The Anonymous Widower

Morley’s New Accessible Station Set To Open In Summer 2023

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Network Rail.

These paragraphs outline the work to be done to create the new Morley station.

A new, fully accessible station is set to open in Morley, Leeds in summer 2023 to make way for longer trains, more seats, and better journeys as part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade.

As a multi-million-pound investment, the new station will boast longer platforms to provide space for faster, more frequent, greener trains with more seats available for passengers travelling between Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds and York.

The new, remodelled station will sit 75 metres away from the existing station and be fully accessible, with a footbridge and lifts connecting the two platforms.

Moving the station opens up opportunities to transform the platforms and track layout while installing the overhead wires needed to power electric and hybrid trains in the future. It also means that the current station can largely remain open for passengers whilst the new one is built.

It is not often, that a station upgrade, is such a comprehensive demolish and rebuild of a not very large station as this.

But rarely have I seen such a long list of problems as the one in this section in the Wikipedia entry for the station.

It looks like the Government is having a go, at levelling-up Morley.

Network Rail seem to be attempting to do the rebuild in under a year.

November 28, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

‘Castle’ HSTs To Be Withdrawn By Great Western Railway

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

This quote from a  GWR spokesman, sums up the action that will be taken.

The Castles were always designed to be a temporary measure on the Cardiff to Penzance route. We expect to replace the Castle Class trains on a phased basis over the next couple of years, bringing customers the benefit of more modern trains that will reduce both cost and carbon emissions across the route.

These are my thoughts.

Could The Engines In The Power Cars Be Replaced With Modern Carbon-Neutral Engines?

This would be an alternative way to solve the decarbonisation problem.

It would also mean that other applications of the Class 43 power cars, like ScotRail’s Inter7City trains, Cross Country’s HSTs and Network Rail’s New Measurement Train would have a decarbonisation route,

In Rolls-Royce Releases mtu Rail Engines For Sustainable Fuels, Rolls-Royce mtu outline their route to decarbonise rail engines using sustainable fuels.

This was the first paragraph of my conclusion in the linked article.

Rolls-Royce and Cummins seem to be doing a thoroughly professional job in decarbonising the diesel engines they have made in recent years.

The Class 43 power cars have Rolls-Royce mtu Series 4000 engines, which will soon be available to run on sustainable fuel.

I think as a possible fall-back, one Class 43 power car should be converted to carbon neutral.

Could The Engines In The Power Cars Be Replaced With Modern Hydrogen Engines?

I looked at this in Will We See Class 43 Power Cars Converted To Hydrogen?.

I came to the conclusion, that this might be possible and said this.

It would be the ultimate Roller.

But then Rolls-Royce know about winning battles with large internal combustion engines.

The Option Of New Trains

This quote from a  GWR spokesman was fairly definite about new trains, when they said.

The Castles were always designed to be a temporary measure on the Cardiff to Penzance route. We expect to replace the Castle Class trains on a phased basis over the next couple of years, bringing customers the benefit of more modern trains that will reduce both cost and carbon emissions across the route.

What trains could replace the Castles?

  • The Cardiff and Penzance route is just short of 250 miles or roughly 400 kilometres.
  • Only about 30 miles at the Cardiff end is electrified.
  • Trains would need to be able to handle 25 KVAC overhead electrification.
  • 125 mph trains will be needed at the Cardiff end.
  • Four or five passenger cars will be needed.
  • Currently, there are twelve Castles, so I will assume twelve new trains.

As these trains will be lasting up to forty years, they must be zero-carbon, which must mean battery-electric or hydrogen.

Charging Battery-Electric Trains

Consider

  • Bristol Temple Meads, Exeter St. Davis and Plymouth are large stations with several platforms. I suspect that a number of Furrer + Frey’s charging stations can be installed along the route.
  • The timetable would be adjusted to allow trains to be charged as they stopped to set down and pick up passengers.
  • Trains would dwell in the station and then use their 125 mph performance to regain the time.
  • I’ve also found a Penzance to Cardiff service, that stopped at Plymouth for fourteen minutes, which is more than enough to charge the batteries.
  • Regenerative braking to the batteries would further eke out the range.
  • There might also be some extra electrification around Bristol or Exeter.
  • Some form of charging would be needed at Penzance.

Note.

  1. Putting up electrification may mean that it will delay the new trains for a few years.
  2. Charging stations along the route could probably be installed to a tight timetable.

I believe that with some top-class work, by battery and charger manufacturers, that a battery-electric train could be developed that could run between Cardiff and Penzance.

Thoughts On Hydrogen

Consider.

  • The Alstom Coradia iLint train has a range of about 1,000 km. on hydrogen.
  • Companies like Airbus, Boeing and a host of rocket makers will improve the storage and safety of hydrogen.
  • A range of a 1,000 km. would allow refuelling at one end of the route.
  • Trains could be multiple units or a hydrogen-electric locomotive pulling a rake of coaches with a driving van trailer.

I feel that hydrogen would be very feasible as a power source.

Alstom Could Offer A Hydrogen Aventra

Consider.

  • Alstom are developing a hydrogen-powered Aventra.
  • Bombardier were offering a 125 mph Aventra.
  • A typical Aventra like a Class 720 train seats a hundred passengers a car.

A hydrogen Aventra would be feasible.

Hitachi Could Offer A Battery-Electric Or Hybrid AT-300

In 2021, in Hitachi And Eversholt Rail To Develop GWR Intercity Battery Hybrid Train – Offering Fuel Savings Of More Than 20%, I wrote about the announcement of the Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Hybrid Train, which is shown in this Hitachi infographic.

Note.

  1. Batteries replacing an engine to cut fuel usage and reduce carbon emissions.
  2. First time a modern UK intercity train, in passenger service, will use alternative fuel.
  3. These Hitachi trains use mtu engines, so I suspect they will be switched to sustainable fuel like HVO.
  4. The trains are 125 mph and 140 mph with the latest digital signalling.
  5. Great Western Railway already have 58 five-car Class 800/802 trains and 35 nine-car 800/802 trains.
  6. They would not need any changing stations or other infrastructure changes.
  7. Staff retraining would be minimal.

Testing of the prototype of these trains must be getting very close or even underway.

Stadler Could Offer A Battery-Electric Flirt Akku

Consider

  • Stadler have run a Flirt Akku on batteries for 243 km.
  • Flirt Akkus will go into service soon.
  • Flirts have been designed for 125 mph running.

With charging at Cardiff, Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth and Penzance, I believe a Flirt Akku could handle the route.

Are Hitachi Home And Hosed?

I have a feeling that the announcement has been made about retiring the Castles as the prototype Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Hybrid Train is under test and is performing well.

So I wouldn’t be surprised to see an order for twelve more Class 802 trains soon.

 

 

November 27, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

ECML Net Zero Traction Decarbonisation

This project was one of the winners in the First Of A Kind 2022 competition run by Innovate UK.

In this document, this is said about the project.

Project No: 10036245

Project title: ECML Net Zero Traction Decarbonisation
Lead organisation: SIEMENS MOBILITY LIMITED
Project grant: £59,983

Public description: Electrification is the foundation of all modern railways and fundamental to decarbonisation. Through
delivering faster, smoother, quieter and more reliable train services, rail electrification reduces
industry fuel cost by 45%, rolling stock costs by 33%, and track maintenance costs by 10-20%
(compared to diesel operation). Electric railways are the most efficient, lowest carbon form of
transportation in the UK.

Network Rail operates the largest power distribution network in the UK, and is the largest consumer
of electricity in the UK, consuming 4TWh electricity per year. Power is provided from the electricity
supply industry, a mix of gas, nuclear, coal and renewables, emitting approximately 944,000 tonnes
of carbon dioxide annually. Connecting new renewable generation directly to the railway reinforces
the railway power supply, while reducing coal and gas use in the UK and is a longstanding Network
Rail industry challenge statement. To date, engineering incompatibilities between renewable,
electricity supply systems and the railway single-phase electrical and other railway systems have
prevented local renewable connection in rail.

In a world first, Siemens Mobility, working with British Solar Renewables, DB Cargo UK, Network
Rail, ECML operators, and the University of York, will directly connect large-scale renewable
generation to the East Coast Mainline. The demonstrator phase will deliver up to 1GWh green
electricity direct to trains each year, reducing UK gas imports by 151,000 cubic metres and carbon
emissions by 236 tonnes annually. It will gather vital data creating a new green industry, creating a
precedent and setting standards to enable larger scale roll-out across the UK.

My Thoughts And Conclusion

This page on the Network Rail web site is entitled Power Supply Upgrade.

Since 2014, Network Rail and its partners have been upgrading the overhead electrification and the associated substations and electricity supply on the East Coast Main Line (ECML).

  • It is not a small project which includes fifty new substations and 1,600 km. of new cabling between London and Edinburgh.
  • When complete, fleets of electric trains on the route will be receiving high-quality electric power from the upgraded overhead electrification.

However, the East Coast Main Line is unique among British electrified main lines, in that it runs more or less close to a coast, that is populated by a large number of massive wind farms.

I believe the objective of this project, is to more directly connect the massive wind farms to the East Coast Main Line.

Lessons learned could then be applied to other electrified main lines.

We may even see onshore wind farms or small modular nuclear reactors built to power the railways.

November 19, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Leading Transport Experts To Explore Innovative Options For The Watford To Croxley Link

The title of this post, is the same as that of this news item on the Watford Borough Council web site.

The news item starts with this sub-title.

A wide range of proposals to bring a long disused stretch of railway back to life as a key transport link between Watford and Croxley Green are to be explored…

These four paragraphs then outline what is to be done.

A wide range of proposals to bring a long disused stretch of railway back to life as a key transport link between Watford and Croxley Green are to be explored by three leading travel and transport consultancies.

Atkins, SYSTRA UK and Wood Group will work in partnership with Hertfordshire County Council, Watford Borough Council, Three Rivers District Council and Network Rail to provide innovative solutions to improve connectivity within the area.

The transport link will connect important areas of Watford like the town centre, hospital, Watford FC and Croxley Park with Croxley Green and Watford Junction and the travel network beyond.

Securing the right solution is an important part of the overall plans of the partnership and Network Rail for future cleaner, healthier and greener travel in the area for the benefit of residents, visitors and commuters.

Note.

SYSTRA UK and the Wood Group are respected consultancies.

The main railway station, town centre, football ground and the hospital should be connected together by decent public transport. In Watford, as in many towns, they currently are a long walk or a taxi.

Watford Junction and Croxley stations will be connected together.

These are my thoughts.

The Abbey Line

I believe that the Abbey Line, which links Watford Junction and St. Albans Abbey stations should be included in any proposals.

  • It has a rather unusual timetable with trains running every forty-five minutes.
  • Proposals exist for a passing loop, which would allow two trains per hour (tph)
  • All stations only have a single platform.

If it were updated to a modern railway, it would be a valuable asset with charm.

Connecting St. Albans Abbey And St. Albans City Stations

This map from OpenRailwayMap shows the two stations.

Note.

  1. The yellow line in the South-West corner  is the Abbey Line that terminates in St. Albans Abbey station.
  2. The orange line is the Midland Main Line passes through St. Albans City station.
  3. The dotted line crossing the Midland Main Line and linking to the Abbey Line is a disused railway that has been converted into the St, Albans Way.

Tram-trains with a tight turning circle might be able to use the Abbey Line and with selected use of street running be able visit the City Centre and terminate at St. Albans City station.

Connecting The Abbey Line And The London Overground

This map from OpenRailwayMap, shows the track layout at Watford Junction station.

Note.

  1. The orange tracks are the West Coast Main Line.
  2. The yellow track to the North of the West Coast Main Line is the Abbey Line.
  3. The yellow track to the South of the West Coast Main Line is the Watford DC Line of the London Overground.

If you were using tram-trains, like the Class 399 tram-trains on the Abbey Line, I suspect a single-track dive-under could connect the Abbey Line with the Overground tracks to Watford High Street station.

Why Tram-Trains?

Tram-Trains have advantages in a scheme like this.

  • They can run as trams on the streets.
  • They can run as trains on railway tracks.
  • They can use lightweight catenary, which is quicker and more affordable to erect.
  • They are narrower and lighter than trains.
  • They have a tighter turning circle than trains.

But most importantly, tram-trains have been running successfully in Sheffield for several years.

The Eastern Section Of The Croxley Rail Link

This map from OpenRailwayMap shows the Eastern section of the Croxley Rail Link.

Note.

  1. The yellow track is the Watford DC Line, which goes through Watford High Street station.
  2. A disused line runs via the Croxley Green Chord to the disused stations of Croxley Green, Watford Stadium and Watford West.
  3. Vicarage Road and Watford General Hospital are to the North of the disused line.

The original plan for the Croxley Rail Link would have seen a double-track along the line of the old railway with stations at Vicarage Road and Watford General Hospital.

I don’t see why tram-trains could join the Watford DC Line to the South of Watford Junction station, go through Watford High Street station and then continue along the reinstated track.

The Western Section Of The Croxley Rail Link

This map from OpenRailwayMap shows the Western section of the Croxley Rail Link.

Note.

  1. The blue track is the Metropolitan Line, which runs to  Watford station.
  2. The disused line runs West from the former Watford West station to the roundabout at Croxley Green on the A 412.

The original plan involved a large double-track viaduct, which is shown in this visualisation from the Watford Observer.

Note that the roundabout is the Croxley Green roundabout.

This Google Map shows the Croxley Green roundabout.

Note.

  1. The Metropolitan Line to Watford station runs across the North-West corner of the map.
  2. The Croxley Green roundabout is the roundabout in the West of the map.
  3. The disused railway runs from South of the roundabout to the South-East corner of the map.
  4. The proposed Cassiobridge station would be in the South-East corner of the map.

I wonder, if it would be possible to build a Croxley Green station to the South of the roundabout.

This would be an interim solution until it is worked out how to connect the Croxley Link to the Metropolitan Line.

Solutions could be.

  • The original solution of a massive flyover, which would be very expensive and disruptive to build.
  • Street-run the tram-train, which I feel are needed on the Croxley Link to Croxley station.
  • Build a Croxley Green station on the Metropolitan Line to the North of the roundabout.

I think that experienced transport planners can find an acceptable solution.

August 27, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

New Homes For Newts: Industry Leading Licence Protects Species From Vital Rail Upgrades

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Network Rail.

This is the introductory paragraph.

The industry leading initiative will see specialists build new, large-scale habitats for great crested newts to move to when crucial railway upgrades disrupt their existing homes. This balance will allow the amphibians to thrive in a safe environment and in turn reduce any delays to engineering work.

Hopefully, this will lead to the end of delays to engineering work caused by newts on the line.

August 15, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | 1 Comment

Safety Message Clear As Leven Work Ramps Up

The title of this post, is the same as that if this press release from Network Rail.

The press release has a positive tone and indicates.

  • Track is starting to be laid at the Thornton end and this track will be used to help build the Levenmouth Rail Link.
  • The connection to the main line at Thornton is complete.
  • Safety is emphasised.
  • Planning permission for the two stations should be submitted this year.
  • The programme is scheduled to complete in Spring 2024.

As it is not much larger than the Okehampton scheme, which Network Rail delivered so well, I would feel that date is feasible.

Rivalry With The Northumberland Line

The Wikipedia entry for the Northumberland Line says this about the line.

The Northumberland Line is a planned passenger rail route connecting the city of Newcastle upon Tyne with Ashington, Blyth and south-east Northumberland. The route of the line uses part of the larger Blyth and Tyne Railway, a network of lines that cover south-east Northumberland. Construction of stations is planned for the summer of 2022, with the opening of the line for passenger services planned for December 2023.

Note, that both projects are planned to be completed within a few months.

Will there be an Anglo-Scottish rivalry, perhaps with pipers on both sides?

August 11, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A New Garden Bridge Proposed For London

This article on Ian Visits is entitled Plans Open A Disused Railway Bridge To Pedestrians.

This is the introductory paragraph.

A section of the Thames with few bridges could become a lot easier for pedestrians and cyclists to cross if plans to convert a disused railway bridge for pedestrian use go ahead.

The disused railway bridge to be used is the original 1849 Barnes Railway Bridge, which was closed to trains, when a new stronger bridge was built alongside in 1890.

This Google Map shows the two bridges.

Note.

  1. The railway tracks in the centre on the 1890 three-arch bridge.
  2. The Thames flows from South-West to North-East under the bridge.
  3. A walkway on the North-Eastern side of the is still in use.
  4. The original 1849 bridge is on the South-Western side of the bridge.

The pedestrian garden bridge will be built on the 1849 bridge, which will be refurbished.

This second Google Map shows the bridge and Barnes Bridge station.

Note.

  1. Barnes Bridge in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. Barnes Bridge station in the South-East corner of the map.

Part of the plan envisages connecting the South-Western platform to the pedestrian garden bridge.

It looks a plan with a lot of good possibilities.

The Project

It appears that Network Rail, the London Boroughs of Richmond and Hounslow are all supportive and Moxon Architects have been appointed to the project.

The project now appears to be called The View at Barnes Bridge and it has an impressive web site, with lots of information and pictures.

I have a few thoughts.

I Am Not Surprised That Network Rail Are Supportive

Network Rail must be pleased to be getting a Grade II Listed structure off their hands.

Could Barnes Bridge Station Be Made Step-Free?

I suspect that Moxon will produce designs for this and it will probably be a question of money, if they are implemented.

But as the garden bridge will attract more visitors, this will surely increase the need for full step-free access at Barnes Bridge station.

Could A Refurbished Bridge Carry Utilities?

I suspect that this will be looked at, as it could be a nice little earner.

Could This Project Be An Example Of a Levelling-Up Project?

In my travels around the UK and Europe, I’ve seen several disused railway bridges that could be reused as footbridges to provide walking and cycling.

Many are being converted, but this high-profile bridge could inspire architects to create other worthwhile bridges.

 

 

 

July 28, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Oxted Station – 16th July 2022

To view the Oxted Viaduct, I went to Oxted station, where I took these pictures.

Note.

  1. Oxted station is well-equipped.
  2. For a station of its size, I was surprised to see it had a large underground car park.
  3. There is a large Wetherspoons pub on Western side of the station.

Oxsted shopping centre appears to be split in two by the railway and I was surprised to pass three busy barber shops as I walked to the viaduct.

 

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

Kent Railway Viaduct Set For £3.5m Makeover

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

This 3D image from Google Maps, shows Ashurst station.

I think that the viaduct is to the left of the station.

This is a description of the work from Katie Frost, Network Rail’s route director for Sussex.

Our railway has a host of Victorian structures that underpin the millions of journeys passengers take with us every year and we have to take good care of them. Mill Stream Viaduct is made of metal, and we need to give it a thorough refurbishment to keep it strong for the future, blasting the old paint off, repainting and repairing the metal sections, replacing the decking, the track and the timbers that support the track too.

Certainly, £3.5 million would seem a lot, if it was just a simple repainting.

What About The Electrification?

Network Rail have been faffing about, deciding how they will get twelve car electric services to Uckfield.

However, in the April 2022 Edition of Modern Railways, there was a short article, which was entitled Uckfield Third Rail is NR Priority, where this was said.

Electrification of the line between Hurst Green and Uckfield in East Sussex and remodelling of East Croydon are the top Network Rail investment priorities south of the river, according to Southern Region Managing Director John Halsall. He told Modern Railways that third rail is now the preferred option for the Uckfield line, as it would allow the route to use the pool of third-rail EMUs in the area. This is in preference to the plan involving overhead electrification and use of dual-voltage units put forward by then-Network Rail Director Chris Gibb in his 2017 report.

NR has put forward options for mitigating the safety risk involved with the third-rail system, including switching off the power in station areas when no trains are present and section isolation systems to protect track workers. ‘The Office of Rail and Road hasn’t yet concerned third rail would be acceptable, but we ark working out ways in which it could be’ Mr Halsall told Modern Railways. He added that bi-mode trains with batteries were not a feasible option on this line, as the 10-car trains in use on the route would not be able to draw sufficient charge between London and Hurst Green to power the train over the 25 miles to Uckfield.

I feel that whatever method is used to get electric trains to Uckfield, there may well be some extra weight on the Millstream Viaduct at Ashurst. So giving the viaduct a makeover, is probably prudent.

I get the impression from the last few Editions of Modern Railways, that there will be a need for battery-electric multiple units in Kent and Sussex.

  • Ashford and Ore is 25.4 miles – Electrified at both ends – Maximum trip – 25.4 miles.
  • Oxted and Uckfield is 25 miles – Electrified at one end – Maximum trip – 50 miles.
  • Hoo and Hoo Juncton is less than 10 miles – Electrified at one end – Maximum trip – 20 miles.

It would appear that the Uckfield trip will need bigger batteries or some form of charging at Uckfield.

Suppose though the following were to be done.

  • Create a third-rail battery-electric multiple unit, with a range of thirty miles.
  • These would be ideal for Ashford and Ore and the Hoo Branch.
  • Install charging stations at Ashurst on both platforms and at Uckfield on the single platform. These would either work through a pantograph or third rail.

Operation of the service during a round trip between London Bridge and Uckfield would be as follows.

  • London Bridge and Hurst Green – Uses electrification and charges batteries
  • Hurst Green and Ashurst – Uses batteries for 11 miles
  • Ashurst station – Tops up the batteries
  • Ashurst and Uckfield – Uses batteries for 14 miles
  • Uckfield station – Tops up the batteries
  • Uckfield and Ashurst – Uses batteries for 14 miles
  • Ashurst station – Tops up the batteries
  • Ashurst and Hurst Green – Uses batteries for 11 miles
  • Hurst Green and London Bridge – Uses electrification and charges batteries

Network Rail may use a different combination of chargers and battery size.

 

July 4, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 8 Comments

Does Anybody Have Good Contacts At Network Rail?

In the 1980s, I did some business with British Rail, as it then was.

I provided my Daisy software and they used it to analyse signal failures.

It led to a guy called J S Firth, writing a paper called Failure Recording And Analysis On British Rail.

He had the courtesy to send me a copy of the paper, which mentions SigTech, which appears to have been a business unit of the British Railways Board.

All my dealings with Firth and his colleagues were in person at an office block in front of Marylebone station, which is now a posh hotel.

And then, a few months ago, someone contacted me from Network Rail.

Apparently, his father had worked on the signal failure project with me and he was now working in Milton Keynes for Network Rail on a similar project.

He asked if I had a copy of the paper.

At the time, I didn’t, but today I had a small sort out and found a copy.

Unfortunately, I have now lost the piece of paper on which I wrote the guy’s details.

Does anybody have any ideas, how I can find the guy, who contacted me?

June 12, 2022 Posted by | Computing, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 2 Comments