The Anonymous Widower

Government Promises To Look ‘Very Carefully’ At £218m Bid For Second Chelmsford Station

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

This is the first paragraph.

The government will look “very carefully” at a £218m funding bid for a new railway station in Chelmsford, Theresa May has said.

It was said in response to a question in Prime Minister’s Questions.

Beaulieu station has been a long time coming.

March 22, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

London’s Second Quietest Train Station Is Set To Close In May

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

This is the first paragraph.

Angel Road, London’s second quietest train station is set to close in May, the Department for Transport has announced. With just over 33,000 passengers in 2017/18, it’s beaten to the bottom spot only by South Greenford station’s 26,500 passengers.

It will be replaced on May 19th 2019, by the new Meridian Water station, which will be 580 metres to the South.

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

New Station In Soham Revealed With Network Rail To Unveil Design Proposals At Public Meetings

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

Rebuilding of Soham station has been talked about for years and it now looks like it is finally on its way.

This is a significant paragraph.

The early design work for the new station would allow for a second platform and footbridge to be constructed and a second track added as part of a future project.

I think this means, that doubling the route between Kennett and Ely stations will be done after Soham station is rebuilt.

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

Cardiff Parkway Station: Work To Start In 2020

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

Work to build a new £30m railway station on the outskirts of Cardiff is expected to start in 2020, after receiving Welsh Government backing.

The station in St Mellons will serve up to 32,000 residents, linking them to Swansea, Cardiff, London, Bristol and Birmingham and the South Wales Metro.

Cardiff Parkway station will be between Cardiff Central and Newport stations and it will be close to the existing St. Mellons Business Park.

It is planned to open in 2022.

Nothing is said about services at the station, but there currently appears to be about six trains per hour (tph) between Cardiff Central and Newport, serving places like Birmingham, London, Manchester and Nottingham, in addition to places in South Wales.

Many if not all, of the trains calling at the station, when it opens will be modern trains, designed to execute fast station stops, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a frequency of at least six tph between the new station and both Cardiff Central and Newport stations.

  • Two tph – Cardiff and London Paddington
  • Two tph – Cardiff and Ebbw Vale Town
  • One tph – Cardiff and Nottingham
  • One tph – Cardiff and Manchester

This looks to me to be the sort of station development that should be copied elsewhere in the country.

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

Wake Up To Money – New Stations

I generally listen to this program on BBC Radio 5, before getting out of bed.

Today they asked for smaller ideas that would benefit, so I sent this message.

It costs around £10million to build a decent station on an existing railway line. We should be building tens of them to serve new developments and existing towns. Most new ones seem to be successful. James in Dalston

It was read out.

Various factors are also working in favour of new stations.

Successful New Stations

Success breeds success and there have been several examples of new station openings in the last decade, that have been very successful.

Other developments and existing towns want to have a similar success.

Innovative Design

Station design is getting better and more innovative, with features and modules cropping up all over the country.

Single-Platform Stations

Single-platform stations, like Cranbrook in Devon and Galashiels in the Borders, which both opened in recent years, have shown that single-platform stations are a more affordable alternative to an all-singing-and-dancing station with two platforms and an expensive step-free bridge.

New Trains With Fast Dwell Times

The new generation of trains like Aventras, Desiro Cities and Flirts are designed to slow from line speed, execute a station stop and get back to line speed, in a shorter time, than previous trains.

This has been achieved by.

  • Faster acceleration
  • Better braking
  • Level access between train and platform
  • Wide lobbies on trains
  • Better platform design
  • Walk-through trains
  • Better information on trains
  • Better staff organisation

Whereas a decade or two ago, an extra station stop would cause havoc with the timetable, it is now easier to add a stop at a new or existing station.

Developers Are Often In Favour

Developers seem to be moving away from a philosophy, that everybody using their office, commercial or housing development will come by car.

One developer told me, that you actually get a premium price if a housing development has its own train station.

Conclusion

I think that is very likely in the next few years, the number of new stations built will increase.

January 23, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | 2 Comments

£10.6m Horden Station Gets The Green Light

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

This paragraph from the article, shows what you get for £10.6million.

Two 100-metre platforms will be built at Horden, near Peterlee, along with a footbridge connecting the platforms, a 136-space car park and bus stops.

This Google Map shows the area of the proposed station close to South East View.

And this picture is from the article.

The article also says that the new Horden Peterlee station should be open by 2020.

I shall be interested to see how the passenger statistics for this station work out. 70,000 passengers a year are predicted, but I feel the location of the station will attract some very unexpected numbers of users.

It also could be a good weather station, where on a fine day, walkers will turn up by train, to explore the Durham Coast. The station looks to be less than a kilometre from a reasonable beach.

January 10, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Tottenham Hale Station – 2nd January 2019

I took these pictures yesterday pf the rebuilding of Tottenham Hale station.

Note.

  1. The basic concrete structure of the station box appears complete.
  2. The footbridge is coming on.
  3. The lift tower on the Stansted-bound platform appears far back on the platform.
  4. Network Rail seem to be seriously pruning trees.
  5. The third track isn’t complete yet.

There must be a chance that the station will open as planned in May 2019.

January 3, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | 2 Comments

Axed Rail Routes May Be Reopened Under New Department for Transport Plans

The title of this post is the same as that on this article on Sky News.

This is the first two paragraphs.

The Department for Transport has confirmed it is actively working with a number of groups to explore the possibility of reopening old rail routes, axed under the so-called Beeching cuts of the 1960s.

It follows a call by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling a year ago, encouraging those in the public and private sector to submit proposals for potential projects to regenerate old lines.

It also quotes a Department of Transport spokesman.

This is on top of exploring reopening the Northumberland Line for passenger use, supporting the reinstatement of stations on the Camp Hill Line, developing new rail links to Heathrow and a new station at Cambridge South

He apparently, didn’t say more because of confidentiality.

The article then talks about the success of the Borders Railway in Scotland.

So is this just a good news story for Christmas or is there a plan to reopen old railway lines?

I feel that a several factors are coming together, that make the reopening of railway lines and the creation of new ones more likely.

Digital Signalling

Signalling is expensive, but where you have rolling stock to a high modern standard, with digital in-cab signalling, does this mean that new or reopened rail lines can be built without conventional signalling?

In addition, installing digital signalling on some routes, would probably make it easier to add a new station. Surely, it must just be a reprogramming of the route!

It could be a problem that, I would expect that on a digitally-signalled line, all trains must be capable of using it. But in many areas of the country, like East Anglia, these routes will be run by new trains.

Digital signalling must also make it easier to design more efficient single-track railways, with perhaps a passing loop to allow higher frequencies.

More Efficient Track Construction

Network Rail and their contractors and suppliers are getting better and more efficient at building track and bridges through difficult terrain and places, judging by some of their construction in recent years, such as the Acton Dive-Under and the Ordsall Chord. They have also overseen some notable successes in the refurbishment of viaducts and tunnels.

It should also be noted that the reopening of the Borders Railway was a successful project in terms of the engineering and was completed on budget and on time.

According to Wikipedia, though there was criticism of the infrastructure.

This is said.

The line’s construction has been described as resembling a “basic railway” built to a tight budget and incorporating a number of cost-saving features, such as using elderly two-carriage diesel trains and running the line as single track.

But looking back on the line from over three years since it opened, it has certainly been judged by many to be an undoubted success.

Would it have had the same level of success, if it had been built as a double-track electrified railway?

Single-Track Lines

The Borders Railway is a good example of an efficient single-track railway, that runs a half-hourly service.

Other routes like the East Suffolk Line and the Felixstowe Branch Line, show how good design can handle more than the most basic levels of traffic, with perhaps selective double track or a well-placed passing loop.

They may be dismissed by rail purists as basic railways, but when well-designed, they are able to provide the service that is needed along the route, for a construction cost that is affordable.

I would though advocate, that if a new single-track railway is built, that provision is made where possible to be able to add the second track. But not at too great an expense or to provide a service level that will never be needed.

I believe that good design of a new railway can cut the construction cost by a fair amount.

Single-Platform Stations

Several of the new stations built in recent years have been stations with only a single-platform.

  • Cranbrook – A station in Devon on the West of England Main Line to serve a new housing development.
  • Ebbw Vale Parkway – A parkway station in Ebbw Vale.
  • Galashiels – A station, that handled 356,000 passengers last year. It is a unique station on a narrow site, that shares facilities with a large bus station on the other side of the road. It is a very functional transport interchange.
  • James Cook – A basic but practical station, that serves the hospital in Middlesbrough. – It cost just over £2million in 2014.
  • Newcourt – A £4million station handling over 100,000 passengers per year.
  • Pye Corner – A basic station in Newport handling nearly 100,000 passengers per year.

The stations have several common characteristics.

  • They can all handle at least a four-car train.
  • The single-platform is used for services in both directions.
  • Disabled access is either level or by a gently-sloping ramp.

Only James Cook station has a footbridge over the track.

These single-platform stations must cost less, as for instance a footbridge with lifts costs upwards of a million pounds.

Note that of the nine stations on the Borders Railway only three have two platforms.

Single-Platform Terminal Stations

There are also several terminal stations in the UK with only one platform.

  • Aberdare – Handling over 500,000 passengers per year.
  • Aberystwyth – Handling around 300,000 passengers per year.
  • Alloa – Handling around 400,000 passengers per year.
  • Aylesbury Vale Parkway – Handling over 100,000 passengers per year.
  • Blackpool South – Handling over 100,000 passengers per year.
  • Exmouth – Handling nearly a million passengers per year.
  • Felixstowe – Handling around 200,000 passengers per year.
  • Henley-on-Thames – Handling around 800,000 passengers per year.
  • Marlow – Handling nearly 300,000 passengers per year.
  • Merthyr Tydfil – Handling around 500,000 passengers per year.
  • North Berwick – Handling around 600,000 passengers per year.
  • Redditch– Handling over a million passengers per year.
  • Seaford – Handling over 500,000 passengers per year.
  • Shepperton – Handling around 400,000 passengers per year.
  • Sheringham – Handling around 200,000 passengers per year.
  • Walton-on-the-Naze – Handing around 130,000 passengers per year
  • Windsor & Eton Central – Handling nearly two million passengers per year.

Many of these stations have only a single hourly train. whereas Redditch and Windsor & Eton Central stations have three trains per hour (tph).

As a single terminal platform can probably handle four tph, I suspect that most terminals for branch lines could be built with just a single platform.

No Electrification

Chris Grayling has said that the East West Rail Link will be built without electrification.

I wasn’t surprised.

  • Network Rail has a very poor performance in installing electrification.
  • There have been complaints about the visual intrusion of the overhead gantries.
  • Electrification can cause major disruption to road traffic during installation, as bridges over the railway have to be raised.

In addition, I’ve been following alternative forms of low- or zero-carbon forms of train and feel they could offer a viable alternative

Bi-Mode, Hydrogen And Battery-Electric Trains

When the Borders Railway was reopened, unless the line had been electrified, it had to be run using diesel trains.

But in the intervening three years, rolling stock has developed and now a new or reopened railway doesn’t have to be electrified to be substantially served by electric trains.

  • Bi-Mode trains are able to run on both diesel and electric power and Hitachi’s Class 800 trains are successfully in service. They will be shortly joined by Porterbrook’s innovative Class 769 trains.
  • Hydrogen-powered trains have already entered service in Germany and they are being developed for the UK.
  • Battery-electric trains have already been successfully demonstrated in the UK and will enter service in the next few years.

All of these types of train, will be able to run on a new railway line without electrification.

Bi-mode trains are only low-carbon on non-electrified lines, whereas the other trains are zero-carbon.

The trains on the Borders Railway must be prime candidates for replacement with hydrogen-powered or battery-electric trains.

Adding It All Up

Adding up the factors I have covered in this section leads me to conclude that rail developments over the last few years have made it possible to create a new railway line with the following characteristics.

  • An efficient mainly single-track layout.
  • Single-platform stations.
  • A single-platform terminal station capable of handling well upwards of a million passengers per year.
  • Service levels of up to four trains per hour.
  • Zero-carbon operation without electrification.
  • Low levels of visual and noise intrusion.

The new railway will also be delivered at a lower cost and without major disruption to surrounding road and rail routes.

The Need For More Housing And Other Developments

There is a very large demand for new housing and other developments all over the UK.

Several proposed rail projects are about connecting new developments with the rail network.

In London Overground Extension To Barking Riverside Gets Go Ahead, I listed a few developments in London, where developers and their financial backers, were prepared to put up around £20,000 for each house to fund decent rail-based transport links.

Obviously, developments in London are expensive, but with all the new developments, that have been built close to stations in the last few years, I suspect that infrastructure financiers. like Legal and General and Aviva, know how much being by a rail station is worth.

Conclusion

Both public and private infrastructure financiers will take advantage of the good railway and rolling stock engineering, which will mean the necessary rail links to new developments will be more affordable and zero-carbon.

December 27, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

London Overground Extension To Barking Riverside Gets Go Ahead

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

This is an important extension, as it unlocks a valuable housing site at Barking Riverside, where 10,800 homes will be built.

A Cost Comparison

It is going to cost £263million, which works out at £24,000 for each house and flat.

By comparison, the billion pound Northern Line Extension to Battersea will serve around 50,000 houses, or £20,000 for each.

And the Lea Valley Rail Programme is a £170million project, that will serve 10,000 homes at Meridian Water with a new Meridian Water station. This is slightly cheaper at £17,000 per home, but a double-track railway was already in place.

Note that in all these schemes, the developers have made contributions. Some have been larger than others.

There are a surprisingly close set of figures for cost per home, considering that the developments will probably be at different points on the luxury spectrum.

So if we are building a large housing development in London, of say 10,000 homes, should we be prepared to spend around £200million on providing decent rail or some other fast and accessible public transport access?

At the smaller end, if say a developer is building five hundred new homes, this could mean it is worth spending up to ten million on updating an existing station. The new Lea Bridge station seems to have cost around this sum and seems to be supporting hundreds of homes.

Proposed Developments In London

So how does this figure fit in with proposed developments in London?

Brent Cross Cricklewood

Brent Cross Cricklewood is described like this in Wikipedia.

Brent Cross Cricklewood is a planned new town centre development in Hendon and Cricklewood, London, United Kingdom. The development is planned to cost around £4.5 billion to construct and will include 7,500 homes, 4,000,000 sq ft (370,000 m2) of offices, four parks, transport improvements and a 592,000 sq ft (55,000 m2) extension of Brent Cross Shopping Centre. The developers of the scheme are Hammerson and Standard Life.

Construction was planned to start in 2018 and be completed in 2021-22, but in March 2018 a delay was announced to January 2019.

It will be served by a new Brent Cross West station.

Wikipedia also says that £500million could be spent on transport developments, including new roads and rebuilding of stations

Kensal Green Gas Works

This site will be redeveloped with 3,500 homes, according to documents on the Internet.

It also sits beside the Great Western Main Line and Crossrail, but no station is currently planned.

But applying the the formula, should mean that on a site like this, £70million should be available for public transport developments.

Southall Gas Works

The Southall Gas Works site has planning permission for 3,750 homes.

The site is close to Southall station, which will be on Crossrail.

Plans exist to update Southall station, but the plans look very inadequate.

In my view this site would e ideal for a driverless shuttle that took residents and visitors too and from the station.

Sites Outside London

My knowledge of the country outside of London is not so good, but some new stations have been built to support new housing and other developments.

It certainly seems, that in the UK, we’re building stations and new lines to improve the accessibility of developments.

December 27, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 3 Comments

London City Airport Appoints Former Crossrail Boss Rob Holden As New Chairman

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on City AM.

If this doesn’t get the extra station on Crossrail at Silvertown, that London City Airport needs and wants, then nothing will.

November 26, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment