This post is based on another snippet from the Kent Route Study, which you can download from this page on the Network Rail web site.
The study says this about the possibility of reopening East Brixton station.
5.15.17. There was a station at East Brixton on the rail route between
Denmark Hill and London Victoria which closed in 1976. The station
site sits within the London Borough of Lambeth.
5.15.18. As with Camberwell, there have been numerous calls from
local stakeholders to reopen the station over the years. The London
Borough of Lambeth is keen to reopen the station to improve the
connectivity of Brixton town centre to orbital rail routes, building on
the success of the London Overground route to Clapham Junction
which opened in 2012. If reopened the station would be served
solely by London Overground services operating to and from
Clapham Junction via the East London Line.
5.15.19. The London Borough of Lambeth are therefore leading a
review of the business case and demand for East Brixton station
with support from Transport for London and Network Rail. This
review will include consideration of the impact of a new station on
local development opportunities. It is expected to complete during
early 2017 and will determine whether or not the station has a
viable business case. Any further developments will be reported in
the final Route Study.
If you look at this map from carto.metro.free.fr.
East Brixton station is clearly shown on the tracks now used by the East London Line.
These pictures show the railway and what remains of the station on Moorland Road.
This Google Map shows the location of the station.
Note that the venue; Brixton East 1871 is shown in the pictures and on the map.
In an ideal world Loughborough Junction and Brixton stations should have platforms on the Overground, but budgets are not limitless, so neither of them has.
It may look a stiff climb to the platforms, but it is no more than some other Overground and DLR stations. Lifts would be essential.
The Pedesta Bridge, that I talked about in Would You Trust Your Weight On A Thirty Metre Long Plastic Bridge?, has got me thinking.
Look at this picture of the soon-to-be-built Maghull North station.
The station would appear to be in a cutting with lift towers sticking their heads above the cutting and these are connected by an open walkway to the station building.
Pedesta bridges would surely be a lot easier to slot between the station building and the lift towers., than the traditional heavy steel and glass constructions. From pictures on various web sites, the bridges could even have a roof to protect travellers from the weather.
But why stop at just the bridges?
Could we see prefabricated plastic steps for example?
Anything that cuts the cost of new stations, would surely mean more!
The Anglesey Central Railway is a disused branch railway, where the track-bed is intact although overgrown, that runs across the Island of Anglesey from the North Wales Coast Line to the port town of Amlwch.
It carried freight until 1993 and is one of those remote lines, where a case can be made for reopening., using simple station designs and affordable trains.
On its route it serves the County Town of Llangefni and these stations are proposed, either on the branch or the island
With the existing stations on the North Wales Coast Line, a useful local railway could be created.
But would it be value for money?
There are various developments proposed for the Ebbw Valley Railway.
A Second Hourly Service To Newport
In Proposed Additional Services in the Wikipedia entry for the line, this is said.
A second hourly service to Newport is proposed for the line. A South East Wales Transport Alliance (Sewta) report in 2006 noted that additional infrastructure work would be required to enable the service to become half-hourly (one train running to Cardiff and another to Newport). An additional seven miles (11 km) of double track would be needed between Aberbeeg Junction and Crosskeys and additional platforms at Newbridge and Llanhilleth stations would be required.
Network Rail says additional work needs to be done, but from various news reports, the service from Ebbw Vale Town to Newport is some years away, but could be completed in 2018.
In A Look At New Station Projects, I’ve found several.
- Aberbeeg has been proposed for reopening.
- Abercarn has been proposed for reopening.
- Abertillery has been proposed for reopening on a new branch.
- Cwm has been proposed for reopening.
I’m sure there could be others.
This article in the Worcester News is entitled PICTURES: Lift off! Clearance work underway for Worcestershire Parkway.
Enough said! Especially as the pictures are informative!
But with similar signs of a new station at Meridian Water, it seems to be good news for those who want new stations.
South Wales might not have the reputation of beautiful mountains, of say Snowdonian, the Cairngorms or Switzerland, but some of the Valley Lines that go up to places like Merthyr Tydfil and Ebbw Vale Town stations have spectacular views.
I was looking for a possible station at a village called Nelson and found a single-track railway passing to the North of the village.
I followed the track with my helicopter up the mountain and this is a Google Map of what I found.
The station on the left is Merthyr Tydfil and on the right is the massive Ffos-y-fran Land Reclamation Scheme. This is opening paragraph in the Wikipedia entry.
The Ffos-y-fran Land Reclamation Scheme is a major opencast coaling operation to the north-east of Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales. Miller Argent is owned by Gwent Investments Limited, which is based in South Wales and is a privately owned family business. The scheme development is the last part of the East Merthyr Reclamation scheme, and will extract 10 million tonnes of coal over 15 years, the revenues from which will redevelop the current former industrial workings into residential and recreational use.
It is a controversial scheme and I am usually against using coal for combustion purposes, but some of these Welsh landscapes are dotted with dangerous mine workings and slag heaps, so they certainly need cleaning up.
There is a Transport section in the Wikipedia entry for the scheme. This is said.
Under agreed planning rules, the site is not allowed to transport coal from the site via road. All extract is therefore moved to the rear (East) of the site where the coal is separated and washed at the Cwmbargoed Washery. Built in 1959 on land to the north and east of the railway connection to Fochriw Colliery, the coal washery was refurbished by Celtic Energy in 1992. DB Schenker trains then move the washed coal from site to Aberthaw Power Station, along the former route of the Rhymney Railway. Joining the modern Rhymney Line just south of Ystrad Mynach railway station, the trains then travel onwards via Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan Line to Aberthaw, enabling Ffos-y-fran to supply 40% of the coal to Aberthaw power station.
It must be challenging driving a Class 66 locomotive with a train of full coal wagons down the mountain.
It was this railway I had followed up the mountain.
Before I leave Merthyr Tydfil, look at this Google Map of the town.
The East Merthyr Reclamation Scheme is in the middle, flanked by Merthyr Tydfil in the West and Rhymney in the East.
So if the Authorities in South Wales are thinking of building a station on this line at Nelson, are they thinking of reopening this line after the scheme has finished extracting coal, as a second rail route to Merthyr Tydfil?
Coming back down the mountain from Merthyr, the first possible station from my list of possible stations is Bedlinog.
This Google Map shows the rail line going through the village.
Note that Bedlinog already has a Railway Inn.
After Bedlinog, the next one on the list is Trelewis. This is the Google Map
The railway goes between the Primary School and the Kigdom Hall.
And then it’s back to where I started this quest at Nelson, of which this is the Google Map.
Trains For The Route
The task of hauling empty wagons up the mountain is not to much for a Class 66 locomotive, so I suspect that a multiple unit could be designed to handle a route like this, of which there are several in the Cardiff Valley Lines.
Either electric or diesel multiple units could probably manage the climbs, if they were designed for it, but would electreifying these routes be a feasible undertaking, given the difficulties of working on these busy lines.
But train technology is moving on and with the Class 319 Flex, we are getting close to having a true tri-mode train, with diesel, electric and battery power.
The Welsh Government have said they want new trains for these routes and I suspect engineers are working on a product tailored to run these routes efficiently.
So could we see a quad-mode train for the Valleys?
- Four-car electrical multiple unit.
- Onboard energy storage.
- Perhaps even a small diesel generator for the difficult bits.
- Gravity power, which the lines have in abundance, to use with regenerative braking to charge the batteries on the descent.
- As modern trains can deploy pantographs automatically, some selective electrification could be added as the project develops.
I would also commit the ultimate heresy and use third-rail electrification on the steep parts at the heads of the valleys.
- Bombardier, Siemens and others make reliable dual-voltage trains.
- Both electrification systems have their good and bad points.
- It must be less intrusive and disruptive to install third-rail electrification.
- Is overhead electrification more prone to weather damage?
- Network Rail seem to be terribly accident-prone when it comes to overhead electrification.
In the end costs and overall reliability will decide.
But I do think sometimes, that Network Rail always chooses overhead electrification, even if third rail will be more reliable, less intrusive and more affordable.
But I’m sure that all the technology has now been proven to create a very efficient modern electric train to work the Valley Lines, which have been electrified using a great deal of innovation and common sense.
Guildford station is one of those stations that is very crowded.
So the Borough of Guildford is promoting two stations, one in the East and one in the West.
This Google Map shows the location.
The station is proposed to be on the site of Merrow Depot, which is in the South-East corner of the map, with the railway line conveniently across the North of the site.
Guildford West Station
This Google Map shows the location.
It is certainly a very convenient station for the hospital and the technology park.
There must be scope given that the railway is in a wide cutting, to do some development over the station and the railway.
Clean toilets and a Starbucks doth not a station make!
I was drawn to this letter in the Shropshire Star, which was entitled Better rail investment would reduce problems on the roads.
The writer details some of the problems on the five rail lines that meet at Shrewsbury, which they start with this paragraph about the lack of parkway stations.
Shropshire, in particular, could benefit enormously from reopening old stations in the form of parkways or even parkways near to where stations used to be. Thus the five lines running into Shrewsbury are badly serving the public except the one from Crewe which does still have small stations, utilised occasionally but could be improved by upgrading to parkways and additions.
The writer also says that Hereford is just as bad.
This map shows the lines meeting at Shresbury.
The lines meeting at Shrewsbury station are as follows.
- Shrewsbury to Chester Line with 4 open and 14 closed stations before Chester.
- Welsh Marches Line to Crewe, with 6 open and 4 closed stations before Crewe.
- Wolverhampton to Shrewsbury Line, with 8 open and 5 closed stations before Wolverhampton
- Cambrian Line, with no open and 6 closed stations before Welshpool.
- Welsh Marches Line to Hereford, with 4 open and 15 closed stations before Hereford.
There certainly were a lot more stations in the past.
But it does appear that some new stations are in the pipeline.
Cefn is a possible reopened station on the Shrewsbury to Chester Line.
Meole Brace is a possible new station in Shrewsbury.
It looks like the letter writer’s plea has been answered.
Putting four trains per hour on all of the routes from the centre at Shrewsbury would probably create a more than acceptable system.
It looks like the trains would have to be diesels, as I can’t see much electrification in this area.
But who knows what will happen, if someone develops a fast charge system for a hybrid/battery train, that could be implemented at Chester, Hereford, Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton?
I’m always putting in the same picture of Zwickau Zentrum station on the Vogtlandbahn in Germany into posts, so I thought I should give the picture a post of its own.
The station is one of the simplest I’ve ever seen and it has been designed very much like a tram stop.
- There is no footbridge, as if travellers need to cross the line, they just walk round.
- The access is as step-free as it gets in Germany.
- The other side of the platform is a stop for Zwickau’s trams.
- There is no electrification, which must improve safety.
- The station could be made long enough for any train that might call.
- The station has been landscaped into the local environment.
But we’re starting to see simple stations like this in the UK.
Galashiels is an interesting solution, as there is a single-platform step-free railway station on one side of the road and a comprehensive bus interchange on the other with seats, cafes, shops and warm shelter.
Both Zwickau Zentrum and Galashiels are served exclusively by diesel trains and as electrification can be a hazard to some passengers and is expensive, I would feel that most stations like this, would be better served by trains that are self-powered.
We shall be seeing more simple station designs like these, as architects and designers get very innovative.
Marlborough once had a pair of stations, as this map of the railways in the town shows.
Note the various stations in an area, where Marlborough the largest town has a population of 8,395.
This railway map shows the important Reading to Taunton Line that passes to the South of Marlborough. This Google Map shows that line as it crosses the A346 road.
- The Reading to Taunton Line crossing the map in an East-West direction, generally following the Kennett and Avon Canal.
- Marlborough is to the North
- Pewsey station is to the West.
- Bedwyn station is to the East.
- Savenake Low Level station used to be somewhere to the South of what look like yellow field of Rape.
- The small town of Biurbage is to the South.
There would also appear to be tracks of disused railways leading North-Westerly from Bedwyn towards Marlborough.
If Marlborough and the surrounding area were to be given a better rail connection, I would think that a possible solution would be a parkway station, perhaps where the A346 crosses the railway and the canal.
It should be born in mind, that modern trains are designed to perform fast stops at stations, so the extra station at Marlborough would not be the time penalty, it was a few years ago.
Transition Marlborough’s Proposal
But a local action group called Transition Marlborough have their own plans for a Marlborough Rail Link, which as this graphic shows are more ambitious.
Their plans would involve restoring and electrifying the line to Marlborough, where a well-positioned station will be built.
These are my initial thoughts.
- The route of the line appears feasible.
- Electrification may be a problem given Network Rail’s expertise in this area.
- Bedwyn would not appear to be the best terminus for a line to London.
- I’ve not been to Bedwyn station, but I suspect it could be a bleak place in some kinds of weather.
After I wrote this list, a kind soul in the area sent me this message.
You’ll find that Bedwyn station is a pretty bleak place, especially in Winter. To reach it by road from Marlborough involves a 7.5 mile road trip, at least 3 miles of which is on an unmarked road through a forest. Bedwyn station is almost inaccessible for people without cars, as the connecting bus service is poor and unreliable.
My Version Of The Proposal
I think the best solution could be to create a single-track railway without electrification to a simple station with adequate parking at the proposed Salisbury Road Business Park location.
The distance between Reading and Marlborough by train would be about 37 miles. Network Rail’s plans to electrify the line between Reading and Bedwyn are probably best described as fluid, but I suspect that electrification to Newbury could be possible, which would mean that only twenty miles between Paddington and Marlborough would be unwired.
So this would mean that when inevitably an electric train with onboard energy storage has a range of forty miles, Marlborough could get a modern electric service to and from Paddington.
The advantages of this strategy are as follows.
- No ugly overhead catenary marching across the country.
- Work would only include restoring a single track railway and building a simple no-frills station at Marlborough.
- Marlborough station would not have any electrification and could be designed like a tram stop.
- Fast Environmentally-friendly electric trains to and from Reading and Paddington.
- The route would be designed for six-car trains in case Marlborough College put on a free concert featuring the Rolling Stones.
- The route could be designed to allow two trains per hour (tph), as opposed to the current one tph service to and from Bedwyn.
- Marlborough to Paddington would have a maximum time of around 80 minutes.
But the biggest advantage is that the scheme is that it could be affordable.
This article on the BBC is entitled Marlborough £30m railway line restoration plan.
If this branch line is developed as I believe Network Rail are now thinking, there could be money left over for a good launch party!
With the next generation of electric train with onboard energy storage or IPEMUs, a Marlborough station on a new Marlborough Branch Line can be used to create a two tph service to and from Paddington to replace the current one tph service from Bedwyn.
So a new Marlborough station would be a win for all those using stations on the Reading to Taunton Line to the East of Pewsey.
I also wonder how many other similar services can be developed by extending a service past a main line terminal to a new or reopened branch line, which is built without electrification and run using trains with onboard energy storage.