

Could two lift towers designed for the winning design be erected and linked to the 2015 bridge?

  • The lift towers appear to have been designed to be free-standing and be able support the weight of the bridge deck, perhaps with the stairs acting as a structural support.
  • The 2015 bridge been designed to accept traditional lifts in brick or steel towers, so why can’t it accept modern steel and glass lifts?

I think it would be possible and at Kingham station, I suspect the lifts could be installed without disrupting the trains or passengers, during a short closure of the line or the station.

I suspect the cost would salso be more affordable.

Other Stations

There are probably several stations with a very serviceable footbridge, that are suitable for lifts to be added.

This picture shows the footbridge at Marks Tey station.

This could be an ideal candidate.

  • The bridge appears sound.
  • The bridge appears to meet all the regulations concerning electrification.
  • The handrails on the stairs could be updated to a modern standard.
  • It looks like there is sufficient space for the towers.

I doubt installation of lifts would be a difficult and expensive project.

There are probably several other stations with a similar design of bridge.

Conclusion

Could Network Rail’s new design of step-free bridge be applied to existing bridges in other stations?

 

 

 

August 18, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Barry Station To Go Step-Free

This document on the Government web site is entitled Access for All: 73 Stations Set To Benefit From Additional Funding.

Barry station is on the list.

These pictures show the station and the current bridge,

Note.

  1. The trains were very crowded.
  2. The bridge is approaching its rust-by date.
  3. I think it is true to say, that the station buildings need a thorough refurbishment.

I have been sent a map of the proposed works and facilities for the South Wales Metro. This snippet shows the lines around Barry station.

Note.

  1. The lines are not planned to be electrified.
  2. Barry station will get a new PRM-compliant bridge with step-free access between street and train.
  3. There will be an airport connection at the station.

I would assume that the station buildings will get the much-needed refurbishment.

Services To Barry, Barry Island, Bridgend and Penarth

The South Wales Metro services through Barry will be as follows.

  • Services will terminate in the South and West at Barry Island, Bridgend and Penarth
  • Services will terminate in the North at Coryton and Rhymney.
  • There will be increased train frequencies.

Trains will be tri-mode Stadler Flirts  with three or four cars, which will be similar to Greater Anglia’s Class 755 trains.

Judging by yesterday this capacity increase will be welcome.

Installing The Step-Free Access

It would appear there is plenty of space for a step-free footbridge with lifts.

In Winner Announced In The Network Rail Footbridge Design Ideas Competition, I wrote how the competition was won by this bridge.

A bridge like this could be built at the other end of the station.

It would also be able to built it, without disrupting the train services or the passengers.

Once complete, the old bridge could be demolished or left as required.

 

July 24, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Treforest Station To Go Step-Free

This document on the Government web site is entitled Access for All: 73 Stations Set To Benefit From Additional Funding.

Treforest station is on the list.

These pictures show the station and the current bridge,

The bridge is not the easiest to cross and I tripped.

I wouldn’t like to cross it in the worst weather the Valleys could through at it!

Installing The Step-Free Access

This Google Map shows the station.

In Winner Announced In The Network Rail Footbridge Design Ideas Competition, I wrote how the competition was won by this bridge.

I believe that one of these bridges could be built at the Northern end of the station.

  • The Southbound platform could be widened if necessary.
  • The Western end of the bridge might mean a few car-parking spaces would be lost.
  • Disabled car-parking spaces could be close to the bridge.
  • The bridge could be used to support the electrification in the station.

But most importantly, the bridge could be installed without any disruption to trains and passengers.

I have been sent a map of the proposed works and facilities for the South Wales Metro. This snippet shows Treforest station.

Note.

  1. Treforest station is shown with a PRM-compliant bridge and step-free access from street to train. The new bridge would deliver this.
  2. The station is shown electrified.
  3. A short section of line North of the station is without electrification.

This Google Map shows the area to the North of the station.

It would appear, that instead of rebuilding the bridge to squeeze the wires underneath, a short earthed section of overhead conductor rail would be used.

Conclusion

Using one of Network Rail’s new bridges at Treforest station, solves all the problems of the station and could even make the electrification easier.

July 24, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Taff’s Well Station Planned To Go Step-Free?

This document on the Government web site is entitled Access for All: 73 Stations Set To Benefit From Additional Funding.

Taff’s Well station is not on the list.

These pictures show the station and the current bridge,

Crossing the tracks on the current bridge, is no easier, than at Cathays and Treforest stations, both of which are going step-free.

This map is a schemastic of the South Wales Metro.

Twelve trains per hour (tph) will go through the station, when the South Wales Metro is fully developed.

Passenger numbers for 2017/2017 South between Pontypridd and Cathays are as follows.

  • Pontypridd – 864,000 – Step-free
  • Treforest – 752,000 – Going step-free by 2024
  • Treforest Estate – 84,000
  • Taff’s Well – 364,000
  • Radyr – 539,000 – Step-free
  • Llandaff – 483,000 – Step-free
  • Cathays – 946,000 – Going step-free by 2024

Taff’s Well is the second least-used station.

But a doubling of the train frequency in the next few years, will certainly increase passenger numbers.

One guy, I spoke to said, that the station wasn’t busy.

I have been sent a map of the proposed works and facilities for the South Wales Metro. This snippet shows Taff’s Well station.

Note.

  1. There’s a lot of work to be done in the area.
  2. Taff’s Well station is shown with a PRM-compliant bridge and step-free access from street to train. The current bridge is not PRM-compliant.
  3. The station is shown electrified.
  4. Short sections of line around the station are without electrification.

I feel that to meet their objectives, the bridge needs to be replaced.

Installing Step-Free Access

In Winner Announced In The Network Rail Footbridge Design Ideas Competition, I wrote how the competition was won by this bridge.

I feel that, when Network Rail fully understand their installation procedures and costs, that a bridge like this could be used to replace the current monstrosity.

It also appears that the wires at Taff’s Well station will not be electrified, so could a bridge be used to hold up the overhead wires, that will guide pantographs through the station?

This Google Map shows Taff’s Well station.

The station has the common problem, of those that use the station as a Park-and-Ride have to negotiate the bridge one way.

Does the possibility of coming back from Cardiff, with lots of shopping, encourage shoppers to drive down the valley?

Taff’s Well station illustrates one of the benefits of the winning bridge design.

It could be built at the Northern end of the station, without disrupting the existing trains or their passengers.

I feel that Taff’s Well station would be ideal for one of the new bridges, even if it is not installed for a few years.

Electrification Through Taff’s Well Station

It is planned that electrification will be continuous through the station., which probably means that a new bridge with all the right clearances is desireable.

South of the station, there are a series of modern road bridges, which should have been built to give sufficient clearance  for the 25 KVAC overhead electrification.

North of the station, there are two modern footbridges.

This is the one nearest the station.

And this is the more Northerly bridge.

It appears that discontinuous electrification will be used on both bridges to make sure all safety clearances are met.

In an ideal world, the second bridge should surely have lifts!

Conclusion

Obviously, as the plans develop, we’ll know more about what will happen at Taff’s Well station.

July 24, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment