The Anonymous Widower

Network Rail And Vivarail Bring The Next-Generation Battery Train To COP26

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

Network Rail and Vivarail today announced that Vivarail’s next-generation battery train will be launched at COP26 and will run daily services throughout the international climate change conference.

This zero-emission train uses new batteries, developed by Vivarail, to combine maximum range with the ability to recharge quickly. The result is a train that can travel for up to 80 miles on battery power and recharge in only 10 minutes using Vivarail’s patented Fast Charge system.

That is an excellent range coupled with a fast turnround time.

How will other companies like CAF, Hitachi and Stadler respond?

If all battery-electric trains can reach this range, I don’t think we’ll need hydrogen for multiple units, but we will probably need it for freight and other locomotives.


September 29, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 18 Comments

New East Linton Station Development Given The Go Ahead

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

This is the first paragraph.

Proposals to open a station in the village of East Linton, for the first time in over half a century, have just been approved by East Lothian Council’s planning committee.

In The Scottish Borders Have Caught London Overground Syndrome, I said this.

It would also appear that because of the success of the Borders Railway, that there are suggestions to add new stations on the East Coast Main Line at Reston and East Linton. This is said under Future in the Wikipedia entry for East Linton station.

Proposals to reopen the station, along with the former station at Reston, have received the backing of John Lamont MSP, who has taken the case to the Scottish Parliament. A study published in 2013 proposed that East Linton and Reston stations be reopened. Since Abellio ScotRail took over the franchise in April 2015, they have now committed to reopening East Linton and Reston Stations as part of the local Berwick service by December 2016 but due to the shortage of rolling stock this will now commence in December 2018.

So it would appear there is a high chance it will happen.

Reston station is well on the way to completion and the site is shown in this Google map.


  1. The East Coast Main Line running between the North-West and South-East corners of the map.
  2. The brown scars around the railway indicate the site of the station.
  3. The main A1 road is just off this map to the North.

In New Rail Service From Newcastle To Edinburgh To Stop At These Northumberland Stations, I indicated that a new service from TransPennine Express will start running in December 2021 and will call at Reston station, when it opens.

Now East Linton station is on its way.

This Google Map shows the village of East Linton.


  1. The East Coast Main Line going through the middle of the village.
  2. The A1 curves South of the village.

Will the station be built in the middle of the village?

The page on Scotland’s Railway, indicates it will be.

East Linton and Reston stations seem to be progressing at speed, but then so did Horden and it appears Soham will be open this year.

Network Rail seem to have at last got their project management right.


September 10, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

The London And Edinburgh Travel Market

This paragraph comes from of this article on Railway Gazette.

Lumo is aiming to carry more than 1 million passengers per year. It is particularly targeting people who currently fly between Edinburgh and London; in June it says there were 74 764 air journeys on the route, compared to 82 002 by rail.

Lumo’s million passengers per year, will equate to around 83,300 passengers per month.

What these figures don’t show is the number of rail journeys made to intermediate stations like Newcastle, York, Doncaster and Peterborough.

These are a few thoughts.

Rail Capacity Between London And Edinburgh


  • LNER is currently the only rail carrier offering a daytime service between London and Edinburgh.
  • LNER run approximately 26 trains per day (tpd) in both directions between London and Edinburgh.
  • A nine-car Class 801 train can carry 510 Standard Class passengers and 101 First Class passengers.

That means that LNER had a capacity of just over 950,000 seats in June.

It might seem poor to have only sold 82,002 seats in June between London and Edinburgh, which is just 8.6 % of the available seats.

On the other hand, LNER’s two trains per hour (tph) are a lot more than London and Edinburgh trains, as they connect towns and cities all the way up the East Coast Main Line between London and Aberdeen.

Lumo’s capacity of a million seats per year, works out at 83,300 seats per month, which is another 8.7 % of capacity.

  • Lumo will sell seats on price initially and I suspect they’ll end up running about 85-95 % full.
  • It has been stated that they need to run 80% full to break even.
  • I also think, that they would like to have a few seats for late bookers.

But even so, they will surely affect LNER’s bookings.

What Will LNER Do?

Several of the things, that Lumo are doing can be easily copied by LNER.

  • Early booking.
  • Improve onboard service.
  • Better seating.

They could even reduce prices.

I think it is very likely we could end up with a price and service war between LNER and Lumo.

Would The Airlines Be The Losers?

This could be an outcome of competition between LNER and Lumo.

We are now talking about times of around four hours and twenty-five minutes between London and Edinburgh, but there are improvements underway on the East Coast Main Line.

  • The remodelling of the approach to Kings Cross station has not been reflected in the timetables.
  • The Werrington Dive Under has not been completed yet.
  • Digital signalling is being installed South of Doncaster.
  • The power supply is being upgraded North of Newcastle.

When these and other improvements are complete, I can see journey times reduced below four hours.

But would that only be for starters?great b

If a 1970s-technology Intercity 225 train, admittedly running as a shortened train formation, could achieve a time of just under three-and-a-half hours for the 393.2 miles between Kings Cross and Edinburgh stations in September 1991, what could a modern Hitachi train do, if all of the improvements had been completed and perhaps half of the route could be run at 140 mph under the watchful eyes of full digital signalling and an experienced driver.


  • London and York is nearly two hundred miles of fairly straight railway, that is ideal for high speed.
  • Current trains run the 393.2 miles in four hours 25 minutes, which is an average speed of 89 mph.
  • A train running at 89 mph would take two hours and fifteen minutes to cover 200 miles.
  • A train running at 125 mph would take one hour and thirty-six minutes to cover 200 miles.
  • A train running at 140 mph would take one hour and twenty-six minutes to cover 200 miles.

When Network Rail, Great British Railways or the Prime Minister renames the East Coast Main Line as High Speed East Coast, I think we can be sure that trains between London and Edinburgh will be able to achieve three-and-a-half hours between the two capitals.

High Speed Two is only promising three hours and forty-eight minutes.

What About LNER’s New Trains?

LNER Seeks 10 More Bi-Modes, was written to explore the possibilities suggested by a short article in the December 2020 Edition of Modern Railways.

There has been no sign of any order being placed, but Hitachi have moved on.

  • They are building the prototype of the Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mode Battery for testing on the Great Western Railway.
  • They have completed some of the Class 803 trains for East Coast Trains, which has now been renamed Lumo. These trains have a battery for hotel power in case of catenary failure, but no diesel engines.
  • They are building the Class 807 trains for Avanti West Coast, which appear to be designed for high speed and have no batteries or diesel engines.
  • The latest versions of the trains will have a reshaped nose. Is it more aerodynamic at high speeds?

It does seem that there is an emphasis on speed, better acceleration and efficiency.

  • Could the lessons learned be used to improve the performance of the existing trains?
  • Could a small high performance sub-fleet be created to run LNER’s Scottish services?

There are certainly possibilities, that would cut journey times between London and Edinburgh.


I can see the airlines flying between London and Edinburgh suffering a lot of collateral damage, as the two train companies slug it out.


September 10, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Comings And Goings At Ely Station

On my meander around the Fens yesterday, I spent twenty minutes or so at Ely station, as the variety of trains came through the station, whilst I waited for a train to March.

Ely and the surrounding lines are to be remodelled, so that more trains can pass through the complicated junctions.

I had hoped to see a freight train pass through, which would have used the avoiding lines to pass the station.

In some ways, Ely sums up the problems of some of our major railway junctions.

  • Several important passenger services needing to pass through.
  • Several long freight trains a day.
  • Level crossings everywhere.
  • More passenger services are needed.

And on top of it all, there is a need to decarbonise.

British Rail and Network Rail have been trying to sort Ely for decades and it should be noted that the Fen Line to King’s Lynn station was electrified in 1992, which was probably an early phase of their master-plan.

Ely And Battery-Electric Trains

These are the distances without electrification on the various routes from Ely.

  • Ipswich – 39 miles
  • Norwich – 52 miles
  • Peterborough – 30.5 miles
  • Wisbech – 25 miles

Routes to King’s Cross, King’s Lynn, Liverpool Street, Stansted Airport and Stevenage are all fully electrified.

It does appear to me, that the new generation of battery-electric should be able to handle services from Ely on battery power.

For many of these services, which are or will be run by Greater Anglia, the required battery range can be achieved by swapping some of the diesel engines in the Class 755 trains for batteries.

Freight And Hydrogen Power

In Was This The Most Significant Statement On Freight Locomotives Last Week?, I referred to this press release from Freightliner, which is entitled Freightliner Secures Government Funding For Dual-Fuel Project.

This sixth paragraph from the press release is very significant.

This sustainable solution will support a programme to decarbonise freight operating companies’ diesel fleets in a cost-efficient manner that does not require significant short-term investment and facilitates operational learning in support of a longer-term fleet replacement programme, potentially using 100% hydrogen fuel.

I believe the paragraph indicates, that Freightliner and possibly the other companies involved in the building and operation of heavy freight locomotives have concluded, that the technology is now such, that a zero-carbon rail locomotive powered by 100 % hydrogen is now possible.

Hydrogen offers several advantages.

  • Large amounts of power.
  • Range comparable with diesel locomotives.
  • Depots and freight terminals can be without electrification.
  • As hydrogen-powered locomotive will most likely have an electric transmission, this opens the possibilities of using electrification where it exists and regenerative braking to an onboard battery.

My unreliable crystal ball says that we’ll see hydrogen-powered locomotives by 2026.


August 5, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Tidying Up At Cheshunt Station – 4th August 2021

As I approached Cheshunt station, it looked like there had been some tidying up on the Western side of the line.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera handy, so I was unable to take any pictures.

But I did take these pictures later from the station.

It does seem that Network Rail are tidying up the inside of the bend.

The Internet offers no clue, as to what is happening, but it could be anything from improving the car park entrance, to installing a second bay platform at the station, so that more trains can be run to and from Liverpool Street.

But there is a clue here in West Anglia Route Improvement – Cheshunt Station – 26th February 2017, which from the date is four years old.

The Google Map in this post, shows the Southern end of Platform 2 to be a different shape, to the pictures I took today.

It looks like the platforms have been lengthened.

  • Originally, they could handle an eight-car Class 317 train, which are 160 metres long.
  • It looks like now, they can handle  a pair of  five-car Class 720 trains, which are 244 metres long.

This will allow pairs of five-car Class 720 trains to work Cambridge services.

Pairs of four-car Class 710 trains are only 166 metres long, so they don’t need any platform lengthening.

The Sunset Studios Effect

If I was right in The Location Of Sunset Studios In Broxbourne, that a station will be built on the London Overground between Turkey Street and Theobalds Grove to serve the studio complex, then this may require modifications at Cheshunt, if traffic increases substantially.

  • Cheshunt station will need to be step-free.
  • Cheshunt station will need better passenger facilities, like more ticket machines.
  • Cheshunt station may need more car parking.
  • The bay platform at Cheshunt station will need to be handle upwards of four trains per hour (tph), all of which will be pairs of four-car trains.

A large housing development is planned for just to the North of Cheshunt station and hopefully, the developer will sort a lot of these issues.


August 4, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments

Using Hitachi ABB Power Grids Technology At Uckfield Station

This post describes how the ABB Power Grids technology could be used to allow battery-electric trains to run between London Bridge and Uckfield stations.

The London Bridge And Uckfield Route

The London Bridge And Uckfield route has these characteristics.

  • It is forty-six miles long
  • The Southern section between Heald Green junction and Uckfield station is 24.7 miles and is not electrified.
  • A service takes approximately eighty minutes.
  • Trains run at a frequency of one train per hour (tph)
  • The route has been upgraded to be able to handle twelve car trains.
  • The route is currently run by Class 171 diesel trains.
  • Govia Thameslink Railway is the operator.

It looks to me if you assume a ten minute turnround, then that gives a three-hour round trip.

This would mean the following.

  • Trains would have ten minutes charging time at Uckfield.
  • If twelve car trains were running on the branch then nine four-car trains would be required for an hourly service.
  • Two tph would require twice as many trains.

It looks to me, that Network Rail have arranged the route and the timetables for a fleet of battery-electric trains.

The Battery-Electric Trains

There have been several hints in the rail media, that battery-electric Bombardier Electrostars will be used for the London Bridge and Uckfield route.

I wrote Battery Electrostars And The Uckfield Branch in September 2019.

  • In the related post I suggested Class 377, Class 379 or Class 387 trains.
  • All are four-car Bombardier Electrostars.
  • All are 100 or 110 mph trains.
  • The Class 387 trains are already dual voltage, but I suspect all trains could be converted to third-rail or dual-voltage.
  • My choice would be Class 379 trains, as they are being made redundant by Greater Anglia and thirty quality trains are looking for a new home.

But all three types would be acceptable and Govia Thameslink Railway has both of the other types in its extensive fleet.

Charging The Battery-Electric Trains

This picture shows the single twelve-car platform at Uckfield station.

There would appear to be plenty of space on the side away from the platform.

There would appear to be two main methods of charging the trains.

A Length Of 750 VDC Third-Rail Electrification On The Side Away From The Platform

  • The electrification would be long enough to charge a twelve-car train.
  • It could even be made very safe, if an interlock were to be provided, that ensured that the third-rail were only to be live, when a train was in the station that needed charging.

This would be possible, but I suspect the Anti-Third-Rail Electrification Mafia will get this simple method stopped.

A Length Of 25 KVAC Overhead Electrification Powered By One Of Hitachi ABB Power Grids Containised Power Systems

The electrification would be long enough to charge a twelve-car train.

The driver or an automated system would raise the pantographs after the train stopped in the station.

Interlocks could be provided to increase safety.

The overhead electrification would be powered by one or more of Hitachi ABB Power Grids’s containerised power systems

Lightweight catenary could be used to reduce visual intrusion.

The curved beam at the top of this overhead electrification gantry is laminated wood.

Because of the higher voltage used, I suspect that the Hitachi ABB Power Grids could charge a twelve-car train in under ten minutes.


July 9, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wiltshire’s Recycled Railway Sleepers A UK First

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

This is the first paragraph.

Railway sleepers made of recycled bottles, food packaging and unwanted plastics have been installed on a mainline railway for the first time.

This paragraph describes their durability.

The new railway sleepers are designed to be used for 50 years as they do not split, rot or degrade, and can resist water, oil, chemicals and fungi.

The new sleepers would appear to be an advance on wood and concrete in certain applications.


This seems to be a good example of creative recycling.

July 8, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Freightliner Secures Government Funding For Dual-Fuel Project

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

Freightliner, a subsidiary of Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (G&W), in partnership with a consortium of specialist suppliers, has been successful in securing government funding to develop a dual-fuel solution for the Class 66 locomotive.

The technology is one of the 30 winners of the latest round of the First of a Kind (FOAK) competition announced today by the Transport Secretary. Already the safest and greenest mode of ground-freight transportation, the competition has been aimed at making the railways even cleaner, greener and more passenger friendly.

These are my thoughts.

A Big Opportunity

Freightliner have a total of 113 Class 66 locomotives, out of a UK total of well over 400.

If the project succeeds, this could cut a large amount of carbon emissions from UK rail freight.

Who Are The Partners?

The press release gives these project partners.

The key project partners are Freightliner, which operates over 113 Class-66s in the UK, and Clean Air Power, providers of innovative clean air solutions for freight. The project is also supported by Network Rail, Tarmac, Rail Safety Standards Board (RSSB), Flogas, Carrickarory and the University of Birmingham.

It is a comprehensive group of partners, which probably covers all aspects.

  • From their web site, Clean Air Power would appear to have the expertise for the project, with back-up from the University of Birmingham, who seem to be involved in several high-profile rail projects.
  • The early involvement of standards must be a good thing.
  • Flogas are a gas company
  • Carrickarory would appear to be consultants specialising in rail.

Getting the team right is important in having a successful project.

What Are The Objectives Of The Project?

The press release gives these project objectives.

The project will investigate the ability to substitute diesel with both hydrogen and biogas on the Class-66 locomotive which hauls over 80% of freight on the UK rail network and, in doing so, reduce carbon emissions on one of the industry’s most challenging two-stroke locomotives.

This will be achieved by retrofitting the Class 66 with Clean Air Power’s precision injection technology, creating a Class 66 that can run on a combination of diesel, biogas and hydrogen.

Sounds a good set of reduced carbon objectives!

Would The Technology Be Applicable To Other Operators And Locomotives?

The press release says this.

This sustainable solution will support a programme to decarbonise freight operating companies’ diesel fleets in a cost-efficient manner that does not require significant short-term investment and facilitates operational learning in support of a longer-term fleet replacement programme, potentially using 100% hydrogen fuel.

Does this mean that the eventual Class 66 replacement will be a locomotive, that runs exclusively on hydrogen?

I suspect it does!

How very sensible!


This could be a big step in the battle to decarbonise.

July 5, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport | , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Will Camden Road Station Get A Third Platform?


London has a rail capacity problem, for both freight and passenger trains.

This report from Network Rail is entitled The London Rail Freight Strategy (LRFS).

One of the recommendations of the report is to build a third platform at Camden Road station. It says this about the third platform.

Reinstatement of a third track and platform on the northern side of Camden Road station, utilising part of
the former 4-track formation through the station.

Camden Road station used to have four platforms, but now it just have two.

This Google Map shows the station as it is today.


  1. Platform 1 is on the South side of the tracks with the London Overground roundel conveniently shown on the roof.
  2. Platform 2 is on the North side of the tracks.
  3. Regular users of the station can probably pick out the lift at the Eastern end of Platform 2.
  4. There is a bridge to the East of the station which takes the tracks over the junction of Royal College Street and Camden Road.

To the North of this bridge, two further bridges can be seen, that used to take the former third and fourth tracks over the roads and into two additional platforms to the North of the current two.

This map from shows the track layout through Camden Road station.


  1. The tracks shown in orange are the route of the North London Line of the London Overground.
  2. The two orange platforms labelled 1 and 2 at Camden Road station.
  3. The two former lines passing behind Platform 2, used to rejoin the North London Line to the West of the station.

These pictures were taken on the current Platform 2.

And these are some pictures of the bridge, what is behind the fence and other bridges.


  1. Most of the pictures of Platform 2, were taken from Platform 1.
  2. Behind the fence on Platform 2, there appears to be a substantial urban forest.
  3. Renewing the bridges and updating the railway arches could improve the area significantly.
  4. Camden Road station is a Grade II Listed building.

I don’t think, that any of the construction would be too challenging.

How Would The Third Platform Be Used?

This is said in the Network Rail document about the third platform at Camden Road station.

This proposal would reinstate a third track and platform on the northern side of Camden Road station, utilising part of the former 4-track formation through the station.

The additional capacity provided would facilitate much greater flexibility in pathing options for trains on this busy central section of the NLL, opening up new options for future service provision and bolstering performance resilience.

Reinstatement of a third platform would enable platform 2 to be used as a central turnback, with platform 3 becoming the eastbound line for through London Overground services and the majority of freight.

Transport for London modelling suggests that the eastern end of the NLL, from Canonbury to Stratford, will see some of the strongest long-term demand growth on the Overground network.

A turnback platform will allow this to be addressed with peak capacity boosting services between Stratford and Camden Road and there would also be the option to operate these through the off-peak, which could offer a means of providing additional passenger capacity where it is most needed.

The availability of an additional platform would also aid performance recovery during perturbation on
the orbital routes.

That all looks fairly sensible and wouldn’t require much work to the current station.


  1. Platform 2 is currently a fully-accessible platform with a lift and will become a spacious fully-accessible island platform with two faces 2 and 3, both serving London Overground services going East.
  2. There must surely be space on the island platform to build a substantial shelter, where passengers can sit, when long freight trains are passing through.
  3. There could even be space for a coffee kiosk.

The former Platform 3 appeared to be a Westbound platform, but the proposed new one appears to be an Eastbound one.

The Track Layout Immediately To The East Of Camden Road Station

These are my thoughts on the track layout to the East of Camden Road station.

This map from shows the track layout between Camden Road and Highbury & Islington stations.

Much of the route through Caledonian Road and Barnsbury station is four tracks. These tracks are named from North to South as follows.

  • Down North London Reversible
  • Down North London
  • Up North London Reversible
  • Up North London


  1. Eastbound London Overground services use the Down North London track.
  2. Eastbound freight services use the Down North London Reversible track.
  3. Eastbound freight services are sometimes held by signallers on the Down North London Reversible track.
  4. Westbound London Overground services use the Up North London Reversible track, before crossing over to the Up North London track at Camden Road East Junction.
  5. London Overground services only use the central island platform at Caledonian Road and Barnsbury station.
  6. Westbound freight services use both of the Up North London tracks.
  7. The London Borough of Camden have stated that they would like to see the reopening of Maiden Lane station.

These pictures show the former trackbed between the former Maiden Lane station and Camden Road station.

Looking at these pictures, I can deduce the following.

  • There is very little constructuction of the former trackbed.
  • There would be some signalling equipment to move.
  • Some of the steel bridges would have to be replaced.

I feel,  that a single track could definitely be created between the new Platform 3 at Camden Road station to connect with  both Down North London tracks before the site of the former Maiden Line station.

It may even be possible to squeeze in two tracks.

A new track or tracks would enable the following.

  • Eastbound London Overground services to go from Platform 3 at Camden Road station to Platform 3 at Caledonian Road and Barnsbury station.
  • Eastbound freight services to go from Platform 3 at Camden Road station to either the Down North London Reversible or the Down North London tracks through Caledonian Road and Barnsbury station.


  1. Westbound services going through Camden Road station would be unaffected.
  2. Westbound London Overground services terminating in Platform 2 at Camden Road station would cross over to the current Up North London Reversible at the current Camden Road Central junction.
  3. Eastbound London Overground services starting in Platform 2 at Camden Road station would cross over to the new track or tracks to proceed to the East.

These are my answers to a few questions.

Will There Be One Or Two Extra Tracks?


  • It could probably be organised that the extra track or tracks start perhaps fifty metres or so to the East of Camden Road station.
  • The distance between this point and Westbourne Road Junction is around a mile.
  • Network Rail allows freight trains up to a length of 775 metres.

I am drawn to the conclusion, that if two tracks were to be built, then signallers would be able to hold the longest freight trains on the extended Down North London Reversible track, without interrupting London Overground passenger services.

How Will The Extra Tracks Affect The Camden Highline?

If two new tracks are built, I would expect that it will be impossible to build the Camden Highline.

But if only one is built, I suspect that a narrower Camden Highline might be able to be squeezed in.

Could Provision Be Made So A New Maiden Lane Station Could Be Built?

This map from shows the track layout around the former Maiden Lane station.


  • Eastbound London Overground services use the Down North London track and call in Platform 3 at Caledonian Road and Barnsbury station.
  • Westbound London Overground services use the Up North London Reversible track and call in Platform 2 at Caledonian Road and Barnsbury station.
  • To connect Platform 3 at Camden Road station to the Down North London Reversible and Down North London tracks, I suspect that Camden Road East junction will have to be remodelled.

I wonder if by the application of Network Rail’s latest track layout software, space could found for an island platform between the Up North London Reversible and Down North London tracks.

In Is Caledonian Road And Barnsbury An Ideal Four-Track Station?, I discuss the design of Caledonian Road and Barnsbury station,

I think it is a distinct possibility, that provision could be made for a future Maiden Lane station.

Will There Be Changes At Camden Road West Junction?

This map from shows the track layout to the West of Camden Road station.


  1. Platforms 1 and 2 of Camden Road station at the Eastern end of the map.
  2. Camden Road West junction to the West of the platforms.
  3. The dotted lines of old tracks leading to the former Platform 3 and 4 at Camden Road station.

Two double tracks lead away to the West from Camden Road West junction.

  • The orange tracks are the North London Line to Willesden Junction and Acton.
  • The black and orange tracks are an extension of the Watford DC Line, that links Camden Road station to the West Coast Main Line via Primrose Hill station.

Will both pairs of tracks be connected to the North London Line at Camden Road West junction, as they are now?

  • Currently, a few freight trains per day, use the Primrose Hill route.
  • There have been plans in the past, for the London Overground to use this route.
  • They have also been known to run a Rail Replacement Train between Willesden Junction and Camden Road stations during engineering works, as I wrote about in The Future Of The Watford DC Line.

So I suspect Network Rail will design a comprehensive junction, that is all things to all operators and trains.

Through Running Between The East London Line and Willesden Junction Station

This was originally talked about in the original plans for the London Overground.

If you travel on the Overground to Barking, Blackhorse Road, Canada Water, Highbury & Islington, West Brompton, Hampstead, Whitechapel or Willesden Junction in the Peak, the interchanges are very busy, as passengers are transferring to the Underground.

Was this why through running was originally proposed between the East and North London Lines at Highbury & Islington station, as it would allow direct connection to extra Underground lines?

But one of the aims of the Overground was to enable journeys around London without going via Central London.

Platform 3 at Camden Road station, seems to increase the capacity on the North London Line, so perhaps this upgrade would give extra paths to allow some services to terminate to the West of Highbury & Islington.

This map from shows the track layout to the West of Highbury & Islington station.

I’m sure if Network Rail’s engineers can sort out King’s Cross, then they can come up with a track and signalling system that can handle this,

Could Platform 2 At Camden Road Be Used As An Alternative Terminus For Watford DC Line Services?

Euston station is being rebuilt and Network Rail might like to kick Watford DC Line services out of the station either temporarily or even permanently.

There are two routes that the Watford DC Line could take to get between Harlesden and Camden Road stations.

  1. They can use the route, I took one Sunday, when the London Overground was running a Rail Replacement Train, via Willesden Junction Low Level, Kensal Green, Queens Park, Kilburn High Road and South Hampstead.
  2. They might also be able to join the North London Line an improved Kensal Green junction.

The first route works and the second may need some extra work at Harlesden junction.

I estimate that Platform 2 at Camden Road station is presently as long as 120 metres.

I also estimate that it could be lengthened at both ends, during the building of a new platform 3 alongside.

Could a platform be built long enough to be able to handle two trains simultaneously?

A 200 metre long platform would probably suffice!

I think the concept has possibilities.

  • Willesden Junction station has connections to the Bakerloo Line.
  • West Hampstead station has connections to Thameslink and the Jubilee and further connections could be developed,
  • Camden Road station could be connected to Camden Town station, which is on both branches of the Northern Line.
  • A reopened Primrose Hill station could be connected to Chalk Farm station on the Northern Line.
  • The Northern Line connects to Crossrail at Moorgate and Tottenham Court Road stations.

I suspect, if Camden Town station were to be expanded and rebuilt, that the connection between the two Camden stations would be more likely.

Either route could be taken between Willesden Junction and Camden Road stations.

But I feel, it might be less costly to take the North London Line route, especially, as this connects to West Hampstead station.

Could The Track Layout Be Further Simplified?

I’m no track expert, but it strikes me that a four-track layout could be built between just East of Camden Road station and Westbourne Road junction. From North to South these tracks would be.

  • Eastbound Freight line – Connecting at the Western end to Platform 3 at Camden Road station and following the existing Down North London Reversible track to Westbourne Road junction.
  • Eastbound Overground line – Connecting at the Western end to Platforms 2 and 3 at Camden Road station and following the existing Down North London track through Caledonian Road and Barnsbury station to Westbourne Road junction.
  • Westbound Overground line – Connecting at the Western end to Platforms 1 and 2 at Camden Road station and following the existing Up North London Reversible track through Caledonian Road and Barnsbury station to Westbourne Road junction.
  • Westbound Freight line – Connecting at the Western end to Platform 1 at Camden Road station and following the existing Up North London track to Westbourne Road junction.


  1. Both freight lines would be long enough for signallers to hold freight trains, so that other services could overtake.
  2. East of Caledonian Road and Barnsbury station, Overground and freight service would share the two tracks, as they do now!
  3. West of Camden Road station, Overground and freight service would share the two tracks, as they do now!

It strikes me that by good design, the capacity and speed through this section of the busy North London Line can be increased.

Related Posts

These are related posts about the London Rail Freight Strategy (LRFS).

Decarbonisation Of London’s Freight Routes

Doubling Harlesden Junction

East Coast Main Line South Bi-Directional Capability

Gauge Improvements Across London

Gospel Oak Speed Increases

Headway Reductions On The Gospel Oak To Barking, North London and West London Lines

Heavy Axle Weight Restrictions

Kensal Green Junction Improvement

Longhedge Junction Speed Increases

Moving The West London Line AC/DC Switchover To Kensington Olympia

Moving The West London Line AC/DC Switchover To Shepherd’s Bush

Nunhead Junction Improvement

Stratford Regulating Point Extension

Will Clapham Junction Station Get A Platform 0?





June 19, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Vivarail At COP26

This press release from Network Rail is entitled Network Rail And Porterbrook To Showcase Britain’s Green Trains Of The Future At COP26.

These two paragraphs are from the end of the first section of the press release.

It is envisaged that the HydroFLEX may also be used to transport visitors to see the Zero Emission Train, Scotland’s first hydrogen powered train.

Network Rail is also in the earlier stages of planning a similar event with Vivarail to bring an operational battery train to COP26.

Vivarail have taken battery trains to Scotland before for demonstration, as I wrote about in Battery Class 230 Train Demonstration At Bo’ness And Kinneil Railway.

Will other train companies be joining the party?


It looks like Alstom’s hydrogen-powered Class 600 train will not be ready for COP26.

But I suspect that the French would not like to be upstaged by a rolling stock leasing company and a university on the one hand and a company with scrapyard-ready redundant London Underground trains on the other.

I think, they could still turn up with something different.

They could drag one of their Coradia iLint trains through the Channel Tunnel and even run it to Scotland under hydrogen power, to demonstrate the range of a hydrogen-powered train.

Alstom have recently acquired Bombardier’s train interests in the UK and there have been rumours of a fleet of battery-electric Electrostars, even since the demonstrator ran successfully in 2015. Will the prototype turn up at COP26?

Alstom’s UK train factory is in Widnes and I’ve worked with Liverpudlians and Merseysiders on urgent projects and I wouldn’t rule out the Class 600 train making an appearance.


Spanish train company; CAF, have impressed me with the speed, they have setup their factory in Newport and have delivered a total of well over a hundred Class 195 and Class 331 trains to Northern.

I wrote Northern’s Battery Plans, in February 2020, which talked about adding a fourth-car to three-car Class 331 trains, to create a battery-electric Class 331 train.

Will the Spanish bring their first battery-electric Class 331 train to Glasgow?

I think, they just might!

After all, is there a better place for a train manufacturer looking to sell zero-carbon trains around the world to announce, their latest product?


A lot of what I have said for Alstom and CAF, could be said for Hitachi.

Hitachi have announced plans for two battery-electric trains; a Regional Battery Train and an Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train.

I doubt that either of these trains could be ready for COP26.

But last week, I saw the new Hitachi Class 803 train speeding through Oakleigh Park station.

This is not a battery-electric train, where battery power can be used for traction, but according to Wikipedia and other sources, it is certainly an electric train fitted with batteries to provide hotel power for the train, when the overhead electrification fails.

Are these Class 803 trains already fitted with their batteries? And if they are, have they been tested?

And who is building the batteries for the Class 803 trains?

The traction batteries for Hitachi’s two battery-electric trains are to be produced by Hyperdrive Innovation of Sunderland, which is not far from Hitachi’s train factory at Newton Aycliffe.

As an engineer, I would suspect that a well-respected company like Hyperdrive Innovation, can design a battery-pack that plugs in to Hitachi’s trains, as a diesel engine would. I would also suspect that a good design, would allow an appropriate size of battery for the application and route.

I feel it is very likely, that all batteries for Hitachi’s UK trains will be designed and build by Hyperdrive Innovation.

If that is the case and the Class 803 trains are fitted with batteries, then Hitachi can be testing the battery systems.

This document on the Hitachi Rail web site, which is entitled Development of Class 800/801 High-speed Rolling Stock for UK Intercity Express Programme, gives a very comprehensive description of the electrical and computer systems of the Hitachi trains.

As an engineer and a computer programmer, I believe that if Hyperdrive Innovation get their battery design right and after a full test program, that Hitachi could be able to run battery-electric trains based on the various Class 80x trains.

It could be a more difficult task to fit batteries to Scotland’s Class 385 trains, as they are not fitted with diesel engines in any application. Although, the fitting of diesel engines may be possible in the global specification for the train.

It is likely that these trains could form the basis of the Regional Battery Train, which is described in this infographic.


  1. The Class 385 and Regional Battery trains are both 100 mph trains.
  2. Class 385 and Class 80x trains are all members of Hitachi’s A-Train family.
  3. Regional Battery trains could handle a lot of unelectrified routes in Scotland.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hitachi bring a battery-equipped train to COP26, if the Class 803 trains have a successful introduction into service.


Siemens have no orders to build new trains for the national rail network in the UK.

But there are plans by Porterbrook and possibly other rolling stock leasing companies and train operators to convert some redundant Siemens-built trains, like Class 350 trains, into battery-electric trains.

According to Wikipedia, Siemens upgraded East Midlands Railways, Class 360 trains to 110 mph operation, at their Kings Heath Depot in Northampton.

Could Siemens be updating one of the Class 350 trains, that are serviced at that depot, to a prototype battery-electric Class 350 train?


Stadler have a proven design for diesel-electric, battery-electric and hydrogen trains, that they sell all over the world.

In the UK, the only ones in service are Greater Anglia’s Class 755 trains, which are diesel-electric bi-mode trains.

The picture shows one of these trains at Ipswich.

  • They are 100 mph trains.
  • Diesel, battery or hydrogen modules can be inserted in the short PowerPack car in the middle of the train.
  • Diesel-battery-electric versions of these trains have been sold for operation in Wales.
  • The interiors of these trains are designed for both short journeys and a two-hour run.

There is a possibility, that these trains will be upgraded with batteries. See Battery Power Lined Up For ‘755s’.


Times will be interesting in Glasgow at COP26!


June 6, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport, World | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments